"This is treason"
September 4, 2018 8:49 PM   Subscribe

The Supreme Court confirmation hearing continues Wednesday with the questioning of nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Despite low popularity, views out of step with the majority of the country, tens of thousands of pages of documents produced at the last minute, and over 100,000 pages of documents withheld from the Senate (with all the documents reviewed not by the National Archives, but by a lawyer who represents the Bush Library, White House Counsel Don McGahn, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon), his confirmation appears to be on cruise control. The Times examines How Brett Kavanaugh Would Transform the Supreme Court. SCOTUSBlog offers a liveblog of the hearings and a 16-part series on Kavanaugh's record. Wednesday's questioning can be streamed live on C-SPAN starting at 9:30 ET.

Also in the news:

• Former Senator John Kyl has been named to fill the Arizona Senate seat held by John McCain. Kyl was previously picked by the White House to shepherd Kavanaugh through the confirmation process.

• Also Wednesday, executives from Twitter and Facebook will appear before the Senate Intelligence committee for a hearing on the use of social networks to influence elections (C-SPAN, 9:30am). Separately, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee for an airing of grievances from Republicans about political bias. See, previously: Facebook Does Not Understand the Conservative Grift.

• Also Wednesday, again, a federal court will hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, in which a group of Republican attorneys general argue that the repeal of the individual mandate renders the entire law unconstitutional. While legal scholars largely disagree with this argument, the Justice Department has refused to fully defend the law, leaving it to a group of Democratic attorneys general to intervene in the case.

• The President abruptly abandoned his Labor Day Monday golf game and spent the day tweeting instead, including an attack on the rule of law (and Attorney General Jeff Sessions) as he criticized the Justice Department for indicting Republicans accused of crimes.

• Read coverage of Day 1 of the Kavanaugh hearing (and protests):
The First Day Of Brett Kavanaugh's Confirmation Hearing Was Chaotic As Democrats Continued To Press For A Delay
(BuzzFeed), Democrats Wasted Day One (Slate), Documents Delayed and Documents Denied (Lawfare).

• Primary day in Massachusetts brought victory for Ayanna Pressley, ousting 10-term incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano: "Pressley did not shy away from questions about her identity, saying throughout her campaign that it's not just her experience as a black woman that informs her politics and how she'd lead in Washington, but also the people who feel shut out of the political process who she talks to regularly." There was also a win for Rachel Rollins for the Suffolk County District Attorney primary. Rollins ran on criminal justice reform.

• Leaked copies of Bob Woodward's ominously titled, much-anticipated Fear: Trump in the White House found their way to CNN—Bob Woodward: Trump's Aides Stole His Papers 'to Protect the Country'— and the Washington Post—Bob Woodward’s New Book Reveals a ‘Nervous Breakdown’ of Trump’s Presidency. And, according to a recorded phone conversation that the Post also released when Woodward promised his book was "going to be accurate[…]", Trump retorted, "Well, accurate is that nobody’s ever done a better job than I’m doing as president. That I can tell you."

• The Atlantic, Adam Serwer, The Second Redemption Court: The Supreme Court again appears poised to pursue a purely theoretical liberty at the expense of the lives of people of color. "Not since the end of Reconstruction has the U.S. government been so firmly committed to a single, coherent program uniting a politics of ethnonationalism with unfettered corporate power. As with Redemption, as the end of Reconstruction is known, the consequences could last for generations."

• NBC News, Mad About Trump, a three-part series on how both parties have evolved in recent years, including Democrats moving to the left, featuring an interesting analysis of positions on campaign websites.

• Chuck Todd writes It’s Time for the Press to Stop Complaining—And to Start Fighting Back. The President attacked this article tonight in a tweet.

• New Yorker, Jeffery Toobin, How Rudy Giuliani Turned Into Trump’s Clown, a lengthy profile of Trump's lawyer, and A New Book Details the Damage Done by the Right-Wing Media in 2016, a review of Yochai Bankler, Robert Faris, and Hal Roberts' Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics.

• Foreign Policy, James Goldgeier and Elizabeth N. Saunders, The Unconstrained Presidency: Checks and Balances Eroded Long Before Trump



Want a script to call your Senators about Kavanaugh? Block Brett has you covered.

63 days to the midterms. Have you checked your registration? Get involved by making a personalized plan to Crush the Midterms.

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. If you're commenting about the hearings, please add substantive reports of what's happening rather than live-blog reactions without context.
posted by zachlipton (2139 comments total) 114 users marked this as a favorite
 
ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate:
-- FL: St. Pete Polls has Dem incumbent Nelson tied 47-47 with GOPer Scott [MOE: +/- 2.3%]. Meanwhile, Gravis poll also has it tied at 47 [MOE: +/- 2.8%].

-- MO: Marist poll has Dem incumbent McCaskill up 44-40 on GOPer Hawley [MOE: +/- 3.9%]. That's including Green and Libertarian candidates; pure head to head is 47-47.
** 2018 House:
-- VA-02: Rep Taylor has been subpoenaed as part of the investigation into the fake signature scandal. Unsurprisingly, the Dems are running ads about it all.

-- The expected GOP triaging has begun, as the NRCC cancels reservations on Pittsburgh-area TV. This will mostly be PA-17 (Rothfus), with a bit of PA-16 (Kelly).

-- In the wake of several favorable polls, 538 generic ballot average reaches D+10.6 (49.6/39.0). Is it real? Charles Franklin notes it seems to not just be an outlier. Will it continue? Who can say, but the average all year has been really close to the historical trend. That trend would indicate a further improvement for Dems of about 2 points, if we continue to track historicals. Silver on where we stand, overall.
** Odds & ends:
-- Former Senator Jon Kyl has been appointed to fill the McCain vacancy. The interesting wrinkle here is not Kyl himself - he's a party line Republican, and wouldn't rile any faction, since he won't be running again. It's that he's hinting that he might retire at the end of the session, meaning that another appointment would need to be made. There's thought that this might then be Martha McSally, assuming she loses her election bid for the Flake seat. Then the GOP would have an incumbent running in 2020 for re-election, rather than a vacant seat. Historically, voters have sometimes punished this kind of cleverness, though.

-- FL gov: Quinnipiac poll has Dem Gillum up 50-47 on GOPer De Santis [MOE: +/- 4.3%]. Meanwhile, that Gravis poll has Gillum up 47-45.

-- KS gov: Surprise endorsement for Dem candidate Kelly...from former GOP governor Paul Graves. Kansas politics is basically a three party system - Dems, moderate GOP, far right GOP. Graves is a moderate, and this could give rhetorical cover for more of them to throw in with the Dems.

-- AK gov: Today was the last day for either Dem Begich or indy incumbent Walker to drop out; neither of them did. This greatly increases the chance that the GOP picks up the governor's mansion here.

-- NM gov: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll has Dem Lujan Grisham up 52-44 on GOPer Pearce [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. Poll was commissioned by the Lujan Grisham campaign.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:55 PM on September 4 [45 favorites]


@realdonaldtrump: Only the Obama WH can get away with attacking Bob Woodward.

Every. Single. Time.

Also, I found it interesting that Dem leadership apparently struggled over whether to stage a mass walk-out at the Kavanaugh hearing. The forceful objections were a compromise measure.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:57 PM on September 4 [23 favorites]


Canvassing has been interesting this year. I wouldn’t say that people are enthusiastic, exactly, but almost every voter I’ve talked to has agreed to sign up to vote by mail. They’re determined to do their part.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:01 PM on September 4 [12 favorites]


@KlasfeldReports:
NEW: In the Census case, the ACLU and NYAG demand disclosure of 32 docs that may show “animus to communities of color” and “mislead the public with a pretextual explanation” for the citizenship question.

Commerce and Sec. Wilbur Ross asserted privilege over docs. For those asking, the privilege being asserted here is deliberative process privilege, i.e. intra-agency discussions, a detail that did not fit into the 280 characters of the original tweet.

According to the letter, these officials clammed up during depositions, making the disclosure of the emails necessary. "The lack of forthrightness of these senior government officials was troubling to say the least," the letter states.
posted by zachlipton at 9:02 PM on September 4 [9 favorites]


Cnn: North Carolina's unconstitutional gerrymandered map will be used in midterms

How is this even allowed? Anyone?
posted by j_curiouser at 9:04 PM on September 4 [40 favorites]


Because even the plaintiffs (Common Cause, LWV, and NC Dems) in the case said it was too close to the election - NC had their primaries a while ago - and would be too disruptive.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:06 PM on September 4 [11 favorites]


I don't have much hope for tomorrow's hearing, and it's really the least of his problems, but I honestly do want answers about his finances. We're told he ran up tens of thousands if not over a hundred thousand dollars worth of debt for baseball tickets, which included taking out a loan against his retirement, and paid it all off in a year.

I think more people in government should understand what it's like to live with debt, and debt shouldn't be disqualifying as some would have it, but this story makes no sense.
posted by zachlipton at 9:11 PM on September 4 [74 favorites]


>How is this even allowed? Anyone?

Because even the plaintiffs (Common Cause, LWV, and NC Dems) in the case said it was too close to the election - NC had their primaries a while ago - and would be too disruptive.

Which is a great argument for extending some form of Section 5 preclearance to many states: gerrymandering is a problem particularly ill-suited to after-the-fact remedies.
posted by cjelli at 9:14 PM on September 4 [28 favorites]


Reform candidate and defense attorney Andrea Harrington wins Dem nom for DA of Berkshire County (far western Mass).
posted by Chrysostom at 9:15 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


The most recent episode of Chapo Trap House outlines pretty convincingly how fucked we are in terms of Kavanaugh being confirmed. And seeing clips of Democrats, particularly the women being talked over and flat out ignored do not give me much to begin to think the other way. Because this is what decades of engineered political discourse has given us.
posted by theartandsound at 9:30 PM on September 4 [16 favorites]


Trump suggests protesting should be illegal
Trump made the remarks in an Oval Office interview with the Daily Caller hours after his Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh, was greeted by protests on the first day of his confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill.

“I don’t know why they don’t take care of a situation like that,” Trump said. “I think it’s embarrassing for the country to allow protesters. You don’t even know what side the protesters are on.”

He added: “In the old days, we used to throw them out. Today, I guess they just keep screaming.”
Apparently "faithfully executing" means dragging the office out the back behind the woodshed and shooting it.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:35 PM on September 4 [89 favorites]


Dem primary in MA-03 may be going to recounts. Trahan campaign says lead at 223 votes with 98% counted, different outlets reporting different numbers, Koh campaign not conceding.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:39 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


The forceful objections were a compromise measure.

/facepalm
posted by mwhybark at 9:42 PM on September 4 [5 favorites]


I don't know that walking out would have accomplished more?
posted by Chrysostom at 9:44 PM on September 4 [16 favorites]


Sahil Kapur on Twitter: "You had a chance, and you lost," Lindsey Graham tells Democrats, advising them to "win an election" if they want to pick judges.

To which I say: MERRICK GARLAND.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:48 PM on September 4 [152 favorites]


> I don't know that walking out would have accomplished more?

I know which one sends a better message to constituents and voters when they see the video.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:48 PM on September 4 [11 favorites]


Okay - which one? Because I saw them calling out the GOP breaking the rules, and eviscerating Kavanaugh (go watch Hirono). I thought it was pretty effective, myself.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:53 PM on September 4 [52 favorites]


> Okay - which one? Because I saw them calling out the GOP breaking the rules, and eviscerating Kavanaugh (go watch Hirono). I thought it was pretty effective, myself.

Yes, for political junkies like us who will sit and watch it all. A walk-out is much more visually stunning to watch in a short snippet on the news, and conveys the seriousness of the situation, in that this is an uncommon occurrence.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:57 PM on September 4 [10 favorites]


Here is a 8 minutes YouTube compilation of what many people really think about Donald Trump
posted by growabrain at 10:01 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


forget what image plays best on television. forget what message an action sends. Instead, focus on the effect of the action. Perform whatever action best delays Kavanaugh’s appointment to the court, regardless of how that action plays on television.

Today, fussing about procedure may be the strongest play. But before the fucker gets appointed, stronger measures must be considered. Physically block access to the chambers. Have a staffer pull the fire alarm. Arrange for rioting both inside and outside the building. Take the 2000 republican “brook brothers riot” as an inspiration.

Fight, literally rather than metaphorically.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:06 PM on September 4 [71 favorites]


Up to at least three Massachusetts state House reps who lost their primary bids, all to challenges from the left (Koczera, Sanchez, Rushing). Some towns still not reporting.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:11 PM on September 4 [10 favorites]


I did not vote today in the MA state primary, and I have a Baker problem- I want to vote for a smart, center-left agenda whenever I can but Baker seems to be ok and I loved voting for Bill Weld back before he got old and went libertarian. So, convince this leftist in MA not to vote for Baker.
posted by vrakatar at 10:11 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Someone upthread noted how the protestors inside began shouting one by one, staggering their protests to maximize the amount of time their arrests would take up.

That’s the sort of tactic that’s necessary here. I’m not kidding about having staffers pull fire alarms. These hearings are not about debate, or about rules of order, or about anything to do with reason. They’re about raw physicality. It must become physically impossible for the hearings to continue in a timely fashion.

A walkout doesn’t accomplish this. No one cares whether or not the nomination goes through without the Democrats’ consent, so a dramatic withdrawal of consent does nothing. It is instead necessary to sabotage the process, by whatever means.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:25 PM on September 4 [100 favorites]


> That’s the sort of tactic that’s necessary here. I’m not kidding about having staffers pull fire alarms. These hearings are not about debate, or about rules of order, or about anything to do with reason. They’re about raw physicality. It must become physically impossible for the hearings to continue in a timely fashion.

What imaginary world does this actually happen in? Just a couple of days ago, one of the more progressive Democrats in the caucus apologized for going nuclear to get Obama judges appointed. You go to confirmation with the Democrats you have, not the Democrats you might wish to have. A walkout was a thing that was actually being considered -- pulling fire alarms and rioting is pure fantasy.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:27 PM on September 4 [13 favorites]


The problem is that the election is not the finish line. Even if the Republicans get walloped and lose both chambers -- hell, *especially* if they lose both chambers -- they have every incentive to use the lame duck session to force nominations through by hook or crook. It all comes down to convincing at least two GOP senators to break ranks, and I've seen zero evidence that the usual suspects are at all receptive to this.

The best bet IMHO is to taint Kavanaugh as much as possible to make expanding the court later a more viable political option.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:31 PM on September 4 [31 favorites]


So, convince this leftist in MA not to vote for Baker.
However comfortable you may be with Baker as an individual, do you expect to feel the same level of comfort with the people he appoints to positions of high influence? Perhaps you remember when people voted for George W. Bush, the self-described "Compassionate Conservative" that "they'd like to have a beer with" and then were surprised when it turned out they also got Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld as part of the bargain. Are you willing to risk that?

The policies, personality, and charisma of any individual politician are relevant to whether or not one should support that politician, true, but it also matter greatly who they ally themselves with.
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:53 PM on September 4 [27 favorites]


But Baker is the incumbent. It's pretty much known what he's going to be like.

(note that this is not an endorsement for Baker)
posted by Chrysostom at 10:56 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]




Pulling fire alarms is a good idea.
Remember Florida November 2000? They rushed the polling office down in Dade county and whatever else they accomplished, it showed that they wanted it more than Gore.

So, Dems, do you want it or not? Because the Rep’s are taking it.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:15 PM on September 4 [26 favorites]


WaPo: That was no white-power hand signal at the Kavanaugh hearing, Zina Bash’s husband says

An actual headline in an American newspaper in the Year of Our Lord 2018.
posted by non canadian guy at 11:19 PM on September 4 [20 favorites]


From this post: "• Also Wednesday, again, a federal court will hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, in which a group of Republican attorneys general argue that the repeal of the individual mandate renders the entire law unconstitutional. While legal scholars largely disagree with this argument, the Justice Department has refused to fully defend the law, leaving it to a group of Democratic attorneys general to intervene in the case."

(Mild tin foil hat alert.) Regarding the confirmation of Kavanaugh, The Affordable Care Act is the least of our worries in my opinion. Who wants to bet this other particular law will re-adjudicated in time if Kavanaugh is confirmed, Helvering v. Davis Ring a bell? It shouldn't necessarily; it was adjudicated eighty-one years ago and heretofore had been considered settled law (not that Republicans view anything from the New Deal as settled law). From Wikipedia, Helvering v. Davis "was a decision by the United States Supreme Court, which held that Social Security was constitutionally permissible as an exercise of the federal power to spend for the general welfare, and did not contravene the 10th Amendment. The Court's 7-2 decision defended the constitutionality of the Social Security Act of 1935, requiring only that welfare spending be for the common benefit as distinguished from some mere local purpose. It affirmed a District Court decree that held that the tax upon employees was not properly at issue, and that the tax upon employers was constitutional."


Or this? United States v. Butler settled eighty-two years ago. From Wikipedia, "was a U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the U.S. Congress's power to lay taxes is not limited only to the level necessary to carry out its other powers enumerated in Article I of the U.S. Constitution, but is a broad authority to tax and spend for the "general welfare" of the United States. The decision itself concerned whether the processing taxes instituted under the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act were constitutional." Settled law? Think again.

Or this? Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, from Wikipedia "was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the unemployment compensation provisions of the Social Security Act of 1935, which established a federal taxing structure that was designed to induce states to adopt laws for funding and payment of unemployment compensation. The decision signaled the Court's acceptance of a broad interpretation of Congressional power to influence state laws." Decided eighty-two years ago. Think it's settled law? Not with Roberts, Gorsuch and Kavenaugh.

Kiss the "General Welfare" goodbye?

The Republicans have been working tirelessly to realize a dream and it is now coming to fruition - overturning the New Deal. The history of court challenges to the Social Security Act.

These were ALL challenges to the Social Security Act in the 1930's and since Republicans have been determined to overturn the New Deal in total since achieving ONE PARTY RULE in Washington in a ~now clearly tainted election~, how long do you think it will take test cases regarding these issues to make their way to the radical, far right court if Kavanaugh is added?
posted by WinstonJulia at 11:22 PM on September 4 [64 favorites]


From the Politico article:

"Democrats haven’t ruled out a boycott or walkout in the future." I would love to see this. They made their point about the asterisk to go by Kavanaugh's name.

But then, “The way the Senate works, for Democrats to simply not show up was not an option.” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). ”So it was important that we lay down a marker that this is not a normal hearing.”

Can someone explain to me what I don't understand--well one thing I don't understand--about Senate procedure? Can't they boycott the committee hearing and still vote "No" at the full confirmation vote? (Hoping by then that there will be some smoking gun or other re debt repayments, abortion, or a personal scandal that would peel off two GOPers?) Whay was walk out not an option?
posted by Gotanda at 11:26 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


If they all walked out, the Grassly would say, "What no Dem's want to ask any questions? OK. So, Judge Kavanaugh want to add anything?" Kavanaugh would paint himself as a great great potential judge and then it would go to the floor and he would be nominated. And none of the fucked-up-ed-ness of this whole process would make it into the record or the press.

Pulling the fire alarms/ standing up to protest/ disrupting the process/ speaking out, loudly, is the only chance Democrats have to sway things. This is all most fucked up and only by making a loud enough noise is there any chance of averting it.

Or, if the Dem's ever win back the senate, (as was mentioned in the previous thread) boost the bench of the SC so that K and Grouch have less pull.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:38 AM on September 5 [19 favorites]


OK. So, it was an option. Just not Coons' preferred option. I think there could have been a very profound impact if the Democratic members had boycotted and added context to that. Joining the protesters out front or making the objection then simply exiting when it was steam-rollered.
posted by Gotanda at 12:44 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Kavanaugh will be confirmed, because SCOTUS is the whole game. The reason the the GOP (or at least, the wing of it that isn't either full-on Nazi, or simply scared of the magahats among their voters) puts up with Trump is so that the GOP minority can impose their will on the American people for another generation through the judiciary (as, it should be noted, they felt the minority will of civil rights for all was imposed on their white-supremacist stub confederacy in the 1960s), despite their inexorable demographic, moral, and intellectual decline. Kavanaugh will be confirmed, because the apparently-probable consequences of an open hearing -- seeing the W administration in the dock at The Hauge -- will not be allowed to happen.

The question for me is what happens after that. I'm afraid that if it's not a general strike — not just a protest, but a straight-up everyone who believes in the rule of law downs tools and goes and sits quietly in the middle of the street for a month — then probably the next step is to start writing down stories about the-America-that-was and burying them in various archives, so they'll be discovered later and someone else can have a go at building it back up again in the mid-23rd century.

(Yeah, yeah, court-packing, which is precisely as legitimate as the SCOTUS nomination process has been since Merrick Fucking Garland, and which I will fully endorse at the next-post-GOP majority, if grudgingly so, but it would have been nice to leave some semblance of the legitimacy of the system intact.)
posted by Vetinari at 1:23 AM on September 5 [19 favorites]


To which I say: MERRICK GARLAND.

Graham and the GOP do not play weak, earnest, doormat politics. I hate him, but he is correct here.
posted by ryanshepard at 3:22 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Graham and the GOP do not play weak, earnest, doormat politics. I hate him, but he is correct here.

Graham told Garland that the Senate wouldn’t confirm any Clinton-appointed Justices either. He’s not strong or a worthy adversary or any other vaguely complimentary thing anyone can call him. He’s a power-grubbing shit who’s using the remnants of a system that was set up to allay the fears of slavers, in an institution that famously saw a man beaten bloody because he dared speak out against slavery, elected by the people of the state that started the war over slavery.

He’s not fucking correct.
posted by Etrigan at 4:01 AM on September 5 [110 favorites]


To quote Graham himself, what he wants is primarily to be relevant. The lack of mention of principles is probably a clue that he'll do what it takes to make that happen.
posted by jaduncan at 4:16 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


He’s a power-grubbing shit who’s using the remnants of a system that was set up to allay the fears of slavers, in an institution that famously saw a man beaten bloody because he dared speak out against slavery, elected by the people of the state that started the war over slavery.

I don't like it either, but this is, historically, how politics work in the US.

Ask, for example, Lyndon Johnson, who wasn't operating under the illusions or tolerance for defeat of today's Democratic leadership.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:17 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


I don't like it either, but this is, historically, how politics work in the US.

Really? Lot of Justices nominated by the guy who, to coin a phrase, won the election weren’t even given a hearing? That’s how politics always worked in the US? Johnson didn’t let Eisenhower fill any of the five vacancies that came up during his presidency?

If you don’t like it, stop acting like what’s happening is remotely “historical” or “correct”. You don’t get to throw up your hands and then complain about other people being defeatist while ceding that ground.
posted by Etrigan at 4:25 AM on September 5 [38 favorites]


I don't like it either, but this is, historically, how politics work in the US.

Ask, for example, Lyndon Johnson, who wasn't operating under the illusions or tolerance for defeat of today's Democratic leadership.


The “the-other-team-wanted-it-more” take isn’t especially illuminating, whether it’s Joey from Staten Island (“first time, long time!”) calling into sports talk radio or ... this.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:26 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]




Britain charges two Russians with attempted murder of ex-spy with nerve agent (WaPo)
British prosecutors on Wednesday named two Russian suspects wanted for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

The two men, named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were charged with the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. They were also charged with the attempted murder of Nick Bailey, a British police officer who also fell ill from the nerve agent. All three have since recovered.

“It is clearly in the public interest to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov,” Sue Hemming, the Crown Prosecution Service’s director of legal services, said in a statement.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:31 AM on September 5 [17 favorites]


Boston voter checking in. 2018 might still be a tire fire, but goddamnit, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. The ballot I filled out yesterday had 14 positions on it, and I was able to vote for women in 12 of them. I could vote for women of color in six of them. And the women kicked ass and took names! Our long-time incumbent state rep, a blue-dog democrat who was terrible on educational policy, got his ass handed to him by Nika Elugardo, a newcomer to state politics who ran the strongest ground game I have ever seen. My phone rang twice yesterday from her campaign, and they've been to our door three times in the last two weeks. When I asked for a yard sign, it was up in 24 hours. And this was a race for state rep! No federal money involved! All of this ran on the enthusiasm of unpaid volunteers! Mark this comment down: in six years, you will have heard her name mentioned in a national race.

My house is fifty yards too far east for me to have voted for Ayanna Pressley, but this woman is AOC 2.0. I've had the privilege of hearing her speak in town halls in her capacity as City Councilor, and this woman will not take shit from anyone. She is a progressive firebrand of the strongest type. Put her in a national leadership position, and she will burn shit down. She's replacing a guy who voted very progressively, but was not much of a voice in the House. And what's more, she ran her campaign with total transparency: she out and said "My voting record is not what will distinguish me from my opponent. My leadership and perspective will do that." And she won by 15 points!

Meanwhile, we also just elected a woman of color as district attorney, who has openly said she will refuse to prosecute nonviolent drug crimes that disproportionately target African-Americans. She's basically Krasner from Philadelphia, but a woman of color! Fuck yeah!

We also picked Elizabeth Warren in a landslide, and that's the fourth-most exciting race on the ticket.

It's too early to predict a blue wave, but goddamn, the primaries in MA have me feeling better than I have since the 2016 election. We can do this, y'all. Progressive candidates that get the base fired up are the way forward.
posted by Mayor West at 4:36 AM on September 5 [95 favorites]


(And yes I know this is just the primaries and I should probably temper my enthusiasm for November, but these are Boston districts, people--we're as blue as Betsy DeVos' blood. Elizabeth Warren is the only one of these people who even have an R running against them in November, and the Republican senate challenger is three toddlers stacked under a trenchcoat)
posted by Mayor West at 4:45 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Axios: Furious Trump trapped by hundreds of Woodward tapes "President Trump is livid at the betrayal and stunning allegations in Bob Woodward’s forthcoming "Fear," but limited in his ability to fight back because most of the interviews were caught on hundreds of hours of tape, officials tell Axios."

Swan and Allen present some more "choice cuts" from it:
• Trump to James Clapper, then Director of National Intelligence, who briefed him at Trump Tower during the transition on the intelligence community's findings that Putin had interfered in the election: "l don't believe in human sources ... These are people who have sold their souls and sold out their country ... I don't trust human intelligence and these spies."
• Trump to Tom Bossert, the president's adviser for homeland security, cyber security and counterterrorism, who asked Trump if he had a minute: "I want to watch the Masters. ... You and your cyber ... are going to get me in a war — with all your cyber shit."
• Stephen Miller to Reince Priebus after Trump had ordered his first chief of staff to get the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions: "We're in real trouble. Because if you don't get the resignation, he's going to think you're weak. If you get it, you're going to be part of a downward-spiral calamity."
• "Trump was editing an upcoming speech with [then-staff secretary Rob] Porter. Scribbling his thoughts in neat, clean penmanship, the president wrote, 'TRADE IS BAD.'"
We should expect more such damning anecdotes over the next week. Unlike Omarosa, Woodward isn't front-loading his book tour.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:05 AM on September 5 [70 favorites]


I mean, it’s only damning if it damns him to something. I can’t see these having any effect at all, despite how much I do love/hate reading them. :/
posted by lazaruslong at 5:19 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


Unlike Omarosa, Woodward isn't front-loading his book tour.


I'm sorry, can you explain what it means to "front-load" a book tour?
posted by thelonius at 5:26 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


I mean, it’s only damning if it damns him to something. I can’t see these having any effect at all, despite how much I do love/hate reading them. :/

They 1) make him look weak and 2) serve to drive a wedge between him and his handlers. They are the emperor’s advisors talking out loud about him being naked.

In the great avalanche that is the American counter-fascist fight, they are only a few stones. But that’s how avalanches work.
posted by Celsius1414 at 5:26 AM on September 5 [27 favorites]


I'm sorry, can you explain what it means to "front-load" a book tour?

I meant that these pre-publication leaks of Woodward's book are likely to be followed by more once it's released, as opposed to leading with the most sensational details and then sputtering out. (To be fair, Omarosa's opening bombshell did reveal Kelly engaged in unethical behavior that would have gotten him fired in a normal administration. Despite this, all her promises of similar disclosures she then made on tour have come to nothing,)

Also, I need coffee.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:36 AM on September 5 [14 favorites]


I don't like it either, but this is, historically, how politics work in the US.

Historically, politics in the US DO NOT WORK unless there is the out of band limiter on bad faith, originally duels to the death to defend your honor.

As envisioned by the Framers, McConnell's gaming of Garland's nomination would have required he put his life on the line when someone called him out for acting dishonorably.

This is, I believe, one reason the Constitution is very poorly written. Edge cases were solved on the field of honour.
posted by mikelieman at 5:40 AM on September 5 [35 favorites]


There are a lot of potential steps to be taken but reviving dueling is maybe not one of them?
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:47 AM on September 5 [27 favorites]


Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Isn’t it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost. Don’t know why Washington politicians don’t change libel laws?

4:33 AM - 5 Sep 2018
It's Bob Woodward you fucking idiot. He's done this before. He literally has tapes.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 5:52 AM on September 5 [92 favorites]


There are a lot of potential steps to be taken but reviving dueling is maybe not one of them?

Pistols at noon should settle this. MetaDuel!
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:52 AM on September 5 [12 favorites]


The most recent episode of Chapo Trap House outlines pretty convincingly how fucked we are in terms of Kavanaugh being confirmed.

Oh, we're so fucked. But that doesn't mean the fight isn't worth it, and I'm glad the Dems are bringing it.

Pulling the fire alarms/ standing up to protest/ disrupting the process/ speaking out, loudly, is the only chance Democrats have to sway things.

They are speaking out loudly. They're doing it at the hearings. Pulling the fire alarm would be seen as childish and counterproductive.
posted by schroedinger at 5:53 AM on September 5 [21 favorites]


As envisioned by the Framers, McConnell's gaming of Garland's nomination would have required he put his life on the line when someone called him out for acting dishonorably.

So less of a Congress, more of a Klingon High Council? It would be gratifying to see Republicans called out with "You rule without wisdom and without honor" in a Worf-like voice.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:59 AM on September 5 [39 favorites]


It's Bob Woodward you fucking idiot. He's done this before. He literally has tapes.

Woodward has far too much professional integrity to do this, but lordy I wish he'd fire back with "I've posted all the recordings online. Let's let the American people decide whether I've committed libel."

Maybe someday those tapes will be subpoenad for some reason. I can dream...
posted by Rykey at 6:04 AM on September 5 [11 favorites]


It's Bob Woodward you fucking idiot. He's done this before. He literally has tapes.

It's Donald Trump. He and his minions will -- while listening on camera to the tape playing -- literally deny saying what's on the tape, then deny the very existence of the tape. And his cult, including the GOP Congress, will nod along.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:16 AM on September 5 [56 favorites]


You know who doesn't doubt Woodward, despite Trump's specific denial? GOP senators Isakman, Inhofe, Corker, Tillis and Kennedy who all denounced Trump's dumb Southerner and mentally retarded comments made about Sessions.
posted by chris24 at 6:21 AM on September 5 [24 favorites]


They 1) make him look weak and 2) serve to drive a wedge between him and his handlers. They are the emperor’s advisors talking out loud about him being naked.

In the great avalanche that is the American counter-fascist fight, they are only a few stones. But that’s how avalanches work.


Thank you, that is encouraging.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:23 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Question, is this the new catch all thread, or are we focused on Kavabaugh only?
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:26 AM on September 5


It's linked in the sidebar as a catch-all
posted by mrjohnmuller at 6:29 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


The GOP response to the demand for documents is "Why should we have to provide them, when the people who are asking for them are already on the record saying that they're voting 'No?'"

Which is... dickish, at best, but is also a realistic statement of realpolitik. No revealed document is going to make Kamala Harris vote 'Yes.' No revealed document is going to make Collins or Murkowski vote 'No,' either. He is what it says on his tin -- a conservative partisan judge who nevertheless has a substantial track record of acting as a reasonably functional judge -- and any Republican who votes against him will be thrown off a bridge, and they know it.

The Democratic objections to Kavanaugh are based on things that Republicans either cannot or will not choose to entertain as legitimate: the roaring hypocrisy of the Garland affair, the delays involved in producing the mountain of documents pushing the confirmation to/after the midterms, the perception of Trump literally selecting his own judge right before a theoretical Supreme Court judgment involving him, the specificity of Kavanaugh's statements about Presidents being indictable, their reluctance to allow a raging conservative to replace a moderate conservative.

None of these will be allowed to matter in any vote-swaying sense because the big prize is literally in the grasp of the hard right.
posted by delfin at 6:30 AM on September 5 [10 favorites]


It's Donald Trump. He and his minions will -- while listening on camera to the tape playing -- literally deny saying what's on the tape, then deny the very existence of the tape. And his cult, including the GOP Congress, will nod along.

He already tried this with the Access Hollywood tapes.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:33 AM on September 5 [10 favorites]


guys I'm really shaken by that story of Kavanaugh turning his back on the dad of one of the Parkland victims and asking security to usher the dad out.

I mean, the frosting on this turd was supposed to be that yeaaaaaaahhh he has troubling opinions and yeah the process is fucked to the max and probably good bye reproductive freedoms, but this guy? This guy that people were writing bullshit articles about how he was a really great carpool dad or whatever the fuck? He was NICE. He was a GOOD MAN.

This is not a nice good man. I hope RBG spits in his food at every opportunity.
posted by angrycat at 6:35 AM on September 5 [65 favorites]


Axios: Scoop: Confident Dems Plan Detailed 2019 Agenda
Pelosi, despite opposition from some progressives, is committed to reviving the "pay-go" (or pay as you go) rule she had during her previous run as speaker, requiring that new spending be paid for by budget cuts or revenue offsets.
Scoop: Confident Dems Pre-emptively Tie Hands Behind Back.

Finding it hard to imagine the political rationale for this after watching the GOP merrily add one-and-a-half trillion to the national debt, without any plan to pay for it. The Dem establishment continue in their quixotic determination to abide by the Queensberry Rules in their bout against a meth-addled MMA fighter.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:36 AM on September 5 [64 favorites]


No revealed document is going to make Kamala Harris vote 'Yes.' No revealed document is going to make Collins or Murkowski vote 'No,' either.

There are 20+ D senators who haven't expressed an opinion on Kavanaugh, so even granting the bullshit spin that senators who have an opinion don't deserve info there should be disclosure. And of course even Harris is representing millions of Americans for and against who deserve the documents.

And of course, there are definitely things that would make Collins and Murkowski vote no. Specific comments on Roe, civil rights, torture, etc. would all make his nomination untenable. And we know that pretty much for sure because of the effort they're making and lies they're saying to not fucking show 90+% of his records.
posted by chris24 at 6:40 AM on September 5 [35 favorites]


@willsommer: Today's congressional hearings on social media could be wild. Alex Jones claims he'll be in the front row, Laura Loomer is in DC, and Chuck Johnson — banned from Twitter — says he has something planned.
Alex Jones is currently in a heated discussion with Capitol Police outside the hearing room.
The Senate social media hearing kicks off. Outside, Jack Posobiec and Alex Jones are trying to get attention from the press gaggle.

Meanwhile, the Kavanaugh hearings have started with more protests and an extended ode to Kavanaugh by Chuck Grassley in lieu of questioning.

Follow Will for the social media hearing chaos, Chris Geidner for Kavanaugh.
posted by zachlipton at 6:44 AM on September 5 [9 favorites]


there are definitely things that would make Collins and Murkowski vote no.

Assumes facts not in evidence.
posted by Slothrup at 6:44 AM on September 5 [25 favorites]


That’s the sort of tactic that’s necessary here. I’m not kidding about having staffers pull fire alarms. These hearings are not about debate, or about rules of order, or about anything to do with reason. They’re about raw physicality. It must become physically impossible for the hearings to continue in a timely fashion.

Republicans understand politics as being about raw power, while Democrats understand it as being about process. The idea that political reality requires going outside of the process will literally never occur to some Democrats.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:47 AM on September 5 [10 favorites]


Assumes facts not in evidence.

I say that not because of any integrity, morality or backbone of Collins/Murkowski, but simply because what they're hiding is obviously so awful. Using Josh Marshall's Trumpian blackhole metaphor, even though we can't see it, it's clearly something big because of how it's affecting everything else they do.
posted by chris24 at 6:49 AM on September 5 [19 favorites]


The idea that political reality requires going outside of the process will literally never occur to some Democrats.

Well the adage is you don't wrestle a pig in its own shit because the pig will love it and you'll just be covered in pig shit. The problem is that the pig has now escaped the pen so you kind of need to wrestle it.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:50 AM on September 5 [30 favorites]


Collins knows all about Kavanaugh already, and has already signaled herself as a Yes.

The hiding of documents is not about swaying votes on Kavanaugh; those votes are carved in stone unless photos emerge of Kavanaugh literally eating babies with fava beans and a nice Chianti. The Impeachment game theory applies; Collins and Murkowski will vote 'Yes' unless evidence emerges that is SO disqualifying that those much further to the right than themselves also feel compelled to vote 'No.'

Collins and Murkowski are difficult to sway on shitshows like "skinny repeal" that even much of their base thought were ridiculous. Tilting the Supreme Court hard to the right and thus winning innumerable battles for control of America with a single vote? I state again: THROWN. OFF. A. BRIDGE if they even consider considering voting against him. This is not negotiable on their part; this is pressure like you've never imagined for them to toe the line.
posted by delfin at 6:50 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Rosie Gray, Atlantic, A Daily Caller Editor Wrote for an ‘Alt-Right’ Website Using a Pseudonym
Scott Greer, an editor and columnist at the Caller, also wrote as “Michael McGregor” for Radix Journal, the publication associated with the “alt-right” figure Richard Spencer.

The former Daily Caller writer and editor Scott Greer has severed all ties with the conservative website after acknowledging that he had written under a pseudonym for the white-supremacist Radix Journal.

Greer, who stepped down as an editor at The Daily Caller in June to write a book, said he would drop his contributor status last week after The Atlantic confronted him with leaked chat logs that showed he had spent some of his time at the website also writing as “Michael McGregor” for Radix, the online publication founded by the “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer, who wants to turn America into a white ethno-state.
...
Greer expressed racist antiblack views and anti-Semitism in the Radix articles he wrote under the Michael McGregor byline, and disparaged other groups including feminists, immigrants, Christian Zionists, and the pro-life movement. In an interview with the website Social Matter in 2014, the same year Greer started working at The Daily Caller, Michael McGregor was identified as the managing editor of Radix.
Greer's statement claims his views have "evolved" since then, while simultaneously not apologizing or expressing a shred of regret. In any case:
Greer’s role at Radix offers yet another glimpse into how members of an underground white-nationalist scene—emboldened by the rise of Donald Trump during the 2016 election—were able to operate relatively undetected in conservative institutions.
posted by zachlipton at 6:56 AM on September 5 [20 favorites]


I say that not because of any integrity, morality or backbone of Collins/Murkowski, but simply because what they're hiding is obviously so awful. Using Josh Marshall's Trumpian blackhole metaphor, even though we can't see it, it's clearly something big because of how it's affecting everything else they do.

Honestly, I do not believe that there is anything in Kavanaugh's documentation that will be beyond the normal Lovecraftian horror that is conservative jurisprudence. They are stonewalling on documents for a few other reasons:

1) Revealing documents cannot help Kavanaugh in any way; he already HAS the votes. If fifty Republicans think that "knee-jerk conservative ideologue who will protect Trump if any cases involving Trump reach SCOTUS" is the right formula for a SCOTUS vacancy, and there's plenty of evidence that they do, this is all theater.

2) They are claiming that the amount of time necessary for Democrats to read every single document involving Kavanaugh ever will push the confirmation far past the mid-terms, some hyperbolically claiming that it'd push it out of Trump's term altogether. If it pushes it past the mid-terms, the composition of the Senate may change from its current Kavanaugh-passes lockstep to something that endangers that. Thus, no more documents, fuck you, vote now while it's a sure win.

And are the Dems asking for disclosure in part AS a delaying tactic? Damn right they are, and good for them. It's about time that they use any tactic possible to throw wrenches in this process.

3) If the confirmation is allowed to slip into/past the mid-terms, that's motivation for Dem voters to come out in droves in hopes of influencing it. More documents being revealed and laying out just how deep Kavanaugh's antipathy towards progressive causes runs will do nothing but motivate Dems even more. It is thus in their very strong interest to slam the door shut on this before voters get any additional say or motivation.
posted by delfin at 7:05 AM on September 5 [28 favorites]


Finding it hard to imagine the political rationale for this after watching the GOP merrily add one-and-a-half trillion to the national debt, without any plan to pay for it.

I assume that it will be used to justify ending the tax cuts to make other legislation cost neutral and may provide some leverage when it comes time to negotiate final bills with the senate. But it’s still a double-edged sword that has cut democrats in the past.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:07 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


[Couple deleted; "how would a hypothetical duel go" is really not a topic we can dive into here, sorry.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:26 AM on September 5 [13 favorites]


I mean. They are ensuring that a majority of this country will never see the Supreme Court — or anything it decides — as legitimate.

They are enshrining a minority rule that will be inherently unsustainable.

They are behaving remarkably like slave-holding states did in the run up to the Civil War.

I just...I don’t feel like this is something that is really appreciated or talked about. The degree of recklessness is stunning, even after you’ve recalibrated to understand that the Republicans are basically evil. They aren’t just cheating. They are actively destroying the basis of our civil society.

That is stunning.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:30 AM on September 5 [171 favorites]


I assume that it will be used to justify ending the tax cuts to make other legislation cost neutral and may provide some leverage when it comes time to negotiate final bills with the senate. But it’s still a double-edged sword that has cut democrats in the past.

It's the Santa Claus principle and it's why the Republicans both threw the country into deep recession in the '80s and also coined the term "starve the beast". By throwing the country into deep and perpetual deficit the Democratic party wouldn't be able to do anything ambitious and spend money without being able to be laid out in the media as greedy tax and spend liberals taking your tax dollars and giving it to poor/black/immigrant people who didn't deserve it.

And it continues to work to this day.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:30 AM on September 5 [25 favorites]


stevechenevey: Man intentionally rams truck into Dallas TV station @FOX4 - jumps out, yells something about high treason and waves multiple documents. Station evacuated, man in custody, no injuries

maryanncbs11: FOX 4 staffers tell me the intended target of the pick up truck driver was #WFAA. Driver had previously threatened WFAA, and he went to the wrong TV station this morning. @CBSDFW #dallas #fox4

WFAA is the Dallas ABC affiliate. Further details still sketchy at this stage.

Meanwhile, we're going through the usual sham at the Kavanaugh hearings, in which he is repeatedly adamant that Roe and Casey are settled law, yet not one anti-abortion Senator will profess the slightest bit of concern that they won't get what they want, because they know it's a sham.
posted by zachlipton at 7:33 AM on September 5 [34 favorites]


That's why we have to elect more left-leaning people who will call out this BS. We lose because we let the Rs set the terms of the debate, and never point out that the root of the problem is Rich People Never Paying Their Share.
posted by emjaybee at 7:34 AM on September 5 [17 favorites]


By throwing the country into deep and perpetual deficit the Democratic party wouldn't be able to do anything ambitious and spend money without being able to be laid out in the media as greedy tax and spend liberals taking your tax dollars and giving it to poor/black/immigrant people who didn't deserve it.

But one thing Occupy Wall Street accomplished was making income inequality, which had been tilting to the ultra-wealthy since the Reagan Administration, part of the national conversation. And if memory serves me correctly, even Republicans basically recognize that the benefit of Trump's tax cut went almost entirely to the rich. Pelosi wasn't wrong not to mention taxes right now, because one should never distract a political opponent from their self destruction, but there's nothing wrong with using pay-go to roll back Trump's tax cuts, either.

And then let Trump veto a popular proposal because he wants to keep his tax cut for himself and his wealthy buddies. 2020 is coming.
posted by Gelatin at 7:37 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Kavanaugh refuses to say whether a president is subject to a subpoena. He calls it a "potential hypothetical," which I guess is doubly hypothetical.
posted by zachlipton at 7:37 AM on September 5 [19 favorites]


I just...I don’t feel like this is something that is really appreciated or talked about. The degree of recklessness is stunning, even after you’ve recalibrated to understand that the Republicans are basically evil. They aren’t just cheating. They are actively destroying the basis of our civil society.

Like Republican JFK said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will trigger the libs LOL."
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:38 AM on September 5 [12 favorites]


If Kavanaugh thinks Trump being subpoena'ed is only a hypothetical situation, he hasn't been watching the news lately.

I hope the photo of him refusing to shake the hand of Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in the Parkland school shooting, becomes Kavanaugh's enduring legacy.

Though something tells me he wouldn't mind.
posted by Gelatin at 7:42 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


When it comes to walkouts as a political tactic, I always think of that time the Mensheviks and SRs walked out of the All-Russian Congress of the Soviets.

I'm not sure we've grasped—I'm not sure I've grasped—just how dedicated the right is these days to the principle of politics-as-psychological-warfare.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:49 AM on September 5 [13 favorites]


Kavanaugh refuses to say whether a president is subject to a subpoena. He calls it a "potential hypothetical," which I guess is doubly hypothetical.

CNN:
Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, while working on the independent counsel investigation into President Bill Clinton in 1995, argued that a sitting president would likely have to testify before a grand jury if subpoenaed.

Kavanaugh, who worked for independent counsel Ken Starr at the time, asked in a memo whether "there could be some kind of argument based on the 'dignity of the Presidency' and/or separation of powers" protecting the disclosure of then-President Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton's testimonies under grand jury secrecy rules.

Kavanaugh calls that argument "weak" in the memo to Starr and other members of the independent counsel team on January 25, 1995.

"This argument seems weak, however, given the deeply rooted history and tradition of this country's jurisprudence that the President is not above the law," he said, later asking, "Why should the President be different than anyone else for purposes of responding to a grand jury subpoena ad testificandum?"
It's a hypothetical, but it's also a hypothetical that Kvanaugh has personally worked on directly in a legal setting as a time when it wasn't hypothetical.
posted by cjelli at 7:52 AM on September 5 [73 favorites]


Obama to Join Midterm Battle, Starting in California and Ohio - Alexander Burns, NYTimes
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:57 AM on September 5 [7 favorites]


Starting in California and Ohio

Unless he's trying to unseat Nunes and Rohrabacher personally, get the fuck out of the west coast and head to Michigan and Wisconsin.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:58 AM on September 5 [27 favorites]


What is the over/under in days on a GOP Senator outright saying, “I work at the pleasure of the President”?
posted by Roger_Mexico at 8:01 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


If you don’t like it, stop acting like what’s happening is remotely “historical” or “correct”. You don’t get to throw up your hands and then complain about other people being defeatist while ceding that ground.

You are completely misinterpreting what I'm saying - I want the Democrats to fight like hell, and like they want to win.

The comment I was responding to references the near-beating to death of Sen. Charles Sumner in 1856 during a floor debate over slavery. The idea of the norm of US political life being bipartisan and civilized is a lie our liberal elites tell themselves partly out of bloated self-regard and wishful thinking, and partly out of an ignorance of history.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:02 AM on September 5 [13 favorites]


I mean, the frosting on this turd was supposed to be that yeaaaaaaahhh he has troubling opinions and yeah the process is fucked to the max and probably good bye reproductive freedoms, but this guy? This guy that people were writing bullshit articles about how he was a really great carpool dad or whatever the fuck? He was NICE. He was a GOOD MAN.

This is not a nice good man. I hope RBG spits in his food at every opportunity.


I hope we remember this the next time a Republican, a conservative, or a libertarian insists that their policy preferences are just matters of value differences and opinion, and the people who hold them are nice and good.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:02 AM on September 5 [7 favorites]


He already tried this with the Access Hollywood tapes.

HES STILL DOING THAT TOO - SEE YESTERDAYS INTERVIEW WITH THE DAILY CALLER.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:02 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


They are actively destroying the basis of our civil society.

and the legitimacy of our government and constitution - we will have to have a 2nd republic, one that ensures that the majority will be represented as a majority in all branches of government and that votes of no confidence or failures to pass budgets will result in new elections, with in some cases all officeholders prohibited from running in that election (they can run in the next one)

it will never be done according to the rules of the constitution any more than the constitution was done according to the rules of the articles of confederacy - we will have to insist that the majority have a right to declare what their government will be

our other option will be corporate rule - it's my belief that the current crop of fascists are going to overplay their hand and the economic powers that be will insist on a government that is better for all business, not just right wing capitalists

it's going to be a long rough ride
posted by pyramid termite at 8:03 AM on September 5 [9 favorites]


"This argument seems weak, however, given the deeply rooted history and tradition of this country's jurisprudence that the President is not above the law," he said, later asking, "Why should the President be different than anyone else for purposes of responding to a grand jury subpoena ad testificandum?"

I think I see the problem. The correct quote goes "the Democratic President is not above the law" and "Why should the Democratic President be different than anyone else?" Hope that clears it up.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:06 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Starting in California and Ohio --- Unless he's trying to unseat Nunes and Rohrabacher personally, get the fuck out of the west coast and head to Michigan and Wisconsin.

There are 14 R congressmen in California. That's over half of the 23 needed to take control of the House and they are some the the best targets. I'm fine with him hitting CA. Many other places his help will also motivate the racists as much as the Ds.
posted by chris24 at 8:07 AM on September 5 [50 favorites]


>Starting in California and Ohio

Unless he's trying to unseat Nunes and Rohrabacher personally, get the fuck out of the west coast and head to Michigan and Wisconsin.


From the article:
Mr. Obama’s first public event of the midterm election will take place in Orange County, a traditionally conservative-leaning part of California where Republicans are at risk of losing several House seats. And Mr. Obama is expected to be joined by Democratic candidates from all seven of California’s Republican-held districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.
Rohrabacher's district is one of those, so: yeah, that's why Obama is in California -- because Rohrabacher's district is flippable. California has a bunch of at-risk Republican House seats. It's great to see Obama turning out to campaign in California. It's great to see that he's also planning to continue on to help campaign elsewhere, and I don't really get the reflexive snark -- California is solidly blue as a whole, but there are plenty of individual districts that in play.
posted by cjelli at 8:07 AM on September 5 [67 favorites]


I'm also totally fine with not armchair quarterbacking President Obama's midterm stumping, tbh. That prospect sounds exhausting.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:08 AM on September 5 [78 favorites]


We are at this point in history because the founding fathers figured that things would come down to a (now entirely unrealistic) duel long before it was national news that a president had betrayed the country because any decent person who knew that a president had betrayed the country would demand immediate satisfaction. This is no longer a solution or possibility and that brings to mind a more serious and somber topic.

Given that we may have to rise from the wreckage and rewrite the constitution after this is all over, I think that the safeguards that we could be put in place to avoid a repeat of this situation in the future is something that needs to be considered long before we are in that position.

We can no longer rely on shame. Duels are as long gone as Burr. We can't rely on country being put ahead of party. With all of those unwritten safeguards no longer in place, can a system exist? Can our current system be rewritten to take the lack of those things into account? Could even an entirely new system be put in place that would mitigate or eliminate the danger that Trump has taken from hypothetical to real? The people who are now acting in bad faith are not going to change. How do we protect ourselves from them?

I don't expect anyone here or anywhere to pull a magic bullet-like simple solution out of thin air, but while much of our forces are rightly pointed towards the immediate situation and fighting back, I think it is worth it to mull this topic over, and to think about what a safe system of government that we would want to live under would look like, even if it isn't a question for today or tomorrow, or even next month.

I've been told that when you punch a nazi, you should punch past the face. I feel that keeping the future in mind is the only way to do that.
posted by bootlegpop at 8:10 AM on September 5 [24 favorites]


What is the over/under in days on a GOP Senator outright saying, “I work at the pleasure of the President”?

I said in the previous thread that if we had a non-broken system, the Senate would tell Trump that they'd consider his nominee just as soon as he handed over the documents, and wait for him to fold -- simply as a matter of defending Senatorial privilege and their own power as Senators.

it can't be stressed enough, and isn't being, how badly Republicans (no, media, not "partisan gridlock" or whatever bothsiderist nonsense you're pushing) are damaging our ability to have a functioning government at all.
posted by Gelatin at 8:12 AM on September 5 [23 favorites]


Axios has posted another preview anecdote from "Fear" that echoes Woodward's title:
Trump life advice: "Trump gave some private advice to a friend who had acknowledged some bad behavior toward women. Real power is fear. It's all about strength. Never show weakness. You've always got to be strong. Don't be bullied. ... 'You've got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women.'"

"'If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you're dead. That was a big mistake you made. You didn't come out guns blazing and just challenge them. You showed weakness. You've got to be strong. You've got to be aggressive. You've got to push back hard. You've got to deny anything that's said about you. Never admit.'"
Trump's obviously internalized Roger Stone's rule "Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack".

Meanwhile, @realDonaldTrump tweeted this morning, "Isn’t it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost. Don’t know why Washington politicians don’t change libel laws?" Then bragged "I’m tough as hell on people" and "Also, I question everybody & everything-which is why I got elected!" Later, however, came retweets of yesterday's statements from Kelly and Mattis, except this time, addressing them as "General Kelly" and "General Mattis" and slipping in "book is boring & untrue!" and "book is total fiction!" This is what flop sweat smells like.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:14 AM on September 5 [14 favorites]


God I fucking miss Al Franken
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:14 AM on September 5 [22 favorites]


The alt-right is drunk on bad readings of Nietzsche. The Nazis were too. - Sean Illing, Vox
Nietzsche says the world is in constant flux, that there is no capital-T truth. He hated moral and social conventions because he thought they stifled the individual. In one of his most famous essays, The Genealogy of Morality, which Spencer credits with inspiring his awakening, Nietzsche tears down the intellectual justifications for Christian morality. He calls it a “slave morality” developed by peasants to subdue the strong. The experience of reading this was “shattering,” Spencer told Wood. It upended his “moral universe.”

There is, of course, much more to Nietzsche than this. As someone silly enough to have written a dissertation on Nietzsche, I’ve encountered many Spencer-like reactions to his thought. And I’m not surprised that the old German philosopher has become a lodestar for the burgeoning alt-right movement. There is something punk rock about his philosophy. You read it for the first time and you think, “Holy shit, how was I so blind for so long?!”

But if you read Nietzsche like a college freshman cramming for a midterm, you’re bound to misinterpret him — or at least to project your own prejudices into his work. When that happens, we get “bad Nietzsche,” as the Week’s Scott Galupo recently put it.

And it would appear that “bad Nietzsche” is back, and he looks a lot like he did in the early 20th century when his ideas were unjustly appropriated by the (original) Nazis. So now’s a good time to reengage with Nietzsche’s ideas and explain what the alt-right gets right and wrong about their favorite philosopher.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:15 AM on September 5 [46 favorites]


We are at this point in history because the founding fathers figured that things would come down to a (now entirely unrealistic) duel long before it was national news that a president had betrayed the country because any decent person who knew that a president had betrayed the country would demand immediate satisfaction. This is no longer a solution or possibility

Dueling hasn't been a possibility since Hamilton/Burr, and yet the government functioned, more or less, for 200 years. It wasn't so long ago that a member of Congress who actively colluded with the Russians, openly accepted bribes, or was caught in a sex scandal would have been run out of office on a rail.

Republicans have made it clear -- and have, really, since so-called evangelicals abandoned Jimmy Carter to vote for Ronald Reagan -- that they do not care about anything but Team Republican, and pretense to the contrary was the tribute hypocrisy paid to virtue.
posted by Gelatin at 8:15 AM on September 5 [32 favorites]


The idea of the norm of US political life being bipartisan and civilized is a lie our liberal elites tell themselves partly out of bloated self-regard and wishful thinking, and partly out of an ignorance of history.

There's a lot of room between "bipartisan and civilized" and not bothering to call out obvious, rank, personal hypocrisy. Graham was literally calling for bipartisan, civilized following of procedure that he didn't respect two years ago.

