"I may declare a national emergency dependent on what's gonna happen…"
January 7, 2019 4:47 PM   Subscribe

At the beginning of the third week of the US government shutdown over Trump's demands to fund his border wall—originally a campaign mnemonic device (Forbes)—he announced that on Tuesday evening he would make his first Oval Office address in regard to "the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border" and visit the Mexican border on Thursday (NYT). He also threatened to "declare a national emergency" to build the wall (CNN) if Congress did not allocate $5.7 billion for it. NBC offers a Fact Check: What's a 'national emergency,' and can Trump declare one to get his wall? And Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman writes in the NYT, No, Trump Cannot Declare an ‘Emergency’ to Build His Wall "Not only would such an action be illegal, but if members of the armed forces obeyed his command, they would be committing a federal crime." There are lots of things, however, the President could do if he declares a state of emergency (Atlantic).

• Shutdown Round-up: CNN: The Government Is STILL Shut Down (live feed); NYT: A Wall and Two Prayers, but Little Progress at Weekend Meetings on Shutdown; NYMag: Trump Literally Did Not Understand What a Shutdown Would Do; National Geographic: National Parks Face Years of Damage From Government Shutdown; WaPo: As Shutdown Drags On, Trump Officials Make New Offer, Seek Novel Ways To Cope With Its Impacts; BuzzFeed: The Government Shutdown Is “Life And Death” For Low-Wage Subcontractors Who Likely Won’t Be Repaid For Lost Time; NYT: I.R.S. Will Issue Tax Refunds During Shutdown, Trump Official Says ("But committee lawyers believe the law prohibits such a move, because refunds are paid out of the government’s general fund.")

• Impeachment Roundup: Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Free Speech For People President John Bonifaz, writing in the Detroit Free Press: Now is the time to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump; CNBC: Trump Rages About Impeachment Talk As Democratic Leaders Play Down The Issue; NYMAG: Republican Solidarity Will Protect Trump From Impeachment; NYT Opinion—David Leonhardt: The People vs. Donald J. Trump "He is demonstrably unfit for office. What are we waiting for?"

• Trade War Roundup: CBS: China and U.S. Restart Trade Talks As a Warship Clouds Negotiations; NYT: Trump Has Promised to Bring Jobs Back. His Tariffs Threaten to Send Them Away.; Bloomberg: White House Predicts ‘Heck of a Lot’ of Companies Sharing Apple Pain “It’s not going to be just Apple,” CEA chairman Kevin Hassett said in an interview on CNN. “There are a heck of a lot of U.S. companies that have sales in China that are going to be watching their earnings being downgraded next year until we get a deal with China.”

2018's winners of Talking Points Memo's annual corruption awards have been announced! Best Scandal — General Interest; Best Scandal — Local Venue; Meritorious Achievement In The Crazy; Best Conspiracy Theory; Best Campaign Gaffe; Literary Achievement In 280 Characters; and Outstanding Ineptitude In the Cabinet.

IN OTHER HEADLINES:

• Politico: House Democrats Prepare Fusillade of Trump Investigations—Trump Hotel, taxes, cabinet members are all targets.

• WaPo: Contradicting Trump, Bolton Says No Withdrawal From Syria Until Isis Destroyed, Kurds’ Safety Guaranteed; Politico: Pompeo, in Cairo speech, to rebuke Obama’s Mideast Vision

• Mother Jones: The EPA Hired GOP Oppo Firm Because it Was Sick of “Fake News”

• PBS: The Minimum Wage Is Increasing In These 21 States; AP 29 States Have Minimum Wages Above the Federal Level

• Miami Herald: Most Ex-Felons Can Register to Vote Tuesday If All Terms of Their Sentence Are Met. Voters overturned Florida’s 1868 ban on residents with felony convictions from having their voting rights restored setting up one of the largest enfranchisements of U.S. citizens in the past century.

• NBC: World Bank President Resigns, Paving The Way For a Trump Appointee At the Helm of This Global Lender Jim Yong Kim announced Monday he is resigning at the end of January—nearly three years before his term was set to expire—but provided no reason for his sudden departure.

• Lawfare: Climate Change and National Security, Part I: What is the Threat, When’s It Coming, and How Bad Will It Be?, Part II: How Big a Threat is the Climate?

Today is the 717th day of the Trump administration, and the 17th day of the Trump Shutdown. There are 665 days until the 2020 elections.

Previously in U.S. Politics Megathreads: "We need wall"

Megathread-Adjacent Posts and Sites:
Salvator Mundi: The Art of the Deal (oligarchs, money-laundering, Robert Mueller, and the world's most expensive painting)
When your neme culture war backfires (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dance video)
2018: Escalation (What were the most important events of 2018, and what were the least?—The Morning News)
Let's Get to Work (New Green Deal)
• OnceUponATime's Active Measures site
• Chrysostom's 2018 Election Ratings & Results Tracker

Elsewhere in MetaFilter: Working for a Campaign 101 (AskMe).


As always, please consider MeFi chat and the unofficial PoliticsFilter Slack for hot-takes and live-blogging breaking news, the new 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. Thanks to Box, I.forgot.my.password, and zachlipton for helping to create this thread. U.S. Politics FPPs are generally collaborative, and a draft post can be found on the MeFi Wiki.
posted by Doktor Zed (2159 comments total) 127 users marked this as a favorite
 
The speech is supposed to be no more than 8 minutes. It seems like making a speech that short would be a signal he's using it to declare the national "emergency" he's been contemplating? What else could you say in 8 minutes?

"I resign" would be short but unlikely.
posted by Justinian at 4:54 PM on January 7 [56 favorites]


The speech is supposed to be no more than 8 minutes.

Consider the source. Likely just a means to convince the networks to carry it, then dare them to cut away.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:04 PM on January 7 [30 favorites]


It seems like making a speech that short would be a signal he's using it to declare the national "emergency" he's been contemplating?

It does seem that way. And breaking into prime time is a great way to make it feel more like an emergency.
posted by diogenes at 5:05 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


Yes, Justinian, but I can dream.
posted by evilDoug at 5:05 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


An 8-minute speech would involve Trump being concise and on-topic, and I'm not entirely sure he's capable of that

Much like these threads
posted by Merus at 5:08 PM on January 7 [9 favorites]


8 is weirdly specific. I mean...why not 10? I get that someone's already written it and tried to time it, but...it's Trump. He's going to add his little embellishments, no matter what's on the teleprompter.
posted by uosuaq at 5:09 PM on January 7 [8 favorites]


Add little embellishments? This is the man who phoned up Turkey to tell it to back off, and changed his mind halfway through and said 'Oh, just take what you want. We're out.'

Nobody, probably including him, will know what he's going to say until he's said it.
posted by Devonian at 5:12 PM on January 7 [27 favorites]


I get that someone's already written it

Stephen Miller
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:13 PM on January 7 [47 favorites]


Trump claimed ex-presidents told him they wished they built a wall. We now know he made it up.
Jimmy Carter became the latest ex-POTUS to come forward and call BS on Trump.
Vox.

On Monday, the Carter Center released a statement from Jimmy Carter that says, “I have not discussed the border wall with President Trump, and do not support him on the issue.”
posted by bluesky43 at 5:14 PM on January 7 [100 favorites]


8 is weirdly specific. I mean...why not 10? I get that someone's already written it and tried to time it, but...it's Trump.

It's not necessarily finished—earlier this evening, the WSJ's Rebecca Ballhaus reported: Trump’s Oval Office speech tomorrow—in which he may or may not declare a national emergency over border security—is only expected to last 7-8 minutes, per White House official. The speech hadn’t been written as of this afternoon.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:17 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


If you were the president's "speechwriter" would you even bother? I'd write about 2 opening sentences then just put random words picked via a dartboard in my office for the rest of it. It'd probably be more intelligible than what Trump will actually say, but we all know he won't read it first anyhow.

Seriously the only job I'd consider in the current administration would be this one. What a cakewalk.
posted by axiom at 5:25 PM on January 7 [14 favorites]


8 is weirdly specific. I mean...why not 10?

I don't know if it's the reason, but that's how many commercial minutes are in a half-hour of network programming.
posted by rhizome at 5:27 PM on January 7 [10 favorites]


If it's a National Emergency, I fully expect my cell phone to alert me to such.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:32 PM on January 7 [28 favorites]


The funny thing is, if he declares that there is a 'national emergency', he will be right.
posted by thelonius at 5:32 PM on January 7 [80 favorites]


@markknoller: In joint written statement, @SpeakerPelosi and @SenSchumer demand the networks give Democrats equal airtime immediately after Pres Trump's address to the nation Tuesday. The Dem leaders say they expect Trump's speech to be "full of malice and misinformation. [here's the statement]

I mean yes, but even that's entirely unsuited to this moment. Airing a speech full of lies and then handing some time to a Democrat after turns the whole thing into "both sides." Handing airtime to a known liar to tell lies is still lying to your viewers even if you give time to someone else after.
posted by zachlipton at 5:38 PM on January 7 [74 favorites]


@JenniferJJacobs

Pelosi and Schumer in statement: “Now that the television networks have decided to air the president’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime.”
posted by bluesky43 at 5:39 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


House GOP leaders fear support eroding for Trump’s shutdown fight
A growing number of Republican lawmakers could vote for Democratic measures to reopen the federal government.
Politico.

Several dozen House Republicans might cross the aisle this week to vote for Democratic bills to reopen shuttered parts of the federal government, spurring the White House into a dramatic effort to stem potential GOP defections.

White House officials and Republican congressional leaders worry that GOP support for the shutdown is eroding, weakening President Donald Trump’s hand as he seeks billions of dollars for a border wall that Democrats have vowed to oppose, according to GOP lawmakers and aides.

Hoping to sway skeptics in his party and the broader public, Trump will make an Oval Office address Tuesday night to discuss what he called the “Humanitarian and National Security Crisis on our Southern Border," he said on Twitter. Then he will visit the border region on Thursday.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:44 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


I'm pleasantly surprised that Pelosi and Shumer took this step. Is there any precedent for giving equal airtime to the opposition party after a presidential address?
posted by diogenes at 5:44 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


Is there any precedent for giving equal airtime to the opposition party after a presidential address?

Every televised State of the Union address since 1966.
posted by peeedro at 5:46 PM on January 7 [89 favorites]


The Orange King can't ring the bell any louder than he already is.

At this point he is begging to be taken off stage.
posted by Max Power at 5:48 PM on January 7 [8 favorites]


Every televised State of the Union address.

Does the rebuttal go out on every network for free? (I honestly don't know.)
posted by diogenes at 5:50 PM on January 7


And the airtime of the response definitely doesn't match the airtime of the State of the Union address.
posted by diogenes at 5:52 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


House GOP leaders fear support eroding for Trump’s shutdown fight
A growing number of Republican lawmakers could vote for Democratic measures to reopen the federal government.


NBC: Vulnerable Republicans Seek Distance From Trump In New Congress—A handful of Republicans who face tough re-elections have bucked their party's leadership on the government shutdown.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:52 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


WSeveral dozen House Republicans might cross the aisle this week

Which is useless.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:53 PM on January 7 [10 favorites]




Politics Monday, PBS. Tamara Keith and Amy Walter.

NPR’s Tamara Keith and Amy Walter from the Cook Political Report join John Yang to discuss why the border wall is so important to President Trump right now, how neither side is feeling enough pain to be interested in yielding and whether a "generational divide" in the Democratic Party might affect the new Congress.

Amy Walter:

So, no one feels like they have anything to lose, right?

And when you are in a process where you're not feeling any pain, you're not going to make any changes. And the only way, it seems, that the folks who are in Congress will feel the pain is they're — either their constituents come to tell them or they see polling that suggests that voters are blaming them.

What is really different this time, too, from back when we were talking about these issues in 2016 and '17 and '18, not just that the House changed control, but look at the Senate map. The Senate map in 2018, it was tilted very much in favor of Republicans. It was red state Democrats who were on the ballot, and so there was a lot of political calculation from folks like Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, about protecting those vulnerable incumbents.

Well, guess what? In 2020, there's only one red state Democrat on the ballot. There are a number of blue and purple state Republicans on the ballot. How many of them? We have already seen a number of them come out and say, we would like to see the shutdown end. It's going to take a lot more than a couple of them.

But they're certainly much more vulnerable than — Republicans are more vulnerable on this issue than they were, at least in the Senate, back in 2018.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:55 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


the media both sides-ism is maddening, more so with each passing month. CBS headlines scream about DSA plan to "jack up" taxes to 70% (of course 10 paragraphs down it explains this is a proposal for a marginal rate on dollars above 10m) and anderson cooper demands to know how dems will pay for all their programs (that they have no power to pass, and following a giant unpaid repub tax break for the rich).

meantime, the standard for repubs to be considered "serious" on policy is whether they can successfully piss into a bucket quicker than a corresponding dem can solve quantum gravity.

if trump declares a national emergency (either to save face and end this shutdown or for some other reason, like losing in 2020) and there are troops in the streets, i fully expect legacy media to run headlines like "Democrats' Tax Plan Inadequate To Pay for Ongoing Martial Law"

I say this as an ardent supporter of old school media- Until they start seeing themselves as a civic institution rather than just a storyteller, we're in deep shit.
posted by wibari at 5:58 PM on January 7 [95 favorites]


NYT, ‘It’s Just Too Much’: A Florida Town Grapples With a Shutdown After a Hurricane. Lots of leopards eating faces action going on here as federal workers deal with not getting paid while trying to put their lives back together after the hurricane, but the final quote is someone really telling on themselves:
The shutdown on top of the hurricane has caused Ms. Minton to rethink a lot of things.

“I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” she said of Mr. Trump. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”
posted by zachlipton at 5:59 PM on January 7 [290 favorites]


Trump aides lay foundation for emergency order to build wall, saying border is in ‘crisis’. WaPo.

Vexed by Democrats’ refusal to yield to his demand for $5.7 billion for wall funding, Trump increasingly views a national emergency declaration as a viable, if risky, way for him to build a portion of his long-promised barrier, according to senior administration officials.

Although Trump has made “no decision” about a declaration, Pence said, lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office are working to determine the president’s options and prepare for any possible legal obstacles.

Such a move would be a fraught act of brinkmanship at the dawn of a newly divided government, sparking a firestorm with House Democrats and certain challenges in federal courts. But Trump believes forcing a drastic reckoning by executive action may be necessary given the Democratic resistance and the wall’s symbolic power for his core voters, officials said.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:59 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


A little Googling isn't turning up any rapid response protest plans in case he does pull some national emergency bullshit. So far everything I come up with is all about Mueller.

I'm still not sold on the premise that he's going to do that, but if he does, it seems like we need to be out in the streets right after that. If there are such plans in the works by the sort of people who organize this stuff, I'd love to see links, 'cause so far I'm not finding them.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:02 PM on January 7 [19 favorites]


Several dozen House Republicans might cross the aisle this week

Which is useless.


I disagree. Shout from the rooftops that reopening the government has bipartisan support. Get it included in every headline.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 6:04 PM on January 7 [86 favorites]


Further shutdown round-up news stories:

Bloomberg: Shutdown Threatens $200 Million a Day in Federal Contracts

WaPo: Government Contractors Feel the Heat as Shutdown Enters Week Three

CNN/Gray News: Federal Workers Turn to Crowdfunding to Pay Bills During Shutdown

WBUR: 'You Feel Like You're Being Held Hostage': Air Traffic Controller On Working Through Shutdown

After the shutdown's comparatively calm first two weeks, the situation is beginning to heat up. No wonder Team Trump is panicking.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:04 PM on January 7 [19 favorites]


If the Democrats don't have a speech or press release prepared that includes the sentence:

"Donald Trump himself is a national emergency."

...then they have no idea what they're doing.
posted by mmoncur at 6:06 PM on January 7 [50 favorites]


Seconding the request for streets-taking info. I dunno, but declaring a state of emergency feels like one more tick box on the checklist to dictatorship. I’d like to believe he’s doing this to give himself a way to end the shutdown without losing face, but I don’t trust his ability to stick with his own plan. I’m sure he’d love the power that comes with a state of emergency, and do as much damage as he can before it gets overturned.
posted by greermahoney at 6:07 PM on January 7 [34 favorites]


@costareports:
Pay close attention to what this administration is doing...

1. Weekend talks with Democrats were futile. Dems there frustrated that Rs didn't have budget numbers ready and OMB had to rush to compile them. Mtgs. instead focused on admin's bleak presentation on border situation

2. POTUS, encouraged by friends on right, increasingly sees a nat'l emergency declaration as a way to rattle empowered Dems and show his core voters he's going to the brink for wall

3. Instead of trying to negotiate to reopen the gov't with a wall-less bill, the admin spent Monday continuing to make its case of a border crisis to reporters and need for $5.7B. VP and @SecNielsen briefed. Laying foundation ahead of POTUS's Tues. speech to nation.

4. My top Trump admin sources say they see little downside to going "all out" now on the wall. Rallies their voters, tests Dems' mettle, and gives POTUS a chance to be seen as fighting on his signature issue ahead of a likely rough year of probes and battles w/ House Dems

5. The only caveat to all of this is that WH knows GOP holding together is critical. That's why POTUS and VP are phoning mbrs. That's in part why there is a speech to nation and trip to border. Direct msg to skittish Rs that this is the line, this is a crisis, so hold on tight.
He's figured out that the only way to get what he wants is to do what he always does: create a crisis out of nowhere and drag the Republicans in Congress along with him.
posted by zachlipton at 6:09 PM on January 7 [69 favorites]


A little Googling isn't turning up any rapid response protest plans in case he does pull some national emergency bullshit.

I don't know about a national emergency protest but there is a, I think DSA hosted, protest outside the White House on Thursday. I will be there, as my contract funding runs out on Friday and if the government doesn't reopen on Monday I am well and truly fucked.
posted by runcibleshaw at 6:10 PM on January 7 [14 favorites]


Demanding equal rebuttal time isn't going to work. The cablenewsers will be running countdown clocks all day.
Get out front and say that you'll treat a bullshit declaration of emergency as a cue to impeach. And follow through.

(And tomorrow would be a good day to occupy the Old Post Office tower.)
posted by holgate at 6:12 PM on January 7 [40 favorites]


What is the crisis? One graph shows Trump's lie - apprehensions of illegal crossings at southern border are the lowest in nearly 50 years. Bloomberg
posted by meech at 6:20 PM on January 7 [43 favorites]


Get out front and say that you'll treat a bullshit declaration of emergency as a cue to impeach. And follow through.

I think this is a great idea!
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 6:25 PM on January 7 [11 favorites]


Good lord, maybe he resigns.

“You guys don’t care about border security, so fuck you, I’m out. I’m not resigning in disgrace. You’re the problem, not me. I won. I’m taking my ball and going home.”
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:29 PM on January 7 [16 favorites]


The often cited exception to the first amendment is yelling FIRE in a theatre when there isn't a fire. I hear it all the time when people talk about the limits of free speech. Everyone agrees it's stupid and dangerous. So, what exactly is the legal penalty for yelling about a fake emergency?
posted by adept256 at 6:32 PM on January 7 [18 favorites]


Is that a serious question? The penalty is impeachment. Whether it will be applied is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by Justinian at 6:40 PM on January 7 [16 favorites]


Actually, I'm going to take my suggestion back after reading Robert Costa and seeing what he said on MSNBC. A blazing Dem prebuttal with talk of impeachment is going to unite congressional Republicans when there are currently waverers. It can still be framed as an abuse of power, and also shitting on The Troops® because it's stealing money from the military.
posted by holgate at 6:41 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


neither side is feeling enough pain to be interested in yielding

That's a remarkably unhelpful way of putting it, PBS, thank you. Why not make clear that it isn't primarily Congress holding things up, but the petulant man-baby in the White House whose threatened veto has scared the Republicans into blocking legislation that they themselves previously supported.

Amy Walter explicitly says “the only way, it seems, that the folks who are in Congress will feel the pain is they're — either their constituents come to tell them or they see polling that suggests that voters are blaming them.” Why are Republicans acting this way? It's a mystery!
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:43 PM on January 7 [15 favorites]




Let's write letters to the editor in response to local newspaper coverage of Trump's speech. There's likely to be a hastily written Page 1 story on the speech, it would be good to have letters to the editor that critique the b.s.

Looking at some of the main immigrant justice groups like Southern Border Communities Coalition or National Immigrant Justice Center to see if they have talking points to share, I found this tweet/photo:
Here’s us camping on “our very dangerous Southern Border” a few weeks ago. We had s’mores and hot chocolate. We sang Feliz Navidad around a campfire. It was beautiful! #NoBorderWall #RevitalizeNotMilitarize
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:52 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


It is a serious question.

In Australia the police will go ahead of a fire, door to door, and do mandatory evacuations. We all think this is a great thing; people may be unaware, or stubborn, or unprepared, or idiots. The truth is, we need the government to have special powers in an emergency. We only allow that when there is a FIRE.

But without the fire, the government can't just yank you out of your home. If they lie about there being a fire, that doesn't make it okay, it just compounds the abuse of power we'd hopefully hold them to account for.
posted by adept256 at 7:07 PM on January 7 [31 favorites]


Deutsche Welle, Trump administration downgrades EU mission to US
The Trump administration has downgraded the diplomatic status of the European Union's delegation to the United States, an EU official has confirmed to DW. The demotion happened at the end of last year without notice.

The unannounced move by the US State Department, which has not previously been reported, downgraded the EU delegation's diplomatic status in Washington from member state to international organization.

"We don't exactly know when they did it, because they conveniently forgot to notify us," an EU official who is familiar with the matter told DW in an interview. "I can confirm that this has not been well received in Brussels," the person said, adding that the issue and an official EU response was still being discussed.

After the delegation noticed that the EU's Washington ambassador had not been invited to certain events late last year, officials organizing the state funeral for President George H.W. Bush provided final confirmation to EU diplomats that the status of the representation had in fact been downgraded. Diplomats believe the downgrade must have been implemented in late October or early November.
They had been upgraded by the Obama Administration.
posted by zachlipton at 7:11 PM on January 7 [67 favorites]


It will not be improvised. He'll read it word for word, exactly as Hannity wrote it.

That's not a joke.
posted by davebush at 7:15 PM on January 7 [19 favorites]


@nycsouthpaw: Why wasn’t it an emergency when they couldn’t pass border wall funding through a Republican Congress over the course of two years? It’s only an emergency now that Democrats have the House? I don’t see how that flies.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:17 PM on January 7 [112 favorites]


the devolution will not be improvised
posted by uosuaq at 7:19 PM on January 7 [42 favorites]


Brian B.: "MSNBC replays Trump on the times he said he was the expert on something."

In the clip The Cheeto claims to be the best/most knowledgeable/an expert/at the top of knowledgeable people of the following areas:
  • Technology (and specifically drones)
  • Safety (probably in regards to drones but maybe not)
  • Campaign Finance
  • Military
  • Terrorism - Could have stopped 9/11
  • ISIS
  • Courts (#1 expert on the planet)
  • Social Media - Hemmingway of 140 characters, Facebook better than anyone else
  • He was his own #1 transition expert
  • Very good brain. Knows the best words.
  • King of Banking
  • Nobody knows Construction better.
  • Understands money better than anyone.
  • Trade
  • The "System"
Really I'm surprised he bothers having any cabinet at all.
posted by Mitheral at 7:22 PM on January 7 [28 favorites]


After the shutdown's comparatively calm first two weeks, the situation is beginning to heat up. No wonder Team Trump is panicking.

No federal employee has missed a check yet. That happens Friday. You'll start seeing stories about employees missing rent and mortgage payments next week.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:24 PM on January 7 [21 favorites]


WaPo, To build border wall as a national emergency, Trump would need to tap existing military budget. And what does tapping the existing military budget mean? It means not doing whatever the hell else the military is supposed to be doing:
If President Trump declares a national emergency to force the military to build a wall on the border with Mexico, the Pentagon may have to figure out which military construction projects around the world to cancel, pare back or put on hold to free up money for the initiative.
...
But the law that authorizes the defense secretary to order military building projects in the event of a national emergency requires the Pentagon to draw upon funds that Congress has already appropriated for military construction. The result is that the administration could have to claw back money from projects Congress has debated and funded.
This is money that Congress already appropriated for existing projects. Republican appropriators, who fought for that money, are going to have some real problems if Trump swoops in and redirects it to the wall. Whether they'll be too cowed to say anything is a different matter.
posted by zachlipton at 7:26 PM on January 7 [32 favorites]


I think it's worth noting that it seems like creating an emergency to respond to out of thin air is the Trump administration's go-to strategy. Whether it's gassing migrants who are trapped in Mexico because we trapped them there, banning people from traveling to the US from muslim majority countries, or shutting down the government over a non-existent crisis at the border, it's a strategy to acquire power by manufacturing various crises. They keep trying it and it hasn't really worked yet, but eventually it will unless we stop them. I'm not an expert on the history of fascism, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that this is a tried and true strategy of fascist leaders in the past.
posted by runcibleshaw at 7:31 PM on January 7 [29 favorites]


They won't have to say anything if the projects can be described as depriving our troops of something important. Imagine if it took money from some research project that would save American lives or a body armor purchase or something along those lines.
posted by VTX at 7:33 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Reporters and all the democratic talking heads need to ask:

Why is this an emergency NOW?

What has changed in the last 2 years that makes this an emergency NOW?

The Trump administration cannot answer that question honestly.

(The fact that the Trump administration can't answer any question is obvious to most of us)
posted by yesster at 7:36 PM on January 7 [43 favorites]


The Bill Clinton impeachment was totally illegitimate and shouldn't be a guide for us, of course, but out of curiosity I looked through a few links (1, 2, 3) and noted with interest that one of the bases in the articles of impeachment charging a couple counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and “Abusing His Office by Lying to and Obstructing Congress”, involved at one point Clinton failing to mention (in written answers to Congress, on that count) a necktie that Monica Lewinsky gave him for Christmas.

(I also noted with curiosity something I'd somehow missed, that “perjury trap” appears prominently as a talking point from Democrats in that era. Which must be one reason it's been used with such gusto by Nationalist propaganda channels.)
posted by XMLicious at 7:46 PM on January 7 [16 favorites]


If they had spoken with a lawyer before asserting it was possible to declare a national emergency under these circumstances, it probably would have helped avoid this recent awkwardness:
White House counsel is reviewing whether the president has the ability to declare a national emergency in the current situation, Pence told reporters on Monday. He added that the administration would prefer to secure the funding for border security from an agreement with Congress.
And coincidentally:
“We know that roughly nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is southern border,” Sanders began, but Wallace cut her off.

“I know the statistic, I didn’t know if you were going to use it, but I studied up on this,” Wallace said. “Do you know what those 4,000 people come where they are captured? Airports.”

“Not always…” Sanders said weakly.

“Airports. The state department says there hasn’t been any terrorists found coming across the southern border,” Wallace said.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:05 PM on January 7 [99 favorites]


I'm seriously unsure what the game is here. If he goes on TV in support of the shutdown, he's risking owning it even more than he already does. A week passes, the GOP congress folds and he loses.

If he goes on TV to declare a "national emergency" and takes funds from the military, then it goes into the courts - where he again loses. (Plus he likely will alienate the rank and file of the military.)

So what on Earth is he trying to do here?
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:16 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]




I myself just drove back into the US across the border in Lukeville AZ last Sunday. Absolutely zero signs of any crisis or emergency.

I too am searching for planned protests if this declaration actually goes down. This is my last straw.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 8:19 PM on January 7 [24 favorites]


So what on Earth is he trying to do here?

I'm scared, to be honest. Obviously, the plan with this motherfucker (I know, snarky names don't help, but let me do it this once) has only ever been to raise the stakes...right up into blatant authoritarianism. I hope he loses, I optimistically think he will, and I'm honestly frightened he might not, but I think his plan is as simple as butting up against every institution to see which walls crumble.
posted by saysthis at 8:22 PM on January 7 [32 favorites]


I'm seriously unsure what the game is here.

It’s Reality TV. Which is all he knows. Around here we call it lies. At the NYT they call it falsehoods. At CBS and CNN they call it ratings.
posted by valkane at 8:22 PM on January 7 [43 favorites]


So what on Earth is he trying to do here?

I see it differently. With his base, which is who he wants to appeal to, he can't lose. He's going on the TV to make a big speech about the big dangerous emergency because that is what presidents do, and they like that. None of the words he says will be displeasing to them unless he has a literal and obvious stroke in front of the camera, and even then they would believe it was the Democrats' fault. Similarly, none of the words that Democrats can say will make a dent in his base. The Democrats need to fire up theirs by refusing to act like this is any kind of normal.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:23 PM on January 7 [24 favorites]


Nobody, probably including him, will know what he's going to say until he's said it.


And then he will decry it as fake news after.