Don't call that "correct". Don't begrudgingly defend it as the state of nature. Don't act like that shitheel or the shitheels he works with are just doing what's to be expected, even by shitheels. Don't call an assault that happened 162 years ago and led to the ejection of the assaulter from Congress a "norm".

As noted by the bard of our modern age, you do not, under any circumstances, "gotta hand it to them".
posted by Etrigan at 8:15 AM on September 5 [14 favorites]


For all you number crunchers, electoral-vote.com has started their poll tracking seriously. Their page today explains their methodology, and they've always been a good 'competitor' to 538 in their analysis.
posted by DreamerFi at 8:16 AM on September 5 [10 favorites]


So, convince this leftist in MA not to vote for Baker.

Vrakatar, you may like Baker now, when he's stuck governing a state bluer than 90% of Metafilter liberals. But how well will you like him when he takes his decade or more of centrist popularity in MA to a presidential race, and is chased to the far right of The Handmaid's Tale by the Republican base? How will you like him when he's the one deciding what judges to put on the Supreme Court? ANY Republican of high office right now could be the next Republican presidential candidate, and should they win, they will be subject to the same pressures to kill Roe v. Wade (and other significant protections for women and minorities).

If you imagine Baker's agenda, or any Republican's agenda, would be any different from Trump's, you're not paying attention to sickening amounts of NOTHING every single Republican in the country is doing right now to stop him.

I don't think we should allow any safe harbors at this point for anyone still willing to call themselves Republican. The label has been tarnished so badly it can never come clean. Anyone who wants to maintain traditional conservative financial policies while leaving behind the stain of white supremacy and misogyny should be forced by all conscientious voters to find something else to call themselves, or go the fuck home.
posted by invincible summer at 8:22 AM on September 5 [41 favorites]


I said in the previous thread that if we had a non-broken system, the Senate would tell Trump that they'd consider his nominee just as soon as he handed over the documents, and wait for him to fold -- simply as a matter of defending Senatorial privilege and their own power as Senators.

it can't be stressed enough, and isn't being, how badly Republicans (no, media, not "partisan gridlock" or whatever bothsiderist nonsense you're pushing) are damaging our ability to have a functioning government at all.


Which is exactly what they want, and has been the default Republican mantra for decades. They want government sufficient to impose their will on lesser beings, foreign and domestic, and nothing more.

Pushing back on Trump goes against any Republican Senator's two core principles: (1) tax cuts and other monetary windfalls for the wealthy and (2) remaining elected by pleasing the rabble in the primary and the wealthy benefactors on the campaign trail.
posted by delfin at 8:25 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


What is the over/under in days on a GOP Senator outright saying, “I work at the pleasure of the President”?

Will a couple Congressmen fit the bill?

(Update) House Leader: Congress Serves At The 'Pleasure' Of President
posted by scalefree at 8:26 AM on September 5 [12 favorites]


schadenfrau I just...I don’t feel like this is something that is really appreciated or talked about. The degree of recklessness is stunning, even after you’ve recalibrated to understand that the Republicans are basically evil. They aren’t just cheating. They are actively destroying the basis of our civil society.

And that's the real answer to "why are they hiding the Kavanaugh papers?"

There is no smoking gun in those papers that would convince anyone to switch their vote. They are not worried that the American public will see something bad in those papers.

The answer to "why are you hiding the Kavanaugh papers" is "fuck you".

It is the same reason why Sarah Sanders is press secretary. Her job is not to answer questions. Her job is not to defend the President. Her job is not to do any of the things we have traditionally understood Press Secretaries to do.

Her job is to say "fuck you" as loudly and often as possible. What is Trump's position on trade? Fuck you. What does Trump think about Russia? Fuck you. Is Kavanaugh qualified for the Supreme Court? Fuck you.

The point is nothing more or less than a display of dominance and an explicit rejection of the basis of civil society. The position of the Senate Republicans is exactly the same as the position of Sarah Sanders, or indeed Donald J. Trump himself: fuck you.

Conservatism is the ideology of aristocracy. It is the belief that the strong should dominate the weak in all areas. It is the belief that the weak are to be bound by the law but not protected by it, and the strong are to be protected by the law but not bound by it. And it is, in part, the belief that being part of the law immune elite depends on dominance displays such as this.

The Republican voting base is 100% behind breaking the normal process for Kavanaugh, as they were with breaking it to block Garland. To them it proves that they were right, that they backed the strong and their representatives in the government will glory in subjugating and humiliating the weak.

It isn't even hypocritical for the Republicans to be calling for Democrats to respect process and norms. To their mind those processes and norms apply only to Democrats, and not to Republicans. Because they see themselves as the representatives of the privileged elite to whom laws do not apply, and the Democrats as representatives of the despised underclass who are bound by the law.

So yes, their purpose is the destruction of the basis of our civil society. It always has been. It is part of the essential clash of civilizations that has characterized the United States throughout its history. Are we to be a nation of laws and equality, a nation where all people can be Americans regardless of skin color, religion, national background, and so on? Or are we to be a white ethnostate ruled by a monied elite who claim aristocratic privileges for themselves?

Which is why they're withholding the Kavanaugh papers. The full sentence isn't "fuck you", it's "fuck you, peasant".
posted by sotonohito at 8:26 AM on September 5 [235 favorites]


Dueling hasn't been a possibility since Hamilton/Burr, and yet the government functioned, more or less, for 200 years. It wasn't so long ago that a member of Congress who actively colluded with the Russians, openly accepted bribes, or was caught in a sex scandal would have been run out of office on a rail.

Republicans have made it clear -- and have, really, since so-called evangelicals abandoned Jimmy Carter to vote for Ronald Reagan -- that they do not care about anything but Team Republican, and pretense to the contrary was the tribute hypocrisy paid to virtue.


I agree with all of that, That's why I said that dueling is as dead as Burr later in my post. I was pivoting to the broader problem and the more important and more recent norms that have been eroded. For the 200 years after Burr died, there were norms and standards that were upheld that kept things mostly safe, even if there were holes in the constitution that bad actors could drive a truck through.

Now, we have those bad actors in play. Their masks are off. The hypothetical holes in the constitution that no one drove through have been ripped asunder and left fluttering in the wind. Those bad actors are likely going to be with us in some form for as long as everyone in this thread is alive. How do we fix or reconstruct our system (or create an entirely new system) so that it will mitigate or eliminate the damage that they can do?

I don't expect you to answer that question and I hope that you don't expect me to answer that question, but I hope that when and if people with a sense of decency are in a position to answer that question with their actions, they know what to do.
posted by bootlegpop at 8:28 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


@willsommer: Heated exchange between Rubio and Alex Jones in the Senate hallway — Jones crashes a Rubio interview and touches Rubio's shoulder. Rubio tells Jones not touch him again, says he'll "take care of you myself" rather than calling the police. Alex Jones called Rubio a "frat boy," Rubio insisted that he didn't know who Jones was. Rubio eventually left, telling the press they could stay if they wanted to interview "this clown."

There's video.

Who the hell gave these people front row seats? Those are often assigned.

----

Meanwhile, in Kavanaughland, thing are heating up: it's email scandal time. No, not her emails; Congressional emails. Sen. Leahy is pressing him on his connection to the Bush-era theft of Democratic documents about judicial nominees, which he calls "digital Watergate." He cites pages from Kavanaugh's emails in which he received a stolen Democratic document. Kavanaugh says he knew nothing and that receiving documents marked "confidential" wasn't a red flag in any way.

Of course, many of the documents from Kavanaugh's work on judicial nominees haven't been given to the Senate, so who knows what else is in there. We're getting down to asking Kavanaugh if he was informed about "a mole" spying on Democrats. It's a good line of questioning.
posted by zachlipton at 8:28 AM on September 5 [40 favorites]


"-- NM gov: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll has Dem Lujan Grisham up 52-44 on GOPer Pearce [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. Poll was commissioned by the Lujan Grisham campaign."

There's a larger spread in this poll than one released a few weeks ago that had a much narrower margin between Lujan Grisham and Pearce. Of course this one was commissioned by Lujan Grisham's campaign.

The oil and gas industry runs New Mexico. Pretty much literally, our state budget is almost entirely dependent on revenue from oil and gas. Pearce came from the oil fields of New Mexico, he's backed by and supports the oil and gas industry. He has so much more money to spend on his campaign.

The democratic primary was contentious and while Lujan Grisham clearly won, she got about 60% of the vote and there were three candidates, her former opponent, rather than work with her campaign has now backed Pearce. Her former opponent is also backed by oil and gas money.

I really hope Lujan Grisham can beat out Pearce and his oil and gas monied campaign. Michelle Lujan Grisham's platform sounds like she could do some good work for New Mexico and bring us up from the bottom of all the lists of good things, like education and child health, and down from the top of all the lists of bad things, like crime and drug deaths.

[An aside regarding the oil and gas industry in New Mexico - the former Secretary of the Environment Department is now the head of the largest oil and gas lobbying group in New Mexico. A nice, revolving door. ]
posted by BooneTheCowboyToy at 8:32 AM on September 5 [11 favorites]


schadenfrau: "They are behaving remarkably like slave-holding states did in the run up to the Civil War."

Obvious parallels with South Africa too.

bootlegpop: "With all of those unwritten safeguards no longer in place, can a system exist? Can our current system be rewritten to take the lack of those things into account? Could even an entirely new system be put in place that would mitigate or eliminate the danger that Trump has taken from hypothetical to real? "

I've been thinking of how something like this could play out in Canada and really the only advantage we have is the Senate here is never up for re-election. Not that that had much of a drag on the Harper government but it may have been more effective if the PM (and party) had been made puppets of the Russia government.

Gelatin: "Dueling hasn't been a possibility since Hamilton/Burr, and yet the government functioned, more or less, for 200 years."

You all had a civil war in the last 200 years. Besides the main difference between now and 200 years ago is the government for the last couple generations has been taking baby steps to be representative of all the citizens and not just wealthy white guys. That is what is straining the US government and driving partisanship helped out by a constitutionally mandated political structure that intentionally empowers wealthy landowners. It's the same thing that contributed to the outbreak of the north-south civil war.

Wealth trying to preserve their status is also, IMO, one of the reasons the Democratic party appears to be so feckless. All that money sloshing around is having an effect on votes.
posted by Mitheral at 8:37 AM on September 5 [19 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Kavanaughland, thing are heating up: it's email scandal time. No, not her emails; Congressional emails. Sen. Leahy is pressing him on his connection to the Bush-era theft of Democratic documents about judicial nominees, which he calls "digital Watergate." He cites pages from Kavanaugh's emails in which he received a stolen Democratic document. Kavanaugh says he knew nothing and that receiving documents marked "confidential" wasn't a red flag in any way.

Kavanaugh is a visibly different witness after that exchange. Leahy shook him.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:40 AM on September 5 [54 favorites]


Isn’t it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get elected president without retribution or cost.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:40 AM on September 5 [13 favorites]


Kavanuagh's approach of essentially asking "which one?" when asked if he worked with John Yoo on a "warrantless surveliance program" because there were so many is pretty fucked. "I can't rule anything out. There was so much going on in the wake of 9/11."

Once again, Leahy is pissed that documents relating to this are committee confidential and wants them made public so he can ask about them. Grassley is making no promises on that. Leahy says he requested these documents on August 16th.

I shudder to think how many straight-up crimes are contained in these withheld documents at this point.

On whether Trump can pardon himself: "The question of self-pardons is something I have never analyzed...It's a hypothetical question that I cannot begin to answer"

----

Please also enjoy Trump blaming Don Jr. for his endorsement of Foster Friess.
posted by zachlipton at 8:46 AM on September 5 [12 favorites]


ZOMG this mole business is some crazy business. Kavanaugh stole emails? And used them somehow in Bush judicial noms? So he's totally shady in addition to having an evil philosophy? Is this going to matter at all?
posted by angrycat at 8:47 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Kavanaugh is a visibly different witness after that exchange. Leahy shook him.

He also looked pretty shaken during the encounter with Fred Guttenberg, the Parkland dad. I'm loathe to buy into the alpha/beta male thing, but for the sake of using the value system we're in now, dude is not exuding Alpha Male Strength. He comes across as uncomfortable and unsure of himself.
posted by witchen at 8:49 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


> When it comes to walkouts as a political tactic, I always think of that time the Mensheviks and SRs walked out of the All-Russian Congress of the Soviets.

so I've got this personal rule: I strive to never be the first person in a conversation to mention the Russian Revolution.

But now that you've mentioned it, yep, that's precisely what I think of when I think of walkouts -- the SRs and Mensheviks just straight up delivering power to the Bolsheviks. Yielding the floor is only an effective tactic if it's an effective way to attack the legitimacy of the institution you've walked out on -- if it's possible to, say, deny quorum. Otherwise, it's just a stylish form of surrender.

Here's my proposed rubric for assessing actions of the Democratic minority in the captured federal legislature: An action's value directly correlates to the number of Republican minutes it wastes. A successful strategy will requiring wasting every minute between now and the midterms, and then wasting every minute between the midterms and the start of the new congress.

A walkout is only valuable if it wastes minutes, but in the absence of the ability to deny quorum, a walkout wastes zero minutes.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:50 AM on September 5 [86 favorites]


And of course, there are definitely things that would make Collins and Murkowski vote no.

In addition to the things listed above by Chris24, here's another source of pressure on Collins that I thought was interesting:

Either Sen. Collins VOTES NO on Kavanaugh OR we fund her future opponent

Donations aren't processed until the vote. If she votes yes on Kavanaugh, the donations go toward her future opponent. If she votes no, the donations aren't charged. Currently at about $350,000.
posted by robotdevil at 8:55 AM on September 5 [81 favorites]


Flake notes that Kavanaugh has run the Boston Marathon twice. "It demonstrates not just your competitive spirit but a strong sense of purpose and commitment."

Just part of the ridiculous hagiography. The Boston Marathon has complete records of every entrant going back decades. Turns out that Kavanaugh ran 3:59 in 2010 as a 45-year-old and 4:08 in 2015 as a 50-year-old. Both of these times are more than 30 minutes above the official qualifying cutoff times for entry, which means that Kavanaugh pulled strings to get a bib without a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time, perhaps as a charity entry. This is a bone of contention among dedicated runners as it means some people with much better qualifying times were bumped and did not get a bib.

Flake -- useless even when not bowing and scraping to get re-elected. No doubt looking to sweeten his lobbying career.
posted by JackFlash at 8:59 AM on September 5 [77 favorites]


Either Sen. Collins VOTES NO on Kavanaugh OR we fund her future opponent

no, we should fund her future opponent no matter what she does
posted by pyramid termite at 9:01 AM on September 5 [22 favorites]


An opponent with $350,000 will have Collins shaking in her shoes, I'm sure.
posted by delfin at 9:02 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


dude is not exuding Alpha Male Strength.

For a second, I thought I was reading Breitbart. Just come out and call him a cuck already.
posted by jpe at 9:14 AM on September 5 [13 favorites]


So he's totally shady in addition to having an evil philosophy?

It's a safe assumption that Kavanaugh bent the knee to trump in private and is compromised somehow. It's the same pattern with all nominees who come out with fawning praise for him at official WH announcements. In for a penny, in for a pound.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:14 AM on September 5 [14 favorites]


I have never understood why Democratic senators don’t just stand up and start talking, one after the other, forcing one sixty-vote count after the other, using every single rule available to force the Republicans to actually perform the steps for cloture rather than just stipulating. It would make great TV. I think maybe just reading the Declaration of Independence over and over. It is a powerfully written document, and every point it makes about tyranny applies today.

It is possible my ideals about senatorial behavior owe too much to Jimmy Stewart
posted by bigbigdog at 9:17 AM on September 5 [59 favorites]


He bent the knee to Trump in public -- that statement at the nomination announcement was absolutely ludicrous, and represents his now-obligatory sacrifice of personal dignity on the altar of Trump. One (or all) of the Dems should be reading it back to him at the hearing and asking how anyone can possibly trust his judgment or independence if the first words out of his mouth as a Supreme Court nominee were such an obvious, subservient lie about the man who nominated him.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:18 AM on September 5 [29 favorites]


Kavanaugh stole emails? And used them somehow in Bush judicial noms? So he's totally shady in addition to having an evil philosophy? Is this going to matter at all?

He didn't steal them himself, but when he was forwarded them, he allegedly used them without reporting anything to anyone. And then he allegedly lied about the whole thing in front of Congress.
posted by Jpfed at 9:18 AM on September 5 [31 favorites]


Brett Kavanaugh said he "grew up in a city plagued by gun violence, and gang violence, and drug violence."

Ha, he grew up in Bethesda, MD, a very wealthy suburb of DC, the son of wealthy parents. He went to exclusive Georgetown Prep boarding school. Hey, maybe the prep school hazing rituals were particularly notable.
posted by JackFlash at 9:22 AM on September 5 [96 favorites]


Either Sen. Collins VOTES NO on Kavanaugh OR we fund her future opponent

Current conventional wisdom here in state is that Collins is much more concerned about being primaried from the right (a legit concern) than any Dem opponent. LePage had been making noise about running against King, but apparently likes being Governor more than he likes campaigning. I would not be surprised at all if he's said privately that he'd run against Collins.
posted by anastasiav at 9:24 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


ICE subpoenas 44 NC elections boards

Just a white nationalist paramilitary taking a break from brutal crimes against humanity to help stamp out the last dying embers of democracy in North Carolina, nothing to see here.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:25 AM on September 5 [66 favorites]


MA-03 Dem primary update: Trahan lead over Koh down to 51 votes (out of 84k+ cast); state orders ballots sealed in anticipation of recount. About 100 votes from Lowell not counted last night.

I think MA's recount rules are that Koh can request one if within 0.5%, and that he'd have to get 500 signatures and request by Friday.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:29 AM on September 5


On whether Trump can pardon himself: "The question of self-pardons is something I have never analyzed...It's a hypothetical question that I cannot begin to answer"

Oh, FFS. He's a legal scholar. He can take a stab at an academic question. It's not a decision, it's not a precedent for anything, and I doubt it would even show bias.

Here, let me try: "Well, there's an obvious problem of conflict of interest and self-dealing, and is it what the framers intended? What is the true intent of the pardon power? Is it strictly a post-judgement remedy? Are there cases of pre-judgement exercises of pardon power which demonstrate a bad-faith intent, and what were the remedies for those? These are interesting questions, and ones I would need to consider the arguments on very carefully."

How hard was that? 'Never analyzed'. Come on. Lawyers and judges get off on these 'what if' questions and think about them all the time. It's like a baseball player saying he's never thought of what it would like to be at a full count at the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, game seven of the World Series. We've all thought about this.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:33 AM on September 5 [42 favorites]


From the previous thread:
...You don't get points for actually repeating the slanderous lie. As LBJ famously said "I don't care if it's a lie. I just want to hear him deny it." You already are halfway towards creating doubt in some people's minds.

How about : Ted Cruz video falsely depicts flag burning. Period.

That way you have people wondering about Cruz, not Beto.

posted by JackFlash at 7:50 PM on September 4 [15 favorites +] [!]
How about: Ted Cruz campaign video lies about Beto O'Rourke
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:37 AM on September 5 [14 favorites]


I have never understood why Democratic senators don’t just stand up and start talking, one after the other, forcing one sixty-vote count after the other, using every single rule available to force the Republicans to actually perform the steps for cloture rather than just stipulating. It would make great TV. I think maybe just reading the Declaration of Independence over and over. It is a powerfully written document, and every point it makes about tyranny applies today.

Due to a rule change earlier this term, you only need 50+1 votes to break a filibuster on judicial nominees. It'd only buy them 30 hours of legislative time, which is like a week in normal people time.
posted by jmauro at 9:38 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


> It'd only buy them 30 hours of legislative time, which is like a week in normal people time.

Is it possible to win more time by donking up other senate business through denials of unanimous consent, or can the nomination go through while the Senate is otherwise jammed?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:49 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


It's a safe assumption that Kavanaugh bent the knee to trump in private and is compromised somehow. It's the same pattern with all nominees who come out with fawning praise for him at official WH announcements. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Kavanaugh knows exactly why he was chosen and what he is expected to do once on the Supreme Court.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:52 AM on September 5 [18 favorites]


The Daily Caller has now posted the transcript of their Trump interview yesterday.

Here's a turn of phrase, I don't think he's used before:
"Well, I view it as an illegal investigation."
Update: Oops. I guess he started saying this in the Bloomberg interview (or maybe before).
posted by pjenks at 9:52 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Because even the plaintiffs (Common Cause, LWV, and NC Dems) in the case said it was too close to the election - NC had their primaries a while ago - and would be too disruptive.

posted by Chrysostom at 9:06 PM on September 4 [9 favorites +] [!]


White privilege in action: Racially gerrymandered districts aren't too disruptive, but being inconvenienced by rescheduling to make the election fair is.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:58 AM on September 5 [22 favorites]


He was NICE. He was a GOOD MAN. This is not a nice good man.

The thing is, we need to move away from the idea that it matters whether someone is nice for these kinds of confirmations. The reason you got a million op-eds arguing he was a nice dude who took kids to soccer practice or whatever is because, for whatever reason, people now believe that the ability to have a beer with someone makes them a good appointee for federal office and it 1000% does not.

There are plenty of people who would be excellent judges but are curmudgeonly as shit. There are plenty of people who are smarmy and shitty and good looking but will be terrifying death judges.

There are So. Many. Reasons. to have a problem with Kavanaugh that are not 'he was shitty to X person', and I think every time we bring in the 'he was shitty to X person' we implicitly defend the idea that the ability to be nice in front of people is more important than a yawning maw of hell-ideas. And that's what gets these Ken Dolls Of Despair nominated and ultimately appointed.
posted by corb at 9:59 AM on September 5 [65 favorites]


Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen says Russian interference in 2016 election was, "a direct attack on our democracy."
posted by Chrysostom at 10:00 AM on September 5 [18 favorites]


@ryanjreilly: NEW: DOJ says Jeff Sessions will meet with state attorneys general to discuss “growing concern" that social media companies "may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.”

@matthewamiller: Sessions’ response to Russian infiltration of social media is to echo right wing attacks on social media companies for trying to police their platforms and imply he might use DOJ authority to retaliate against them? What in the world?

----

Kavanaugh's back, disclaiming all responsibility for the withholding of his documents in response to questions from Sen. Durbin.

If you had trouble following the prior exchange with Sen. Leahy over stolen Democratic documents during the Bush Administration, TPM has a quick write-up: Leahy Trips Kavanaugh Up With Questions About Allegedly Stolen Emails.

I'm out for a while, if anyone wants to pick up the hearings here, or consult your friendly neighborhood reporter.

----

I snarked this wouldn't happen yesterday, but Daily Caller actually did release a transcript of their Trump interview. "And I could give you 100 pictures of [Mueller] and Comey hugging and kissing each other."

It's also deeply disturbing how stuff like the President of the United States saying stuff like "Ana Navarro, she’s sick. I mean, she’s sick. The hatred" doesn't even register as anything anymore, though there's also merit in not repeating it.
posted by zachlipton at 10:01 AM on September 5 [11 favorites]




Buzzfeed court reporter Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) checks in from EDVA and Manafort's upcoming trial (ThreadReader version):
All eyes are on Kavanaugh this morning, but I'm a few blocks away at the federal courthouse, where Paul Manafort's lawyers and prosecutors are back for a pretrial conference[...]
The latest hearing in Paul Manafort's DC case just wrapped up. We got a series of rulings from the judge on what will and will not be allowed in his upcoming trial — some are similar to the EDVA case, and some are different:

- No evidence allowed about the fact that the Russian collusion probe is ongoing; judge said this means the lawyers will need to be careful about how they ask Rick Gates about his cooperation (if he testifies, that is — the govt said that wasn't for sure yet)[...]
- Prosecutors will be allowed to introduce evidence about Manafort's role in the campaign; they said it was relevant in order to establish why he started creating an allegedly false narrative about his work in Ukraine that went to what he reported to the US govt[...]
- If Rick Gates does testify, the judge has barred any reference to or questions about extramarital affairs. This came up a bit in the EDVA trial. The judge doesn't want it in DC, saying it's not relevant
- The judge in EDVA barred references to the term "oligarch." The judge in DC left the door open, saying that if anyone wants to use it, they need to define it for the jury and not leave it out there as a mystery[...]
- The judge denied Manafort's motion to move the trial to Roanoke, Virginia. This was the expected outcome — at the last hearing, the judge gave not too subtle hints that she didn't think the request had much merit. The judge in EDVA denied a similar effort
- At the end, the govt argued Manafort's lawyers failed to comply with an order to disclose any expert witnesses they planned to put on. They showed the judge a doc they got from Manafort's lawyers that appeared to refer generally to expert testimony, but no name or details
- Manafort's lawyer basically admitted they didn't do what they were supposed to, and said they were still working to get the witness. The doc the judge saw isn't public, but she said it referred to international banking and money laundering issues. They have until 9/10 to file

What's next? Another pretrial conference is scheduled for next week, and that'll be focused on the defense's objections to the government's list of proposed exhibits. Jury selection still on track to start 9/17
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:11 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Hey, remember Duncan Hunter, Mr. Liaison Hotel? Seems that ...liaison... wasn't the only one. Prosecutors say he spent campaign funds on 5 different affairs.
Duncan spent some of that money on five unidentified people living in Washington, D.C., with whom he had “personal relationships,” prosecutors allege: “Individuals” 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 in the indictment. [...]

In January 2010, just one year into his first term in office after succeeding his father representing San Diego County, Hunter dropped more than $1,000 in campaign money on a “personal” three-day ski trip at a resort in Lake Tahoe with Individual 14.

He spent $121.34 on food and beer two months later at a concert with Individual 14 and “Congressman A” and his date, the indictment states.

Hunter’s spending on Individual 14 lasted through June 2011, when he allegedly spent $254 of campaign money on beer, golf, and clothes.

For two years, from 2013 to 2015, Hunter charged his campaign for expenses on Individual 15. He ordered Uber rides to Individual 15’s home and paid for bar tabs and food, per the indictment.

In June 2015, overlapping by a month with his spending on outings with Individual 15, Hunter allegedly began using his campaign cash on Individual 16.

Hunter, who worked with Individual 16, according to the indictment, spent $203 at Washington’s H Street Country Club with the individual, as well as “Congressman C” and his date.

Hunter had brief relationships with two other people in Washington, Individuals 17 and 18, in October 2015 and September 2016, respectively.

Hunter charged his campaign $42 for Uber rides to and from Individual 17’s home on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of October 2015.

One early morning in September 2016, he paid $32 for an Uber from Individual 18’s home to his office.

Hunter also “spent $865.63 in campaign funds for a room at the Liaison Capitol Hill while Individual 7,” a California friend of Hunter and his wife, “visited from San Diego” while Margaret Hunter was still in California, the indictment reads.
posted by chris24 at 10:19 AM on September 5 [29 favorites]


Either Sen. Collins VOTES NO on Kavanaugh OR we fund her future opponent
His “Be A Hero” campaign has a simple message for the senator. Barkan will raise as much money as he can for Collins’s 2020 Democratic opponent.
Wouldn't it be better to fund a primary opponent? That would keep her out of the race altogether if successful, plus as a "moderate," she'd be easy to primary from the right.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:20 AM on September 5


There are So. Many. Reasons. to have a problem with Kavanaugh that are not 'he was shitty to X person', and I think every time we bring in the 'he was shitty to X person' we implicitly defend the idea that the ability to be nice in front of people is more important than a yawning maw of hell-ideas.

But can't we have "... is a minimally decent person" as an entry-level requirement? The way I read it is not only does Kavanaugh have radical judicial views that ought to exclude him, not only is he being nominated by an historically unpopular, probably illegitimate, treasonous President, which ought to make confirmation impossible, not only is there procedural irregularity and a massive lack of transparency, which ought to make confirmation impossible, not only have the scales not been balanced with respect to Merrick Garland, but come on, the man isn't even a minimally decent person. There are lots of perfectly good reasons to reject Kavanaugh. One reason that ought to apply to everyone right out of the gate is that he isn't even a minimally decent person. That, to me, makes him unfit for the position. I don't need to know about his policy positions because even if I agreed with his policy positions, there are lots of minimally decent people who are also qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, and the public interest is served by having more, not fewer, minimally decent people in positions of power.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 10:21 AM on September 5 [12 favorites]


NYT, Haberman, Jerome Corsi, Conspiracy Theorist, Is Subpoenaed in Mueller Investigation
Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist and political commentator with connections to the former Trump adviser Roger J. Stone Jr., has been subpoenaed to testify on Friday before the grand jury in the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference and whether Trump associates conspired with the effort, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

The lawyer, David Gray, said that he anticipates that investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, plan to ask Mr. Corsi about his discussions with Mr. Stone, who appeared to publicly predict in 2016 that WikiLeaks planned to publish material damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

”He fully intends to comply with the subpoena,” Mr. Gray said, adding that the subpoena was not specific about the topic but that he and his client anticipated “it has to do with his communications with Roger Stone.”

Mr. Mueller’s team appears to be zeroing in on Mr. Stone as a possible nexus between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, which was used by Russian intelligence officers to spread information stolen from Democrats, according to an indictment by Mr. Mueller’s team. Another former associate of Mr. Stone, the New York political gadfly Randy Credico, is also expected to testify before the grand jury on Friday.
posted by zachlipton at 10:22 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


Oh, and in regard to term limits to get old folks out of the Senate?

Leahy Trips Kavanaugh Up With Questions About Allegedly Stolen Emails
Leahy presented Kavanaugh with claims the judge made during the mid-2000s confirmation hearings about never receiving the stolen emails. Kavanaugh said that his comments then were 100 percent accurate.

Leahy asked him specifically about information provided to him by Manny Miranda, then a Republican staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee, about what senators were planning to ask Bush’s judicial nominees. Miranda, a Senate investigation revealed, had been covertly reading Democratic staffers emails and leaking them to right-wing outlets.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:24 AM on September 5 [11 favorites]


Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist and political commentator with connections to the former Trump adviser Roger J. Stone Jr., has been subpoenaed to testify on Friday before the grand jury...

How is this person useful, and not just going to muddy the waters with his Crazy?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:27 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


I honestly do want answers about his finances.

Those are good questions to ask. Most states have some form of disclosure and in theory he's been subject to them for years. If there is some form of fraud - it is rather hard to keep forms in order over years to keep large scale fraud hidden.

But who's gonna sue a judge to get access to the disclosure forms if they don't fill them out? My memory was the Wisconsin Supreme court has (or had) a member who didn't complete the forms but alas I can't find the wiseye link where I remember reading it.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:28 AM on September 5


My memory was the Wisconsin Supreme court has (or had) a member who didn't complete the forms but alas I can't find the wiseye link where I remember reading it.

You're thinking of the retired Michael Gableman, whose seat was recently claimed by the progressive Rebecca Dallet.
posted by Jpfed at 10:33 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


CNN, Woodward book prompts West Wing witch hunt, sources say
As the President publicly fumes on Twitter, he's privately on a mission to determine who did -- and didn't -- talk to Woodward, CNN has learned. Two officials who have spoken directly to the President say he is pleased with the denials offered by chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
...
"He wants to know who talked to Woodward," one of the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity amid the highly tense atmosphere in the West Wing in the wake of the book. The search for leakers inside the administration contrasts with the White House's defense that the book was fueled by "disgruntled [former] employees," offered by press secretary Sarah Sanders and others. One source close to the White House said people inside the administration are "frustrated because they know it's true."
...
The President is directing the response strategy personally, officials say, in consultation with top communications official Bill Shine and other aides. At this point, it seems unlikely that anyone is immediately fired because of the book, one official says, because that would "lend credence to a book he is trying to discredit."
In which White House officials leak to the press that the President is concerned that people leaked to the press, while the President denies that anyone leaked to the press.
posted by cjelli at 10:34 AM on September 5 [52 favorites]


Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist and political commentator with connections to the former Trump adviser Roger J. Stone Jr., has been subpoenaed to testify on Friday before the grand jury...

How is this person useful, and not just going to muddy the waters with his Crazy?


A lot of Russian influence is done via Paid Crazy. Perhaps he has some receipts.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:34 AM on September 5 [12 favorites]


That's a great New Yorker profile of Giulliani. So many gems:
During the Presidential transition, Giuliani tried—and failed—to persuade Trump to nominate him for Secretary of State. “I’ve always thought that I knew a lot more about foreign policy than anybody ever knew,” Giuliani told me. “He had me slotted in as Attorney General. He offered me the job, I turned it down.” (He also turned down Secretary of Homeland Security.) Theories abound about Trump’s refusal to give Giuliani the State Department job. One of them is that Trump was penalizing him for his closeness to Christie, who had been placed in charge of the transition and then was quickly fired. “Rudy was aligned with Chris Christie, and that wasn’t a good thing to be in that period,” a Trump friend told me. Another is that Priebus, Trump’s first chief of staff, sabotaged Giuliani’s bid. “Reince was leaking like crazy, trying to kill Rudy’s chances,” Anthony Scaramucci, who was on the transition team before his brief stint as the White House communications director, told me. (Priebus denies this.) Yet another theory is that Kushner and Bannon wanted a weak Secretary of State so that they could run foreign policy out of the White House. In the end, Rex Tillerson, the Exxon chief executive, who had no government experience and no prior relationship with Trump, was given the position.

...

Despite this pileup of lawyers, Trump’s defense has shown little coherence or strategic thinking. Neither Sekulow nor Giuliani is working full time; Sekulow is also representing other clients, including Andrew Brunson, the Christian pastor whose detention in Turkey has set off a crisis in U.S.-Turkish relations, and Giuliani is still running his security consulting business. He was on vacation, attending a wedding and playing golf in Scotland, the week that Cohen pleaded guilty and Manafort was convicted. (In an interview with Sky News conducted from a golf cart, he called Cohen a “massive liar.”)

...

The problem for Giuliani is that his loyalty may not be reciprocated. Since Trump became President, his closest advisers have been humiliated (Tillerson, Priebus), disgraced (Sean Spicer, Bannon), prosecuted (Flynn, Rick Gates), or all of the above (Manafort). At one point, I asked Giuliani whether he worried about how this chapter of his life would affect his legacy.

“I don’t care about my legacy,” he told me. “I’ll be dead.” ♦
posted by Melismata at 10:46 AM on September 5 [10 favorites]


Pistols at noon should settle this. MetaDuel!

posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:52 AM on September 5 [7 favorites +] [!]


Epistles at noon, surely.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:53 AM on September 5 [29 favorites]


Pelosi, despite opposition from some progressives, is committed to reviving the "pay-go" (or pay as you go) rule she had during her previous run as speaker, requiring that new spending be paid for by budget cuts or revenue offsets.

This was floated before and discussed in detail, eg in this June 4 thread (search PAYGO or pay-go). It is a staggeringly bad idea, for many reasons, primarily (1) it prevents or severely hampers the Democrats from passing most of the major legislation the progressive wing is advocating for (pre-K, college tuition, universal healthcare, jobs program, etc), and (2) it is utterly illusory as actual budget protection, since historically Republicans just ignore it, so it only serves as a ratchet to prevent leftward motion while allowing rightward motion. It also (3) has no grounding in financial reality (there is no problem with a government deficit), and more importantly, (4) it amplifies right-wing frames over left-wing frames (deficits over improving lives). There are many ways to attack the Republican tax cuts, and this is the worst possible one: it ties our hands, prevents other policies, reinforces Republican framing, and is financially unnecessary. Much better to just say yes, we care about X (health, education, inequality, etc, etc) and are passing this in order to achieve X, and leave the debt bullshit to the Republicans (who, again, only bring it up regarding Democratic legislation, not Republican tax cuts).

I was listening to Pressley on the radio before the election and she was asked about supporting Pelosi. She artfully and repeatedly dodged the question, but one of the responses she half-made was, well, let's wait until we see who the competitors are to lead the Democrats and what their positions are, which seemed reasonable. But if PAYGO really is Pelosi's main policy pillar, I have trouble seeing how Pressley and those like her would vote for Pelosi over a more left-leaning challenger. And such a challenger need not be very left -- being opposed to PAYGO does not make you remotely left-wing. PAYGO is a Blue Dog, center-left idea, beloved particularly by those Democrats who also happen to oppose the sorts of liberal policies PAYGO happens to prevent in the name of (pseudo) fiscal rectitude.
posted by chortly at 11:01 AM on September 5 [47 favorites]


In "theres so much news who can follow it all" news:

Judge orders Shaun Brown's name removed from ballot, citing fraud

i dont remember hearing anything about this story to date, but from todays legal proceedings it appears there was substantial evidence that campaign staff of a sitting R congressman from VA (Scott Taylor) forged petition signatures to get a third candidate (nominally independent, non-D endorsed Shaun Brown) on the ballot to split the Dem vote. As a result of this fraud the judge has ordered the third candidates name to not appear on the ballot.

This race was already rated as a toss up by Sabato's Crystal Ball prior to today's ruling.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:03 AM on September 5 [30 favorites]


i dont remember hearing anything about this story to date

I've linked it like six times! Is my work here in vain?

[/joke]
posted by Chrysostom at 11:09 AM on September 5 [29 favorites]


So there is some justice in this world. So, like, who gets charged with fraud for doing this, the candidate or one of his senior campaign managers?

We are going to fix all of this shit, people. I know it.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:26 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


The Daily 202: Kavanaugh hearing offers an ‘unprecedented’ display of the Senate’s institutional decline - James Hohmann, WaPo
Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said what was truly “unprecedented” was when Democrats blocked Robert Bork’s confirmation back in 1987. “This is my 15th Supreme Court confirmation hearing since I joined the committee in 1981,” said the Iowa Republican. “Thirty-one-years ago, during my fourth Supreme Court confirmation hearing, liberal outside groups and their Senate allies engaged in an unprecedented smear campaign against Judge Robert Bork.”

Bork, as the solicitor general, conspired with Richard Nixon in 1973 to carry out the “Saturday Night Massacre” and fire Archibald Cox in a scheme to obstruct the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Watergate affair. He did so after then-attorney general Elliot Richardson and deputy attorney general William Ruckelshaus had resigned rather than do so. Bork’s nomination to the high court went down 42 to 58 on the Senate floor, with six Republicans joining every Democrat in opposition. Ronald Reagan subsequently nominated Anthony Kennedy as a more moderate replacement.

Kavanaugh is now up for this seat, which Grassley still resents did not go to Bork. The chairman read at length from an op-ed that ran over the weekend in the Wall Street Journal by conservative legal blogger Mark Pulliam. “By confirming Judge Kavanaugh,” Pulliam wrote, “the Senate can go some way toward atoning for its shameful treatment of Justice Robert Bork 31 years ago.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), whose father was Reagan’s solicitor general, also complained about Bork being blocked during his opening statement. “It remains something of a rock-bottom moment for the Senate and for the Senate Judiciary Committee,” he said.

The chorus of reverent Republican paeans to Bork, whose legacy will always be tainted by his role as the hatchet man in the “Saturday Night Massacre,” were particularly striking against the backdrop of Democratic charges that Kavanaugh would give legal air cover to Trump in the plausible scenario that he moves against Bob Mueller, as well as the continuing unwillingness of congressional Republicans to pass legislation that would safeguard the special counsel.
Emphasis theirs.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:34 AM on September 5 [63 favorites]


So, like, who gets charged with fraud for doing this, the candidate or one of his senior campaign managers?

There's a special prosecutor investigating. Taylor claims he knew about the effort to get Brown on the ballot, but not the specific usage of fraudulent signatures.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:43 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


They can't even understand how much of a travesty it would have been to fulfill the quid pro quo of the Saturday Night Massacre. Legitimizing that level of corruption and then impaneling it into the highest court of the land?

That Bork was even nominated was an insult to the notion of an impartial judiciary.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 11:46 AM on September 5 [61 favorites]


All that talk of Bork from Republicans, and an article about it, and neither of them mention Garland still.
posted by reductiondesign at 11:51 AM on September 5 [34 favorites]


Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said what was truly “unprecedented” was when Democrats blocked Robert Bork’s confirmation back in 1987.

Fuck him. Bork got a full hearing in committee and a full vote on the floor. He was rejected 58-42. 6 Rs voted against him, 2 Ds for him. And if you need further proof that it wasn't partisan bullshit but rather a person who shouldn't be named to the court, the nominated justices before and after Bork - Scalia and Kennedy - were confirmed unanimously by a D majority Senate.
posted by chris24 at 11:54 AM on September 5 [82 favorites]


Once again, the ire of Republicans saying "how dare the Senate use its Constitutionally mandated power to advise and consent and not rubber-stamp a president's nominee" is feckless subservience to the Executive -- and this Executive at that! -- not to mention, as others pointed out, utterly hypocritical given that Garland didn't get so much as a hearing.

In fact, I wondered at the time why McConnell didn't just go thru the motions and reject Garland, and it occurs to me that keeping Borkrage as a political tool may have been a factor -- if Garland had been rejected, the Republican posturing would be less convincing. Than usual.
posted by Gelatin at 11:57 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


> All that talk of Bork from Republicans, and an article about it, and neither of them mention Garland still.

Not sure what you mean. What happened to Bork was the unconscionable act of talking about Robert Bork's record during his confirmation hearing, while what happened to Garland was the perfectly acceptable act of making sure only Republican Presidents are allowed to select Supreme Court justices, as justified by the landmark case of Fuck You v. Whaddya Gonna Do About It?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:57 AM on September 5 [67 favorites]


Well, how soon before the GOP starts relitigating Watergate in order to discredit Mueller?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:57 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


In fact, I wondered at the time why McConnell didn't just go thru the motions and reject Garland

Because you run the risk of Republicans defecting after getting unnerved at the prospect of either having Clinton pick a justice or facing the blowback holding a SCOTUS seat open for bullshit reasons for four years and witnessing the complete collapse of constitutional order.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 11:59 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


And the good old boys were sure as fuck ready to keep HRC from getting to pick any justice even our stalwart of "Senate order", the late John McCain.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:02 PM on September 5 [20 favorites]


> Well, how soon before the GOP starts relitigating Watergate in order to discredit Mueller?

A while back I was struck (prolly after reading something here) by the idea that the Civil War didn't really end with the surrender of the Confederate government, and that the end of Reconstruction was effectively the South finally actually kinda winning the Civil War.

In that same vein, I'd argue that it's less that the GOP is going to relitigate Watergate and more that the rise of Trumpism in America has shown us that Watergate never ended.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:04 PM on September 5 [30 favorites]


It also (3) has no grounding in financial reality (there is no problem with a government deficit)

There is no problem with a government deficit sounds like one of those things said which isn't really a truth. It sounds like something said by people who don't want to deal with the spending priorities of a system in need of serious examination. Or a chapter title in a series of books called "The Rise and Fall of" where the people of the future will talk about the hubris of the past and how now, with the gay space condos, things like that can't happen.

If there is no problem with a government deficit, then why even keep books which record the surplus of deficit of the government? Why even have a budget process? Just declare the parts of the law formed after the memory of The Contentinal and its effects as an old, useless thing no longer worthy of consideration in the new, modern world.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:07 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]




why were and are we not all losing our shit about the supreme court shenanigans afoot? i mean i know internet people are being upset on the internet, but the GOP refusal to confirm Garland and now the Kavanaugh matter seems like just, idk, straight up chicanery on the part of Republicans. why is this kind of thing not something that normal people get upset about?
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 12:08 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


Everything they do makes sense when you realize their intertwined desires:

1. Undo Emancipation.
2. Undo the New Deal.
3. Revenge for Watergate.

Oh and nowadays:

0. “Policy” is whatever pisses off the most liberals.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:09 PM on September 5 [30 favorites]


In fact, I wondered at the time why McConnell didn't just go thru the motions and reject Garland, and it occurs to me that keeping Borkrage as a political tool may have been a factor -- if Garland had been rejected, the Republican posturing would be less convincing. Than usual.

They've been acting like Garland never existed while actively lying about whether Obama's nominees were treated fairly, so they clearly don't care about how convincing their posturing is. McConnell simply didn't think he could keep hold of his caucus to reject Garland, but knew he could ignore it and no Republican would call him on it.
posted by Etrigan at 12:09 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


Because you run the risk of Republicans defecting

Senators are supposed to be jealous of their prerogatives, and yet the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were perfectly fine with having McConnell telling them how to do -- or not do -- their jobs.

I doubt McConnell would have risked a Republican defection in confirming a Democratic SCOTUS pick. The process is so obviously partisan -- and the results, like Bush v Gore, equally so -- that it's amazing anyone takes this entire charade seriously.

The story the media covers should not be the distracting spectacle of the hearings, but rather that an undemocratic Senate is about to install an undemocratic SCOTUS judge, who is sure to vote in ways contrary to the popular will on a host of issues, on behalf of an illegitimate president.
posted by Gelatin at 12:10 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


why were and are we not all losing our shit about the supreme court shenanigans afoot? i mean i know internet people are being upset on the internet, but the GOP refusal to confirm Garland and now the Kavanaugh matter seems like just, idk, straight up chicanery on the part of Republicans. why is this kind of thing not something that normal people get upset about?

There are people protesting? Go to Washington and join them if you want. I don't know what you expect people to do.
posted by dilaudid at 12:10 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


If there is no problem with a government deficit, then why even keep books which record the surplus of deficit of the government? Why even have a budget process? Just declare the parts of the law formed after the memory of The Contentinal and its effects as an old, useless thing no longer worthy of consideration in the new, modern world.

If you really want to think about how absurd things are, the government owes half of the national debt to itself.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:11 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


why is this kind of thing not something that normal people get upset about?

Because "normal" people are too lazy busy to follow politics because it supposedly doesn't affect them much. It's a pretty significant form of privilege to be able to ignore politics with generally few repercussions.

Well those chickens are now coming home to roost. And I'm done making excuses for people who don't have a clue about what's going on because they can't be arsed to pay attention.
posted by Justinian at 12:11 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


why is this kind of thing not something that normal people get upset about?

Generally speaking, it is the American Way for 'normal people' to not care in the slightest about politics, unless something affects them personally. And by 'affects them personally,' I mean 'smacks them right in the goddamned mouth.'

"Them" refers to, in roughly descending order, themselves, their families, their wallet, their job, their civil rights, then MAYBE circles out to some close friends, maybe even a coworker or two. But without either "if I vote for X, something very good will happen to me specifically" or "unless I vote for Y, something very bad will happen to me specifically," Joe Average stays home.

Look at the last Presidential election in America. We had a candidate that alarmed the living shit out of conservatives from her very existence alone, and a candidate that alarmed the living shit out of THE REST OF THE ENTIRE THINKING WORLD by his existence alone. One of them was going to become POTUS. Roughly 58-60% of eligible voters in the United States cast their votes.

That's about 40% of eligible Americans who looked at THAT race and went "ehhh." Is there any doubt that only the diehards can even name more than two SCOTUS judges, let alone grasp the how and why of this newest vacancy?
posted by delfin at 12:18 PM on September 5 [34 favorites]


> Well those chickens are now coming home to roost. And I'm done making excuses for people who don't have a clue about what's going on because they can't be arsed to pay attention.

In addition to the people who are comfortable enough with their present circumstances that they can afford to not care, I'd suggest there's also a large group of people whose present circumstances are already so bad that the Kavanaugh appointment amounts to a baseball bat to the kneecap while they are already engulfed in flames. It's on their list of things threatening them, but not at the top. Having enough time / energy / financial resources to participate is another form of privilege.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:19 PM on September 5 [53 favorites]


convince this leftist in MA not to vote for Baker

He's still a Republican fighting for Republican ideals? Like family welfare caps, level funding for Transport Authorities and the MBTA, underfunding MassHealth to force a shift to employer sponsored insurance, opposing the Safe Communities Act and making Massachusetts a Sanctuary State, etc, ad nauseum.

Just because he can be cajoled and dragged to the left on some social issues doesn't mean he's not going to a) fiscally behave like a republican and b) at the very least not cross - if not outright court - the far right support he needs to be reelected, since 36 fucking percent of Republicans voted for fucking Scott Lively yesterday.

I mean, the better question is why do you think, as a leftist, that Jay Gonzalez would do worse than Charlie Baker?
posted by lydhre at 12:20 PM on September 5 [21 favorites]


[Let's not get off into the weeds of general "why don't people care" etc, let's keep the thread for substantive updates on specific things actually happening.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:22 PM on September 5 [11 favorites]


convince this leftist in MA not to vote for Baker

This is weird. It's like saying "convince this astrophysicist that the Earth is not flat."
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:24 PM on September 5 [31 favorites]


rough ashlar: If there is no problem with a government deficit, then why even keep books which record the surplus of deficit of the government?

There is no problem != there could never possibly be a problem.

All humans are susceptible to alcoholism, but we don't therefore say that every human "has an alcohol problem" because why else would anyone bother to monitor how much they drink? Or perhaps a better parallel is water -- it's actually good for a government to have at least a little debt, or else it's truly wasting money (among other things), but water toxicity and the Greek crisis are both real things too.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:25 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


Gin and Tacos on Kavanaugh, Schumer, etc.
posted by wittgenstein at 12:32 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


it's actually good for a government to have at least a little debt, or else it's truly wasting money

This. Government debt is investment in its people and investing wisely can reap immense rewards. If I'm the government and I borrow $100m and build a port, I'm making a bet that my people using that port will create enough economic activity which I can then tax and recoup my investment on. Which it often will. Hell, just the taxes from the workers who build the port recoups me ~15% of the investment without a single boat going in or out.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:33 PM on September 5 [17 favorites]


This is weird. It's like saying "convince this astrophysicist that the Earth is not flat."

Only if you don't know Massachusetts and its small and dwindling stock of moderate Republicans and our long tradition of electing Democrats to the legislature and a Republican to the governor's office. lydhre pointed to some reasons for a Democrat not to vote for Baker, but in some ways, he's almost more sui generis than a 21st-century Republican. Or as the Boston Globe put it a couple months ago: Some conservatives are fuming that Baker is too far left. Of course, we'll see how well that'll work in the Senate race, where you've got Elizabeth Warren vs. Trump's state co-chairman, who said in a debate last month that Warren is a bigger threat to the US than Russia (in fact, he doubled down on that).
posted by adamg at 12:35 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


As brief aside as to how things could've gotten this way, the current free eBook through the University of Chicago Press program is "That’s the Way It Is: A History of Television News in America," by Charles L. Ponce de Leon; Dr. Ponce de Leon teachs history at California State, Long Beach.

The subject line in the email: "Our free e-book for September isn't fake news."
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:35 PM on September 5 [11 favorites]


WaPo, Josh Rogin, The White House is discussing potential replacements for Jim Mattis
“The speculation about who replaces Mattis is now more real than ever,” said a senior White House official who was not authorized to speak about internal matters. “The president has always respected him. But now he has every reason to wonder what Mattis is saying behind his back. The relationship has nowhere to go but down, fast.”

No decisions have been made and a Pentagon spokesperson declined to comment on Mattis’s plans. A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. But several administration and congressional officials said that a shortlist for his successor is already being constructed in an informal manner.
posted by zachlipton at 12:35 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


There is no problem with a government deficit sounds like one of those things said which isn't really a truth. It sounds like something said by people who don't want to deal with the spending priorities of a system in need of serious examination.

Deficits are not a function of spending priorities. For the past 40-odd years deficits have been almost exclusively a function of governments unwilling to tax billionaires and corporations appropriately.
posted by rocket88 at 12:35 PM on September 5 [37 favorites]


It also (3) has no grounding in financial reality (there is no problem with a government deficit).
If there is no problem with a government deficit, then why even keep books which record the surplus of deficit of the government?
Sorry, I should have said "there is not problem with the government deficit". And that goes for the debt as well. Sure, there are theoretical cases where a sufficiently hight debt can be harmful to inflation, but the US appears to be trillions of dollars away from those ceilings. So for all current practical purposes, there is no fiscal harm in unfunded big bills such as the tax cuts, single-payer, universal pre-K, free college tuition, and many other such things, especially when most reasonable estimates suggest the progressive policies will also have enormous economic benefits. Since Democrats are always free (should they take control of everything in 2020) to vote down any individual bill that seems too expensive, the only purpose of PAYGO is to preemptively take grand policies off the table as too expensive to even consider. And that's premised on the idea that deficits and the debt are already dangerously large, which is not true.
posted by chortly at 12:39 PM on September 5 [14 favorites]


He didn't steal them himself, but when he was forwarded them, he allegedly used them without reporting anything to anyone. And then he allegedly lied about the whole thing in front of Congress.

So what if, hypothetically, a Supreme Court nominee or justice were to be indicted for crimes? Crimes such as fraud, for example?

Fraud investigators and lawyers need to go through Kavanaugh's records (especially his financial records) with a fine-toothed comb. The Repubs have the votes for a confirmation already, so they can't be afraid of confirmation-related repercussions for releasing the docs -- so why not release them? I'm sure that, if nothing else, they want to withhold them as a screw you to the Dems, but in light of what has already come out in the hearings, I've also got to start wondering -- are they scared that if those records get looked at, evidence of crime might be discovered? And if there is criminal evidence buried in those records, might some members of congress or congressional donors be implicated?

I used to not be anywhere near this suspicious, but ever since the Republicans thunderously struck down any attempt to see Trump's tax returns, I've started seeing their compulsion for hiding records as possible signs of conspiracy and corruption, frankly. If they're not in on it, why do they want so badly to help hide it?
posted by rue72 at 12:41 PM on September 5 [15 favorites]


Yahoo News video via Twitter: Laura Loomer stood up in the social media hearing today to shout some crazypants stuff pleading for Donald Trump to "save us" (and film herself while doing it). The reaction from Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) was, uh... well, it's the first time I've appreciated something a Republican did in quite a while.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:41 PM on September 5 [39 favorites]


And that's premised on the idea that deficits and the debt are already dangerously large, which is not true.

Also, where that money goes. We've been flooding money into the economy over the past decade. Turns out if the vast majority of it goes into being just another zero on a rich person's bank account it doesn't have very much of an inflationary effect.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:41 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


The New York Times: The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.

Opinion:
I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration
We work for the president but we have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:44 PM on September 5 [36 favorites]




So what if, hypothetically, a Supreme Court nominee or justice were to be indicted for crimes? Crimes such as fraud, for example?

Back of the napkin math: You can't remove via impeachment without 67 votes. You can't get 67 votes while the lunatic right fringe of the electorate holds 40 votes hostage in the primaries. It's easy to get the rank and file to toe the line when the Senate Majority Leader is getting pilloried by his base for not being cruel and ruthless enough.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:49 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

Oh, so this means nothing. Whoever this is, they have no legitimacy. Fuck the NYT for publishing this.
posted by dilaudid at 12:49 PM on September 5 [68 favorites]


From the op-ed:
Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.
@steve_vladeck: As you read this @nytimes op-ed from an anonymous senior administration official stressing that "Americans should know that there are adults in the room," note the institution that isn't mentioned even once: Congress. That's a stunning indictment, IMHO.

@pattymo: Every single shithead that works for Trump will eventually claim to have written this

@chrislhayes: As far as I can tell many people within the administration appear to be sending constant signals, anonymously, through reporters that the president is a genuine danger to the country, and that only they are standing between us and apocalypse. This seems morally dubious, wildly self-serving and entirely plausible.
posted by zachlipton at 12:50 PM on September 5 [124 favorites]


Anybody who seriously makes all those charges against Trump and still works to prop him up and conceal his unfitness in order to advance their fucking right-wing agenda, rather than publicly, loudly doing all they can to get him the fuck out of office?

is a puredee fucking traitor to the republic and ought to be hanged from the nearest, highest yardarm.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:51 PM on September 5 [59 favorites]


That op-ed is pure sophistry.
posted by rue72 at 12:51 PM on September 5 [15 favorites]


So Woodward is right.
posted by chris24 at 12:52 PM on September 5 [45 favorites]


And our newest entrant for the "dumbest thing said on a day when Trump has already said things that are pretty fucking stupid" award...

Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani to Bob Woodward: Release the ‘Tapes’
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 12:53 PM on September 5 [27 favorites]


We don't want to cause a constitutional crisis so we'll let him destroy democracy and the rule of law. Fuck this person.
posted by chris24 at 12:54 PM on September 5 [67 favorites]


The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.
Translation: we're the real heroes and you're all so mean for thinking we're monstrous, soulless voids who think only of ambition and profit :( you'll be sorry when we get fired and everything gets even worse!!! p.s. we will not do anything more than whine anonymously and steal some papers off Trump's desk. We trust you understand how such service makes us worthy of Medals of Honor.
posted by yasaman at 12:54 PM on September 5 [13 favorites]


Mattis probably wrote it. A) They're already talking about firing him and B) he's probably the only "senior" official who would NOT say the racist xenophobic immigration shit is part of the good Trump stuff.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:54 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

'We didn't want to start a constitutional crisis, but FYI, I am going to go off-record and state publicly that he ought to be removed from office through the 25th amendment and the only reason we didn't was that we weren't sure it would work.'

What even is this?

I'm kind of of the mind that if you're going to claim to have private knowledge of cabinet official contemplating invoking the 25th amendment, that should probably be the focus of your piece and also you should probably have leaked that back when it fucking happened. Or gone on record with it now.

This is basically 'we wanted Republican policies so much that we opted for a cover-up.'
posted by cjelli at 12:56 PM on September 5 [66 favorites]


Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.
Invoking the 25th Amendment wouldn't be a constitutional crisis, it would be using the 25th Amendment for what it's designed to do. Most Americans disapprove of Trump. If they knew enough about the Constitution to know that there's a completely Constitutional way to remove a nutjob president, they'd be all over it.

If we're not going to use these things, can we just drop them? See also: Emoluments Clause, Electoral College.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:56 PM on September 5 [44 favorites]


To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

Name one. The NYT should not have allowed this generic Republican commercial inside its op-ed page, anonymous perspective or no.
posted by Gelatin at 12:56 PM on September 5 [38 favorites]


The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

"We as a nation"? Trump was elected with a minority of votes. He is enabled solely by a single party and their more rabid followers. Most polls put his strong support at around 30% of registered voters. Which is around 20% of the population. That's not a "we". That's a "you". Don't try to smear the entire nation when it was your party who did this.

But, I guess this is a trial balloon for how the Republicans plan to go forward into the post-Trump madness. "It wasn't just me. It was all of us. And now, it's time for all of us to pray, repent and heal."
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 12:56 PM on September 5 [77 favorites]


note the institution that isn't mentioned even once: Congress. That's a stunning indictment, IMHO.

To me, this is the real issue the Founders failed to foresee, not the decline of dueling, or whatever. They expected that the branches would be rivals, jealous of their prerogatives, thus keeping each other in check. And for a long time, even after the rise of parties this worked by and large. Even when the same party held Congress and the White House, there was a lot of sniping and give and take - go read about the Carter presidency sometime.

But over the last few decades, that's broken down, and the branches are working much more as one (more so in the case of the GOP). So, we've got effectively parliamentary government, without any of the concomitant controls.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:58 PM on September 5 [45 favorites]


Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.

It isn't a constitutional crisis when the process for removing a president is in the Constitution. It's been invoked; if memory serves me correctly, George H. W. Bush temporarily held the powers of the Presidency while Reagan underwent a medical procedure.
posted by Gelatin at 1:00 PM on September 5 [17 favorites]


I'm going to declare myself as holding what I'm surprised to seems to be the minority view, which is that between the op-ed not having been written and the op-ed having been written, I prefer the latter.
posted by gurple at 1:00 PM on September 5 [42 favorites]


But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.

Hard things are hard assholes. Real leaders taught us that.
posted by cmfletcher at 1:00 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration

The op-ed writer is attempting to claim the mantle of anti-Putin Maquis, which is intriguingly, though possibly coincidentally timed with Britain's charging two GRU assassins in the Skripal attack:
Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.

This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.
This is what happens when the Oval Office is occupied by a Russian intelligence asset (and I use the term precisely).
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:00 PM on September 5 [21 favorites]


Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.

This article describes a President who is a force for chaos, and whose alleged successes occur in spite of, not because of, his incumbency. In this context, there is no way to interpret the historic statement quoted here, other than as an admission that the President would already have been removed from office by his appointed staff, in conjunction with the Vice President, if not for one thing.

Fear.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:03 PM on September 5 [20 favorites]


6 Ways You Didn't Realize Ronald Reagan Ruined The Country (Cracked, 2016)

I was a politically aware Australian twentysomething during Reagan's term. Let me see how many of these I remember being appalled by at the time...

6: Corruption, Iran/Contra etc... yup. Had a lovely cartoon stuck on my wall depicting an ant labelled Nicaragua perched on the toe of Reagan's shoe; he's about to bust it with this massive mallet, and Ed Meese is coming up from behind with one twice the size saying "here, you need a bigger one". And Oliver North, omfg.

5: Reaganomics: trickle-down supply-side restaurant-napkin Laffer-curve bullshit, so manifestly bullshit, deregulate every fucking thing, no way that's ever going wrong... also yup.

4: Crushing the unions... yup.

3: Allowing thousands to die of AIDS as a sop to the "Moral" "Majority"... yup.

2: Funding Osama bin Laden... yup.

1: Fucking over the mentally ill... yup.

And they left out the part where Reagan put James "mine more, drill more, cut more timber" Watt in charge of National Parks and claimed that trees cause pollution, and the part where he helped Saddam gas Kurds and Iranians, and the part where he got an astrologer in to advise on policy timing... not on policy though, oh no, we'd never do that, that would be wrong.

Eight years the US put up with that dipshit. Eight years. And now the syrup machine has been working on his memory for enough decades that he's become some kind of sainted father figure. Fuxache.

When he got his second term I remember thinking WTF, America? And then came the Bush family, putting the nasty in dynasty... WT fucking F is the US smoking? I need to know, lest I inadvertently get exposed to it.

Also utterly appalled when Trump got in, of course, but no longer surprised.
posted by flabdablet at 1:03 PM on September 5 [52 favorites]


My god this...thing...is terrible. Just terrible.
In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

The press-as-enemy business is practically a plank in the platform.

The kinds of deregulations accomplished so far are anti-democratic. The tax reforms are anti-democratic. The "more robust military" claim is utterly spurious.

CTRL-F Puerto Rico 0/0
CTRL-F children (i.e. in cages) 0/0
CTRL-F immigrants 0/0
And whatever else a person of conscience would discuss as troubling to their soul and worthy of direct action.

This is not a serious person of conscience.

This is party-over-country BS, with an eye toward personal redemption, with the least possible veneer of "concerns."

And it's nothing but a 48-hour distraction.
posted by Caxton1476 at 1:03 PM on September 5 [62 favorites]


honestly I think it was written by some low-level staffer who realized what they had to do to ever get [pick one] (laid/hired) again.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:03 PM on September 5 [13 favorites]


Invoking the 25th Amendment wouldn't be a constitutional crisis, it would be using the 25th Amendment for what it's designed to do.

I mean, I'm of the mind that if you're all sitting around thinking, yeah, Trump qualifies for removal for office, you should have done that no matter the consequences.

But it would precipitate a crisis: it's never been tested in this particular scenario. If the President objected, then the Cabinet's removal is subject to congressional approval --
"Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office."
I think -- and I said this back when Trump first came into office -- that the 25th amendment is less likely to work than impeachment, given what's publicly known, because you need congressional support either way and impeachment hearings at least drag private information into the public eye (and impeachment only needs a bare majority in the House, whereas the 25th amendment, here, requires 2/3rds approval).

And so it could well be a crisis, because I'm not sure that 2/3rds of the House would have supported -- or would now support -- removing Trump from office. But that's a crisis worth risking.
posted by cjelli at 1:04 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


It isn't a constitutional crisis when the process for removing a president is in the Constitution. I

This is the same as the 2000 election - there is a perfectly clear process for settling a disputed election, right there in the Constitution: the House Of Representatives votes. It's even been done before. But "everyone" knew that it would be a "Constitutional Crisis" and that it was intolerable that there was no immediate settlement.
posted by thelonius at 1:04 PM on September 5 [12 favorites]


But, I guess this is a trial balloon for how the Republicans plan to go forward into the post-Trump madness. "It wasn't just me. It was all of us. And now, it's time for all of us to pray, repent and heal."

There was zero chance they'd ever say "lol we were wrong and you were right, sorry about everything" and tbh I am 1000% down with laughable Republican attempts at rewriting history to save their worthless egos if it helps Trump stop being the president
posted by theodolite at 1:04 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Look at all those em dashes in that op-ed. I vote Ivanka.
(SL to politico article with excerpts from her book, "Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules of Success")
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:05 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


I'm going to declare myself as holding what I'm surprised to seems to be the minority view, which is that between the op-ed not having been written and the op-ed having been written, I prefer the latter.

I'm right there with you, as I imagine many others are. I'd rather have more evidence of the criminal fraudulent enterprise that is this White House than less. That doesn't stop me from hating its author for their horrific actions, inactions, choices, and motivations, though.

I mean, they've got a lot of fucking nerve complaining about Trump's amorality.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:05 PM on September 5 [25 favorites]


I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration
We work for the president but we have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.


Real Translation: "When this is all over, please don't hate me or shun me in public life, because tax cuts really are worth the cost of inflicting catastrophic child abuse on hundreds of victims. Oh and astounding graft. That's cool, too, y'know?"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:05 PM on September 5 [54 favorites]


Self-important but useless piece of shit?

I bet a cake that it’s Kelly. No, two cakes.
posted by lydhre at 1:05 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


I'm going to declare myself as holding what I'm surprised to seems to be the minority view, which is that between the op-ed not having been written and the op-ed having been written, I prefer the latter.

I'm with you, gurple. I acknowledge there are Republicans and conservatives in this country who disagree with me on fundamental principles about how American society should be organized. That has always been true. What is so deeply disturbing to me about the Trump Administration is the notion that anyone with half a brain believes any of this crap. Confirmation that the people who work for him are aware, indeed, that the emperor has no clothes, comes as a great relief. It makes me feel less insane. At least we are all not insane.
posted by something something at 1:05 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


honestly I think it was written by some low-level staffer who realized what they had to do to ever get [pick one] (laid/hired) again.

I don't think the Times goes with this without it being someone high level.
posted by chris24 at 1:06 PM on September 5 [26 favorites]


Mattis probably wrote it. A) They're already talking about firing him and B) he's probably the only "senior" official who would NOT say the racist xenophobic immigration shit is part of the good Trump stuff.

It doesn't sound anything like Mattis to me, really. I'd say it was Elaine Chao but I'm not exactly certain how much styming of disaster a Secretary of Transportation can really get up to. So I'm going with Mnuchin or Mulvaney.
posted by Justinian at 1:06 PM on September 5


Buckle up, kids:

@PeterAlexander: Just handed top Trump communications officials a printed copy of NYT op-ed. They say it’s the first they’re seeing it. I’ve requested WH comment. They’re huddled in Sarah Sanders office now.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:08 PM on September 5 [81 favorites]


This is the same as the 2000 election - there is a perfectly clear process for settling a disputed election, right there in the Constitution: the House Of Representatives votes. It's even been done before. But "everyone" knew that it would be a "Constitutional Crisis" and that it was intolerable that there was no immediate settlement.

So instead a partisan Supreme Court installed George W. Bush (because that's more legitimate, although the so-called "liberal media" sure fell in line). Who appointed more Republicans to the Court. And here we are.
posted by Gelatin at 1:09 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


And if you thought Trump was paranoid before, hoooboy. I hope he sees enemies in every single staffer he has, from Chief of Staff to the fucking soda boy.
posted by lydhre at 1:09 PM on September 5 [31 favorites]


I'm going to declare myself as holding what I'm surprised to seems to be the minority view, which is that between the op-ed not having been written and the op-ed having been written, I prefer the latter.

I'm glad it was written because then we can all talk about what hypocritical bullshit it is that the “reasonable” Republican position is to maintain the presidency of a man who they agree is “anti-democratic,” “amoral,” “impulsive” and basically a toddler. This person is proud that they kept him on the throne, because they were able overcome those hurdles in order to achieve their real goals of cutting rich people's taxes and rolling back everything the EPA, CFPB, etc., did since 2009. Long-term damage to the institutions of government and democracy as a whole is the price they're willing to pay to get along. They should be pilloried every day of their life as a coward and traitor to democracy.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:10 PM on September 5 [75 favorites]


We should be very clear to the "administration officials" that are staying in to try to do good on the inside: Nobody looks kindly on dudes who decided they needed to be Nazis in 1938 because if they left, only Nazis would be in power. In fact it would be fair to say we look upon those people relatively unkindly.

That's you. You're the nazi functionaries trying to work within the system, senior administration officals.
posted by Justinian at 1:11 PM on September 5 [53 favorites]


tbh I am 1000% down with laughable Republican attempts at rewriting history to save their worthless egos if it helps Trump stop being the president

But once Trump is gone, no forgiveness, no "let bygones be bygones," no trusting the Republicans to act in good faith until they demonstrate repentance by their actions.

Indeed, Democrats should work to disrupt the Republican power center -- the ultra-wealthy -- the way the Republicans go after school teachers.
posted by Gelatin at 1:11 PM on September 5 [19 favorites]


And if you thought Trump was paranoid before, hoooboy. I hope he sees enemies in every single staffer he has, from Chief of Staff to the fucking soda boy.

Maybe he'll fire the whole joint and spend the rest of his term holed up in a cobweb-strewn Oval Office like Miss Havisham.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:11 PM on September 5 [40 favorites]


So instead a partisan Supreme Court installed George W. Bush (because that's more legitimate, although the so-called "liberal media" sure fell in line). Who appointed more Republicans to the Court. And here we are.

Its the Katamari Demacy problem. They don't lose ground. They just slow down their gains.
posted by Brainy at 1:11 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


the purpose of the op-ed isn't to make the writer beloved to Good Liberals Like Us ffs. if you're really quietly sabotaging the administration from inside, writing about it in the NYT is hell of dumb. the point of the op-ed is to pour accelerant on Trump's paranoid spiral into madness and force the 25th amendment option to come to a head.

I mean, who knows if it'll achieve anything, but I appreciate the attempt.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:12 PM on September 5 [77 favorites]


Confirmation that the people who work for him are aware, indeed, that the emperor has no clothes, comes as a great relief.

Of course, it's possible this was its entire purpose.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:12 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


I don't think the Times goes with this without it being someone high level.

Agreed. They know their credibility is on the line publishing this and that there's a good chance the identity of the author will eventually become public one way or another. It's not necessarily someone the nation has heard of, and it's potentially a career official rather than an appointee (in the NSC perhaps, given the focus on foreign policy, though clearly a partisan Republican), but I don't think the Times would put their credibility on the line if it was someone from the White House florist's office.
posted by zachlipton at 1:12 PM on September 5 [13 favorites]


I'm going to declare myself as holding what I'm surprised to seems to be the minority view, which is that between the op-ed not having been written and the op-ed having been written, I prefer the latter.

I'm glad it was written because then we can all talk about what hypocritical bullshit it is that the “reasonable” Republican position is to maintain the presidency of a man who they agree is “anti-democratic,” “amoral,” “impulsive” and basically a toddler. This person is proud that they kept him on the throne, because they were able overcome those hurdles in order to achieve their real goals of cutting rich people's taxes and rolling back everything the EPA, CFPB, etc., did since 2009. Long-term damage to the institutions of government and democracy as a whole is the price they're willing to pay to get along. They should be pilloried every day of their life as a coward and traitor to democracy.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:10 PM on September 5 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


We should be very clear to the "administration officials" that are staying in to try to do good on the inside: Nobody looks kindly on dudes who decided they needed to be Nazis in 1938 because if they left, only Nazis would be in power. In fact it would be fair to say we look upon those people relatively unkindly.

That's you. You're the nazi functionaries trying to work within the system, senior administration officals.
posted by Justinian at 1:11 PM on September 5 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Yes. It's a good thing this was published, because it is documentation that these people are crooks and hypocrites. Don't imagine it can relieve them of guilt.
posted by mumimor at 1:13 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


the fucking soda boy

Not the Diet Coke fetcher! He's the most essential of all!

So I'm going with Mnuchin or Mulvaney.

Mnuchin feels right for this. I thought Mulvaney was on board with the worst of the administration's racist impulses. Mnuchin probably prefers a more genteel white supremacy. Didn't it leak that Mnuchin had a suicide pact with Tillerson back in the day?
posted by gladly at 1:13 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


And if you thought Trump was paranoid before, hoooboy. I hope he sees enemies in every single staffer he has, from Chief of Staff to the fucking soda boy.

This, I think, is the real value of that piece. Again, fuck the person who wrote it. They're abdicating higher responsibilities and enabling ongoing disasters and damage to the republic. But I agree that it's better this gets out rather than not, if only because it further deepens the divisions in the White House and hopefully puts more pressure on them to actually do something.

They're all crooks. They don't all want to blow up the planet, or maybe not the economy, or maybe not their chances at a soft landing when this is over. So on the level of telling one another "it's not just me," maybe this pushes things forward another notch. And I'm reminded of what was said upthread or maybe in the last post about an avalanche being the result of individual rocks.

...and yes, I think rocks are a good metaphor for the brains and hearts at work in this White House.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:14 PM on September 5 [12 favorites]


Tomorrow's rally in Montana is gonna be lit.
posted by chris24 at 1:14 PM on September 5 [18 favorites]


Long-term damage to the institutions of government and democracy as a whole is the price they're willing to pay to get along.

Seems more likely to me that long-term damage to the institutions of government and democracy is the object of the exercise.
posted by flabdablet at 1:17 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Didn't it leak that Mnuchin had a suicide pact with Tillerson back in the day?

Tillerson, Mattis, and Mnuchin yes. Tillerson is gone and Mattis is reportedly in trouble.

I do think Munchkin is the most likely candidate for author but it's impossible to say for sure. I wasn't aware Mulvaney was all-in on the white nationalist stuff? But it's true that the color Mnuchin cares most about is green.
posted by Justinian at 1:18 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


This article lays out an excellent case for the activation of the 25th Amendment. The anonymous author had the opportunity to use this article as a clarion call to activate the 25th Amendment. Instead, they squandered that opportunity and said that "no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis". They have achieved anonymity and are still opting to pass the buck to some Court or Congress Ex Machina. Craven cowardice. Negligence akin to treason.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:18 PM on September 5 [38 favorites]


but I don't think the Times would put their credibility on the line if it was someone from the White House florist's office

The peony tape is real, people.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:19 PM on September 5 [66 favorites]


So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

That "one way or another" is doing a lot of absolving-myself-of-any-responsibility work.

However, yes: this seems calculated to enrage Trump. The closing praise for McCain; and this very carefully constructed para which pokes directly at his smartest-man-in-the-room delusions and at his deep-state paranoia: many? How many of them? Who?
The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.
(I think its Sessions; tired of eating shit sandwiches, feels the axe approaching.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:20 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


The focus in the letter that one of the very bad things about Trump is he's anti-trade probably gives a clue to who wrote it. They literally equate being anti-trade to being anti-First Amendment and anti-democracy.
In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.
That's not Mattis.
posted by chris24 at 1:21 PM on September 5 [17 favorites]


the purpose of the op-ed isn't to make the writer beloved to Good Liberals Like Us ffs. if you're really quietly sabotaging the administration from inside, writing about it in the NYT is hell of dumb. the point of the op-ed is to pour accelerant on Trump's paranoid spiral into madness and force the 25th amendment option to come to a head.

It's pretty clearly at least partly designed to polish the image of the "WH officials," just like the constant leaks on the same themes that come every single day. Also, nobody has said the word "Kavanaugh" for the last hour.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:21 PM on September 5 [17 favorites]


It's the apotheosis of Republican government-by-hostage-taking.
Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright....

Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.
Ie, help us smoothly pass conservative policy, because if you don't help us, Trump will destroy the country.

It's also the case that while a passive coup by White House staff is preferable to Trump run amok, it's still an anti-democratic coup. If they believe he's unfit, he should be removed. If they want our help and appreciation, don't ask us to support their non-democratic replacement of him with their random preferred policies. Do the democratic thing and remove him.
posted by chortly at 1:22 PM on September 5 [48 favorites]


I mean, when Woodward's book was said to have dozens of White House sources I assumed it was everyone up to and possibly including Trump.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:23 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Personally, I'm glad to know that there are people who are preventing him from seeing information that will make him say, "yup, let's go ahead and bomb North Korea and Venezuela right now."
posted by Melismata at 1:24 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


also, it'll be a long, long time before we ever know the real inside story of this fucking mess of a presidency, but it is entirely possible that there are people who accepted and stayed with WH jobs for the sole purpose of doing whatever they possibly could do to mitigate the damage. we should all know by now that going full #resistance and artfully dunking on Trump at every given opportunity is not necessarily the most effective or expedient way to bring this shitshow to an end, and besides, we hate the Republicans who've gone that route just as much anyway.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:25 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


"In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic."

That's not Mattis.


Nor Kelly nor Mulvaney. Mulvaney is certainly pro-trade, but he's a total psychopath who openly cares nothing about democracy or human decency and would run over a basket of puppies to pick up a nickel. I just can't picture him -- giving a tiny shit about Trump's erraticness or lack of principles -- or even pretending to for rhetorical effect.

So Mnuchin, I guess?
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:25 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


The focus in the letter that one of the very bad things about Trump is he's anti-trade probably gives a clue to who wrote it.

I'm guessing Gary Cohn although he resigned earlier in the year.
posted by PenDevil at 1:26 PM on September 5


it is entirely possible that there are people who accepted and stayed with WH jobs for the sole purpose of doing whatever they possibly could do to mitigate the damage.

That is not this person, who explicitly says that they consider "effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military" to be achievements of the administration that they are part of.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:27 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand has a scoop from "Fear": Woodward’s Account of Trump’s Mock Interview with Prosecutors Isn’t Pretty—In his new book, “Fear,” the legendary reporter writes that Trump stumbled over questions about Michael Flynn.
In a new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” by Bob Woodward, obtained by The Atlantic ahead of its release next week, Woodward offers the first detailed look at the way the president might handle an interview with the experienced prosecutors on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. “If the questions seem harmless, don't treat them that way,” Trump’s then-lawyer, John Dowd, advised the president during the mock interview in January, according to Woodward’s account. “And I want you thoroughly focused on listening to the words.”[...]

"When did you first learn that there was a problem with General Flynn?" Dowd asked Trump in their mock interview, Woodward writes. "I'm not sure,” Trump replied. “I think when McGahn had talked to Sally Yates. But John, I'm not sure." Dowd, playing the role of a prosecutor, retorted: “What’d you do about it?” "I think Don took ahold of it,” Trump said. "Did you call Flynn in?" Dowd asked. “No,” Trump said. "Did you talk to Flynn at all?" Dowd pressed. "I don't know,” Trump replied. "Well, Mr. President, did you ever ask him if he talked about sanctions with Kislyak?" "No,” Trump said. Dowd, Woodward writes, was unrelenting: "Are you sure about that, Mr. President? We have some evidence that there may have been such a conversation. Are you sure about that?"

At that point, Trump went off on a tangent that was difficult to follow, according to Woodward, eventually reiterating that he “felt very bad” for Flynn, whom he “admired,” but that McGahn and the then-chief-of-staff Reince Priebus had recommended that Flynn be fired.

Dowd then posed a question that is considered central to whether Trump was trying to obstruct justice when he fired Flynn and then asked Comey to consider letting him go: Did McGahn and Priebus “ever tell you about an FBI interview?” “I don’t know,” Trump replied. “I can’t remember.” This back-and-forth is notable in light of Trump’s tweet in December, one month before this mock interview with Dowd, in which he appeared to admit that he’d known Flynn had lied to the FBI. “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump wrote. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” (In an ironic twist, Dowd later took responsibility for writing that tweet.) Trump was similarly forgetful when asked whether he knew anything at all about Flynn’s calls with Kislyak during the transition period. “I don't know,” Trump reportedly said. “I know there were a lot of conversations among the staff.”

[...]“If you don't know the facts, I'd just prefer you to say, Bob, I just don't remember,” Dowd told Trump, according to Woodward. “Instead of sort of guessing and making all kinds of wild conclusions."[...]
And when it became apparent that's exactly what Trump would do, Dowd quit.

Incidentally, I'd bet on Mattis over Kelly as the NYT op-ed secret writer. Although both of them have been on the outs with Trump for a while, both of their WH bridges got burned by Woodward, and both of them had to issue demeaningly fulsome statements denying "Fear", Trump can't simply fire Kelly, who is a material witness, at the very least, to Trump's obstruction of justice. If Kelly goes, then so goes the executive privilege shielding him from Mueller, and he'll be lined up for a Special Counsel interview the minute he leaves the West Wing. Firing Mattis presents the only slightly less hazardous likelihood that he'll talk to the press about everything to do with the administration's twin horror shows of foreign policy and national security.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:28 PM on September 5 [15 favorites]


Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people.

Jesus these people have no idea. Still!

There is no Republican party but the party of Trump. Just go try to get yourself elected as a non-Trump Republican.

You're either a Yeah-I'm-a-Nazi-so-go-fuck-yourself-libs-Republican, or you're not a Republican. And guess what, secret resistor, you're the first kind.
posted by pjenks at 1:28 PM on September 5 [60 favorites]


"Trump was editing an upcoming speech with [then-staff secretary Rob] Porter. Scribbling his thoughts in neat, clean penmanship, the president wrote, 'TRADE IS BAD.'"

He probably thinks this way because he thinks international trade is sharing, which I am confident he also hates.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:29 PM on September 5 [12 favorites]


I really cannot see Mnuchin writing this. I've never heard him say anything that would imply he has a sense of morality or any particular affinity for traditional conservative views beyond "I'm a rich dude and thus I should have more money."

Maybe Dan Coats? Is he still around?
posted by melissasaurus at 1:30 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


I'm guessing Gary Cohn although he resigned earlier in the year.

It can't be Cohn -- the author is stated to be currently in the administration.

Mnuchin feels wrong to me unless he's done an amazing job at separating his public and private personas; I'd think Mulvaney was more likely, but I also can't see Mulvaney risking his job to publish this, even anonymously.

My assumption is that it's some just-below-cabinet-level individual who was privy to cabinet discussions, and not actually someone in the cabinet, but this is weird and unprecedented, so, really, who knows?
posted by cjelli at 1:33 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Maybe Dan Coats? Is he still around?

I really don't see, based on the content of the op-ed, this having been written by a defense or intelligence person. "anti-trade"? It has to be one of the domestic people. Chao. Mnuchin. etc.
posted by Justinian at 1:34 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Galaxy Brain: It was Rick Perry.
posted by Justinian at 1:35 PM on September 5 [12 favorites]


Somebody suggested Nikki Haley, and I can buy that.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:38 PM on September 5 [18 favorites]


Well lets all make sure to keep listing the names of people that work in the white house that's sure to do it
posted by lazaruslong at 1:40 PM on September 5 [79 favorites]


Can someone make a grid or something so I can follow this guessing? It’s like trying to follow theories about LOST.
posted by sio42 at 1:40 PM on September 5 [20 favorites]


Believe nothing. It's after Labor Day. Everything is information warfare now. This stupid fake NYTimes anonymous Op-Ed is just another information operation, released at the perfect time to try to get the heat of Kavanaugh. Notice how it neatly rebuts the now extremely popular notion that we need to elect new members of Congress to reign in Trump's worst impulses. "We're already doing it!" says Anonymous Hero White House Staffer. Does that Trump guy look crazy? He sure does! But don't worry, we're on it!

Another stupid distraction is the alleged white power symbol thrown by the woman in the audience of the Kavanaugh hearings. She got a text telling her she was on camera, then made an innocuous hand sign that yet another anonymous person on 4Chan had set up months earlier. This is an old trick. Back during the 2008 Obama-McCain race, Obama was giving a big speech that was televised live. Republican operatives tried to cause a controversy about the white columns in the background of the stage Obama was speaking on. They were too pretentious, too much like the White House, too presidential looking for a mere candidate.

Why did they do this? To get you look at the background, not at the person on the screen speaking to you. If you're too busy trying to read meaning into an innocuous background, you're too busy to listen to the words coming out of the speaker's mouth. It also had the secondary effect of trying to delegitimize Obama, saying he was not worthy of the White House, but the primary effect of the tactic was get the audience to take their eyes off the ball. They were literally framing the discussion by talking about the background.

And this NYTimes OpEd does something similar. It's primary purpose is distraction, the "wave a shiny thing at the press" tactic. The secondary purpose is to ease the minds of voters who want a check on Trump, because "the adults" are really in charge. There's also an element of drama. Who betrayed the president? Was it Mattis? Some low-level staffer? Now we're all primed for another Trump blow-up, which will happen in public, far away from the hearing room.

Everything is information warfare with these guys.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:40 PM on September 5 [31 favorites]


An argument here for Pence
posted by cnelson at 1:40 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Robert Lighthizer is the United States Trade Representative. He was previously involved with Reagan and Dole, and was confirmed by the Senate 82-14. He was an international trade lawyer for 30 years. Notably, since he is not the "principle officer of an executive department", he would not be involved in the 25th Amendment process, and so is perhaps more free to speak about it. He could be the guy.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:41 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


It's funny that no one has suggested Pence, despite the fact that he's the obvious beneficiary.
posted by Slothrup at 1:41 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


An argument here for Pence

I think it can't be Pence, insofar as the NYT said that publishing the officials name would 'endanger their job' -- and Pence is the one person that Trump can't fire.
posted by cjelli at 1:42 PM on September 5 [12 favorites]


I'd add that whoever wrote this, if they're not a career government official, knew what they signed up for. The campaign was pretty widely covered. "The president’s amorality" could not possibly have come as a surprise.

I think back on something Trump said around the 100 day mark in an AP interview when he was asked how being President is different from his business career: "here, almost everything affects people...Here, everything, pretty much everything you do in government, involves heart, whereas in business, most things don't involve heart."

I don't know how much more clearly you can announce you're a sociopath than only after becoming President are you surprised your actions affect other people. Anybody working for him knew what they were getting into.

The author seems like someone who would be perfectly happy with the harm that would occur under Jeb! (or Rick Perry, as Justinian points out, but Jeb! is so much more fun to type). They wanted a fairly far-right economic policy, masquerading as "common sense," lots of deregulation and tax cuts, and whatever social policy is required to keep evangelical voters reasonably happy, which is what you do when you aren't personally impacted by who gets hurt. They want us to know that the "adults in the room" are trying to make him act like Jeb!, even though he's an amoral madman who doesn't believe in true conservatism like Jeb! obviously does, and therefore...I don't know; the op-ed has no real ending and just ends in a stupid platitude because what the hell do you say after that?

I don't really care who wrote it. The core of the message here is that Trump isn't a real conservative, and the adults around him are trying their best to make him seem like one. To me, it reads more like a plea for help to the kinds of Republicans who dreamed of a President Romney: send reinforcements, we're drowning.
posted by zachlipton at 1:42 PM on September 5 [20 favorites]


It can't be Cohn -- the author is stated to be currently in the administration.

I think they might be running cover for him.
posted by PenDevil at 1:43 PM on September 5


Pence is deeply entangled with Trumps criminality - if Trump goes, Pence goes.

(sadly this makes it less likely Trump will go)
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


The knives are out for Mattis, an anonymous Trump White House official tells the Washington Post: The White House Is Discussing Potential Replacements For Jim Mattis: “The speculation about who replaces Mattis is now more real than ever,” said a senior White House official who was not authorized to speak about internal matters. “The president has always respected him. But now he has every reason to wonder what Mattis is saying behind his back. The relationship has nowhere to go but down, fast.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:45 PM on September 5


That’s the final scene of the movie.
[Obama, Dubya, and Jimmy Carter step over smoking White House rubble.]
Obama: You must be Lodestar.
Dubya: Good thing you deactivated the launch codes before the building blew.
Carter: The nation is in your debt.
posted by growabrain at 1:45 PM on September 5 [13 favorites]


who gives a shit who the author is? this is a distraction from things that actually matter.
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 1:45 PM on September 5 [21 favorites]


"We're already doing it!" says Anonymous Hero White House Staffer. Does that Trump guy look crazy? He sure does! But don't worry, we're on it!"

Smart, Qualified People Behind The Scenes Keeping America Safe: 'We Don't Exist' (Onion, 2010)
posted by Iridic at 1:47 PM on September 5 [34 favorites]


who gives a shit who the author is? this is a distraction from things that actually matter.

We're swimming in distractions. Another one won't matter.

The only thing that matters is voting D November 6th.
posted by notyou at 1:49 PM on September 5 [23 favorites]


>It can't be Cohn -- the author is stated to be currently in the administration.

I think they might be running cover for him.


The whole thing is weird, but I don't think that's very likely: you can omit information in sourcing if there's a good and justified reason but making up false information is just not done, because at that point you're actively lying to the public. The 'an anonymous official' part is the cover -- the cover is that they're agreeing to publish the op-ed without naming the author, which is already a huge step.
posted by cjelli at 1:49 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


hey guys what if it's Pence! that'd be crazy lol

who gives a shit who the author is? this is a distraction from things that actually matter.

we're reading this on MetaFilter. we're already distracted. Kavanaugh will be confirmed whether we assiduously liveblog his hearing or not.

it's not always time for some game theory. sometimes it's OK to just watch one of the wheels come off the bus and bounce down the road.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:49 PM on September 5 [61 favorites]


"We're already doing it!" says Anonymous Hero White House Staffer. Does that Trump guy look crazy? He sure does! But don't worry, we're on it!

I mean, the other reading is that Random Anonymous Guy Who Could Easily Be Purged Tonight might be all that's stopping the president from ordering a nuclear strike on Canada, so let's get rid of the fucking president rather than hoping he doesn't figure out which smarmy old white guy he should fire.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:50 PM on September 5 [12 favorites]


> The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

Why would you write this essay if you really, *truly* felt like you and your fellow "senior officials" were working to thwart the worst excesses of Trump's presidency? "Hello! I'm a spy and my fellow spies and I are doing lots of spying!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:51 PM on September 5 [14 favorites]


Pence's job can't in any meaningful way be jeopardized by the disclosure that it's him. He already does nothing, and can't really lose his job of doing nothing just because Trump doesn't like him, which he already doesn't.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:52 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Bork got a floor vote. He wasn’t filibustered. Garland didn’t even get a committee hearing. That we still talk about Bork as some injustice (heh) is a testament to how effective conservative talking points are with the MSM.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:55 PM on September 5 [37 favorites]


It's heartening that someone's trying to throw him under the bus, is all, even if it's only an attempt to save their own sorry hide.

(The op-ed author "works for the president," declares "effective deregulation, historic tax reform" and "a more robust military" as bright spots of the administration, criticizes him for being anti-trade and un-Republican, and firmly distances themselves and their colleagues from his Russian stance. It's senior staff getting tough with those sanctions, they'll have you know, in direct opposition to his 'worst inclinations'. Then they finish by lauding current archnemesis McCain? 10/10, would read again, though they're at peace with letting those inclinations take point on child torture, neo-Nazis, the Puerto Rico crisis, climate change... they remain conservative & Republican, it's just majorly inconvenient he's so unmanageable)
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:55 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


From LGM comments re: our anonymous hero: "At least Haig stood in front of the cameras when he declared himself in charge."
posted by tonycpsu at 1:55 PM on September 5 [15 favorites]


So whoever wrote it is trying to make Pence a suspect by using his verbal binky "lodestar".

2014 me would never believe this year.
posted by maudlin at 1:56 PM on September 5 [28 favorites]


@make5calls

Now for the gossip segment of our show... Who wrote it???

So far their poll has Mattis winning.
posted by sio42 at 1:57 PM on September 5


Someone in the NYT Facebook comments suggested Melania. That's fun to imagine!

I think it's useful to try to figure out who wrote it, because that would get us closer to understanding what they're hoping to accomplish here. All the potential motives are fuzzy and they all seem like bad-faith efforts, but that could change if the author turned out to be [whoever].
posted by witchen at 1:58 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


With regard to not using the 25th Amendment, @rauchway (historian):
Let's put it this way: declining to use the Constitution and instead using unconstitutional means to run the executive branch is, very much, a Constitutional crisis.

Even a quite short list of things that are not constitutional crises would, I think, have to include "doing what the constitution instructs."

So for example: sending the Army to Little Rock to enforce _Brown v. Board_ was not Eisenhower precipitating a constitutional crisis. Eisenhower was enforcing the Supreme Court's (unanimous) ruling on what was in the constitution. He was exercising his constitutional authority. It was the Arkansas government that, acting in *defiance* of the constitution, precipitated the crisis.

If you want to avoid a constitutional crisis, you should act within the confines of the constitution, not outside them.
posted by zachlipton at 1:58 PM on September 5 [83 favorites]


So whoever wrote it is trying to make Pence a suspect by using his verbal binky "lodestar."

Yeah, it's either a frame-up job on Pence or it's Pence. He's used "lodestar" at least 3 times in the last year, and as far back as 2011.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:00 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


that dash is an Ivanka tic, tho
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:03 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Re "lodestar": The Director of Speechwriting for the Vice President is Stephen Ford, who is also "Special Assistant to the President". He doesn't seem sufficiently senior to match the NYT's description, but he could have helped someone out by editing their article and inserting his favorite word. (I feel sure it's not Pence, for the reason cited by cjelli.)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:04 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


I really don't see, based on the content of the op-ed, this having been written by a defense or intelligence person.
___
Yeah, it's either a frame-up job on Pence or it's Pence.


If there's one thing an experienced defense/intelligence careerist would never ever do, it's cloak an anonymous letter in the well-known concerns and verbal tics of another party.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:05 PM on September 5 [33 favorites]


I don't know man I think actual embedded resistance would involve more sabotage and destroying of supply lines myself
posted by The Whelk at 2:05 PM on September 5 [26 favorites]


A pithier version of my comment: @NPRinskeep: In a way, the op-ed amounts to pro-administration messaging: “Don’t worry, we know he’s off his rocker but we’re on that and don’t forget the tax cuts.”
posted by zachlipton at 2:06 PM on September 5 [55 favorites]


It can’t be Pence if Pence wants any legitimacy if Trump is impeached/25th-ed. He needs to keep his hands as clean as possible, especially of any whiff that he might be manipulating or circumventing the president now.

I don’t understand why one would claim this is a distraction. There has been an admission that an actual secret cabal is running the country. I know it’s 2018 but Jesus fucking Christ that merits at least some attention, I would think.
posted by lydhre at 2:06 PM on September 5 [59 favorites]


Yeah, it's either a frame-up job on Pence or it's Pence. He's used "lodestar" at least 3 times in the last year, and as far back as 2011.
posted by Rust Moranis at 0:00 on September 6 [has favorites +] [!]


that dash is an Ivanka tic, tho
posted by Iris Gambol at 0:03 on September 6 [+] [!]


I'm voting discordian writing style mashup deliberately containing shibboleths of multiple people for maximum chaos.
posted by each day we work at 2:08 PM on September 5 [50 favorites]


I honestly forget there’s a VP sometimes. And then I remember it’s a terrible human.
posted by sio42 at 2:08 PM on September 5 [27 favorites]


Without adding to the speculation over authorship myself, here’s Dara Lind (Vox) breaking down the anonymous NYT op-ed and providing some context:

The New York Times’s Trump-bashing op-ed from a senior Trump official, explained
... And even when people are actively trying to protect America from Trump, that effort may not work. The “free market” op-ed author, whoever they are, hasn’t stopped Trump from enacting steel and aluminum tariffs with very little review, or engaging in an escalating trade war with China — or from nearly-scuttling NAFTA renegotiation talks by insulting Canada off-the-record during an interview.

The “deep state” can try to hammer out an agreement with representatives of Kim Jong Un about denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but they can’t stop the president from agreeing, behind closed doors, to Kim’s request to formally declare an end to the Korean War.

The Times op-ed writer seems convinced that they are doing more good by staying than they would by telling the truth, with name attached, and leaving. But that doesn’t mean that every reader, even without knowing who the author is, has to agree.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:09 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


NBC News, Trump admin rejected report showing refugees did not pose major security threat
The Trump administration has consistently sought to exaggerate the potential security threat posed by refugees and dismissed an intelligence assessment last year that showed refugees did not present a significant threat to the U.S., three former senior officials told NBC News.

Hardliners in the administration then issued their own report this year that several former officials and rights groups say misstates the evidence and inflates the threat posed by people born outside the U.S.

At a meeting in September 2017 with senior officials discussing refugee admissions, a representative from the National Counterterrorism Center came ready to present a report that analyzed the possible risks presented by refugees entering the country.

But before he could discuss the report, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand dismissed the report, saying her boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, would not be guided by its findings. "We read that. The Attorney General doesn't agree with the conclusions of that report," she said, according to two officials familiar with the meeting, including one who was in the room at the time.
posted by zachlipton at 2:09 PM on September 5 [37 favorites]


Pence is deeply entangled with Trumps criminality - if Trump goes, Pence goes.

I'm perfectly willing to believe this, but what are the details?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:11 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


Do you KNOW how loco he's going to get tonight when he goes up to the residence? I bet Hannity is on the way down from NYC with a snuggie and a tranquilizer gun
posted by growabrain at 2:14 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Sorry to add to the speculation pile, but ain't no way it's Pence. That fucker doesn't do anything but dance where trump tells him to dance and is not accountable to much other than senate tiebreaker votes.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:14 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


I'm perfectly willing to believe this, but what are the details?

Mainly speculation fueled by the fact that he was pushed heavily on Trump by Manafort.
posted by dilaudid at 2:14 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Why would we deal with a dangerously incompetent President by using the constitutionally-prescribed remedy, when we could instead be governed by means of the Director of the National Economic Council literally stealing shit off the Resolute Desk
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:14 PM on September 5 [77 favorites]




if you're really quietly sabotaging the administration from inside, writing about it in the NYT is hell of dumb.

“Hell of Dumb” would be a good title for the 12-season, 300-episode Netflix series that eventually results from the smoking ruins of this administration.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:21 PM on September 5 [27 favorites]


Maybe Putin wrote it.
posted by yoga at 2:21 PM on September 5 [29 favorites]


vibrotronica: Its primary purpose is distraction, the "wave a shiny thing at the press" tactic. The secondary purpose is to ease the minds of voters who want a check on Trump, because "the adults" are really in charge.

I think this is something that a lot of voters did/do believe in the abstract, back when they made the decision to do something other than vote for Hillary. "I know he's terrible, but there are safeguards in place". But when you have particular examples of "The president wanted to bomb such-and-such and we intervened in the nick of time", it's very different, even though the reality is in-principle the same as the original notion... because that notion was only ever a kind of dream logic.

There's an episode of The Good Place in which the philosophy professor Chidi is put through a highly realistic simulation of the trolley problem. As a result, all his prior rumination about it is overtaken by panic. That's what this piece is like with respect to "There are adults in the room". Anyone coming away from those accounts reassured about the state of the White House was always unswayable in the first place, and/or literally incapable of caring about anything that matters.

(Come to think of it, whoever wrote it probably shared the same notion before taking whatever job they have, implicitly assuming that some amorphous Them would always prevail. "When I signed up for leopard wrangling, I didn't think I'd have to get between the leopard and the faces! Don't leopards have wranglers, for christsakes?")
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:23 PM on September 5 [20 favorites]


it's not always time for some game theory. sometimes it's OK to just watch one of the wheels come off the bus and bounce down the road.

This can't be grey propaganda! It's telling us what we want to hear!
posted by vibrotronica at 2:25 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Lord, that op-ed was garbage.

It was basically just a substance-free, limited hangout of Trump-the-person in an effort to rehabilitate the Trump administration.

Up until now, I have resisted getting on the "fuck the New York Times" bandwagon, but seriously: Fuck the New York Times.

This was not "an important viewpoint." There was no significant new information or analysis in it at all. It's an easy, breezy, bullshit PR document, and there was no reason on Earth to publish it except as a solid to the Whitehouse.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:26 PM on September 5 [23 favorites]


@alexandraerin: "When this is all over, if the GOP and the country outlast Trump in any form, expect the individual who penned this essay to come forward ready to accept accolades and help be the face of the New GOP, or whatever the GOP becomes."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:26 PM on September 5 [14 favorites]


"Everyone can relax, the President really does show up to work with his underwear on his head most days, but we got this"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:28 PM on September 5 [28 favorites]


This is the written equivalent of the one blank round they put in the firing squad rifles. It may help the executioners sleep at night but we're still tied to a post with a dozen rounds in our carcasses.
posted by cmfletcher at 2:29 PM on September 5 [56 favorites]


This can't be grey propaganda! It's telling us what we want to hear!

I don’t see that happening in here at all. Lots of folks are calling into question the background, motives, angle, etc. of the author of this piece. You deserve kudos for refraining from calling us “sheeple,” though! :p
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:33 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure how many "I'm too smart for this" takes we really need
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:34 PM on September 5 [24 favorites]


Bloomberg' Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) reports SHS is parroting Giuliani from yesterday: "NEW: "This coward should do the right thing and resign," Sarah Huckabee Sanders says in a statement about the anonymous senior admin official's opinion piece in the NYT."

Purges incoming soon!
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:36 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


Lord, that op-ed was garbage.

Yeah, but in her heart, Nikki Haley knows she'd make a better president.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:38 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


@alexandraerin: "When this is all over, if the GOP and the country outlast Trump in any form, expect the individual who penned this essay to come forward ready to accept accolades and help be the face of the New GOP, or whatever the GOP becomes."

I swear that I will drive anywhere within 100 miles of Detroit to put a pie in that person’s face, forever.
posted by Etrigan at 2:38 PM on September 5 [22 favorites]


that dash is an Ivanka tic, tho

This is getting into very silly weeds, but Ivanka seems to have a style to her em-dash use— and she often follows them with a conjunction, separating the sentence into two halves.
I believe that we each get one life — and it’s up to us to live it to the fullest.

We often don’t realize that while we’re waiting for our lives to begin, they already have — and they’re made up of all the decisions we make, big and small, conscious or not.

During this time, we disconnect completely — no emails, no TV, no phone calls, no Internet.

Learning to negotiate is essential to truly staking your claim — and not just because it’s a critical career skill.


Whereas Anonymous Op-Ed Writer more often uses dashes to — in the very middle of the sentence — interrupt and elaborate on their thought to play with tension and flow in the reader's mind. (I've marked the exceptions to this in bold to keep myself honest). They do not follow their dashes with conjunctions at all.
The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.

So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.
posted by Jpfed at 2:40 PM on September 5 [27 favorites]


@alexandraerin: "When this is all over, if the GOP and the country outlast Trump in any form, expect the individual who penned this essay to come forward ready to accept accolades and help be the face of the New GOP, or whatever the GOP becomes."

I swear that I will drive anywhere within 100 miles of Detroit to put a pie in that person’s face, forever.


I’ll chip in on gas, Etrigan. And pie.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:40 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


When this is all over, if the GOP and the country outlast Trump in any form, expect the individual who penned this essay to come forward ready to accept accolades and help be the face of the New GOP, or whatever the GOP becomes.

And I will then say to them, I never knew you. Depart from me, evildoers.
posted by tclark at 2:42 PM on September 5 [11 favorites]


The Daily Beast confirms Woodward's reporting that Trump used an offensive term for people with intellectual disabilities to describe Jeff Sessions, citing two sources, despite the President's denials. Trump claimed he's never used that word, despite er examples., among oth

As far as the comments about Giuliani, Rudy's math has been revised from 20-30 witnesses down to 5, but I am still unsure how he plans to prove a negative, as I, too, can assemble thousands of witnesses who did not hear Trump attack Giuliani in this way:
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney and the former mayor of New York City, similarly tweeted that a passage in which Trump called him “a little baby that needed to be changed” was a lie. ”20 to 30 witnesses saw it and can say he or his source are liars,” Giuliani wrote. “Most important for libel purposes, he never called me. Didn’t want to know truth.”

Asked by The Daily Beast on Wednesday about his tweet, Giuliani revised his numbers, claiming, while declining to name names, that “so far I have 5 eyewitnesses,” and that he has “10 to 15 to go.” Noticeably annoyed with the book and his cameos in it, Giuliani added: “I know [Woodward is] a DC god but he has a history of sloppy [journalism to] make money…I’m tired of it.”
posted by zachlipton at 2:42 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


I mean, it's bonkers that this op-ed exists, whether it's written completely in earnest or is some multidimensional chess fakeout that SHS wrote under Trump's direction. The NYT even included a "we know this is bonkers, here's a text entry field in case you want to yell at us" box in the middle of it. If the republic dies because we we're busy slapping lodestars and em-dashes on our red yarn boards, so be it
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:45 PM on September 5 [46 favorites]


An opponent with $350,000 will have Collins shaking in her shoes, I'm sure.

380k+, now.

If that fund breaks $450k, it's on the order of magnitude as Collins' cash on hand as listed in that link you provided. In one swoop. That's not the sum total of the fundraising her opponent will have; that's an easy bonus because she took one vote.

Maybe the GOP will throw her over the bow if she votes no, but there's more than one way to end your political career, and if your constituents toss you in favor of a well-funded opponent, continued support of your party isn't worth quite as much.

Also, the idea that the GOP would take drastic retaliatory measures against any individual Senator right now seems to ignore that the margin of Senate control is so thin that breathing wrong could mean they lose control of it.

And if we here on the blue are right about exactly how thoroughly infested and traitorous most of the damn GOP really is, well, the shift of the Senate along with the House not only means lost momentum, it means the country gets to find out about everything.

So, my bet is that while the pressure is real, it's also still as diplomatic. At least, as these times allow.
posted by wildblueyonder at 2:46 PM on September 5 [18 favorites]


I don't think it's Ivanka. It seems as if Ivanka just wants to ride this out so she can spend the rest of her life in a skyscraper in Russia avoiding extradition.

Whatever it is, fake or real, it's nonsense and a show of shame. But if Trump's not in on its being a fake -- and why would they tell him? he would refuse to even pretend to be believed incompetent -- it'll put the cat among the pigeons, and that will be amusing for half a minute.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:48 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure how many "I'm too smart for this" takes we really need

Is kneejerk skepticism really any worse than game theorizing, amateur sleuthing, or armchair kremlinology? It's all equally speculation at this point.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:48 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Marist/NBC is out with a poll of the Indiana Senate seat. This should be one of the Republicans top opportunities. Upshot? Donnelly +6 among LV, Donnelly +6 among RV, narrower leader (but still a lead) if the libertarian candidate is included.

That's excellent news for Democrats hopes for the Senate if it holds.

My "everything is terrible" scenario is still that Democrats hold all or all but one of their red-state seats and Bill Fucking Nelson and Bob "Greed is Good" Menendez screw us. I know Chrysostom will yell at me for worrying this much about Menedez but, seriously, I just know he's gonna fuck us somehow.
posted by Justinian at 2:48 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


. If the republic dies because we we're busy slapping lodestars and em-dashes on our red yarn boards, so be it

It dies not with a bang, but with a “well, actually”
posted by schadenfrau at 2:51 PM on September 5 [27 favorites]


Any Mefites who live in Florida who can drive down to Bill Nelson's house when he's in state and let him know he's up for election in a couple months? It's not clear to me he realizes this is an election year. You'd be doing us a solid.
posted by Justinian at 2:54 PM on September 5 [15 favorites]


I mean, it's bonkers that this op-ed exists, whether it's written completely in earnest or is some multidimensional chess fakeout that SHS wrote under Trump's direction. The NYT even included a "we know this is bonkers, here's a text entry field in case you want to yell at us" box in the middle of it. If the republic dies because we we're busy slapping lodestars and em-dashes on our red yarn boards, so be it.

I'm not sure what gives you the impression that people can't care (or just chin-wag) about this while also simultaneously resisting and calling Congress and doing whatever it is you feel is a better use of our time and thought. I mean, I can fuck off on MetaFilter AND donate to campaigns AND keep up on other types of news AND remain mindful of Kavanaugh, and I'm below average. And none of it is going to get in the way of my voting or getting out the vote. Geez. If you think it's a dumb topic, talk about other things. That's why it's called a catch-all thread.

Also, between the Woodward book and this op-ed and all the other mini-leaks, multiple unelected administration officials have now publicly (anonymously) confessed to perpetrating a kind of soft -- or in the case of Mattis, not-so-soft -- coup d'etat. That's a fairly unusual development even by batshit 2016-18 standards.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:05 PM on September 5 [17 favorites]


Rudy's math has been revised from 20-30 witnesses down to 5

"I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five people that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department."
posted by kirkaracha at 3:07 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


I mean, I can fuck off on MetaFilter AND donate to campaigns AND keep up on other types of news AND remain mindful of Kavanaugh, and I'm below average.

you misunderstand me. I agree with what you are saying here.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:10 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Apologies -- I misread your comments!
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:11 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Any Mefites who live in Florida who can drive down to Bill Nelson's house when he's in state and let him know he's up for election in a couple months? It's not clear to me he realizes this is an election year. You'd be doing us a solid.

I call constantly and they don't even bother answering the phones anymore. His "campaign" is a joke and I wouldn't be surprised if Gillum won and he still lost to Rick Scott.
posted by photoslob at 3:13 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


I think it’s Sessions. He’s a high-ranking official, he’d praise McCain, he has an incentive to cover his ass and undermine Trump, and the bit about the author’s job being in jeopardy definitely fits.
posted by EarBucket at 3:19 PM on September 5


The cursed op-ed is nicely self-proving, with events since its publication already demonstrating several of its claims:

And so it is written:
“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.
And thus Reuters proclaims, In quick reversal, Trump threatens shutdown over border wall:
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be willing to shut down the U.S. government over border security issues, reversing a stance he took a day earlier.
...

Trump reiterated that threat on Wednesday. Responding to a reporter’s question about a possible shutdown, he said: “If it happens, it happens. If it’s about border security, I’m willing to do anything. We have to protect our borders.”

His stance contradicts an interview he gave to the Daily Caller on Tuesday, when he said: “I don’t like the idea of shutdowns.” “I don’t see even myself or anybody else closing down the country right now,” he was quoted as saying.
The op-ed:
Given the instability many witnessed
And so the President tweets (in its entirety):
TREASON?
posted by zachlipton at 3:21 PM on September 5 [19 favorites]


Surprisingly, this is not not the most hypocritical thing the Times has published this year.
posted by Roger_Mexico at 3:22 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


I wish people would stop referring to the great Trump economy. Obama lowered unemployment from 10 to 5%. Trump has lowered it from 5 to 4%, mostly by eliminating foreign work visas and kicking out immigrants. Obama had a great economy. Trump rides the fumes.

For the link, select ten year window.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:24 PM on September 5 [47 favorites]


When did he start harping on treason, one of those crimes that can be pushed through a friendly fashy court and results in death?
posted by Slackermagee at 3:29 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


And so the President tweets (in its entirety):
TREASON?


Now he's going to have to ask his yogi for a new mantra.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:31 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


TREASON?

Trump 0 : bleeding ulcer 1
posted by lydhre at 3:34 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Between this TREASON? tweet and Trump's on-camera response to the NYT anon. op-ed, this thread may need the batshitinsane tag.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:36 PM on September 5 [13 favorites]


Refresh. We regret the omission; things were merely batshit last night.
posted by zachlipton at 3:40 PM on September 5 [19 favorites]


I love how he looks behind him for audience reaction. That is also the longest trump clip audio or video I’ve watched in ages. I think he used sentences. But not sense.
posted by sio42 at 3:41 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Despair, or folly? It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope.

- Gandalf

Walk out of these corrupt hearings.
posted by adept256 at 3:43 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Someday when I’m not president, which should hopefully be in about… [dramatic pause]
I was very surprised to hear him follow that with “six and a half years.”
posted by lostburner at 3:44 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


Pence is deeply entangled with Trumps criminality - if Trump goes, Pence goes.