/em throws money away by betting its a resignation tirade like Cool Papa Bell says. “I am not a crook! Fake news! You guys are mean and deserve me leaving you!”

717 days. Ye gods.
posted by tilde at 8:25 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]




The prime time speech reminds me of shenanigans pulled by the Sinclair Broadcast Group (who I expect will make their stations plug the speech heavily).
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:36 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


declaring a state of emergency feels like one more tick box on the checklist to dictatorship

I think greermahoney is absolutely right. We were all warned so many times about normalizing fascism, but you can't maintain emergency mode for years on end. The horrible people who never belonged anywhere near a president's cabinet seem like elder statespeople compared to the jokers in there now. By now I've mostly forgotten to be mad about Rick Perry being in the cabinet.

I'm grateful there are folks on here still saying it's all fucked up, though. We are doing our best.

What I can share for hope is that today my county commissioner (one of the first two commissioners of color in our county) was sworn in with her hand on the The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. She is the first person I ever campaigned for solely on the basis of hearing her speak once. No group invited me, I didn't have a friend at the campaign reach out - I just heard her talk about what she wanted for our community and thought "I want to be a part of this." <3
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:37 PM on January 7 [95 favorites]


So what on Earth is he trying to do here?

According to the Washington Post:
Consider Sen. Lindsey O. Graham’s (R-S.C.) description of Trump’s conundrum during an interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity on Wednesday:

“If he gives in now, that’s the end of 2019 in terms of him being an effective president,” Graham said. “That’s probably the end of his presidency. Donald Trump has made a promise to the American people: He’s going to secure our border.”
posted by Little Dawn at 8:42 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth: Robert De Niro: ‘Trump is a real racist, a white supremacist' (David Smith, The Guardian)
What bothers me is that there will be people in the future who see him as an example but they’ll be a lot smarter ...
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:42 PM on January 7 [21 favorites]


Consider Sen. Lindsey O. Graham’s (R-S.C.) description of Trump’s conundrum during an interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity on Wednesday

Both of these people will say whatever is best for the plot of the reality show, in fact, they are both senior cast members. Hannity is worthless, and Graham will blow with whatever wind makes the most sense for Graham. I’m still waiting on Hannity to waterboard himself, as he promised to do.
posted by valkane at 8:47 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


The Trump administration is considering a major rollback of civil rights regulation (P.R. Lockhart , Vox)
A recent Washington Post report says plans to alter disparate impact regulation, a key part of civil rights enforcement, might be in the works.
...

Two years into the Trump presidency, one of the most effective parts of the administration has been its efforts to reduce the federal government’s role in promoting civil rights regulation. A recent report from the Washington Post suggests that this effort could soon enter a new phase, as the government considers a large-scale rollback of measures protecting marginalized groups from discrimination.

On January 3, the Post reported that the administration was considering “a far-reaching rollback of civil rights law that would dilute federal rules.” The report noted that a recent internal memo from the Justice Department encouraged civil rights officials to look at how anti-discrimination guidance, some of which is decades old, could be removed or changed and what the effects would be.

This memo is reportedly the first step in a larger review that could see some of these guidance completely rescinded in the coming months. The Post notes that the Education Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development [WaPo story] are also looking at similar guidance in their respective agencies.

The Justice Department memo explicitly targets federal civil rights guidance that focus on mitigating “disparate impact”— the concept that a practice or system can be discriminatory if it is found to disproportionately affect minorities, even if the policy itself is not rooted in intentional discrimination.

“Disparate-impact discrimination is not a simple question of discrete outcomes; on their own, divergent results do not prove discrimination,” the Atlantic’s Adam Serwer explains. “Rather, the regulations prohibit behavior that would discriminate if there are other ways to achieve the desired objective, or if there’s no valid interest being pursued."
Emphasis mine.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:48 PM on January 7 [31 favorites]


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The rookie congresswoman challenging the Democratic establishment (Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes)

Full interview w/video & transcript. Seems mostly forgotten now, in light of things that Trump said or did today.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:53 PM on January 7 [7 favorites]


Both of these people will say whatever is best for the plot of the reality show, in fact, they are both senior cast members.

Indeed, but also according to an opinion published in the Wall Street Journal today:
The possibilities of anything but outright victory are more stark for Mr. Trump. Oh, sure, if he accepts a deal that doesn’t give him a wall he can blame Democrats along with any Republicans who abandon him. But he still would have lost a fight that he picked. He’d end the shutdown weaker than he started. And some of his most ardent supporters could well turn on him for selling them out on his signature issue, affecting his re-election in 2020. None of this guarantees a Trump victory. It does suggest the president realizes he is now in a fight he can’t afford to lose.
[The link is accessible if clicked on the Drudge Report headline "Can't Afford to Lose..."]
posted by Little Dawn at 8:59 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


I saw my first QAnon bumper sticker today! Very exciting, if also creepy.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:12 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I also think constitutional law scholar Lawrence Lessig made an important point last week about how the shutdown isn't really a fight over a wall or border security, it's about the exercise of unilateral executive branch power in an otherwise democratic form of government:
Of all the constitutional norms that this president has upset, this, ultimately, may be the most significant. And it is this innovation that the Republicans especially should check. For do they now concur in the precedent that a president has the constitutional authority to insist upon whatever policy he likes, regardless of its support in the public? If a Democrat were elected on the promise to establish single-payer healthcare, does she then have the moral authority to shut down the government until Congress nationalizes the insurance industry? Or directly regulates pharmaceuticals? If she were elected on the promise to address climate change, can she stop the ordinary functioning of government until Congress passes a carbon tax?
posted by Little Dawn at 9:17 PM on January 7 [99 favorites]


If she were elected on the promise to address climate change, can she stop the ordinary functioning of government until Congress passes a carbon tax?

Fascists don't care about this because their own election is always the last legitimate one.
posted by benzenedream at 9:34 PM on January 7 [36 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Let's rein in the "ugh these fuckers" and the "here's a terrible scenario that will happen" spinning-out. Let's keep the thread for actual updates, and if folks need something to do, there's a Best Post Contest on, so go vote for some posts you like by Flagging them as Fantastic.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:38 PM on January 7 [21 favorites]


I don't quite understand why Democrats aren't taunting Trump more for hiding behind McConnell. Call him a coward and wimp for not having the guts to veto the bill, and instead asking McConnell to sit on it and protect him from having to do the gutsy thing himself. It seems like one of the few places where persistent needling by politicians on TV, talking heads, folks on Twitter, etc, might actually have an effect by offending his pride. It won't solve the shutdown, but if we can get to the point where Trump feels like his manliness requires him to wield the veto pen -- the sort of response Pelosi and Schumer managed a few weeks ago -- and he feels forced to ask McConnell to bring it to a vote so he can veto, that would get us a lot closer to an ultimate Trump capitulation.
posted by chortly at 9:44 PM on January 7 [32 favorites]


I believe it's because Democratic politicians are still not quite grasping the fact that things have changed, that this isn't a normal presidency.
posted by odinsdream at 9:48 PM on January 7 [21 favorites]


I don't quite understand why Democrats aren't taunting Trump more for hiding behind McConnell.

It looks like the Democrats are getting underway today with taunting McConnell for hiding behind Trump:
Democrats moved on two fronts Monday to goad Republicans into reopening the federal government, lining up House bills to fund shuttered agencies and preparing to block action in the Senate until the shutdown is resolved.

The moves amounted to an increasingly calculated and confrontational strategy from congressional Democrats as the shutdown over President Trump’s demand for money for a wall on the Mexican border entered its third week.
And particularly this:
This week’s action in the House will be coupled with a new Democratic strategy in the Senate, where Democrats are coalescing behind a plan to block any legislation on the floor that doesn’t reopen the federal government.
posted by Little Dawn at 9:53 PM on January 7 [15 favorites]


Slate, Dahlia Lithwick, Why Men Find the New Congresswomen So Frightening
Sit with that image for a moment: Men in government are fussing and fuming about all the ways in which the government they run doesn’t actually matter much, while criticizing women in government for attempting to govern. It’s almost as if they are smashing up the toys of political leadership just as women are finally being allowed to move on the game board.
posted by zachlipton at 10:07 PM on January 7 [89 favorites]


That Thursday shutdown protest I mentioned before.
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:09 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The rookie congresswoman challenging the Democratic establishment (Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes)

Rewatching this it's striking how unbelievably condescending Anderson Cooper is to AOC. You cannot find any interview Cooper has ever done with a Republican where his tone is this dismissive. It's approaching sexual predator Matt Laurer antagonizing Hilary during the debate level.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:19 PM on January 7 [83 favorites]


Why do you think that is, T.D.?
posted by valkane at 10:25 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


He's a Vanderbilt, and old money hates saucy peasants demanding their rights. The nerve!

Also an older dude talking to a younger woman, in general.

The condescension she's getting, overall, is disgusting.
posted by emjaybee at 10:35 PM on January 7 [84 favorites]


No federal employee has missed a check yet. That happens Friday. You'll start seeing stories about employees missing rent and mortgage payments next week.

That's not correct - many employees should have received a check for overtime after December 22nd, and it is this missed paycheck that has enabled this lawsuit by the federal employees union for failing to meet FLSA requirements of prompt payment, and this similar one by a CBP officer with the National Treasury Employees Union.

Anyone working as a contractor to the federal government has also lost the money they would have earned by working over the last few weeks, as there is no allowance for backpay for them.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:44 PM on January 7 [25 favorites]


Re: Protests - they might crop up organically, depending on what the content of 45's blatherings will be.

Might be wise to just be prepared, in case some spring up suddenly. I already carry extra snacks in my murse; it wouldn't be a stretch to make it more protest-ready. Snacks, a charged phone battery, scarf, tell others where you are going, etc. There's plenty of threads that detail what to bring to a protest, if you need guidance.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:44 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


Because it's worth repeating, from @cnni: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim abruptly resigned nearly 3 years ahead of schedule, setting up an opening for US President Trump to fill -- and a potential clash with other countries over the long-standing practice of the US making the appointment

Well, then. That potential clash is not so 'potential' given the figures involved. The quick and abrupt resignation reminds me of the Supreme Court judge who abruptly resigned and turned out to have history/family involved with Deutsche Bank -- I wonder if that'll be a factor here as well?
posted by E. Whitehall at 12:25 AM on January 8 [49 favorites]


Here's my own tiny shutdown story. On Wednesday I'm supposed to begin a two and a half month residency at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to work on examining and describing some possibly new fish species. This opportunity will get me through a significant part of my (already embattled and fraught with failure) doctoral dissertation. I guess I'm still going to Washington, but it looks like I won't be getting much work done.

My thing obviously pales in comparison to contractors who will go entirely unpaid and families literally starving because their SNAP benefits stop coming, but it's one of the many examples of how this bullshit spreads out in possibly unexpected ways
posted by deadbilly at 12:54 AM on January 8 [97 favorites]


It'll never see light of day but I wonder who has the contract to build the 'fence/wall/obstruction'? I wonder if they have any, you know, connection with the current administration. I'm talking bribery. cause a 5% cut of 5+billion is pretty juicy. (Why 5%? That's what I remember the average payment being in NYC to 'buy lunch' for an inspector.)

Yeah, I think there's a bit of 'face saving' on Trump's part - he doesn't want to look like he's not delivering on what he promised to his 'base', but as someone with lots of experience 'helping out' inspectors 'for the holidays' and 'buying lunch' I find it hard to believe he wouldn't get a cut.

But seriously, in the hurricane of bullshit I can't imagine this will ever be researched/verified or in any other way prove relevant. I mean look at the emoluments business.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:22 AM on January 8 [13 favorites]


Twitter thread on AOC in particular and the Democratic party in general:
@PrettyBadLefty:
The ease at which Alexandria Ocasio Cortez basic answers fluster reporters and dictates the terms of the public discourse on policies should show you just how little the Democrats have tried over the past 4 decades.

It should also show you how conditioned the rank and file liberal has become to symbolic, theoretically moral victories instead of actual victories and material solutions

This might be a hottake, and I do like AOC, but she is not some preternatural political genius, she is just a normal person with good politics based in her experience with material deprivation.

The fact that the Democratic party could not do this is at best gross incompetence and at worst enabling.

No wonder they hate her, she is an constant reminder to the population that despite their mastery of the language of symbolic resistance they simply weren't trying to make things better.

Dumb reporter: "How are we going to pay for [insert basic human right]"
AOC: "How do we pay for anything?"
Exactly. EXACTLY.

Or even people who recognize politics as the primary method by which we solve societal problems as opposed to a game of optics and grift to enrich aligned think tanks and consultancies
@BrianoMobile
We could use more candidates who recognize politics as a series of moral choices rather than technocratic obstacles.

People really do not recognize how serious and insidious the Democratic Parties shift from a party of substantive structural programs and social reforms to a party of symbolic moral and intellectual victories was and I'm hope we are starting to shift away

In summary, everyone whose job it was to do politics over the past 40 years should probably be fired.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 1:57 AM on January 8 [158 favorites]


everyone whose job it was to do politics over the past 40 years should probably be fired

Wasn't that Trump's original campaign pitch?
posted by flabdablet at 2:28 AM on January 8 [11 favorites]


Further to that: I don't want to see the swamp drained; I'm just happy to see somebody like AOC having a red-hot go at getting the lily garden up and running again.
posted by flabdablet at 2:31 AM on January 8 [24 favorites]


The ease at which Alexandria Ocasio Cortez basic answers fluster reporters and dictates the terms of the public discourse on policies should show you just how little the Democrats have tried over the past 4 decades.

AOC is amazing, and it's great she has arrived in Congress. But let's not pour petrol on the retorical fire the Republican spin-machine is building. Who says the older Democrats "hate" Alexandria Ocasio Cortez? Should they not challenge her at all? Should Nancy Pelosi just step down? Politics are above negotiation of power, all the time, every day, and that is not an expression of "hate" or "love", it's what politicians do. The new young generation of politicians are bringing something important to the table, and they can do it and be succesful, I'm sure. But so have each young generation before them. Everybody has brought in what was real and possible at the time when they entered.
The political landscape after Reagan had moved so far to the right, that Clinton had to do what he did. And because of that, his generation of Democratic politicians have that experience of life, it's formed their minds. And that is OK, they have achieved great things, including ACA. They have tried a lot, and fought hard. But their experience and the resulting mindset is also why I consistently advocate here against even the best of boomer candidates for the presidency. There are options they cannot see. With Clinton vs Sanders there was no other choice. But now there can be.
posted by mumimor at 3:08 AM on January 8 [77 favorites]


party of substantive structural programs and social reforms to a party of symbolic moral and intellectual victories

eeeee I don't know what the symbolic moral and intellectual victories are supposed to be that we should not feel so keen about or am I taking an uncharitable reading of that?
posted by angrycat at 3:22 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


The GOP's frustration with AOC is hilarious. She's just using their own rhetorical tactics against them. Unfortunately those rhetorical tactics amount to glibness and hand-waving, which is like empowering if you agree with her I guess, but is not very comforting from a governance point of view.

"The facts may be wrong, but the morals are right" is peak truthiness and not an acceptable answer.
posted by schroedinger at 3:28 AM on January 8 [10 favorites]


*cough*

Investors, policymakers and even farmers are being deprived of key economic data as the partial US government shutdown moves into its third week.
[...]
The shutdown is impeding the production of numbers about the US economy at a time when the Federal Reserve has said policy would be particularly “data dependent”. Grain exports have become impossible to verify as the farm belt is desperate to assess China’s soyabean purchases.

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau was scheduled to release November data on international trade in goods and services. The previous month’s report showed a US trade deficit at the widest level in a decade.
FT, reading wall, how to unpaywall

It gets uglier,

farmers seeking compensation under federal crop insurance schemes needed the official crop production data to calculate payouts.

“It impacts farmers’ planting intentions if they don’t get paid on time,” she says.

posted by infini at 3:52 AM on January 8 [31 favorites]


Still no multi-polar team work. Y'all still want to be the boss of the rest of the world. Or is that some code for white supremacy that I am unable to pick up as a woc?

TH: But before Pearl Harbor, of course, FDR had a great deal of trouble generating support for entering the war. He did what he could, for example, with lend-lease for the U.K. Now we have a president who’s kind of the opposite, who disparages alliances and commitments. Do you think that the American people are still engaged with the world? Or do you think that Trump’s election showed the isolationist mind-set of the populace?

RD: We think today’s position is quite different from the World War II situation or the Cold War competition. We think the general population is committed to the idea of U.S. primacy; that the U.S. should be the leader of the free world; that it should be engaged with the world. We don’t see strong trends toward isolationism.

But there’s less clarity about why we’re committed to that role. It’s pretty obvious if you’re being attacked or if you think, as in the Cold War, that there’s a risk that our opponents will come and take over America and impose totalitarian rule. Nobody really thinks that China or Russia will take over the U.S.
The article has some links to some papers worthy of note Pity about that terrified headline though
posted by infini at 4:03 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


These numbers make it very clear that the perception of China as the “factory of the world,” flooding global markets with cheap goods, is badly out of date. ~ SLYNT, American Companies Need Chinese Consumers
posted by infini at 4:17 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]


eeeee I don't know what the symbolic moral and intellectual victories are supposed to be that we should not feel so keen about or am I taking an uncharitable reading of that?

Not sure what the tweet author meant but I think generally people in that milieu mean things like the house Dems singing "hey hey goodbye" at the Republicans, which was funny to watch and amusing and everything but didn't put food on the table. Maybe I'm being too charitable from my end, though!
posted by threementholsandafuneral at 4:22 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I don't understand what the White House is doing. Trump keeps ratcheting up the stakes on the shutdown. If Trump and Graham keep insisting that he has to win the wall funding fight in order to govern effectively in 2019 and 2020, then he's handing the democrats a cudgel. It's 2019 and there's a presidential election coming up in 2020. That means there would only be a year to build support in the american public for an impeachment. Trump is telling the democrats that they don't have to do the difficult work of presenting the facts supporting impeachment to the general public. If we believe Trump, all the democrats have to do is win a fight against his unpopular wall. Trump has already lied about the existence of the wall, the structure of the wall, and the necessity for the wall so people may think he'll be able to lie about winning the wall fight if he is defeated. However, a wall is, despite what some Trump's supporters say, is a physical thing, not a metaphor. If Trump doesn't build a wall, it's easy to show his base that there is no wall.

Suppose, in the best case for Trump, the democrats give Trump his 5 billion. Trump can celebrate having stared down congress but come 2020 there will only be a small portion of his stupid wall built and he will have spent 5 billion. How will that look to his base?
posted by rdr at 4:25 AM on January 8 [8 favorites]


The trouble with "Sandy": Trump fans love their con man, but think lefties are fake (Amanda Marcotte, Salon)
Note that there's no way to win this game. No matter what approach one takes to a childhood nickname — losing it or keeping it — the right will hold it out as "proof" that a Democrat is an imposter. That's because these trolls are operating from a foreordained conclusion, which is all Democrats or liberals or progressives are a pack of phonies. All evidence, no matter how trivial silly, is reverse-engineered to fit this conclusion.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:26 AM on January 8 [21 favorites]


Unfortunately those rhetorical tactics amount to glibness and hand-waving, which is like empowering if you agree with her I guess, but is not very comforting from a governance point of view.

I don't really understand the danger here. She tried to illustrate that the cost of Medicare for all, while large, is fundable. She compared it to money the Pentagon has "lost" as a way to show that these are numbers we are already dealing with in the federal government. This is a valid point. If we are okay with $21 trillion of unaccounted for military spending, why not put in $32 trillion to give everyone healthcare?

She was wrong about some of the details (17 years vs 10 years), and she admitted that. She never said that this money was literally available to pay for healthcare.

I agree with her assessment that she got some facts wrong, but the moral argument is still valid. If we are okay with losing trillions in the Pentagon, we should be okay with spending a comparable sum on healthcare. This is nothing like what Trump, Fox News, etc do.
posted by snofoam at 4:28 AM on January 8 [80 favorites]


“There are a heck of a lot of U.S. companies that have sales in China that are going to be watching their earnings being downgraded next year until we get a deal with China.”

I work for one. We got utterly roasted just before Christmas when we announced we weren’t going to absorb the tariff costs on our products anymore, and that if it wasn’t for the tariffs our new release (also announced just before the holidays) would have been cheaper.

I think I see a recession coming due to the tariffs, and... well, that post yesterday about keeping your job after 50 keeps giving me anxiety attacks.
posted by mephron at 4:36 AM on January 8 [24 favorites]


I don't understand what the White House is doing.

Trump believes forcing a drastic reckoning by executive action may be necessary given the Democratic resistance and the wall’s symbolic power for his core voters, officials said.

There it is, he believes he can't give in and must show that he's still the racist shitstain they voted for. That's the only strategy. The Wall isn't a policy, it's a political symbol of commitment to white supremacy. Trump knows it. His voters know it. The only people who don't are news media executives. The only plan is to not give in, and look like he's "fighting" because he felt like he was losing FOX News.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:37 AM on January 8 [25 favorites]




When Mueller Issues a Report, Trump May Try to Suppress Some of It (Chris Strohm & Shannon Pettypiece, Bloomberg)
Mueller may submit his findings on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign to the Justice Department as early as February, according to one U.S. official. After that, things could get messy.

Democrats who now control the House have said they’ll demand that the department hand over the report -- and that they intend to make it public. The White House may counter by asserting executive privilege to prevent key findings from being turned over, according to people familiar with internal deliberations.

Under the federal regulation that authorizes special counsels, Mueller is required only to submit his report to department leaders. There’s no mandate that any part of Mueller’s findings be provided to Congress or the public.
...

It’s possible that Mueller has anticipated that White House lawyers will try to suppress his findings and has moved -- or will move in coming weeks -- to outflank their efforts, this official said. Mueller could do so by having a grand jury make a presentment, which is a public report without a criminal charge, the official said. Mueller also could seek to indict Trump, although the Justice Department has a standing policy that a president can’t be indicted while in office.

Trump’s lawyers also have a backup plan in case Mueller’s report ultimately is made public and is damning for the president: They’ve been working for months on their own report to counter any findings that paint Trump in a negative light, as they echo Trump’s frequent assertions that there was “no collusion” and no laws were broken.
...

Lawmakers, too, have options they could exercise. If Mueller’s findings aren’t made public, they could call him to testify before Congress, where he’d be pressed to disclose what he discovered.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:52 AM on January 8 [14 favorites]


(I also noted with curiosity something I'd somehow missed, that “perjury trap” appears prominently as a talking point from Democrats in that era. Which must be one reason it's been used with such gusto by Nationalist propaganda channels.)

That's because a perjury trap actually is a real thing, and it happens much the way it did with Clinton -- the prosecutor doesn't have evidence of a crime, but of non criminal behavior the subject doesn't want to admit to, so gets them to lie about that.

Asking questions directly relevant to criminal matters and having the defendant lie is not a perjury trap. Unfortunately, the so-called "liberal media" doesn't respond to the Republican use of the term by noting that it's both a tacit admission of guilt and an overt admission that Trump's a liar.
posted by Gelatin at 5:01 AM on January 8 [53 favorites]


There it is, he believes he can't give in and must show that he's still the racist shitstain they voted for. That's the only strategy. The Wall isn't a policy, it's a political symbol of commitment to white supremacy.

And he needs to do this because he knows shit will meet fan soon with Mueller and House investigations and the only hope he has of surviving is maintaining his core racist base to discourage Senate Rs from doing the manifestly right thing and convicting upon impeachment.
posted by chris24 at 5:05 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Or even people who recognize politics as the primary method by which we solve societal problems as opposed to a game of optics and grift to enrich aligned think tanks and consultancies

That sentence neatly summarizes my frustration with NPR, in that their political reporters constantly treat politics as a game of optics even when their own reporting regularly documents societal problems.
posted by Gelatin at 5:16 AM on January 8 [34 favorites]


You just have to go back to "[h]e’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting." Doing Wall is a zero-sum punitive act -- especially in its "Mexico will pay" formulation -- and it's only a political victory if somebody is seen to be hurt by it, ideally the right people in the eyes of his supporters.

In other news, Manafort's lawyers apparently missed a filing deadline to respond to assertions that he lied to prosecutors and breached his plea deal.
posted by holgate at 5:19 AM on January 8 [25 favorites]


That's because a perjury trap actually is a real thing, and it happens much the way it did with Clinton -- the prosecutor doesn't have evidence of a crime, but of non criminal behavior the subject doesn't want to admit to, so gets them to lie about that.

Rereading bits of "Citizen Cohn", it appears that this "We don't have charges, so let's find some perjury" was started by McCarthy/Cohen in the 50's.
posted by mikelieman at 5:25 AM on January 8 [14 favorites]


I didn't see this editorial (NYT) linked above. I like the title: Borderline Insanity.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:26 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


I find a conviction by the Senate far-fetched. More likely to me is that Trump will be blackmailed, bribed, or encouraged by campaign heavyweights to step back in 2020 in favor of a Pence run.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 5:29 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


They're not going to run Pence if they get Trump to stand back (which he'll couch as "you fuckers don't deserve me, I'm out"). If the GOP manages to regain some control over the candidacy they're going to run someone with more evil charisma than Pence, who has all of the baggage and none of the "achievements" of the Trump administration.

I think Trump's going to run and quit halfway through the campaign, for what it's worth. He can't NOT compete, for his ego, but that same ego is also legitimately afraid of losing.

In the meantime, Trump's going to try to ram that border wall through because there is NOTHING else that will give him his base numbers and the Fox News praise he needs. He's in withdrawal and it's going to get fucking ugly.
posted by lydhre at 5:37 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Just a reminder, the same networks that just now agreed to carry Trump's partisan ranting about his stupid fucking wall refused to give Obama airtime to talk about immigration. They told Obama it was "too political" and would violate their sacred vows of neutrality to give him airtime.

The media is blatantly and obviously on Team Trump.
posted by sotonohito at 6:16 AM on January 8 [114 favorites]


Unfortunately those rhetorical tactics amount to glibness and hand-waving, which is like empowering if you agree with her I guess, but is not very comforting from a governance point of view.

Yeah, I’m a little concerned by how tempted folks are being by basically “my job as a politician is to be charismatic and talk about popular ideas” rather than “my job as a politician is to find out what ideas can be implemented and make it actually happen.” It’s understandable because there haven’t been a lot of big ideas on offer for a while, but I think Trump - and the shutdown - is showing kind of why that tack doesn’t work very well. Like - I hate him and everything he stands for, but his voters apparently want him to make big stances over this bullshit nonsense, right? But it turns out the shutdown has a ton of unintended consequences. His people wanted the national parks kept open, but now people are dying and the parks are being trashed, because how you implement things matters. Reading boring government impact studies matters.

It’s not enough to like the big ideas - you also need policy wonks figuring out how to make them happen safely and well. And I am concerned that in their “throw the bums out” fervor, it seems to be less on offer in the year and time we need it most.
posted by corb at 6:21 AM on January 8 [10 favorites]


Suppose, in the best case for Trump, the democrats give Trump his 5 billion. Trump can celebrate having stared down congress but come 2020 there will only be a small portion of his stupid wall built and he will have spent 5 billion. How will that look to his base?

I think Trump's plan at this point is to declare a national emergency and to try to use the defense budget/military to build the wall, and many in his base will applaud this effort. I think tonight might represent a particularly long fissure opening up in the base of our democracy.
posted by tarshish bound at 6:30 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


It's gotten to the point that those who try to defend Trump's absurd pronouncements, like Pence and Sanders have tried to do recently, suddenly have realized that Trump is so addicted to exaggerating everything that the motherforker can't even tell the truth without lying.
posted by pjsky at 6:32 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


"The facts may be wrong, but the morals are right" is peak truthiness and not an acceptable answer.

This literally the same criticism Cilizza made and rightfully got dragged for.

AOC isn't an idiot, and she's not just throwing out pie in the sky ideas, a lot of the stuff she's talking about has either been done before or requires that, say, Chuck Schumer not listen to Joe Manchin more than Elizabeth Warren.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:32 AM on January 8 [47 favorites]


She compared it to money the Pentagon has "lost" as a way to show that these are numbers we are already dealing with in the federal government. This is a valid point. If we are okay with $21 trillion of unaccounted for military spending, why not put in $32 trillion to give everyone healthcare?

She was wrong about some of the details (17 years vs 10 years), and she admitted that.


It wasn't just the details that were wrong, it was a complete mischaracterization of that $21 trillion figure. That number does not describe how much money the Pentagon lost, it describes the total amount of unauditable transactions. Which is mostly made up of interdepartmental transfers that were not sufficiently documented.