I'm perfectly willing to believe this, but what are the details?

posted by kirkaracha at 2:11 PM on September 5 [2 favorites +] [!]
I'm perfectly willing to believe this, but what are the details?
Mainly speculation fueled by the fact that he was pushed heavily on Trump by Manafort.

posted by dilaudid at 2:14 PM on September 5 [3 favorites +] [!]

I don't know that it's pure speculation. WaPo had this to say about his involvement in the Russian collusion.
Pence reportedly was present at the Oval Office meeting where Trump read the draft memo concerning his decision to fire Comey. That memo apparently was a screed about Comey’s handling of the Russia probe. Pence subsequently related to Congress and the press the phony cover story that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein had cooked up, namely that Comey had improperly handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Pence denied Comey was fired over the Russia investigation, a position Trump swiftly contradicted in his interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt.

Moreover, like now-embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Pence repeatedly denied that the campaign had any contacts with the Russians. Perhaps Pence knew and forgot, perhaps he knew and lied on behalf of the president, or perhaps he was kept in the dark.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:54 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Bob "Greed is Good" Menendez screw us. I know Chrysostom will yell at me for worrying this much about Menedez but, seriously, I just know he's gonna fuck us somehow.

I haven't seen any ads for Menendez. I haven't been called, canvassed, I haven't gotten anything in the mail. I've seen Hugin's attack ads a lot, and Menendez as far as I can tell is not defending himself. This is in pattern for him - he's never in the news except for bad things. I don't get it, I don't like it, and I wish I had someone else besides Menendez to vote for.

My local house race is hopping, if you want a brighter note, NJ 07 is considered a swing district for the first time in a decade and I've been canvassed twice already.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 3:58 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


Real Translation: "When this is all over, please don't hate me or shun me in public life,

The reason I hate this op-ed is not because I don't think adults are working to mitigate this toxic president: I do think that. So do many, many adults throughout the country. We see the effects and we know.

What I do hate is that the writer of this op-ed felt that plausible deniability, people not hating Cabinet members (and the 25th amendment statement, imho, tips this off as a Cabinet member) is worth giving up the operational security of being a covert agent. The writer has literally, by coming out in the NYT, one of the few papers Trump is aware enough to be interested in, told the enemy directly there's an agent of the resistance in the henhouse. So he's basically initiated fucking purge trials for the benefit of being able to be less socially shunned.

Fuck this author and the horse he (It's almost definitely a he, my bet is on Zinke) literally or metaphorically rode in on.
posted by corb at 4:00 PM on September 5 [26 favorites]


Can we just step back and take a beat to consider that the NYT just published an op-ed that amounts to "we are the Deep State and we are working to stymie the elected president"? This is, like, a NeverTrump QAnon. Except in the Times.

As to why it was important to publish- and, furthermore, even more important to know who wrote it? Well- whoever it is is claiming to have the real levers of power in the US Government and say they are a member of a cabal dedicated to undermining the president!

David Frum (yeah yeah I know): This Is a Constitutional Crisis: A cowardly coup from within the administration threatens to enflame the president’s paranoia and further endanger American security.

That said, if the writer meant what they said, they should have called on Congress to act. They should have called on people to vote for the Democrats. But nope: it's party over country every single time with these cowardly assholes.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:01 PM on September 5 [76 favorites]


It’s a laughably transparent attempt to save the Republican Party and Conservatism from Trump in the midterms, and possibly to set up a post-midterm 25th amendment remedy.

I want to duel whatever delusional, gas lighting piece of shit wrote it.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:04 PM on September 5 [31 favorites]


I mean, this is very clearly an extra-constitutional political move. Whoever wrote it, and whatever actual cabal they represent, are part of the story. They should absolutely not be granted anonymity, what the FUCK.

Like this is not something that should be run without corroboration. It’s a literal statement of a existence of a shadow fucking government.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:07 PM on September 5 [22 favorites]


I just knew this day would end in a duel.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:07 PM on September 5 [15 favorites]


Also the thrust of that piece isn't "I'm from the Deep State here to save America", it's "the Republican agenda is in jeopardy because he's a fucking moron".
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:09 PM on September 5 [73 favorites]


I want to duel whatever delusional, gas lighting piece of shit wrote it.

They didn't have the guts to put their name to it. There's even less chance of them showing up to a duel.

Anyway, I really feel like it's pointless to try to guess who wrote this stupid thing. They're all horrible people regardless. Oh god what if Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote it?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:11 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


As an aside, there's a Facebook group or two that's part of a sort of lefty mirrorverse QAnon, who believe they're being fed tips from insiders at the White House who are adults in the room keeping a check on Trump, and that there's a whole conspiracy being set up to eventually snap shut a mousetrap on Trump. It's a lot more coherent than QAnon but approximately as believable.

And then this op-ed comes out which (if you take it at face value, which you shouldn't) seems to validate the entire conspiracy theory. I've never seen anything quite like it. It's like the NYT publishing an anonymous op-ed from someone at the top of the Air Force saying that actually there are extraterrestrials being kept at Area 51.

Also the thrust of that piece isn't "I'm from the Deep State here to save America", it's "the Republican agenda is in jeopardy because he's a fucking moron".

It's a 2 faces / 1 vase sort of thing. The overt words are "we're saving America from Trump" but what it's really saying is "we're saving the Republican party from Trump"
posted by BungaDunga at 4:14 PM on September 5 [17 favorites]


I think it is McGahn. It is a nice parting shot with the added benefit of distracting from the Kavanaugh testimony snafus re: stolen Senator emails.
posted by Roger_Mexico at 4:16 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


Sorry, corb, but Ryan Zinke couldn’t write sentences like those even if his fucking zodiac boat depended upon it.
posted by valkane at 4:18 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


Chris Hayes: The op-ed is an attempt to take out an insurance policy for the GOP and conservatism if and when things get much much worse. It's a very public hedge meant to preserve the reputation of the GOP's entire political and governing class.

Dan Phiffer: This is right. It’s a way for the Paul Ryans and John Kellys of the world to justify enabling a dim witted, narcissist as President.
See, they tried to help us the whole time. It was all Trump's fault, and no other elected Republican or Republican voter.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:19 PM on September 5 [49 favorites]


And then this op-ed comes out which (if you take it at face value, which you shouldn't) seems to validate the entire conspiracy theory.

“...and a single conspiracy nut who no one will believe!”
posted by schadenfrau at 4:21 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


If ever there was a time to burn a source. Sheesh.

The author, unless they're the stupidest person in the world, knew exactly what effect this would have on Trump and the dynamics within the White House, and fully intended it, right down to choosing the NYT as the outlet for it.
posted by The World Famous at 4:23 PM on September 5 [25 favorites]


...and we said Woodward wasn't front-loading his book tour...

[jeez louise that was only this morning]
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:30 PM on September 5 [14 favorites]


I think it was actually smart to go in anon at least at the start. Everything right now is about the message rather than the person who wrote it. Who wrote it is just a flame for the pundit moths.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:31 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Chris Hayes: The op-ed is an attempt to take out an insurance policy for the GOP and conservatism if and when things get much much worse. It's a very public hedge meant to preserve the reputation of the GOP's entire political and governing class.

Please please run in 2020 on "We could've impeached or 25th-ed him before the apocalypse, but we wanted to make sure you got your very unpopular and insignificant tax cuts."
posted by chris24 at 4:31 PM on September 5 [21 favorites]


The overt words are "we're saving America from Trump" but what it's really saying is "we're saving the Republican party from Trump"

Could be an opening shot in a Blame Trump for Everything movement. I've said before that any other Republican candidate would have done most of the same damage (especially the same things Mr. WHanon approves of) but with far less chance of stirring things up enough to hurt the Party. The 'stick with Trump' motivation probably comes from seeing the polls not precipitously drop... until just now. I thought the polls collapse was inevitable but not until close to the midterms, and the closer we get, the more it will look like even maximum Russian hacking can save the GOP. If so, we're starting to be saved... we'll just have to get past the 2020 elections and especially 2022 to have a real chance at making America into a True Democracy, or even a True Republic, and not the Sham System I've seen for my entire adult life (and I'm old enough to have voted for Carter).
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:33 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


No clues in the writing itself lead me to believe this, but I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Miller. He's the right mixture of evil, dumb, and bombastic to think of something like this, and it would definitely give him a Nazi-boner to use the press against itself in this way. Just a thought.
posted by Rykey at 4:36 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


The point is not whether it is Pence, it's whether we can convince Trump that it's Pence. (in time for a change of Speakers of the House).
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:38 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


See, they tried to help us the whole time. It was all Trump's fault, and no other elected Republican or Republican voter.

The Republican voters (and their enablers, foreign and domestic) gave the keys to the visibly drunk driver. The Republican Congress — and now Party — keep plying him with booze from the backseat.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:41 PM on September 5 [11 favorites]


(edited to add long em dashes to cover my tracks)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:42 PM on September 5 [20 favorites]


Bill Kristol thinks it's Kevin Hassett, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:42 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Well, if Bill Kristol says it's Hassett, then it's definitely not Hassett.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:46 PM on September 5 [14 favorites]


Can we stop guessing who wrote the thing
posted by localhuman at 4:47 PM on September 5 [47 favorites]


PLOT TWIST: Trump wrote it himself to get everyone to stop talking about Russia or Kavanaugh and get back to paying attention to him.
posted by SisterHavana at 4:48 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


My thoughts are on record so no further guessing, but Kristol is dumb. Nobody knows who Hassett is and the NYT would make a grave error granting him anonymity in this fashion. It's somebody whose name people would actually recognize.
posted by Justinian at 4:50 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


And so the President tweets (in its entirety):
TREASON?


So he admits it now?
posted by SisterHavana at 4:50 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


The current consensus that it's a face-saving operation is encouraging, because it implies that the future USA (nor even just the future GOP) won't simply lionize Trump, just as with Reagan and (now) Bush. Or for that matter, you know, Robert E Lee.

I think the deciding factor in whether or not that happens comes down entirely to whether there's something like impeachment or similar external threat to the regime's legitimacy. Otherwise, if he can plod along until 2020, then he'll be remembered at least as fondly as any other one-term president. The history of this country in general, and the Republican Party specifically, does not have Damascus moments where a fuckup is collectively acknowledged.

Also, even when a president manages to be genuinely disgraced as with Nixon, the accomplices still come away clean. The Kavanaugh proceedings have revived the old Republican grudge about Bork, and as far as I know he never did anything to bother distancing himself from the Saturday Night Massacre. If Mnuchin or whoever wrote this was worried about his political future... he needn't have been. (His or her legal future, on the other hand, may benefit very slightly, assuming there's any risk to begin with.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:53 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


The most troubling part of all of this is that there are still folks who think there are adults in this administration. That would not include anyone appointed by the administration, and certainly nobody who is at cabinet level, or physically in the white house.

This just underlines how much Trump's policies are exactly what they want while facing just how vulgar and awful those positions are when espoused by someone who has taken off the mask.
posted by maxwelton at 4:55 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Please please run in 2020 on "We could've impeached or 25th-ed him before the apocalypse, but we wanted to make sure you got your very unpopular and insignificant tax cuts."

It's not about saving Trump in 2020, this is already the groundwork for re-branding the post-Trump GOP, again. Just how the supporters of George W. instantly became the "Tea Party" as soon as he was out of office, every Republican who went to the mat for Trump will suddenly have been NeverTrumpers all along when he falls, and our media institutions will help them gaslight the country again exactly like they memory-holed everything about 2002-2008 and helped sell us Trump.

Republican ideology can never fail, it can only ever be rehabilitated by the loyal high priests of both sides at the NYT.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:56 PM on September 5 [16 favorites]


Over on a site I'll call Screed Flubdubnik, people are of two minds- the whole op-ed is fake, or it is real and the prez needs to give his whole staff a polygraph to find the traitor, who ought be tried and hung.

Watching them try to decide if it is fake or real is oddly satisfying. A few outliers even think donnie did it himself, to distract everyone from something, first stage of the Q-storm yada yada crazy nonsense. I need a drink.
posted by vrakatar at 4:56 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


It's not about saving Trump in 2020...

Sorry, my comment wasn't very clear. Whether it's 2020, 2024, or whenever the post-Trump post-disaster era begins, trying to run on 'We could've stopped him cold but instead let him have a really fucking long leash that helped destroy the world for tax cuts' isn't really compelling.
posted by chris24 at 5:00 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


An opponent with $350,000 will have Collins shaking in her shoes, I'm sure.

In the 8 hours since this comment was posted, it's grown to over $400K, so . . . I think it's getting a lot of traction despite the pessimism
posted by robotdevil at 5:02 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


"[M]entally retarded comments made about Sessions."
posted by chris24 at 6:21 AM

Can we NOT have an ableist slur in place of more descriptive and accurate words to describe his words? Intellectually disabled people do not act like Trump by nature. Please don't throw intellectually disabled people under the bus just to make a sloppy point about Trump's nefarious and selfishly childish comments. I think I agree with all of your general political views and people need to stop being ableist, using an outdated and offensive word for some of the most vulnerable people in society as a slur.
posted by RuvaBlue at 5:04 PM on September 5 [15 favorites]


I apologize. I was quoting what Trump said about Sessions according to Woodward.
posted by chris24 at 5:06 PM on September 5 [29 favorites]


it's actually good for a government to have at least a little debt, or else it's truly wasting money (among other things), but water toxicity and the Greek crisis are both real things too.

Is a 5 Trillion deficit/debt a problem? How about 10 Trillion? 21 Trillion? At what point did "little debt" get passed or is $21 Trillion still "little"?

What seems to be keeping America afloat is the use of the Dollar as a settlement nexus for trade. Such propped up the Romans, the Dutch, the Spanish and the Brittish Pound Stirling.

Trump writing TRADE IS BAD should have those who are expecting a retirement or stability in the future rather nervous. Because what happens to the US of A if Trump's pulling out of the WTO happens? Or the SWIFT system is replicated/replaced with some other currency?

People trading are typically people who are NOT at war with each other. But what's the proper reaction of the US if the Dollar stops being the prefered method of settlement?

Wasn't money's lack of respect for national status why Adam Smith talked about a hand which lacked visibility?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:08 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


In her response to the op-ed Sarah Huckabee Sanders says:
The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected president of the United States. He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.
1) "duly elected"? нет, товарищ
2) Did she forget who she's talking about? The last two sentences could easily apply to Trump.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:09 PM on September 5 [20 favorites]


I'm pretty sure chris24 was talking about Trump's comments about Sessions such that Sessions was mentally deficient, not making an observation of his own about Trump's comments.

If there is a better term to use when describing someone else's use of the "r" word, I'd welcome education. When talking about these things, I'm sure we all want to make sure we're doing so respectfully. If that was your criticism, I'd be appreciative of advice in this area.
posted by narwhal at 5:11 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Please please run in 2020 on "We could've impeached or 25th-ed him before the apocalypse, but we wanted to make sure you got your very unpopular and insignificant tax cuts."

Hell, they just gave the Democrats a massive fucking GOTV talking point for 2018: "You absolutely cannot trust any Republican anywhere -- see, they SAY RIGHT HERE that they know he's dangerous and unfit, but they're covering for him and have grabbed control of the government so they can impoverish you and take away your healthcare and reproductive rights. They must be stopped: in the Senate, the House, and Yourtown."
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:15 PM on September 5 [38 favorites]


Yes, thanks narwhal. I wasn't meaning to say they were m. r. comments. I was referring to Trump's "m. r." comments. And I'd likewise love to know how best to deal with talking about someone else's use of the slur. It was certainly not my intention to insult anyone and I'm sorry I didn't write it clear enough to make that distinction obvious.
posted by chris24 at 5:15 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


That SHS statement reads like it's written for an audience of one specific person.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:16 PM on September 5 [17 favorites]


Hah. Trump the mobster associate with nowhere to turn as the GOP finishes the bustout of his Presidency?

He won’t give up the store easily.
posted by notyou at 5:18 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


I have a fever dream that Pat Leahy's receipts sink this nomination.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:25 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


InTheYear2017: The Kavanaugh proceedings have revived the old Republican grudge about Bork, and as far as I know he never did anything to bother distancing himself from the Saturday Night Massacre.

Out of curiosity I pulled up some transcripts from Bork's hearing (pdf link to the first session here). Here's part of the opening statement from one of the Republican senators (emph. added):
Still another tactic, familiar to political campaigns is to accuse you of ethical violations. In that vein, we have heard too much recently about the so-called Saturday Night Massacre. In fact, this was one of your finest hours. You were not the cause of Watergate but you were part of the solution. As a precondition of carrying out the President's order, you gained a commitment that the investigation would go forth without further interference. You had to make a difficult decision on the spur of the moment. Even then you had to be convinced by Attorney General Richardson not to resign, but the evidence that your decision was correct is history. Because you preserved the investigation, the President was later forced to resign and several others were prosecuted. The performance that you gave, it seems to me, deserves commendation, not criticism.
That senator's name? Orrin Hatch.
posted by mhum at 5:29 PM on September 5 [29 favorites]


Does anyone who has studied or is more familiar with the ethics of journalism know: Is the NYT news division bound by an anonymity agreement made by the editorial page or if their reporters track down the author would they be able to report it?
posted by Justinian at 5:33 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


rough ashlar: At what point did "little debt" get passed or is $21 Trillion still "little"?

There's no amount of money that's objectively too much debt, because what matters is its size relative to other factors, namely GDP. There's currently no reason to doubt the government's ability to continue paying its creditors (even considering the immensely stupid tax cut for the rich), and that's what it comes down to. I think a lot of people conceptualize "growing debt" as something that's not getting paid at all, and one say lenders will knock on our door demanding "their" money. But in reality they're getting paid fine (outside of manufactured crises like the extremely pointless "debt ceiling"). Uncle Sam remains an extremely dependable investment.

What seems to be keeping America afloat is the use of the Dollar as a settlement nexus for trade. Such propped up the Romans, the Dutch, the Spanish and the Brittish Pound Stirling.

Trump writing TRADE IS BAD should have those who are expecting a retirement or stability in the future rather nervous. Because what happens to the US of A if Trump's pulling out of the WTO happens? Or the SWIFT system is replicated/replaced with some other currency?


Trump's trade policies definitely could have very dire consequences. But that's more a fact in itself than something that tells us how to approach the issue of debt. Yes, we could have spent generations shoring up a national surplus on the off-chance of one day electing a hyper-protectionist, but (to mix my previous metaphors further) that's like keeping all your walls soaked in water all the time, because your kids have a friend who likes to play with matches. Your efforts are better spent keeping the arsonist away, plus your house will still suffer from your "solution".
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:34 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


So Sarah Huckabee Sanders denies none of the op-ed's allegations. Nor does Trump.

And Trump then tweets that, in the interest of national security, the NYT must turn its source over to "the government," thus creating the perfect conditions to determine whether the op-ed's allegation is correct that Trump's administration will thwart and refuse to follow through on his directives. Who will Trump fire for refusing to force the NYT to reveal its source? Nobody, of course - because he doesn't know how to fire people and if he tried they'd just say 'nah, I'm not fired.'
posted by The World Famous at 5:40 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Trump Whisperer Philip Rucker contributes to the Washington Post's new story ‘The Sleeper Cells Have Awoken’: Trump and Aides Shaken by ‘Resistance’ Op-Ed
Trump reacted to the column with “volcanic” anger and was “absolutely livid” over what he considered a treasonous act of disloyalty, and told confidants he suspects the official works on national security issues or in the Justice Department, according to two people familiar with his private discussions.[...]

The column, which published midafternoon Wednesday, sent tremors through the West Wing and launched a frantic guessing game. Startled aides canceled meetings and huddled behind closed doors to strategize a response. Aides were analyzing language patterns to try to discern author’s identity, or at a minimum the part of the administration where the author works.

“The problem for the president is it could be so many people,” said one administration official, who like many others interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. “You can’t rule it down to one person. Everyone is trying, but it’s impossible.”

The phrase, “The sleeper cells have awoken,” circulated on text messages among aides and outside allies.

“It’s like the horror movies when everyone realizes the call is coming from inside the house,” said one former White House official in close contact with former co-workers.[...]

In the Times column, the official writes about the late senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) in heroic terms, describing him as “a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.”

This invocation angered Trump, who in his private talks with advisers and friends expressed particular dismay because he has long viewed McCain as a personal enemy, according to people familiar with the president’s thinking. The column reignited Trump’s frustration with last week’s remembrances of McCain and the widespread adulation of his life.

The president was already feeling especially vulnerable — and a deep “sense of paranoia,” in the words of one confidant — in the wake of his devastating portrayal in Woodward’s book. He was upset that so many in his orbit seemed to have spoken with the veteran Washington Post investigative journalist, and had begun peppering staffers with questions about who Woodward’s sources were.

Trump already felt that he had a dwindling circle of people who he could trust, a senior administration official said. According to one Trump friend, he fretted after Wednesday’s op-ed that he could only trust his children.
He can trust only his children. Like in a mafia family.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:48 PM on September 5 [82 favorites]


LOL if Anonymous is Jared Kushner.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:54 PM on September 5 [36 favorites]


There are a *delightful* number of anonymous sources quoted in that Rucker article.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:57 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


notyou: Hah. Trump the mobster associate with nowhere to turn as the GOP finishes the bustout of his Presidency?

He won’t give up the store easily.


Doktor Zed:He can trust only his children. Like in a mafia family.

"as the GOP finishes the bustout of his Presidency"

For all the "Trump as Mob connected" stories, this is the most believable part. The GOP used Trump to move forward, and then they're going to let him take the fall. A quick chorus of "We've always been Never Trumpers!" and the ( less insane part of ) the GOP will go along because it's less painful than admitting they were roped into a fraud, while the 27% that's totally nuts will just realign with the "Worst Option Left", but still vote (R) because "fuck the libs..."

I'm hoping that the Mueller thing goes the way that the DNC is going with their civil suit. The GOP is the RICO target, not the Trump Admin.
posted by mikelieman at 6:04 PM on September 5 [14 favorites]


He won’t give up the store easily.

Go back in your hole!
posted by mikelieman at 6:06 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


More proof that Corker is absolutely worthless. Acknowledges that the president is such a danger to the republic that his cabinet needs to secretly restrain/oppose him, but does nothing about it.

Alan He (CBS)
Senator Corker on the wild NYT Op-Ed: "This is what all of us have understood to be the situation from day one... I understand this is the case and that’s why I think all of us encourage the good people around the President to stay. I thank General Mattis whenever I see him..."
posted by chris24 at 6:11 PM on September 5 [25 favorites]


I'm voting discordian writing style mashup deliberately containing shibboleths of multiple people for maximum chaos.

I'm sort of perplexed why anyone thinks that the NYT wouldn't have aided with this process. Op-eds don't just run without inspection, feedback, and editing. If you're fortunate you get the one in ten folks in editorial who are willing to actually insist on them not having grossly false checkable assertions & they might refuse to run one. But since they're actively helping to shield this person's identity I don't see any reason to think they didn't provide some assistance in removing any identifiable voice from the text, or even put in some misdirection.

But shit, who knows. This is through the looking glass stuff in my opinion. It's going to be really interesting to see what happens if someone gets dragged in front of a judge and ordered to produce a name. You want to talk crisis? I wouldn't be surprised if this turns into a serious hunt and either Trump orders some investigation or someone decides to work towards the Führer and do it on their own initiative. What happens when one of Trump's newly loyal judges declares everyone on this page in contempt and holds them indefinitely? All the other papers that still have functioning editorial staffs run another coordinated piece condemning it?

I would wager a functional administration wouldn't even need to do it. I'd bet my 2048 bit private key that the board's opsec is meh enough that this person could be unmasked by a decent investigative department. But perhaps dragging these folks and fucking up the NYT's operation would be a more attractive course of action for this administration. I wonder if the folks who agreed to run this anonymous bit of self-serving trash were cognizant of the fact that the person doing it might well consider any shit that rains down on the NYT and staff to be a bonus?
posted by phearlez at 6:21 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


> More proof that Corker is absolutely worthless. Acknowledges that the president is such a danger to the republic that his cabinet needs to secretly restrain/oppose him, but does nothing about it.

Remember when people seriously believed that McCain, Corker, and Flake were going to save us? Good times, good times.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:24 PM on September 5 [30 favorites]


I'm voting discordian writing style mashup deliberately containing shibboleths of multiple people for maximum chaos.

I just went there, maybe even keywords. Give him lots of suspects. What is he going to do, wake up tomorrow and arrest and question his whole damn staff? Yeah that will go well. We have an executive branch at war with itself. Stay alert everyone, this is unknown constitutional, cultural, and political ground.
posted by vrakatar at 6:32 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


And so the President tweets (in its entirety):
TREASON?


No, thanks, Don -- we've all had enough already.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:35 PM on September 5 [49 favorites]


"I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration"

I was only not following orders
posted by standardasparagus at 6:35 PM on September 5 [30 favorites]


Punch a Nazi, pay a dollar, Virginia man convicted of punching rally organizer fined $1:
A Virginia man convicted of punching the organizer of last summer's white nationalist rally after he attempted to hold a news conference has been fined $1.

Jeffrey Winder of Afton was found guilty Tuesday of misdemeanor assault and battery for a second time during an appeal trial Tuesday, news outlets reported.

Prosecutors said Winder could be seen on video punching Jason Kessler, who was mobbed after he called a news conference Aug. 13, 2017, the day after the "Unite the Right" rally drew hundreds of white nationalists to Charlottesville, along with counterprotesters. A woman protesting the white nationalists was killed and dozens more were injured when a car plowed into a crowd.
posted by peeedro at 6:36 PM on September 5 [49 favorites]


Punch a Nazi, pay a dollar

I gotta say these fundraising email subject lines are getting more creative.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:39 PM on September 5 [119 favorites]


I'm voting discordian writing style mashup deliberately containing shibboleths of multiple people for maximum chaos

My memory is software is 10-15 years in the rear view mirror to help identify a style or help copy someone's style. OpSEC tradecraft 201? 301? Not beginner but not master/PhD level work.

At this point just accept that all you have to do is actually outlive Trump by a couple of years to know who it was OR if you die before he does that the idea of a great book of truth exists and you get to see it when you die and then you can look up who it was.

board's opsec is meh enough that this person could be unmasked by a decent investigative department.

Oh, I agree. But how many of those people would want to aid The Donald? Or be able to be bought for the amount of money The Donald could pay? Remember the comments about the press in the book The Mighty Wurlitzer - odds are someone knows. But why tell - how is that gonna get you promoted?

And if shit rains down on the NYT and staff may THAT be the reason we get new laws.

I'm hoping for church commission/Nixon style. (Who's the elected official or person running for office on such a platform?) Odds are I'll be dissapointed and it'll be called something awesome but really suck.

Ya might get the public to care about end to end email encrytion and start using it.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:39 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


My memory is software is 10-15 years in the rear view mirror to help identify a style or help copy someone's style. OpSEC tradecraft 201? 301? Not beginner but not master/PhD level work.

Dave Aitel's little tool is from around that time, not sure if still available? it was on the immunityinc website once upon a time.
posted by some loser at 6:43 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]



Punch a Nazi, pay a dollar


Shut up and take my money
posted by nubs at 6:48 PM on September 5 [77 favorites]


Kamal Harris to Kavanaugh, just now: “Can you think of any laws that give the government the right to make decisions about mens’ bodies?”

Stunned silence.

Oh now she’s busting his chops over his comments when his nomination was announced.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 6:49 PM on September 5 [162 favorites]


So this NYT Op-Ed basically lays bare the existence of an unelected, unaccountable cabal that is running a branch of the American government in place of an unstable President?And we are supposed to find this reassuring?
posted by nubs at 6:53 PM on September 5 [55 favorites]


Senator Corker on the wild NYT Op-Ed: "This is what all of us have understood to be the situation from day one... I understand this is the case and that’s why I think all of us encourage the good people around the President to stay.

1. What good people?
2. Corker's unsaid ending: "But I'm still voting for his entire agenda!"
posted by SisterHavana at 6:54 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Pence reportedly was present at the Oval Office meeting where Trump read the draft memo concerning his decision to fire Comey. That memo apparently was a screed about Comey’s handling of the Russia probe. Pence subsequently related to Congress and the press the phony cover story that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein had cooked up, namely that Comey had improperly handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Pence denied Comey was fired over the Russia investigation, a position Trump swiftly contradicted in his interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt.

Moreover, like now-embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Pence repeatedly denied that the campaign had any contacts with the Russians. Perhaps Pence knew and forgot, perhaps he knew and lied on behalf of the president, or perhaps he was kept in the dark.


This says nothing about why Manafort wanted Pence. That's what I need to know.
posted by M-x shell at 6:55 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


> Kamal Harris to Kavanaugh, just now: “Can you think of any laws that give the government the right to make decisions about mens’ bodies?”

Stunned silence.


I rather like the cut of this lady's jib.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:01 PM on September 5 [63 favorites]






If there is a better term to use when describing someone else's use of the "r" word, I'd welcome education.

If you must use them in that context, quote them: e.g. Trump's “dumb Southerner and mentally retarded” comments made about Sessions.

posted by Brak at 7:04 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


@nycsouthpaw:
Senator Harris starts with the Special Counsel's investigation--asking if he's had a conversation about Mueller or the investigation with anyone at Kasowitz's firm. Atmosphere in the room totally shifts. Mike Lee is objecting to Harris's question, frequently interrupted by protesters, and Senator Whitehouse is objecting to his objection Now we're back to the question. Kavanaugh says yes he has discussed the investigation with people, fellow judges and others. But he can't say if he spoke to anyone at the specific law firm because he doesn't know who all works there.

Asked about what prompted this question, a Democratic aide says "we have reason to believe that a conversation happened and are continuing to pursue it."
There's a lot more in Sen. Harris' questioning, but it sounds like there's something we'll be hearing more about here.
posted by zachlipton at 7:07 PM on September 5 [56 favorites]


Via interwebs: "If people are burning their Nike gear because the new face of the company didn’t stand for the National Anthem, then why didn’t they burn their American flag gear when a draft-dodger became President"
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:11 PM on September 5 [41 favorites]


It’s 10:15 pm DC time. Why haven’t they adjourned and taken up the questioning tomorrow?
posted by notyou at 7:15 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Kavanaugh, Raised in a Test Tube for the High Court & More on the Test Tube - Josh Marshall, TPM

Editorials on the idea that Kavanaugh has been groomed since law school to be the perfect Federalist candidate for the Supreme Court. No surprises, no hidden flaws.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:19 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Who or what is the (prophetic) thread title quoting?
posted by lazugod at 7:20 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


An Open Letter to Brett Kavanaugh

You have very obviously perjured yourself this week. You had previously said that a crucial Watergate ruling was "wrongly decided". Now you say it's "one of the greatest moments in Supreme Court history", and your previous position was misinterpreted.

No, you boot-licking piece of shit, you do not believe that, you never believed that, and you were not misinterpreted. Your job is to state your legal opinions clearly and unambiguously, and you did. You are now lying through your motherfucking teeth so you can be confirmed and let your narcissistic man-child sponsor Trump off the hook for crimes too numerous to list, of which he is very clearly guilty, at least to anyone with two functioning neurons.

You are a traitor to your country, he is a traitor, and every Senator who votes to confirm you is a traitor as well. I wish I believed in Hell because it's exactly what the lot of you banana republic stooges deserve. May God have no mercy on any of your vile, malicious souls.
posted by shponglespore at 7:21 PM on September 5 [60 favorites]


“Can you think of any laws that give the government the right to make decisions about mens’ bodies?”

We are so many decades into the abortion debate that I can't imagine this rhetorical question was never asked before now. And yet I've never heard it before today. And it's _wonderful_!!
posted by great_radio at 7:25 PM on September 5 [49 favorites]


A few decades ago the easy answer to that question would have been "The Draft."
posted by Uncle Ira at 7:28 PM on September 5 [13 favorites]


Kamala Harris to Kavanaugh, just now: “Can you think of any laws that give the government the right to make decisions about mens’ bodies?”

No to diminish Harris's point or anything, but...the draft? Forcibly shipping men's bodies off to foreign countries to be shot at seems like a pretty important decision to me.

[Edit: Uncle Ira: JINX!]
posted by shponglespore at 7:29 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Ok, watch the video of Kavanaugh being asked if he's discussed the Mueller investigation with anyone at Kasowitz's firm, at least the first couple minutes. He comes off spectacularly bad.

Kavanaugh: I would like to know the person you're thinking of because what if there's—
Harris: I think you're thinking of someone and you don't want to tell us.

And it descends into objections and protests (a total of 67 protesters were arrested today at the hearing, plus 7 in other Congressional offices) and more from there. And Kavanaugh cannot manage to answer the question at all. Highly recommend watching. This hit a nerve.

Who or what is the (prophetic) thread title quoting?

I can't claim to be prophetic about today's developments. It was from the Woodward excerpts, specifically what Trump is said to have told Cohn when he was given his resignation letter after Charlottesville.

It’s 10:15 pm DC time. Why haven’t they adjourned and taken up the questioning tomorrow?

They have now. 30 minutes per Senator, plus breaks, takes a while, and Grassley is determined to speed through this, so not finishing the round is not an option. Tomorrow resumes with a second round, 20 minutes per Senator, at 9:30am Eastern.
posted by zachlipton at 7:31 PM on September 5 [20 favorites]


RE: the NYT's "I Am Part of the Resistance [sic] Inside the Trump Administration [sic]" story.

So the White House baited the NYT with access again, and the NYT again took the bait.

It used to be that the WH would "catapult the propaganda*" by baiting with so-called leaks and let the machinery of journalism do the rest automatically. Now this is even worse: direct indoctrination from anonymous power.

And why do you think the source was anonymous? They've calculated that the sign of anonymity would given them more clicks and eyeballs. Insider! Access!

The oligarchy is normalizing its abuses again. And the media is in a codependent abusive relationship with it and can't get out.

* h/t George W. Bush
posted by runcifex at 7:34 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


A few decades ago the easy answer to that question would have been "The Draft."

I am glad Kavanaugh is not as quick witted as you and shponglespore!
posted by great_radio at 7:34 PM on September 5 [18 favorites]




BuzzFeed fired up the satire machine: I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the New York Times Opinion Desk: "I work for the Gray Lady, but my loyalty is to the Take."
To walk through the turnstiles on Eighth Avenue is to feel the solemn silence, the slow contemplation, the unshakable self-confidence that has always defined great American opinion journalism. And to imbibe a sacred duty to the Take. The Take — the sanctity of an exquisitely mixed Tom Friedman metaphor, which rings like a thunderbolt as it breaks the surface of the bottomless pit.
...
But what our readers must know — what all serious people must know — is that from the inside, we are resisting this dangerous trend in ways big and small. We come in every day and make sure that the vital voices are still heard, and that the energy of new political movements, such as Andrew Cuomo’s inspiring underdog run in the New York governor’s race, are brought to the forefront of the conversation. We promise you that if any of our columnists ever get high, they will freak out and write about it.

This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

The bigger issue is not what is happening to the world’s most important Opinion page, but rather what is happening to you, the reader, as your mind loses its most vital nourishment. Like the impossibly complicated Italian sandwich that terrified David Brooks’s working-class friend, these pages have always contained a thoughtful mixture of intellectual sopressata, idea capicola, and thought mortadella. Our current leadership wants to replace such a complex delight, as Brooks did, with a common plate of nachos — to concede ground to the masses. We will resist.

Sen. John McCain explained our Opinion pages best in his farewell letter. “We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history,” he wrote — and our support for the liberation of the Iraqi people was indeed one of this page’s finest moments. “We have acquired great wealth and power in the progress,” he wrote, and we are, indeed, rich and powerful.
This is also brilliant: "To be clear, ours is not the reflexive Gray Lady hatred that animates the Twitter mobs. We want this newspaper to succeed, and we believe that many of its articles have already improved America and its guacamole."
posted by zachlipton at 7:37 PM on September 5 [28 favorites]


That could be better phrased as "Roy Moore sues Sacha Baron Cohen for enabling Roy Moore to be Roy Moore on television."
posted by delfin at 7:39 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


"The Draft."

"And, understanding that you have been nominated by a president who dodged said draft *checks notes* five times, do you believe the draft is a good thing?"

I have no doubt that Sen. Harris' rejoinder would be more eloquently devastating than mine.
posted by mrgoat at 7:44 PM on September 5 [16 favorites]


A few decades ago the easy answer to that question would have been "The Draft."

That ended in 1973; nearly half a century ago. Not really "a few decades".
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 7:44 PM on September 5 [14 favorites]


And Kavanaugh cannot manage to answer the question at all. Highly recommend watching. This hit a nerve.

Yeah, during that exchange he comes off as dishonest and fearful of answering Sen. Harris. He tries to coax her into naming a person at the firm, and that just makes him look more desperate to hide whatever the answer is.
posted by gladly at 7:46 PM on September 5 [22 favorites]




Also Wednesday, again, a federal court will hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, in which a group of Republican attorneys general argue that the repeal of the individual mandate renders the entire law unconstitutional.

I wanted to circle back to this post-hearing: Texas asks a federal judge to block Obamacare nationwide
At the hearing Wednesday, Texas aimed to convince U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor to block the law across the country as it continues to fight a months- or years-long legal case that could land before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Citing rising health care premiums, Texas says such an injunction is necessary to preserve state sovereignty and to relieve the burden on residents forced to purchase expensive insurance coverage. California counters that temporarily blocking or ending the law would cause more harm to the millions of people insured under it, particularly the 133 million people the state says enjoy the law’s protections for pre-existing conditions. The U.S. Department of Justice, which has taken up many of Texas’ positions in the case, nonetheless sided with California, arguing that an immediate injunction would throw the health care system into chaos.
In other words, the Trump administration would like to kill the ACA more slowly than the State of Texas.

Even lawyers who have spent the last decade fighting the ACA think this argument is nuts. But the judge is a Bush appointee who is quite hostile to the ACA, and it's all pretty terrifying.
posted by zachlipton at 7:50 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


Roy Moore sues Sacha Baron Cohen for calling him a pedophile, so there's that problem solved

These people do realize that discovery is a thing, right?
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:54 PM on September 5 [38 favorites]


And Kavanaugh cannot manage to answer the question at all. Highly recommend watching. This hit a nerve.

Yeah, during that exchange he comes off as dishonest and fearful of answering Sen. Harris. He tries to coax her into naming a person at the firm, and that just makes him look more desperate to hide whatever the answer is.
posted by gladly at 7:46 PM on September 5 [+] [!]


He could have just said "Not to my knowledge." That would have covered the instance where he had talked to someone of the firm without knowing she worked there, which he lamely implied was his concern for evading an answer. His entire demeanor became one of a rattled man looking for an escape from a place with no exits. He clearly did not want to lie (he did talk to a lawyer from that firm) and was desperately seeking to not answer the question without saying "I won't answer that," and he was afraid that Harris had some unexpected information about him. I hope she does. I hope it torpedoes him.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:00 PM on September 5 [23 favorites]


These people do realize that discovery is a thing, right?

Why would a former justice of the Alabama supreme court know about this "law" thing
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:01 PM on September 5 [17 favorites]


Editorials on the idea that Kavanaugh has been groomed since law school to be the perfect Federalist candidate for the Supreme Court. No surprises, no hidden flaws.

You know, except for designing the legal rationale for institutionalized torture along with John Yoo and Jay Bybee that they're covering up. But what's a few hundred thousand emails about torture between Federalists?
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:01 PM on September 5 [13 favorites]


I just watched two of the interchanges between Kamala Harris and Kavanaugh. Harris is a total baller and Kavanaugh is a condescending jerk. The pretend confusion about her question concerning laws governing men's bodies made me want to stand up and scream. I love her that she asked it and I'm astonished no one has ever addressed this questions to a SC nominee before.
posted by bluesky43 at 8:06 PM on September 5 [16 favorites]


This from Chris Hayes @chrislhayes, MSNBC on the NYT opinion piece:

The op-ed is an attempt to take out an insurance policy for the GOP and conservatism if and when things get much much worse. It's a very public hedge meant to preserve the reputation of the GOP's entire political and governing class.

This is *exactly* what I thought -- it's manipulation for the future and I don't buy that the GOP is trying to do anything other than save their own asses when this mess is concluded (after their inaction has brought the country to its knees).
posted by bluesky43 at 8:10 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump

Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!
for National Security purposes,
for National Security purposes,
for National Security purposes,

brb, changing my underwear because that's pants crappingly terrifying.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:16 PM on September 5 [42 favorites]


Am I missing something? Is there anything at all illegal about the anonymous op-ed?
posted by reductiondesign at 8:21 PM on September 5


Surely an admitted secret cabal inside a corrupt and illegitimate administration trying unsuccessfully to control a president who just so happens to be a complete madman qualifies as a national security issue.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:22 PM on September 5 [24 favorites]


I mean, I don't feel particularly secure.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:23 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


Place your bets!
posted by Jacqueline at 8:26 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


brb, changing my underwear because that's pants crappingly terrifying.

Wait, what? This reads more like “Make threat! Use serious-sounding phrases!” Genuine question: how is this (additionally) terrifying?
posted by witchen at 8:29 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


This is *exactly* what I thought -- it's manipulation for the future

It is. It's a trial balloon about what sort of gaslighting to use. "We all are responsible as a nation. Trump was our national shame. His rise was the fault of every single American, and we must work together for healing! But please do not point any fingers at us. Remember: we were the adults who saved the nation from ruin!" Angers me beyond belief because it might just work on the "both sides" idiots. But there's room for optimism considering the widespread derision given to this trial balloon.

At any rate, the most interesting thing to me is that the GOP knows this is almost over. I don't know if they'll give up on Trump in terms of impeachment or the 25th Amendment, but they're starting to slowly admit to themselves that his days are numbered and they have to plan their propaganda for whatever strange political wasteland that lies beyond.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 8:32 PM on September 5 [47 favorites]


"National security purposes" is the government's open sesame for the courts.

To hear the president using it in terms of a private dispute? It's something you'd say if your plan is to send the fucker responsible to a CIA black site to have their nuts shocked with a golf cart battery.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:32 PM on September 5 [14 favorites]


Dave Aitel's little tool is from around that time, not sure if still available? it was on the immunityinc website once upon a time.

unmask1.0.tar.gz
posted by scalefree at 8:33 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


> Wait, what? This reads more like “Make threat! Use serious-sounding phrases!” Genuine question: how is this (additionally) terrifying?

The man making threats and using serious-sounding phrases routinely sicced his supporters on members of the press (who he corralled in pens like so many farm animals) during the campaign. He now controls the apparatus of the state, and is using the guise of "national security" to intimidate a news outlet. Is the picture getting any clearer now?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:34 PM on September 5 [14 favorites]


I'm just hoping that whoever it was to pushed Kavanaugh's name to the top of the list is the one behind this op-ed and that they get outed pronto.

Would it be too much to ask in this time line that a face saving op-ed undercuts what should be a GOP triumph at the last possible second?
posted by Slackermagee at 8:42 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Surely an admitted secret cabal inside a corrupt and illegitimate administration trying unsuccessfully to control a president who just so happens to be a complete madman qualifies as a national security issue.

A couple thousand years from now, I, Barron is going to make a helluva miniseries.
posted by condour75 at 8:47 PM on September 5 [40 favorites]


So, convince this leftist in MA not to vote for Baker.

I know the thread has moved on way past this. And I know that he was never exactly the most memorable dude, and that this stuff all feels like a long time ago in a galaxy far away at this point. But do you remember, way back when in that more innocent time, there was a guy named Mitt Romney? Binders full of women? Ran against Obamacare? 70th Governor of Massachusetts? Yeah, this line of thought you're thinking about Baker, that is how you get your Mitt Romneys.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:48 PM on September 5 [13 favorites]


Chris Hayes: The op-ed is an attempt to take out an insurance policy for the GOP and conservatism if and when things get much much worse. It's a very public hedge meant to preserve the reputation of the GOP's entire political and governing class.

Yeah, this is such a transparent attempt to get an early start on the ass-covering that I'm fully anticipating an "I'm Spartacus!" "I'm Spartacus!" "I'm Spartacus!" black comedy moment when half a dozen people all claim to be the writer of the op-ed.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:48 PM on September 5 [13 favorites]


If the real one outs themselves, the Times will cheerfully confirm it, I expect.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:55 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


I can't settle on a worst aspect of the op-ed, but high up on the list is how Trump will now be so paranoid about his secret handlers and in such a narcissistic rage about being handled that nobody will be able to stop whatever he does to lash out to prove he's in control.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:56 PM on September 5 [13 favorites]


He now controls the apparatus of the state, and is using the guise of "national security" to intimidate a news outlet. Is the picture getting any clearer now?

He's lashing out but there's no willpower behind it. Even at his most agitated it's an empty threat, a bluff. It should be incredibly scary, with anyone else who's ever held or likely will hold the office it would be. But Trump? This is not a thing he could ever execute on; it just isn't in him.
posted by scalefree at 8:59 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


is *anonymous* serious? prove it. start subtly repositioning the furniture by an inch, slightly angling the artwork, moving the diet coke...
posted by j_curiouser at 9:05 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Am I missing something? Is there anything at all illegal about the anonymous op-ed?

It's an open admission that a cabal at the highest level of government has been acting in concert to subvert the will of the president.


The op-ed is an attempt to take out an insurance policy for the GOP and conservatism if and when things get much much worse.

Probably, but I don't doubt it's main point is true as well. Trump is mentally unfit to be president. He is crazy, unpredictable, dangerous, is beholden to deeply un-Democratic and un-American ideals, and must be resisted by any means, including legally treasonable ones.
posted by xammerboy at 9:06 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


I was already a fan of Kamala Harris but these clips from the hearing have turned me from fan to "I Can't Even"-level Fan.

And yeah, there's no way Kavanaugh doesn't know exactly who she's asking about. The only real question is how many lawyers from that firm does he damn well know he talked to. You're at a hearing as a nominee for the Supreme Court, you're asked a question like that, and you just plain can't remember who might work at that firm? Bullshit. The brain goes straight to an answer like that.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:07 PM on September 5 [39 favorites]


Enough about the op ed. Don't take you eye off the very real and critical election that is being interfered with by ICE in a part of the country crucial to control of the House of Representatives and therefore any chance of preserving the rule of law. And, I do not think any of that is hyperbole. This is real, unlike posturing in the NYT, and it is real straight up fascist police state tactics. They are stealing the election in plain view.

Previously upthread BCYMI ICE subpoenas 44 NC elections boards

New:
The News and Observer (NC)
ICE demands ‘exhaustive’ voting records from North Carolina

“We are deeply concerned by the administrative drain on county boards of elections in order to comply with the extensive subpoenas immediately prior to a federal election, including the necessary reproduction of millions of documents (all ballots, etc.). The subpoenas faxed to county boards are the most exhaustive on record,” wrote Josh Lawson, general counsel for the state board.

“In our view, compliance with the subpoena as-written will materially affect the ability of county administrators to perform time-critical tasks ahead of absentee voting and early voting.”

“The timing and scope of these subpoenas from ICE raise very troubling questions about the necessity and wisdom of federal interference with the pending statewide elections,” said Kareem Crayton, interim executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a Durham-based nonprofit providing assistance to social justice causes. “With so many well-established threats to our election process from abroad, it is odd to see federal resources directed to this particular concern.”


New:
IndyWeek (NC) ICE, U.S. DOJ Subpoena Voting Records From State, Forty-Four N.C. Counties

"The subpoenas faxed to county boards are the most exhaustive on record," Josh Lawson, general counsel for the state Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement wrote Tuesday to Assistant U.S. Attorney
Sebastian Kielmanovich. "In our view, compliance with the subpoena as-written will materially affect the ability of county administrators to perform time-critical tasks ahead of absentee voting and early voting. We are not, however, counsel to individual county boards and are not authorized to make requests on their behalf."

Wake County commissioner John Burns expressed concern about the strain the request would put on elections staff in a letter to the U.S. Attorney to the Eastern District of North Carolina today, and asking for "an explanation for the scope and timing of this extraordinary request.


---

Gerry Cohen, former special counsel to the General Assembly, says the “depth of the request indicates [a] fishing expedition.”

“What will they do with millions of ballots?” Cohen asks.


---

"More importantly, perhaps, I write to let you know that this investigation launched 60 days prior to a general election of monumental importance and with Constitutional implications, risks being viewed by the public as a partisan effort to interfere with the vote," Burns wrote. "Knowing you I know this is highly unlikely to be the case. However, the risk of that perception, which would be as dangerous to public confidence in the integrity of our elections as an actual such effort, requires transparency and forthrightness with the public."
posted by Gotanda at 9:23 PM on September 5 [48 favorites]


First link was from Rust Moranis.
posted by Gotanda at 9:24 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


If anybody wants to take a crack at a technological path to unmasking the author, here's several more options for you. I make no warranties as to fitness or usability; you're on your own.

Online Authorship Attribution Tool (web app)
Testing Authorship Attribution with Signature (Windows)
stylo: Stylometric Analyses (R package)
StyleTool: A simple, open source, word frequency based stylometry tool (Ruby/TK)
JGAAP: The Java Graphical Authorship Attribution Program (Java)
posted by scalefree at 9:27 PM on September 5 [22 favorites]


I just watched the Kamala Harris video and, yeah. If you did not do the wrong thing (ie. you did not counsel the legal team on an investigation your new job will have you judging), then it's easy to quickly and confidently answer the question: "I mean of course I've discussed the investigation with people, we all have, and since I don't know everyone who works at the firm it may have casually come up in a conversation without me being aware of who I was talking with. But if you're asking if I counselled or advised the legal team on the topic, absolutely not. I would never do something like that, it would be deeply unethical given the job I'm being nominated to do"

I mean, I don't think this is hard to come out with if you're innocent.

But wow that is not what he does. I kept being reminded of how children act when caught in an obvious lie.
posted by antinomia at 9:28 PM on September 5 [80 favorites]


> children act when caught in an obvious lie.

A reminder that these aren't nefarious masterminds, but greedy assholes who couldn't possibly anticipate being asked just a basic question if they had any relation to lawyers of a sitting President currently being investigated.

Jesus, I remember when failing to pay social security for your nanny was enough to require you to step aside from nomination. (Not to mention that having to pay for childcare so you can pursue one's legal career is almost always something a man never has to worry about).
posted by mrzarquon at 9:37 PM on September 5 [18 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate:
-- IN: Marist poll has incumbent Dem Donnelly up 49-43 on GOPer Braun [MOE: +/- 5%]. Due to restrictive state laws, Indiana polling is pretty rare, so we probably won't see too many more here.

-- FL: Quinnipiac poll has Dem incumbent Nelson tied 49-49 with GOPer Scott [MOE: +/- 4.3%].

** 2018 House:
-- VA-02: A judge has kicked the independent splitter candidate Brown backed by the Taylor re-election campaign off of the ballot, in the wake of the fake signature scandal. Brown is African-American and a past Dem candidate, so posed a serious threat to siphon off votes from Dem candidate Luria. A special prosecutor is continuing to investigate; it's unclear whether Taylor authorized the forgeries (he was aware of the Brown effort in general). | [Trump 49-45 | Cook: Lean R]

-- CA-50: Rep Hunter's campaign finance scandal gets juicier as the indictment reveals at least five affairs he was conducting with stolen money. | [Trump 55-40 | Cook: Lean R]

-- MA-03: Dem nominee to fill the seat of retiring Rep Tsongas is still up in the air, as a 52 vote margin separates the top two vote-getters. Provisionals are still being counted. | [Clinton 58-35 | Cook: Solid D]

-- MA-07: Media immediately compared Ayanna Pressley’s upset win here to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's, but there are some major differences.

-- UT-04: Mellman Group poll has GOP incumbent Love up 46-44 on Dem McAdams [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. The poll was commissioned by the McAdams campaign. Notably, McAdams still has pretty low name rep, suggesting he has room to grow yet. | [Trump 39-32 | Cook: Lean R]

-- NC-02: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll has Dem Coleman up 45-44 on GOP incumbent Holding [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. The poll was commissioned by the Coleman campaign. | [Trump 53-44 | Cook: Lean R]

-- SC-01: PPP poll has GOPer Arrington up 49-42 on Dem Cunningham [MOE: +/- 3.9%]. Poll was commissioned by End Citizens United PAC. | [Trump 54-40 | Cook: Lean R]

-- Enten: Trump deterioration in approval looks like it might be real, and if so, could seriously impact on midterm results.
** Odds & ends:
-- AZ-gov: PPP poll has GOP incumbent Ducey up 44-43 on Dem Garcia [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Garcia campaign.

-- GOP parliamentary chicanery in the Michigan legislature will keep initiatives to raise the minimum wage and mandate paid sick leave off of the ballot (although the maneuver may be illegal, so litigation is possible). Dems have a good chance of taking back at least the MI House, which would end up making these changes law anyway.
===
Tomorrow, primary elections in Delaware. Main attraction here is there's at least a slim chance Dem Senator Carper, who's pretty centrist, gets primaried from his left. A few other state races previewed here.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:42 PM on September 5 [26 favorites]


As a Brit, I'm somewhat reminded of the resignation speech of Norman Lamont (he of the eyebrows and later career on Mopatop's Shop) insofar as the anonymous writer effectively frames Trump as "being in office but not in power". Took it at face value initially so appreciate reading other people's takes that it functions equally as a way of propping up the nose-holding Republican vote.

kirkaracha quotes SHS above as saying:
"The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected president of the United States. He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign. " [emphasis mine]
Dunno if it's actually her obviously, but that has to be the clumsiest, most transparent attempt at a "Not me, Guv!" I've seen in a while.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:48 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


So ICE is trying to get voter records from 44 counties in NC in order to deny those people voting rights? Am I understanding that correctly?
posted by gucci mane at 9:50 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Made my heart skip a beat, but MA-03 is rated solid D, no?
posted by shenderson at 9:54 PM on September 5


Goddammit. Yes, Solid D.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:56 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


[Fixed MA-03, you're welcome Middlesex County!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:58 PM on September 5 [19 favorites]


-- FL: Quinnipiac poll has Dem incumbent Nelson tied 49-49 with GOPer Scott [MOE: +/- 4.3%].

Mother of God. The last D statewide elected official in Florida has decided to just sit there farting dust until he loses. Mindblowing, catastrophic incompetence; all these older-than-penicillin Democrats need to be primaried out yesterday.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:01 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


So ICE is trying to get voter records from 44 counties in NC in order to deny those people voting rights? Am I understanding that correctly?

They're not saying but it makes sense that they're looking for non-citizens to arrest & deport & also hoping to depress the minority vote through fear.
posted by scalefree at 10:01 PM on September 5 [16 favorites]


And yeah, there's no way Kavanaugh doesn't know exactly who she's asking about.

Prosecutors don't ask a question unless they already know the answer.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:15 PM on September 5 [34 favorites]


Right. All kinds of targeted voter suppression going on there by ICE in NC. This police arm of the regime is stealing the election. Sounds shrill, but it is literally true. You really only have to knock out a few thousand voters to tilt the elections. We know that. And, we know ICE.

1. As scalefree wrote, intimidate some minority voters. If you are an immigrant citizen with full voting rights or any citizen who also has undocumented family members, you will be urged to keep your name out of any additional databases that ICE uses. Some immigrants may be unknowingly registered. Just sow fear.

2. Suppress all early and absentee voting. Absentee may skew older (and therefore often, but not always, Trumpier.) But, early voting allows those with more rigid work and family commitments (i.e., generally lower wage and generally more female) greater access to the ballot. Just dumping this request is likely to reduce early voting.