The entire defense spending over that 17 year period was less than $9 trillion, so to claim that there is anything like a pool of $21 trillion dollars that could be used for healthcare is wildly inaccurate.
posted by parallellines at 6:33 AM on January 8 [11 favorites]


The politicians can be separate from the policy wonks. Someone who dreams big about health care and civil rights, and then listens to experts and advisors is the model. Trump doesn't do the second part, and that's one reason he's so awful. Let's not denigrate congresspeople who are rightly creating a discussion about societal priorities, just because they also aren't CPAs or whatever.
posted by dbx at 6:35 AM on January 8 [41 favorites]


I still think the administration doesn't get how very tenuous their hold on any sort of real power to compel individual action is. We already see TSA agents on sick-out, with the reward of pay gone and the demands of duty looking pretty flimsy given how unseriously folks at the top take their duty. That feels like just the tip of the iceberg. Take, for instance, the promise that business is normal at the IRS and that refunds will go out as usual. Ignoring the murky appropriations question of whether there's the funding to pay for the refunds, there's the much more substantive question of who's going to do it anyways: processing tax reports is an extremely labor-intensive job, and how are you going to do that when your labor force stops showing up? I have a feeling that when push comes to shove, an awful lot of the IRS's employees are going to come down with non-specific but debilitating illnesses.

I feel like I'm often repeating myself, but if you don't have an answer to "What are you going to do about it?" then you don't have power over someone. Republicans have used that to their benefit flaunting norms and toothless rules, but they're going to learn quickly that their own power is no less illusory.
posted by jackbishop at 6:35 AM on January 8 [15 favorites]


[A few deleted. Folks, please drop the AOC arguing back and forth, and chatty one-liners, and extended speculation about what maybe Trump will do and try to stick to actual news. Please remember that the reason for these threads is for people to be able to read them to get updates about what is happening now with the administration, and stuffing it full of non-news and debates about how bad dems are doesn't help keep the channel clear for that purpose.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:45 AM on January 8 [49 favorites]


Ann Coulter Calls Trump Border Visit This Week ‘Beyond Moronic’ (Nicole Lafond, TPM)
Ann Coulter — a longtime supporter of the President who has recently started unloading on him over his handling of border wall funding demands — didn’t mince her words on Monday when she called his planned border visit on Thursday “beyond moronic.”

“Trump GOING TO THE BORDER is beyond moronic,” she said in a series of tweets Monday afternoon when the visit was announced. “Does he need to meet with a cancer patient before deciding to fund cancer research?”
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:47 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]




Quick aside from the fire. Sometime in the last week Trump mentioned that the shutdown was a strike. Some here thought he was copping to a lockout, but a different perspective:. His Toadies may already be seeing more widespread blue-outs that aren't being reported in the news as yet.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:19 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Pelosi and Schumer Demand Equal Air Time After Trump’s Address Tuesday
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are demanding equal airtime to address the government shutdown and the President’s demands for a border wall following his national primetime address from the Oval Office Tuesday evening.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:20 AM on January 8 [17 favorites]


Pelosi and Schumer Demand Equal Air Time After Trump’s Address Tuesday

Good on them for reminding loyal Americans and the television networks that Trump's address is a political statement, not a function of governance good or otherwise.
posted by Gelatin at 7:31 AM on January 8 [29 favorites]


"The facts may be wrong, but the morals are right" is peak truthiness and not an acceptable answer.

I just do not understand this attitude: all kinds of politicians have had the facts wrong (mostly intentionally) for at least decades now, and also had the morals mostly wrong. I think that elected officials declaring and staking out morally good, inclusive and service-oriented policy proposals is a HUGE improvement, even if we don't yet know how to implement them.

You don't figure out how to go to the moon, and then decide to go. You decide that the moon is where you're aiming, and then get to work on implementation. The goal itself is the motivation for the truly difficult, detailed and sometimes-never-ending work of actually making it real. So many smart people are listening to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and responding with some version of "yeah, but is it realistic?" or "how will you pay for it?" or "how would you get the votes for that?" as if any idealism must have the details worked out first. This is absurd to me.

Human beings are emotional, feeling creatures more fundamentally than we are thinking ones, and we must be inspired by goals worth working toward, to get through the hard work, drudgery, frustration, complication, fatigue, etc. of the work itself, the kind of work necessary to make those goals real. That so many seem to have forgotten this is a true failure of imagination: an inability to conceive a reality where no one in the U.S. goes hungry or cannot access treatment for illness, or etc. Practical, boring, real change starts with imagination and inspiration, it starts with deciding where we're going, even if not knowing exactly how we're going to get there yet.

And though it is upsetting to recognize, I also think that Donald Trump understands this very well. He's nothing but a screaming maw of feelings and emotional need, so it's native for him, but still. He gets this, and I expect that's the tune he'll be playing during tonight's TV address: he will tell us that we should be scared, and that he has no choice but to act in the ways available to him, to fight the horrible thing that we should be afraid of. However we react collectively, with fear or with cynicism, really matters. As much as I hate to think it, allowing a president to declare an obviously false national emergency with no concerted, sustained, multi-faceted response to fight back, would be a genuine tipping point, and not a good one.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:39 AM on January 8 [107 favorites]


Pelosi and Schumer in statement: “Now that the television networks have decided to air the president’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime.”

Adam Parkhimenko lists the networks’ phone numbers so you can tell them you agree:

CNN: (404) 827-1500
ABC: (800) 230-0229
NBC: (212) 664-4444
FOX: (888) 369-4762
CBS: (212) 975-3247
PBS: (703) 739-5000
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:45 AM on January 8 [24 favorites]


Trump’s lawyers also have a backup plan in case Mueller’s report ultimately is made public and is damning for the president: They’ve been working for months on their own report to counter any findings that paint Trump in a negative light, as they echo Trump’s frequent assertions that there was “no collusion” and no laws were broken.

This is that thing Rudy's been working on, where the number of pages in it keeps going up & down as he writes it. I'm sure it will save the day.
posted by scalefree at 7:45 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Ben Rhodes:
With all due respect to factcheckers, who do important work, that’s no antidote to giving Trump a prime time platform to spew lies about a manufactured crisis to tens of millions of Americans.

Damn truth.
posted by Dashy at 7:48 AM on January 8 [112 favorites]


"The facts may be wrong, but the morals are right" is peak truthiness and not an acceptable answer.
I just do not understand this attitude


Fascism is not a factual failure but a moral failure. It's a fact that if you put all immigrants in camps, you won't have to see them any more. It's a fact that maintaining the luxury and extravagance of our upper classes would require allowing billions of climate refugees to die. It's a fact that if we crush sovereign states abroad we will have more resources to extract. Arguing against fascism entirely with facts and logic doesn't work, because cold logic is for evil robots.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:48 AM on January 8 [58 favorites]


WaPo Breaking News on Natalia Veselnitskaya: Russian Lawyer at Trump Tower Meeting Charged in Separate Case
A Russian lawyer whose role at a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower has come under scrutiny from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III was charged Tuesday in a separate case with obstructing justice in a money-laundering investigation.[…]

[T]he charges unsealed Tuesday say she made a “misleading declaration” to the court in a civil case.

Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. and others at Trump Tower in Manhattan on June 9, 2016, represented Prevezon Holdings in a civil case in which the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan sought millions of dollars in forfeiture from the company and others. The department had alleged in a civil complaint that a Russian criminal organization ran an elaborate tax refund scheme, stealing the identities of targeted companies and filing sham lawsuits to incur fake losses for refund purposes.

Those involved made about $230 million in tax refunds, prosecutors said, and filtered the money through shell companies and eventually into Prevezon, a Cyprus-based real estate corporation. Prevezon, prosecutors said, laundered the funds into real estate, including by investing in high end commercial property and luxury apartments in Manhattan.

The parent company of the victim firms hired attorneys to investigate after learning of the sham lawsuits, including Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and they uncovered the fraud scheme, in which Russian government officials were complicit, prosecutors said.
itshappening.gif
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:52 AM on January 8 [56 favorites]


WaPo Breaking News on Natalia Veselnitskaya: Russian Lawyer at Trump Tower Meeting Charged in Separate Case

A copy of the indictment, if anyone wants some light reading.
posted by cjelli at 8:02 AM on January 8 [9 favorites]


I just do not understand this attitude: all kinds of politicians have had the facts wrong (mostly intentionally) for at least decades now, and also had the morals mostly wrong. I think that elected officials declaring and staking out morally good, inclusive and service-oriented policy proposals is a HUGE improvement, even if we don't yet know how to implement them.

AOC is *not wrong* that no one ever asks if we can afford military spending, nor that we waste millions if not billions of dollars. Her citation is incorrect on the details -- as one would be if one was recalling something one had read a while ago, with no bad faith implied -- but it is actually true that the Pentagon money pool is so vast that millions go unaccounted for.

AOC was not making a bad argument in bad faith. She was making a good argument in good faith. That she is being criticized by a media that never calls the Republicans out for bad faith arguments -- like pretending to be concerned about deficits only when Democrats are in power -- is ridiculous. AOC needs to be more sure of her facts, but her argument is basically sound. Which is why she's getting attacked, of course.
posted by Gelatin at 8:07 AM on January 8 [101 favorites]


Arguing against fascism entirely with facts and logic doesn't work, because cold logic is for evil robots.

While I completely agree, it may be clarifying to mention that "I just do not understand" was used as polite-ish euphemism-speak for "I do not see an understandable, valid reason for holding this view, and must unfortunately conclude that your view is mistaken/wrong/stupid/evil, and that you do not have any good reason for having it; and also may have thus unfortunately inferred some unflattering things about your person, as well, as a result." Kind of like saying "well, bless your heart," instead of "well, you're a moron and that was a terrible decision, so have fun with those consequences" or something. More polite, and definitely more pithy, but sometimes maybe not entirely clear as text [QED].

That she is being criticized by a media that never calls the Republicans out for bad faith arguments -- like pretending to be concerned about deficits only when Democrats are in power -- is ridiculous. AOC needs to be more sure of her facts, but her argument is basically sound.

I'm not sure why this comment is phrased as disagreement with mine--I agree with this. The rest of my comment is support for what she's doing.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:11 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


"He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting"

Who would Jesus hurt?
posted by M-x shell at 8:15 AM on January 8 [83 favorites]


Focusing on the risk of facism may be the way through this consitutional crisis, according to Jennifer Rubin (Wapo):
Indeed, a power grab to supplant Congress might be just the thing to push Republicans in the Senate over the edge and to convince even normally sympathetic House Republicans that Trump has gone too far.

Democrats, instead of inveighing against the immoral wall, would be smart to inveigh against a “tyrant," a “gross violation of his oath of office,” a “unconstitutional power grab” and whatever other phrases are likely to set off alarm bells among conservatives who know only too well a Republican’s phony border crisis today can become a Democrat’s phony environmental or health crisis tomorrow. We really do reach a potential unraveling of our constitutional system of checks and balances.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:19 AM on January 8 [18 favorites]






A copy of the indictment, if anyone wants some light reading.

One takeaway from this: SDNY repeated cites emails to and from Veselnitskaya and representatives of the Russian government; if, hypothetically, the Trumps or the Kushners also ever emailed Veselnitskaya (or if Veselnitskaya ever emailed about them), there might be some choice emails we're not seeing cited of which SDNY has copies.

And one question: do we know the name of the real estate company that Prevezon was involved in? The indictment repeated cites 'Real Estate Company 1,' which Prevezon was using to launder money, and notes that Veselnitskaya had emailed 'the father of Real Estate Company 1's owner' without naming either owner or company.
posted by cjelli at 8:24 AM on January 8 [24 favorites]


Fascism is not a factual failure but a moral failure. It's a fact that if you put all immigrants in camps, you won't have to see them any more. It's a fact that maintaining the luxury and extravagance of our upper classes would require allowing billions of climate refugees to die. It's a fact that if we crush sovereign states abroad we will have more resources to extract. Arguing against fascism entirely with facts and logic doesn't work, because cold logic is for evil robots

Fascism isn't a state of failure (or success), it's a technique. Though they can be evidence, all of the things you mention are not how you know you are in a fascist state. You know you're in a fascist state when those things are used as threats against the ingroup that they can be converted into members of the outgroup.

Trump was the expression of collective desire for a leader just like him, which manifests as votes, yes, but also as political capital. Unfortunately, once he's sworn in, he can do whatever he wants, spending that political capital as he sees fit. Doubly unfortunately, as a President who has his own ideas about what he is leading, he can now generate his own political capital merely by redefining the ingroups and outgroups.

The media helps push this model of thought by inventing and producing candidates as opposition leaders and trying to extrapolate a political grouping upon the population, which is backwards from how Trump ascended (people-driven, not leader-driven). Right now this is most apparent in AOC's publicity over the past month, feeding the media's need to write about horserace drama and whether they can identify someone to compete with Trump while also not focusing at all on why Trump would ever be opposed.

I feel like the phrase "raw exercise of power" doesn't get used enough, but that's the lever by which fascism is imposed on a population (which they want). Climate refugees, immigrant jails, and stomping foreigners is not the point. The point is to establish and preserve absolute power in service of comforting and placating the ingroup. The result is pain, the rationale is safety/prosperity/etc. (Maslow, probably), and the method is fascism. We have only just begun to see the results of the face-eating leopards.
posted by rhizome at 8:25 AM on January 8 [14 favorites]


[Reiterating taz: Enough on general AOC stuff, and general fascism/political philosophy stuff; folks can make a separate thread if they want to pursue that in more depth.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:27 AM on January 8 [16 favorites]


Indeed, a power grab to supplant Congress might be just the thing to push Republicans in the Senate over the edge and to convince even normally sympathetic House Republicans that Trump has gone too far.

Rubin reminding us that a stopped clock is still mostly wrong.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:27 AM on January 8 [5 favorites]




He's nothing but a screaming maw of feelings and emotional need

Politico has a report about what has been happening in the White House lately:
... a president who demands constant praise has a diminishing number of public defenders these days. The result is a manic, one-man public-relations effort to sell the shutdown that has left some White House officials scrambling to catch up. Trump has griped to associates that he hasn’t seen enough administration officials on the airwaves defending him during the shutdown fight, according to three people close to the president. He is also angry that he didn’t get more backup for his mid-December decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.
This part seems a bit eerie, in a 'frantic attempt to placate a mad king' kind of way:
Aides continue to show Trump television clips featuring outside advisers offering praise on cable news shows.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:39 AM on January 8 [30 favorites]


I'm a little bothered by this take that there is no border crisis. Border crisis due to climate disaster will be define the coming era, even if it is exaggerated at the moment for political gain. The question is will we re-distribute our wealth to refugees fleeing climate disaster or will we commit genocide. It is a crisis and the response should be let them in.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 8:41 AM on January 8 [13 favorites]


RE: Who has the contracts for the border wall, here's a recount of the $1.6B that congress has already allocated.
posted by msbutah at 8:42 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Politico has a report about what has been happening in the White House lately:

Same article we've seen for 2 years. Trump presidency eternal Mad Libs:

"a president who demands constant praise has a diminishing number of public defenders these days. The result is a manic, one-man public-relations effort to sell [stupid shit] that has left some White House officials scrambling to catch up. Trump has griped to associates that he hasn’t seen enough administration officials on the airwaves defending him during [self-created crisis], according to three people close to the president. He is also angry that he didn’t get more backup for [some other stupid shit]."
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:44 AM on January 8 [27 favorites]




I'm a little bothered by this take that there is no border crisis. Border crisis due to climate disaster will be define the coming era, even if it is exaggerated at the moment for political gain.

Climate-change-precipitated migration is a real concern but is not, and this is the crucial bit, actually currently a crisis on any border of the United States: there is no border crisis. Period. There may be a migration crisis later, but there isn't one on the southern United States border now. There are a lot of things that might be emergencies at some later date, and to say they aren't emergencies now is not to say that they could not be so later.

The United States could easily accept many more refugees and immigrants than it currently does; this could be done easily and safely and would not constitute a crisis, even if immigration surged. Treating the current non-crisis as if it is a crisis is going to get in the way -- indeed, is already getting in the way of -- of discussing and preparing for real actual crises that could happen in the future.
posted by cjelli at 8:49 AM on January 8 [117 favorites]


And one question: do we know the name of the real estate company that Prevezon was involved in?

That's Prevezon itself, so Denys and Pyotr Katsyv. Pyotr Katsyv is a former regional transportation minister and current VP of Russian Railways whose son's transportation company became remarkably successful.
posted by holgate at 8:58 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Just a quick clarificaiton: Sexpot Treasury Secretary Steve-o Mnuchin lifted sanctions against Paul Manafort's loan shark Oleg Deripaska about three weeks ago.*

This is not the same Russian Oligarch who kept landing his private jet next to Trump's during the campaign, and who laundered millions through Trump's Palm Springs shack. That would be Rybolovlev. Just to clarify. They're easy to get mixed up.

*Technically, agreed to lift sanctions against his aluminum business, with the understanding that Capn' D sell some of that stock so he doesn't get SO flagrantly rich off it right away. Congress could have blocked it but they were busy not working.
posted by petebest at 9:00 AM on January 8 [19 favorites]


The United States could easily accept many more refugees and immigrants than it currently does; this could be done easily and safely and would not constitute a crisis, even if immigration surged.

This. The climate crisis has nothing to do with the border and is a 110% ankling of climate rhetoric to connect them.

I wouldn't be surprised if the US could absorb every refugee who wants to come to the US in a 500 mile swath down from the Dakotas.
posted by rhizome at 9:02 AM on January 8 [9 favorites]


JUST IN: Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer will deliver a response to President Trump’s 9:00 p.m. E.T. address Tuesday evening following the conclusion of his remarks. Networks carrying Trump will air.

as reported on twitter via AP's Darlene Superville.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:23 AM on January 9 [7 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Good. Live fact-checker chyrons as he speaks would be nice, but I'm glad he doesn't get to hijack the airwaves without getting swiftly told to stfu by some adults.
posted by saysthis at 9:03 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I live an hour from the border and go south often for hiking or kayaking. There's tons of Border Patrol out here, and checkpoints on the roads. But what I don't see anymore like I used to are the buses going out of the nearby BP facility. I see one once in a while. I used to see them all the time. Those buses are used to transport people back to the border for deportation. They've got wire mesh and bars on the windows, as well as armed guards on board. They just don't have that many to transport anymore. There's no crisis on the border. This is just Trump trying to win on the border wall at any cost. If there were no shutdown fight, he wouldn't be trying to pull the national emergency stunt. But he tried the shutdown, he miscalculated badly, he's losing there, and he's determined to win something, anything.
posted by azpenguin at 9:04 AM on January 8 [53 favorites]


This. The climate crisis has nothing to do with the border and is a 110% ankling of climate rhetoric to connect them.

And also: if you were a world leader and thought the climate crisis could eventually lead to a refugee problem, you should be out there preventing the climate crisis ASAP.
posted by mumimor at 9:12 AM on January 8 [26 favorites]


Does he think there is a border crisis because he has seen pictures of the children's internment camps?
posted by DesbaratsDays at 9:16 AM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Does he think there is a border crisis because he has seen pictures of the children's internment camps?

He thinks there's a "border crisis" because he sees hispanic people. That's it. His voters think the same way. There will continue to be a "border crisis" as long as there is a hispanic population, just as there will continue to be a need for "tough on crime" and "law and order" as long as there are black people.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:20 AM on January 8 [93 favorites]


During the election and in the months after the presidential inauguration, interest in the Dunning-Kruger effect surged. Google searches for “dunning kruger” peaked in May 2017, according to Google Trends, and has remained high since then. Attention spent on the Dunning-Kruger Effect Wikipedia entry has skyrocketed since late 2015.

Is our populaces learning?
posted by petebest at 9:22 AM on January 8 [13 favorites]


That's Prevezon itself

And by extension Africa Israel Investments(Bottom of page 4), which sold Kushner Co the space it bought in the old NYTimes building.
posted by Roger_Mexico at 9:35 AM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Why Mike Pence Couldn’t End the Shutdown (Elaina Plott, The Atlantic)
The vice president has led negotiations to reopen the government. But even after the White House’s state-of-emergency threat, he doesn’t appear to have the authority to do much about it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:38 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]


CBS: U.S. Envoy Working on Qatar Dispute Resigns From State Department
Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine Corps general and former head of U.S. Central Command who has been working as an envoy for the Trump administration to resolve a dispute with Qatar, has resigned from his position with the State Department.[…]

A senior State Department official described Zinni's departure as a "soft resignation."

Zinni had originally agreed to work as a special adviser to the secretary of state on Middle East issues at the request of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — both of whom have since left the administration in the wake of significant policy differences with Mr. Trump.
Boy, Mike Pompeo's Middle East tour is off to a great start.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:04 AM on January 8 [12 favorites]


Thanks Doktor Zed, I called each of those network numbers.
My plan was to ask if the network would air a Democratic response to candidate, I say candidate as he declared his candidacy for 2020 as soon as he took office, Trump’s campaign speech tonight.
Networks Airing Trump Border Speech 20190108
CNN: (404) 827-1500 menu run around and a hang up.
ABC: (800) 230-0229 menu runaround I hung up.
NBC: (212) 664-4444 person transferred me to voicemail, left my message.
FOX: (888) 369-4762 menu left voicemail.
CBS: (212) 975-3247 menu, need a mailbox number. I hung up.
PBS: (703) 739-5000 a live person answered, she (I didn’t get her name) assured me there will be a Democratic responce aired after Trump’s speech.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 10:05 AM on January 8 [36 favorites]


Just got back from a London production of Macbeth. This speech from near the end of the play talking about the tyrant's coming downfall, struck me as appropriate for what (I hope) Trump's 2019 is going to be like:

Now does he feel his secret murders sticking on his hands.
Now minutely revolts upbraid his faith-breach.
Those he commands move only in command, nothing in love.
Now does he feel his title hang loose about him,
like a giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief.

posted by Paul Slade at 10:14 AM on January 8 [74 favorites]


Trump Invites TV Representatives to Lunch Ahead of His Prime-Time Speech [NYT]

No need to waste a click - the headline is the whole thing. The only other info is that Trump staffers say he is writing his speech himself, and supposedly some of them 'privately' fear their shutdown messaging is failing. So, claims from anonymous people in a White House occupied by known and obsessive liars.
posted by Emmy Rae at 10:19 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


For those of you who miss the old Jon Stewart / Steven Colbert 1-2 punch during the worst presidential administration in American history G-Dub years (g-ddammit), Seth Meyers' "A Closer Look" recaps all the press conference shutdown nuttiness in fun-sized studio-laughter skewers. And that was from friggin yesterday.
posted by petebest at 10:27 AM on January 8 [13 favorites]


Manafort's lawyer made a redacted filing today... that was easily unredacted.

How do they keep doing this?
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:35 AM on January 8 [25 favorites]


How do they keep doing this?

Because they can't send documents to Rick Gates to convert to PDF anymore.
posted by Freon at 10:37 AM on January 8 [73 favorites]


Another shutdown story. My husband's job is somewhat cobbled together: he works for an organization that gets funding from the state government, local governments, and various federal grants. So, in any given week, he's spending 10 hours helping a town with their emergency management plan, another 20 hours he's doing economic development for the region, etc.

His organization got a grant from the Economic Development Agency which was supposed to start at the beginning of this fiscal year; part of that grant was going to take up a not insignificant chunk of his hours. Various things had delayed them getting the money, and they were finally going to get it and get moving and then the shutdown happened.

He's on partial parental leave right now anyway but there's still the looming question of where part of his salary is going to come from if this grant doesn't come through when he gets back to full time. Because he's on parental leave. Because we have a newborn. So, consistency in pay would be great right about now.
posted by damayanti at 10:42 AM on January 8 [26 favorites]


Manafort's lawyer made a redacted filing today... that was easily unredacted.

Wow, I assumed this required some sort of fancy computing. Nope, it required copying and pasting the text from the PDF. They "redacted" portions by changing the background color of the text.
posted by diogenes at 10:44 AM on January 8 [49 favorites]


Now does he feel his title hang loose about him,
like a giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief.


Dunno about the rest but that definitely captures Trump's typically frowsy raiment.
posted by notyou at 10:48 AM on January 8 [17 favorites]


The actual contents of that unredaction seems to be rather dramatic importance.

@jonswaine [Guardian]: NEW: Paul Manafort's attorneys failed to properly redact their filing. They reveal that Mueller alleges Manafort "lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign". Konstantin Kilimnik has alleged ties to Russian intelligence

Here's the filing. The relevant bit is on page 6 if you swap to the "text" tab to see the unredacted text, in which Manafort's lawyers argue that he simply forgot about doing that but didn't intentionally lie to Mueller's team.

There's a full thread unredacting the black bars.
posted by zachlipton at 10:49 AM on January 8 [33 favorites]


So Mueller filed it redacted and, presumably, under seal, and Manafort's lawyers made a "mistake" that publicly reveals the information Mueller wanted kept secret? Sheesh. I hope they're sanctioned for it.
posted by The World Famous at 10:54 AM on January 8 [34 favorites]


Seth Meyers' "A Closer Look" recaps all the press conference shutdown nuttiness

"He sounds like your coworker telling you about a dream he had." (There were generals and a big room and ...)

This is both hilarious, and a very incisive observation about Trump's rambling incoherence and narcissistic mind.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:59 AM on January 8 [15 favorites]


In actual good news, Corey Stewart is leaving politics in a fit of pique [WaPo].
posted by aspersioncast at 11:14 AM on January 8 [16 favorites]


On one hand I don't want to watch Trump on TV tonight because I don't want to give the man my attention and because it's a stupid stupid thing that he gets the air time, but on the other hand I want to be informed and I've found that press coverage of his speeches doesn't show all the details I find fascinating. Please advise.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:17 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Read a text recap is usually how I handle it. Then you can get the meat of his authoritarian ramblings without the blood pressure inducing hand gestures and half sentence mumblings. Hopefully a document that's been marked up to point out inaccuracies and flat out lies.
posted by msbutah at 11:19 AM on January 8 [29 favorites]


@Popehat tweeted today that the best way to do this would be a MST3K riff on Trump's speech, and it strikes me that this might be a good exercise in stoicism, in the classical sense, you know, like Kent in the stocks insulting Regan and Goneril.
posted by angrycat at 11:20 AM on January 8 [21 favorites]


I rely on this very thread for sanity preserving recaps!
posted by TheCoug at 11:21 AM on January 8 [32 favorites]


Please advise.

Read Daniel Dale's real time play-by-play on Twitter. He'll do some on the spot fact checking as well.
posted by notyou at 11:21 AM on January 8 [28 favorites]


I told the Manafort lawyers they should have used Pig-Latin.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:22 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure why this comment is phrased as disagreement with mine--I agree with this. The rest of my comment is support for what she's doing.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:11 AM on January 8 [1 favorite +] [!]


Not disagreeing with you, but with the so-called fact checkers like Chait who are pooh-poohing AOC for getting the specifics of a detail wrong while having an essentially correct point.

"He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting"

Who would Jesus hurt?


Moneylenders.
posted by Gelatin at 11:24 AM on January 8 [28 favorites]


Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman has another insider report from Trumpland: “There Is No Endgame”: White House Aides Fear Trump Has Turned The Border Wall Into His Alamo—“The president put himself in a box” as Trump tries to fight his way out, his new chief of staff already eyes the exits, and Giuliani worries about Mueller’s possibly “horrific” report.
Inside the West Wing, Trump has told aides he’s prepared to stake his presidency on making a last stand. “He has convinced himself he can’t win re-election in 2020 unless he gets a lot of the wall built. It’s fundamental to his id,” a former West Wing official said. “The problem is, the Democrats know that.”

Trump’s aides fear he has given himself no way out. “The president put himself in a box,” the former official in touch with the White House told me. “The problem is there’s no endgame. Right now the White House is at a seven on the panic scale. If this thing goes on past the State of the Union they’re going to be at an 11.” Another prominent Republican close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described Trump’s handling of the shutdown as “total fucking chaos.”

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, installed in the job just before Christmas, may already be looking at escape routes. Unlike his long-suffering predecessor, John Kelly, Mulvaney has indicated he’s prepared to walk away if things go south with the president. “Mick has both eyes open,” said a person who spoke with Mulvaney recently. “So far, Trump has been more DIY than ever before. It’s a continuation of where things left off with Kelly. Mulvaney is not going to stick around and get ground up.” Before Christmas, Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told people that Mulvaney wouldn’t last long, according to a person who spoke with Lewandowski. Last night, The New York Times reported Mulvaney is interested in becoming president of the University of South Carolina.[…]

The shutdown has pushed the Russia investigation out of the news cycle. But Trumpworld knows it hasn’t gone away. Rudy Giuliani recently told a friend that he expects Mueller’s report to be “horrific,” a person briefed on the conversation said (Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment). “You’re already hearing people speculate Trump could do a deal and resign.”
This matches details in Politico's article Trump Wages Intense But Lonely Campaign For His Border Wall, which was mentioned above. The main difference is that it's Bill Shine's turn in the barrel.
“I have never had so much support, as I have in the last week, over my stance for border security, for border control and for, frankly, the wall or the barrier,” he told reporters. “I have never had this much support.”