3. Intimidation everywhere else re 1. If this works, and ICE can catch even one person who was incorrectly registered off these lists, look for it to be rolled out across the country. Kris Kobach would love it. Tip the scales in AZ? Sure, why not? How about Florida where Nelson and Scott are neck and neck? 2018 mid-terms done. And, then we all are. So, it is necessary to force this into more public view and stop it in NC.
posted by Gotanda at 10:17 PM on September 5 [40 favorites]




Speaking of Beto, here's a Rolling Stone piece on his punk rock band, Foss (fast fact: means "waterfall" in Icelandic). Beto O’Rourke Shares the Story of His Old Band, Foss — and a Single.
posted by scalefree at 10:48 PM on September 5 [10 favorites]


At this point just accept that all you have to do is actually outlive Trump by a couple of years to know who it was

I dunno. Between Nixon’s funeral and the reveal of Deep Throat was 11 years.

Side note: I corrected my initial typo of “Derp Throat,” which somehow seems appropriate for Stupid Watergate.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:11 PM on September 5 [33 favorites]


Q2 didn't even include a tripcode in their post, I don't think we'll ever know their identity for sure.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:18 PM on September 5


There is value in having a cabinet member admit things are not normal.
posted by jaduncan at 12:24 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


[W]hat's a few hundred thousand emails about torture between Federalists?

20 to life, SAIT.
posted by riverlife at 12:26 AM on September 6 [10 favorites]


AZ-gov: PPP poll has GOP incumbent Ducey up 44-43 on Dem Garcia [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Garcia campaign.

Wow, that's closer than I dared hope.
Since Ducey's state Supreme Court buddies just kicked the Invest in Ed measure off the ballot, and teachers are mad as hell. Garcia won the nomination largely because he's so strong on education; it's probably the number one driving issue this election. Fingers crossed those shenanigans are enough to sink Ducey (who will probably run for McCain's seat on the next go-round, anyway) and get Garcia into office.

Either way, we need to work hard to get Katie Hobbs elected Secretary of State. In Arizona, the SoS is the next in the succession line to the governor, and it's how we ended up with Jan "Stabby Fingers" Brewer when Janet Napoletano was tapped for DHS. We need a safety in place for when Dougie drops out to pursue his dreams of going to Washington.
posted by Superplin at 12:32 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


This ICE an voting records subpoena shit an attack on our democracy. It's not just aimed at suppressing individual voters, but fucking with all the county boards of elections targeted in eastern North Carolina. It seems that it will be a huge administrative burden on them to comply with the extent of the records requested by the September 25th deadline. What can be done to stop this?
posted by Mister Cheese at 12:34 AM on September 6 [14 favorites]


According to Wikipedia "Unlike in many states, the Secretary of State does not oversee state elections." in North Carolina. Roy Cooper (D) is the Governor. If this isn't stopped there we are screwed. How do we support Cooper? Seems like it's pretty much bodies in the streets time, but it is hard to get people excited about voter registration and polling records. Anyone in this megathread from NC have anything good to share with us? Please?
posted by Gotanda at 12:42 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


GOP may bail on Trump now because they got what they wanted, $1.5T tax cut and the Supreme Court.
Now it’s time for face saving and ‘moving on’.
posted by growabrain at 12:53 AM on September 6 [12 favorites]


Is the fact the former Justice Kennedy's son was Trump's personal banker and may have been a backchannel in getting Kennedy to resign in any way relevant to Kavanaugh's hearing?
posted by PenDevil at 1:30 AM on September 6 [24 favorites]


There are like 400 comments about the op-ed and only 1 about Comey and Mueller kissing. Where are our priorities, MeFi?
posted by Literaryhero at 1:48 AM on September 6 [7 favorites]


I just watched Harris grilling Kavanaugh. She is incredible and I guess I'm finally coming around to being happy to have voted for her (even if she's yet another prosecutor). I hope President Harris follows up on this thread tomorrow. Did I say President Harris? Hah hah. I meant Senator, of course. Senator Harris.
posted by Justinian at 1:58 AM on September 6 [37 favorites]


Isn’t Hunter’s excuse for this whole campaign finance scandal thing, “My wife spends all the money!” So... did she pay for the five affairs as well?
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:01 AM on September 6 [15 favorites]


So this NYT Op-Ed basically lays bare the existence of an unelected, unaccountable cabal that is running a branch of the American government in place of an unstable President?

The shallow state
posted by dng at 3:35 AM on September 6 [11 favorites]


Beto O'Rourke campaign says impostor sent text to voters seeking rides to polls for 'undocumented immigrants'

First “send him back to Ireland” now this. And it’s only the first week of September.

Ted Cruz is not going without a fight.
posted by notyou at 3:49 AM on September 6 [14 favorites]


So this NYT Op-Ed basically lays bare the existence of an unelected, unaccountable cabal that is running a branch of the American government in place of an unstable President?

This op-ed filled me with rage in a way that nothing else has lately. I despise Trump, but I despise this person more. At least Trump was presumably elected by his unhinged base, who might have actually believed his populist promises. This unaccountable cabal is using a charismatic puppet in order to carry out a systematic theft of government resources from the people of this country. It’s the most anti-Democratic turn to this story yet.

This is the best argument for impeachment or the 25th yet. Certainly the founders never intended a group of unelected cabinet members would subvert the will of elected officials.
posted by rainydayfilms at 3:51 AM on September 6 [43 favorites]


Re Cruz's fake Beto text, from the article.

Frank Freeman of Houston also got the text.
"I thought it was hilarious," he said. "It's pretty transparent."


Rafe's flop sweat.
posted by Gotanda at 3:55 AM on September 6 [6 favorites]


This morning @realDonaldTrump is displaying classic bunker mentality signs, tweeting "I’m draining the Swamp, and the Swamp is trying to fight back. Don’t worry, we will win!" and "Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump.” Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!"

This is why we have the batshitinsane tag. The only place left for him to go is Downfall memes.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:18 AM on September 6 [33 favorites]


"Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump.” Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!"

Way to disprove the OpEd...
"Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations."
posted by chris24 at 4:26 AM on September 6 [18 favorites]


I’ve had people tell me that they think the reason stuff with NK is so bad is because all the other presidents were so dismissive of Dear Leader.

I’m like....no, it’s because it’s a despotic regime.

And they say, well at least Trump is trying.

So there are people who will see this tweet and not think it’s insane. They think he’s some kind of bringer together.

My mind hurts.
posted by sio42 at 4:39 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Completely normal when the vice president has to put out a statement saying he's not leading a soft coup against the president. And telling about the Administration's honesty that I don't think it is Pence, but the statement actually makes me suspect him more.


Jarrod Agen (@VPComDir)
The Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds. The @nytimes should be ashamed and so should the person who wrote the false, illogical, and gutless op-ed. Our office is above such amateur acts.
posted by chris24 at 4:45 AM on September 6 [15 favorites]


Axios: Exclusive: Trump's Nightmare: "The Snakes Are Everywhere"
President Trump is not just seething about Bob Woodward. He’s deeply suspicious of much of the government he oversees — from the hordes of folks inside agencies, right up to some of the senior-most political appointees and even some handpicked aides inside his own White House, officials tell Axios.[...]

"I find the reaction to the NYT op-ed fascinating — that people seem so shocked that there is a resistance from the inside," one senior official said. "A lot of us [were] wishing we’d been the writer, I suspect ... I hope he [Trump] knows — maybe he does? — that there are dozens and dozens of us."

Several senior White House officials have described their roles to us as saving America and the world from this president. A good number of current White House officials have privately admitted to us they consider Trump unstable, and at times dangerously slow. But the really deep concern and contempt, from our experience, has been at the agencies — and particularly in the foreign policy arena.

For some time last year, Trump even carried with him a handwritten list of people suspected to be leakers undermining his agenda. "He would basically be like, 'We’ve gotta get rid of them. The snakes are everywhere but we’re getting rid of them,'" said a source close to Trump.

Officials describe an increasingly conspiracy-minded president: "When he was super frustrated about the leaks, he would rail about the 'snakes' in the White House," said a source who has discussed administration leakers with the president. "Especially early on, when we would be in Roosevelt Room meetings, he would sit down at the table, and get to talking, then turn around to see who was sitting along the walls behind him. One day, after one of those meetings, he said, 'Everything that just happened is going to leak. I don’t know any of those people in the room.' ... He was very paranoid about this."[...]

"People talk about the loyalists leaving," the source close to Trump tells us. "What it really means is [that there'll be] fewer and fewer people who Trump knows who they really are. So imagine how paranoid you must be if that is your view of the world."
Also, McSweeney's I AM PART OF THE RESISTANCE INSIDE NYARLATHOTEP’S DEATH CULT
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:57 AM on September 6 [37 favorites]


Andrew Paul, McSweeney's: I Am Part of the Resistance Inside Nyarlathotep's Death Cult
The root of this problem, we believe, is in Nyarlathotep’s very essence. It is a being incapable of viewing Its servants as anything other than playground toys or troublesome fleas. Many may argue that we should have known this to be the case for the Stalker Among the Stars. And that might well prove true, to a point. We summoned the God of a Thousand Forms assuming the weight of responsibility would rein It in slightly, remind It to adhere to the Necronomicon’s nightmare prophesies first and foremost. If it was foolish to assume the Outer God would care so little about this dimension that it wouldn’t even acknowledge the Tome’s existence, well, call us fools. We still believe utter ruin can be brought to the land through the proper rituals and unhallowed traditions, not by this fly-by-the-seat-of-your-tentacles kind of governing.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:06 AM on September 6 [34 favorites]


there are dozens and dozens of us."

Great to know there are lots of craven pieces of shit selling out our country to enable and collaborate with a manifest threat to democracy and the world for some tax cuts.

And they think this is exculpatory. Which tells you how fucking awful they are.
posted by chris24 at 5:09 AM on September 6 [59 favorites]


The democratic crisis described by Bob Woodward and the anonymous New York Times op-ed (Aaron Blake | WaPo)
[On “avoiding” a constitutional crisis:] The cat appears to be very much out of the bag on that one. The idea that we are in a constitutional crisis is overwrought — and has been for quite some time — but the rest of the op-ed and some anecdotes from Bob Woodward's new book portray what could very justifiably be described as a democratic crisis.

The NYT op-ed author says “many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of [Trump's] agenda and his worst inclinations.” They add that departments and agencies are “working to insulate their operations from his whims.” They say some “heroes” in the White House “have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing."

This, either by happenstance or because there is a building sense of desperation and/or mutiny, sounds a lot like what Woodward describes some senior officials doing in his book, portions of which broke Tuesday.

... Most of the country that opposes Trump may cheer that because they dislike Trump, and the officials may justify it to themselves and their like-minded fellow officials by pointing to the potentially calamitous alternative. But in this official's telling, these officials are essentially trading one type of crisis for another — or perhaps somehow convincing themselves that a president's own aides and advisers forming a “resistance” isn't a crisis.

It seems the same thing that convincing them to remain anonymous is convincing them that this crisis isn't as bad as that crisis: Raw, ambitious hope. If they were truly that worried, you'd have to think they would be so alarmed that they'd come out publicly about what's happening. Instead, they seem to want to protect themselves and hope everything turns out okay. They think it best to muddle through with a democratic crisis that could turn into an American crisis, while shunning the constitutional option that was put in place, it seems, for just such a circumstance.

But if things are truly as bad as they say they are, that's quite the gamble.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:24 AM on September 6 [27 favorites]


So this NYT Op-Ed basically lays bare the existence of an unelected, unaccountable cabal that is running a branch of the American government in place of an unstable President?

And this differs from Reagan's second term, and possibly most of his first how again?
posted by delfin at 5:43 AM on September 6 [14 favorites]


...building sense of desperation and/or mutiny...”

Trump’s greatest sin in this presidency will be that of barratry. His inability to steer the ship of state, and his downright contempt for the rule of law will ultimately be his undoing. In Dante the barrators (the “barratieri”) reside in the bolge of Fraud, so Trump’s other sins fit right in.
posted by Roger_Mexico at 5:48 AM on September 6 [7 favorites]


WSJ: White House Searches for Anonymous Inside Critic—Aides chase rumors of who could have written opinion piece on alleged effort within administration to thwart Trump’s impulses "Inside the West Wing, top officials canceled afternoon meetings and huddled behind closed doors to strategize about how to expose the author, White House officials said. Some officials called reporters to chase down rumors about who was behind the op-ed, and whether it came from inside the White House or a cabinet-level agency."

NYT: Pence and Pompeo Deny Writing Op-Ed Critical of the Trump Administration "'It is not mine,' Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, said of the Op-Ed published on Wednesday in The New York Times. [...] Traveling in India, Mr. Pompeo said if he felt he was not able to 'execute the commander’s intent,' he would resign. 'And this person instead, according to The New York Times, chose not only to stay, but to undermine what President Trump and this administration are trying to do,' he said. 'I have to tell you, I find the media’s efforts in this regard to undermine this administration incredibly disturbing.'"

Perfectly normal state of affairs in the middle of a Supreme Court approval process, critical trade negotiations, mid-term election campaigns, etc.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:49 AM on September 6 [13 favorites]


This op-ed filled me with rage in a way that nothing else has lately. I despise Trump, but I despise this person more.

Yes, this. I'm waiting for the computational linguists to do their thing and out this jerk (JKRowling = Robert Galbraith - this is not an endorsement of what happened to JkRowling, who I adore for a million reasons, just an example of the bag of tricks linguists have that could be brought to bear here).
posted by bluesky43 at 5:53 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


'I have to tell you, I find the media’s efforts in this regard to undermine this administration incredibly disturbing.'

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Pompeo, who manages to blame this whole thing on the fucking media.
posted by lydhre at 5:55 AM on September 6 [29 favorites]


NYT: Pence and Pompeo Deny Writing Op-Ed Critical of the Trump Administration "'It is not mine,' Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, said of the Op-Ed published on Wednesday in The New York Times.

and despite my rage I find it hilarious that the vice-president and the freakin secretary of state have to deny authorship (lodestone....).
posted by bluesky43 at 5:55 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Trump’s greatest sin in this presidency will be that of barratry.

While I don't think it is necessarily a productive use of time to try and rank the sins of the Trump presidency, I gotta think that fatal baby jails and Puerto Rico would rate higher than that vocab word I just looked up.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:56 AM on September 6 [46 favorites]


A few decades ago the easy answer to that question would have been "The Draft."

That ended in 1973; nearly half a century ago. Not really "a few decades".


Registration for the Selective Service is still mandatory for male citizens. There are fines for failure to register, but the real coercion comes from its ties to the student loan system.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:58 AM on September 6 [15 favorites]


barratry = fraud or gross negligence of a ship’s master or crew at the expense of its owners or users.

bolge = [from It. “bolgia”] pit or ditch.

Checks out.

(New words. Thanks!)
posted by notyou at 6:00 AM on September 6 [12 favorites]


And this differs from Reagan's second term, and possibly most of his first how again?

Despite possibly being mentally incapacitated, Reagan never said the quiet part out loud.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:00 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


WSJ: White House Searches for Anonymous Inside Critic—Aides chase rumors of who could have written opinion piece on alleged effort within administration to thwart Trump’s impulses

"I'm in charge of finding myself, and I make sure it never happens."

--[crazy methos fangirl]
posted by invincible summer at 6:02 AM on September 6 [7 favorites]


Doktor Zed: "When he was super frustrated about the leaks, he would rail about the 'snakes' in the White House,"

Seems fair to say that he's had it with these motherfucking snakes in this motherfucking White House.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:04 AM on September 6 [44 favorites]


I'm not trying to be a party pooper, and I'm 100% down with Harris and all the other Democrats making Kavanaugh look bad, but I'm asking seriously: is there anything we can really do?

Kavanaugh is going to be confirmed, every single Republican Senator will vote aye, and I'm personally betting at least one and possibly several DINO's will vote aye as well (Manchin has previously said he's open to Kavanaugh and he's criticized any effort to delay the hearings or confirmation vote).

I'm hoping some of this helps us drive Democratic voters to the polls in November, and if it does than that's certainly a positive.

But do we have any chance at all of actually fixing this or dumping Kavanaugh at some point in the future?

Assume he has committed straight up perjury that will at some point after his confirmation be trivially provable. Audio of him bragging about how he talked with Trump's personal lawyers about the best way to defy Mueller maybe, or something equally damning. Is there any chance at all that we can use that to get rid of him?

Impeachment only requires a simple House majority, which we might have every now and then, but removal from office requires 67 votes in the Senate which we not only do not have now but will never have; after 2026 we're pretty much guaranteed never to have even 51 votes in the Senate for the foreseeable future. And I don't see any Republicans ever voting to remove a Republican Justice from the Court for any reason up to and including murder and cannibalism.

Is the only benefit to the masterful attacks on inevitable Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh really just a hope for a bump in our turnout in November? Or is there some hope for more that I'm missing?
posted by sotonohito at 6:04 AM on September 6 [9 favorites]


Despite possibly being mentally incapacitated, Reagan never said the quiet part out loud.
Oh, Ronnie was pretty loudly quiet throughout his entire racist career.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:04 AM on September 6 [9 favorites]


"When he was super frustrated about the leaks, he would rail about the 'snakes' in the White House,"

If he hates snakes so much maybe we can reclaim the Gadsdsen flag. I didn't realize that the rattlesnake was so admired as an early American symbol:
I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?
- Benjamin Franklin
posted by mikepop at 6:08 AM on September 6 [15 favorites]


I used to have hope that Trump might just ragequit, because he's a feckless attention-seeker and why stay in a job that requires him to actually (at least appear to) work?

But that was before I understood that he was up to his eyeballs in obligations to Russia and might not be able to quit because then all his bills come due.

And now I assume that the Republicans are split between those with the same problem and those who are just flat-out high on their authoritarian crazy dreams (though the two can overlap).

I don't know where we go from here.
posted by emjaybee at 6:10 AM on September 6 [33 favorites]


“Hell of Dumb” would be a good title for the 12-season, 300-episode Netflix series that eventually results from the smoking ruins of this administration.

Or to stay on brand, "The Clown".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:11 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


Is the only benefit to the masterful attacks on inevitable Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh really just a hope for a bump in our turnout in November?

Maybe peripheral to this is that acting on behalf of the American people, and being on the right side of history, have merit in themselves. I want people elected to represent me to fight for what's right even if there's a zero percent chance of success, because that's what they're supposed to do.
posted by Rykey at 6:13 AM on September 6 [23 favorites]


And this differs from Reagan's second term, and possibly most of his first how again?

reagan had better hair
posted by entropicamericana at 6:14 AM on September 6 [6 favorites]


Breaking:
Trump administration to circumvent court limits on detention of child migrants (WaPo)
The Trump administration said Thursday it is preparing to circumvent limits on the government’s ability to hold minors in immigration jails by withdrawing from the Flores Settlement Agreement, the federal consent decree that has shaped detention standards for underage migrants since 1997.

The maneuver is almost certain to land the administration back in court, where U.S. District Court Judge Dolly M. Gee, who oversees the agreement, has rejected attempts to extend the amount of time migrant children can be held with their parents beyond the current limit of 20 days.

But under changes proposed Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services, the administration said it would issue new regulations that “satisfy the basic purpose” of the Flores settlement and ensure migrant children “are treated with dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors.”

... In August, the mother of a Guatemalan toddler filed a claim alleging the little girl died in May as a result of negligent medical care while detained with hundreds of other families in Texas.

“The Trump administration is seeking to expand its power to jail families for longer in worse conditions and lock up children indefinitely in unlicensed and inhumane facilities," said Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, in a news conference last month.

"We're talking about an administration that intentionally and forcibly separated children from their parents knowing the torment and trauma that that would cause and we're now allowing them to set a new standard ... of care for immigrant children."
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:14 AM on September 6 [51 favorites]


In Dante the barrators (the “barratieri”) reside in the bolge of Fraud, so Trump’s other sins fit right in.

You could make a case for the False Counselors, or Sowers of Discord, too. Minos is gonna have a tough time. Or maybe the False Counselors are where the Cabinet goes.
posted by thelonius at 6:17 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Apparently the (Trumpist) Republican nominee in the Florida governor's race has picked a Lt. Gov who said some especially #nevertrump-y things during the 2016 primaries (which she is totally backpedaling on now, all hail god-emperor Trump, etc etc)

I really wish the Democrats would play dirty more often. Republicans are great at driving wedges in the Democratic electorate, but the Democrats rarely return the favor. The Trumpists are the core of the Republican electorate, and they view any slight against their messiah as immediately disqualifying. So what's stopping the Democrats from engaging in information warfare against the Trumpists? What's stopping the Democrats from relentlessly reminding the Trumpists in Florida, via targeted Facebook ads, that a vote for the Republican ticket is a vote for a #nevertrump heretic? If you can convince a few thousand of them to stay home out of disgust, you stand a better chance of swinging the election.

The same holds true in my state of Maryland, where the widely-liked Republican governor (who is also an immigrant-baiting, police-state-revering shitbag) is distrusted by the Trumpists who make up a large portion of his party, due to his occasional feeble "condemnations" of the president's actions. Can't we spend some of our energy and money reminding every Trumpist in Maryland about their distrust of their Establishment Republican governor from now until November 6?
posted by duffell at 6:17 AM on September 6 [22 favorites]


> Maybe peripheral to this is that acting on behalf of the American people, and being on the right side of history, have merit in themselves. I want people elected to represent me to fight for what's right even if there's a zero percent chance of success, because that's what they're supposed to do.
This is not peripheral IMO. The fight alone is worth it in itself.

And...

Patrick Henry (allegedly), Virginia House of Burgesses, 1775:
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?
posted by runcifex at 6:26 AM on September 6 [43 favorites]


Thinking about it I suspect that what Harris is up to is she's trying to put Kavanagh in a position where he would have to recuse himself if any Trump related issues hit the supremes
posted by mbo at 6:34 AM on September 6 [27 favorites]


Grassley is out of the gate on document release. I can't wait until Leahy is up.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:38 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Of course, and I agree fully that there's merit in the fight itself. Your rank in hell is determined by the number of enemies you take with you and all that. I was just wondering if we had any real chance of material gains too.

I'm extremely happy that finally some of my elected Democrats are finding their spine and fighting even if it's futile. I'm just hoping that there's more to be gained than moral victories and the inherent rightness of fighting for a just cause.

emjaybee I don't know where we go from here.

Me either, and what really disturbs me is that throughout history movements almost never revert from an extreme position once they've committed to it. Coupled with the guaranteed Republican ownership of the Senate post 2026 and massive gerrymandering I'm increasingly convinced we're going to see the Federal government dominated by a minority fearful of and hateful towards the majority. That's not a recipe for a good future.
posted by sotonohito at 6:38 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


So as not to absue the edit window: mbo, no Supreme Court Justice can be compelled to recuse themselves in even the most egregious of circumstances. Kavanaugh will not recuse himself from any Trump related case, he's already all but said as much explicitly.
posted by sotonohito at 6:40 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


Thinking about it I suspect that what Harris is up to is she's trying to put Kavanagh in a position where he would have to recuse himself if any Trump related issues hit the supremes

I hope she isn't so stupid as to believe that he would actually do that, no matter what he promises or signs or swears unto dread Nyarlathotep at a crossroads under the light of a new moon.
posted by Etrigan at 6:40 AM on September 6 [9 favorites]


Here's the PBS Newshour stream of the hearing. Here is chat. Come join us. I have little chocolate donuts and coffee.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:47 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Right, re Harris putting Kavanaugh in a recusal box: that would have made sense up until fairly recently. But norms, they just don't work anymore.
posted by Gotanda at 6:48 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


sotonohito, in addition to the "merit of the fight," I find I need to keep reminding myself that the Democrats will miss 100% of the shots they don't take. A breakthrough in the SCOTUS hearings/vote is vanishingly unlikely, but a breakthrough is impossible if the Democrats don't push hard even when they know their chances are slim. Maybe there will be a leak about Kavanaugh's past that makes supporting him politically untenable. Maybe one of the Senate's bluish-state Republicans will fall into an open sewer and drown in sewage before the vote, delaying proceedings until a Democratic governor nominates a moderate replacement. But if the Democrats were to cede the fight now, none of that would matter anyway.

Unlikely? Hell yes. But nobody knew Duncan Hunter or Chris Collins would be indicted, either, and thankfully there are strong Democrats running hard in both districts anyway, ready for the opening.
posted by duffell at 6:48 AM on September 6 [41 favorites]


NYT's Charlie Savage says they have leaked, committee confidential documents from Kavanaugh's time in the White House. Not sure there's anything really surprising in what they have - some comments on Roe not being the settled law of the land, and apparently some stuff on affirmative action though that doesn't seem to be discussed in the article.
posted by nubs at 6:56 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


Oh FFS, so Harris shouldn't be highlighting his conflict, corruption and lies? The sniping and negativity is a bit ridiculous.

"Fight to the death for us!"

- She fires what ammo she has.

"Why are you doing that, that'll never work. They don't care."

First off, while it may very well not cause him to recuse, highlighting it will make the illegitimacy of any decision even more obvious, firing up the base and hurting the reps of Rs and the court. Secondly, shame does still work. Not like it used to but even Trump has had to backtrack on certain things when there's been a groundswell of opposition and outrage. Third, working the refs definitely fucking works. Just look how Rs take arguments and situations way worse and weaker than this and spin them into legislative, judicial and political wins.

Quit assuming it's hopeless and go for it.
posted by chris24 at 6:58 AM on September 6 [110 favorites]


I signed up for a free trial of Hulu so that I could watch this: Active Measures (documentary film). It's also on iTunes, and in select theaters now.

Very worth watching. There's nothing here that isn't public information, but if you have not been following politics in the former Soviet Union the past 10 years, this will catch you up. Actually even if you HAVE been obsessively paying attention you will almost certainly learn something (I certainly did, and I have been obsessing for about 2.5 years now.)

What happened in the 2016 election in the US already happened in Georgia in 2012 and in Ukraine in 2014. All of it. Chants of "lock her up." Fake news on social media. Russian hackers. Race baiting. Birtherism. It happened there before it happened here. And much of the cast of characters is the same too. Paul Manafort. Rick Gates. Oleg Deripaska. Alex fricking Jones.

This is the context you need to understand our current place in history. If you watch this, our politics right now will still be frustrating, but it will be a lot less bewildering.

It has nothing to do with my site, though it covers much of the same ground as the page I titled "The Story So Far" so if you are looking for links to more info on some of this stuff, there are some there. I have to say, though, as someone who has been reading about all of this, actually seeing and hearing it is much more visceral and compelling in some ways. These shadowy figures appear as flesh and blood human beings, and somehow that makes this all more real and chilling. Kinda gave me goosebumps, to be honest.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:00 AM on September 6 [78 favorites]


Hot damn, right out the gate:

Booker says he's prepared to release the email on racial profiling that was mentioned in his line of questioning of Kavanaugh last night even if the consequence is expulsion from the Senate. Calls this an important moment of civil disobedience

Twitter
posted by robotdevil at 7:02 AM on September 6 [108 favorites]


Is the only benefit to the masterful attacks on inevitable Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh really just a hope for a bump in our turnout in November? Or is there some hope for more that I'm missing?

Although a justice can't be forced to recuse, Democrats can make a big deal about Kavanaugh's conflict of interest if it does look like something related to the Mueller probe is headed towards SCOTUS.

It also helps build a good rationale for eventual court packing as a way to counteract the illegitimacy of Gorsuch (because of Garland) and Kavanaugh (because of this).
posted by duoshao at 7:04 AM on September 6 [11 favorites]


Tweet: "Sen Whitehouse is up now. Says he does not accept the process or legitimacy or validity of committee confidential documents. Says he's not under any obligation to recognize it."

Whitehouse is from my state, Rhode Island. A few years ago, he seemed to be pretty limp, just used as a party mouthpiece to deliver scripted remarks.

But I have grown to like him over the years, and I am proud of him now.

Go, Sheldon, go!!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:07 AM on September 6 [52 favorites]


It also helps build a good rationale for eventual court packing as a way to counteract the illegitimacy of Gorsuch (because of Garland) and Kavanaugh (because of this).

100 fucking percent. Dems should be doing nothing but talking about the illegitimacy of the Court. That and the threat of packing it is probably the only thing that will restrain the worst of Roberts. He's the swing vote now and as Chief Justice concerned about the image of the court and his place in history. We need to make it toxic for every undemocratic shitty case that makes it to the Supremes. Let him preside over a Court hated and disrespected by a majority of Americans if that's what he wants to do.

EDIT: While FDR's court packing plan didn't pass, it worked in the sense that the court started ruling more in his favor. We need to put the same pressure on here.
posted by chris24 at 7:10 AM on September 6 [27 favorites]


Durbin, re Booker: "Let's jump into this pit together... if there's going to be some retribution... count me in."

Fuck. Yeah.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:12 AM on September 6 [81 favorites]


Booker and Whitehouse are smart as fuck. They go through with this, and it's both a political win and a moral victory.

If either of them get booted, a Democratic governor picks and chooses the replacement. The expelled Senator is a hero to the left and the expulsion of a sitting Senator for releasing IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT A FUCKING SUPREME COURT NOMINEE is major news that reaches people that are usually pretty disengaged from political news. Democrats are able to present a coherent case to the public: "Why was vital information kept from the public by Republicans and why is RELEASING this information the crime here?" Booker gets juice for a 2020 run. And of course, if they don't get booted, it emboldens and enables further resistance from even their more ossified colleagues.
posted by duffell at 7:13 AM on September 6 [115 favorites]


Is the only benefit to the masterful attacks on inevitable Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh really just a hope for a bump in our turnout in November? Or is there some hope for more that I'm missing?

You never know which straw is the one that does the breaking. You just have to keep piling them on.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:13 AM on September 6 [50 favorites]




a reminder - a 2/3rds vote is necessary to expel a senator
posted by pyramid termite at 7:14 AM on September 6 [22 favorites]


Just to remind you that the speeches and debate of members of Congress (including reading any documents into the record) are expressly immune under the Constitution to any legal proceeding other than the rules of their House. Booker could get kicked off the Judiciary Committee, maybe, but they definitely don’t have the votes to kick him out of the Senate.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:14 AM on September 6 [9 favorites]


Also, pretty sure nothing would preclude a governor or state electorate from reinstalling the expelled senator. Am i wrong?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:15 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Even better then. Especially good news for Durbin, since his state is currently governed by a Republican.
posted by duffell at 7:16 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Hirono is out of fucks and giving it to the press. Klobuchar is so angry she's on the edge of tears.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:16 AM on September 6 [23 favorites]


The PBS NewsHour feed has unhelpfully placed graphics directly on top of the name placards in front of Senators. C-Span is much better.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:18 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Cory Booker believes in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.
posted by guiseroom at 7:19 AM on September 6 [92 favorites]


Just to remind you that the speeches and debate of members of Congress (including reading any documents into the record) are expressly immune under the Constitution to any legal proceeding other than the rules of their House. Booker could get kicked off the Judiciary Committee, maybe, but they definitely don’t have the votes to kick him out of the Senate.

Booker himself just basically made this point - he hasnt violated any senate rules, just the chairs rules.

Hes now challenging the Rs on the comittee to initiate the process of removing him. Damn.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:25 AM on September 6 [19 favorites]


Booker just called out Cornyn and dared him to bring Senate charges against him.

BALLER.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:26 AM on September 6 [84 favorites]


For what it's worth, my therapist told me yesterday that the Freudian opposite of "anal-retentive" is "anal-expulsive," which I'm leaving here as a humble suggestion to describe our president's behavior (Freud's hackishness aside). Wikipedia characterizes anal expulsiveness as "the state of a person who exhibits cruelty, emotional outbursts, disorganization, self-confidence... and general carelessness."
posted by duffell at 7:28 AM on September 6 [18 favorites]


the guaranteed Republican ownership of the Senate post 2026

Just want to push back on this a little. This depends on enough existing trends continuing as they are forever... but often that's not what trends do. There are any number of scenarios that would cause the Senate to have a Democratic majority at some point on or after 2026; for example, if the Democrats get full control in 2020, they could grant statehood to D.C. and a few islands (why stop at Puerto Rico? The population requirement for statehood is very small by modern standards); if they can universalize health care the death rate discrepancy between red and blue could drop so enough blues can survive to prime voting age (retirement). Or some currently-red states flip because even smaller cities are blue and eventually manage to grow enough, or because enough current non-voters (which are legion) become politically active. Or the extremity of GOP ideology causes them to adopt a position that turns out to have an unexpected electoral price (see what's happening with teacher pay right now; there's no reason to suspect this will be an isolated incident).

I'm not saying that any one of these scenarios is particularly probable by itself, but the chance of at least one development counter to the current trends is likely enough that "guaranteed" is not justified.

Nothing is inevitable. Fatalism is a sin.
posted by Jpfed at 7:35 AM on September 6 [58 favorites]


Dang. How does Grassley regain control of his committee and this process? If the usual sanctions won’t work, he has to put the hammer down (whatever that may mean), or compromise on docs and process.

Nice work, Dem Senators!
posted by notyou at 7:37 AM on September 6 [16 favorites]


Here's video of some of what Sen. Booker just said. "Bring it."
posted by zachlipton at 7:38 AM on September 6 [36 favorites]


Well shit, Booker gave me hope. And I hadn't thought of the threat of court packing as being an influence on current SC conservatives. Huh.
posted by emjaybee at 7:39 AM on September 6 [10 favorites]


Also it appears as though Schumer has objected to the suspension of a senate rule that would allow this committee hearing to continue while the whole chamber meets - Grassley, somewhat confusedly (shocker), suggests that they go to executive session at 1pm prior to a 2pm shutdown of the hearing.

It seems to be just procedural tricks but i guess id rather they make this difficult if at all possible.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:41 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


I'm waiting for the computational linguists to do their thing and out this jerk

Here's someone giving it a shot, thinks it's someone in the State Department, maybe Pompeo, but the data is really really vague. (Also: going off just the Twitter corpus is kind of lazy).

Also: I personally think the "lodestar" thing was thrown in as a red herring to fuck with Pence.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:45 AM on September 6 [17 favorites]


Not sure there's anything really surprising in what they have - some comments on Roe not being the settled law of the land,

That's surprising, and approximately contrary to his repeated platitudes yesterday. We know he believes it, but there's a difference between that and having him write it. I'd go as far as to say it, along with a hell of a ton of pressure from constituents, is about the only thing that could get Collins and Murkowski to vote no, though only if they were in a position where they really had to confront it and acknowledge it.

Sen. Feinstein is reading the email, which was supposed to be "committee confidential," right now.

Kavanaugh says he was writing about the views of "legal scholars" and wasn't even "technically accurate," overstating what legal scholars think back then. He goes back to the Roe is an "important precedent" platitudes from yesterday.
posted by zachlipton at 7:48 AM on September 6 [13 favorites]


Right on schedule. Dr. Chuck Tingle's new work, VEEP THROAT: MIKE BENCE POUNDED IN THE BUTT BY THE WORD LODESTAR, now available at all fine retailers.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:52 AM on September 6 [67 favorites]


Cory Booker's comments on release of the emails concerning racial profiling gave me shivers. This guy is the real deal and it is him and Kamala Harris who give me hope. Wow, just wow.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:57 AM on September 6 [57 favorites]


My fellow Americans, let us not talk of dastardly "court packing" plans, but instead about the routine and unexceptional adjustments to the Supreme Court's size that were common throughout the 19th century. For example, the once well-established policy that the Court should have one justice for each appellate circuit, of which there are now twelve regional ones and one special-purpose circuit. Or the fact that it was also, at one time, quite common to let the size of the Court adjust down by attrition, when that was considered desirable.

Really it would only be responsible to expand the Court to reduce the workload on individual justices and increase geographic representation; after all, we're a much different country now than we were in 1866 when Court size was last adjusted. And if we later realize that was a mistake, then shrink it back down. There is precedent for both moves!
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 7:58 AM on September 6 [103 favorites]


Trump inauguration crowd photos were edited after he intervened - Jon Swaine, The Guardian
A government photographer edited official pictures of Donald Trump’s inauguration to make the crowd appear bigger following a personal intervention from the president, according to newly released documents.
...
The detail was revealed in investigative reports released to the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act by the inspector general of the US interior department. They shed new light on the first self-inflicted crisis of Trump’s presidency, when his White House falsely claimed he had attracted the biggest ever inauguration audience.

The records detail a scramble within the National Park Service (NPS) on 21 January 2017 after an early-morning phone call between Trump and the acting NPS director, Michael Reynolds. They also state that Sean Spicer, then White House press secretary, called NPS officials repeatedly that day in pursuit of the more flattering photographs.
Where it all began.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:59 AM on September 6 [69 favorites]


Here's the NYT article on the leaked Kavanaugh emails. Roe vs Wade is not settled law.
posted by bluesky43 at 8:00 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Maybe the GOP will throw [Senator Collins] over the bow if she votes no, but there's more than one way to end your political career, and if your constituents toss you in favor of a well-funded opponent, continued support of your party isn't worth quite as much.

Susan Collins totally relies on the "moderate Republican" pose, even as she votes practically in lockstep with a caucus that keeps marching relentlessly toward the right. Reminding her that there is, indeed, more than one way to end a political career seems a good move, even if it does depending on the media changing its narrative about her (as it never did with so-called "serious, honest conservative" Paul Ryan).

Also, the idea that the GOP would take drastic retaliatory measures against any individual Senator right now seems to ignore that the margin of Senate control is so thin that breathing wrong could mean they lose control of it.

Good point -- if memory serves me correctly, Joe Donnelly, currently fighting to retain his seat here in Indiana, won because Dick Lugar was primaried by a Tea Party Republican that proved too frothingly far right for Hoosiers to send to the Senate.
posted by Gelatin at 8:00 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Kavanaugh won't answer whether he thinks Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is constitutional.

Section 2 basically reaffirms the 14th Amendment, so he's signaling that he will vote for an explicit return to Jim Crow voting law.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:00 AM on September 6 [68 favorites]


And here are the four "committee confidential" pages that Sen. Booker just posted online.

They include an email thread on the use of racial profiling in post-9/11 airport security. Kavanaugh appears to want race-neutral security measures while saying they need to address the "interim question" of what to do in the meantime. In the thread, Helgard Walker cites Korematsu (!) for the prospect that they could justify the use of race in security measures.
posted by zachlipton at 8:01 AM on September 6 [22 favorites]


In a "saying the quiet parts loud" moment, Illinois's embattled GOP governor (who is probably going to lose in November) calls for term limits for Democrats ... but not Republicans. (It's funny, you can laugh, because he can't pass a damned thing and he's going to lose.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:05 AM on September 6 [18 favorites]


I'm waiting for the computational linguists to do their thing and out this jerk

If I were a famous person planning to publish a controversial op-ed, I would absolutely run the final thing through this type of software first and then tweak it accordingly (or have someone else edit it) until it stopped thinking I had written it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:06 AM on September 6 [13 favorites]


Susan Collins, like Murkowski, is a Profile In Courage in that she might be the 52nd vote for or against a given bill or nominee... once someone ELSE has provided the decisive vote. Her idea of taking a stand is to wait for someone else to take a bullet and then to stand on them.
posted by delfin at 8:09 AM on September 6 [29 favorites]


Speaking of anal-explusive temperaments, CNN: Woodward Book Prompts West Wing Witch Hunt, Sources Say
Before [the NYT op-ed] published, two officials who have spoken directly to the President say he is pleased with the denials of speaking to Woodward offered by chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis.[...]

In Trump's eyes, what makes or breaks aides who are reported to have made disparaging comments about him is how strongly they push back on the accusations.[...]

But he is also taking note of the silence from several other former administration officials.

"He wants to know who talked to Woodward," one of the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity amid the highly tense atmosphere in the West Wing in the wake of the book.[...]

One source close to the White House said people inside the administration are "frustrated because they know it's true."[...]

The President is directing the response strategy personally, officials say, in consultation with top communications official Bill Shine and other aides. At this point, it seems unlikely that anyone is immediately fired because of the book, one official says, because that would "lend credence to a book he is trying to discredit."

More broadly, the White House's emerging strategy to push back against Woodward's reporting seems to be going after those former officials suspected of sharing documents and stories, according to several people familiar with the game plan.

"You don't discredit Bob Woodward. You discredit the motives of the people" who provided the information, one person said.

Evidently caught off guard by the level of detail in the book, White House officials were soliciting advice from allies on how to respond to the book as recently as this weekend, a person familiar with those conversations said.
H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn are likely targets, CNN's sources suggest, but really, nobody in Trumpland is going to be safe from Donald's retribution, one way or another, after this degree of narcissistic injury.

The other important aspect of this behind-the-scenes donnybrook is how well it illustrates Team Trump in a crisis—as incompetent and febrile as it is paranoid and vindictive. Now imagine how they will perform in a genuine emergency, particularly one not of their own making or not publicized well in advance.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:11 AM on September 6 [12 favorites]


Senator Harris starts with the Special Counsel's investigation--asking if he's had a conversation about Mueller or the investigation with anyone at Kasowitz's firm

Sen. Hatch gave him a do-over this morning.

@nycsouthpaw: "I don't recall any conversations of that kind with anyone at that law firm." Kavanaugh says, after Hatch raises Harris's questioning from last night. "I haven't had any inappropriate conversations," about the investigation, he adds.

He left himself a bit of room with the "I don't recall" and the wiggle-room of "inappropriate," but the question now is whether Democratic staff can run down whatever the basis for Harris's question was in enough detail to press him on it by the end of the day.

She said this morning "I have a good reason to believe there was a conversation" based on "information that I’ve received that’s pretty reliable." Whether she can show that today is key.
posted by zachlipton at 8:12 AM on September 6 [25 favorites]


Key to what, though? Will any GOP votes be changed even if there's a smoking gun showing Kavanaugh wants to bring on Gilead?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:19 AM on September 6 [7 favorites]


So the order of questioning alternates by party in order of seniority. We're HOURS from Kamala Harris and ugh I can't wait.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:19 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Susan Collins totally relies on the "moderate Republican" pose, even as she votes practically in lockstep with a caucus that keeps marching relentlessly toward the right. Reminding her that there is, indeed, more than one way to end a political career seems a good move, even if it does depending on the media changing its narrative about her (as it never did with so-called "serious, honest conservative" Paul Ryan).

I'm among the "oh please" crowd when it comes to venerating McCain as this example of principled mavickery bipartisanship, but every single Senator and House member trying to walk this line needs to be repeatedly beaten about with his legend in this election and the next. "What would McCain think of your works here, Congresscritter?" should be on repeat. Leverage all this lionization to make them look inferior to McCain and make them embrace his legend so the MAGAs get depressed by it.

Just to remind you that the speeches and debate of members of Congress (including reading any documents into the record) are expressly immune under the Constitution to any legal proceeding other than the rules of their House.

The preferred term is 'chamber' since house/House is confusing.
posted by phearlez at 8:21 AM on September 6 [10 favorites]


If I were a famous person planning to publish a controversial op-ed, I would absolutely run the final thing through this type of software first and then tweak it accordingly (or have someone else edit it) until it stopped thinking I had written it.

The first ghostwriter to offer "articles in any voice but yours" is gonna make a mint.
posted by Etrigan at 8:22 AM on September 6 [29 favorites]


Just to remind you that the speeches and debate of members of Congress (including reading any documents into the record) are expressly immune under the Constitution to any legal proceeding other than the rules of their House.

The preferred term is 'chamber' since house/House is confusing.


A confusion that the Constitution itself falls victim to, as Article 1, Section 5 refers to "Each House", "either House", and "Neither House". (Sections 6 and 7 also do it a few times.)
posted by Etrigan at 8:25 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Senator Hatch just now: "Some people seem to think that religious people shouldn't work in government because they swear allegiance to their faith as well as their country."

The people who share this view all happen to be made of straw.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:28 AM on September 6 [69 favorites]


Senator Mazie Hirono, @maziehirono: These are the docs Rs don't want you to see—because they show that Judge Kavanaugh wrongly believes that Native Hawaiian programs are Constitutionally questionable. I defy anyone reading this to be able to conclude that it should be deemed confidential in any way, shape, or form. (Docs attached)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:32 AM on September 6 [63 favorites]


Anyone who "swears allegiance" to their faith at the expense of being able to fulfill their sworn obligations to their country probably shouldn't work in government, no.
posted by AndrewInDC at 8:33 AM on September 6 [61 favorites]


The people who share this view all happen to be made of straw.

I dunno, after all this Dominionist shit, I’m starting to come around
posted by schadenfrau at 8:34 AM on September 6 [31 favorites]


Senator Hatch just now: "Some people seem to think that religious people shouldn't work in government because they swear allegiance to their faith as well as their country."

The people who share this view all happen to be made of straw.


No, those people are very real. They're just all white Protestants (with some allowances made for Catholics and Jews who don't get all social-justice about it).
posted by Etrigan at 8:35 AM on September 6 [6 favorites]


It's not "as well as" that concerns us, it's "instead of." Just like people who swear allegiance to the Republican Party instead of the country should be driven out of politics with pitchforks and torches.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:36 AM on September 6 [10 favorites]


Senator Mazie Hirono, @maziehirono: These are the docs Rs don't want you to see—because they show that Judge Kavanaugh wrongly believes that Native Hawaiian programs are Constitutionally questionable.

Good strategy to open up another possible point of pressure on Senator Murkowski.
posted by mikepop at 8:38 AM on September 6 [14 favorites]


Trump drugged and moved to a replica White house, where he carries on thinking he’s governing. Millions spent on hiring actors to play his staff, Senators, news anchors, people at rallies.

I read this book, it was called The Parsifal Mosaic
posted by some loser at 8:39 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Trump drugged and moved to a replica White house, where he carries on thinking he’s governing. Millions spent on hiring actors to play his staff, Senators, news anchors, people at rallies.


It is no coincidence that I've been thinking about Emperor Norton a lot these days. There's also a Lucky Luke comic L'Empereur Smith that makes use of the same theme. The least one could do is to cart him off to Elba, I guess.
posted by Namlit at 8:42 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Email to Kavanaugh, Subject Line: Spying
Opening Line: I have a friend who is a mole for us on the left.


These are the emails that made it to the committee (and got marked 'committee confidential'). What the heck got withheld completely?
posted by cjelli at 8:44 AM on September 6 [77 favorites]


Jpfed: "for example, if the Democrats get full control in 2020, they could grant statehood to D.C. and a few islands"

Speaking of which, Sen Duckworth has signed on to the D.C. Admission Act, bringing it to 29 Senate co-sponsors.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:47 AM on September 6 [27 favorites]


Uh, about ICE's North Carolina voting demand, Justice Dept. Demands Millions of North Carolina Voter Records, Confounding Elections Officials:
Of particular concern was the subpoena’s request for actual ballots that had been cast in prior elections. In North Carolina, votes cast on Election Day are anonymous and untraceable, but absentee ballots and those cast in early voting — a sizable share of the total — are marked with numbers that can be traced to the people who cast them.

Some election officials said they were unsettled at the prospect of handing over traceable ballots to federal prosecutors, and believed that their counties’ voters would be as well.

“I thought it was a hoax when I got it,” said Kellie Hopkins, the director of the elections board in Beaufort County. “A subpoena for ballots? I’d think they’d understand you don’t give out ballots.”
That's fucking terrifying. Why the hell does the state keep traceable ballots after they're counted? I thought the normal standard was to anonymize them once they're checked, accepted, and ready for counting.
posted by zachlipton at 8:50 AM on September 6 [47 favorites]


I am the real Resistance, the Resistance within the Trump administration (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
I am here, and I am secretly in charge, kind of, I hope, except when the president takes any action on the public stage over which I have no control, which is quite often, but not ALL the time. That is my point. Sometimes, the administration does something that I would like it to do, and we should all cling to that, like a mariner to a floating sign post that says “IMMIGRANTS NOT WELCOME AND LOOK AT ALL THIS DEREGULATION.”

Trump is wrong to say that he is surrounded by a deep state of people working and conspiring to undermine his policies at every turn. He is surrounded by a steady state of people working and conspiring to undermine his policies at every turn, except for those that involve deregulation and stopping Certain People from coming here, which we are all for. […]

But I have been resisting as best I know how. I often knock papers off his desk to prevent him from signing them. Once I stuffed an entire memo in my mouth while his back was turned. Another day I knew that it would startle and confuse him to learn that there was such a person as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, so I ran through the White House devouring every newspaper I could see. One day he picked up a red phone and said, “I would like to Start World War III, please, I don’t care with whom,” and if it had not been for me on the other line pretending to be a dial tone, who can say what would have happened. It is these little things that make all the difference between the unimaginable chaos you see and an unimaginable worse chaos. Once in a meeting he became upset because I made a positive remark about John McCain, and we had to pretend that he had force-choked me to death. My limp form was carried out by aides. But fortunately the next day, he had forgotten, and I was able to keep my position. After Vice President Pence and his rabbit did something that bothered him, we told him that Pence had been sent to the cornfield. Sometimes I call his phone pretending to be the president of France so that he can yell at me and not our ally. He derailed the last meeting we had by making truck noises, and he would not stop even when asked nicely by several other senior officials who will also remain nameless. I am positive he thinks NAFTA is a naughty word for a body part and NATO is a kind of expensive fruit. Honestly, I don’t know what he thinks. Sometimes I think his mind is just a loose marble rolling around and if he tilts his head to one side you can hear it. He spent a whole Cabinet meeting asking us what an updog was. Once he made Sean Spicer eat an entire chocolate cake.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:50 AM on September 6 [45 favorites]


> What the heck got withheld completely?

Mostly items critical to national security, like risotto recipes.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:50 AM on September 6 [12 favorites]


Email to Kavanaugh, Subject Line: Spying
Opening Line: I have a friend who is a mole for us on the left.


Wow. I was totally prepared for this to be a spoof but it's not. Republicans really did have a mole informing on Dem efforts to protect Roe V Wade.
posted by scalefree at 8:51 AM on September 6 [50 favorites]


Celsius1414: “Hell of Dumb” would be a good title for the 12-season, 300-episode Netflix series that eventually results from the smoking ruins of this administration.

To be followed up in 20 or 50 years with Twitter (or whatever replaces it) day-by-day updates of what happened, capturing the nuance of this ongoing shitstorm, like people are doing for WWI now.


Definitely Not Sean Spicer: "National security purposes" is the government's open sesame for the courts.

And "Treason!" is anything that anyone does or says against God-King-President Trump. He sees himself as the King, whose word and self are the same as The Country.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:53 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Yet another worthless R senator admits they all know he's manifestly unfit and yet do nothing.

Michael Calderone (Politico)
Ben Sasse says anon NYT op-ed is "similar to what so many of us hear from senior people around the White House, you know, three times a week"
posted by chris24 at 8:54 AM on September 6 [31 favorites]


Key to what, though? Will any GOP votes be changed even if there's a smoking gun showing Kavanaugh wants to bring on Gilead?

No. Kavanaugh could say out loud during these hearings that he thinks anyone who even considers abortion should be publicly executed and Collins and Murkowski would still vote yes on him twice if they could. They're Republicans, which means they will always lie about where their moral lines are. They are willing to accept much, much more heinous things than they will admit, in large part because they believe that they will be immune from those things. Remember that thing people are always quoting about in-groups protected by the law and out-groups bound by it.
posted by IAmUnaware at 8:55 AM on September 6 [22 favorites]


I want to remind those of us who have been calling our elected officials, protesting in the streets, registering voters, sending postcards, and getting arrested that the Dem congresspeople who are loudly fighting this administration (including in the Kavanaugh hearings) have been emboldened by us. As a Pennsylvanian, I have to remember that every time I protest in front of Toomey's office, it's a nudge to Casey to be louder and stronger. Toomey will never change (one can't buy back one's soul from the devil) but making his life miserable has far reaching effects. Please, let's keep it up.
posted by mcduff at 8:57 AM on September 6 [67 favorites]


Hey @realDonaldTrump
if you don't like the Woodward book and the NYT op-ed, you're really not gonna like what's coming next.
This is just the beginning.
We look forward to more of your insane Constitution-bending tweets as this gets worse for you.
And it will.
posted by growabrain at 8:58 AM on September 6 [13 favorites]


Cook ratings moves:

* IA-01 (Blum) | Tossup => Lean D
* VA-02 (Taylor) | Lean R => Tossup

Taylor is enmeshed in the fake signature scandal, Blum is being investigated by the Ethics Committee and has been mentioned as an NRCC triage target.

***

Current totals:

Solid D: 182
Likely D: 11 (8 D, 3 R)
Lean D: 10 (2 D, 8 R)
Tossup: 30 (2 D, 28 R)
Lean R: 26 (0 D, 26 R)
Likely R: 26 (1 D, 25 R)
Solid R: 150
posted by Chrysostom at 8:59 AM on September 6 [20 favorites]


A couple comments about the anonymous op-ed:

1) The NYT believes this to be written by high-level person the the Trump administration. 2) This will exacerbate the crisis in the administration created by the publication Woodward's book. Trump will try to identify and fire the author and probably conduct a purge. Trump will also probably try to take action against the NYT which he doesn't have the legal authority to do. 3) The author knows this.

I think the op-ed is deliberately trying to provoke such a crisis. The intended audience isn't us (except to the extent that knowing how Trump would react the publication of something like this is part of the strategy). The intended audience is members of Trump's cabinet, Mike Pence, and Republicans in Congress. The message boils down to: "Remember how we/y'all were talking about removing Trump from office via the 25th Amendment? We/y'all need to do this right now, because we/y'all are all going to be fired in about a week if we don't". (Of course, the urgency exists because they published this.)
posted by nangar at 9:00 AM on September 6 [26 favorites]


They're Republicans, which means they will always lie about where their moral lines are. They are willing to accept much, much more heinous things than they will admit, in large part because they believe that they will be immune from those things.

At the same time, it is important to them not to admit that they are accepting the things they want to accept. Plausible deniability is the key to their personas, and just as with healthcare the goal here is to lay bare what a "yes" vote would actually mean to the point where it becomes indistinguishable from a vote to overturn Roe directly.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:02 AM on September 6 [6 favorites]


The NYT believes this to be written by high-level person the the Trump administration.

The author is known to the Times. The anonymity is for readers, not for the editorial staff.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:04 AM on September 6 [24 favorites]


Have thought for a long time now that if Leverage or Mission: Impossible were real, a fake newscast (Faux News?) would be broadcast directly to the president to influence behavior.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:08 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


>Anyone who "swears allegiance" to their faith at the expense of being able to fulfill their sworn obligations to their country probably shouldn't work in government, no.

This is anti-religious, and specifically anti-Catholic, Know-Nothing garbage, and it has no place here. It had no place when Kennedy was elected,
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him. - JFK
The 'at the expense of' is the operative bit, there -- and note Kennedy's objection to any church or any minister ever telling their parishioners for whom to vote, and his objection to any preference in religion. That's what people are afraid of -- not Kennedy, but the GOP which has backed the repeal of the Johnson amendment and has sought to break down the separation of church and state.
posted by cjelli at 9:09 AM on September 6 [53 favorites]


Email to Kavanaugh, Subject Line: Spying
Opening Line: I have a friend who is a mole for us on the left.


Worth noting that the author of that email is Barbara Ledeen, wife of Michael Ledeen of "One can only hope that we turn the [Middle East] into a cauldron, and faster, please" fame, an aide to Chuck Grassley, and a close associate of Michael Flynn. In 2015, Ledeen was trying to run her own investigation of Hilary Clinton.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:10 AM on September 6 [20 favorites]


Somewhere in between St. Maximilian Kolbe and Kim Davis, the truth lies.

And, unfortunately for America, our roll call is tilted about 1:60000000 in favor of Kim Davis.
posted by delfin at 9:10 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


What the heck got withheld completely?

How he helped design the torture program.

Brett Kavanaugh Was In the Loop on (Broader) Precursor to John Yoo's Stellar Wind Memos

posted by T.D. Strange at 9:10 AM on September 6 [33 favorites]


WTF Lindsey Graham? Is Kavanaugh going to get confirmed?