Privately, however, he was thinking something different. “He’s sitting there going, ‘Why the f--- isn’t there anybody saying good stuff about me? Why is there nobody on TV that’s defending me?” said a former senior administration official.

The president has expressed increasing frustration with his press shop that he doesn't see more of his defenders on television — a recurrent issue about which Trump has brooded in the past. Some of that frustration has focused on White House communications director Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive who joined the White House in July on the recommendation of his friend and longtime Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hannity touted Shine to Trump as an antidote to the torrent of negative media coverage the president receives, according to two sources familiar with the conversations, and suffered from an outsized expectation on the part of the president that Shine could stem the tide.

“He thought that as part of bringing Bill Shine in that he would get better coverage — that he would be able to solve some of these dilemmas,” said a Republican close to the White House. “Bill is working hard, but he is not a miracle worker. He’s been working to solve some of that but it’s a constant battle.”
Although we've seen these kinds of reports from Trumpland since the beginning, it's important to consider how much has changed and what's in store for 2019. While the odious John Kelly by all accounts struggled to impose a semblance of order in the West Wing, the sycophantic Mulvaney has simply let chaos loose, and Bill Shine, though Trump enjoys his boorish company, can't perform the reassuring emotional labor that Trump relied on from Hope Hicks. And then there's the unavoidable fact that the Democrats hold political power again…

For all the "increasingly isolated" clichés of 2017-18, in 2019 Trump looks like he's genuinely being cut off politically.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:25 AM on January 8 [28 favorites]


I am both hopeful and terrified that he has written his own speech.

Maybe if he makes enough of an ass of himself without any coddling day care attendants, more people might see him for what he is.
posted by sio42 at 11:25 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]


> Maybe if he makes enough of an ass of himself without any coddling day care attendants, more people might see him for what he is

I don't see how he can be any worse than what he's already shown us. He's not a subtle man. His supporters don't care.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:27 AM on January 8 [39 favorites]


There is a writer named Trudy, @thetrudz on twitter, who takes the view "consumption is not activism". She usually talks about it in response to watching or not watching various scripted TV shows, but I think it applies here as well. I don't watch or listen to this man out of self-preservation. But he was installed in the White House and affects our lives so if you feel the need to watch, do it.
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:28 AM on January 8 [12 favorites]


Donald Trump Runs Apocalyptic Border Wall Ads As Networks Clear Time For Speech (Lisa de Moraes, Deadline: Hollywood)
Trump’s southern border apocalypse ad ran Tuesday morning on CNN, as the cable news network Trump has called "The Enemy of the People" discussed Trump’s credibility crisis in his primetime address:
Drugs, terrorists, violent criminals, and child traffickers trying to enter our country though our southern border.

But Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi care more about the radical left than keeping us safe.

The consequences? Drug deaths, violent murder, gang violence.

We must not allow it!

Every country defends their borders. President Trump wants to defend ours.

The Democrats must stop playing politics and support real border security

“I’m Donald Trump and I approved this message,” Trump said, as the ad wrapped while the words: “Paid for by Donald J. Trump for President. Approved by Donald Trump” played on screen.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:28 AM on January 8 [17 favorites]


would just like to reiterate something I posted very late and possibly overlooked in the last thread: The best thing the networks could do (short of ignoring Trump's request completely): Let the Democrats go *first* and get the facts out there before Trump spews disinformation (aka lies).

Studies have shown that trying to correct his lies with the truth just doesn't work, and may reinforce the lie. There's the added benefit of watching Team Trump trying to call an audible on the Dems' statement and failing beautifully.
posted by martin q blank at 11:30 AM on January 8 [33 favorites]


I'm not sure how much clearer the line can be that tonight is a CAMPAIGN speech and should NOT be aired based on that ad which is labeled "Paid for by Donald J. Trump for President. Approved by Donald Trump." You don't run ads like that except as a candidate.

Also yes, I'd support democrats going first.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:32 AM on January 8 [39 favorites]


The main difference is that it's Bill Shine's turn in the barrel.

Can we maybe not use this phrase, which literally comes from a "joke" that combines both gay panic and forced sodomy?
posted by tocts at 11:33 AM on January 8 [27 favorites]


The networks still are hoping that he's suddenly start acting presidential, because that's all they know.
posted by Melismata at 11:34 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


"The facts may be wrong, but the morals are right" is peak truthiness and not an acceptable answer.

Let's not miss the fact that Republican reaction is a backhanded example of sealioning. She got some facts wrong but not to the degree that it detracts from the main point of the argument. Something something take it seriously but not literally.

If I told you that drunk driving was a bad thing because 11,000 people are killed each year, the fact that it's actually 10,497 people per year is not relevant to the discussion. Facts wrong, morals right.

"Don't poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick. You did that one time and it sucked."
"I've poked my eye plenty of times, but never with a sharp stick. So, fuck you, you damn socialist."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:36 AM on January 8 [23 favorites]


They don't want presidential, they want Trump Clicks.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:36 AM on January 8 [18 favorites]


If Pelosi's response to Trump is anything more than "The articles of impeachment will pass the house tomorrow at 11am" she's saying too much.
posted by PenDevil at 11:38 AM on January 8 [12 favorites]


The main difference is that it's Bill Shine's turn in the barrel.

Can we maybe not use this phrase, which literally comes from a "joke" that combines both gay panic and forced sodomy?


I did not know that. Please tell me that "shooting fish in a barrel" doesn't have the same origins.
posted by diogenes at 11:44 AM on January 8 [14 favorites]


Trump’s southern border apocalypse ad ran Tuesday morning on CNN

*tilt*

Why the hell didn't CNN refuse to run the ad? They're his avowed enemy, FFS!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:45 AM on January 8 [15 favorites]


Shooting fish in a barrel is probably one of the few idioms that doesn't have a shitty origin.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:47 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Why the hell didn't CNN refuse to run the ad? He's their avowed enemy
Well he's the enemy of Acosta and some others, but old pals with Zucker. They've made a lot of money working with each other over the years.
posted by Harry Caul at 11:48 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]


[TPM]
I’ve always resisted comparisons between Hitler and Trump and between Trump’s election and the onset of fascism. Trump is not plotting genocide. The geopolitics are entirely different. But as I was recently reading Volker Ullrich’s terrific biography of Hitler (Hitler: The Ascent, 1889-1939), I was reminded of a certain similarity between the men, and it’s relevant to the current battle over the border wall.

To justify his political and racial views, and to win support for controversial domestic and foreign initiatives, Hitler simply made things up. He insisted that Jews shirked service in World War I and in 1937, as Stalin was killing off the last Jews who had been in leadership, he insisted that “more than 80 percent of the leading positions” were occupied by Jews. To win support for his invasion of Czechoslovakia, Hitler had the Nazi-controlled press fabricate stories about government atrocities against Sudeten Germans.

posted by growabrain at 11:49 AM on January 8 [39 favorites]


On one hand I don't want to watch Trump on TV tonight because I don't want to give the man my attention and because it's a stupid stupid thing that he gets the air time, but on the other hand I want to be informed and I've found that press coverage of his speeches doesn't show all the details I find fascinating. Please advise.

Treat it like a solar eclipse and avoid looking directly at it..
posted by srboisvert at 11:56 AM on January 8 [38 favorites]


Reps. Jackie Speier (CA-14) and Jared Huffman (CA-1) are delivering National Park trash to its source - the White House. They are putting it in big "Trump Trash" barrels and will take it to Washington to dump at the White House.

Speier: "It is a stunt!" Speier admitted when asked about the trash protest. "We're doing a stunt to equal President Trump's stunt." And Huffman: "I'll tell you what's not a stunt," Huffman added, according to KQED. "It's the diapers and the coffee cups and the burrito wrappers and the trash that's piling up in Park Service facilities all over this country because of what President Trump has done. His actions have real-world consequences."

Elections, consequences, etc. These are not my Reps but they are from the Bay Area and I'm proud of them anyway!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:08 PM on January 8 [98 favorites]


Trump is not plotting genocide.

It's not clear Hitler was originally plotting genocide either. The nominal plan, originally, was just to deport the Jews to Madagascar. That turned out to be a lot harder than it sounded, so they were rounded up in camps, and keeping people alive in camps is also a lot harder than it sounds.

To quote from Timothy Snyder's Black Earth:
"Any such mass deportation would have required the cooperation of the colonial powers, the British and the French [...] In simple logistical terms the idea also seemed to make no sense. How could Poland arrange a deportation of millions of Jews while the country was mobilized for war? [...] They [Polish leaders] could not grasp a special feature of Nazi thought: the aim to do something difficult, or even impossible, in the secret knowledge that failure would prepare the way to do something more radical. [...] For the Nazis "Madagascar" was not simply a place, but a label, a bookmark in a burning book. It was synonymous with a Final Solution; or, in Himmler's words, with ""the complete extirpation of the concept of Jews." For the Poles, Madagascar was an actual island in the actual Indian Ocean, and actual possession of the actual French empire, an actual site of an actual exploratory mission [...] Polish leaders did not grasp that for the Nazis the issue was not the feasibility of one deportation plan, but the creation of general conditions un which Jews could be destroyed on way or another. Given their own obsession with the idea of statehood, Poles could not see that a bloody whirlwind of improvisation was coming.
In simple logistical terms the idea also seemed to make no sense... failure would prepare the way to do something more radical... bloody whirlwind of improvisation

Sounds kinda familiar. It's enough to give a person chills.

(Snyder also says that in the early parts of the war, in eastern Europe, Jews were not killed in camps so much as they were just killed by their neighbors who 1) offered them as a sort of sacrifice to appease the occupying German army 2) scapegoated them for crimes that happened under previous, Soviet occupation 3) wanted their stuff. Again, those killings did not have to be planned by Hitler -- he just created the conditions that allowed them to happen. Makes Trump's inability to plan less comforting.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:09 PM on January 8 [113 favorites]


I'm a little bothered by this take that there is no border crisis. Border crisis due to climate disaster will be define the coming era, even if it is exaggerated at the moment for political gain.

Climate-change-precipitated migration is a real concern but is not, and this is the crucial bit, actually currently a crisis on any border of the United States: there is no border crisis. Period. There may be a migration crisis later, but there isn't one on the southern United States border now. There are a lot of things that might be emergencies at some later date, and to say they aren't emergencies now is not to say that they could not be so later.


Climate changes refugees in the United States will likely be internal rather than external. Mexico already understands how to live in an arid environment. The southwestern US on the hand is only recently massively overpopulated and living on borrowed water. As in every zombie show ever the real problem is already inside the compound.
posted by srboisvert at 12:13 PM on January 8 [23 favorites]


Manafort's lawyer made a redacted filing today... that was easily unredacted.

Apparently the office is so strapped for income that they can't afford Acrobat Pro and went with using black highlighting in Word before converting to PDF. They used PDFium to make the PDF - as far as I can sort out, that's an open-source browser attachment. (Can't be sure; I can't get to the site right now.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:15 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


This makes total sense when you consider that part of what got Manafort indicted in the first place was his inability to convert a file between PDF and Word formats.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:16 PM on January 8 [30 favorites]


I haven't tuned into TV news for awhile, but tell me: have any Dem-aligned groups actually aired all the various "I, Donald Trump, take 100% responsibility for this horrible shutdown" clips that people kept crowing were such ripe fodder for attack ads? (And if not, why not?)
posted by Rhaomi at 12:19 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


@jonswaine [Guardian]: NEW: Paul Manafort's attorneys failed to properly redact their filing. They reveal that Mueller alleges Manafort "lied about sharing polling data with Mr. Kilimnik related to the 2016 presidential campaign". Konstantin Kilimnik has alleged ties to Russian intelligence

This is the evidence of collusion. Full stop. "Polling data" is how the Russians targeted their disinformation to individual voters down to the precinct level. Russian intelligence was coordinating directly with the Trump campaign. Call John Oliver, because this is the smoking gun still in the hand of the suspect on video.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:19 PM on January 8 [107 favorites]


It occurs to me that he could simply go on TV and say he won't let the shutdown continue because it hurts employees, services, etc., but he's not giving up on the wall and he's instructing [blah] to do [whatever] thing short of a shutdown, essentially kicking the can down the road but still having it both ways. As long as he makes enough racist noise, his racist base will stick with him. A national emergency order buys him mostly grief and probably doesn't work and is basically stupid. So yeah, I think there are still outcomes short of national emergency bullshit.

Which is to say, this is me starting to think the national emergency thing feels a little more plausible, because it's the dumber and less productive thing for him to do.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:21 PM on January 8 [15 favorites]


This is the evidence of collusion. Full stop. "Polling data" is how the Russians targeted their disinformation to individual voters down to the precinct level.

My guess is that Mueller has avoided revealing this knowledge publicly to let other subjects of investigation think they can safely lie about it...?
posted by Jpfed at 12:27 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


Remember how the mystery company fighting a grand jury subpoena went to the Supreme Court for a stay and there were concerns Chief Justice Roberts was going to get involved? The Supreme Court turned them down, and the stay has been vacated.
posted by zachlipton at 12:28 PM on January 8 [32 favorites]


In other good SCOTUS news, the court has rejected the GOP-led Virginia House of Delegates' request to stay a court decision that the current state legislative map is a racial gerrymander, meaning a new map will be in place for the 2019 election (remember, we in the Old Dominion reject your puny mortal concept of holding elections in even years). The old, gerrymandered maps still only gave the GOP a 51-49 advantage in the House after the 2017 wave election, so hold on to your butts for this year.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:32 PM on January 8 [46 favorites]


Interesting twitter thread by @HoarseWisperer speculating on why the Veselnitskaya indictment was made public when the chances that she'll ever answer to it are slim. Briefly, a public indictment might suggest that airing the case against Veselnitskaya may be useful in making a broader case for collusion. (I see no evidence that the Hoarse Whisperer is more than just another thoughtful person, so take it for what it's worth.)

Which is to say, this is me starting to think the national emergency thing feels a little more plausible, because it's the dumber and less productive thing for him to do.

Trump's razor agrees with you!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:46 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]




(I see no evidence that the Hoarse Whisperer is more than just another thoughtful person, so take it for what it's worth.)

About that...
2018’s worst account award goes to [Twitter thread]
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:08 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


Re: Watching Trump tonight
I plan to record (Tape it is how I actually say it, I am old.) and chase play it. I can nope out for a while if I have to. I do want to see the Democrats response, though.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 1:12 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


If the House impeaches him, do the articles of impeachment just sit there, active, waiting for the Senate to take them up until they expire at the end of this Congress? Because it occurs to me that there are probably some powerful Republicans who aren't quite sure of their exposure in the Mueller probe. And now that collusion is all but confirmed, and the money laundering through the NRA is out in the open, if he declares a state of emergency to build his wall, impeaching him immediately could...work?

Like if it sits there, putting pressure on all those vulnerable Republican senators, as more and more details inevitably leak out, as more pressure builds, etc. The best shot of getting rid of him is if we manage to cleave Republican interests from his, in a very personal sense. And the sword of Damocles hanging over you is a lot of pressure.

And then, of course, we insist they're prosecuted anyway. But still.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:17 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


zachlipton: Remember how the mystery company fighting a grand jury subpoena went to the Supreme Court for a stay and there were concerns Chief Justice Roberts was going to get involved? The Supreme Court turned them down, and the stay has been vacated.

I want to flag this - this is a much bigger deal than whatever bullshit Trump is going to spew on the TV later this evening. Now the mystery company - with enough clout to clear the entire floor of the Federal Court while its case was being heard - will be revealed.

Is it Rosneft? Is it the Qataris, who were paying off boy wonder Jared? Is the Aramco and the Saudis, or the prince of Abu Dhabi, who were possibly laundering 300 million dollars to the Russians through Salvator Mundi? The range of possibilities is endless, and some of them are real doozies.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:18 PM on January 8 [46 favorites]


I want to flag this - this is a much bigger deal than whatever bullshit Trump is going to spew on the TV later this evening. Now the mystery company - with enough clout to clear the entire floor of the Appeals Court while its appeal was being heard - will be revealed.

We still don't know who the mystery financial institution is, but they filed in the Supreme Court again on Monday with a cert petition this time, also basically completely redacted. The Supreme Court is not a fan of conducting its business in secret, so I doubt that will go great.

Meanwhile, speaking of not going great, remember how Judge Friedrich told Concord Management and Consulting's lawyers yesterday to, literally, "knock it off" with the unprofessional filings and antics? The message didn't take, as they've filed a new document containing such gems as "when the word 'Judge' appears before a person's name, this political adornment suggests to the public that there is now some higher level of wisdom than among the mere mortal lawyers in the case." Which strikes me as an unwise thing to say to a federal judge that has just told you to stop making an ass of yourself, but troll lawyers for troll companies are going to troll.
posted by zachlipton at 1:25 PM on January 8 [60 favorites]


I don't think the company will be revealed to the public, it will have to disclose whatever Mueller wants to the SC investigation...we're still probably not going to know that this is really about for a while.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:32 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Adam Schiff's twits:
1.
If Harry Truman couldn't nationalize the steel industry during wartime, President Trump certainly doesn't have the power to declare a nonexistent emergency and build a multi-billion dollar wall on the border.
That's a complete nonstarter.
2.
I’ve been on the Intelligence Committee for over 10 years.
On terrorism and other threats, I’ve received more briefings from FBI, CIA, and DHS than I could count.
How many times have any of them said we need a wall across the southern border?
Zero.

posted by growabrain at 1:43 PM on January 8 [82 favorites]


Rosie M. Banks: "Reps. Jackie Speier (CA-14) and Jared Huffman (CA-1) are delivering National Park trash to its source - the White House. They are putting it in big "Trump Trash" barrels and will take it to Washington to dump at the White House. "

On behalf of the people of DC, please do not use your legislative budget to exacerbate a public health hazard in my city. We are already bearing the brunt of this crisis, we do not have a voice in Congress, and Trump is not going to care one way or the other.

Incidentally, DC is covered with federally-owned properties. Because we have the money to do so (and presumably because our leaders are more concerned with the health of our residents than they are with political stunts), DC's been paying out-of-pocket to collect trash in federally-managed public spaces.

Any photos you see of trash piling up around the National Mall are exaggerated -- I pass through the area daily, and if anything, DC's been doing a better job at picking up the trash than I'm accustomed to seeing from the Park Service (which is staggeringly inept at running urban parks, but that's a topic for another day).

The effects of the shutdown should be made visible, but we shouldn't be putting people (and the environment) at risk (like San Francisco and the CA congressional delegation are doing).
posted by schmod at 1:45 PM on January 8 [32 favorites]


@ForecasterEnten [click for graph]: "Majority of Democrats Identify as Liberal for First Time" per Gallup... Talk about a trendline...

The effects of the shutdown should be made visible, but we shouldn't be putting people (and the environment) at risk (like San Francisco and the CA congressional delegation are doing).

The thing about stunts is that you can have all the trash in boxes and dispose of it appropriately after the photo-op is done. I don't think Speier is planning on actually littering in DC with the trash she just personally cleaned up in California.
posted by zachlipton at 1:53 PM on January 8 [33 favorites]


Bernie Sanders is delivering his own response [Twitter] to Trump after Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer do theirs. He did this for SOTU as well.
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:56 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


@StormyDaniels: If you're looking for anything even remotely worth watching tonight at 9pm EST, I will be folding laundry in my underwear for 8 minutes on Instagram live. (link)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:02 PM on January 8 [134 favorites]


> @StormyDaniels: If you're looking for anything even remotely worth watching tonight at 9pm EST, I will be folding laundry in my underwear for 8 minutes on Instagram live.

Oh 2019, you've outdone yourself already.

This is ... this is horrifying and amazing at the same time. If a time-traveler had told 2015-me that in 4 years, "adult actress folding laundry in her underwear" would be counter-programming for a Presidential address ...
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:08 PM on January 8 [91 favorites]


Reps. Jackie Speier (CA-14) and Jared Huffman (CA-1) are delivering National Park trash to its source - the White House. They are putting it in big "Trump Trash" barrels and will take it to Washington to dump at the White House. "

Sadly, Jared Huffman is CA-2. I live in CA-1 and our rep is Doug LaMalfa, a hateful lying demon in a human suit. Maybe they can put him in a Trump Trash barrel and dump him on the White House lawn instead.

Also I agree that this is a useless stunt. ESPECIALLY if they're collecting the trash in California and then transporting it 3,000 miles just to be spiteful. Let's fix one ecological disaster and then add to a few more!!

Clean up the trash in California's National Parks, Monuments, and other sites and dispose of it, and then maybe consider cleaning up trash in National Parks in DC (or even in adjacent states!) to take to Trump if you really feel the need.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:11 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Or maybe take up a collection in Florida and drive it to Mara Lago. don't do this
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:13 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Reuters: A growing number of Americans blame Trump for shutdown: Reuters-Ipsos poll
The national opinion poll, which ran from Jan. 1 to Jan. 7, found that 51 percent of adults believe Trump “deserves most of the blame” for the shutdown, which entered its 18th day on Tuesday. That is up 4 percentage points from a similar poll that ran from Dec. 21 to 25.

Another 32 percent blame congressional Democrats for the shutdown and 7 percent blame congressional Republicans, according to the poll. Those percentages are mostly unchanged from the previous poll.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:16 PM on January 8 [17 favorites]


Political stunts, such as the ones being undertaken by Jackie Speier and Jared Huffman are not about the trash, or the transporting of the trash or the cleaning of the trash. Rosa Parks wasn't tired, Dr. King did not need to particularly cross the Edmund Pettis bridge. Our HIV-infected ashes didn't need to be on the White House lawn and the freeway shutdowns around police brutality were not helpful for commuting traffic. The point of them is not the thing itself, it is to get publicity. To show in terms people can understand how angry we are.

Publicity stunts are necessary trouble.

Also, I'm back.
posted by Sophie1 at 2:18 PM on January 8 [175 favorites]


Bravo, Sophie1 and good to see you back. :)
posted by yoga at 2:27 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


Seth Abramson (who has grown on me) has a good summary of where we're at:

I hope *everyone* understands that when Trump's Campaign Manager secretly gave campaign data to the Kremlin, that information almost *certainly* did not sit on someone's desk, but was used to enhance, improve, and extend the Kremlin's infiltration of the 2016 election. #Collusion
posted by diogenes at 2:29 PM on January 8 [46 favorites]


....that information almost *certainly* did not sit on someone's desk, but was used to enhance, improve, and extend the Kremlin's infiltration of the 2016 election.

Maggie Haberman on the 9th November 2016: And a detail that got cut from our final days story the other day - Manafort sent at least one memo advising Trump to focus on Wi and MI
posted by PenDevil at 2:32 PM on January 8 [43 favorites]


If a time-traveler had told 2015-me that in 4 years, "adult actress folding laundry in her underwear" would be counter-programming for a Presidential address ...

Life turned into a Warren Ellis comic so gradually, I barely even noticed.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:39 PM on January 8 [69 favorites]



@Alyssa_Milano:
17. When I filed the FOIA I didn’t know what I’d find. I hoped I would find answers. And to a certain extent, I guess I did. I found my worst nightmares realized...CHILDREN are being physically, mentally and sexually abused in our custody in the name of US Immigration.
posted by Mitheral at 2:39 PM on January 8 [55 favorites]


that information almost *certainly* did not sit on someone's desk, but was used to enhance, improve, and extend the Kremlin's infiltration of the 2016 election

For what it's worth, Manafort's spokesman claims that Manafort gave campaign data to the Russian spy in January 2017 and not during the campaign.
posted by diogenes at 2:45 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


[Couple things removed, let's maybe give a pass to pullquoting opinion stuff that's being shitty about making its arguments.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:15 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


Thank the gods my therapist got back from vacation this week. Boy, did I ever have a “welcome home” hour for them today.

I can’t bring myself to watch I-1 tonight. I just can’t do that to myself. It’s gonna be a hide-in-bed-and-binge-netflix night.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:17 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Senators Harris, Hirano, or Duckworth would be so much better. Both in terms of their wit and incisiveness as well as being better representatives of the current party makeup. Have them provide the 2NC speech with the specific attacks to Donald's 1AC. I agree with Pelosi representing the House and delivering the stock 1NC speech. She can frame and is the lead Democrat at the national level.

Then unleash the "kids" on social media to provide appropriate meme-able quoting.

[edited to sub 'meme-able quoting' for 'clowning' which better captures my thoughts.]
posted by Fezboy! at 3:19 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I think there can be no reasonable doubt that Manafort's lawyers, who are sophisticated enough to know how to redact properly and do so on a regular basis in other cases, deliberately screwed up these redactions for the purpose of alerting Manafort's co-conspirators (e.g. Individual 1) to the highly confidential aspects of Mueller's investigation that will help those co-conspirators to concoct their cover stories.
posted by The World Famous at 3:30 PM on January 8 [66 favorites]


Senators Harris, Hirano, or Duckworth would be so much better. Both in terms of their wit and incisiveness as well as being better representatives of the current party makeup.

One also has to wonder if sending a B-team to give the rebuttle might be taken as an insult by I-1. Sort of a “Sorry, but you aren’t worthy of the first team, Don” message. :D
posted by Thorzdad at 3:41 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I can’t bring myself to watch I-1 tonight.

I don’t know how anyone does it ever. The sound of his voice is viscerally repellant to me, and I find it nearly impossible to restrain my anger and disgust, even for seconds at a time. I can read his transcripts or secondhand reporting, but I cannot listen to that man.
posted by Brak at 3:43 PM on January 8 [112 favorites]


I can’t bring myself to watch I-1 tonight. I just can’t do that to myself. It’s gonna be a hide-in-bed-and-binge-netflix night.

I completely respect the instinct and feelings on this, but also want to note that the Washington Post Fact Checker has an idea in Your fact-checking cheat sheet for Trump's immigration address that might be helpful for those trying to watch:
You could use these claims to create your own form of bingo. If you are tempted to create a drinking game, however, we recommend you water down the drinks.
posted by Little Dawn at 3:46 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


Senate floor watch:

@CraigCaplan: 56-44: Senate blocks Middle East policy bill. 60 votes were needed to advance it. 4 Democrats Jones, Manchin, Menendez and Sinema voted Yes. McConnell voted No to allow for 2nd vote to take place. Majority of Democrats voted No to protest inaction on bills to fund & reopen gov't. Filibuster continues on Middle East policy bill after first Senate roll call vote of 116th Congress. McConnell filed cloture again to advance the bill setting up another procedural vote later this week. 60 votes will again be needed.

@ezralevin [Indivisible]: HOLY CRAP WE WON. We needed 41 votes and we got 'em. Senate Dems fight back - refusing to proceed with business as usual until McConnell brings up a budget. Big props to @VanHollenForMD for kicking it off, and @SenSchumer for bringing the caucus together. KEEP IT UP DEMS!
posted by zachlipton at 3:46 PM on January 8 [105 favorites]


I think there can be no reasonable doubt that Manafort's lawyers, who are sophisticated enough to know how to redact properly and do so on a regular basis in other cases, deliberately screwed up these redactions for the purpose of alerting Manafort's co-conspirators

I hope the Judge's clerks are right now working on contempt charges for disclosing redacted information in a court filing.
posted by mikelieman at 3:48 PM on January 8 [28 favorites]


4 Democrats Jones, Manchin, Menendez and Sinema voted Yes.

I mean I’m glad that Sinema won a seat in red-purple Arizona but hoooboy do I want to know what happened to the Occupy Wallstreet radical to turn her into the bluest dog democrat you ever did see.
posted by dis_integration at 3:58 PM on January 8 [14 favorites]


I'm going to watch the damn thing, and make a drinking game out of it: if he says terrorist(s), MS-13, rapist(s), or ISIS, drink. If he goes off script and talks about the Russia probe drink twice. If he declares a national emergency drink your whole drink.If he mentions the fake news media, drink two more times. If he declares martial law in the border states drink your whole bottle then resist harder. If he resigns go to the street and share your bottle with the people.

Now we just need rules for the Chuck and Nancy portion. Ideas?
posted by vrakatar at 3:59 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


there can be no reasonable doubt that Manafort's lawyers . . . deliberately screwed up these redactions for the purpose of alerting Manafort's co-conspirators

Eh, Occam probably applies here - can't Manafort's lawyers actually just talk to Trump's lawyers?
posted by aspersioncast at 4:00 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


Now we just need rules for the Chuck and Nancy portion. Ideas?

Every time they stress that "improved border security" is indeed an important priority you have to finish the bottle of tequila and throw it at your television.
posted by contraption at 4:02 PM on January 8 [54 favorites]


And have been. They had some kind of joint defense agreement thing until fairly recently.

They’re just stupid.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:04 PM on January 8


Oh, I forgot: if he has a meltdown and starts dropping f-bombs and screaming and has to be pulled off camera, drink half your bottle and take a half hit of acid.
posted by vrakatar at 4:07 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


This is ... this is horrifying and amazing at the same time. If a time-traveler had told 2015-me that in 4 years, "adult actress folding laundry in her underwear" would be counter-programming for a Presidential address ...

Daniels is really good at this, though

When I say this, I mean trolling the Orange One, not folding laundry
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:11 PM on January 8 [15 favorites]


“I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

A reminder why, to certain people, hurting (certain) people = "good things".
posted by gtrwolf at 4:16 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


Remind me, there's a MeFi chat or something where I can kibitz along? I can't bring myself to lend my viewing stats to that monster (and much as I hate Instagram I may just tune in to Stormy to get her numbers up). Would love to go through it with MeFi folks and the Mods may blow a gasket if we livestream it here...
posted by Sublimity at 4:18 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Round one of this game is played with White Russians, amirite? What's for round two?
posted by skippyhacker at 4:20 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


I'm going to watch the damn thing, and make a drinking game out of it: if he says terrorist(s), MS-13, rapist(s), or ISIS, drink. If he goes off script and talks about the Russia probe drink twice. If he declares a national emergency drink your whole drink.If he mentions the fake news media, drink two more times. If he declares martial law in the border states drink your whole bottle then resist harder. If he resigns go to the street and share your bottle with the people.

Now we just need rules for the Chuck and Nancy portion. Ideas?
posted by vrakatar at 7:59 AM on January 9 [1 favorite +] [!]


I'm already drunk. My idea is get drunk. It supports the economomicomy, and if you watch drunk on half speed he sounds drunk!
posted by saysthis at 4:21 PM on January 8 [21 favorites]


Eh, Occam probably applies here - can't Manafort's lawyers actually just talk to Trump's lawyers?

Disclosing information designated as protected under a court order, not to be disclosed? No, not even with a JDA.
posted by The World Famous at 4:22 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Vox: What’s actually happening at the US-Mexico border, explained. Beyond rhetoric and rebuttals, here’s what you need to know.
By Dara Lind

President Trump wants you, and everyone else in America, to believe that the US-Mexico border isn’t just in trouble but in crisis.

The fundamental premise of the government shutdown is that the US-Mexico border is so dangerous to human life that it is worth shutting down whole swaths of the federal government, forcing 800,000 federal employees to miss paychecks, in order to address it.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:22 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


Oh, I forgot: if he has a meltdown and starts dropping f-bombs and screaming and has to be pulled off camera, drink half your bottle and take a half hit of acid.

Wait, I was supposed to do that after he started?
posted by zombieflanders at 4:23 PM on January 8 [17 favorites]


What's for round two?

I know I said tequila but Robitussin is probably the better choice.
posted by contraption at 4:24 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


You can drink anything you want or what you have, White Russians are a fine choice for round one, clearly, and I suggest champagne, cuba libres, dark and stormy danielses, or any fine american whiskey for round two. But any potent potable will do.
posted by vrakatar at 4:25 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Is anyone live-blogging Stormy Daniels? Because that would make a more interesting read.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:28 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]




I, for one, am excited to see what she does with a fitted sheet.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:31 PM on January 8 [68 favorites]


[So I know we have that goofy pre-very-stupid-thing energy going but just as I'm gonna ask folks to aim to reel in the liveblogging during the actual stuff, I'm gonna ask y'all to go ahead and reel in the pre-gaming a bit too. I heartily advocate filling the next hour and a half, if not also the time after that, doing something other than sitting in this thread killing time.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:32 PM on January 8 [21 favorites]


What I find perplexing is why Individual-One waited until he lost control of the entire government to go after one of his signature campaign promises. I've been looking for an analysis on this, but nada.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:33 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


What I find perplexing is why Individual-One waited until he lost control of the entire government to go after one of his signature campaign promises.

He thinks he can reset his presidency now using the Democratic Congress as a foil. He might be right.
posted by gerryblog at 4:34 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


In the spirit of not just killing time in here, one good thing to do would be to reach out to your local activist connections and see who's organizing the protest if in fact tonight does bring a bullshit invocation of presidential emergency powers. If nobody is, that means you're it!
posted by contraption at 4:35 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


Maybe but his base would be a lot happier - or so it seems - if he had gotten this done already. I mean there are lots of issues he could use a democratic house as a foil for.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:36 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


@frankthorp NBC News

NEW: Sen @lisamurkowski is calling for the rest of the government to be re-opened while negotiations continue on the border wall: "We don't need to hold up these six other departments at the same time that we are resolving these very important security issues."
posted by bluesky43 at 4:39 PM on January 8 [15 favorites]


Maybe but his base would be a lot happier - or so it seems - if he had gotten this done already. I mean there are lots of issues he could use a democratic house as a foil for.

Respecting the no-jibber-jabber rules, I'll just say that I don't think his base actually cares about policy or about results, by and large. They just hate Democrats.
posted by gerryblog at 4:43 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


He thinks he can reset his presidency now using the Democratic Congress as a foil. He might be right.

Might've worked if he hadn't pissed off the military. As it stands, declaring an emergency to pull money away from other parts of the defense budget isn't going to re-invigorate his dwindling base; it'll further alienate the ones who are already wavering.
Trump has another problem: If he tries to divert $5 billion from the defense budget, he might see massive resistance and more resignations from top military officials. Trump, you should remember, is looking to abscond with precious resources dedicated to national security. His military will object; Democrats (and maybe some Republicans) will rightly claim that he is not fulfilling his obligations as commander in chief.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:48 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


I am declaring a state of emergency (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
There are two types of crisis. One type of crisis — for the want of any verb more suitable — exists, can be measured and produces an impact on people’s lives whether they turn on their televisions that day or not. It is observable, produces tangible effects and is, for lack of a better word, real. The other one, not to put too fine a point on it — isn’t.

But the good news, as the nation may learn tonight when the president addresses us, is that — thanks to Fox News, Facebook and the tireless efforts of the highest office in the land — this second is the kind we have to worry about now, more often than in the past, where (with periodic exceptions; there was a brief spell, for instance, during which you could will weapons of mass destruction into being if you just closed your eyes and thought about them hard enough) real crises were the only type available.

Now, presented with hard evidence that one crisis — climate change, or the murder of a journalist — is happening, you have a new option, which is to say, “No, I don’t like this. This didn’t happen. Instead, I’d prefer for something else to be happening.” And then it just … can happen! Or, at least, be televised.

But the trouble with manufactured crises is that real people keep getting caught in them. In the course of fighting off imaginary phantoms, we have condemned real children to die, or put them in cages. As we close the government that we may better fight our imaginary foe, millions of real people are facing eviction and hunger and the loss of their paychecks.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:15 PM on January 8 [36 favorites]


The Trump White House’s team-building retreat (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Day 1, Morning

“This is the conch,” Mick Mulvaney says. “Whoever has the conch has the floor! This is going to be fun, guys. We’re going to bond.”

Everyone claps and nods. Someone shoves Rick Perry, and his glasses fall off, but he picks them up before they break.

“We’re going to start with some simple games and activities,” Mulvaney says, waving the conch. “First, a quick ice-breaking round of two truths and a lie.”

Murmurs begin in the crowd of staffers. “Great,” Sarah Sanders says. “Just one question: What is a truth?”

By the time Mulvaney manages to explain what a truth is to the baffled assembly, the sun hangs low in the west, and they are running late for the ropes course.

Day 1, Afternoon

Mulvaney attempts to explain the concept of trust falls, but everyone greets with uproarious laughter his suggestion that they would voluntarily fall into the arms of anyone else present. Finally, to demonstrate, he forces Ben Carson to fall backward, but no one makes any effort to catch him. He lands on Perry, dislodging his glasses. They break. Everyone laughs.

Day 1, Evening

Perry’s broken glasses are seized and used to make fire. As a trust-building exercise, everyone begins pelting one another with small rocks.

“I have the conch,” Mulvaney says timidly at one point, but a laughing Steven Mnuchin launches a smooth, flat stone that just misses him, and he decides to say nothing further.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:22 PM on January 8 [52 favorites]


It's special election season again!

ELECTION RESULT

Dem HOLD in Virginia Senate 33:
Boysko [D] 69.8%
May [R] 30.1%
Margin changes compared to previous races:

vs 2016 presidential result margin: Dem improvement of about 8 points.
vs 20152 SD-33 result margin: Dem improvement of about 26 points.

GOP lead in the Virginia Senate remains 21-19.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:38 PM on January 8 [42 favorites]


HuffPo:
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been furloughed or are working without pay as the government shutdown continues into a third week.

But another group of workers also has been hit hard: government contractors. And unlike those employed directly by the government who likely will get back pay for this period, contractors in past shutdowns have not.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a freshman Democrat from Massachusetts, wants to change that. Pressley introduced legislation on Tuesday to ensure back pay for government contractors ― from food workers and janitors to security services ― who depend on federal funds for their wages. Since the shutdown, many have been furloughed or have received “stop work” orders, putting them out of work, and without pay, until the government is running again.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:44 PM on January 8 [34 favorites]


The Hill: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced Tuesday that the city will begin guaranteeing health care to residents, regardless of their immigration status or their ability to pay.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:47 PM on January 8 [80 favorites]


NYT squeaking in a few minutes before the speech with a major detail on Manafort. Manafort Accused of Sharing Trump Campaign Data With Russian Associate
The document gave no indication of whether Mr. Trump was aware of the data transfer or how Mr. Kilimnik might have used the information. But from March to August 2016, when Mr. Manafort worked for the Trump campaign, Russia was engaged in a full-fledged operation using social media, stolen emails and other tactics to boost Mr. Trump, attack Mrs. Clinton and play on divisive issues such as race, guns and immigration. Polling data could conceivably have helped Russia hone those messages and target audiences to help swing votes to Mr. Trump.

Both Mr. Manafort and Rick Gates, the deputy campaign manager, transferred the data to Mr. Kilimnik in the spring of 2016 as Mr. Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination, according to a person knowledgeable about the situation. Most of the data was public, but some of it was developed by a private polling firm working for the campaign, according to the person.

Mr. Manafort asked that Mr. Kilimnik pass the data to Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is close to the Kremlin and who has claimed that Mr. Manafort owed him money from a failed business venture, the person said. It is unclear whether Mr. Manafort was acting at the campaign’s behest or independently, trying to gain favor with someone to whom he was deeply in debt.
The charitable explanation is that Manafort could have given the polling data to Deripaska to impress him and show that the work on the Trump campaign was paying off (potentially leading to future sanctions relief). The less charitable explanation is that it's straight-up collusion to assist Russia's targeting efforts during the election.
posted by zachlipton at 5:58 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


Kevin McCarthy on CSPAN just now, reminding us that Trump's been working day in and day out during the shutdown to bring both sides together. Also, there's a crisis on our southern border.
posted by Rykey at 6:01 PM on January 8


[So, folks, gearing up for this address and the responses: let's avoid livebloggy single-sentence responses, contextless "whats!", etc. Pertinent links and summing stuff up in digest comments is gonna be a lot more readable. There is Chat as an alternative more chatty option.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:02 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


The Hill: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced Tuesday that the city will begin guaranteeing health care to residents, regardless of their immigration status or their ability to pay.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:47 AM on January 9 [9 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

NYC Mayor Guarantees Comprehensive Health Care for All in Historic Surprise Announcement
It's not health insurance, his spokesman clarified after the surprise announcement on MSNBC Tuesday morning.

"This is the city paying for direct comprehensive care (not just ERs) for people who can't afford it, or can't get comprehensive Medicaid — including 300,000 undocumented New Yorkers," spokesman Eric Phillips tweeted.
Holy shit. I was considering going for Australian citizenship but like...American can have me back if this is how we roll. And this is NYC!
posted by saysthis at 6:04 PM on January 8 [54 favorites]


Ha! Just checked in on Ms. Daniels. She’s got “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” as her soundtrack while she folds some very small clothes.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:04 PM on January 8 [41 favorites]


Watching the address. Six minutes in, for all the hype, it's shockingly low energy. You can tell a) he didn't write this speech (too many concrete-sounding statistics, too on-topic) and b) he's reading off a teleprompter with no enthusiasm whatsoever. He sounds bored as hell by his own speech.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 6:09 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


Miller wrote this speech, no question.
posted by exlotuseater at 6:11 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


Stormy Daniels is indeed folding laundry in her underwear to the sweet tunes of Don't Back Down by Tom Petty on Instagram. It is glorious.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:11 PM on January 8 [46 favorites]


Trump is taking the tone of daddy, “Don’t make me turn this car around!”
He didn’t say anything new. Read from the promter, no ad-lib, and no emergency declaration.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 6:11 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


There was no news whatsoever, just a retread of the same rants on immigration he's been giving since he walked down that escalator and a demand that Congress pass a bill and we should all call Congress and tell them to secure the border. No emergency declaration or really anything new, just the usual stuff about needing a wall (which he says will pay for itself, but not that Mexico will pay for it).

@ErikWemple: Looks like the White House secured major network TV time for an address that repeats all of the president's arguments on immigration, only, this time, through a TelePrompTer.

Also, the production values were terrible, with the shot weirdly framed and his face out of focus as he leaned forward and squinted to read the prompter and the sniffles becoming increasingly loud toward the end.
posted by zachlipton at 6:12 PM on January 8 [32 favorites]




TIL that the steel slats were "at the request of Democrats".
posted by triggerfinger at 6:13 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Oh, yeah, and many lies about the number of people coming over the border.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 6:13 PM on January 8




Surprisingly short. Nothing new. This changes nothing and lets the Dems hit a tee ball. Hopefully they don’t whiff it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:13 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the bulk of the structure and pacing and vocabulary are conspicuously non-Trumpian; he snuck in little flourishes and perked up a little when he was describing horrible crimes, but overall seemed to stay really close to a script he didn't seem to care much about and had to slow down a few times to hit the start of a new line or point.

It's exactly the pile of racist fearmongering you'd expect, but much more a hand up his ass than his rally improv.
posted by cortex at 6:13 PM on January 8 [13 favorites]


Once again Trump under delivers.
posted by notyou at 6:14 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


The networks got played.
posted by waitingtoderail at 6:15 PM on January 8 [55 favorites]


As villainous ransom notes go, he's no Lex Luthor.
posted by Freon at 6:15 PM on January 8 [13 favorites]


He sounds bored as hell by his own speech.

Oh well, since this is DJT, then it probably means the whole thing was just a misdirection from the real heinous republican crime-fest that's happening simultaneously that we will only find out about on thursday. And then he'll throw another temper tantrum. I mean, this season is getting pretty predictable when it comes down to it and I would switch it off if the stakes weren't so. damn. high.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:15 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


He actually stated multiple times that there is a crisis of "illegal aliens" murdering American citizens. He used baby words like "right and wrong." He also looked...squinty. More than usual.
posted by agregoli at 6:16 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


The redoubtable Daniel Dale is live-blogging/fact-checking Trump's speech:
—Most of the heroin Trump is talking about comes through legal ports of entry, not through unwalled areas.
—Trump has never personally presented detailed data about how many children are being fraudulently used for border-crossing purposes, merely implying it's common. The evidence suggests it's a small minority of the families who cross.
—Democrats have not made a "request" for a steel barrier, as far as anyone knows. They don't want any of this.
—The new trade deal hasn't been ratified by Congress. Even if it is, eventually, possible benefits to U.S. businesses are not a funding stream that pays for an infrastructure project.
—Democrats have repeatedly shown they're willing to fund various border security measures, just not A Wall.
—Trump is implicitly referring to the Obamas again. They have some fencing at their house, but it is not surrounded by a giant wall. (It is obviously protected by the Secret Service as well.)
—This is Trump's go-to Big Speech thing: graphic descriptions of murders committed by illegal immigrants. We saw it in his RNC acceptance speech, among other places.
—This is the same Trump content as always, just in his President Voice.
For all the hype his first Oval Office received, Trump whiffed it. We'll see how his visit to the Mexican border on Thursday plays (if he still goes).
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:17 PM on January 8 [28 favorites]


If you read to the veeeerrry bottom of this NYT piece on Trump vs Bolton regarding Syria, there’s this beautiful gem.

Really reassuring that one of the most powerful nations on earth is being led by a man who brain must be about 40% amyloid plaques by now.
Despite being a contemporary of Mr. Trump’s, however, Mr. Bolton is not a member of his inner circle. He does not have the same relationship with Mr. Trump that he had with Mr. Bush. Sometimes, with aides, the president refers to him as “Mike Bolton.”
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:20 PM on January 8 [36 favorites]


deliberately screwed up these redactions for the purpose of alerting Manafort's co-conspirators (e.g. Individual 1) to the highly confidential aspects of Mueller's investigation that will help those co-conspirators to concoct their cover stories.

I talked to a career litigator today, and he said there was very, very little chance of that, especially given how Manafort's legal team is composed of veteran, serious lawyers who worked in fairly fancy lawyer jobs for the government, then went to well-known, well-connected DC shops, including one with a heavy emphasis ondealing with the government.

In his opinion, this was a fuckup by somebody's paralegal or assistant, and that person is going to be losing his or her job, if they haven't already. Because this is the kind of thing that every litigator has nightmares about, and why standard lawyer practice in dealing with redacted court documents is to print it out either as a PDF, or to print it out and then manually scan it in, or to fucking run a metadata scrubber. Or do all three in an overflow of paranoia. I know people who got screamed at, like, full on backed into a corner of their office and screamed at for accidentally forgetting to redact something in, like, Schedule 4 of Exhibit "J" to a rando-ass corporate bankruptcy filing in Delaware.

So uh. In describing what the judge was going to do to the lawyers for Manafort, my litigator friend was like, "He's going to crack open their chests and eat their hearts. And that's before Mueller starts telling how much this fucks with the rest of the investigation."
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:20 PM on January 8 [95 favorites]


Essentially this is just a sideshow. Wait until he jumps on Twitter to start ranting. That’ll be his “speech.” Tonight there was a TelePrompTer telling him what to say, having been decided by people who were probably vetting what was and wasn’t legally possible. Reports have come out saying that people in the White House were pretty much giving up on the state of emergency because it wouldn’t fly legally, which is probably why this was much more restrained, much more scaremongering.

When he’s alone with Twitter, he’ll go off the rails. With no one to talk him down, he’ll start ranting, the gore-stories will end up being inflated (the city of Houston, gone, destroyed by MS 13 gangs!), and he’ll try to declare the state of emergency via Twitter.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:22 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


I know we're not supposed to do hot takes but "The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall."

GOD-DAYUM
posted by nushustu at 6:22 PM on January 8 [87 favorites]


At least we're not hearing that Trump has finally turned a corner and started acting presidential just because he managed to successfully read words off a teleprompter.
posted by xammerboy at 6:24 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


Chuck and Nancy's joint appearance, summarized: Nice try, stop being a lying racist and open the government. Period. (Thank god.)
posted by Rykey at 6:26 PM on January 8 [57 favorites]


I watched the address and response on PBS, nice to see the entire group covering the event are women. Trump will never know, but I find it nice.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 6:28 PM on January 8 [18 favorites]


That was pretty much his last card to play and it won't change the trajectory of this which is against him and moving increasingly so.

As much as I hate that the networks aired a racist campaign ad, watching his silver bullet fail is almost worth it. He's finished on this. It will drive him nuts when it doesn't change the conversation and will hate that everyone will say he was low energy.
posted by chris24 at 6:29 PM on January 8 [23 favorites]


Pelosi and Shumer didn't exactly knock my socks off. I guess they said the right things, but I wouldn't mind a little more passion. They are completely uninspiring.
posted by diogenes at 6:32 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Political stunts, such as the ones being undertaken by Jackie Speier and Jared Huffman are not about the trash, or the transporting of the trash or the cleaning of the trash. Rosa Parks wasn't tired, Dr. King did not need to particularly cross the Edmund Pettis bridge. Our HIV-infected ashes didn't need to be on the White House lawn and the freeway shutdowns around police brutality were not helpful for commuting traffic. The point of them is not the thing itself, it is to get publicity. To show in terms people can understand how angry we are.
Publicity stunts are necessary trouble.


Rosa Parks and Dr. King didn't contribute to and then spread a public health crisis, nor did the ashes of HIV+ people (ashes are not "infected" with HIV) or freeway shutdowns.

I understand the need for publicity and necessary trouble, but transporting garbage across the country (I have to assume they're flying it--which I guess we can add to Speier and Huffman's carbon footprint) is horrible for the environment, especially when the same point can be made with trash from NPS sites in the vicinity of DC.

Besides, the GOP could give a shit about California's garbage or the ecological disaster being caused by the shutdown. I get that they're trying to bring awareness to the situation in their districts, but parks all over California (including ones in GOP-controlled districts) and the country are suffering, and I think that there are better, less environmentally harmful ways to approach it, which would still get the publicity, anger, and trouble needed to raise awareness and get their point across.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:38 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, I found this thing on Vox that I don't think anyone put here, and it seems to have some substantial benchmarks:

Here’s the offer Trump is making to Democrats to end the shutdown
Trump wants $800 million to improve care for families at the border — and $5.7 billion for the wall.
...
the content of the offer is more serious than anything the administration committed to in writing during the last immigration fight with Congress in early 2018.
...
Namely, here’s what the administration says it can do with the money it wants:

$211 million to hire 750 more US Border Patrol agents
$675 million for screening technology at ports of entry (official border crossings)
$571 million to hire 200 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and support staff, responsible for immigration enforcement in the interior and for immigrant detention
$4.2 billion to expand immigrant detention capacity to a record 52,000 beds (some of which are likely to be in family detention facilities)
$563 million to hire 75 more immigration judges and attendant staff, to address the immigration-court backlog
...
That $5.7 billion, according to the new letter, would be able to build 234 new miles of border barriers, which would all be steel bollards instead of any concrete wall. (The $1.6 billion, by contrast, was appropriated to build 65 miles; how much barriers cost per mile depends a lot on terrain and what’s already there.)


I would guess whatever meeting they have tomorrow will use these numbers as a starting point.
posted by saysthis at 6:42 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


@NYTnickc: Less than 30 minutes after his address, the Trump campaign is fundraising off the address. Campaign accounts sends out second donation text of the night, with link to donation page saying “We need to raise $500,000 in one day.”

Always be grifting. Alternatively, they're fundraising off something they almost declared a national emergency for.
posted by zachlipton at 6:44 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


I suspect we’ll find out there were multiple speeches written and he backed down from more forceful versions at the last minute.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:44 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Namely, here’s what the administration says it can do with the money it wants:

Am I missing something? None of those items are a wall.
posted by diogenes at 6:47 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


His speech was weak and full of lies; Nancy and Chuck replied with several serious burns and facts and reason. I don’t see why he even bothered. And I’m really glad the Dems spoke last.
posted by valkane at 6:47 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


Pelosi and Shumer didn't exactly knock my socks off. I guess they said the right things, but I wouldn't mind a little more passion. They are completely uninspiring.

I thought their choice to speak in measured tones was both deliberate and super fucking wise, personally. There was still moral urgency there. They just sounded grounded and reasonable. Trump sure sounded bored reading Stephen Miller’s racist book report, though.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:48 PM on January 8 [58 favorites]


nushutsu: I know we're not supposed to do hot takes but "The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall."

GOD-DAYUM


Of possible interest
posted by tzikeh at 6:49 PM on January 8 [18 favorites]


Am I missing something? None of those items are a wall.

They want all of it. $5.7B for the wall plus the other stuff. They're making a bunch of new demands in addition to the wall. But some of the other stuff was already in the Senate bill to fund the government in the first place (for instance, the $4.2B for immigration detention is just an increase from the $3.7B the Senate already voted for last month).
posted by zachlipton at 6:51 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]




No, since DC is the Feds.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:54 PM on January 8


NYT, Peter Baker, Trump Appeals to Nation for Wall: ‘This Is a Choice Between Right and Wrong’
Yet privately, Mr. Trump dismissed his own new strategy as pointless. In an off-the-record lunch with television anchors hours before the address, he made clear in blunt terms that he was not inclined to give the speech or go to Texas, but was talked into it by advisers, according to two people briefed on the discussion who asked not to be identified sharing details.

“It’s not going to change a damn thing, but I’m still doing it,” Mr. Trump said of the trip to the border, according to one of the people, who was in the room. The border trip was just a photo opportunity, he said. “But,” he added, gesturing at his communications aides, Bill Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, “these people behind you say it’s worth it.”
First, it's 2019 and we're still having goddamn off the record lunches with the President like we've learned absolutely nothing? Second, maybe the fact that even the person giving the speech thinks it's a pointless waste of time should inform network decisions to give him free prime time air, since that admission suggests he won't have anything useful to say. Third, why does he even say stuff like this?
posted by zachlipton at 6:58 PM on January 8 [39 favorites]


Dan Pfeiffer: FWIW: the Obama speech that the networks refused to air in 2014 was 100x more newsy that what Trump just said.

Utterly indefensible from our collaborator media. Trump says jump and they say "yes and what else can we do help you get reelected?"
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:58 PM on January 8 [71 favorites]


What I find perplexing is why Individual-One waited until he lost control of the entire government to go after one of his signature campaign promises.

Ezra Klein:
If Donald Trump wanted the wall, he'd have negotiated away something of value to get it. Or at least tried to do so.

He doesn't want the wall. He wants the fight over the wall. He wants to be seen going to war over the wall. That's what tonight is about.
posted by Jpfed at 7:02 PM on January 8 [99 favorites]


Yet privately, Mr. Trump dismissed his own new strategy as pointless. In an off-the-record lunch with television anchors hours before the address, he made clear in blunt terms...

Am I missing the "off the record" part?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:02 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Public officials should never, ever be allowed to go "off the record" unless (maybe) they're whistle blowing on someone else in government.
posted by maxwelton at 7:04 PM on January 8 [13 favorites]


Am I missing the "off the record" part?

The news anchors probably agreed to his comments being off-the-record. But anyone else who overheard what he said (servers, passers-by, whomever) are not bound by that agreement and could pass them along to reporters, who are likewise not bound by the agreement.
posted by Justinian at 7:05 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


Am I missing the "off the record" part?

The original report said "an unnamed US President close to the administration".
posted by uosuaq at 7:06 PM on January 8 [75 favorites]


Namely, here’s what the administration says it can do with the money it wants:

Am I missing something? None of those items are a wall.
posted by diogenes at 10:47 AM on January 9 [+] [!]


It's the itemized list PLUS the wall. There's a chart, but the text doesn't explain that well.

Yes, he also wants $4.2 billion for immigrant prisons. To be built by...by...the skin puppets of Lovecraftian horrors, as per the usual with this administration (ok I admit it the Lovecraftian stuff is pure speculation but Juan Sanchez of Southwest Key Programs gets $1.5 million per year of $458 million from the Trump administration to creatively fund the sexual and physical abuse of migrant children hundreds of times so)
posted by saysthis at 7:06 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


It’s so interesting hearing all the journalists say “Wall” and not “the wall”.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:07 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


Chuck Todd provided NBC's commentary and also referred to the off the record meeting saying that his impression was that Trump's main audience was "wobbly" congressional republican who believe that Trump has mismanaged the messaging on the shutdown and wall, and Chuck didn't hear anything that would reassure that group.
posted by peeedro at 7:07 PM on January 8


NYT, Peter Baker, Trump Appeals to Nation for Wall: ‘This Is a Choice Between Right and Wrong

The speech was designed to fire up Rs and change the conversation. Well...
"Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, who is chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, expressed frustration with the shutdown and 'how useless it is'."
When Trump has lost the West Virginia R senator...
posted by chris24 at 7:08 PM on January 8 [24 favorites]


But anyone else who overheard what he said (servers, passers-by, whomever) are not bound by that agreement and could pass them along to reporters, who are likewise not bound by the agreement.

Possible it’s Trump himself eager to deflect blame from tonight’s flop.
posted by notyou at 7:11 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Rosa Parks and Dr. King didn't contribute to and then spread a public health crisis

Garbage Transport is pretty routine. Even long distance garbage transport. Every day. This is a very weird argument to have.
posted by srboisvert at 7:12 PM on January 8 [24 favorites]


Bernie Sanders' response to Trump's address

I thought it was pretty good. He called out Trump's constant lying, argued against this manufactured border crisis, and pointed out that our real emergencies include the government shutdown, lack of access to healthcare, rising wealth disparity, and climate change.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:13 PM on January 8 [20 favorites]


[Let's let the whole trash stunt: good or bad? thing drop now.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:25 PM on January 8 [14 favorites]


@NYTnickc: Less than 30 minutes after his address, the Trump campaign is fundraising off the address. Campaign accounts sends out second donation text of the night, with link to donation page saying “We need to raise $500,000 in one day.”