Graham's made his miltonian choice and will happily rule in Hell.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:10 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


It is not wrong to swear loyalty to moral values over whatever the secular government happens to do

True, until the point where one person's "moral values" cause harm to others.
posted by witchen at 9:10 AM on September 6 [10 favorites]


I've never liked Graham, but he seems more off the rails nuts today than I've ever seen him. And that's mighty weird.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:12 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


The Hirono document seems to be about concerns about Congress's relationship to Native Hawaiians. The relationship between the United States government as an entity and Native Hawaiians is different legally than the relationship between the US government and Native American tribes with which it has treaties. So it might not carry over to Murkowski. This is all just fyi, we would most likely not expect Kavanaugh to be happy about giving any more "entitlements" to any more brown people anyhow.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 9:14 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


weird, its almost like the whole republican party has been compromised or something
posted by entropicamericana at 9:15 AM on September 6 [63 favorites]


The message boils down to: "Remember how we/y'all were talking about removing Trump from office via the 25th Amendment? We/y'all need to do this right now,

No, I don't agree that's the message the writer is trying to send, because they state that the reason for not invoking 25.4 earlier in the administration was that it would provoke a "Constitutional crisis," and the writer does not push back against this claim.

Many, many people have already pointed out that taking an action explicitly permitted by the Constitution would not be a Constitutional crisis. If the writer wanted the VP & Cabinet to do this, they would have made that point as well.

The message the writer is trying to send is "yeah, Trump is nuts, but we've got this under control, so no need to remove him from office, let alone do something rash like actually electing Democrats in November."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:19 AM on September 6 [25 favorites]


y'all i'm light years behind in this thread but

i just texted a group of very young (21, 22??) kids from work and said "sorry, can't do happy hour, have tickets for beto" AND ALL OF THESE NORMIE SORORITY GIRLS REPLIED WITH HEART EYES AND ENTHUSIASM

we live in DC!! i did not even know all of their politics! and they know and are swooning!

good luck beto DC loves you
posted by skrozidile at 9:20 AM on September 6 [79 favorites]


Meanwhile, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is abusing her official government Twitter account, @PressSec, to goad MAGA-hatters "asking for the identity of the anonymous coward" into flooding the NYT's switchboard, whose telephone number she includes in an attached statement.

The statement itself sounds #batshitinsane, ranting about "the media's wild obsession with the identity of the anonymous coward" (a.k.a. "gutless loser") and how it's "recklessly tarnishing the reputation of thousands of great Americans who proudly serve our country and work for President Trump". It sounds, of course, like it was dictated by Trump and makes her statement yesterday seem temperate in comparison.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:23 AM on September 6 [15 favorites]


There is a term for obeying one's moral compass rather than the rule of law.

It is "civil disobedience," and it involves not only standing true to your beliefs but also recognizing that doing so violates the rule of law, and being willing to accept whatever penalty is associated with that violation.

It does not involve carving out religious liberty exceptions to the rule of law so that people with specific religious belief systems have privileges that others do not, as the GOP is more than happy to push for.
posted by delfin at 9:26 AM on September 6 [71 favorites]


WTF Lindsey Graham?

This is the kind of thing that really needs some context. Please bear in mind we're not all watching the livestream.
posted by shenderson at 9:27 AM on September 6 [43 favorites]


An officer may swear on a bible or a Torah or a Koran, but that's to demonstrate seriousness of purpose: (s)he's standing there pledging to a duty, and that holy book is a token to show how much the pledge means, personally.

I'm a Catholic and I would swear on a bible, but the promise I say aloud would be "to uphold and defend the Constitution" -- not the ten commandments.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:27 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


[Folks, please reload, and either let the religious loyalty argument drop, as the comment everyone's disagreeing with has been deleted, or reframe your comment in a way that stands on its own and is relevant. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:28 AM on September 6 [9 favorites]


Okay, serious question: the op-ed was published anonymously, so obviously the source is not going to reveal themselves and in fact is quite likely to say it wasn't them since they're already obviously willing to leak..... so why the hell are these idiots stumbling over themselves to say "it wasn't me!!!!!"

Or in less words: he who smelt it dealt it.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:29 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]




@nycsouthpaw: On the left, sworn testimony in which Brett Kavanaugh tells Ted Kennedy he was "not involved in handling" Bill Pryor's nomination. On the right, Brett Kavanaugh is invited to an "emergency umbrella meeting" at a private law firm "to discuss nominee Bill Pryor's hearing."
posted by zachlipton at 9:29 AM on September 6 [54 favorites]


The intended audience is members of Trump's cabinet, Mike Pence, and Republicans in Congress.

This is a tempting thought, but I think we may still not be fully grappling with the nature of the current situation. It seems like Trump himself is at least an equally likely intended audience -- the author may feel secure in their perceived loyalty to Trump, and be hoping to set off a purge of everyone else.

Of course we have basically nothing to go on, but thinking about it this way, someone like SHS suddenly seems like a much more plausible candidate.
posted by shenderson at 9:32 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


From Vince Warren from the Center for Constitutional Rights in response to the NYT op-ed:
No, you are not part of the resistance from DemoncracyNow.

But what is outrageous, I think, is number one that that inside official would dare to call his or herself part of the resistance. That is not the resistance. It is not only not the popular resistance. Let’s think about what they’re resisting. They’re resisting what we’re all resisting, which is of course Trump’s horrible, ill-conceived and impetuous urges, but what they are not resisting are the horrible and cruel policies that that administration is putting in. They are high-fiving themselves in that administration when they criminalize immigrants, when they are getting rid of the EPA, when they are turning public education on its head. That to them is a victory.

So part of me says, if it is so outrageous, why did everybody else in America realize that he was going to be the disaster that he was, but you decided that you wanted to go work there?

posted by bluesky43 at 9:32 AM on September 6 [11 favorites]


> This is the kind of thing that really needs some context.

Apologies.

WTF Lindsey Graham? The right to abortion does not equal liberty; Islamic hordes are at the door; how could this whole process have been made better for poor Mr Kavanaugh?; you (Kavanaugh) WILL be confirmed
posted by Myeral at 9:33 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


WTF Lindsey Graham?

This is the kind of thing that really needs some context. Please bear in mind we're not all watching the livestream.


I'm following the hearing via Jessica Mason Pieklo's twitter feed. I wish I could thank the mefite who linked her in the last thread, but I can't remember who did it. Her tweets are very good for people who can't watch/listen. Graham spent a good amount of time monologuing during his 20 mins:
Graham wants to talk about the liberty clause and the fact that abortion isn't in it. Graham just also said that the right to reproductive autonomy isn't a liberty [ie constitutional] interest "even though the Surpeme Court said it is".

Graham asks what the outer limits of liberty interests and privacy rights are
So... like marriage equality for example

Graham asks Kavanaugh if Congress has the power to come in and legislate "on behalf of the unborn" before medical viability [ie federal constitutional abortion ban] and supersede Roe

Graham asks where is the authority for the Supreme Court to block Congress from banning abortion [basically] Graham asks if the only way is through constitutional amendment

Kavanaugh doesn't want to answer Graham answers for him: when the Court has decided a constitutional matter you need a constitutional means to undo it [ie amendment] Kavanaugh: well yes
posted by gladly at 9:37 AM on September 6 [10 favorites]


FYI for those trying to follow along with all these document drops, @nycsouthpaw appears to be tweeting all of them.
posted by robotdevil at 9:38 AM on September 6 [9 favorites]


Kavanaugh doesn't want to answer Graham answers for him: when the Court has decided a constitutional matter you need a constitutional means to undo it [ie amendment] Kavanaugh: well yes

Or you install your lunatic fringe friends and have SCOTUS overturn a previous decision... Come on Lindsay. You want the christofascist state so badly you can taste it and now you're letting things slip in the face of almost certain victory.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:40 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]



The author is known to the Times. The anonymity is for readers, not for the editorial staff.


The anonymity is not "for the readers". It is inflicted upon the readers. The anonymity is for the writer who wishes to evade the consequences of their own words.
posted by srboisvert at 9:44 AM on September 6 [75 favorites]


House Dems calling for inspector general investigations at DOJ, HHS of the NC voting subpoenas.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:48 AM on September 6 [52 favorites]


The statement itself sounds #batshitinsane, ranting about "the media's wild obsession with the identity of the anonymous coward"

The media's obsessed with the anonymous coward's identity, so I want to you flood their switchboard to find out who it is?
posted by kirkaracha at 9:48 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]




nangar: I think the op-ed is deliberately trying to provoke such a crisis.

This is very appealing to me, but I don't think that's the case, or else the writer may as well have been even bolder, especially with the advantages brought by anonymity. The headline could have been "Trump Must Be Removed From Office", which would do substantially more good because it's much harder to square with believing that actually Trump should remain in office for now.

(However, I bet many Republicans are on the verge of asserting both premises, because truth isn't truth. "Of course I don't think he should stay president, I'm not nuts, I can see the irreparable harm he's doing and we all want it to stop, but also, for the time being, obviously he should remain president, I'm not some kind of radical." Or as Alexandra Erin put it: Trump is so awful, so dangerous, so disastrous and destructive that he has put the party and the country into a crisis. And in a crisis, you back the leader.).

It's worth remembering that while they are not abuse victims and definitely ought to take the fight against him to a public setting, anyone working with Trump is constantly exposed directly to his instinctive array of abusive tactics. As a result, their attitude has likely become something like "medium chill", a common technique for adapting to narcissists.

Of course, how could they not realize that what they wrote is the opposite of medium chill and would provoke a reaction? Well, being in a narcissist's orbit can do things to your rationality. My general sense is that the writer's attitude is tunnel vision rather than a grand plan for What Happens Next. "Just make it stop, please don't blame me, let's all ride this out a few years and then everything will be okay".
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:02 AM on September 6 [11 favorites]




I suspect it was meant to provoke Trump, while trying to cordon off the GOP, and I doubt it's actually by one single person. It's pretty calculated and I doubt we know enough to understand exactly how it is supposed to have an impact within the WH, but it is.
posted by Miko at 10:04 AM on September 6 [12 favorites]


That Harris questioning is masterful. Lee managed to buy Kavanaugh some time, but not very deftly in my opinion. Then again I don’t watch a ton of CSPAN.

Not sure the activists helped there, though I empathize with the impulse. The seconds in which Kavanaugh blinked dimly and stammered were the important ones.
posted by eirias at 10:05 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


How he helped design the torture program.

"Brett Kavanaugh Was In the Loop on (Broader) Precursor to John Yoo's Stellar Wind Memos"


"Stellar Wind" was the Bush's NSA warrantless wiretapping program, not Bush's CIA torture program. God, Bush was awful.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:05 AM on September 6 [18 favorites]


People Are Replacing Pictures Of Donald Trump With Penguins - Laura Silver, Buzzfeed News
Hello and welcome to today's installment of "can satire can ever be weirder than real life?" in which Armando Iannucci — the UK's foremost political satirist and the man behind Veep, In the Loop, and The Thick of It — challenged Twitter to replace Donald Trump with penguins in photos, suggesting that the images would still make sense.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:10 AM on September 6 [23 favorites]


Imagine the elite media reaction if John McCain had done what Booker did today.

and then compare with their actual reaction to Booker in tomorrow’s op-eds.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:20 AM on September 6 [43 favorites]


@seungminkim: DOCUMENTS:
--Rs say the "committee confidential" docs were cleared for release before 4 a.m.
--Ds say the docs were cleared for release at about 10:31 a.m. this morning
--REGARDLESS, they were cleared for public release before Booker and Hirono posted them on their websites.
posted by zachlipton at 10:20 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Someone needs to update my "Make Trump Into Kittens" filter, I've seen those kittens a billion times over by now. Maybe just do a penguin one now?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:21 AM on September 6 [6 favorites]


"elite" is one of those words I think we should let the right wing just go ahead and keep for themselves
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:24 AM on September 6 [16 favorites]


Yes I’m seeing this all over twitter now that the dems and booker are making a big fuss bc docs were public all along.

Who clears docs at 4am?!?
posted by sio42 at 10:24 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


If they were released and it was a "big fuss", why did the Republicans blow their tops?
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 10:26 AM on September 6 [14 favorites]


I feel like this "the docs were already released" is the Republican cover story for why they're not pursuing expulsion of the Democrats who released docs this morning. The Democrats know that there's no actual rule or bipartisan agreement under which the documents were held confidential but the Republicans are forced to maintain the charade that everything they've been doing to block transparency is really just standard procedure.
posted by SpaceBass at 10:28 AM on September 6 [15 favorites]


If they were released and it was a "big fuss", why did the Republicans blow their tops?

Because their bluff got called and they were holding a 2-7 off suit.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 10:30 AM on September 6 [36 favorites]


I think it's important to remember that the docs that the Republicans have now released are only 4% of the Kavanaugh papers. They are going to try to spin this to seem like they are now being transparent.
posted by mcduff at 10:32 AM on September 6 [12 favorites]


Keep in mind the Republicans are feverishly defending and working at whatever they're doing, too. They want to win, but there's a path that needs to be cut through the Jungles of Confirmation to the Seat of Justice, and Dems are working to steal their hoes and pickaxes.
posted by rhizome at 10:33 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


People Are Replacing Pictures Of Donald Trump With Penguins - Laura Silver, Buzzfeed News

Could we do that with the actual Donald Trump?
posted by Grangousier at 10:36 AM on September 6 [15 favorites]


I just cant believe how messed up this process is.
posted by H. Roark at 10:40 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


Could we do that with the actual Donald Trump?

Sadly, no. They aren't born here and they typically only live to be 20 years old. Maybe there's an older emperor penguin that was born in captivity in a US zoo but then we're just back with the same problem.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 10:42 AM on September 6 [16 favorites]


> H. Roark:
"I just cant believe how messed up this process is."

I'm glad it's still possible to mess up this process.
posted by rhizome at 10:46 AM on September 6 [6 favorites]


If someone was actually working in a (purposefully) documented way at 4am, then the Dems on the judiciary committee have a leak to plug.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:47 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Could we do that with the actual Donald Trump?

Sadly, no. They aren't born here and they typically only live to be 20 years old. Maybe there's an older emperor penguin that was born in captivity in a US zoo but then we're just back with the same problem.


Well, I volunteer as tribute.
posted by azpenguin at 10:52 AM on September 6 [81 favorites]


From the department of things that are harder to burn than shoes, Ford motor company has released a statement in support of NFL players protesting injustice.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:56 AM on September 6 [62 favorites]


Well, I volunteer as tribute.

"There's nothing in the rule books that says the penguin replacement of the president can't be a human!"
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 10:57 AM on September 6 [22 favorites]


I just cant believe how messed up this process is.

Ben Sasse, I believe, earlier was explaining why the judicial confirmation processes is all screwed up. Basically, the legislative branch has totally abdicated its responsibilities with most of them being now executed by the executive. And because Congress now follows the lead of the President, the legislature is no longer a place of meaningful debate where power is exercised. Because of this loss, the Supreme Courts (and the courts in general) become that societal zone where learned men and women debate the specifics of policies. He says that the overt politicization of the confirmation hearings comes with we now look to the courts as the deliberative body of the nation.

Sasse is a disingenuous asshole, but he's somewhat right here. Congress as a whole does not take their job seriously and thus is not the deliberative body the country needs to create policy. Many of us do look at the courts as our last lifeline of meaningful decision making, which is why we're terrified of losing it to some partisan hacks. But I would rather the courts be boring and the legislature be the places where we can create protections for women's bodies, where we can limit corporate influence on elections, where we can create the rules governing workers' unions.

I don't know if the system is broken since its inception or if it was broken by people like Sasse, but no one in America has faith in their legislative branch.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:58 AM on September 6 [16 favorites]


"There's nothing in the rule books that says the penguin replacement of the president can't be a human!"

I thought we weren't relitigating the campaign.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:02 AM on September 6 [7 favorites]


mcduff, above:
I want to remind those of us who have been calling our elected officials, protesting in the streets, registering voters, sending postcards, and getting arrested that the Dem congresspeople who are loudly fighting this administration (including in the Kavanaugh hearings) have been emboldened by us. As a Pennsylvanian, I have to remember that every time I protest in front of Toomey's office, it's a nudge to Casey to be louder and stronger. Toomey will never change (one can't buy back one's soul from the devil) but making his life miserable has far reaching effects. Please, let's keep it up.
YES. And: there is value in calling to say "I saw the great thing you did, please keep it up," and also in calling to say "thank you."

Keep calling.
posted by kristi at 11:05 AM on September 6 [33 favorites]


I don't know if the system is broken since its inception or if it was broken by people like Sasse, but no one in America has faith in their legislative branch.

It’s been broken since the country’s inception. They wrote the constitution and immediately Hamilton and Jefferson pissed each other off so much that the first ideological fault lines started to form.

Most of the US constitution is written with allegiance to one’s state not ideology in mind. You know with the whole equal Senators for each state and the appointment of them by the legislature instead of election. The dilution of the state as an administrative unit has really brought the ideological battle to the forefront. Can we fix it? Probably not in a way 3/4 of the states will ever agree on.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 11:06 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Why doesn't the legislative branch have time to execute its responsibilities? They spend more time fundraising than doing their elected jobs.

The parties like it this way because that increases the dependence of legislators on party fundraising and decreases their independence.
posted by Emmy Noether at 11:07 AM on September 6 [21 favorites]


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today upheld the state's 111-year ban on companies giving direct contributions to candidates for state and local offices - in a case brought by two companies, one an auto-parts company co-owned by Rick Green, a Republican running for Congress in MA-3.

As federal courts have done, the state's highest court ruled there was a free-speech distinction between directly giving money to a candidate and spending corporate dollars on "independent" advertising or giving it to "independent" PACs (both of which are legal here) - and said the state has a legitimate interest in safeguarding against political corruption (of which, the court noted, Massachusetts already has plenty).

The court also rejected arguments that the companies' equal-rights protections are violated (because unions can give to candidates), saying that in a case like this, that would only apply if the companies could show discrimination based on race, gender or national origin, which they couldn't.
posted by adamg at 11:08 AM on September 6 [7 favorites]


Good grief, as NYT-Op-Ed-a-Lago runs amuck, the Trump White House has escalated to DEFCON MELANIA and has issued a statement from the First Lady, per NBC's Peter Alexander: "BREAKING: First Lady Melania Trump on anonymous NYT op-ed."

Her press release extols a "free, unbiased, and responsible [...] free press" as "important to our democracy" but complains, "People with no names are writing our nation's history." (Nobody tell her about The Federalist Papers or Common Sense.) It goes on, "If a person is bold enough to accuse people of negative actions, they have a responsibility to publicly stand by their words and people have the right to be able to defend themselves." (Nobody tell her about "John Barron" or "John Miller" or "David Dennison".) "To the writer of the oped {sic} - you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions." (Nobody tell her…well, you know.)

Seriously, the Trump White House doesn't enlist Melania as a proxy in a scandal unless it's spun out of control of the regular comms team (e.g. the migrant family separations). That this has happened within a day of publication suggests that either (a) the internal situation is in disarray or (b) we're being trolled (e.g. the jacket she wore to the ICE's child detention center). Or maybe it's both—because of (a), they're resorting to (b).

Meanwhile, Putin's Twitter information guerrillas are promoting #nytimesoped and #anonymous, per Hamilton 68's tracking, as though this flamewar needed accelerant.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:11 AM on September 6 [17 favorites]


Which Obama statement is this plagiarized from?
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on September 6 [30 favorites]


538 and Sam Wang practice a different demography and use different data sets than Ford and Nike marketing wonks - and both camps seem to see the wind blowing from the same direction. It's one thing to predict a blue wave, but quite another to decide banking your brand on it is a sound business decision.
posted by klarck at 11:20 AM on September 6 [41 favorites]


Trump White House has escalated to DEFCON MELANIA and has issued a statement from the First Lady

The first mention of this I saw was from a CNN reporter who claimed she asked FLOTUS for a response, and that was the answer given to CNN. Which isn't quite the same as the White House blasting out a statement from FLOTUS to the entire media unprompted. Oddly most of the tweets after that paint it as a standalone statement, and don't link to any source, just show the standard (and annoying) "twitter screenshot" of the text.
posted by Roommate at 11:23 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


From the department of things that are harder to burn than shoes, Ford motor company has...

Insert Ford Pinto joke here.

Pizza Hutt, brand new as a sponsor, are taking the reverse approach "We are about Pizza not Politics"

By my count there enough major corporate NFL sponsors (at least 32 even when you consolidate all the Pepsi brands as one) for a decent bracket to decide which corporate sponsor can snuggle up to / piss off POTUS the most. My guess is Amazon Web Services versus SiriusXM in the final.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:23 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


kristi: And: there is value in calling to say "I saw the great thing you did, please keep it up," and also in calling to say "thank you."

Don't forget that Resistbot makes it easy, using Facebook Messenger or text messaging. I just thanked my Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, and reminded him and Jack Reed to keep talking & voting against Kavanaugh!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:24 AM on September 6 [11 favorites]


From the department of things that are harder to burn than shoes,

From the department of How To Burn Things That Won't Burn: Chlorine Trifluoride.
posted by Stoneshop at 11:25 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


The first mention of this I saw was from a CNN reporter who claimed she asked FLOTUS for a response, and that was the answer given to CNN.

Thanks for that information—I had overlooked the option that the media would hype anything that came out of the East Wing (all-caps "BREAKING" indeed). The statement does stay on-message with the "cowardly" theme at least.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:36 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Could we do that with the actual Donald Trump?

He's pretty much already The Penguin. Wheh wheh wheh.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:36 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Why doesn't the legislative branch have time to execute its responsibilities? They spend more time fundraising than doing their elected jobs.

Representatives should be four year terms.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:38 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


From the department of things that are harder to burn than shoes, Ford motor company has...

Ford just issued a massive recall of the model of their product most likely to get burned by its owners in a fit of anti-kneeling fervor, coincidentally enough, because it has a habit of setting itself on fire, no "protest" impulse required
posted by halation at 11:38 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Just kicked $50 in to the "Collins votes no or else" fund, which is nearly up to half a million.
posted by duffell at 11:39 AM on September 6 [15 favorites]


A photo gallery of American heroes:

Buzzfeed: Here Are The Intense Pictures Of Protests During The Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:39 AM on September 6 [43 favorites]


"Collins votes no or else" fund

Would you mind linking to it, please? I'll see if I can scrounge up some loose change in the couch or something.
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:44 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


This is really more about men and how society handles power in general than Kavanaugh specifically, but wow.

@courtneymilan: I just want to say that it is pretty telling that Kavanaugh’s very rehearsed, obviously thought about for weeks, answer about witnessing harassment is that he would immediately inform a bunch of powerful men, instead of talking to the victim and asking what they needed.
posted by zachlipton at 11:45 AM on September 6 [66 favorites]


@courtneymilan: I just want to say that it is pretty telling that Kavanaugh’s very rehearsed, obviously thought about for weeks, answer about witnessing harassment is that he would immediately inform a bunch of powerful men, instead of talking to the victim and asking what they needed.

Not in his defense or anything, but his answer did sound like he studied the official-by-the-book ( which appears to need revision ) process of responding to a claim of harassment or misconduct.

The real issue is he was lying through his teeth, unconvincingly, when he gave the expected answer of, "I didn't see anything or I would have reported it."
posted by mikelieman at 11:49 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


All the Theories on Who Wrote the Anonymous Anti-Trump Op-ed
Here’s a look at the theories that have emerged so far: A few are somewhat plausible, while others may ascribe too much cunning to the gang that couldn’t lower a flag to half-staff without controversy.
13 people who might be the author of The New York Times op-ed
...there are very few clues about who it could be. And the description used by the Times -- "a senior official in the Trump administration" -- is broad enough to include virtually anyone in the Trump White House, a Cabinet official, undersecretary or someone on, say, the National Security Council.
...
Below, 13 people who might be the author of the op-ed, based on what we know about the various factions, likes, dislikes, motivations and ambitions within the Trump administration. These are in no particular order.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:49 AM on September 6



This op-ed filled me with rage in a way that nothing else has lately. I despise Trump, but I despise this person more.

Yes, this.


Oh, me too. The honorable thing would be to resign and speak out publicly.

As to House/house and using "chamber," back in my day the preferred term was "body." You'll hear members and senators refer to "the other body."
posted by jgirl at 11:52 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]




Is....it...potentially bad that the draft letter which was removed from Trump's desk is now publically viewable on Twitter, meaning that now the original intended recipient can also see it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:01 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


I think South Korea already knows this guy is a moron
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:03 PM on September 6 [32 favorites]


Is....it...potentially bad that the draft letter which was removed from Trump's desk is now publically viewable on Twitter, meaning that now the original intended recipient can also see it?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

ZeusHumms: People Are Replacing Pictures Of Donald Trump With Penguins - Laura Silver, Buzzfeed News

I hoped they were talking about in public places, where the president's official portrait (Wikipedia) with penguins. Alas, I was let down.

If it were me, I'd swap the second poorly shot portrait (PetaPixel review, and reminder that we had NINE MONTHS of this tragic pose) with his angry toddler pose (HuffPo article, with bonus silly photoshoppery), which seems really appropriate with the current level of angst and faux rebellion from within the White House.

On that "internal resistance," Paul Ryan has Strong Feelings, as reported from NPR:
"A person who works in the administration serves at the pleasure at the president; [the New York Times op-ed writer] is obviously living in dishonesty," he told reporters at his weekly press conference. "It doesn't help the president. If you're not interested in helping the president, you shouldn't work for the president, as far as I'm concerned."

Ryan has been an occasional critic of the president's, and the two clash on issues like tariffs, Russia and immigration.

Still, the speaker emphasized what he believed were the positive results coming out of the Trump administration's actions, like the rising economy and increased military spending.

"What I concern myself about are the results of government. And the results of government are good results," Ryan said. "I know the president is very unconventional. And I know his tweeting and unconventional tactics bother people ... our branch of government is in charge of making sure that we pass good laws that improve people's lives. And guess what, we are passing good laws that improve people's lives."
Expect no help or assistance from these quarters. Also, if you're so happy with Trump, why aren't you running for re-election?
posted by filthy light thief at 12:03 PM on September 6 [6 favorites]


This is really more about men and how society handles power in general than Kavanaugh specifically, but wow.

@courtneymilan: I just want to say that it is pretty telling that Kavanaugh’s very rehearsed, obviously thought about for weeks, answer about witnessing harassment is that he would immediately inform a bunch of powerful men, instead of talking to the victim and asking what they needed.


I think it is specific considering she was one of the women harassed by Kozinski, and Kozinski was Kavanaugh's mentor.
posted by robotdevil at 12:03 PM on September 6 [32 favorites]


> meaning that now the original intended recipient can also see it?

We already knew what the message conveyed by the letter was, and I'm pretty sure they have Internet in South Korea.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:04 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Everything about this is bad. I'm still somewhat flummoxed by the fact that a letter signifying a major policy decision/direction can be drafted, placed on the President's desk, stolen, and nobody raises the question or issue of "hey, whatever happened to that letter about us pulling out of the trade deal?" Like, where's the process around these documents that have pretty major significance?
posted by nubs at 12:05 PM on September 6 [34 favorites]


The "Collins votes no or else" fund is here, and their stated goal is now to surpass the amount of campaign money Collins currently has in the bank: $1,302,388.
posted by duffell at 12:07 PM on September 6 [37 favorites]


@mel_bough:
BREAKING: U.S. Attorney's Office is postponing subpoena compliance to Jan. 2019 if @NCSBE agrees to preserve info -- they're also asking for info to be redacted so as not to compromise voter privacy #ncpol
posted by Chrysostom at 12:07 PM on September 6 [33 favorites]


> (we had NINE MONTHS of this tragic pose)

When what you think is your Blue Steel actually makes it look like you desperately need to take a shit.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:08 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


nubs: Everything about this is bad. I'm still somewhat flummoxed by the fact that a letter signifying a major policy decision/direction can be drafted, placed on the President's desk, stolen, and nobody raises the question or issue of "hey, whatever happened to that letter about us pulling out of the trade deal?" Like, where's the process around these documents that have pretty major significance?

Well, when the president apparently eats paper and Trump won't stop tearing up official papers so the White House archives employ a staff to tape them back together for the National Archives, losing a policy paper or two is totally within the realm of normal working conditions.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:12 PM on September 6 [25 favorites]


...In a scene captured in (...) Fear, Bannon told Trump that he (meaning Trump) was for the common man, against crony capitalism and insider deals.

“I love that,” Trump said, according to Woodward’s account. “That’s what I am, a popularist.”

Woodward completes the scene:

“‘No, no,’ Bannon said. ‘It’s populist.’

“‘Yeah, yeah,’ Trump insisted. ‘A popularist.’”
posted by growabrain at 12:12 PM on September 6 [40 favorites]


Paul Ryan: "our branch of government is in charge of making sure that we pass good laws that improve people's lives."

Your branch of government is also in charge of oversight on the Presidency. And guess what, you've totally advocated that duty.

(I won't even get into the irony of phony "serious, honest conservative" Paul Ryan chiding someone else for "living in dishonesty.)
posted by Gelatin at 12:19 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Trump lashed out at military for not making money on Libya's oil

In July 2017, then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster asked the president to sign an order related to Libya, but Trump lashed out and said the military wasn’t doing enough to make money from the country’s oil reserves, the book said. “I'm not going to sign it, Trump said. The United States should be getting oil. The generals aren't sufficiently focused on getting or making money. They don't understand what our objectives should be and they have the United States engaged in all the wrong ways,” the book, which was obtained by Newsweek, stated.

Seems fine.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:21 PM on September 6 [21 favorites]


U.S. Attorney's Office is postponing subpoena compliance to Jan. 2019 if @NCSBE agrees to preserve info

90% of what these fuckers try can't stand the light of day. We take the House with that giant fucking subpoena flashlight and send them scurrying.
posted by chris24 at 12:21 PM on September 6 [16 favorites]


And because "Moar Lib Tears" is a top policy, Scientist who thinks more CO₂ is great joins National Security Council -- Physicist William Happer has a history of rejecting climate science. (Scott K. Johnson for Ars Technica, Sept. 6, 2018)
For the many months preceding the appointment of Kelvin Droegemeir to finally fulfill the role of White House Science Advisor, there was a bit of a “will they/won’t they” storyline with retired Princeton physicist William Happer. Happer—who also served at the Department of Energy during the George H.W. Bush administration—is better known these days as a climate contrarian willing to publicly claim that CO2 emissions are a boon rather than an existential threat.

In the end, Happer was not tapped as Science Advisor by the Trump administration, but E&E News reported Tuesday that he is now a member of the National Security Council.

Happer was previously listed as the director of a group called the “CO2 Coalition,” which has a website that claims that CO2 released from fossil fuels is just good news for global plant growth while having no real effect on Earth’s climate. (These claims are false.) He has also taken to referring to the field of climate science as a “cult movement.”
Upside: Meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier's nomination came as a rare spot of welcome news for the scientific community, especially because many of Trump’s choices to lead or advise scientific agencies have been criticized either for lacking relevant qualifications, or for being diametrically opposed to the organization they were tapped to run (or even were in support of shutting down the offices they were tapped to oversee). Downside: the position was vacant for 19 months, the longest in the 42 year history of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) -- the next longest was GWB at 4 months of vacancy, where Obama made his pick a month before his inauguration.

Droegemeier's focus is on extreme weather events, in comparison to Happer who wanted to explicitly dedicate funding to scientists who reject the consensus conclusions of climate science. I wonder how much of Trumps' time Kelvin will get, or if he's seen as the token respectable scientist in the room.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:25 PM on September 6 [10 favorites]


I want to remind those of us who have been calling our elected officials, protesting in the streets, registering voters, sending postcards, and getting arrested that the Dem congresspeople who are loudly fighting this administration (including in the Kavanaugh hearings) have been emboldened by us. As a Pennsylvanian, I have to remember that every time I protest in front of Toomey's office, it's a nudge to Casey to be louder and stronger. Toomey will never change (one can't buy back one's soul from the devil) but making his life miserable has far reaching effects. Please, let's keep it up.

Seconding/thirding/fourthing this to infinity.

One of the things that galls me most about the NYT op-ed is that it tries to create a single-handed hero narrative around the anonymous author and like-minded enablers, minimizing the efforts of grassroots activists all over the country who have stepped up in the wake of the election.

They aren't the ones who have been preventing the worst effects of the Trump admin. We are.
posted by orbit-3 at 12:26 PM on September 6 [35 favorites]


Thanks for the NC updates, chrysostom.
posted by yoga at 12:28 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Lifehacker in with a life hack how-to that has a very small and specific audience: "How to Remove an Unfit President with the 25th Amendment"
posted by jason_steakums at 12:31 PM on September 6 [41 favorites]


vrakatar Way late to the party, but I'd hope that if you were a leftist all it would take is a single word to convince you to vote for literally any Democrat over literally any Republican: Comey.

Everyone wanted to pretend Comey was "one of the good ones". Obama and many, many, others praised his moderate credentials, his professional credentials and ethics, and his other qualifications. And the instant he had a chance to screw us and impose Trump on the nation, he took it.

There is no such thing as a good Republican. Every single one of them will betray us and cause us maximum harm the instant they get a chance. I'd rather vote for the worst, most right wing, DINO scumbag in the world than the most centrist well qualified Republican you can find.

The fact that people, liberal, even leftist, people from Massachusetts keep electing Republican governors to totally fuck their state and block or impede necessary leftist laws is a constant source of bafflement and frustration for liberals all over the country. It seems willfully self destructive.

Any Republican is a Comey waiting for their moment to strike. To vote Republican is to vote for your own betrayal.
posted by sotonohito at 12:34 PM on September 6 [28 favorites]


I'm confused. Wasn't there a plan to discuss adjournment by 2pm this morning in the Kavanaugh hearing? Did i mis-hear that fracas?
posted by Harry Caul at 12:36 PM on September 6


The "Collins votes no or else" fund is here, and their stated goal is now to surpass the amount of campaign money Collins currently has in the bank: $1,302,388.

Wait, so if she votes no then she gets the $? I don't get it exactly. Please splain to the stupid yoga.
posted by yoga at 12:36 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


"How to Remove an Unfit President with the 25th Amendment"

Among the many sins of the political press is 2016 was treating Hillary Clinton directly calling Trump unfit for the presidency as just another piece of campaign rhetoric and not as interesting as Butteremails.

The press is coming around to portraying Trump as unfit -- apparently having given up on the idea that he will "pivot" -- but they'll never admit in so many words that Clinton was right.
posted by Gelatin at 12:37 PM on September 6 [49 favorites]


Wait, so if she votes no then she gets the $?

If she votes yes, her opponent gets the money. If she votes no, the money will be refunded to the donors. Under no scenario will she get any money.
posted by anastasiav at 12:39 PM on September 6 [52 favorites]


jason_steakums: "Lifehacker in with a life hack how-to that has a very small and specific audience: "How to Remove an Unfit President with the 25th Amendment""

From the comments:
Thanks Beth, your article serves as journalistic lodestar to the rest of this nation.
by: Anonymous Mike Pence
posted by Rhaomi at 12:39 PM on September 6 [55 favorites]


Just kicked $50 in to the "Collins votes no or else" fund, which is nearly up to half a million.

I very strongly am opposed to this fund or any sort of fund like it. I can't imagine it getting much worse than having federal and state legislators across the country looking at the their phones before casting votes so they can see what vote will directly put more money in their pockets. Don't think for a moment that is not exactly where something like this will be headed.

"Hmmmm....should I vote for this tax decrease? Let's check the phone. If I vote yes, my PAC gets 4 million dollars! If I vote no, my PAC gets 1 million dollars."

This is absolutely not the path democracy needs to go down.
posted by flarbuse at 12:41 PM on September 6 [19 favorites]


Wait, so if she votes no then she gets the $? I don't get it exactly. Please splain to the stupid yoga.

If memory serves me correctly, she gets the fund if she votes no on Kavanaugh. If she votes to confirm him, the fund goes to her opponent. (edit: Or not, per a previous comment)

With luck, it'll also help change the narrative around Collins' phony "moderate" stance in which she gets cover from pretending to believe him pretending not to be positively itching for a chance to overturn Roe v Wade.

Of course he'll vote to overturn Roe, and Collins knows it. Voting for him makes her supposed "moderate, pro-choice" position a lie.
posted by Gelatin at 12:41 PM on September 6


Ok I see now. Thanks anastasiav
posted by yoga at 12:41 PM on September 6


I thought if she votes no, the payments don't process (ie no one gets the money)
but if she votes yes, her opponent gets the money?
posted by ian1977 at 12:42 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


I very strongly am opposed to this fund or any sort of fund like it. I can't imagine it getting much worse than having federal and state legislators across the country looking at the their phones before casting votes so they can see what vote will directly put more money in their pockets. Don't think for a moment that is not exactly where something like this will be headed.

That is exactly how it already works.
posted by dilaudid at 12:43 PM on September 6 [129 favorites]


If memory serves me correctly, she gets the fund if she votes no on Kavanaugh. If she votes to confirm him, the fund goes to her opponent.

That is not correct. Here's the page itself: Either Sen. Collins VOTES NO on Kavanaugh OR we fund her future opponent.

"There are two scenarios:

Senator Collins votes NO on Kavanaugh and you will not be charged, and no money will go to fund her future opponent.
Senator Collins votes YES on Kavanaugh and your pledge will go to her opponent's campaign, once that opponent has been identified."

posted by anastasiav at 12:44 PM on September 6 [13 favorites]


I stand corrected that Collins doesn't actually get the money. Which means it's completely cricket to tell a politician that one will support her opponent if she votes against one's interest, especially if doing so (once again) belies the "moderate, centrist, pro-choice" stance she uses to trick voters into re-electing her.
posted by Gelatin at 12:45 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]




Friend of the megathreads Glenn Greenwald tries to use the NYT op-ed as evidence to support his infallible "shadowy deep state cabal" theory:
It's been obvious from the start that large, unelected factions within the US Government have been devoted to sabotaging Trump & his agenda: some of whom he appointed, many who he did not. The "crazies" are not those who have pointed this out, but those who deceitfully denied it.
Glenn, of course, is trying to ret-con his previous ramblings about anti-Trump forces leftover from Democratic administrations, when the anonymous writer makes it clear that's not the case, as Lemieux points out at LGM. Some selections from the comments on that post:
Murc:
There's a strong argument to be made that a president shouldn't be willfully sabotaged by the rest of the executive branch, and that this reflects severe dysfunction, a failure of transparency, and rank cowardice from all involved.

And I'm prepared to make that argument, and listen to it from people who aren't named Glenn fuckin' Greenwald.


Abigail Nussbaum:
GG during the 2016 campaign: Clinton is a warmonger and will attack Syria.

GG after Trump's election: the Deep State is interfering with Trump's government.

Bob Woodward: Trump wanted to assassinate Assad and his order was ignored by high-ranking White House staffers.

GG three days later: see, this proves I was right.

stepped pyramids:
So the fundamental deceit in Glenn's argument here is that when Trump says "Deep State" he's not talking about career bureaucrats quietly resisting institutional change. He's explicitly describing a conspiracy, a stay-behind operation planted by Obama and "Crooked Hillary" and dating back years, that has illegally spied on Trump, fabricated evidence against him, etc. It is not a secret that career government types despised Trump and that some chose to stay in office to reduce the damage he caused. Indeed, I remember literally months of public discussion of whether or not people should quit in order to "not normalize" Trump.

To Trump, "Deep State" and "Rigged Witch Hunt" mean the exact same thing. Glenn knows this. He's just lying, because he knows that openly embracing the "Rigged Witch Hunt" narrative would permanently strip him of the last vestiges of credibility.
As usual, Greenwald leaves himself an escape hatch of "some of whom he appointed, many of whom he did not", so that he can later attack anyone who accuses him of being deceitful by linking this senior Trump official to his fan-fiction involving Hillary loyalists embedded in US intelligence agencies. But the number of people he's fooling with this stuff has to be pretty small at this point, and the person I feel the most sympathy for at this point is @GlemGreenwald, who has to keep up with this shit.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:48 PM on September 6 [24 favorites]


I can't imagine it getting much worse than having federal and state legislators across the country looking at the their phones before casting votes so they can see what vote will directly put more money in their pockets.

A recent NYT story: Trump Tax Cut Unlocks Millions for a Republican Election Blitz.
Republicans are struggling to make the $1.5 trillion Trump tax cuts a winning issue with voters in the midterm congressional elections, but the cuts are helping the party in another crucial way: unlocking tens of millions of dollars in campaign donations from the wealthy conservatives and corporate interests that benefited handsomely from it.
I haven't decided how I feel about the vote no or else campaign, but there's a case to be made that this kind of crowdfunding just democratizes a process already in use by the wealthy.
posted by skymt at 12:49 PM on September 6 [33 favorites]


"Hmmmm....should I vote for this tax decrease? Let's check the phone. If I vote yes, my PAC gets 4 million dollars! If I vote no, my PAC gets 1 million dollars."

This is absolutely not the path democracy needs to go down.


I don't know: if big $ is already tweaking the system, isn't this one of the few ways the little guys can get equal leverage?
posted by yoga at 12:50 PM on September 6 [19 favorites]


I very strongly am opposed to this fund or any sort of fund like it. I can't imagine it getting much worse than having federal and state legislators across the country looking at the their phones before casting votes so they can see what vote will directly put more money in their pockets. Don't think for a moment that is not exactly where something like this will be headed.
---
That is exactly how it already works.


Yep. This just gets us into the game billionaires and corporations have been playing for decades. Still at a huge disadvantage, but at least swinging.
posted by chris24 at 12:51 PM on September 6 [26 favorites]


I don't know: if big $ is already tweaking the system, isn't this one of the few ways the little guys can get equal leverage?

I'm sort of curious to see if it works in this specific instance, but "let's fund Republican primary opponents to own the RINOs!" has some built-in conceptual flaws that will make it, uh, hard to scale
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:56 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


The funds will go to her general election opponent.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:58 PM on September 6 [22 favorites]


I'm sort of curious to see if it works in this specific instance, but "let's fund Republican primary opponents to own the RINOs!" has some built-in conceptual flaws that will make it, uh, hard to scale

Again, from the page I linked above:

"If you fail to stand up for the people of Maine and for Americans across the country, every dollar donated to this campaign will go to your eventual Democratic opponent in 2020. We will get you out of office. "
posted by anastasiav at 1:00 PM on September 6 [11 favorites]




Good piece from Dave Weigel on successes and failures in the efforts to elect reformers as DAs.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:00 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


I'm confused. Wasn't there a plan to discuss adjournment by 2pm this morning in the Kavanaugh hearing? Did i mis-hear that fracas?

It was a threat if Schumer invoked the "2pm rule" (which prohibits committees from meeting past 2pm without consent from both leaders on days the Senate is in session) as he did yesterday. Schumer did not do so today, so the hearing continued. As far as I can tell, it's all a meaningless bit of theater that impacts nothing, even more than the whole hearing is meaningless theater, since Schumer already made his deal with McConnell to move judicial nominees on the floor.

Speaking of meaningless theater in the Senate, Booker's office is now repeatedly trying to argue that he did violate Senate rules by releasing committee confidential documents, while Republicans are trying to argue that they approved the docs for release first. What a world.
posted by zachlipton at 1:03 PM on September 6 [11 favorites]


Huh. I would think Democrats would want to raise money for Collins' general election opponent regardless, so I'm not sure there's anything especially innovative (or perilous) about this kind of fundraising.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:04 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


The funds will go to her general election opponent.

And part of the political media's failure in covering the confirmation is that the fix is in -- of course Kavanaugh will vote to overturn Roe v Wade; Trump promised to appoint only SCOTUS justices who would do just that. There is a litmus test, but the Republicans don't dare acknowledge it, because abortion rights are popular. But the media pretends to take the Republicans' charade at face value.

Collins claims that Kavanaugh told her that he'd keep an open mind, and who knows? Maybe she's telling the truth as far as it goes. But if so, Kavanaugh was lying, and what's more, Collins knows he's lying. And so she's lying to her constituents in order to safeguard her phony "moderate" credentials and still stave off a primary challenge if she votes against him.

Collins' stance on Kavanaugh, like all Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, is phony, and she does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. One hopes that this fundraising campaign not only gives her next opponent a boost, but also helps dilute the media narrative that she supports abortion rights, so she doesn't get to pretend to be disappointed when Kavanaugh votes as we all know he's going to.
posted by Gelatin at 1:06 PM on September 6 [17 favorites]


Hit post too soon to add the latest example of meaningless theater in the Senate: @taragolshan: Sen. Jeff Flake is up. His first question: he asked Kavanaugh to introduce his youth basketball team. The girls are sitting in the front row. Kavanaugh listed their names and ages correctly and got a round of applause. SPORT!
posted by zachlipton at 1:08 PM on September 6 [8 favorites]


@emptywheel: Brett Kavanaugh describing torture and illegal wiretap memo author John Yoo his "magic bullet" for the Ninth Circuit.
Remember: Bill Burck thought American citizens shouldn't know that Brett Kavanaugh thinks John Yoo--one of the worst government lawyers in history--is his "magic bullet" before he becomes SCOTUS.
posted by zachlipton at 1:15 PM on September 6 [12 favorites]


@NARAL
Kavanaugh just referred to birth control as "abortion-inducing drugs," which is not only an anti-science lie, it's an anti-choice extremist phrase that shows that our right to access both abortion and contraception would be in SERIOUS danger if he is confirmed. #StopKavanaugh
posted by chris24 at 1:23 PM on September 6 [126 favorites]


So this comment is old by thread standards, but I think this:

Can we just step back and take a beat to consider that the NYT just published an op-ed that amounts to "we are the Deep State and we are working to stymie the elected president"? This is, like, a NeverTrump QAnon. Except in the Times.

needs a correction.

QAnon/Deep State stuff always deals in stories of careerist political opposition embedded in federal agencies -- by OBAMA, by DEMOCRATS.

This Op-Ed? It's about Trump Staff. Some like to call them "the best people."

In other words, it totally defies the claim that the call is coming from anywhere except inside the white house. Either Trump made some poor staffing decisions (and really, where else would final accountability lie?), or Trump is a poor enough leaders that he can't effectively manage even his best staffing decisions.

Also, naming the fact of Trump's staff functioning to make the executive function a "coup" just seems ridiculous to me. The reality is that however the Trump Administration is arrayed -- whether he himself manages to retain enough respect from his staff and has enough interpersonal savvy to lead, or whether he's being outmaneuvered by is own people -- it's ultimately still as accountable to voters come election day as it was back in 2016. The word "coup" only becomes really apt the moment that's no longer true.

(Not that I think we need to be complacent about that -- it's pretty clear that there's a significant presence in the GOP that'd enthusiastically disenfranchise as much of the electorate as they need to in order to win, and some additional complement that would be more than satisfied with a straight-up tyrant).
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:25 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]



Huh. I would think Democrats would want to raise money for Collins' general election opponent regardless, so I'm not sure there's anything especially innovative (or perilous) about this kind of fundraising.


i think part of the idea is that future opponents will get a big boost in starting campaigns at all, knowing this fund is there for them.

the other thing, though, is this just seems to me to be kind of a hail mary for stopping kavanaugh. maine is not a very populous state, and calling and appealing to her morals seems to have limited value because no one is convinced she has any. as noted upthread, if she is responding only to money, this is how smaller donors from across the country can do something concrete to get her attention RIGHT NOW. it's the timing more than the money.

and maybe it won't work and maybe it is problematic, etc. but i think it's novel and for better or worse it's getting attention, so, ya know. desperate times, etc etc. maybe it won't help much but maybe it will, at least we're trying something big.
posted by robotdevil at 1:28 PM on September 6 [7 favorites]


QAnon types aren't known for... nuance. They will eagerly classify anyone who is Against Trump as part and parcel of The Grand Conspiracy, will come up with nineteen PROOFS that those people were Obama lackeys and turncoats from day one, and are as unaffected by personal loyalty as Trump himself.

These are the kinds of people who tried to claim that Paul Ryan was a Muslim sympathizer and closet Democrat, for crying out loud.
posted by delfin at 1:30 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Speaking of meaningless theater in the Senate, Booker's office is now repeatedly trying to argue that he did violate Senate rules by releasing committee confidential documents, while Republicans are trying to argue that they approved the docs for release first. What a world.

Now THAT brought a smile to my face.
posted by M-x shell at 1:36 PM on September 6 [12 favorites]


I am so glad more people are coming to a long-held opinion of mine: Glenn Greenwald is a fucking Libertarian hack who should not be trusted.

Welcome, friends.
posted by asteria at 1:46 PM on September 6 [37 favorites]


Profiles in courage:

Kavanaugh won't answer if he considers Justice Ginsburg to be competent, nor will he respond in any way to whether it's wrong to attack a judge based on their ethnicity or comment on attacks on the judiciary in general, even though Justice Roberts did. It was incredibly weaksauce; he couldn't even muster up some general platitudes about racism being bad or an independent judiciary being good.

He's been asked a couple more times about his conversations about the Mueller investigation. He continues to say he's had no "inappropriate" conversations and Republicans keep asking questions that frame it as whether he had conversations where he promised anything, rather than if he had discussions about the investigation in general.

Still waiting for someone to ask him about his finances.

----

BuzzFeed, After Multiple Provocations, Twitter Bans Alex Jones And Infowars. It's a permanent suspension:
The incident that inspired Twitter to action appears to have been a series of tweets containing a 9-minute Periscope video of Jones confronting CNN reporter Oliver Darcy. In the video, Jones and his camera men confront Darcy while Jones lambastes him as " the equivalent of like the Hitler Youth" and accuses him of "smiling like a possum that crawled out of the rear end of a dead cow."
posted by zachlipton at 1:49 PM on September 6 [49 favorites]


He also won't say if he believes there's widespread voter fraud.
posted by chris24 at 1:52 PM on September 6 [10 favorites]


QAnon/Deep State stuff always deals in stories of careerist political opposition embedded in federal agencies -- by OBAMA, by DEMOCRATS.

The QAnon conspiracy is that QAnon (a fictional person) is supposed to be a high-level Trump aide who is anonymously leaking to the local MAGA-types by means of cryptic 4chan info dumps, which detail the steps that Trump has been taking to secretly take down the Deep State cabal.

The Lodestar Letter (or whatever we're calling it, I like 'WHAnon' from upthread) is a real high-level Trumper anonymously leaking to NeverTrumpers by means of a NYT op-ed detailing steps that he and colleagues are doing to preserve "free trade" etc against the wishes of Trump.

It feel coup-y because in the US system, all of the executive power is invested in one guy, the President. If his orders are being deliberately ignored, in an organized way, the slippery-slope ending of this is Trump screaming down a disconnected phone line locked in the Residence while Pence hacks into the @realDonaldTrump account and governs on his own. See: palace coup. We're (apparently) being governed by un-elected lackeys of the demented King who keep him around as a figurehead so as not to precipitate a crisis.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:53 PM on September 6 [18 favorites]


I know it's not a particularly novel observation but these hearings have become jokes since Bork. They should get rid of them. What a waste of time and effort.
posted by Justinian at 1:54 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Looks like Kavanaugh's approach is the same as Sarah Huckabee Sanders'; his answers to questions from Democrats can be translated to "fuck you, see you in court."
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:55 PM on September 6 [11 favorites]


@CoryBooker: Here are 6 more Kavanaugh "committee confidential" documents: (attached)

Dude's still going for it. Fuck yeah.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:59 PM on September 6 [57 favorites]


About the whole "Kamala Harris trying to force Kavanaugh to recuse himself" angle, here's the thing: she/Dems don't need to make Kavanaugh recuse himself. They just need to make Donald Fucking Trump believe that Kavanaugh may choose to or have to recuse himself.

After a year-plus of being obsessively ENRAGED that Jeff Sessions recused himself and repeating 500,000 times that "if he had said he would recuse, we would have found somebody else," Trump probably blows a few capillaries every time someone says the word "recuse." No way he'd take on yet another disloyal uncooperative recuser. If Trump becomes paranoid that Kavanaugh's compromising chats with Kasowitz or whoever will turn him into another Sessions, he'll burn Kavanaugh like a porterhouse steak. And it's already a stressful week.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:02 PM on September 6 [47 favorites]


New Marist poll of TN Sen:

(likely voters):
Bredesen (D): 48%
Blackburn (R): 46%
Undecided: 5%

Among larger pool of registered voters:
Bredesen: 48%
Blackburn: 44%
Undecided: 7%
posted by Chrysostom at 2:03 PM on September 6 [31 favorites]


@CoryBooker: Here are 6 more Kavanaugh "committee confidential" documents: (attached)

One of those emails details Judge Kavanaugh's view that, while diversity is important and beneficial, it must not be served at the exclusion of those more-american values of equality of opportunity and non-discrimination.

yeah that was really his take on affirmative action. smdh.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:03 PM on September 6 [8 favorites]


Addendum: a stressful week in which the Woodward book and the op-ed already have him in Trust No One, Even Those Who Make You Sincere-Sounding Promises mode.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:05 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


There's also no conceivable chance Trump didn't ask Kavanaugh directly if he'd recuse from anything relating to Trump. I kinda doubt he appoints anyone at all without asking that first at this point. He's all about loyalty (to himself) first. But as FelliniBlank says, given the pressures and revelations of the last week or two, just making Trump doubt Kavanaugh on that issue is significant.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:06 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


In which Trump sends Rep. Pramila Jayapal a decidedly bland birthday note, except it's addressed "Dear Congressman Jayapal."

She tweets: "P.S. It's CongressWOMAN Jayapal."
posted by zachlipton at 2:07 PM on September 6 [30 favorites]


If it had come out this week, no one would have given Omarosa's book a second look.
posted by Slothrup at 2:08 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Trump is 47% approve - 43% disapprove in that TN poll.

Bredeson favorability is 61% - 22%.
posted by chris24 at 2:08 PM on September 6 [6 favorites]


I find the idea that it isn't normal for cabinet members to be pursuing their own agendas quite possibly in opposition to the president to be somewhat naive. Picking a cabinet is always a balancing act of getting people powerful, influential and independent enough to get the job done while not getting screwed by them because those are the kind of people who will pursue their own agenda and empire-building.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:09 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Yeah, and Bredesen is a known quantity, so it's harder (not impossible, of course) to pull down his favorables.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:11 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


More on Kavanaugh intentionally confusing birth control and abortion, which is simply wrong: Brett Kavanaugh Refers To Birth Control As ‘Abortion-Inducing Drugs’ At Confirmation Hearing

Meanwhile, at the Trump rally: @jonallendc: New (or renewed) Trump rally policy. Reporters told they are not allowed to leave the press pen once they enter. That is, not allowed to interview attendees. I asked if I could go to the bathroom over the next seven hours or so and the answer was no, until USSS intervened.
posted by zachlipton at 2:27 PM on September 6 [41 favorites]


QAnon types aren't known for... nuance. They will eagerly classify anyone who is Against Trump as part and parcel of The Grand Conspiracy

Agreed, and I don't expect any contribution to actual discourse to penetrate into that system.

I just would like that realm of actual discourse, from the careful analysts to the short-order cooks at the hot-take drive-through, to consider the reasons why this doesn't actually merit the word "coup."

It feel coup-y because in the US system, all of the executive power is invested in one guy, the President. If his orders are being deliberately ignored, in an organized way, the slippery-slope ending of this is Trump screaming down a disconnected phone line locked in the Residence while Pence hacks into the @realDonaldTrump account and governs on his own. See: palace coup. We're (apparently) being governed by un-elected lackeys of the demented King who keep him around as a figurehead so as not to precipitate a crisis.

The idea that all of the executive power is invested in one guy seems like a legal fiction. It might also be a useful and legal fine point certain important decisions can turn on, but in practice, it's simply not adequate. Nothing as ambitious as the execution of a nation state is ever really the investment of one person. Hence, a cabinet and staff.

And ultimately, it strikes me as a feature rather than a bug that even an elected President cannot lean on the authority of the office alone and must bring the ability to command some degree of personal respect and interpersonal political savvy in order to effectively lead their staff.

The thing that feels distinctly not-coup-y to me is that whoever WHAnon represents, they're Trump's picks to go to work on the tasks of doing what the executive branch should do. They are therefore at some level a genuine expression of the president's choices, and this is one area he and his supporters assured everyone he was superlative at.

Perhaps the day-to-day reality is that his staff are leading him more than the other way around, that managing up is happening even more than usual in any organization. Perhaps, if they can get away with it, they will let him literally or figuratively isolate himself in an ecosystem of either imagined effectiveness or real frustration. Perhaps that's something the American people should consider when it comes time to elect the next Presidency. Nevertheless, the *Presidency* remains accountable to voters. Whether Trump is leading it or whether Trump has created an organization he is as fundamentally unable to manage as he is unable to manage his own impulses, the Trump Presidency can effectively be treated as a black box from the outside for purposes of ballot accountability (and to some extent, always is).

This isn't to say that this is an ideal state of affairs. Ideally, you have a President that can command the respect of their staff and that has the requisite political and interpersonal savvy to both get the best out of them AND personally aggregate it to high-quality nation-state decisions. And when there is a President that fails this test badly as badly as Trump seems to, I'd think the 25th amendment and impeachment are better solutions than containing a nominal leader who is actually a crisis waiting to happen. But we know why those solutions have failed and will likely continue to. To the extent that staff can in fact do containment, it's all we've got until the next election, which, God willing, will provide some opportunity for the system to actually work, assuming our elections haven't already been compromised to the point where the USA will become an outright illegitimate state.
posted by wildblueyonder at 2:28 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


There's a difference between Cabinet members having their own agendas and working at the margins to accomplish them, and Cabinet members working together to directly block the president from doing what he wants to do, on the basis that he's so stupid he either won't realize that he didn't actually do the thing, or will forget about wanting to do it after a cool-down period.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:32 PM on September 6 [17 favorites]


Reporters told they are not allowed to leave the press pen once they enter.

History says it's best to stop attending events that are filled with thousands of people who want you dead and that also demand you enter confined spaces that you are not allowed to leave.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:32 PM on September 6 [81 favorites]


So to conservatives affirmative action is bad, but Kavanaugh is repeatedly lauded in these hearings for hiring with an eye to diversity?
posted by lumnar at 2:38 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


CNN, Jeremy Diamond, The many examples of Trump officials resisting the President
It is impossible to quantify the efforts of that quiet resistance. When asked to share examples of efforts to frustrate Trump's more rash decisions, one former senior administration official told CNN: "That's a daily occurrence. Literally multiple times a day."

But there are several illustrative examples, listed here:
The list includes, all reported elsewhere, killing the order to evacuate military families from South Korea, McGahn refusing to fire Mueller, Gary Cohn swiping the letter pulling out of the US-South Korea free trade agreement and off the Resolute desk, and Marris not assassinating Assad. Of course, none of these daily occurrences involved stopping the Muslim bans, separating children from their parents, and other horrors.

In other news, Kavanaugh didn't vote for Trump, or anyone, as he's decided not to vote since he became a judge.
posted by zachlipton at 2:42 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]




So to conservatives affirmative action is bad, but Kavanaugh is repeatedly lauded in these hearings for hiring with an eye to diversity?

Schrodinger's Racist. They want to appeal to racists, but (most want to) maintain the plausible deniability that allows them to court the occasional Hispanic or Asian voter, so a lot of them can't go full Steven Miller. Even Trump has his beards providing cover for his white nationalism.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:43 PM on September 6 [6 favorites]


Friend of the megathreads Glenn Greenwald tries to use the NYT op-ed as evidence to support his infallible "shadowy deep state cabal" theory:

It's been obvious from the start that large, unelected factions within the US Government have been devoted to sabotaging Trump & his agenda: some of whom he appointed, many who he did not. The "crazies" are not those who have pointed this out, but those who deceitfully denied it.


All senior white house officials are there at the discretion of the current sitting president. The responsibility for all the conspiracy that is described in the NYT editorial can only land in one KFC crumb covered lap.
posted by srboisvert at 2:47 PM on September 6 [6 favorites]


Hey MetaFilter, I just wanted to drop in a quick thank you for these threads and everyone's consistently excellent participation and analysis in them.

It's been a month now since I started a new job as a campaign manager for a city council candidate.

I think back to the rolling national tragedy that was inflicted upon us at the end of 2016 and the hopelessness I felt then. After I climbed out of the pit (the deepest pit, at least) these threads were invaluable in pointing me toward ways to get involved (and if you peruse my last two years of comment history you'll see I've tried many. Very many) and developing my understanding of the sort of work and justice that might drag this messed up country back from the brink.

So—older, wiser, disillusioned—as campaign season ramped up this year I went to go work for the gayest blackest most progressive woman I could find. This is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I'm not even the candidate! Campaigning sucks, and there is absolutely a racial and gender gap in fundraising and enthusiasm. I'm here because of the fine tuning you've wrought on my moral compass, MetaFilter, and despite the overwhelming vastness of the task I know it's the right thing to do, and I'm here to step up and do it.

It comforts me remembering that you all are here, striving toward the same vision and with the same sense of justice I share. So, thanks. Now it's back to work.
posted by books for weapons at 2:47 PM on September 6 [192 favorites]


I guess we've been underestimating the strategic geopolitical value of Portland in the context of the Korean nuclear issue.

"Donald Trump sought to put missile-defense system in Portland, Bob Woodward book says" (OregonLive)

"'This is a piece of s--t land," Trump is quoted as saying in the book. "This is a terrible deal. Who negotiated this deal? What genius? Take it out. I don't want the land. F--k it, pull it back and put it in Portland!"
posted by vverse23 at 3:10 PM on September 6 [7 favorites]


The only thing from Woodward's book that could truly shock me would be a story about Trump calmly thinking over a situation, consulting experienced staff and taking their advice into account, and then making a rational decision that resolved the issue in a fair and equitable manner.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:14 PM on September 6 [76 favorites]




About the whole "Kamala Harris trying to force Kavanaugh to recuse himself" angle, here's the thing: she/Dems don't need to make Kavanaugh recuse himself. They just need to make Donald Fucking Trump believe that Kavanaugh may choose to or have to recuse himself.

When I read this comment earlier, I thought there was definitely some merit to it, I hadn't thought of that angle yet. I was reminded of it just now watching Sen. Booker trying to get Kavanaugh to say whether he has respect for Trump . . . he won't! I do hope that's part of the angle, to get Trump himself riled up that Kavanaugh won't say he won't recuse, and is now refusing to say he respects him. It's pretty great and I hope Trump hears about it and it makes him furious.

FYI Sen. Harris coming up within the next hour for those who are interested.
posted by robotdevil at 3:33 PM on September 6 [11 favorites]


zachlipton, I can’t favorite that, but thanks for dropping it in here.
posted by anastasiav at 3:35 PM on September 6 [10 favorites]


CNN, Barbara Starr, Russia warns US of pending attack in Syrian area with US troops
Russia has warned the US military twice in the last week that its forces, along with Syrian regime units, are prepared to attack in an area where dozens of US troops are located, according to several US defense officials.

Russia claims that there are militants in the area protected by US troops.
Moscow's declaration has sharply raised US commanders' concerns that American forces would be at risk if a Russian attack goes forward, CNN has learned. And it has sparked US warnings to Moscow not to challenge the US military presence.
posted by zachlipton at 3:46 PM on September 6 [8 favorites]


More on Kavanaugh intentionally confusing birth control and abortion, which is simply wrong: Brett Kavanaugh Refers To Birth Control As ‘Abortion-Inducing Drugs’ At Confirmation Hearing

The anti-choice crowd has been referring to birth control as "abortiofacients" for years now. They've weaponized their opposition to the morning-after pill.

Speaking of anti-choice, they also make it pretty clear -- though they're usually savvy enough not to admit it to the media -- that their real target is not so much Roe as Griswold, which legalized birth control under the right to privacy.
posted by Gelatin at 3:58 PM on September 6 [26 favorites]


Isn't that Eisenstadt?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:10 PM on September 6


Open Letter to Times Op-ed Writer: Go Public Now, Before They Bust You:
... take a deep breath, because here comes the hard part. You’re going to have to go public. You’re going to have to burn it down to save yourself. You’re thinking, “I’ll never work in this town again,” and you’re probably right.

The only path is to get into the daylight as fast as you can, not like Omarosa, but as a true whistleblower and patriot. Your only value now is in pulling down the entire system. First movers in the collapse of this White House get a book deal. The future of the tenth asshole who escapes this White House who says, "I saw all this crazy, terrible, illegal, dangerous stuff and still tried to help" is exactly zero. Here’s their future: “Welcome to Arby’s.”

posted by growabrain at 4:14 PM on September 6 [15 favorites]


> Speaking of anti-choice, they also make it pretty clear -- though they're usually savvy enough not to admit it to the media -- that their real target is not so much Roe as Griswold, which legalized birth control under the right to privacy.

So condoms, too, I'm sure?
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:16 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Rick Wilson should know that staffers in corrupt Republican administrations don't wind up working at Arby's, they get headhunted by other corrupt Republican-affiliated organizations and given a raise.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:25 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Here's Ayanna Pressley's stepdaughter watching her mother claim victory and become the first black woman ever elected to Congress from Massachusetts
posted by growabrain at 4:25 PM on September 6 [16 favorites]


Rick Wilson should know that staffers in corrupt Republican administrations don't wind up working at Arby's, they get headhunted by other corrupt Republican-affiliated organizations and given a raise.

Rick Wilson is extruded from the same mold as the mystery staffer and both are doing the same job: trying to put a smiling mask on the GOP's gore-spattered face. It is to goddamned laugh that Wilson says there's no work for them after this. He probably just doesn't want the competition.
posted by Rust Moranis at 4:31 PM on September 6 [13 favorites]


Here's Ayanna Pressley's stepdaughter watching her mother claim victory and become the first black woman ever elected to Congress from Massachusetts

Clarification: Pressley won her primary, and has not yet been elected to Congress, but the general election is little more than a formality in her district.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:33 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


@igorbobic: "The answer is no," Kavanaugh finally Harris after another question and more back and forth about whether he had ever been part of a conversation about Mueller and his investigation with anyone at the law firm that represented Trump. Harris said she had "received reliable information" that Kavanaugh had a conversation about Mueller and his investigation with Kasowitz, Benson, & Torres

Still really curious what’s going on here and if she has any cards to show at any point.

Also a new email in which Kavanuagh shares an “interesting article” arguing that Row is “bad law.”
posted by zachlipton at 4:35 PM on September 6 [10 favorites]


Still really curious what’s going on here and if she has any cards to show at any point.

Isn’t she a former prosecutor?

I would guess the point is to trap him in a lie.

But I confess I don’t know if lying in your confirmation hearing remains an impeachable offense if your lying comes out during the confirmation hearing and you get confirmed anyway.

The Dems appear to be coordinated here. I’m making stuff up, but it wouldn’t be crazy to me if they were setting perjury traps to set up an impeachment after the midterms.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:40 PM on September 6 [8 favorites]


Loved watching Senators Hirono and Harris shut down Kavanaugh's bullshit off-topic ramblings swiftly and repeatedly and telling him, "Yes, I am already aware of the thing you're trying to tell me about." They are obviously both experts at dealing with mansplaining. Especially when Sen. Hirono cut him off talking about a case saying, "Yes thank you, I know all about that case, I was THERE." Man, government is going to be efficient when it's all women.
posted by robotdevil at 4:44 PM on September 6 [93 favorites]


So condoms, too, I'm sure?

Condoms, diaphragms, I'm pretty sure they want to take us back to pre-Griswold.

The whole great expansion of sexual rights in the '60s was less of a black and white "it's right here in the constitution" rather, it looked at the spirit of the document and how our liberty, to quote Justice Harlan, gives us "freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints". i.e. in the case of Griswold, do we want police to be able to obtain a search warrant for our bedroom because someone said they saw us having possession a condom? I think any reasonable American in this day in age would say "fuck no" even though there's no amendment #35 allowing us to own condoms stopping some christofascists trying to ban them.

But it's not even about owning condoms. It's about being able to threaten cultural outliers with he entire legal force of the state and the shame of all society in bending those outliers into some sick, perverted patriarchal order disguised as "morality" in the vein of Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:44 PM on September 6 [18 favorites]


Wouldn't banning the legal sale of condoms piss off their frat bro bloc? I mean, banning the pill is one thing...but condoms, bro? *whatever the frat bro equivalent of a monocle is pops out*
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:53 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]




They totally could have asked better questions.
posted by armacy at 4:57 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


This article is bouncing around Tumblr: Kavanaugh Thinks It’s Okay to Perform Elective Surgery on People Without Their Consent
In 2001, three intellectually disabled D.C. residents brought suit against the city in Doe ex rel. Tarlow v. D.C, after they were subjected to at least three involuntary procedures: two abortions and one elective eye surgery. Ultimately, the district court agreed that these women’s due process rights had been violated and that “constitutionally adequate procedures” had not been followed. ...

On appeal, Judge Kavanaugh vacated the District Court’s injunction, arguing that “accepting the wishes of patients who lack, and have always lacked the mental capacity to make medical decisions does not make logical sense.”
Potential script for calling Republican senators:

“I am a voter from [city], and I have learned that, in 2007, Judge Kavanaugh ruled that performing abortions without the woman’s consent was legal and acceptable. I believe this is a terrible violation of rights. I urge the senator to vote against Kavanaugh because he supports involuntary abortions.”

(Ideally, “I urge Senator [name] to vote against…”)

Potential more script:
“At the very least, I urge the senator to request that Kavanaugh explain which abortions are acceptable.”

The way to refer to the case, if that’s needed, is “Doe Tarlow vs DC.”
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:59 PM on September 6 [38 favorites]


I don’t know if lying in your confirmation hearing remains an impeachable offense if your lying comes out during the confirmation hearing and you get confirmed anyway.

We've been through this - An impeachable offense is anything Congress is willing to vote to impeach over. There's some hand-waving about needing at least crime-adjacent behaviors, but again, that's more a matter of getting votes than specific requirements. (There's a "good behavior" requirement.)

Whether the lying is also prosecutable as perjury in a federal court is a different issue. I bet SCOTUS judges, unlike the president, aren't immune to prosecution.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:04 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Wouldn't banning the legal sale of condoms piss off their frat bro bloc?

I normally find "oh you sweet summer child" comments obnoxious, but
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:08 PM on September 6 [40 favorites]


What universe are you living in where frat boys take responsibility for sexual health and birth control?
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 5:11 PM on September 6 [45 favorites]


Also a new email in which Kavanuagh shares an “interesting article” arguing that Row is “bad law.”

I tracked down that "interesting article", it's behind a paywall where it was originally published on Christianity Today, but someone helpfully posted it on a Nursing forum in 2004. The gist of it is:
The weakness of Roe is of course well known to constitutional scholars, most of whom support it nevertheless because they like the result. The pages of the nation's law reviews have been filled for decades with efforts to "rewrite" the decision, that is, to offer it a more stable foundation: sex equality, freedom from religious establishment, any number of others. The justices, however, have stuck to their rather shaky privacy rationale, evidently less persuaded by the proposals emanating from the academy than by their original model.
Like other have said, overturning Griswold v. Connecticut is the real prize.
posted by peeedro at 5:17 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


The whole great expansion of sexual rights in the '60s was less of a black and white "it's right here in the constitution" rather, it looked at the spirit of the document and how our liberty, to quote Justice Harlan, gives us "freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints".

The Declaration of Independence says (emphasis added):
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
In Federalist 84, Alexander Hamilton argued that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary because the government couldn't do anything it wasn't specifically permitted to in the Constitution.
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?
When James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights, he said:
It has been objected also against a Bill of Rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against.
I take the view that the Founders believed that people have more rights than are listed in the Bill of Rights, and you have a right to interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, using contraception, privacy, and whatever else because the Constitution doesn't give the government the authority to restrict them. I mean, what else is claiming you don't have a right to privacy than disparaging those rights which were not placed in that enumeration?
posted by kirkaracha at 5:18 PM on September 6 [18 favorites]


I take the view that the Founders believed that people have more rights than are listed in the Bill of Rights, and you have a right to interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, using contraception, privacy, and whatever else because the Constitution doesn't give the government the authority to restrict them. I mean, what else is claiming you don't have a right to privacy than disparaging those rights which were not placed in that enumeration?

Welcome to world of using the 9th amendment to justify stopping the government from doing shitty but not literally unconstitutional things.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 5:20 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


But then I was an English major, so to me "it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration" clearly means there are other rights that aren't enumerated.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:21 PM on September 6


NYT, Nicholas Fandos, Frustration and Finger-Pointing as a House Pact Over Hacked Materials Fizzles
Casting blame across the aisle, House Republicans withdrew on Thursday from negotiations with Democrats over a pact that would have effectively barred both parties from using hacked or stolen material on the campaign trail this fall. Leaders of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of House Republicans, and their counterparts at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had labored for much of the summer over a set of rules that would have governed the way the congressionally run committees and their candidates treated material like the thousands of pages of damaging Democratic documents stolen and leaked by Russian hackers in 2016.

Instead, the two parties were left on Thursday exchanging shots just two months before Election Day; Republicans claimed that Democrats had negotiated in bad faith and violated an agreement not to speak about the negotiations publicly, and Democrats insisted that Republicans were merely searching for an excuse to pull out. It laid plain once again the difficulty lawmakers in Washington have had bridging partisan divisions in the two years since Russia began its brazen attack on the American political system.
...
The two sides had been close to reaching an agreement as recently as the past week or so, according to officials involved in the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss the talks. But a key difference of opinion remained over how to deal with hacked or stolen material that entered the public domain through news or other sources. Republicans argued that such material had to be fair game and that to ask candidates not to seize on news reports was unnecessarily prohibitive. Democrats countered that any agreement would be toothless without such a provision.

As recently as Tuesday evening, Democrats proposed a draft of the agreement that would have required the two committees to pledge that they would not “use known stolen or hacked information, or promote or disseminate hacked materials to the press, regardless of the source,” according to an official familiar with the latest version.

The draft’s other provisions included a pledge not to aid hacking efforts, not to seek out hacked or stolen materials, and to report any contacts with foreign actors to law enforcement authorities.

But Republicans felt that Democrats had repeatedly tried to jam them into a premature agreement and ultimately that Mr. Luján violated the terms of the negotiations when he told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that the two parties hoped to announce final terms this week. (Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio, the Republican committee chairman, had publicly acknowledged the negotiations at an event in June.)
Gosh, it's almost like Republicans are actively encouraging foreign actors to help them win.
posted by zachlipton at 5:21 PM on September 6 [28 favorites]


Is....it...potentially bad that the draft letter which was removed from Trump's desk is now publically viewable on Twitter, meaning that now the original intended recipient can also see it?

Not only is South Korea well aware of Trump being a fucking shithead of a moron who can't even figure out how to eat paste with ketchup, they already saw something akin to this.

The KORUS FTA was already somewhat renegotiated with the shit king Trump's minions; one upshot, for example, is that you won't see Hyundai pickup trucks in the US until like, 2040.

Moon folded faster than an origami expert making a hotdog fold.

Trump and his kind could eat shit forever and it still wouldn't be long enough.

Fuck him.
posted by anem0ne at 5:25 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


The KORUS FTA was already somewhat renegotiated with the shit king Trump's minions; one upshot, for example, is that you won't see Hyundai pickup trucks in the US until like, 2040.

Only if they're manufactured in Korea. If Hyundai manufacturers locally they can sell pickups in the US without the tariff.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 5:29 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Gosh, it's almost like Republicans are actively encouraging foreign actors to help them win.

Why bother with foreigners at all? Why not just set up a Republican Hacking Office with an understanding that anybody caught hacking from it would get a pardon?
posted by scalefree at 5:32 PM on September 6 [8 favorites]


The NYT has a new thing where you can watch the data coming in on their polls in real time. So you can sit there and hit refresh over and over and watch them make calls! Like a completely normal person with a completely normal amount of interest in politics!
posted by Justinian at 5:45 PM on September 6 [57 favorites]


I keep hitting refresh (like a normal person) and the numbers aren't changing. I am disappoint.
posted by Justinian at 5:48 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


> The NYT has a new thing where you can watch the data coming in on their polls in real time. So you can sit there and hit refresh over and over and watch them make calls! Like a completely normal person with a completely normal amount of interest in politics!

Needs more twitchy needle.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:48 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


I take the view that the Founders believed that people have more rights than are listed in the Bill of Rights

Coincidentally, the Founders said so explicitly in the Bill of Rights, specifically Amendment IX:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Not only is the whole "the Constitution doesn't say you have that right, so you don't, herp derp" argument wrong and fatuous, it isn't even conservative, as the conservative interpretation ought to be that the government doesn't have power to restrict rights that the Constitution doesn't specifically delegate to it (and the Founders covered that one in Amendment X for good measure, reserving rights not so delegated to the States or the people). It's pure sophistry -- but it's a conservative argument, so I repeat myself.

But it's still appalling that an aspirant to the SCOTUS gets to pretend Amendments Nine and Ten don't exist.
posted by Gelatin at 5:50 PM on September 6 [29 favorites]


In an absolutely shocking development foreseen by no one at all, Rudy Giuliani tells the AP that Trump will not agree to answer Mueller's questions about obstruction in any format. How can this be?
posted by Justinian at 5:59 PM on September 6 [10 favorites]


Faint of Butt: "Clarification: Pressley won her primary, and has not yet been elected to Congress, but the general election is little more than a formality in her district."

The GOP is not even running a candidate in MA-07.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:01 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Trump will not agree to answer Mueller's questions about obstruction in any format. How can this be?

Obviously he's completely innocent, so how can he answer questions about it?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:02 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


In DE Senate, incumbent Tom Carper wins the Dem nomination, with about 64%. That's a pretty good performance from neophyte challenger Kerri Harris.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:04 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


The GOP is not even running a candidate in MA-07.

One could always spawn from the primordial ooze, I suppose.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:05 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


How can this be?

What? Anyone can refuse to answer questions from an investigator or prosecutor. It's why the investigation is handing out immunity like candy on Halloween. Normally if it were a Democrat there'd be massive political fallout but not answering questions is kind of a thing we do here.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:06 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


And on the GOP side in DE Senate, county councillor Robert Arlett wins with about 67%. Arlett spent most of the campaign pointing out that, unlike his rival, Eugene Truono, he's not gay.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:07 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


What? Anyone can refuse to answer questions from an investigator or prosecutor.

I was being somewhat facetious. It's been obvious for quite some time that Trump wasn't going anywhere near Mueller voluntarily.
posted by Justinian at 6:12 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Faint of Butt: "Clarification: Pressley won her primary, and has not yet been elected to Congress, but the general election is little more than a formality in her district."

The GOP is not even running a candidate in MA-07


That’s the best kind of formality!
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:13 PM on September 6 [10 favorites]


Trump will not agree to answer Mueller's questions about obstruction in any format.

Eh, if there's any lesson from this administration, it's that you can make more headway asking forgiveness than permission, and that saying, "fuck you, we own your ass now, no backsies" is better than both. Get Trump in a room shooting his mouth off to a federal investigator first, and all the after-the-fact "But you proooooomised!" whining won't cause his testimony to be magically unsaid.
posted by jackbishop at 6:16 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Delaware downballot results:

AG Dem - All four candidates espoused some degree of reform-ism. Kathleen Jennings wins, she falls somewhere in the middle. AG is extra important in DE, because they appoint DAs, rather than electing, as in most states.

Auditor General Dem - Kathleen McGuiness squeaks out a win; she has a rep of being too close to the power structure. Aud Gen was one of the few statewide seats in GOP hands.

Also, one incumbent state House rep loses, Charles Potter in HD-01, who is supposed to be super corrupt.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:17 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]




Meanwhile, Trump has begun his Montana rally. As ever, the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale is live-tweeting/fact-checking it—"Trump does an especially slow walk to the microphone, soaking in the adulation."
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:22 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


subpeona time. why not push it before K-dog gets seated?
posted by j_curiouser at 6:25 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Article in Fast Company today: Survey says Nike's brand image has dropped because of Colin Kaepernick ad. "Another key point of the survey is that brand favorability didn’t only drop for folks you might expect to be red hat-sporting members of the MAGA brigade, but also among millennials, Gen Z, and African-Americans."
posted by StrawberryPie at 6:34 PM on September 6


StrawberryPie: Article in Fast Company today: Survey says Nike's brand image has dropped because of Colin Kaepernick ad. "Another key point of the survey is that brand favorability didn’t only drop for folks you might expect to be red hat-sporting members of the MAGA brigade, but also among millennials, Gen Z, and African-Americans."

Interesting. My anecdotal evidence would have suggested the opposite, given the way my students were talking about it in class yesterday.
posted by Superplin at 6:36 PM on September 6 [24 favorites]


I was wrong about something I posted earlier today, and want to correct it. When I said that Kavanaugh's opinions about Native Hawaiians would not necessarily apply to Native Alaskans, I was guessing that there was an actual treaty relationship between the US government and Native Alaskans, but I can't see that that is actually the case right now. If there is not, or if their relationship with the US government is more parallel to the relationship between the US government and Native Hawaiians, then yes the opinion about Native Hawaiians may very well apply in some way to Native Alaskans and I imagine Murkowski would be interested in that, if Native Alaskans are part of her voting block.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 6:39 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


I think the article covers it. Conservatives hate them because they are racist. More progressive folks hate it because they think its a stunt.

Long term i think it will be a seriously positive thing. I know i’m more inclined to buy nike stuff.
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:39 PM on September 6 [21 favorites]


Trump has gone on an extended riff about how terribly Ronny Jackson was treated (the rediculous White House doctor who he nominated to run the VA, if you think back a few hundred scandals ago). This ostensibly has to do with campaigning against Sen. Tester, but really just serves to bring up an old scandal for no reason. Then randomly mid-thought, for no particular reason at all, he just: "do we love Sean Hannity by the way? I love him."

Trump out of context: "It's always nice when a President or Prime Minister calls you 'sir,' that means a certain respect."

On another channel, here's Melissa Rogers (Obama WH Counsel office, wrote the book, literally, on Supreme Court rulings about religious freedom) on something in the Kavanaugh emails (behind link): he appears to think the government is "discriminating" against religious organizations if it doesn't fund, say, religious drug treatment groups:
Seems like Kavanaugh's email makes it pretty clear he'd say govt discriminates against orgs when it prohibits them from using direct aid for explicitly relig activities (like prayer, worship & study of sacred texts), so long as aid program has secular purpose (e.g. drug rehab)

Current law prohibits orgs from subsidizing explicitly religious activities w/direct govt aid, but Kavanaugh appears to disagree, as did Court plurality in Mitchell v. Helms (2000) (which Kavanaugh cites in his email) Why is his position a problem?

As Madison said:"Who does not see . . . that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute 3 pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?" Also, what govt funds, it regulates, even if what it funds is religious. Do we want govt to regulate prayer, worship & Bible study? No. Plus, govt subsidies for certain sacred texts will provoke an outcry, ultimately resulting in de facto govt preferences for some faiths.

Of course, Alito replaced O'Connor, so Kavanaugh's position could command a Court majority (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Roberts and Kavanaugh), if he is confirmed. Senators need to take a close look at Kavanaugh's views.
posted by zachlipton at 6:43 PM on September 6 [9 favorites]


from the article: "But 38% saw it as primarily a publicity stunt."

I mean, that 38 percent aren't wrong, and speaking for myself I'm not super impressed that Nike decided to do a baseline endorsement of black people's right to not be shot by the police. It's not a bad thing but it's not making me go out and buy a pair of shoes from them either
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:43 PM on September 6 [7 favorites]


Trump will not agree to answer Mueller's questions about obstruction in any format.

If he did not commit obstruction of justice, how will he know whether a question is about it or not?

(I don't like rhetorical questions usually, since I think it's better and more rhetorically honest to come right out with the assertion, so I'll assert it here: I interview witnesses often and examine witnesses under oath often, and I've found that you can often tell you're getting somewhere on a topic when the witness starts withholding or their lawyer starts making blustery objections. An explicit refusal to answer questions "about obstruction of justice" is, to my lawyer's ear, as good as an admission that the evidence is there, ripe for the picking, and all I have to do is find a way to get it without the witness or his lawyer realizing it until it's too late - which is almost always possible.)
posted by The World Famous at 6:44 PM on September 6 [24 favorites]


"Treaty-making with Indian tribes was terminated by Congress in 1871, just a few years after the purchase of Alaska, so there are no treaties with Alaska tribes. " -- Federal Indian Law for Alaska Tribes

So I would tend to think that Kavanaugh's view of Native Hawaiians would apply to Alaska Natives as well? But I am not up to speed on the details.
posted by shenderson at 6:49 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


I know i’m more inclined to buy nike stuff.

I'm due for new running shoes and they probably will be Air Pegasus for the first time in a while. But as the article notes, there is a get-your-house-in-order thing: the Kaepernick thing is great, but I'd also really like Nike to be less sweat-shoppy.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:52 PM on September 6 [9 favorites]


I imagine Murkowski would be interested in that, if Native Alaskans are part of her voting block.

Indeed, they are. In fact, the Native Alaskan population was considered pretty crucial in her (honestly very impressive) victory as a write-in candidate in 2010.
posted by mhum at 6:52 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


@ddale8:
Trump challenging allegations that he's lost his mind: "I beat 17 great people," including Ben Carson. "Ben Carson was tough." Also, he says, "I beat the Bush dynasty."
This tickled me at first; of that field, he thought Ben frickin' Carson and JEB! were the toughest opponents? but of course it's more about insulting Cruz and Rubio.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:01 PM on September 6 [7 favorites]




Meanwhile, Trump has begun his Montana rally. As ever, the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale is live-tweeting/fact-checking it

Thanks for the reminder—this is the first time I've ever followed a Trump rally solely via Dale's live tweets (up to now, I've watched the rallies live). Much better for my blood pressure, liver, and vocal cords. I'd encourage others to give it a try.
posted by Rykey at 7:02 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Any thoughts on why there's not a similar crowdfunding page to push Murkowski to vote no on Kavanaugh?
posted by duoshao at 7:04 PM on September 6


Murkowski’s not up for re-election for four years.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:07 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


> Survey says Nike's brand image has dropped because of Colin Kaepernick ad.

I'd be more interested in the Nike marketing department crosstabs than I would some morning-after poll. A mega-corp whose core competency is marketing just doesn't roll the dice on a high-risk move. I don't believe corporate altruism exists, but there's data behind this decision and that gives me hope.
posted by klarck at 7:08 PM on September 6 [35 favorites]


NYT channeling Shaggy, It Wasn’t Me: Pence, Pompeo and a Parade of Administration Officials Deny Writing Op-Ed
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, an ally of Mr. Trump’s, recommended that the president force members of his administration to take polygraph examinations, and there was at least briefly some discussion of that among advisers to the president. Another option mentioned by people close to Mr. Trump was asking senior officials to sign sworn affidavits that could be used in court if necessary. One outside adviser said the White House had a list of about 12 suspects.
...
White House officials called around to various departments asking if cabinet secretaries were responsible and collected multiple denials. That helped incite an extraordinary parade of the nation’s top officials marching to news media microphones or issuing written statements through their aides disavowing the piece, with the most important audience sitting in the Oval Office.

Among those disavowing the piece were Mr. Pence; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Defense Secretary Jim Mattis; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Kirstjen M. Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security; John R. Bolton, the national security adviser; and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence. Others included the secretaries of agriculture, commerce, education, energy, health and human services, housing and urban development, interior, labor, transportation and veterans affairs as well as the C.I.A. and F.B.I. directors, the president’s trade representative, acting chief of the Environmental Protection Agency and his ambassadors to the United Nations and Russia.
Trump taped a Fox News interview in which he called the op-ed "treason."

Also Trump, who has free government health care: "I may even move to California to get free health care."

And, um, "California has just become one really large person." [video]

He is now telling his audience in Montana who to vote for in the Florida governor's race.
posted by zachlipton at 7:11 PM on September 6 [24 favorites]


Apropos of the thread title, POTUS just accused his anonymous senior staffer of treason.

Will not liveblog the rally/Fox further, but damn.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:11 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


The President of the United States cannot say the word "anonymous," though he does not like it.

He's got that same drunk/loose dentures/whatever sound again. He sounds a little slurry on "resistance" too.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:11 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


"Trump is extremely loose. It's the angry-loose, not the happy-loose," Dale reports, and he's not exaggerating.
Trump is ranting about people who want to "IMPEAAACH HIM!" (His impression: "WEEE WILL IMPEEEACH HIM!") He asks how you can impeach someone who's "doing a great job."

Trump arguing against impeaching him: "We won by a lot. We won by a hell of a margin...that Electoral College, we won by a lot." (Obviously, he lost the popular vote.)

Trump: If you impeach me, America will "turn into a thrid-world country." He says it'll set a precedent that the opposing party will always try to impeach the president.

Trump to his supporters on impeachment: "If it does happen it's your fault, because you didn't go out to vote." He has not spoken this way before.
And then Trump starts talking about the Woodward book and the NYT op-ed:
Trump: "Even liberals that hate me" say the anonymous NYT op-ed is "terrible."

Trump falsely claims the New York Times apologized post-election for its "bad coverage" of him. Its letter to subscribers was not an apology, it was a sales pitch.

Trump: "The White House is really working good."

Trump ranting about, I think, the Woodward book: "They had me stomping around screaming with anger up in my area of the White House where I live with my wife and son, Barron...shouting like a lunatic..." He says he was merely talking, about Canada trade, not ranting.

Trump tries twice to say the word "anonymous." He fails both times.

Trump, speaking about "the resistance," does a you're-the-puppet: "THEY'RE the ones, honestly, that have been driven crazy."

Trump says unelected members of the "deep state" are trying to undermine him. "At some point, this whole thing is going to be exposed. And it's really bad and it's really dangerous."
This is where #batshitinsane enters truly perilous territory—and there will be another two months of such mid-term campaign rallies from him.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:14 PM on September 6 [36 favorites]


The President of the United States cannot say the word "anonymous," though he does not like it.

Cognitively. Impaired.

Imagine how many times Trump's cabinet officials and aides saw examples like this up close and personal before they started considering 25th Amendment solutions.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:19 PM on September 6 [20 favorites]


Also he said that since the mystery staffer was referred to by somebody in the media as "he," that means it's probably a woman. So much stupidity and misogyny concentrated in one little morsel.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:19 PM on September 6 [8 favorites]


"We won by a lot. We won by a hell of a margin...that Electoral College, we won by a lot."

His electoral college margin was 46th out of 58 elections.
posted by chris24 at 7:19 PM on September 6 [27 favorites]


My working theory is that The Editorial was written by Sanders, Miller, Gorka, Mulvaney, Sessions, Mnuchin, DeVos, Zinke, Jared, Mattis, Coats, Kelly, and Melania, one phrase at a time, Exquisite Corpse style, all of them ripped to the tits on laudanum and absinthe.
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:25 PM on September 6 [77 favorites]


@EDLesh: Kavanagh says it would be morally wrong to fire someone because of their skin. Or because of their gender. He would not say it was morally wrong to fire someone because they were gay.

@segalmr: This would likely be a disqualifying answer at most other lawyer job interviews.

Here's the video, which is worth watching for the full context.

The public hearing, and Kavanaugh's questioning, is over.

----

Trump went on an extended rant about how Lincoln wasn't appreciated by the "fake news" in his time, saying that people ridiculed the Gettysburg Address ("Many of us know it by memory") at the time, but they appreciated it 50 years later. He says he thinks the same thing will happen with him. This is riddled with historical inaccuracies and is utterly absurd.

He's trying to do his closing "America is great" riff off the prompter which has something about landing on the moon, and pauses to rant about how that movie doesn't show the flag planting.

Exit to "You Can't Always Get What You Want" as per usual trolling tactics.

I think this was one of the more notable new things he's said, that he's thinking this way now:

@ddale8: Trump to his supporters on impeachment: "If it does happen it's your fault, because you didn't go out to vote." He has not spoken this way before.
posted by zachlipton at 7:27 PM on September 6 [27 favorites]


"One outside adviser said the White House had a list of about 12 suspects."

GARETH KEENAN INVESTIGATES!
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:27 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate:
-- TN: Marist poll has Dem Bredesen up 48-46 on GOPer Blackburn [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. | NY Mag write-up of Bredesen.

-- UT: Dan Jones poll has GOPer Romney up 55-29 on Dem Wilson [MOE: +/- 3.4%]. Obviously, Romney is safe, but that's actually the lowest support for a GOP Senate candidate in over 20 years.

-- VA: Cygnal poll has incumbent Dem Kaine up 50-46 on GOPer Stewart [MOE: +/- 2.83%]. Poll was commissioned by *another* GOP pollster. | This is much closer than any previous polling, and has people questioning the poll design.

-- OH: Change Research poll has Dem incumbent Brown up 46-42 on GOPer Renacci [MOE: +/- 3.0%]. Poll was on behalf of a left-leaning think tank. | This is rather closer than any previous polling, and in fact, there's been talk of the GOP triaging the race.
** 2018 House:
-- TX-07: Atlantic write-up of race getting a lot of attention, where both candidates' internals show the race basically tied. [Clinton 49-47 | Cook: Tossup]

-- MO-02: Expedition Strategies poll has Dem Van Ostran up 43-41 on GOP incumbent Wagner [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Van Ostran campaign. [Trump 53-42 | Cook: Likely R]

-- MN-08: Budding scandal, as GOP candidate Stauber caught using government email for campaign purposes. [Trump 54-39 | Cook: Tossup]

-- MN-02: WPA Intelligence poll has GOP incumbent Lewis up 46-45 on Dem Craig [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. Poll was commissioned by the Lewis campaign. Those aren't normally the kind of numbers you'd want from an incumbent's internals. [Trump 47-45 | Cook: Tossup]

-- NYT/Siena project of polling battleground districts where you see the results in real-time. I'm not sure of the value of that part, but there is some interesting info about how different projected results can be, using different turnout assumptions.

-- 538 revises generic ballot tracker to be less jittery.
** Odds & ends:
-- GA-gov: AJC poll has Dem Abrams tied 45-45 with GOPer Kemp [MOE: +/- 3.1%]. Note that Georgia requires a runoff if no candidate exceeds 50%; Election Twitter divided on what we might expect from Abrams in a runoff situation.

-- NM gov: Global Strategy Group poll has Dem Lujan Grisham up 54-42 on GOPer Pearce [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. Poll was commissioned by the Dem AG candidate.

-- OH gov: Same Change Research poll has Dem Cordray tied 43-43 with GOPer DeWine head to head. With third party candidates included, DeWine up 45-43.

-- WI gov: PPP poll has Dem Evers up 49-45 on GOP incumbent Walker [MOE: +/- 4.0%]. Poll was commissioned by a liberal PAC.

-- MI gov: Incumbent gov Snyder confirms he will not be endorsing GOP nominee Schuette. This may or may not matter, as Snyder is not popular.

-- GOP candidate for KS House seat charged with felony election fraud for falisifying his residency; no comment from Kris Kobach.

-- Non-profit launching massive effort to improve Latino voter registration.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:33 PM on September 6 [20 favorites]


Dave Weigel (WaPo)
Delaware Democrats have set a non-presidential primary turnout record... on a Thursday.
posted by chris24 at 7:35 PM on September 6 [35 favorites]


If Trump becomes paranoid that Kavanaugh's compromising chats with Kasowitz or whoever will turn him into another Sessions, he'll burn Kavanaugh like a porterhouse steak. And it's already a stressful week.

What with the lodestar letter and Woodward's book, we know that Trump's aides are handling him to ignore his policy wishes and try to implement a standard set of Republican priorities. The majority in Congress has been doing the same and likely encouraging him to go along using the Democrats' desire for impeachment as a threat.

So Trump is basically getting played by everyone who's supposed to be on his side. I wonder what it would take for him to wake up to this reality.
posted by duoshao at 7:39 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


The problem is that there's not much for DE Dems to do with that enthusiasm. Carper and the House seat are safe, they already have all but a few statewide offices. They can solidify their control of the state Senate, that's about it. My advice to them is to move en masse to Maryland and swing the governor's race there.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:40 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


"Many of us know it by memory"

If Trump can accurately recite a single line, I'll eat a Lincoln-sized hat.
posted by thefoxgod at 7:44 PM on September 6 [28 favorites]


-- NYT/Siena project of polling battleground districts where you see the results in real-time. I'm not sure of the value of that part

Because otherwise I would not have been able to hit REFRESH to see the exact moment Casten in IL-6 went up by 1% over Roskam, 45-44 with a 4.8% moe.
posted by Justinian at 7:45 PM on September 6 [9 favorites]


I say this as someone who is very invested in the Dem primaries for the Rhode Island House - you may have a problem.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:46 PM on September 6 [17 favorites]


My working theory is that The Editorial was written by Sanders, Miller, Gorka, Mulvaney, Sessions, Mnuchin, DeVos, Zinke, Jared, Mattis, Coats, Kelly, and Melania, one phrase at a time,

My list wasn't that long, but it would make sense of the "at least 12 suspects" (Melania not being counted because of relations. Ditto with Ivanka who could be in on this), as well as being able to fit specific writing patterns (lodestar, em dashes, etc.) to multiple writers. Heck, there is good scholarly work saying the same thing (at least four authors, e.g.) about letters from Paul in the New Testament.

(FWIW, my theory, as much as I have had time to let my conspiracy mind go crazy, is Kelly being primary author and then some combination of [in no particular order] SHS, Ivanka, and Pence. With all the double-crossing, etc. what seems most likely to me is SHS suggested the letter and explicitly suggested lodestar and em dash to troll/throw Ivanka and Pence under the bus and then threw Kelly under the bus after the letter was published by continually saying it was a he that wrote the letter. She can now say she was technically right.)
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:49 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


The problem is that there's not much for DE Dems to do with that enthusiasm.

Delaware Democrats could've made a difference voting out Tom Carper (D-Too Big To Fail Banks). Not really any other way. If you ever want better Democrats, and want anything to actually change if Democrats actually retake the Senate, we have to dump people like Carper and Feinstien sitting in blue states but answering only to corporate power. Huge missed opportunity. Paging New York in 2022: primary Chuck Schumer.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:50 PM on September 6 [6 favorites]


Oh, hey, kids, news on the Kamala Harris Kasowitz thing from WaPo's Carol Leonnig:
Update:
- Kavanaugh acknowledges close friendship with Kasowitz atty Ed McNally
- White House and Kasowitz firm say McNally neither helped prep Kavaugh nor discussed Mueller probe with him.
Brett Kavanaugh: perjurer and general lying liar who lies.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:52 PM on September 6 [57 favorites]


Dan Friedman: Trump personally interviewed McNally for the job of US Attorney for the Eastern District of NY, a highly unusual step for a president. Also talked to candidates for US Attorney in Southern District of NY and DC.

(And McNally's bio mentions that he was one of Rudy Giuliani's assistant US attorneys in NY.)
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:59 PM on September 6 [16 favorites]


Delaware Democrats could've made a difference voting out Tom Carper (D-Too Big To Fail Banks). Not really any other way. If you ever want better Democrats, and want anything to actually change if Democrats actually retake the Senate, we have to dump people like Carper and Feinstien sitting in blue states but answering only to corporate power. Huge missed opportunity. Paging New York in 2022: primary Chuck Schumer.

I feel you're conflating Democrat and leftist. Delaware is reliably blue, but is not terribly progressive. The fact is that Delaware Democrats like Tom Carper - they've elected him to a statewide seat ten times now. Yes, he's pretty pro-bank...and banking is a huge industry in Delaware. Carper just isn't a mismatch for his state the way that DiFi is.

Harris really did pretty well, and I would hope to see more progressive folks coming up from DE.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:01 PM on September 6 [13 favorites]


I say this as someone who is very invested in the Dem primaries for the Rhode Island House - you may have a problem.

If anyone is interested in making their problem substantially worse (and you may punch me for this), Daniel Nichanian (@Taniel) has one-upped his usual spreadsheet game with What to track in the 2018 election: a (very) detailed cheat sheet.

355+ contests for you to lose your mind over, including key House and Senate races, assorted state referenda sorted by category, key state legislative races, state Supreme Court seats, prosecutors, the works. If you're going to care about something being voted on in the US in November, it's probably one of your local races and/or on this list.
posted by zachlipton at 8:03 PM on September 6 [13 favorites]


Trump: If you impeach me, America will "turn into a third-world country."

Better than a second world one?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:03 PM on September 6 [6 favorites]



- Kavanaugh acknowledges close friendship with Kasowitz atty Ed McNally
- White House and Kasowitz firm say McNally neither helped prep Kavaugh nor discussed Mueller probe with him.


woah, go Kamala Harris. (but somehow I don't think lying and generally being a self centered bigoted lowlife will matter to the GOP.
posted by bluesky43 at 8:10 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


My working theory is that The Editorial was written by Sanders, Miller, Gorka, Mulvaney, Sessions, Mnuchin, DeVos, Zinke, Jared, Mattis, Coats, Kelly, and Melania, one phrase at a time, Exquisite Corpse style, all of them ripped to the tits on laudanum and absinthe.

Poirot: "The deceased was stabbed once by each staffer—with a poison pen."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:15 PM on September 6 [40 favorites]


> but somehow I don't think lying and generally being a self centered bigoted lowlife will matter to the GOP

Of course it matters -- how else do you think he got on the short list?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:16 PM on September 6 [12 favorites]


The Washington Post's Philip Rucker reports on Trump's West Wing bunker—‘A never-ending cycle’: Book, op-ed show how some Trump aides work to curb his instincts
Trump’s mood this week has varied from volcanic anger to disappointment, and he has been “hellbent,” in the characterization of a senior official, to root out the anonymous author of the Times op-ed and hold him or her accountable for betraying the president.

In Oval Office huddles Thursday, White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, national security adviser John Bolton, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and senior adviser Jared Kushner, among other aides, tried to convince the president that he could trust them and others in his inner circle. They argued that the author was probably a lower-level employee, according to the senior official.

The twin bombshells also underscored a vexing reality for Trump — that some in his employ do treat him as an adolescent in need of chaperoning inside a White House that Corker memorably once described as “adult day care.”

But the conspiratorial and at times paranoid Trump felt a slice of vindication reading the Times column, seeing it as justifying his belief that the “deep state” and other enemies within are seeking to undercut him, according to two former White House officials briefed on the president’s private conversations.

“The functional effect of it all is for him to become more insulated, viewing the presidency more and more as a one-man band,” said one of those officials. This person characterized the president’s view as: “These people are here. Sometimes I need them to do stuff. But the presidency is not an institution. The presidency is me.”
Lindsay Graham and Mark Meadows, however, tell the Post this is fine, this is normal, everything is under control.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:19 PM on September 6 [7 favorites]


If anyone is interested in making their problem substantially worse (and you may punch me for this), Daniel Nichanian (@Taniel) has one-upped his usual spreadsheet game with What to track in the 2018 election: a (very) detailed cheat sheet.

Yeah, Taniel does great research. I'm planning on putting together an elections post (I mean, if people are okay with that), like I did for VA/NJ last year, and that's definitely a key source.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:20 PM on September 6 [13 favorites]


Delaware is reliably blue, but is not terribly progressive.

Yes, and then we wonder why 17 Democrats join with Republicans to repeal Dodd-Frank less than 10 years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Do better, Delaware. Except you already didn't.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:26 PM on September 6 [12 favorites]


In Oval Office huddles Thursday, White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, national security adviser John Bolton, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and senior adviser Jared Kushner, among other aides, tried to convince the president that he could trust them and others in his inner circle.
You know it really does help to know that they’re all miserable
posted by schadenfrau at 8:41 PM on September 6 [110 favorites]


It's worth remembering that while they are not abuse victims and definitely ought to take the fight against him to a public setting, anyone working with Trump is constantly exposed directly to his instinctive array of abusive tactics. As a result, their attitude has likely become something like "medium chill", a common technique for adapting to narcissists.

This helps explain why the op-ed seems to be trying to be reassuring while laying out a completely screwed up nightmare scenario, and also why it's so unconvincing, like an abuse victim trying to convince their friends their abuser won't hit them again.
posted by xammerboy at 9:00 PM on September 6 [28 favorites]


In Oval Office huddles Thursday, White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, national security adviser John Bolton, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and senior adviser Jared Kushner, among other aides, tried to convince the president that he could trust them and others in his inner circle.

And then at least one of them immediately leaked this info to Rucker. DELICIOUS.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:14 PM on September 6 [66 favorites]


FWIW, Harris endorsed Carper right after losing, arguing (correctly, I'd say) that she'd pulled him left.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:15 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Salon: Psychiatrist Bandy Lee says White House officials told her Trump was “unraveling”
"Two White House officials actually contacted me in late October, stating that Trump was “scaring” them, that he was “unraveling.” Not wishing to confuse the role I chose, as an educator of the public, and a potential treatment role, I referred them to the local emergency room without inquiring much further."
posted by BungaDunga at 9:24 PM on September 6 [24 favorites]


"Two White House officials actually contacted me in late October, stating that Trump was “scaring” them, that he was “unraveling.”

Profiles in courage: penning your NYT letter one Earth year after the president's insanity starts to frighten you.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:32 PM on September 6 [70 favorites]


From the Salon piece:
Two White House officials actually contacted me [Brandy Lee, psychiatrist and author of a book on Trump's mind] in late October, stating that Trump was “scaring” them, that he was “unraveling.” Not wishing to confuse the role I chose, as an educator of the public, and a potential treatment role, I referred them to the local emergency room without inquiring much further.
This is a reminder that Trump has almost unlimited, on-demand, and free access to top-quality healthcare as long as he want it, while millions of the world including in the USA are deprived of the right to a healthy life and are facing mortal danger. His "local emergency room" is not like yours.

While we keep in mind the hazards of medicalizing bad politics, we can never pound hard enough on the politics of bad medical systems.

It's just so grossly unfair.
posted by runcifex at 10:00 PM on September 6 [33 favorites]


More on North Carolina and ICE. Update from Melissa Boughton (on Twitter), Law and Courts reporter at North Carolina Policy Watch.

"The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina is backing down from its unprecedented broad request for voter information that could have compromised the privacy of more than two million cast ballots."

But that "back down" is not a real retreat. It is simply a retrenchment. They want the records in January 2019 instead. The way the votes were cast may be redacted, but all the names of those registered and voting are still subpoenaed. So, this has the same chilling effect on many minority, immigrant citizen, and adjacent voters. It took three tries to get the Muslim Ban through. They will just keep hammering at this unless it is stopped now in North Carolina.
posted by Gotanda at 10:16 PM on September 6 [43 favorites]


@EDLesh: Kavanagh says it would be morally wrong to fire someone because of their skin. Or because of their gender. He would not say it was morally wrong to fire someone because they were gay.

Someone ask him if it’s morally wrong to fire someone for wearing a wool-linen blend.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 1:32 AM on September 7 [35 favorites]


Or alternately, if it is wrong to refuse to confirm a SC Justice because they are a fucking asshole.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:35 AM on September 7 [14 favorites]


I have learned that, in 2007, Judge Kavanaugh ruled that performing abortions without the woman’s consent was legal and acceptable. I believe this is a terrible violation of rights. I urge the senator to vote against Kavanaugh because he supports involuntary abortions.”

You know, I learned REAL QUICK how acceptable conservative Christians find abortions to be as soon as the mother has a severe mental illness or intellectual disability. It was something that came up several times when I was working as a social worker, and while the families would always make sure it wasn't SPOKEN of, they sure bent over backwards to get the woman to the Big City and that Den of Evil Planned Parenthood.

(I, of course, was concerned that the mothers got whatever care they wanted and felt they had someone to support them in whatever decision they made.)

But yeah, we're not even a generation removed from mass forced sterilizations on people in institutions. Those health care providers were good Christians too.
posted by threeturtles at 2:44 AM on September 7 [58 favorites]


Trump’s mood this week has varied from volcanic anger to disappointment, and he has been “hellbent,” in the characterization of a senior official, to root out the anonymous author of the Times op-ed and hold him or her accountable for betraying the president.

One of the things that kills me about this is that it would be a simple matter to catch leakers in this white house. All it would take is for Trump to strategically do outrageously things around particular people and then see which outrageous thing gets leaked in order to narrow down the source. A little bit of simple manipulation and basic 'agreement and difference' work like they have done in almost every spy movie for 60 years would do the job.

However, this white house is dumb all the way down.
posted by srboisvert at 2:54 AM on September 7 [28 favorites]


"This is a reminder that Trump has almost unlimited, on-demand, and free access to top-quality healthcare as long as he wants it [whereas the rest of us go without]-"

That part's terrible, but also terrible (and arguably more terrible, since it may lead to us all getting summarily evaporated), he's never going to want it. Nobody in his situation ever will. It's hard to get gramps to give up the car keys even when gramps is just a normal guy who used to be a middle manager or whatever. Trump? There is no one with the power to Baker act him, despite the fact that he is about the clearest example of "danger to self and others" in the history of the phrase. So we will all watch as he disintegrates. Michael Jackson, W. Randolph Hearst, Howard Hughes, and now "the leader of the free world." Too MUCH money to get the health care he so evidently needs.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:04 AM on September 7 [11 favorites]


Another key point of the survey is that brand favorability didn’t only drop for folks you might expect to be red hat-sporting members of the MAGA brigade, but also among millennials, Gen Z, and African-Americans."

They probably lost the favorability of the croc crowd who were never going to buy their high margin shoes anyway. In terms of brand coolness it is probably addition by subtraction to persuade MAGAs not to wear your shoes.
posted by srboisvert at 3:28 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


Anyone else starting to come around to the idea that publishing the Editorial from Inside the Building was a deliberately accelerationist act?

(Edited in due to sloppy language: I meant writing it more than publishing it. There are plenty of good reasons to publish it.)
posted by BS Artisan at 4:15 AM on September 7 [13 favorites]


Anyone else starting to come around to the idea that publishing the Editorial from Inside the Building was a deliberately accelerationist act?

That's why I'm sticking with Miller as my guess.
posted by Rykey at 4:50 AM on September 7 [11 favorites]


I mean, I guess it's better for Brands™ to endorse good than for them to endorse evil – but, yeah, they just do whatever is most profitable for the Brand™.

My reaction to this isn't "wow, Nike is on the side of good" – because Nike is a purely legal and economic construct which has neither intent nor personhood. My reaction is simply "shut the fuck up, Nike – actual people are talking about important things, and your cynical, focus-grouped interjection isn't relevant to the conversation".
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:07 AM on September 7 [5 favorites]


My reaction is "Nike, as close to a truly neutral party as there can possibly be, since it is motivated strictly by money and not by ideology or morality, has decided that anti-Trump is the correct side to be on, which is good news because it's a sign that we are winning."
posted by mmoncur at 5:18 AM on September 7 [141 favorites]


On appeal, Judge Kavanaugh vacated the District Court’s injunction, arguing that “accepting the wishes of patients who lack, and have always lacked the mental capacity to make medical decisions does not make logical sense.”

The whole point of this is to deny women in total the right to make this decision, because we don't have the "mental capacity" to decide something like this. Same evil thought behind waiting periods, etc.
posted by agregoli at 5:30 AM on September 7 [29 favorites]


Trump taped a Fox News interview in which he called the op-ed "treason."

...echoing one or more tweets expressing the same, er, thought. Which is as clear a proof as one could find that Trump is a tyrant, or wants to be: treason is defined in the Constitution as betraying the country, not the president personally.

Since Trump and his thralls are authoritarians, of course, they don't make the distinction, but loyal Americans should never forget.
posted by Gelatin at 5:36 AM on September 7 [16 favorites]


Nike have made a decision to alienate Trumpists, and their doing so is deliberate and calculated. Obviously they believe it will make them more money in the long term.

It makes more obvious the larger point that no business transaction is apolitical. We all need to know what our money is paying for.