Always be grifting. Alternatively, they're fundraising off something they almost declared a national emergency for.


And thus probably the real reason (along with power and ego of course) that Trump is so eager to pander to his base (whether it's the Wall or whatever else pushes the buttons and opens the purse strings), come hell or high water.
posted by gtrwolf at 7:26 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


Despite being a contemporary of Mr. Trump’s, however, Mr. Bolton is not a member of his inner circle. He does not have the same relationship with Mr. Trump that he had with Mr. Bush. Sometimes, with aides, the president refers to him as “Mike Bolton.”

well he looks just like him, easy mistake
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:27 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


Bernie Sanders' response to Trump's address

I liked it because he listed actual specific bad things that are happening to Americans, and explicitly blamed Trump for rejecting what Congress unanimously approved. He laid out the how and why of Trump's responsibility for the shutdown. Schumer and Pelosi, bless their hearts, did not, despite the fact that they had equal airtime, and Bernie Sanders only has Youtube.

I'm with the Dems and will devote the effort time and money that I have to the cause, but Sanders gave the speech I wish we could have seen on network TV. I only say that because the man put the blame squarely where it belongs. I wish party leadership had the same chutzpah.

Now I'm going away because I've spammed this thread enough for one day.
posted by saysthis at 7:28 PM on January 8 [14 favorites]


Pelosi and Shumer didn't exactly knock my socks off. I guess they said the right things, but I wouldn't mind a little more passion. They are completely uninspiring.

They were believable, and that's all that matters. Trump wants immigration to be the discussion forever. I thought they did a pretty good job of making clear this is a made up issue.
posted by xammerboy at 7:29 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


In an off-the-record lunch with television anchors hours before the address, he made clear in blunt terms that he was not inclined to give the speech or go to Texas, but was talked into it by advisers, according to two people briefed on the discussion who asked not to be identified sharing details.

“It’s not going to change a damn thing, but I’m still doing it,” Mr. Trump said of the trip to the border, according to one of the people, who was in the room. The border trip was just a photo opportunity, he said. “But,” he added, gesturing at his communications aides, Bill Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, “these people behind you say it’s worth it.”


This gave me a little flush of warmth, to recall that Trump is likely at least as miserable in private as he acts in public. It kills me, because "degenerate fake billionaire wants to quit being president, but can't" is a story I would love to see on any channel but the news.

If a time-traveler had told 2015-me that in 4 years, "adult actress folding laundry in her underwear" would be counter-programming for a Presidential address ...

Life turned into a Warren Ellis comic so gradually, I barely even noticed.


It's Blade Runner year, Akira year, Running Man year and Zardoz year, and my level of fashion has not kept pace with the level of dystopia rising around me. I always expected to at least look a lot cooler if things ever got this bad.
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:34 PM on January 8 [118 favorites]


It's Blade Runner year, Akira year, Running Man year and Zardoz year, and my level of fashion has not kept pace with the level of dystopia rising around me. I always expected to at least look a lot cooler if things ever got this bad.

This is an FPP waiting to happen.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:36 PM on January 8 [94 favorites]


Politico: House GOP Support For Shutdown Eroding | Hardball | MSNBC - YouTube

Basically two old white guys yelling, but worth the five minutes.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:48 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


In his opinion, this [failed Manafort redaction] was a fuckup by somebody's paralegal or assistant, and that person is going to be losing his or her job, if they haven't already.... [that's] why standard lawyer practice in dealing with redacted court documents is to print it out either as a PDF, or to print it out and then manually scan it in, or to fucking run a metadata scrubber.

Why not a screen shot of the blacked out Word document, or a mosaic of screen shots if necessary? Then reassemble the PNG files into a PDF. I'm no security expert but it seems simple, safe, no extra software needed...
posted by msalt at 7:48 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


> It's Blade Runner year, Akira year, Running Man year and Zardoz year, and my level of fashion has not kept pace with the level of dystopia rising around me. I always expected to at least look a lot cooler if things ever got this bad.

This is an FPP waiting to happen.
Pre-corrective for a potential FPP: Zardoz is set in 2293.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 7:59 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


Well...2020 is Soylent Green year...so maybe the primaries will feature actual cannibalism.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:05 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


Trump tried to play a normal president on television. The result was very strange.
Watching Trump’s flat delivery of sentiments that he can’t possibly believe was the inverse of comforting. Instead, the address had the queasy effect of a serial killer’s mask in a horror movie: It was a failed attempt to look normal that concealed something even more terrifying underneath.

In the second half of the address, that mask dropped away and Trump regained some of his animation as he described terrible crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. The whole performance is a testament to why it’s unwise to hope that Trump grows into his office and that he learns how to play a normal president. If he did, he’d be much more effective at advancing his agenda, and people on both sides of the border would be in much greater peril.
- Alyssa Rosenberg (WaPo)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:07 PM on January 8 [18 favorites]


Wait, so he chickened out at the last minute? No National Emergency? No dictatorial power-grab?

CR is all but done, now. There will be a line item about studying the feasibility of a wall, maybe a few mill or so, most of it returned to the treasury at the end of the fiscal year.

The Donald Chickened Out. And now his party will abandon him.

Nice.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:18 PM on January 8 [15 favorites]


James Poniewozik, Who Paid for the Prime-Time Wall Debate? The American Viewer
What there was not, after two days of media drama, was a convincing argument for why this needed to be a prime-time event at all. There was no news. There was no new argument. There was just a wall of sound, and the American viewing audience paid for it.

Nor was there much compelling television, unless you’re an avid maker of internet memes. This was not a friendly setting for either party.
...
Assessing whether a source is credible isn’t bias. It’s not political. It’s journalism. In this case, the networks had more evidence than Charlie Brown did about Lucy and her football. (This comparison may be unfair to Charlie Brown, who did not act out of fear that the football would tweet mean things about him.)
posted by zachlipton at 8:18 PM on January 8 [15 favorites]


The Donald Chickened Out. And now his party will abandon him

I dunno, Trump has said he can wait years for this. So.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:23 PM on January 8


He can wait forever once there's a veto-proof vote.
posted by odinsdream at 8:29 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


It was good to hear from the president (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Here is a terrifying farrago of semi-facts strung together from misleading Fox News clips and things misheard in dreams. The only solution to any of these problems is to build the wall, though it has no logical connection to anything mentioned. It will solve everything. This administration is determined to do its best to undermine everything that might make someone want to come to this country. We will build a wall. We will stop the national prosperity that is drawing people to this country. We will make this place as awful as possible and as terrifying as possible. Fill it with fear and horror. Then people will turn around. Then maybe we will not even need the wall.

If you are opposed to the building of this particular wall, you oppose walls in general. How do your houses stand? What do you hang pictures on? Into what kind of socket do you plug your electronics? If walls are so evil, what about the success of “Wall-E”? What about “Wonderwall,” a so-called popular song by the so-called band Oasis? What about that Robert Frost poem, which I’ve definitely read and am not just alluding to because it has a wall in the title? Are we just going to tear down EVERY wall, like some kind of Gorbachev run amok? Because that’s not an America I want to live in. What’s next, DOORS? WINDOWS? […]

Drugs are coming over the border to behead your family. I say this with no great relish. Everything bad you have ever heard is true, but it is much worse than that. A cloud of locusts is coming to devour everything you love. It is even worse than that. I am not even able to say how bad it is, because it is terrifying. Blood. Horror. Missing limbs. No, never mind, I will say it. I will continue to say it.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:37 PM on January 8 [43 favorites]


Basically two old white guys yelling, but worth the five minutes.

I just watched that and can't really tell what was worth it. It's not as if Kasich is wrong exactly (except at one point he claimed democrats were far left, which definitely pinged my NOPE reaction), but it just sounded like the usual hardball quasi-yelling outrage mush. Did I miss some gem in there? I might've started to defocus my eyes about a minute into it.
posted by axiom at 8:42 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Again, this really isn't about Trump. McConnell is the one with the power here. Trump may not even actually veto a budget bill, put a shiny pen in his hand and he'll sign whatever the fuck you put in front of him and call it a Wall. But McConnell is more scared of fracturing his caucus and losing the 2020 majority that anything else, including the lives of every federal worker, which he'd trade outright in a heartbeat for an assurance of keeping his Senate majority to obstruct a Democratic President and House after 2020. McConnell needs every last white supremacist vote as much or more than Trump does, and he knows he has nothing to inspire them to turnout for him like they will for Trump.

McConnell is pure evil. Heartless. Soulless. Maybe the single most evil person to have been born in America in a century. But he's also the most successful and strategic political figure of the modern era. The single thing that he actually cares about, the one thing that he lives for, is amassing and retaining more power at any cost. Not using it, amassing it and keeping it. He won't do a single thing that could split the party and make it one iota more likely of losing another Senate seat in 2020. That's all he's weighting, whether passing a budget and/or overriding a Trump veto will cost him more base voters and make it more likely that he loses more than Susan Collins and Cory Gardner's seats, which he's probably already written off. The only thing that will stop the shutdown is when McConnell's Senate math flips, when there's enough pain broadly that he's more worried about dragging down his safe seats than defending his tossups.

We're not even to the point where McConnell is even negotiating, because he doesn't have to yet. He's literally stonewalling silently at the table. He's got Trump's idiocy to hide behind, and public opinion hasn't flipped hard enough to change his math.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:45 PM on January 8 [98 favorites]


Why not a screen shot of the blacked out Word document, or a mosaic of screen shots if necessary? Then reassemble the PNG files into a PDF. I'm no security expert but it seems simple, safe, no extra software needed...

Acrobat Pro, which will redact and remove metadata, is $15/month. Any company too stingy for that, and too clueless to understand why it'd be better to use it for your legal documents where redaction is crucially important, is too stingy to pay an office clerk to play with screencaps and too clueless to realize there are other ways to make PDFs that actually hide the text you need hidden.

The standard not-tech-savvy solution is "print it out and then scan it." (Ten years ago, this took tech skills; now, every large printer/copier includes scanning ability.) If they're too lazy for that, they're definitely too lazy to patch screenshots together.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:50 PM on January 8 [27 favorites]


put a shiny pen in his hand and he'll sign whatever the fuck you put in front of him and call it a Wall

Can we convince the House to rename the healthcare funding portion of the budget, "The Wall of American Resistance to disease?"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:53 PM on January 8 [13 favorites]


McConnell is pure evil. Heartless. Soulless. Maybe the single most evil person to have been born in America in a century. But he's also the most successful and strategic political figure of the modern era.

McConnell : USA : : Beria : USSR
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:55 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


President Donald Trump lost the backing of the American People, and the mainstream Republican base, in a simple, short speech. Invective against "Democrats" and "Radical Left" are useless to people who remember the Clinton and Obama prosperity, and hapless and hopeless talking points to succinctly counterpoint whatever is left of the Regan Revolution. Oh yes, let us remember Oliver North, that traitorous scumbag. He's now in the employ of Putin himself, as a "pundit" in defense of "2nd Amendment Rights" which means Russia wants our children to gun each other down with infantry weapons.

Take a step back and let that soak in. Russia wants our children to gun each other down with infantry weapons. It's an actual goal for them, while also garnering cash for votes in terms of false liberty.

The NRA exists and thrives on actual, no-kidding treason and the murder of children in service of their foreign masters. Those at the top are rich as Croesus from foreign money, and enemies of democracy, alll!

Republicans, he was never of you. Democrats, FIGHT! Fight with all of your will and mien! This is the final hour, stand up and be counted!
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:02 PM on January 8 [26 favorites]


The Corrupting Falsehoods of Trump’s Oval Office Speech (Eric Lach | The New Yorker)
In the ten or so minutes that he spent giving an address from the Oval Office on Tuesday, President Trump ran through a litany of talking points, some deceptive, some contradictory, some vacuous, some diversionary. He did not have a single argument for why he decided, last month, to shut down the government over border-wall money. So, instead, he offered Americans their pick.

... Trump also made uncharacteristic appeals to empathy, saying that he was determined to end “the cycle of human suffering” at the border. But he has spent too many years demagoguing about migrants to claim to care for them now. And indeed, even after making this assertion, he went on to discuss how “day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders.” He described crimes—stabbings, rapes, and beatings—in gory detail, adding, “How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?” In the lead-up to the speech, the media’s fact-checkers had pledged to hold the President accountable for his falsehoods, to not let him command the airwaves unchecked. But dehumanizing migrants is dangerous in ways that fact-checking can’t counteract.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:03 PM on January 8 [24 favorites]


When Trump has lost the West Virginia R senator...

Don't worry, he's still got Joe Manchin.
posted by mightygodking at 9:07 PM on January 8 [13 favorites]


I promised to go away but one more, because would you look at this?

Trump won the night. Schumer and Pelosi lost. (Wapo, Marc A. Thiessen -- this fuckin guy)
He was, in short, presidential.

Democrats insisted on equal time, which is highly unusual for presidential addresses other than the State of the Union. It was a mistake. In contrast to Trump, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) came across as small and intransigent.

While Trump spoke calmly and rationally from behind the Resolute Desk, the Democratic leaders accused him of “pounding the table” and having a “temper tantrum.” While Trump told human stories, they complained about process.
Presidential!
posted by saysthis at 9:12 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I just watched that and can't really tell what was worth it. It's not as if Kasich is wrong exactly ...

Eh, worth hearing a Republican say what he said. However inartfully.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:18 PM on January 8


Trump won the night. Schumer and Pelosi lost.

I don't know why the Post gives column space to Thiessen and Hugh Hewitt. I don't even bother to hate-read their drivel any more.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:18 PM on January 8 [31 favorites]


Wow, I guess I jinxed it when I said at least the media wasn't saying he was presidential...

Another shutdown story. A friend is president of an organization that provides housing to those that need it. Their government funding isn't coming in because of the shutdown, so they're employees can't be paid. This means people will be put out on the street.
posted by xammerboy at 9:36 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


EatTheWeak: It's Blade Runner year, Akira year, Running Man year

ZeusHumms: This is an FPP waiting to happen.

Akira / Blade Runner 2019 FPP, posted January 1, 2019, so it's still open for commenting.


Meanwhile, Court: Politicians who block citizens on social media violate 1st Amendment -- 4th Circuit: County official's Facebook page is a public forum, must accept all. (Cyrus Farivar for Ars Technica, Jan. 7, 2019)
A federal appeals court in Virginia ruled unanimously Monday that a county official who blocked a citizen from accessing her official Facebook page is in violation of the First Amendment.

The case—which was heard before the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals—found that Phyllis Randall, the chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, improperly blocked a man named Brian Davison on Facebook for 12 hours back in February 2016.

During one town hall meeting involving Randall, Davison had suggested that some financial improprieties were afoot. Within hours, Davison left a lengthy Facebook post on Randall's page, and she banned him. The next day, she reversed course and unbanned him, but his post remained deleted.

Not long after, Davison sued, alleging violations of his constitutional rights, and he eventually won at trial. The county chair then appealed to the 4th Circuit, which ultimately ruled that Randall's Facebook page "bear[s] the hallmarks of a public forum," where public speech—however undesirable—cannot be discriminated against.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:37 PM on January 8 [22 favorites]


And in other news from earlier today: House Democrats Pledge Passage Of Expanded Gun Background Checks Bill (NPR, Jan. 8, 2019)
The new House Democratic majority is promising to do something the party avoided when it last controlled the levers of power in Washington: pass gun legislation enhancing background check requirements for all gun purchases.

"You look at those years, 2009, 2010, when you had Barack Obama in the White House, 60 Democratic votes in the Senate, a big Democratic majority in the House, and not only did nothing happen, but it wasn't even on the table," said Peter Ambler, executive director of Giffords, the gun violence prevention advocacy organization founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. "We had collectively, politically as a country said, 'We're not going to address this. The opposition is just too powerful.' "

Tuesday, on the eighth anniversary of the 2011 Tucson shooting that gravely injured Giffords and left six people dead, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced gun legislation to extend existing background check requirements to almost all gun sales and most gun transfers, including Internet sales, at gun shows and person-to-person transactions, with certain exemptions for immediate family.

The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Peter King, R-N.Y., and includes four additional original GOP co-sponsors: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Chris Smith of New Jersey and Brian Mast of Florida.
...
After a press conference with Pelosi and other House Democratic supporters, Giffords accompanied Thompson to the House floor to officially introduce the legislation. Democratic aides tell NPR top leaders intend to move the bill to the floor quickly.

The National Rifle Association, a powerful gun rights advocacy group, opposes the Thompson-King legislation.

"So-called universal background checks will never be universal because criminals do not comply with the law," said NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker. "Instead of looking for effective solutions that will deal with root cause of violent crime and save lives, anti-gun politicians would rather score political points and push ineffective legislation that doesn't stop criminals from committing crimes."
Huh, so the NRA isn't dead yet. I thought they were nearing bankruptcy. Oh look, their pending doom was overstated: The NRA’s financial weakness, explained (The Associated Press, December 14, 2018)
The financial struggles have even led the organization itself to warn that it could possibly collapse in court filings.

Despite this drama, however, the organization has a robust revenue stream due to a large member base, loyal contributors and the revenue it still gets from ads that run in its print publications and commercials that air on its video channel, NRA TV – even amid a successful boycott led by gun control advocates.

That means cutting back on spending can work wonders. Early signs, such as reduced election spending and job cuts, indicate such parsimony is getting underway.

Though it owes more money to others than it has freely available to pay them back, the NRA isn’t in immediate danger.

Much of what the NRA owes won’t come due for a while. Its two prominent liabilities are services it owes to members who have prepaid their dues for multiple years and what it owes its retirees – its pension fund is underfunded by $49.7 million.
It's in trouble, but it's more of a long-term viability issue rather than fatally wounded and bleeding out type of injury.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:46 PM on January 8 [14 favorites]


Print and scan leaves the pdf unsearchable. Just use the correct digital tools for the digital job.
posted by M-x shell at 9:51 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Donald Trump Was Just Handed a Chance to Supercharge Voter Suppression in 2020 (Richard L. Hasen, Slate)
In a short unpublished opinion so far garnering only slight media attention, the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit decided on Monday what may be one of the most consequential cases poised to affect the 2020 elections. The circuit upheld a district court decision ending a court order in effect since 1982 barring the Republican National Committee from engaging in “ballot security” measures designed to intimidate minority voters from voting at the polls. With Trump having taken over the RNC for the 2020 elections and with this consent decree no longer standing in his way, we should be concerned about a new wave of voter suppression coming from the Republican Party during the upcoming election.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:52 PM on January 8 [29 favorites]


The AP takes an early lead in the "worst tweet of 2019" category with:
AP FACT CHECK: Democrats put the blame for the shutdown on Trump. But it takes two to tango. Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for his border wall is one reason for the budget impasse. The Democrats refusal to approve the money is another.
The replies are not, shall we say, sympathetic to their analysis.
posted by Justinian at 10:01 PM on January 8 [84 favorites]


I don’t understand how Trump controlling the RNC even works. Are they just straight up not having fair elections anymore? There can’t be any serious primary challengers to him.
posted by gucci mane at 10:40 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I'm really angry about his characterization of the border communities.

El Paso is, and continues to be, the safest city in America to live in. I'd immediately move if this city wasn't the best place to raise my kids. Even my friends from Oakland are considering moving here because it's safe and beautiful and cheap to live.

I'm just gonna tell all y'all: I live less than a mile from the border. There's no crisis except the one in Tornillo.
posted by blessedlyndie at 10:58 PM on January 8 [89 favorites]


The replies are not, shall we say, sympathetic to their analysis.

It was such a tee-up for victim blaming analogy replies (which were bountifully delivered on cue) that I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone in AP social media must have been trolling. This timeline isn’t that stupid...is it?
posted by Brak at 11:18 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


When I watched Trump's speech tonight, it reminded me of a hostage video, where the hostage has to read the speech written for them.
posted by Little Dawn at 11:39 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


(Wapo, Marc A. Thiessen -- this fuckin guy)
He was, in short, presidential.

Democrats insisted on equal time, which is highly unusual for presidential addresses other than the State of the Union. It was a mistake. In contrast to Trump, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) came across as small and intransigent.

While Trump spoke calmly and rationally from behind the Resolute Desk, the Democratic leaders accused him of “pounding the table” and having a “temper tantrum.” While Trump told human stories, they complained about process.


Let us pause for a moment and try to understand just how desperate someone would need to be for something resembling success/attention to author this drivel.
posted by skyscraper at 12:28 AM on January 9 [30 favorites]


"Instead of looking for effective solutions that will deal with root cause of violent crime and save lives..."

Research about which the NRA has pushed to not fund, and even explicitly deny funding to, by their wholly-owned Congressional members. When do we get to tell these people they don't get to have it both ways?
posted by mephron at 1:06 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


The AP needs to be raked over the coals for that both sides ism "fact check". Regardless of any opinions the objective verifiable documented fact, FACT, is that a Republican majority Senate and a Republican majority house of reps passed a continuing resolution that met the Republican presidents stated requirements, and they did so with the entirety of their party expecting it to be done and overwith. Their confidence was so high that they congratulated themselves and each other as they en masse started leaving DC to go home for the holidays.

But one man, the only man capable of doing so, upended the desires and expecations of his entire Party establishment, against every verbal assurance he'd given them, and for reasons nobody has been able to explain, single handedly caused the shutdown of the federal government.

These are the objective facts.

One man, the chief executive, the only real power of one of the three branches of the government, defied the unanimous vote of his own party, in the very last hour of that Partys complete control of the entire power of the second of three branches of government for the forseeable future.

That is your objective fact.

This government shutdown is wholly the result of the decision of one person and him alone. Donald Trump caused this shutdown. Had he not wielded his power, the actions of the Republicans in the Senate and the Republicans in the House would have permitted our government to continue to operate.

Congressional democrats, with zero power, we're completely incapable of either causing or preventing the shutdown.

Congressional republicans, with all of the power of their branch of government, approved legislation to keep government open. They unanimously voted to fund our government as their last planned legislative activity before formally ending their session, knowing that their lock on governmental power would be weakened. They didn't cause this shutdown.

Donald Trump caused this shutdown. Nobody else. Just him.

Thats your fact.

Everything else is a distortion of objective truth.

Any fact check from any media organization purporting to use the word "fact" in good faith must state clearly: Donald Trump single handedly caused this shutdown.

Stories that hide this bold plain simple objective well documented fact, through any means whatsoever, is lying to the American people just like Donald Trump does.

Any so-called fact checking that blames anyone or anything other than that one specific individual, Donald Trump, for causing* this shutdown is complicit with the Trump Administration and their systematic program of intentional and targeted disinformation. Such obvious and intentional distortion of simple, objective truth, isnt just an affront to journalistic integrity, it is nothing short of an active endorsement of and contribution to this Administration's obvious core mission to destroy the role of truth, facts, and objective reality itself in the governance of our country.

If you tell me anything besides the very simple "Trump did this. Nobody else," then you are lying.

And you know it.

This administration is hell bent on eroding truth itself. It's the only agenda item they consistenly pursue, and they do it relentlessly. Instead of aiding and abetting this administration by not only airing their lies unchallenged, but creating your own lies, in obvious contradiction to simple objective documented facts, you should be trying to bring to light this inarticulated shadow agenda, and particularly who is this agenda serving.

Media outlets blatantly lying, to help build a bigger veil of lies. Who's agenda are they serving?

Why is objective truth a problem?

This is inexcusable.

*Trump bears sole responsibility for causing the shutdown, but it's continuation since then is the responsibility of trump, mcconnell, and whichever nation-free billionaires each of them serves.
posted by yesster at 2:26 AM on January 9 [94 favorites]


Why is objective truth a problem?

It IS objectively true that Democrats could end the shutdown by caving to Trump's demands. They shouldn't, but they could. The AP and other journalists get enough "fake news!" accusations from Trump. We don't need to echo that kind of rhetoric.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:31 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


And... the outgoing Republican House did pass a spending bill with wall funding in it. It probably could have got 51 votes in the Republican Senate. But Democrats would have filibustered. Even last year when the shutdown started, we had SOME power. If not for the threat of filibuster, Republican majorities likely would have given Trump his wall, and the government would have remained open.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:40 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


It was such a tee-up for victim blaming analogy replies (which were bountifully delivered on cue) that I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone in AP social media must have been trolling. This timeline isn’t that stupid...is it?

The timeline is certainly stupider than we can imagine, but I tend to agree. I also think it was a case of trolling, but hamstrung by "too smart for your own good" and "didn't read the room right".

Because context is crucial, I think it's good to read the article referenced in the tweet
the AP was enumerating the issues that Individual-1 brought up. After a fine of debunking DJT's claims that his wall would stop drug trafficking, they turned to WALL MONEY: (emphasis mine)
WALL MONEY

TRUMP: “Democrats will not fund border security.”

THE FACTS: That’s not true. They just won’t fund it the way he wants. They have refused his demand for $5.7 billion to build part of a steel wall across the U.S.-Mexico border

Democrats passed legislation the day they took control of the House that offered $1.3 billion for border security, including physical barriers and technology along the U.S. southern border.

Senate Democrats have approved similar funding year after year.

Democrats have also supported broader fence-building as part of deals that also had a path to legal status for millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

In 2013, Senate Democrats voted for a failed immigration bill that provided roughly $46 billion for a number of border security measures — including new fencing — but that legislation would have created a pathway to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

The 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act had money to double the number of miles of fencing, to 700 miles (1,126 km), as well as for more border patrol agents. It also had a mandatory employment verification system to ensure all U.S. employees are authorized to work in the country. In exchange, however, the bill allowed immigrants living in the country illegally to apply for a provisional legal status if they paid a $500 fine and had no felony convictions.

As well many Democrats voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which has resulted in the construction of about 650 miles (1,050 kilometers) of border barrier. But that legislation didn’t authorize the kind of wall Trump has long been advocating since he launched his campaign.
Which is a wonderful takedown, leading with the bit about "just not the way he wanted". Now feeling quite confident in their material, the author goes for a real dose of snark.
THE DEMS

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: “The fact is: President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety and well-being of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation - many of them veterans.” — response to Trump’s remarks.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, Senate Democratic leader: “The president of the United States - having failed to get Mexico to pay for his ineffective, unnecessary border wall, and unable to convince the Congress or the American people to foot the bill - has shut down the government.” — response to Trump.

THE FACTS: That’s one way to look at it. But it takes two sides to shut down the government. Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for his border wall is one reason for the budget impasse. The refusal of Democrats to approve the money is another.
In context, the humor is obvious. The punchline is THE FACTS:, which is why there isn't the comprehensive facts as seen in the prior section.

Going through AP's feed, it appears that their social media team did a post for EACH of the items debunked, and the snarky one got fed into the blender. Out of context, the tweet for this one got the rightful response, "What the fuck is wrong with you, AP?"

It certainly energized the discussion of whom exactly is responsible for the situation, so even with the failed social media post / author being too smart for their own good / editor not even thinking about this scenario trolling fail, it still may be a net positive.
posted by mikelieman at 3:52 AM on January 9 [21 favorites]


I want to make it clear that I still hold Trump responsible for the shut down. I mean, if a kidnapper demands ransom money, it may be true that the family of the hostage could get them released by paying the ransom. But if the family doesn't pay and the kidnapper kills the hostage, the family isn't equally responsible for that killing just because they could have stopped it and didn't. Still, though, if I were such a family member I would struggle to believe I wasn't responsible at all.

But there are good reasons we don't negotiate with hostage takers and terrorists. If we give in to Trump's demand here, he'll use this tactic every time he wants something, and federal workers and the people who depend on them will be in much greater jeopardy. This needs to not work.

But I still don't think it's fair to attack the press for pointing out the obvious truth that we COULD pay the ransom.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:15 AM on January 9 [9 favorites]


Rust Moranis: McConnell : USA : : Beria : USSR

This is... not a good comparison. As bad as you've got it in the US, McConnell isn't known for raping hundreds of young women and burying the ones who refuse in his backyard with the tacit approval of the rest of the government, nor for sending thousands of his political enemies to the Gulag.
posted by clawsoon at 4:15 AM on January 9 [21 favorites]


ABC News: Rosenstein expected to depart DOJ in coming weeks once new attorney general confirmed

“Rosenstein apparently had long been thinking he would serve about two years, and there was no indication that he was being forced out at this moment by the president.”
posted by C'est la D.C. at 4:21 AM on January 9 [14 favorites]


But I still don't think it's fair to attack the press for pointing out the obvious truth that we COULD pay the ransom.