ULINE, the shipping supplies company, for example, is owned by hardcore MAGA assholes, and they make no bones about it. If you shop with ULINE, you're putting money in the pockets of white supremacists. I'm sure this buys them many devoted customers.

I'm keen to know what values the people who own our companies have, even if they're not keen to reveal them (Bezos is notoriously quiet about his politics). It affects my decisions on where to spend my money. I used to believe that business transactions should not invoke politics. No longer.

These days, for example, when I have to choose between a retail store that flies a small pride flag all year vs one that just puts huge ones up in the summer, I'll go with the one that isn't clearly pandering.

I have other problems with Nike, but politics isn't one of them.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:38 AM on September 7 [30 favorites]


Anyone could say they "didn't write" the op-ed -- because they composed it at a computer keyboard.

Denials can be super-literal.
posted by jgirl at 5:45 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Chrysostom: I say this as someone who is very invested in the Dem primaries for the Rhode Island House - you may have a problem.

Hang on, hang on, hang on a second -- as someone who is a voter in those Rhode Island primaries, what is concerning you?!

When Chrysostom says "you may have a problem," the hair on the back of my neck goes up! Don't leave me hanging.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:45 AM on September 7 [8 favorites]


Looks like Russia is getting in on the Wingnut Welfare circuit.

Scottie Nell Hughes landing on her feet at RT.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 5:49 AM on September 7 [6 favorites]


Going by context, I don't think that's a reference to Rhode Island having a problem, but a joke that anyone repeatedly clicking refresh on a poll "has a problem" i.e an addiction.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:50 AM on September 7 [5 favorites]


Ah, OK then. *slumps back in chair, draws a deep, ragged breath*

Thank you!
posted by wenestvedt at 5:51 AM on September 7 [11 favorites]


Rest now, wenestvedt, but those poll pages aren't gonna refresh themselves...

(I actually recall old-school pre-Blink Opera having that functionality?)
posted by anem0ne at 5:52 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


At Montana rally, president hails Republican who assaulted Guardian reporter as fighter ‘in more ways than one’.
That would be the white supremacist supporter Greg Gianforte.
posted by adamvasco at 5:59 AM on September 7 [30 favorites]


House and Senate interns are going to get paid — if Congress passes this spending bill - Tara Golshan, Vox
As lawmakers continue to negotiate spending bills to fund the government through 2019, they’ve agreed on one thing: They’ll budget in $8.8 million for House intern pay and $5 million for Senate intern pay, according to Michael Zetts, the House Democratic aide to Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH).

The provision will be part of the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which the two chambers are discussing this week.

If passed, the House would add $20,000 to each lawmaker’s allowance to pay interns. In the Senate, funding would vary depending on the state but would average to about $50,000 per office. The funding for interns would have to be renewed annually, and rules around how offices can use the money will be written by the administrative committees.

As it is now, more than 90 percent of House members don’t pay their interns, according to the nonprofit group Pay Our Interns. By party affiliation, 8 percent of Republican lawmaker offices paid interns, whereas roughly 4 percent of Democratic offices do. In the Senate, 51 percent of Republican offices offered interns pay, to varying extents. Only 31 percent of Senate Democratic offices offered interns pay.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:36 AM on September 7 [7 favorites]


Republicans are going to pass minimum wage increases and sick leave requirements in Michigan.

And then repeal them straight after the election in the lame duck session to circumvent the 3/4 majority required to repeal passed ballot initiatives but don't tell anyone that.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 6:36 AM on September 7 [9 favorites]


I don't understand why the White House is hunting for the anonymous op ed author.

Suppose they find him or her. Then they force the op ed writer to resign. What do they think happens next? If Omarosa doing the political new show circuit was damaging, how much damage will a former cabinet member who is invested in proving the the president is incompetent do to the Trump White House?
posted by rdr at 6:55 AM on September 7 [14 favorites]


I'm not so sure that they would only force this person to resign should they find them. They are using words like treason and national security. That doesn't sound like Trump et al are imagining the consequences to be merely firing.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:56 AM on September 7 [7 favorites]


My reaction is "Nike, as close to a truly neutral party as there can possibly be, since it is motivated strictly by money and not by ideology or morality, has decided that anti-Trump is the correct side to be on, which is good news because it's a sign that we are winning."

I thought about it in a similar way. Obviously Nike and this campaign are problematic for various reasons already stated above in this thread. I'm not fooling myself to believe they are altruistically woke. But as I've noted before I have a lot of faith in the science behind the idea of a tipping point for social change, which describes how once a certain threshold is reached, a major shift in public perception can happen quickly. So sure, some people may be burning their Nikes, but overall having ideas like this becoming normalized as part of the mainstream feels important to me, and welcome.
posted by robotdevil at 6:58 AM on September 7 [32 favorites]


They can imagine punishments more severe than resignation but they can't actually implement them. We still have a legal system.
posted by rdr at 6:59 AM on September 7 [6 favorites]


Republicans are going to pass minimum wage increases and sick leave requirements in Michigan.

And then repeal them straight after the election in the lame duck session to circumvent the 3/4 majority required to repeal passed ballot initiatives but don't tell anyone that.


What we’re saying here is that though Republicans hate these policies they are actually very popular and could help swing elections?

Huh. Interesting. Very interesting.
posted by Artw at 6:59 AM on September 7 [15 favorites]


They can imagine punishments more severe than resignation but they can't actually implement them. We still have a legal system.

I doubt that any punishments they could imagine would be both more severe and legal.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:03 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


Given the lack of specifics in the NYT op ed about exactly what actions the writer and others allegedly took to circumvent Trump's wishes, it seems like it would be very hard to make any charges stick. "Handling" the president probably isn't as unusual as we seem to think it is. Wasn't Kissinger known for presenting the president with two outrageous options and his desired third option? i.e. "well, we could surrender and accept defeat, we could go for total war and drop a 5 megaton warhead or we could increase troop deployments by 25%."
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 7:05 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Children are DYING OF NEGLECT after being separated from their parents for no reason than cruelty. We are way past rule of law for this admin. They'd love to put the op ed writer in Guantanamo.
posted by agregoli at 7:08 AM on September 7 [33 favorites]


I woulda said folks claiming that the government is building secret inaccessible concentration camps for babies or deporting naturalized american citizens are being paranoid but here we are
posted by lazaruslong at 7:17 AM on September 7 [66 favorites]


chris24: Delaware Democrats have set a non-presidential primary turnout record... on a Thursday.

What in the hell is that? Thursday?

Dear Democrats: once in power, make all in-person voting happen over the weekend. Saturday AND Sunday. Or heck, Friday-Monday. Will it be more expensive than a one-day event? Sure. But how much is poured into campaigning for elections now, compared to the "cost" of holding elections?

Problem: who pays and how much is all over the board, so maybe address this, too? Ooh, I know - tax all campaign ads and expenses 10%, and have that all go back to covering voting expenses. Excess funds support automatic "motor voter" registrations, and studies on what percentage of eligible voters are registered. Excess funds beyond that go into general funds for public Pre-K education.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:18 AM on September 7 [20 favorites]


Dear Democrats: once in power, make all in-person voting happen over the weekend. Saturday AND Sunday. Or heck, Friday-Monday. Will it be more expensive than a one-day event? Sure. But how much is poured into campaigning for elections now, compared to the "cost" of holding elections?

How would weekend voting work when many of the polling places are also places of worship with weekend services, and some religious organizations express opinions on election outcomes?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:23 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Dear Democrats: once in power, make all in-person voting happen over the weekend. Saturday AND Sunday.

I think it bears repeating that in other countries election day is a national holiday (for President) and smaller elections are like jury duty (you get leave).

I think this is the only way to approach democracy if we actually care about what people with shitty schedules (who most of the time happen to be low income) think or want.
posted by Tarumba at 7:24 AM on September 7 [24 favorites]


I'm not saying that this administration isn't horrifying, but there is a substantial difference between them demonizing and abusing the "other" and assassinating high ranking members of their own damn party. We are at fascism stage 1 (or 2), not full on dictatorship.

I think it's counterproductive to assume the battle is already lost. No, Trump will not have a member of his cabinet assassinated with impunity. He doesn't have that political and social power, not yet.
posted by lydhre at 7:29 AM on September 7 [7 favorites]


I know - tax all campaign ads and expenses 10%, and have that all go back to covering voting expenses

I would suggest that in the spirit of "Sin Taxes" that tax on campaign ads and expenses be much more. Start with 75% and settle for 50% sounds like a place to compromise.
posted by mikelieman at 7:32 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Oh, and a National Holiday for Elections on the First Tuesday of November sounds great to me.
posted by mikelieman at 7:33 AM on September 7 [16 favorites]


I think it bears repeating that in other countries election day is a national holiday (for President) and smaller elections are like jury duty (you get leave).

India votes for a month and has a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote to all adults over 18.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:37 AM on September 7 [9 favorites]


Wow a lot of people have forgotten "No Logo."

"Nike, as close to a truly neutral party as there can possibly be, since it is motivated strictly by money and not by ideology or morality"

Actually perfectly describes much of the American conservative wing, the 'neutral evil' ones. Some of them may not be full on 'chaotic evil', but it is in no way indemnifying.

I have no dog in this fight, except that making the conversation about Nike just scores one for Madison Avenue/the corporate rehabilitation machine.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:37 AM on September 7 [10 favorites]


He doesn't have that political and social power, not yet.

The idea that this administration’s actions are constrained by what they’re actually capable of executing successfully is just adorable in this day and age.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:38 AM on September 7 [5 favorites]


What in the hell is that? Thursday?

NY has primaries next Thursday September 13th.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:39 AM on September 7


Taxing campaign expenses just makes it harder for less wealthy people to run. Let's not. The only reason we "don't have the money" is because rich people and corporations aren't paying their taxes. We could fund this and a million other things by changing that fact.

National Holiday? Yes. But even on National Holidays some people end up working, therefore every citizen needs to get absentee/early voting information sent to them and it should also be posted in the workplace.

I think it should be moved to a Monday because that's easier for people to take off/have a long weekend. First Monday in November is fine.
posted by emjaybee at 7:39 AM on September 7 [18 favorites]


Yeah, we're only up to imprisoning latinx kids indefinitely despite a court order saying no. It's not authoritarianism until it affects white people.

... but that's my point. The ones who are actually in power, here, are the Rs. They benefit from Trump being President and they benefit from Trump abusing and imprisoning latinx children and fomenting racial and xenophobic hatred.

There is plenty to be outraged about, plenty to fight, plenty of crimes to condemn: do not concede to them powers that they do not yet have.
posted by lydhre at 7:42 AM on September 7 [1 favorite]


Axios's Mike Allen reports, unsurprisingly, Trump officials use Times op-ed to knife people they hate
Trumpworld sources tell Axios that officials rapidly shifted from trying to smoke out the author of the anonymous N.Y. Times op-ed, to using the guessing game to knife people they already hated — whispering the names of rivals and enemies as potential authors.[...]

Here's my bet, which is contrarian to a lot of what you'll hear: There's a lot of speculation that The Times puffed up the person's importance, but I think the official actually is indisputably "senior."

Here's why: If I'm The Times, I know that publishing the anonymous blast is going to be controversial. I assume the person will be unmasked, perhaps sooner rather than later. And I don't want to look like a dope when the identity is known. If it weren't an actual big fish, I'd have a "fake news" problem.
AP calculates: "Paul Light, a New York University professor and expert on the federal bureaucracy, said about 50 people could have legitimately written the column — probably someone in a political position appointed by President Donald Trump."
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:43 AM on September 7 [10 favorites]


Oh, and a National Holiday for Elections on the First Tuesday of November sounds great to me.

Holiday with some restrictions. Where I'm from, sales of alcohol are prohibited the day before presidential elections.

Also, are there any negative implications of making voting compulsory? There are countries where you have to pay a fine if you don't vote, which in a way legitimizes the need for leave and increased access for workers.
posted by Tarumba at 7:45 AM on September 7 [1 favorite]


Not exactly earth-shaking political news, but it cheered me up this morning: the people positioned immediately over Trump’s shoulder at his Montana rally last night were making skeptical “wtf?” faces until asked to leave.

Katie Moeser (@iamkatiemoe):

this was one of my favorites ‘we’ve picked up a lot of support’ plaid shirt guy ‘HAVE YOU!??’

[In response to the idea that the guy in plaid might be a paid extra who went off-script] I’ll pay his appearance fee anytime!
posted by chappell, ambrose at 7:45 AM on September 7 [41 favorites]


I wouldn't buy Nikes to reward Nike for their position, but I think I will to support Colin Kaepernick.
posted by M-x shell at 7:48 AM on September 7 [10 favorites]


mikelieman: "Oh, and a National Holiday for Elections on the First Tuesday of November sounds great to me."

Except that most of us don't get half the holidays off. I mean other than government employees, who gets Veterans Day or Columbus Day off?
posted by octothorpe at 7:48 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


What in the hell is that? Thursday?

First Tuesday in September is the day after Labor Day, so that was probably nixed (people may still be traveling plus needing to get stuff in place the day before). Second Tuesday this year is the second day of Rosh Hashanah. So I'm guessing Delaware and New York decided that the first/second Thursday would be better than waiting for the third Tuesday.

(Meanwhile, New Hampshire is apparently perfectly fine with scheduling voting on Rosh Hashanah.)
posted by damayanti at 7:49 AM on September 7


Oh, and a National Holiday for Elections on the First Tuesday of November sounds great to me.

Harpo Marx said that was the case in NYC when he was growing up. They would actually have celebratory bonfires in the streets, and limos paid for by Tammany Hall would pick people up and deliver them to voting stations. He said that his grandfather, who could not legally vote, voted anyway and nobody stopped him.
posted by Melismata at 7:52 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


do not concede to them powers that they do not yet have.

I think it is less that, than a fear that they may in fact have powers that they have not yet exercised.

Every stupid, evil thing they have done so far is a thing we did not think they would be able to do. I’m not sure we can afford to draw a line in the sand for them, and assume they would scruple to cross it.
posted by invincible summer at 7:54 AM on September 7 [8 favorites]


[Folks, this assassination derail has gone way off the deep end. Let it go, please. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:58 AM on September 7 [16 favorites]


Trumpworld sources tell Axios that officials rapidly shifted from trying to smoke out the author of the anonymous N.Y. Times op-ed, to using the guessing game to knife people they already hated — whispering the names of rivals and enemies as potential authors

I woke my cat up with this cackle

Excellent, well done, nothing can possibly top—

“HAVE you?”

This is better than many drugs.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:59 AM on September 7 [29 favorites]


While the Kavanaugh hearing are supremely important, the Trump administration continues its Gish Gallop Of Shittiness:
The Trump Administration just gave in to foreign mining interests near the Boundary Waters. Instead of listening to the 70% of Minnesotans who oppose this toxic form of mining, this administration chose profit over process.
The Threat: "Pollution from these mines will flow directly into the heart of the Boundary Waters. Even conservative models of pollution show that waterways would carry contaminants into the Wilderness. A single mine in this watershed will continually pollute the wilderness for at least 500 years."

FIVE HUNDRED GODDAMN YEARS. And this mining company has already had one of these mines fail in a spectacular and disastrous way.

The full details are in a release from Sept. 6.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:00 AM on September 7 [57 favorites]


Without using the a-word, let me just say: DC Republicans are in lockstep with Trump because he's helping them achieve what they want to achieve. His harmful policies aren't harmful TO THEM. If he suddenly started threatening them directly, they would have much more incentive to replace him.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:04 AM on September 7 [16 favorites]


Toxic Algae Seeps Into Florida Congressional Races (NPR, September 7, 2018)
For months now, mats of algae from Lake Okeechobee have been flowing down the river, bringing toxins that can affect people and animals. In beach communities east of the lake, the algae have had a big impact on tourism and businesses.

With more toxic algae blooms on Florida's west coast and a red tide algae bloom causing massive fish kills in the Gulf of Mexico, water quality is increasingly having a big impact on key midterm races in Florida. While Democrats tend to be more outspoken on environmental issues, Republican candidates are also speaking up because they're feeling the heat.
Feeling the heat, you say? Like the heat from global climate change? The Gulf of Mexico's "Red Tide" is one type of harmful algal bloom (HAB) (NOAA Ocean Service), which is (generally) caused by nutrient overloads and sunlight, and climate change might cause harmful algal blooms to occur more often, in more waterbodies and to be more intense (EPA).

But Florida governor has ignored climate change risks and impact on state, critics say (Brady Dennis and Darryl Fears for the Washington Post, via Chicago Tribune, Sept. 8, 2017)
By all accounts, Scott and other officials have aggressively tried to prepare the state and its residents for the destructive storm's impact and immediate aftermath.

But for all of Scott's vigor in readying Florida for [Hurricane] Irma's wrath, his administration has done little over the years to prepare for what scientists say are the inevitable effects of climate change that will wreak havoc in the years to come. With its far-reaching coastline and low elevation, Florida is one of the states at greatest risk from rising sea levels, extreme weather events - including more powerful hurricanes - and other consequences of a warming planet.

Local officials, academics and even some political allies say Scott has scarcely acknowledged the problem and, along with the Republican-led legislature, has shown little interest in funding projects to help the state adapt and become more resilient in the face of storms such as Irma.

"The science has been brought on a silver platter to Gov. Scott, and he's chosen not to do anything," said Kathy Baughman McLeod, a conservation expert who served on the Florida Energy and Climate Commission, which was effectively dismantled after Scott took office in 2011. "If there is climate action, it's all coming from local and regional collaboration. There is no state leadership on climate change in Florida, period."
Huh, dismantled a climate commission? That sounds like a bad plan, but not the only one. In Florida, officials ban term 'climate change' (Tristram Korten, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting via Miami Herald, March 08, 2015)
The state of Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this country, according to scientists. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.

But you would not know that by talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency on the front lines of studying and planning for these changes.

DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

The policy goes beyond semantics and has affected reports, educational efforts and public policy in a department with about 3,200 employees and $1.4 billion budget.

“We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability,’” said Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013. “That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”

Kristina Trotta, another former DEP employee who worked in Miami, said her supervisor told her not to use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in a 2014 staff meeting. “We were told that we were not allowed to discuss anything that was not a true fact,” she said.
True Fact: Florida is fucked, and it's not alone. more than 90 coastal communities in the United States are already battling chronic flooding, meaning the kind of flooding that’s so unmanageable it prompts people to move away. That number is expected to roughly double to more than 170 communities in less than 20 years.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:05 AM on September 7 [47 favorites]


For Grand Jury Friday, Roger Stone crony Randy Credico will be testifying, but Zoe Tillman reports that birtherist conspiracy-monger Jerome Corsi will not be appearing as expected and adds, "Earlier this week, Corsi's lawyer told us he was trying to set up a separate sit-down with Mueller's office, which could make a grand jury appearance unnecessary. But his lawyer isn't commenting now on what happened".

And we also have George Papadopoulos's sentencing to look forward to.

In an absolutely shocking development foreseen by no one at all, Rudy Giuliani tells the AP that Trump will not agree to answer Mueller's questions about obstruction in any format.

Axios: Trump Dares Mueller to Subpoena Him
A source close to Trump’s legal team tauntingly tells us it’s “Mueller’s moment of truth.”

The source close to the president's team explained: "Mueller backed off from a demand for a face-to-face, to get to a compromise of written Q-and-A on Russia. And Rudy still says no. What is Mueller to do now?"

A source with direct knowledge of the Trump’s legal team machinations said "there is no strategy" beyond the PR tactic of threatening Mueller, and attempting to bruise him as much as possible.
Oh, wait: Rudy Giuliani told the AP: "That's a no-go. That is not going to happen." But told NBC those questions are "not ruled in or out."
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:11 AM on September 7 [6 favorites]


What in the hell is that? Thursday?

To add to damayanti's response, next Tuesday also is the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. We've done this before in NYS, in 2012, and for the same stated reasons.
posted by Opposite George at 8:25 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


InTheYear2017: "Going by context, I don't think that's a reference to Rhode Island having a problem, but a joke that anyone repeatedly clicking refresh on a poll "has a problem" i.e an addiction."

Yeah, just a joke about polling obsession.

That said, the RI Dem party is not great, and are trying to primary out three progressives in the House. And gov Raimondo is in a precarious situation, I think.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:25 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


I don't understand why the White House is hunting for the anonymous op ed author. Suppose they find him or her. Then they force the op ed writer to resign. What do they think happens next?

They get to create yet another sideshow, to distract the public from... well, everything else. Mueller, Kavanaugh's confirmation, selling Alaska back to the Russians, whatever they're doing this week.

It's not an 11-dimensional-chess argument to realize that Trump et al are really only good at one thing, and that's a very blunt sort of PR—basically waving a red cape in front of a bull, where the bull is the American public's worst impulses—and they'll happily take what looks like a righteous mole-hunt scandal and ensuing lawsuit or prosecution or whatever, if it takes the focus off their continued hostile-takeover of government.

But it seems like they're just going to use it as a weapon in whatever internecine struggle is going on inside the WH, which is cool by me.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:30 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


filthy light thief: "What in the hell is that? Thursday?"

Specifically, this month, there are a number of primaries being held off-Tuesday due to a confluence of Labor Day, Sept 11th, and Rosh Hashanah. In Massachusetts, which *did* have the primary on Tuesday, there was a good deal of complaint, as it was the day after Labor Day and the first day of school for kids there. Normally, though, the only state that holds them on a non-Tuesday is Tennessee, which has always held them on Thursday, going back to its becoming a state.

This is not intended as an argument against early or by mail voting, just an explanation why we're seeing some weird days this year.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:31 AM on September 7 [5 favorites]


Cook ratings changes:

MO-02 (Wagner) | Likely R => Lean R
TX-22 (Olson) | Solid R => Likely R
TX-24 (Marchant) | Solid R => Likely R
posted by Chrysostom at 8:37 AM on September 7 [23 favorites]


I don't understand why the White House is hunting for the anonymous op ed author. Suppose they find him or her. Then they force the op ed writer to resign. What do they think happens next?

Hey, for them it beats actually working. Those people fucking hate to work and love to bicker and play in the mud.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 AM on September 7 [12 favorites]


MO-02 (Wagner) | Likely R => Lean R


Lordy I hate West County, but I may go knock doors for Cost VanOstran
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:42 AM on September 7 [9 favorites]


Harpo Marx said that was the case in NYC when he was growing up. They would actually have celebratory bonfires in the streets, and limos paid for by Tammany Hall would pick people up and deliver them to voting stations. He said that his grandfather, who could not legally vote, voted anyway and nobody stopped him.

Can we not go down the "expanding voting rights means rampant voter fraud" route? That buys into the worst Kobach-esque narratives from conservatives looking to suppress voters.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:54 AM on September 7 [28 favorites]


NYTimes where the trend piece on Republican sneaker heads coping at?

I can't believe i have to wait so long for this.
posted by srboisvert at 9:49 AM on September 7 [6 favorites]


President Obama is delivering a fascinating speech to students in Urbana, Illinois right now. I’ll try to dig up a link and transcript when available. But the current chyron says a lot about our age:

OBAMA: “HOW HARD IS IT TO SAY THAT NAZIS ARE BAD?!”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:54 AM on September 7 [71 favorites]




I don't understand why the White House is hunting for the anonymous op ed author.

Now he wants DOJ to hunt.

Trump says Justice Department should investigate who wrote anonymous New York Times op-ed, citing national security
posted by chris24 at 9:56 AM on September 7 [7 favorites]


@TheDweck, 9:02 AM - 6 Sep 2018
I’m no HR professional but it’s prob a bad sign when an employee writes an anonymous letter calling you a brain-dead asshole and you can’t even narrow it down to 100 people
posted by kirkaracha at 9:57 AM on September 7 [170 favorites]


POLITICO: 'It will make him crazy': Anonymous anti-Trump screed backfires
Now the president is likely to view any disagreement from advisers with suspicion.

“What this person did is badly hurt the effort to rein in Trump ... and it will make him crazy,” said a Republican close to the White House. “Now, if you say to the president, ‘I see where you’re heading, but I’m not sure about that’ — he’s going to think, ‘Ah, you wrote that.’”
...
“I’m not a fan of people doing things in an anonymous way. If you’ve got something to say, look the camera in the eye and say it. Talk to people directly. When I read it, to me there was nothing new,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a frequent Trump critic. “Any of us who have dealt with the White House understand the situation that’s there.”

“There are lots of really, really good people around the president who are trying to restrain his impulsiveness,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday morning. “I don’t understand the morality of why anyone would write the piece, because it seems pretty obvious to me that what it’s going to do is foster more paranoia.”
This puts me in mind of an abusive husband. “Why did you have to go and make him mad by criticizing him?”

Yes, comparing the President to an abusive husband would be one hell of a metaphor. If it was a metaphor.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:02 AM on September 7 [63 favorites]


ZeusHumms: McConnell: ‘It Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ If Booker Faces Ethics Probe Over Doc Release - Kate Riga, TPM

I'm pretty sure McConnell isn't usually this bad at sticking to the spin. The current conservative line on Booker has mostly been "The documents were already public" and hence he's a wannabe martyr rather than a gol-darn leaker.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:06 AM on September 7 [6 favorites]


Yes, comparing the President to an abusive husband would be one hell of a metaphor

To say nothing of two US senators basically conceding that the unflattering -- indeed, alarming -- picture of Trump as utterly unfit for the presidency painted by the anonymous writers is true, and disagreeing instead with the author's remedy.

I also hope that Trump latching on to "citing national security" as a universal justification for his actions, including unilaterally raising tariffs on dubious grounds -- forces courts to abandon their traditional deference to the Executive's claims. If national security is at issue, make them prove it.
posted by Gelatin at 10:10 AM on September 7 [18 favorites]


President Obama is delivering a fascinating speech to students in Urbana, Illinois right now. I’ll try to dig up a link and transcript when available.

Okay I haven’t found a transcript yet, but goddamn I’m ready to run through a fucking wall again after hearing this guy. Fired the fuck up! We can win this. Vote!!
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:11 AM on September 7 [27 favorites]


I'm going to hold off on watching that until I'm home from work because I know I'm going to want to wail and rend my garments over alas and alack this man is no longer our president and we are fucked
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:12 AM on September 7 [14 favorites]




I think you’ll find it inspiring, Empress. It was both a rebuttal of Trumpism (and its causes) and a call to action and engagement.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:15 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


I am not a lawyer but this is the most incredible opening to a court opinion I have ever seen.

Democrats need to point to these shenanigans every time they get in front of a microphone to drive home the point that Republicans basically admit they can't win without cheating, because they keep doing so.
posted by Gelatin at 10:17 AM on September 7 [17 favorites]


I will give credit to Trump if he runs with the "national security" excuse for such stupid stuff that it ruins the rationale. Everybody has to leave the McDonalds drive-thru because national security. Hannity should go on an hour earlier...national security.
posted by rhizome at 10:20 AM on September 7 [6 favorites]


Obama delivers full-throated rebuttal to Trump's presidency (Politico)

In rare public speech, Obama says Trump poses such a threat to America that it forced him to speak out.

Former president Barack Obama, saying President Trump is capitalizing on ‘fear and anger,’ calls on Americans to vote in November (WaPo)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:20 AM on September 7 [45 favorites]


Trump is definitely going to take the Obama bait. His staff might be able to restrain him over the weekend, but...he's a-gonna blow. These are cake words.
posted by rhizome at 10:22 AM on September 7 [57 favorites]


This puts me in mind of an abusive husband. “Why did you have to go and make him mad by criticizing him?”

There's no way the op-ed wasn't designed to provoke that reaction. This cabal has been relying on his malleability to stop him from doing stupid shit without him realizing that he was being stopped, and then one of them declares in the Newspaper Of Record that they're secretly working against him? It's so counter to the whole strategy that it's either calculated or the result of a serious brain injury.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:23 AM on September 7 [14 favorites]






The Atlantic:

The Saddest Part of the Anonymous New York Times Op-Ed - Todd S. Purdum
[one] revealing motivation—and a sadder one—comes in the anonymous writer’s celebration of the “bright spots” in Trump’s unfolding term “that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.”

Really? And more what?
Congressional Republicans Are the Real Authors of the Anonymous Op-Ed - Peter Beinart
The Constitution demands that the legislature serve as a check on the executive. In its absence, unelected bureaucrats are taking it on themselves to act.
To paraphrase, without accountability or mandate.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:27 AM on September 7 [10 favorites]


North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement votes to fight federal subpoenas for voter information.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:27 AM on September 7 [12 favorites]


His staff might be able to restrain him over the weekend, but...he's a-gonna blow.

He's at Mar-a-lago all weekend, no chaperone, no restraint.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:28 AM on September 7 [6 favorites]


I am not a lawyer but this is the most incredible opening to a court opinion I have ever seen.

Counterpoint: Judge's aren't as funny as they think. "Once again, with depressing regularity . . . " would get the point across just as well, without the cuteness.

Do we really need to trivialize intentional voter suppression by Republicans with show tunes references so a federal judge get mentioned in Harvard Law Reviews "10 cleverest opinions of 2018"?
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:28 AM on September 7 [6 favorites]


It's a Groundhog Day reference, not a show tune reference.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:31 AM on September 7 [17 favorites]


It’s still the cutesy crap where it’s kind of a game to them and they’re going to have big yuks about it later together at the club.
posted by Artw at 10:37 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


You're both right.
posted by mikepop at 10:37 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]




Just because it was primarily for the Harvard/club crowd doesn't mean the public at large can't get something out of it. How many Americans, or just Floridians, are even aware that Florida regularly violates voting rights? Humor can be a vector for memetic spread.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:41 AM on September 7 [28 favorites]


Wow. Aalayah Eastman, survivor of the Parkland shooting, just gave her incredibly powerful testimony at the Kavanaugh hearing. On the PBS feed, shows Sen. Booker rubbing his face like he's trying not to break down in tears. Everyone applauds at the end, a first in the four days of these hearings. I really, really recommend actually watching it if you can, but if not here's her written statement. (sorry I don't know how to link to the exact part of the feed it was, but it was about 30 minutes back in the feed from right now)
posted by robotdevil at 10:41 AM on September 7 [27 favorites]


Trump answered some questions on his flight.

He threatens to shut down the government again, citing the favorable views of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and "your friend Hannity" (I have no idea if he was describing Hannity as a friend of a specific reporter who was present, or just has taken to calling him everyone's friend). Trump on just Tuesday: "I don’t see even myself or anybody else closing down the country right now."

Here's full context for him saying DOJ should investigate the op-ed writer. Reporters really need to stop egging him on by asking leading questions, because he's pathologically incapable of not going along with an idea.

And this, which is weird on many levels, but his admission that the press knows everything he's doing is nice:
"I didn’t meet with Russians because I love the United States.

If I met with Russians, you people would have found out. You know everything I’m doing. You don’t always report it correctly. But I’m used to it."
Groundhog Day reference, not a show tune reference.

Thanks to the magic of Groundhog Day: The Musical, it's both.

----

@frankthorp: Kellyanne Conway on Capitol Hill: “No, I did not write the op-ed. Everything I think I have the courage to say publicly.”

Counterpoint: she just asked to be an anonymous source to complain about her husband to the Post.
posted by zachlipton at 10:41 AM on September 7 [64 favorites]


Is there a video somewhere of Obama's entire speech today? I keep looking but all I find are articles about the speech.
posted by stowaway at 10:42 AM on September 7


This cabal has been relying on his malleability to stop him from doing stupid shit without him realizing that he was being stopped, and then one of them declares in the Newspaper Of Record that they're secretly working against him? It's so counter to the whole strategy that it's either calculated or the result of a serious brain injury.

Or they know that the jig will be well and truly up when Woodward's book debuts on Tuesday. The leaks from "Fear" already paint a damning picture of how Trump's aides were trying to work around the damage and head off his worst impulses. The anonymous op-ed merely spun that as favorably and self-servingly as possible at short notice.

And there's even more to "Fear", says Esquire's Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza):
There’s so much more news in the Woodward book than what’s been reported. Random page: Woodward says Rep. Mark Meadows was plottting a coup against Paul Ryan immediately after Trump won:

“Meadows had big plans to oust Speak Paul Ryan. He handed Bannon a folder. 'Read this,' he said. "Some 24 hours after Trump wins, we call the question on Ryan and he's finished. We take over the House of Representatives. And then we have a real revolution.'”
(This deep-background anecdote totally not brought to you by Steve Bannon.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:42 AM on September 7 [6 favorites]


Is there a video somewhere of Obama's entire speech today? I keep looking but all I find are articles about the speech.

Found it: President Obama speaks at the University of Illinois

His remarks start around the 30-minute mark.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:51 AM on September 7 [22 favorites]


Zina Bash did the hand signal again.

How dare anyone think someone who works with white supremacist Stephen Miller designing racist policies for a white supremacist president might be a white supremacist.
posted by chris24 at 10:57 AM on September 7 [45 favorites]


“There are lots of really, really good people around the president who are trying to restrain his impulsiveness,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday morning. “I don’t understand the morality of why anyone would write the piece, because it seems pretty obvious to me that what it’s going to do is foster more paranoia.”

Reminder that the current chosen leader of the Republican Party also said there were 'lots of good people' attending the murderous Nazi riot in Charlottesville. 'Lots of Good People' means something very different to Republicans.
posted by srboisvert at 11:02 AM on September 7 [16 favorites]


christopherious: Zina Bash did the hand signal again.

Bash the is a fash.


Barack Spinoza: Obama delivers full-throated rebuttal to Trump's presidency (Politico)

This is making the rounds pretty well, which is not a surprise, but always great to see: WATCH: Obama Says Trump A 'Symptom, Not The Cause' Of Political Resentments (NPR, September 7, 2018)

And the "article" is succinct:
In his first major political speech in the U.S. since leaving office, former President Barack Obama argued that Americans must rebuke President Trump at the polls this November.

"It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not a cause," Obama told students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "He's just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years — a fear and anger that's rooted in our past, but also borne out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes."

The former president, who is receiving an ethics award at the university, also said, "You need to vote because our democracy depends upon it. This moment really is different. The stakes really are higher. The consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire."

"The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference," Obama said. "The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism."
NPR had a longer article up yesterday: Where Has Barack Obama Been?
Until now, Obama had not directly taken on Donald Trump, even as his successor has attacked him personally and dismantled much of his legacy by undoing policies on trade, climate change, health care and more.

Instead, he has been working on his memoir; he and Michelle Obama have announced a deal with Netflix to produce TV series and movies on themes that inspire them; and he's focused on his foundation and planned presidential museum in Chicago.

Behind the scenes, he has offered counsel to a number of Democrats considering a run for president in 2020. But to the distress of many Democrats, Obama has been absent from this season's campaign trail.

"He's really been remarkably absent since leaving office," Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University, said before his Friday speech.

By mostly staying on the sidelines, Obama is following in the tradition of past presidents, which dictates: Don't interfere with the peaceful transition of power, treat the new president with dignity and respect, and keep quiet.

The problem is that President Trump has upended every norm, Zelizer says, and his actions demand a response.

"These are not normal times," Zelizer says, "and so that metric of what a former president should do, doesn't really work right now."
Counterpoint: while this is definitely an All Hands On Deck sort of moment epoch, berating individuals for not doing "their part" is maybe not the message to focus on, and instead celebrate others who are out there and active.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:16 AM on September 7 [11 favorites]


NYT Mag on the Arizona teacher's movement.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:16 AM on September 7 [9 favorites]


NPR had a longer article up yesterday: Where Has Barack Obama Been?

Where has George W. Bush been?

Obama is campaigning right now. Is Bush? If it's incumbent on past presidents to break with norms and criticize Trump, why isn't this an article asking 'where have the presidents been?'

Which is all to say: I am so so tired of news stories criticizing people who are doing something doing it the wrong way, or not enough, while not mentioning the people who are doing nothing at all, but who are exactly as obligated to act.
posted by cjelli at 11:20 AM on September 7 [44 favorites]


NPR had a longer article up yesterday: Where Has Barack Obama Been?

In a moment of constitutional crises and resurgent global fascism, NPR chooses to dedicate some of its limited platform to dunking on Obama two years after he's out of office.

NPR is controlled opposition and nothing it says should be taken in good faith.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:27 AM on September 7 [45 favorites]


How dare anyone think someone who works with white supremacist Stephen Miller designing racist policies for a white supremacist president might be a white supremacist.

Even if we take them at their word, then what?

She's the wife of a US attorney, sitting in the gallery of the hearing for the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, and she thinks it's a good time to troll and meme?

This isn't the son of a Congressman dabbing. This is a grown woman who disrespects her culture, ancestors, and country enough to make light. How fucking embarrassing.
posted by explosion at 11:27 AM on September 7 [57 favorites]


Obama's speech made me cry.

and I wish NPR would just shut up.
posted by bluesky43 at 11:28 AM on September 7 [9 favorites]


Where has George W. Bush been?

It's because the Trump administration is actually on their way to accomplishing all the stuff that he and Cheney always wanted to do but couldn't. He's giving all the former Bush people all their goodies, so they can't bring themselves to disagree even as he's stumbling like Frankenstein's monster through all known norms and traditions.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:30 AM on September 7 [8 favorites]




Where has George W. Bush been?

It's because the Trump administration is actually on their way to accomplishing all the stuff that he and Cheney always wanted to do but couldn't.


Probably, yeah: which is a point that journalists should be making, as Obama did today -- this isn't just a Trump problem, it's a GOP problem.
posted by cjelli at 11:46 AM on September 7 [5 favorites]


@gregorykorte: Trump says the 25% auto tariff is the most powerful trade tool he has, and most countries capitulate when he threatens it. "For Canada, a tax on cars would be the ruination for the country. That's how big it is."

So now we're threatening the "ruination" of Canada.
posted by zachlipton at 12:00 PM on September 7 [16 favorites]


@gregorykorte: Trump says the 25% auto tariff is the most powerful trade tool he has, and most countries capitulate when he threatens it. "For Canada, a tax on cars would be the ruination for the country. That's how big it is."


Wasn't the entire domestic auto industry on death's door ten years ago and begging for bailouts? Have they recovered so much that a tariff war on cars wouldn't cause them serious pain?
posted by rocket88 at 12:10 PM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Looks like the funding for Collins' opponent if she votes yes on Kavanaugh has crossed the 51% mark.
posted by yoga at 12:13 PM on September 7 [30 favorites]


I don't understand why the White House is hunting for the anonymous op ed author. Suppose they find him or her. Then they force the op ed writer to resign. What do they think happens next?
Then, I suspect, we get to go through the interesting process of finding out what Trump's non-disparagement agreements are worth.

I am actually quite surprised that none of the reporting on this issue (that I have seen, at least) has connected the anonymous criticism to Trump's well-established practice of tying job offers and legal settlement offers to restrictive non-disclosure agreements that forbid the parties signing them from publicly criticizing Trump and a list of connected entities.

As far as I am aware we don't know for certain that Trump demanded such agreements from his cabinet appointees but it certainly wouldn't be out of character. Shouldn't the press, therefore, be asking cabinet members whether they have executed any private agreements with Trump that might conflict with their 25th amendment duties?
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:14 PM on September 7 [12 favorites]


Did he forget that Ohio and Michigan have electoral votes? What happens if Canada or another country calls his bluff? He'll tank the auto industry just to brag he's brought ruination?
posted by gladly at 12:16 PM on September 7


Is it a bluff if he's clearly dumb enough to go through with it? 'Cause it seems clear he'd do it.
posted by Justinian at 12:17 PM on September 7 [2 favorites]


Where has George W. Bush been?

To be fair, even if GWB is opposed to even some aspects of the present regime, he's pretty much radioactive to both sides. He'd convince exactly zero GOP voters to switch sides or stay home; he couldn't even wring out a few more votes for his own brother's campaign two and a half years ago, and the party's gone even more batshit in the interim. His endorsement would do far more harm than good to Democratic candidates; what better way to torpedo a progressive underdog in a tight race than to be be stained with the Dubya Seal of Approval? Best if he stays the fuck underground like a cicada, until at least mid-November... of 2036 or so.
posted by hangashore at 12:18 PM on September 7 [13 favorites]


Did he forget that Ohio and Michigan have electoral votes? What happens if Canada or another country calls his bluff? He'll tank the auto industry just to brag he's brought ruination?

I think that yes, he would totally tank the auto industry just to brag about pwning the canada libs. But while Ohio and Michigan do have electoral votes, I'm not sure economic anxiety about the auto industry would affect his numbers.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:19 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]


berating individuals for not doing "their part" is maybe not the message to focus on

I hear ya, but he was addressing an audience of college students, as he points out, a demographic that showed up at under 20% at the polls last midterm elections. It was tailored to a particular audience but general enough for public, civic consumption as befits a former president (albeit, one calling out his successor by name as a threat to the republic).
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:22 PM on September 7 [8 favorites]


Obama Goes Old School -- is that a Good Thing?
This is precisely what didn't work for Democrats in 2016. Hillary Clinton tried to reach out to moderate Republicans, and those Republicans, even the ones who had doubts about Trump, came home to their party's nominee on Election Day. Nearly all of them are going to do that this year as well, or they're going to stay home.

This message doesn't reach the people at whom it's aimed, while it suggests to some committed progressives that the Democratic Party really isn't very different from the Republican Party. [...]

I know that this has been Obama's message since that convention speech in 2004. I'm not arguing that Obama needs to move sharply to the left. He shouldn't make that move if he's not comfortable with it. (In the speech, he did praise Medicare for All.) I'm saying that he should focus sharply on what the problem is -- the Republican Party -- and on what we need to do immediately to start solving the problem -- electing more Democrats, because Democrats are better than Republicans. Not Democrats are better than Republicans even though Republicans have been good in the past, and Democrats haven't always been so great.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:27 PM on September 7 [4 favorites]


I have a hypothesis that some folks didn’t listen to or read the entire speech, then, before commencing with the hot takes, and I’ll leave it at that. Eyes on the prize.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:30 PM on September 7 [35 favorites]


So now we're threatening the "ruination" of Canada.

There are a lot of places where Canada is not seen in a friendly light, at least in terms of trade deals, so this statement—while it seems weird and jarring on its face—probably plays well in certain constituencies, and I think some of them are probably concentrated in northern-border swing states. (Former pulpwood and timber harvesting regions are, in my experience anyway, pretty hostile to NAFTA and Canadian imports in particular.)

That's not to say that Trump is some sort of master strategist, but he knows what people want to hear and gives it to them.

What happens if Canada or another country calls his bluff? He'll tank the auto industry just to brag he's brought ruination?

I think he'd let them call it, and if the auto industry really started to tank he'd basically bail it out at taxpayer expense. Probably not actual nationalization, but everything-but, maybe by suddenly having the military soak up the excess manufacturing capacity.

The modern Republican party would probably discover Keynesianism in a great hurry if there were a lot of white people about to become very unemployed.

And if it didn't work, they'd just blame it on the unions anyway, so what's the risk?
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:31 PM on September 7 [2 favorites]


so, if i understand Mr. Obama correctly, Trump is the impotence, incontinence & dementia caused the United States of America's advanced syphilis, but not the syphilis itself?
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:31 PM on September 7 [12 favorites]


Obama, U of I speech:
And I should add, by the way, now that I have a daughter in college, I can tell all the students here, your parents, they cry privately. It is brutal. So please call. Send a text. We need to hear from you. Just a little something.
Just pointing this out.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:32 PM on September 7 [59 favorites]


National Treasure Charles P. Pierce in Esquire: Barack Obama Just Threw the Partisan Punches I Never Thought He Would
He has gone out of his way to diagnose the prion disease—when it started, its various manifestations, and how it now rages out of control, devouring the higher functions of the collective Republican conservative brain. He took hard, clean shots at alleged Never Trumpers both in and out of office, both well-known and anominush. (Hi, Ben Sasse!) He ridiculed the notion that unelected staffers are somehow saving the Republic by disobeying the orders of a crazy man.

And, finally:
We are Americans. We’re supposed to stand up to bullies. Not follow them. We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad?
Frankly, I never thought I'd see him address this as directly as he did on Friday.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:32 PM on September 7 [68 favorites]


This message doesn't reach the people at whom it's aimed, while it suggests to some committed progressives that the Democratic Party really isn't very different from the Republican Party.

Does it really? It's one thing to adopt Republican frames, like Nancy Pelosi's foolish declaration of returning to PAYGO under a Democratic Congress, but it's another to adopt rhetoric that unifies rather than divides. Many Republican voters really do have interests that are much better served by Democratic policies. If progressives can't tell the difference between Republican othering and a Democratic message of "we're all in this together," I am not greatly impressed.

Absolutely criticize Republican policies and politicians, but how can it hurt to give Republican voters the opportunity to vote Democratic without feeling they're losing face?
posted by Gelatin at 12:33 PM on September 7 [10 favorites]


Obama Goes Old School -- is that a Good Thing?

I fundamentally disagree with this assessment of Obama's speech. Having just finished listening to the whole thing, Obama did — very clearly — say that the problem is the current Republican party, and the solution is to vote more Democrats into place.

My feel for his bit about the historical "badness" and "goodness" of the parties not being static is that he was specifically trying to point out that this isn't the same self-serving tribalism that goes into a general call to vote for one's normal political party. He's not making this speech just because he's a Dem and the Reps are in power. He's specifically saying that this is a moment in history during which THIS Republican party is PARTICULARLY corrupt, and it's a public duty to oppose it.
posted by bluemilker at 12:35 PM on September 7 [38 favorites]


berating individuals for not doing "their part" is maybe not the message to focus on

It's not about berating, it's about logical consequences. Yes, Republicans are doing their best to prevent or discourage people from voting, but as Obama said:
In the last midterm elections in 2014, fewer than one in five young people voted.

One in five. Not two in five or three. One in five. Is it any wonder this Congress doesn’t reflect your values and your priorities?
This argument has the benefit of being vital and being true. The argument that apathy or the inactivity of despair lead to worse outcomes, and that voting for and actively supporting incremental improvements leads to better outcomes, was the core of this speech. I can't think of a finer or more important speech President Obama ever made.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:37 PM on September 7 [37 favorites]


> Absolutely criticize Republican policies and politicians, but how can it hurt to give Republican voters the opportunity to vote Democratic without feeling they're losing face?

The question becomes how much does him muddling the message for those who are more likely to support Democrats gain in terms of votes from Republicans. To me, this speech was about him talking to the base. The timing of it a day after Booker and his colleagues openly dared the GOP to expel them from the senate is probably coincidental, but still notable, in that it's clear that the party is trying to send a message to its supporters that they get it.

This was the (former) leader of the Democratic party's chance to say that he gets it too, and that he will be there to stump for true progressive alternatives throughout the US. Instead, he undercut his message with appeals to voters that probably don't want to hear from him anyway. I doubt many votes are gained or lost on this kind of speech, but in terms of letting the left flank of the party know that he has their back, I think this was a misfire.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:41 PM on September 7


"I haven't watch today's Obama speech yet, but what I'm reading about it leaves me with mixed feelings."

Pretty much tells you what you need to know about this hot take.
posted by vverse23 at 12:42 PM on September 7 [30 favorites]


The argument that apathy or the inactivity of despair lead to worse outcomes, and that voting for and actively supporting incremental improvements leads to better outcomes, was the core of this speech. I can't think of a finer or more important speech President Obama ever made.

can't help but wish he'd given it before the 2016 election rather than after
posted by halation at 12:42 PM on September 7 [7 favorites]


I fundamentally disagree with this assessment of Obama's speech.

That may be related to the fact that the author you're responding to, by their own admission, didn't watch it. They're just responding to other people's responses and blessing us with their insights.
posted by Jpfed at 12:42 PM on September 7 [17 favorites]


> That may be related to the fact that the author you're responding to, by their own admission, didn't watch it

I'm at work so haven't watched the video yet, but I read the transcript. I know he's a great orator and can sell anything with the way he speaks, but the words I'm concerned about are right there, so I assume he said them.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:44 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]


The modern Republican party would probably discover Keynesianism in a great hurry if there were a lot of white people about to become very unemployed.

Not a chance. Even for the much vaunted coal miners they do not throw money at the workers or at work or at anything at all other than at the owners.

Keynes advocated paying people 'to dig holes' (he didn't really but what the hell I'll roll with the conservative jab) in order to get money circulating in the economy.

Republicans advocate giving more money to rich people who already own holes who then deposit the check, close the hole, layoff the workers and then swim in their piles of money that fills the rooms in their mansions.

The last thing Republicans want is the circulation of money. The thing that they want is the accumulation of money. Their end goal is nothing less than the economic stagnation of a new feudal aristocracy.
posted by srboisvert at 12:47 PM on September 7 [13 favorites]


Wow, Chrysostom, that NY Times mag article you linked to about the Arizona teachers' movement - Arizona Lawmakers Cut Education Budgets. Then Teachers Got Angry. by Dale Russakoff - is really something.

I've only just started reading it, but it's such a compelling and timely story.

It starts with a profile of a teacher, Kelly Berg, who's never paid any attention to politics:
“I would say, ‘Don’t talk to me about politics,’ ” she recalled. “ ‘I think it’s a waste of time.’ ” A 46-year-old lifelong Republican, she called herself a “sleepy voter,” as if she sleepwalked through the voting booth every four years. “I was just voting for the person with an R by their name or not voting.”
She lived through YEARS of underfunding for education without paying attention, even though it directly affected her own paycheck. It wasn't until one of her kids' teachers quit to take a better-paying job that she finally started looking into what was going on.

She found a quote from the AZ House majority leader saying that teachers took second jobs not to pay bills but to buy boats or bigger houses, and then learned about an AZ tax credit for donations for private school scholarships
...which awards dollar-for-dollar state tax credits to individuals and corporations for donations for private school scholarships. In the previous school year, donors had given more than $157 million, and over the last 20 years $1 billion, avoiding the same amount in taxes — money that never reached the state general fund or public schools.
She went to the Capitol and testified about an education bill. She and the other teachers were condescended to and mocked.
“That’s what radicalized me,” Berg said later. “As the kids would say, ‘I’m woke.’ ”

This article is full of Republican teachers who are asking for change and getting called socialists for their trouble.
She said she identified strongly with the Republican Party. “I was raised to believe in personal freedom. I was raised around people with guns. I’m pro-life,” she said. “But over time my perception has changed. Politics shouldn’t be polarized. I’m not so black-and-white that I can’t see that sometimes I might have to vote differently because of other issues. For me, all I can do is focus on something I know, and that’s education.”

She was just one teacher in a red shirt, sitting among many others in the Senate gallery in the wee hours of a morning in May. But watching the party-line votes against the teachers’ demands, she felt compelled to take a stand. Pulling out her phone, she went to the online portal for the Arizona state government and changed her voter registration — at least for now — to Democratic.
She was working three jobs on top of her full-time teaching job. It's disappointing that she didn't have time to pay attention to politics, but seriously, I can't imagine how she found time to eat or sleep.

It would be great if we all had been paying attention and being engaged for the past however long we've each been alive, but we haven't. I haven't. I started getting really involved in mid-2016, excited about Hillary. What if I had been more engaged all along? But I wasn't.

But as more and more people like Kelly Berg start to feel the effects of rapacious and cruel Republican policies, and are pushed to look beyond their four jobs to see the contempt Republican lawmakers have for them, we'll see more and more actions like hers.
posted by kristi at 12:49 PM on September 7 [77 favorites]


could someone edit the Veep closing credits into this video of Jared Kushner standing around awkwardly after literally being locked out of the NAFTA talks please and thank
posted by halation at 12:53 PM on September 7 [5 favorites]


The first couple of NYT/Siena polls have finished and they are not great for the Democrats. The Rs are ahead by a point in two races and tied in the Rohrabacher race, with all three races showing 10+% undecided. But the undecideds, according to the polls, are quite Republican-leaning.

If you look at the poll weightings Siena's estimated turnout model is heavily favorable to Republicans. In all cases it is significantly more Republican than the other three more standard weightings. So clearly Siena thinks that Republicans will, once again, turn out much more consistently than Democrats in a midterm election. Our path to the House is showing Siena that they are wrong, because the results under their model would be a really long night with an iffy chance at the House (ie the races we really need to win to take the House are tied at best, and the races which would make it less of a question as to who would win are leaning R).

So turnout, turnout, turnout.

Here's an example of what I mean for those who aren't diving deep into the NYT pages: IL-6. IL-6 is a Clinton district represented by Republican Roskam with decent Dem challenger Casten. Siena's topline numbers under their model are Roskam 45, Casten 44, U(ndecided) 11%. So R+1 with 11% R-leaning undecideds. That's not a particularly strong result obviously.

But Siena kindly reports the results under various models. Here they are for IL-6:
Don’t weight by primary vote, like most public polls: Casten +6
Weight using census data instead of voting records, like most public polls: Casten +6
Don’t weight by education, like many polls in 2016 : Casten +2
Our estimate: Roskam +1
So under the models often used by public polls this would be D+6. But their model has it at R+1. And this is one of the lower disparities. In CA-48 with Rouda (D) -vs- Rohrabacher (R-Vladivostok) their model has it tied 45-45 with 10% Republican leaning undecideds. This is a district we really, really want to win to take back the House. The public polling models have it at Rouda+10 (!) and Rouda+8, but Siena's model has it tied.

They've only finished in 3 races so it's a little early to draw conclusions but if this pattern holds for further polling it's fair to say that Siena's model would have a very close race for the House with an advantage to the Republicans holding it because of all the R-leaning undecideds. But common public polling models would have the House being taken by Democrats fairly robustly.

So basically Democratic enthusiasm has to outpace what Siena believes will be the turnout in 60 days. They are getting strong Democratic response to their calls but modeling it way down, and we can't let that happen on election day.
posted by Justinian at 12:57 PM on September 7 [9 favorites]


could someone edit the Veep closing credits into this video of Jared Kushner standing around awkwardly after literally being locked out of the NAFTA talks please and thank

Here ya go.
posted by chris24 at 12:58 PM on September 7 [14 favorites]


@gregorykorte: Trump says the 25% auto tariff is the most powerful trade tool he has, and most countries capitulate when he threatens it. "For Canada, a tax on cars would be the ruination for the country. That's how big it is."

I wonder if anyone has told him how dependent the united states car manufactures are on the Canadian auto parts industry. Hell border bridge delays cost US manufacturers hundreds of thousands each year messing up their Just-In-Time inventory systems. Try and fuck Canada over on car imports and you might find your manufacturing of autos completely grinds to a halt until you spin up some domestic parts manufacturing capacity - which will take longer than Trump's time in office (fingers crossed). So why would a prospective manufacturer even gamble on investing given the likelihood of the former status-quo being restored post-Trump?

The complicated interplay of the Canada-US auto manufacturing was deliberately negotiated to make this kind of political chicanery extremely punitive because Canada knew full well it was in bed with an elephant that could roll over at any time.

Maybe the US could go all auto industry protectionist but that's a long term project rather than a dictator's whim.
posted by srboisvert at 1:02 PM on September 7 [8 favorites]


For much of my adult life, I believed that Republican politicians were bad because, for example, they put principles such as laissez-faire capitalism and deficit reduction above the acutely visible, immediate real-world needs of the population they governed.

I was right to ascribe moral deficiency to Republican politicians. But the past two years have shown that for the most part, I was deeply wrong about their motivations. I was wrong to think that, simply because Republican politicians spoke incessantly about the sacred nature of free markets, they might speak out against a President who launches global trade wars and calls for a boycott on Harley-Davidson. I was wrong to think that, simply because they cited the national debt as an urgent crisis and their primary practical and philosophical rationale for opposing the social safety net, they might ever express concern about an astounding and ballooning deficit under a Republican president. I was wrong to think that their proclamations of patriotic fervor as a primary virtue might make them willing to investigate whether a foreign power is running a successful ongoing operation to bribe or blackmail the Commander in Chief of the United States military.

I was wrong to ascribe any principles to these people other than the desire to acquire and maintain personal power, personal wealth, and a sense that their team kicked the shit out of the other team.
posted by