He COULD have been more obedient to the officer who shot him. She COULD have worn a less attractive dress. It's indefensible to blame the victim in 2019. And it's too late in the game for AP to snarkily troll without making it a hell of a lot more obvious, so I'm not buying that one either. Let them come out and admit they're standing with us; we're way past deriving sustenance via mild amusement.

Anyway, any word on total viewership of the speech? I hope at least that the networks suffered for their cave.
posted by xigxag at 4:40 AM on January 9 [28 favorites]


THE FACTS: That’s one way to look at it. But it takes two sides to shut down the government. Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for his border wall is one reason for the budget impasse. The refusal of Democrats to approve the money is another.

This is pretty obviously untrue in even embarrassingly recent history. The republicans when in control of both houses and the white house came to the brink of a shutdown at least twice already during Trump's term all on their own.

Does the AP have a short-term memory deficit?
posted by srboisvert at 5:14 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


If not for the threat of filibuster, Republican majorities likely would have given Trump his wall, and the government would have remained open.

Rs could've built the wall with 50 votes in the Senate in either of the reconciliation bills they brought forward, but instead focused them on trying to repeal Obamacare and for tax cuts. Because even Rs don't want to build the fucking wall.
posted by chris24 at 5:14 AM on January 9 [27 favorites]


chris24: Because even Rs don't want to build the fucking wall.

Is building the wall the new anti-abortion for Republicans? I.e., do many of them see it as a fundraising cash cow for as many decades as it doesn't get built?
posted by clawsoon at 5:25 AM on January 9 [17 favorites]


Even in context, there is nothing at all obviously witty or snarky or sarcastic or anything remotely approaching humor in that fact check paragraph from the AP. I don't think it's just my innately poor ability to detect such things either.

For this subject, with this President, in the context of his Administration's tireless devotion to broad systematic disinformation, while the very existence of democracy in the U.S. is at stake, a responsible media company should be much more overtly mature and sober. "Both side-ism" is itself such a wicked evil rhetorical strategy, only used in ignorance or bad faith, that it cannot function as the crux of any attempt at humor.

Tongue in cheek both side-ism is still both side-ism.

If you are right that this was attempted humor, then there's still a reckoning required. The subject matter deserves sober maturity. Fascists / fascist wannabes (is there a useful difference) have infiltrated our government and are using all the tools at their disposal to destroy my country in any and every way they can. So, to see a major media outlet both side-ing, embracing and using one of the favorite tools of these fascist infiltrators, while in a purported fact check of the fascist in chief is extremely troubling.

Even after multiple re-readings, I still can't detect any attempt at humor there. It is still stark and disconcerting.

The rest of that AP piece is pretty solid. Great work in fact. Most of what I've seen from other sources is still stuck in horceracing everything, so this is better.

But holy crap that paragraph is just indefensible.

Yes, I will stop now. Puppy and kitten videos are all I can handle for the rest of this day.
posted by yesster at 5:31 AM on January 9 [17 favorites]


On the, um, lighter side of things: BuzzFeed News - A gambling site is paying out thousands of dollars to people who correctly bet that President Donald Trump would tell more than 3.5 lies in his Oval Office address on Tuesday. Wherein a gambling website set their odds based mostly on, "Well, he's only got 8 minutes, how many lies can he tell?"

And then . . . oops.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:33 AM on January 9 [75 favorites]


Even in context, there is nothing at all obviously witty or snarky or sarcastic or anything remotely approaching humor in that fact check paragraph from the AP. I don't think it's just my innately poor ability to detect such things either.

I'm already seeing it reposted in various forums by Trump supporters. So, if it really is meant as sarcasm or something, it's a huge fail.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:35 AM on January 9 [11 favorites]


I suspect we’ll find out there were multiple speeches written and he backed down from more forceful versions at the last minute.

I'm feeling very relieved that he backed down from claiming emergency powers. The prospect of going on tv to issue a declaration that he's just going to give himself kinglike authority to do as he pleases, and Congress can suck it, is about as compelling a concept as is possible for this guy to fit in his head all at once. That he opted not to go through with it means somebody was able to convince him that he wouldn't be able to do it and hold onto power, I can't think of any other explanation. These 8 minutes of blathering look like strong evidence that Trump feels hemmed in and unable to act on his most authoritarian impulses.
posted by contraption at 5:49 AM on January 9 [38 favorites]


Guardian: Joshua Tree National Park Announces Closure After Trees Destroyed Amid Shutdown—Maintenance and sanitation problems also reported 18 days after government shutdown furloughed the vast majority of park staff

“While the vast majority of those who visit Joshua Tree do so in a responsible manner, there have been incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees in recent days that have precipitated the closure,” spokesman George Land said in a news release.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:04 AM on January 9 [16 favorites]


"So-called universal background checks will never be universal because criminals do not comply with the law," said NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker.

Great! How many mass shootings were committed by petty criminals?
posted by notsnot at 6:21 AM on January 9 [24 favorites]


Trump heading to the Hill for support from Republicans. Maybe this will be over soon, as they say, with a whimper. < WaPost

'House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) are holding an event with furloughed federal workers, and lawmakers from the Washington area will highlight the negative impact of the shutdown with union leaders.
Trump, meanwhile, is heading to Capitol Hill at lunchtime to shore up support among Senate Republicans and then will host an afternoon meeting at the White House with congressional leaders from both parties for their first face-to-face talks since last week.'
posted by Harry Caul at 6:21 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


...there have been incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees in recent days that have precipitated the closure...

Sadly, those intent on wrecking a place like Joshua Tree probably see the closure as merely something else to ignore because gov'mint.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:22 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


That he opted not to go through with it means somebody was able to convince him that he wouldn't be able to do it and hold onto power

Honestly, I think it was the Manafort unredaction that did it. I mean, that was the whole smocking gun part, right? I think he knows his goose is cooked. Also, is there any chance that not-Manafort was responsible for the unredaction? The court? Mueller? The court acting on Mueller's suggestion? Because if so, that was a really smart move.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:23 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


A gambling site is paying out thousands of dollars to people who correctly bet that President Donald Trump would tell more than 3.5 lies in his Oval Office address on Tuesday.

Usually that means a roughly equivalent number incorrectly bet. Serves them right.

[National Parks] spokesman George Land

Lazy writers.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:24 AM on January 9 [19 favorites]


Trump heading to the Hill for support from Republicans.

Has Trump ever lowered himself to actually go to the Hill? My impression has been that he only meets the little people on his turf.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:25 AM on January 9


Catching up on yesterday's non-speech news:

Deutsche Welle: Trump adviser John Bolton to leave Turkey without meeting president
Erdogan cited a local election season and a speech to parliament as the reasons for not meeting with Bolton... Bolton did meet his Turkish counterpart Ibrahim Kalin and other senior officials at Ankara's presidency complex, but received no assurances regarding the Kurds' safety.

Soon after...Erdogan gave a fiery speech to parliamentarians from his Law and Justice Party saying Bolton made a "serious mistake" calling for the condition. "We cannot make any concessions," he told his party's MPs. "Those involved in a terror corridor in Syria will receive the necessary punishment."
'I can't meet with you to talk about the Kurds because I need to give a speech talking about you and how we need to punish the Kurds' is almost the definition of pointed snub. At the same time, giving speeches rather than taking actions on the ground hopefully means this is still at least somewhat open to negotiation.

CNBC: Turkey's Erdogan shuts down White House's Bolton on Syria, says he made a 'serious mistake'
"We cannot accept Bolton's messages given from Israel," the Turkish president said, adding that Bolton made a "serious mistake"...referring to statements by the senior Trump administration official, made from Israel over the weekend, promising safety for the U.S.-allied Kurdish militias — who dominate areas in Northern Syria and whom the Turks view as terrorists — in the event of a U.S. military withdrawal.

Erdogan stressed that the YPG and the PYD cannot be representative of Kurds, adding that Bolton "probably doesn't know" who the two groups are. He also described Turkey as facing a "critical juncture" in Syria, with whom it shares a 500-mile border. Ankara has for months threatened a military offensive against the Kurds in northeastern Syria, refusing to view their presence as legitimate.
Bolton (for all his terribleness) absolutely knows the situation on the ground, and knows who the YPG are -- the same probably cannot be said for Trump, and I think one plausible reading of this is that Erdogan understands Bolton's position to not be Trump's position, and is trying to talk past Bolton in these discussions.
posted by cjelli at 6:34 AM on January 9 [19 favorites]


Buzzfeed (linked by soundguy99): A gambling site is paying out thousands of dollars to people who correctly bet that President Donald Trump would tell more than 3.5 lies in his Oval Office address on Tuesday.

ChurchHatesTucker: Usually that means a roughly equivalent number incorrectly bet. Serves them right.

It doesn't look like it this time? In general, the house does always win by establishing proper odds, but the story is how this time they lost (on balance) by setting their ceiling too low. A bit like a carnival misjudging the fairgoers' throwing accuracy and promising a prize if you hit an "impossible" three or more targets in a row, but with lies-per-minute.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:35 AM on January 9 [8 favorites]


Trump’s Oval Office Address Was Classic Stephen Miller (McKay Coppins, The Atlantic)
While it’s impossible to say just how much of the address he wrote, all of the tics and tropes of Millerian rhetoric were on display. The scary immigrants (“vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs”). The gory anecdotes (a veteran “beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien”). The decidedly un-Trumpian flourishes (“a crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul.”)

In setting the stage for Trump’s prime-time address, White House officials had insisted that the president was making a good-faith effort to win over skeptics of his border-wall proposal and get the government reopened. But the speech he ended up giving was not calibrated for persuasion. It was, by and large, dark, divisive, and shot through with the kind of calculated provocation that rallies the president’s fans and riles his enemies. It was, in other words, classic Stephen Miller.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:44 AM on January 9 [23 favorites]


IANADoctor. Or a drug expert. But as a photographer I will say that it's not normal for someone's eyes to be that dilated in front of the lights needed for broadcast.

Mikel Jollett
Adderall is an amphetamine which makes your pupils dilate. This is a person sitting in front of bright TV lights whose pupils should be contracted.
Side effects of Adderall addiction include aggression, memory loss, mania, impulsivity and disorientation.
PIC
posted by chris24 at 6:49 AM on January 9 [71 favorites]


This is a person sitting in front of bright TV lights whose pupils should be contracted.

This seemed like something ripe for fake news and photoshop, so I checked. Here’s a link to CSPAN’s recording of the speech. If you skip to 6:59 and zoom in, you can confirm the blown pupils for yourself.

Though in the president’s defence, it doesn’t need to be Adderall abuse. Maybe he dropped a tab of acid a couple of hours before the speech?
posted by chappell, ambrose at 7:06 AM on January 9 [21 favorites]


Literally everyone with drug experience has been saying, since at least the primaries, that the man is an obvious speed freak. It's really, really, really obvious.

Otoh it's just one of many things that are really, really obvious which nonetheless our media is incapable of acknowledging. Like somehow the man has made "the emperor has no clothes" wildly insufficient. It's more like the emperor's on bath salts.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:10 AM on January 9 [58 favorites]


[Couple deleted. Let's leave it there on drug speculation unless there's some concrete info.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:12 AM on January 9 [18 favorites]




ABC News (linked by C'est la D.C.): Rosenstein expected to depart DOJ in coming weeks once new attorney general confirmed

As part of this, he's now transferred his authority over the Mueller investigation to Matt Whitaker, who is not limited by any recusal. This is rather not good.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:33 AM on January 9 [9 favorites]


Diplomats slog away without pay as Pompeo visits Middle East - Bloomberg

I've worked with FSOs in the past, they're throughly professional but it's a hard job even when you are being paid. Doubly so for the Secretary's advance teams (almost all career civil servants BTW) - they work a ton of overtime, never see family, travel almost constantly - it's brutal. Now they're being asked to do it for free.

I'm one of those Feds now working unpaid (the joys of being an essential employee) and just got my last paycheck for a while apparently, fortunately I have a healthy emergency fund and can ride it out for a while but suffice to say I'm not at all happy about it. I can't even imagine what it's like for those who aren't so fortunate.
posted by photo guy at 7:36 AM on January 9 [28 favorites]


We're friends with a family in our neighborhood, both the husband AND wife are federal employees.

They told me on Sunday that they both go to work and sit at their desks all day and wonder about how long their savings are going to last. There's no permission or funding to do any of the field work they're tasked to do. They're just sitting there.

They're optimistic, but I can see the touch of fear/sadness/anger in their eyes. This sucks.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:42 AM on January 9 [46 favorites]


The inimitable S. Kendzior (Globe&Mail): Forget the wall. Trump is the national security crisis.

[...] Poor me, Mr. Trump similarly implored in his address to the nation Tuesday night: it was an eight-minute teleprompter speech filled with lies about the danger of Central American migrants and threats to let a national security crisis he created continue unless Democrats bow to his ever-changing will.
The speech was akin to a hostage video, and American viewers were his captive audience. We watched because the stakes felt too high to turn away. We watched because Mr. Trump has taunted us with talk of declaring a “national emergency” – an act which gives him the power to do things like kill the internet, freeze bank accounts, and turn military troops into a domestic police force. We watched because Mr. Trump has long applauded death through his praise of dictators and criminals. We watched because the path to American autocracy was laid out upon his election, and we wanted to know which victims were next.
[...]
posted by progosk at 7:55 AM on January 9 [23 favorites]


Wow, what a damp squib of a nothingburger. I hope Stormy Daniels folding laundry was more entertaining than this low-energy reheated-leftovers of a campaign speech.

Meanwhile, it looks like the hostage taker has been at it again this morning. I-1's tweet according to the Guardian, deleted or edited since then?
Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forrest fires that, with proper Forrest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!
It's like Forrest Gump has been setting the fires, and California hasn't deported him yet.
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:59 AM on January 9 [22 favorites]




Did he really tweet that with that spelling? Forrest? Like Nathan Bedford Forrest? The dog whistles are sirens at this point.
posted by The World Famous at 8:04 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


Did he really tweet that with that spelling? Forrest? Like Nathan Bedford Forrest? The dog whistles are sirens at this point.

It seems like it's just his autocorrect. Which means he's typing on his phone more frequently about Klan history than about actual forestry? So that's good news!
posted by witchen at 8:07 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


The argument that the media is pro-Trump purely because of ratings has always seemed weak to me. Sure, ratings are doubtless a component of the media's endless promotion of Trump, but that explanation is insufficient to explain what we're seeing.

I'm pretty sure that at least at the upper echelons the owners and managers of the media are basically as terrified of leftists gaining power as the most MAGA Hat wearing Trumper out there. Possibly for different reasons, but they are united in their fear and hatred of the left. And Trump is the anti-leftist they want to be in power.

Some of the bosses may feel a bit dirty supporting Trump and try to find all manner of excuses to justify it, or explain it away as not really being supportive of Trump. But in the end they support Trump because they want the least leftist person they can get in the White House.

The CEO's and owners and board members and whatnot of NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, etc all have one thing in common: they're rich. And rich people do not want leftism to rise, because then they'd be less rich.

That's why the media obsesses over every stumble and misstatement by AOC while basically ignoring the tsunami of outright lies from Trump. They want her to fail and him to keep passing those sweet tax cuts for billionaires.
posted by sotonohito at 8:08 AM on January 9 [68 favorites]


Did he really tweet that with that spelling? Forrest? Like Nathan Bedford Forrest? The dog whistles are sirens at this point.

In this very one case I can see it as an actual accident.

I'm a very good speller and I frequently put two Rs in forest. And I have family up my mom's side named Forest and I play Magic: the Gathering(where in one of the basic cards in the game is "Forest").

And while it could easily have been one of his advisors, Trump himself isn't smart enough to plug NBF here.
posted by Twain Device at 8:11 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


Sean Hannity issues dire warning: If taxes are raised, "rich people are not going to remodel their homes" (Video w/Transcript, MediaMatters Staff)

Not surprisingly, Hannity has a whole chain of statements about what rich people won't or can't do if taxes are raised.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:12 AM on January 9 [12 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that at least at the upper echelons the owners and managers of the media are basically as terrified of leftists gaining power as the most MAGA Hat wearing Trumper out there. Possibly for different reasons, but they are united in their fear and hatred of the left. And Trump is the anti-leftist they want to be in power.

It's practically a law of physics that capital will always choose fascism over socialism if given the choice.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:17 AM on January 9 [41 favorites]


Robert Costa has a pretty good bead on Republican congressional sentiment.

The flipside to the GOP advantage in the Senate is that many of those large low-population states between the Mississippi and the coast have a large federal overlay. (Even if it's often begrudging.) Whether it's USDA or NPS or BLM or Indian Affairs or any other shuttered agency, you may see some movement from unexpected places.
posted by holgate at 8:17 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


It's practically a law of physics that capital will always choose fascism over socialism if given the choice.
Fascism is capitalism in decay
posted by contraption at 8:29 AM on January 9 [17 favorites]


Democrats Start Investigative Gears, but Slowly
Democrats, transitioning into the House majority, have quietly sent dozens of letters in recent weeks seeking documents and testimony from President Trump’s businesses, his campaign and his administration, setting the table for investigations that could reach the center of his presidency.
...
But Democrats, after slamming House Republicans for their inadequate inquiry, do not plan to reopen a full-scale Russian interference investigation. They have also chosen to hold off on an immediate request for Mr. Trump’s tax returns.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:29 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Daily Beast has an update on a case that might have fallen off the megathread radar: Trump Campaign Consultants Cambridge Analytica Found Guilty of Breaking Data Laws—The British analytics company employed by the Trump campaign has been fined for refusing to disclose to an American voter how much data they held on him and how they used it.
Cambridge Analytica has been found guilty of breaking data laws after refusing to disclose how much information it holds on an American professor, where it got the data, and—perhaps most importantly—how it used it and who it gave it to.

The British analytics firm, which was hired by the Trump campaign, has been accused of misusing the Facebook data of almost 100 million Americans while working to elect President Trump.

Prof. David Carroll, at the Parsons School of Design in New York, filed a formal request to see what data was held on him after reading about Cambridge Analytica’s role in the 2016 presidential election. Under British data laws, companies are required to disclose what they hold on any individual who makes such a request.

SCL Elections, a parent company of Cambridge Analytica, confirmed it did have data on Carroll, including detailed metrics on his political views, specifically how he was likely to vote and which hot-button issues like gun rights or immigration would motivate him.
The actual penalties are minor, but at least the verdict sets a precedent:
In court Wednesday, the administrators of SCL Elections, which declared bankruptcy in May last year, finally admitted that it had broken the law. The last-minute guilty plea came on the day the trial was scheduled to begin.

The judge ruled the company had shown a “willful disregard” for the enforcement of data laws, but sentenced the company to pay less than $20,000—even with the addition of some of the costs, the penalty was around $26,000.

There was no suggestion the administrators will now grant Carroll’s request for access to the full data on him. That information is held on computers seized from Cambridge Analytica by the ICO, and stores around 700 terabytes of data, which the court was told equated to around 81 billion pages of information.
This is just one piece of the Trump-Russia scandal, but this outcome now definitively links links the Trump campaign to privacy data abuse by Cambridge Analytica through Steve Bannon.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:36 AM on January 9 [31 favorites]


Hey, it occurred to me, now that the right target for pressure are the Republicans in the Senate: Mitch McConnell knew about the Russia treason all along. He aided and abetted it during the 2016 election. And it's likely that he's implicated in some of the illegal money laundering type stuff, or at least knows who in his caucus is. (Lindsey Graham. Tom Cotton. Probably more.)

This seems like a pretty big cudgel, no?

Christ why do I still believe in things
posted by schadenfrau at 8:37 AM on January 9 [48 favorites]


Regarding media deference to Trump, I think Alexandra Erin's recurrent point that few phenomena in the social/political sphere have One True Cause is apropos. Trump drives ratings, plus the top brass definitely leans conservative/reactionary/plutocratic, plus national conservatism has worked the refs for so very long.

(If we're specifically asking why the networks declined to air Obama's 2014 speech about DACA, in contrast to the new norm of automatic free airtime, I suspect ratings-plus-ref-working is more key, and also force of habit created by the confluence of all the factors. If they wanted to not air the thing, they'd need to "explain" what changed when nothing in particular has. But when it comes to the specific issue of immigration, moguls tend to prefer the neoliberal exploit-the-migrants approach to the fascist keep-them-out one, unless they do actually feel it's better to invest in fascism now.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:37 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]




They have also chosen to hold off on an immediate request for Mr. Trump’s tax returns.

From the article:
Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, has decided instead to try to first build a public case for why the returns ought to become public before he lodges a formal request. He plans to convene a hearing this month focused on presidential tax returns in conjunction with sweeping anticorruption legislation that includes language requiring all presidents and candidates to make their returns public.

Sometime after the hearings — probably in February — [House Ways and Means chairman] Neal plans to invoke Section 6103 in the tax code, which allows chairmen of the House and Senate tax writing committees to request from the Treasury Department tax returns or related information on any tax filer.
To quibble about the NYT's emphasis, 'convening hearings in this first month as chair with plans to request the tax returns in his second month as chair' is sufficiently close to 'immediately' that I question why they would frame it that way; 'Democrats have chosen to immediately begin hearings on presidential tax returns' would be just as accurate a statement.

It goes on to note how many Democrats have already asked for a whole plethora of documents from multiple departments -- again, they did so immediately.

The issue I have here is that the NYT (or writer Nicholas Fandos) is emphasizing how Democrats aren't doing some specific things w/r/t Russian interference, rather than emphasizing how Democrats are doing so many other things w/r/t corruption and potential corruption at all levels of the Trump administration. Its facts aren't wrong, but it's weird framing that's kind of talking past what's happening here.
posted by cjelli at 8:40 AM on January 9 [41 favorites]


It looks like Trump's speech didn't convince key members of the audience:
There’s growing concern about the toll the shutdown is taking on everyday Americans, including disruptions in payments to farmers and trouble for home buyers who are seeking government-backed mortgage loans — “serious stuff,” according to Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, urged colleagues to approve spending bills that would reopen various agencies, “so that whether it’s the Department of the Interior or it is the IRS, those folks can get back to work. I’d like to see that.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the standoff “completely unnecessary and contrived. People expect their government to work. ... This obviously is not working.”

[...] Like other Republicans, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia said she wants border security. But she said there was “no way” the shutdown fight would drag on for years as Trump warned last week.

I think certainly I have expressed more than a few times the frustrations with a government shutdown and how useless it is,” Capito said Tuesday. “That pressure is going to build.”
posted by Little Dawn at 8:45 AM on January 9 [29 favorites]


Ruminations on RICO and Asset Forfeiture in the Trump Business Empire (Martin J. Sheil, Just Security via Slate)
Trump-related investigations appear to be suitable for consolidation into one RICO investigation that could ultimately seize Trump assets and cast the president as the kingpin at the head of a criminal organization.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:50 AM on January 9 [30 favorites]


More from Lawfare on the Veselnitskaya obstruction indictment. Also of note, the 20 Pine Street building used to launder money stolen from the Russian treasury is right across the street from.... The Trump Building!!’ (40 Wall Street).
posted by Roger_Mexico at 9:13 AM on January 9 [21 favorites]


There’s growing concern about the toll the shutdown is taking on everyday Americans, including disruptions in payments to farmers

I wonder if this is in relation to SNAP benefits. A lot of people don't realize that SNAP/food stamps are basically a direct payment to farmers (y'know because of the relationship between farming and food) and reducing those benefits (or cancelling them all together, or stopping them in a shutdown) is directly harmful to farmers, big and small alike.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:14 AM on January 9 [9 favorites]


Where are the subpoena cannons? I was told there would be cannons.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:20 AM on January 9 [11 favorites]


SNAP has enough money in its emergency fund to continue making payments to beneficiaries through the end of February.
posted by notyou at 9:29 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


  • TPM: The ‘Collusion’ Debate Ended Last Night
  • WaPo: The new Russia revelations are more consequential than Trump’s newsless immigration speech
  • David Burbach: What possible value would a Russian industrial oligarch find in U.S. political campaign polling data? Give me a reason other than, passing it on for the Russian election interference op? Deripaska himself would have more use for Arby's BBQ sauce recipe.
  • David Measer: THREAD: I'm just an advertising guy, but thought I'd put a marketing lens on the news of Manafort sharing "polling data" with a Russian operative...

  • posted by peeedro at 9:31 AM on January 9 [62 favorites]


    I'd further theorize that since so much of farming involves futures contracts and options the financial markets will account for the effects of not funding SNAP in their pricing models today and it will therefore affect those markets immediately.
    posted by VTX at 9:34 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]




    sexyrobot: "I wonder if this is in relation to SNAP benefits."

    No. More directly in this case as direct to farmer payments for things like insurance and compensation for the Trump Trade War aren't happening or aren't being processed before deadlines.
    posted by Mitheral at 9:37 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    and then they're fucking with the giants. Perdue. Tyson. Corporations whose concerns are represented to a greater degree in congress than the individual citizen
    posted by angrycat at 9:44 AM on January 9 [10 favorites]


    It's been suggested the polling data was needed so the Russians would know what states to focus their efforts on, but... couldn't Manafort have simply told them? I would be interested in what that information included, and more theories on how it could have been used.
    posted by xammerboy at 9:45 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    and then they're fucking with the giants.

    Yes, they are, the military industrial complex is starting to make nervous noises about the shutdown: Government shutdown starting to burn aerospace and defense firms (WaPo). Concerns over contracts with DoD, NASA, FAA, NOAA, and export control paperwork slowdowns.
    posted by peeedro at 9:47 AM on January 9 [17 favorites]


    Internal polling data is vastly more detailed than "WISCONSIN: Trump 44%, Clinton 45% (+/- 2.3)." There would be hyper-granular measurements of voter engagement, issue preferences, message testing, etc, etc.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:48 AM on January 9 [42 favorites]


    Thanks. So it was basically a blueprint for pushing Americans over the edge, so to speak.
    posted by xammerboy at 9:52 AM on January 9 [11 favorites]


    ALSO, it's important to note, that data is not just to sort of thing that's useful in helping get a candidate elected (which is why campaigns gather it!) but also impossible for Russia to get on its own. Mounting a social media campaign is one thing, but they'd never have been able to commission an entire polling operation without it becoming blatantly obvious what was going on.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:54 AM on January 9 [33 favorites]


    Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: Internal polling data is vastly more detailed than "WISCONSIN: Trump 44%, Clinton 45% (+/- 2.3)." There would be hyper-granular measurements of voter engagement, issue preferences, message testing, etc, etc.

    Doktor Zed: Cambridge Analytica has been found guilty of breaking data laws after refusing to disclose how much information it holds on an American professor, where it got the data, and—perhaps most importantly—how it used it and who it gave it to.

    The British analytics firm, which was hired by the Trump campaign, has been accused of misusing the Facebook data of almost 100 million Americans while working to elect President Trump.
    ...
    SCL Elections, a parent company of Cambridge Analytica, confirmed it did have data on Carroll, including detailed metrics on his political views, specifically how he was likely to vote and which hot-button issues like gun rights or immigration would motivate him.


    Hyper-granular indeed.
    posted by filthy light thief at 9:54 AM on January 9 [22 favorites]


    Manafort and his crew wouldn't necessarily have had the number-crunching chops to find actionable advice in the data -- and they probably didn't have the polling data the Russians had stolen from the DNC with which to further number-crunch and cross-reference.
    posted by notyou at 9:55 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    It's been suggested the polling data was needed so the Russians would know what states to focus their efforts on, but... couldn't Manafort have simply told them? I would be interested in what that information included, and more theories on how it could have been used.

    Manafort couldn't figure out how to make a Word file into a PDF. He certainly couldn't use a set of data to make decisions about an influence campaign. He was the conduit for people in Russia to request and then receive data to make their influence operation possible.
    posted by odinsdream at 9:57 AM on January 9 [34 favorites]


    I guess my point was that cutting SNAP programs, while appealing to racists, has an adverse affect (in addition to other farm cuts, also the 'trade war') on farmers who make up a large part of the republican base (god knows why), essentially shooting themselves in the foot.
    posted by sexyrobot at 9:57 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    It's been suggested the polling data was needed so the Russians would know what states to focus their efforts on, but... couldn't Manafort have simply told them?

    Even if the information were that simple, Trump's team of failsons would never just pass it along if they could turn it into a big, overcomplicated tsimmes of pseudo-spycraft, because they think they're the coolest, smartest guys around. "Say the secret password* to the man with the red carnation at exactly 3:33pm to receive the envelope." The very notion would give them a tingle in their collective shorts.

    *"covfefe"
    posted by Faint of Butt at 9:59 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


    The first time I got to directly look at the data in VAN (the main Democratic polling/voter database), I was astonished by the quantity and granularity of the data in it. Which I was allowed to casually look at. Because I was grabbing coffee with a friend who was working on a county-level campaign, and he wanted to show off the software he was working with.

    My immediate first thought was the incalculable amount of damage that could be done if this data were to fall into the wrong hands.

    This was in 2010. As far as I can guess, there's even more data now, it's all still in one place, and the access-controls remain virtually nonexistent.
    posted by schmod at 9:59 AM on January 9 [55 favorites]


    tl;dr; I'm fairly confident that we now know how much damage could be done.
    posted by schmod at 10:01 AM on January 9 [43 favorites]


    So it was basically a blueprint for pushing Americans over the edge, so to speak.

    In a way. Remember, no one, not even Trump's people, really thought he was going to win. The numbers weren't backing it up. What getting the polling data would help with is focusing efforts in various areas that, taken together, would affect the electoral college in Trump's favor, while not being so obvious a push as to raise flags and invite increased spending for Clinton.
    posted by Thorzdad at 10:04 AM on January 9 [12 favorites]


    This was in 2010. As far as I can guess, there's even more data now, it's all still in one place, and the access-controls remain virtually nonexistent.

    I used VAN to help with county-level races in 2018, and this is still largely true. It's a paradox though. If you make it harder for your enemies to access the data, you make it harder for your allies to leverage it.
    posted by diogenes at 10:06 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    I guess my point was that cutting SNAP programs, while appealing to racists, has an adverse affect (in addition to other farm cuts, also the 'trade war') on farmers who make up a large part of the republican base (god knows why), essentially shooting themselves in the foot.

    Actual farmers, people whose livelihood is dependent on farming and not just people who call themselves farmers because they have a big yard, make up less than 2% of the US population. They're a single-digit percentage of the GOP's total vote. Pissing off farmers won't hurt the GOP if they're also thrilling racists.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 10:07 AM on January 9 [8 favorites]


    'I'm Scared': TSA Families Fear Bills Due, Lost Security (NPR, Jan. 9, 2019)
    Jacinda says she has "no idea" what her family will do if the government shutdown continues through January. Her husband's last paycheck was Dec. 28 and, like many federal workers, he's unlikely to get his next one at the end of this week. He may not get the one after that, due at the end of January, either.

    "Our rent is due, the electric bill is due, our cell phones are now past due," she says.

    Her husband is a TSA officer in Portland, Ore., but he's not speaking publicly because the Transportation Security Administration forbids personnel to do so.

    "We are a paycheck-to-paycheck family," Jacinda, 36, says. We're not using her last name because she fears he could be fired.

    Jacinda says she has paid some of her rent — less than half — so she can save what she can for food and gas. After all, she says, "my husband has to drive to work every day."

    The government shutdown is increasingly straining employees who are essential to keeping the nation's aviation system safe and running. Many at the TSA, like Jacinda's family, don't have savings to fall back on and wonder how they'll make ends meet if they don't get paychecks or backpay soon.

    Jacinda, who wrote into NPR, says the shutdown is putting a lot of pressure on her family. Her husband has to go to work and he's not getting a paycheck, "which is ridiculous," she says. Even more ridiculous, Jacinda says, is that he came home the other day with instructions on how to file for unemployment while he's still working 40 hours a week.
    Transportation Safety Administration Staff fear loss of Security: happy 2019.

    If these personal tales of woe don't get the attention of decision-makers, maybe this will: A Warning About U.S. Credit Rating Could Signal Higher Interest Rates (NPR, Jan. 9, 2019, with the more informative page title "Shutdown Impact: U.S. Credit Rating Warning Could Signal Higher Rates")
    A major credit rating agency is warning that it will reconsider the nation's AAA rating if the partial U.S. government shutdown continues into March and raises doubts about the ability of Congress to lift the debt ceiling.

    A downgrade of the nation's pristine credit rating could lead to higher borrowing costs for the U.S. Treasury, companies and consumers.

    A number of government agencies have not been funded since Dec. 21 amid President Trump's insistence that Congress provide $5.7 billion for a wall along the border with Mexico.

    With a total debt of nearly $22 trillion and rising, the government's borrowing limit must be periodically raised by Congress.

    Fitch, one of three major credit rating agencies, warned Wednesday that uncertainty created by the 2 1/2-week shutdown could lead to doubts about whether lawmakers will be able to agree on raising the debt ceiling.

    "If this shutdown continues to March 1 and the debt ceiling becomes a problem several months later, we may need to start thinking about the policy framework, the inability to pass a budget ... and whether all of that is consistent with triple-A," James McCormack, Fitch's global head of sovereign ratings, said in London, according to Reuters. "From a rating point of view it is the debt ceiling that is problematic," he added.
    Cool, cool, we have until March 1 to really worry. Hey, that's when SNAP funds could run out, too!

    Except if airports are shut down because TSA employees stop showing up to voluntarily do their jobs,and if major road repairs and construction halt because there's no Federal transportation funds, things will be bleak much sooner. Highway and transit projects grind to a halt as the shutdown continues (Ashley Halsey III for Washington Post, January 8, 2019)
    Highway construction projects across the country have been jeopardized by the federal shutdown as state officials hesitate to authorize projects planned for 2019 without the assurance of federal funding.

    “If this continues to drag on it will have real impacts, not only on a state’s ability to build new projects but also on their ability to operate the system that they currently have,” said Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. “Eventually it’s going to have an impact on operations and maintenance.”

    The percentage of federal funding that states rely on varies from one jurisdiction to the next, with states such as Montana and New Mexico getting more than 85 percent of their funding from Washington, while states such as New Jersey and Texas get a third or less of their outlay from the federal government.
    FYI, a big part of why western states get a higher percentage of Federal funding is due to the fact that they have more untaxed, Federal lands, and thus a smaller tax base to rely upon, so the Feds request a lower state funding match to Fed funds.
    posted by filthy light thief at 10:08 AM on January 9 [16 favorites]


    House Democrats to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. It'll be nice to see Uday (or is he Qusay?) under oath and ready to be thrown in the slam for perjury if he lies.
    posted by sotonohito at 10:10 AM on January 9 [69 favorites]


    Trump and basically everyone in his orbit has *no clue* what a paycheck-to-paycheck normal fucking life is like. They don't have even a passing acquaintance with the idea that missing one check could be catastrophic and take years to recover from. Absolutely no idea. This is one of the main reasons I'm thinking he will never sign a funding bill, and his veto threat must be overridden.
    posted by odinsdream at 10:11 AM on January 9 [80 favorites]


    Why Federal Workers Still Have to Show Up Even If They’re Not Being Paid (Russell Berman, The Atlantic) or "Why Unpaid Federal Workers Don't Strike in a Shutdown"
    Since the enactment of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, federal employees have been legally prohibited from striking. That law was intended to prevent public-sector workers from leveraging a work stoppage that could cripple the U.S. government or major industries in negotiations for better pay, working conditions, and benefits. But it likely did not envision a scenario where the government would require its employees to work without paying them, as is the case now.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 10:13 AM on January 9 [25 favorites]


    And another reminder that Trump is hurting the future of the United States: Canada Says, ‘Give Me Your MBAs, Your Entrepreneurs’ -- Foreign talent helps power the nation’s economic boom. (Natalie Wong, Theophilos Argitis, Natalie Obiko Pearson, and Erik Hertzberg for Bloomberg, Jan. 2, 2019)
    Ayesha Chokhani, who grew up in Kolkata, has no love of the cold. Yet when she went to study for her master’s degree, the 29-year-old student chose the University of Toronto, where winter temperatures can fall well below freezing.

    Chokhani had her pick of elite schools. She turned down Cornell and Duke in the U.S. Her reasons were clear: The anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Trump administration made her nervous. And Canada had an additional draw: She can stay up to three years after she graduates and doesn’t need a job offer to apply for a work permit. “I wanted to be sure that wherever I go to study, I have the opportunity to stay and work for a bit,” she says.

    In August, there were about 570,000 international students in Canada, a 60 percent jump from three years ago. That surge is helping power the biggest increase in international immigration in more than a century. The country took in 425,000 people in the 12 months through September, boosting population growth to a three-decade high of 1.4 percent, the fastest pace in the Group of Seven club of industrialized nations.
    The article also notes that "International applications to U.S. business schools dropped about 11 percent in 2018, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council in Reston, Va." but doesn't give a figure for the number of student visas were rejected under the Trump administration.

    There are also graphs of population declines in annual average population growth in Canada, U.K., U.S., France, Germany, Italy and Japan. So welcoming international students into the U.S. seems like a good way to boost the population with skilled, motivated people, even if they're not planning on making this their long-term home (though I wonder how many who initially say that find themselves staying after they get settled).
    posted by filthy light thief at 10:17 AM on January 9 [24 favorites]


    > Since the enactment of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, federal employees have been legally prohibited from striking. ... But it likely did not envision a scenario where the government would require its employees to work without paying them, as is the case now.

    Yeah, this seems ridiculous on its face. An employee signs a contract to work for pay, and there is no way a law can simply *require* them to work indefinitely without pay. My first thought was that there's no way the Federal Courts could have agreed to that interpretation, but here's the article:
    Faced with a potentially indefinite shutdown, the unions have turned to the courts for relief. The American Federation of Government Employees has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration alleging that by requiring employees to work without pay, the government is in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a 1938 law that mandates a minimum wage and overtime pay both to public- and private-sector workers. Another federal labor group, the National Treasury Employees Union, has filed a similar suit.
    [...]
    Despite taking the government to court, neither union is encouraging its members to take part in any kind of work stoppage. “We encourage everyone who is being told to come to work to go to work,” Simon told me. “We are never going to advocate for something that’s illegal.”
    It looks like we've never had a shutdown long enough - yet - to actually test the proposition that some workers can be required legally to work without pay, indefinitely.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 10:19 AM on January 9 [14 favorites]


    As far as I can guess, there's even more data now, it's all still in one place, and the access-controls remain virtually nonexistent.

    And buckle up, because it's not going to get better anytime soon. There's almost a throw-away line in this piece here about people using cellular network data to track folks but it gets to the core of that problem and what we're talking about here:

    Frederike Kaltheuner, data exploitation programme lead at campaign group Privacy International, told Motherboard in a phone call that “it’s part of a bigger problem; the US has a completely unregulated data ecosystem.”

    Whenever I think about all this data warehousing and the inevitable breaches I remember something Bruce Schneier said in one of his monthly newsletters about companies who don't build in the cost of security to their data storage and other systems: they don't and won't until such a time as it's cheaper to prevent issues than it is to just oh-well and give everyone a year of credit monitoring. And it's cheaper because our legal landscape is that you don't own facts about yourself so you can't do much to sue and our legal system hasn't made the violations expensive either.

    I'm sort of ambivalent about this because in some ways the fact (hah) that facts can't be owned is a good thing. The NFL can't make it an intellectual property violation for you to report on a game score or describe a play. Engineering facts arrived at by research can't be suppressed. Well, without obnoxious gyrations anyway; Public Resource wages a lonely war against the way building codes and legal citations have been handed over to the control of corporations and you must pay them to look at them even though you're legally obligated to live with their confines. But the landscape of legal ownership of facts is how they're able to fight this fight at all. On the other hand, knowledge about us is worth money and has multitudes of ways to hurt us so why shouldn't we have some say about it?

    Anyway, Schneier has contrasted this to the way the US handles liability for fraudulent credit card use. You have legal protections and the credit card companies are on the hook for pretty much anything over $50 so they're hyper vigilant about policing use they might not get to pass on to you. They've succeeded in sleazily passing risk on to retailers with the chip card system but they still will turn off your ability to charge - in a highly reversible way so you can get back on the spend wagon - if their data mining leads them to believe there might be charges happening they won't get paid for.

    Compare that to the way the credit reporting agencies desperately avoid allowing you to just shut off quick credit checks via privacy holds. They know it's never going to be their expense when someone digs around in your shit so why should they do anything to stop or slow it down? Their emphasis is on making things better for their real masters, the people who pay them to learn stuff about you. You, the focus of that data? As the saying goes, you're the product not the customer.
    posted by phearlez at 10:20 AM on January 9 [23 favorites]


    Thorzdad: "What getting the polling data would help with is focusing efforts in various areas that, taken together, would affect the electoral college in Trump's favor, while not being so obvious a push as to raise flags and invite increased spending for Clinton."

    It also probably exposed a number of hyper-local, hot-button issues that were potentially exploitable.

    Back in 2012, the Romney campaign ran a bizarre local ad campaign in Loudoun County, VA, pitching the idea that Romney had a plan to fight Lyme disease.

    The campaign was, of course, total bullshit. Romney never had a secret plan to fight Lyme disease, and I honestly doubt that the issue ever even entered his mind over the course of his campaign.

    But it was also an incredibly savvy strategy. Lyme disease was, at that time, the bogeyman of this particular pocket of affluent, white suburbia. People cared about it a lot. If you wanted to tip the scales on a handful of purple-red counties, this is exactly the kind of campaign that gets your voters out to the polls by convincing the swing voters that your candidate cares about a hyper-personal and hyper-local issue.

    It's also the sort of campaign that requires tons and tons of data to work. You need to know what your voters care about, how much they care about it, and whether or not it's likely to tip the scales in your favor.

    It's also the kind of campaign that seems like it could be responsible for tipping a number of counties in the midwest at the very last minute.

    In Romney's case, the gamble didn't pay off, and he lost Loudoun county. It's not difficult to imagine, however, how similar hyper-local campaigns could have successfully tipped the balance elsewhere. Scarier still, in the era of Facebook (and particularly illegal Facebook agit-prop), most of these campaigns flew well below the radar.
    posted by schmod at 10:21 AM on January 9 [59 favorites]


    "the [VAN] access-controls remain virtually nonexistent."

    That's not true. While you can look up any individual person on your browser, they have to be in the campaign you are working on, and campaign workers certainly can't download any significant portion of the database without triggering alarms.
    posted by M-x shell at 10:23 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    The Fact-Checkers Are Tools [Hmm Daily]:
    Since Trump only spoke for nine minutes, and the lies were the usual old ones, the fact-checkers needed to justify their night somehow. So they turned their attention to the Democratic response. Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, had said, “No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage.”

    The New York Times flagged that claim as suspect. “This needs context,” it wrote, in the bold type it uses for verdicts on factualness.

    What the Times‘ fact-inspection shop objected to was the mention of “millions of Americans”:

    An estimated 800,000 federal workers are furloughed or working without pay due to the shutdown. While millions of Americans are not being directly harmed, there is a multiplier effect when considering family members. This also spills into the broader economy.

    The premise—coming from the bureau at the Times that covers the operations of the federal government—was that the only people affected by the government shutdown are the people who have government jobs. The sole function of the federal government, as the Times sees it, is to give out paychecks to federal government workers.

    Meanwhile, here’s some context: 1,150 federal rent-subsidy contracts with landlords who provide poor people’s housing have already expired with no money to renew them, with another thousand on their way to expiring, in a program that serves 1.2 million people. The federal food-stamp program, which serves 38 million people, is due to run out of funding before the end of February. Funding for other USDA food benefits has already been cut off, with state and local governments stuck covering the shortfall. The Bureau of Indian Affairs can’t pay for basic services on tribal land—as the Times itself reported.

    [...]

    Third-party fact-checking, as the establishment press does it, is the opposite of providing context. It is a process of breaking things apart—like Schumer’s completely accurate and lucid statement, or like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s criticism of the fact-checking process itself—till they lose their meaning. It purports to be an endpoint or resolution, but the fact-checks become more facts, hastily and indifferently reported ones, to be fed back into the news cycle and misused or misrepresented. Everybody gets Pinocchios; nothing gets to be real."
    posted by Atom Eyes at 10:24 AM on January 9 [55 favorites]


    WaPo, With inspectors furloughed, reduced FDA inspections ‘put our food supply at risk’
    The furloughing of hundreds of Food and Drug Administration inspectors has sharply reduced inspections of the nation’s food supply — one of many repercussions of the partial government shutdown that make Americans potentially less safe.

    The agency, which oversees 80 percent of the food supply, has suspended all routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an interview. He said he’s working on a plan to bring back inspectors as early as next week to resume inspections of high-risk facilities, which handle foods such as soft cheese or seafood, or have a history of problems.
    ...
    DHS’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office is two-thirds empty. The DHS shutdown guide states that only 65 of the 204 employees of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office will remain on the job during a funding shortfall. The rest go home.
    Some sad news for Giant Meteor 2020 supporters though: JPL's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, which is in charge of keeping track of asteroids that might crash into our planet, has funding for a few more months.
    posted by zachlipton at 10:27 AM on January 9 [19 favorites]


    So, most Americans blame Trump for the shutdown, and that view is growing. Surveys show blame for Trump around 47-50% (growing 4% since the start of the shutdown), versus around 33% for congressional Democrats (down since the start).

    But, among Trump voters, 70-80% blame congressional Democrats. Since those are the only True American's in Trump's world, that's all that matters.

    I find this view incredibly frustrating, especially given that most American's didn't vote for Trump by a wide margin.

    Another example: we can't eliminate the Electoral College, because, otherwise, "New York and California" would decide all presidential elections. Never mind that the current system give such deference to states with smaller populations that it overrode the desire of all Americans. They then turn themselves in circles about the Founder's Intent, ignoring that it was all a way to placate slave states.

    In sum, I really struggle to understand how Trump voters can't see that, in order to make sure they have a voice, they expect such disproportionate weight as to override the desire of the majority. Much less, how do they justify it in a logically consistent fashion.
    posted by MrGuilt at 10:30 AM on January 9 [13 favorites]




    WaPo, Already reeling from tariff war, some farmers aren’t receiving government support checks amid shutdown
    The Trump administration had promised to help farmers like Boyd, those who suffered as a result of the international trade war after Chinese purchases of soybeans — once 60 percent of the market — plummeted to next to nothing. With farmers on the edge of ruin, the U.S. government offered $12 billion in support since September, checks that had become a lifeline.

    But with the government shutdown moving into its third week, Boyd was left waiting for his support check to arrive. Other farmers who still must have their crop totals approved by the government to receive aid were left with no way to apply for it.
    ...
    At the farm office here, about 15 miles from the North Carolina border, Boyd, 53, a fourth-generation farmer, saw that the lights were on inside. He rattled the door. Nothing. A note outside told the story: The office was closed due to a lapse in federal government funding.

    “This shutdown is affecting small people like myself, but if it continues, America is going to feel the impact everywhere — grocery stores, small businesses,” Boyd fumed, angry about the “fiasco” he feels Trump has created. “Right now, I need seed and diesel fuel; I do not need a damn wall. That does not help me in my farming operation.”
    So the administration is demanding $5B in wall funding, but that's holding up $12B in money we're supposed to pay to soybean farmers to try to make up for the fact that the trade war evaporated demand for their product.
    posted by zachlipton at 10:38 AM on January 9 [42 favorites]


    How Trump Officials Abuse Cost-Benefit Analysis to Attack Regulations (Dan Farber, Washington Monthly)

    The secret: selectively ignore benefits until the costs outweigh the remaining benefits.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 10:40 AM on January 9 [8 favorites]


    > A gambling site is paying out thousands of dollars to people who correctly bet that President Donald Trump would tell more than 3.5 lies in his Oval Office address on Tuesday.

    I am not a gambling man by nature, and when I do gamble I generally lose, but if I had been aware of this exciting investment opportunity yesterday I would have pounded a hole in the table in a rush to lay my cash on the over.
    posted by The Card Cheat at 10:41 AM on January 9 [69 favorites]


    Trump and basically everyone in his orbit has *no clue* what a paycheck-to-paycheck normal fucking life is like.

    He was asked about that in a QnA session after a bill signing today, his response was that he hears over social media that he's doing the right thing from people who are missing a paycheck, essentially: the lurkers support me in email.

    The best part was when ABC's Jonathan Karl asked why he doesn't sign the other bills that would open the government while border security funding was debated, Trump's response was to mockingly ask Karl SEVEN times "You think I should do that?" then he finished with, "If you would do that, you should never be in this position because you'd never get anything done." It was bad dialog from a gangster film.
    posted by peeedro at 10:45 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


    "the [VAN] access-controls remain virtually nonexistent."

    That's not true.


    The controls may be in the system, but... um... my access level was upgraded in 2014 because I was moving around a few different campaigns in the last few weeks, and you probably know what didn't happen next. Last year, I was telling my candidate and her campaign manager about features that they didn't have access to.
    posted by Etrigan at 10:47 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    Some interesting new information about the new AG nominee:

    @StevenTDennis:
    Trump’s AG pick tells Graham he won’t end Mueller probe, doesn’t think it’s a witch hunt and will err on the side of transparency when Mueller issues his report

    William Barr and Robert Mueller have been friends for decades; Their wives attend Bible study together; Mueller has attended Barr’s daughters’ weddings, per Lindsey Graham after his conversation with Barr. Barr’s hearings are next week; Graham wants him confirmed quickly; Barr to meet with Feinstein.

    Barr did meanwhile stand by his memo warning against obstruction of justice charges for firing a political appointee; Graham said he shares Barr’s concerns
    Do we think Trump had any idea that Barr and Mueller were close when he nominated him? I can't imagine he'll be happy to hear this.
    posted by zachlipton at 10:51 AM on January 9 [52 favorites]


    he hears over social media that he's doing the right thing from people who are missing a paycheck, essentially: the lurkers support me in email.

    So, he's directly being led by bots. Which means Russia. I actually don't think he's making this up right here. I think he's literally scrolling through Twitter mentions all day. (also who the fuck pronounces 'patriot' like that...what the goddamn fuck. pay-try-oughts??1!)
    posted by odinsdream at 10:51 AM on January 9 [23 favorites]


    You've likely heard about the gofundme site for money for The Wall. You may not have heard about the gofundme site for money for ladders to go over The Wall.

    A Purple Heart recipient and University of Arizona alum made headlines earlier this week by launching a GoFundMe page to raise $1 billion for President Trump's wall on the Mexican border.

    in response, an activist group has created a separate GoFundMe in order to build ladders to climb the border wall.

    The fundraiser was created by the appropriately-named Charlotte Clymer, a U.S. Army veteran who works for Human Rights Campaign. As of Saturday afternoon, the GoFundMe had raised just over $127,000 of its $100 million goal. And rather than actual ladders, Clymer said all funds will actually go to the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.
    posted by bluesky43 at 10:52 AM on January 9 [27 favorites]


    The controls may be in the system, but... um... my access level was upgraded in 2014 because I was moving around a few different campaigns in the last few weeks, and you probably know what didn't happen next. Last year, I was telling my candidate and her campaign manager about features that they didn't have access to.

    So there are access controls. You have good access because you are trusted. But just try to download, say, all the data in your state, or just one county. I believe that would not work even for you.
    posted by M-x shell at 10:52 AM on January 9


    It looks like we've never had a shutdown long enough - yet - to actually test the proposition that some workers can be required legally to work without pay, indefinitely.

    That's correct. And honestly, government shutdowns are--look, the shutdowns in the 80s and 90s? With one exception, all of them were on the order of one or two days, possibly including a weekend. In that single exception, December '96 to January '97, only about 285,000 workers were actually impacted over a 21-day period. That's a lot of people, but compare it to the recent spate of shutdowns.

    In 2013, we had 2.1 million workers affected by shutdown for 16 days with 800,000 workers on unpaid leave and another 1.3 million people expected to report to work without known dates of pay. (I had friends who were furloughed, personally, and that plus the sequester shook my confidence in funding for science on a level I can't properly elucidate.)

    This shutdown has affected 800,000 workers total, of which we have 420,000 workers expected to report without pay and the remaining balance on furlough. And we are on day 18--so far the second-longest shutdown in US History, assuming it ends today. I would characterize the 2013 shutdown as worse, but then that shutdown was happening under a President who was taking the conflict and its impact on workers seriously and its impact was hitting Congressional officials as well through their staffers, creating more incentive to come to an agreement. We have no way of knowing how long this one will stretch out, and there has certainly never been one as bad since 2013.

    Buckle up, kids. This is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride, and 2013 will be reminding federal workers and lawyers about exactly how bad this could be. One shutdown of this magnitude is enough to write off shakily as a once-in-a-lifetime thing, maybe--but this is the second shutdown this year and the third in recent memory. I imagine support for clarity on this matter is likely to be very, very strong among federal union employees, and I would expect that wildcat strikes in violation of Taft-Hartley will become increasingly appealing as this drags on.

    (Personally, I think Taft-Hartley is one of the worst laws ever passed in American history, but... well, I don't write the lawbooks, and there's not enough popular outrage at it right now. There should be more.)
    posted by sciatrix at 10:52 AM on January 9 [41 favorites]


    Mr. Manafort asked that Mr. Kilimnik pass the data to Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is close to the Kremlin and who has claimed that Mr. Manafort owed him money from a failed business venture, the person said.

    The Times is correcting this:

    @amyfiscus: We have corrected this article to say that Manafort, via Gates, directed Kilimnik to make sure polling data got to Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov, not Deripaska. I am deleting my earlier tweet to limit recirculation.

    It's still not really clear why Manafort would be handing US polling data to these two oligarchs instead:
    Both Mr. Manafort and Rick Gates, the deputy campaign manager, transferred the data to Mr. Kilimnik in the spring of 2016 as Mr. Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination, according to a person knowledgeable about the situation. Most of the data was public, but some of it was developed by a private polling firm working for the campaign, according to the person.

    Mr. Manafort asked Mr. Gates to tell Mr. Kilimnik to pass the data to two Ukrainian oligarchs, Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov, the person said. The oligarchs, neither of whom responded to requests for comment, had financed Russian-aligned Ukrainian political parties that had hired Mr. Manafort as a political consultant.

    Why Mr. Manafort wanted them to see American polling data is unclear. He might have hoped that any proof that he was managing a winning candidate would help him collect money he claimed to be owed for his work on behalf of the Ukrainian parties.
    posted by zachlipton at 10:56 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    Another example: we can't eliminate the Electoral College, because, otherwise, "New York and California" would decide all presidential elections.

    Actually, "Texas and California" would decide the elections. Both of those states have more people than New York. You know what other state has more people than New York? Florida (according to recent census estimates.) NY is #4 now. Now, as to the breakdown of how those states would vote? I am too lazy to do the research, but the popular vote is a hell of a lot more interesting than NY and CA getting to decide for everyone.
    posted by nushustu at 10:59 AM on January 9 [9 favorites]


    But the assumption is that NYC and Cali's coastal megacities would swing the vote, which is... mmmmmmmm.

    I think the panic is largely that urban people would decide the election and leave rural people behind, which is a fairly reasonable panic: there are way more urban people, even in states people popularly imagine as more rural. Which is politically convenient to imagine being true of Texas, despite the existence of five of the largest fifteen US cities within Texas' borders. Because those cities have been historically relatively conservative as compared to other very large cities, the political imagination tends to undermine their urbanicity. But that has been changing on the ground in Texas.
    posted by sciatrix at 11:07 AM on January 9 [20 favorites]


    ...and we all know what "urban" is code for...
    posted by schmod at 11:07 AM on January 9 [58 favorites]


    Another example: we can't eliminate the Electoral College, because, otherwise, "New York and California" would decide all presidential elections.

    Actually, "Texas and California"


    Do you mean the people who live there would decide the election? Eliminating the electoral college prevents those states from deciding the election! Instead, those states influence the results by precisely the number of people in each who vote one way or another. So, Democrats in Texas and Republicans in New York would actually have a chance to influence the result.
    posted by M-x shell at 11:08 AM on January 9 [8 favorites]


    This shutdown has affected 800,000 workers total,

    No, it has affected 800,000 federal workers. Don't forget contractors, who do not receive back pay for this time as federal workers will. Senators who represent the DC area are working on a bill about it, though (there is a House version, as noted by Chrysostom above).
    posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:09 AM on January 9 [28 favorites]


    By the way, I oppose eliminating the EC, I just want to reform the ratio of EC votes per voter to be more equal across the board. The EC actually prevents nationwide recounts, which would be a disaster. Imagine Florida 2000 but everywhere? I can't.
    posted by M-x shell at 11:10 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    Oh, thank you for that correction. I hadn't even paused to think about contractors; I'm more sensitive to knockdown effects on recipients of federal funds and state employees, because that's my industry. And I should have thought about it, because I've got a friend who's going into work as a federal contractor right now and going "wellp, what the hell do I do now?" at the moment.

    Do you know what the relative numbers of federal contractors are today versus in '97, by chance? I'm really curious, because I suspect (without evidence beyond educated guesswork) that the extended privatization of government is more likely to have set in now and resulted in more federal contractors today being affected than in decades past.
    posted by sciatrix at 11:11 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    M-x shell: actually I live in Texas, so I'm not knocking it. I just get anxious when people talk like NY and CA are the two big, heavily populated places in the US because as sciatrix pointed out, 4 of the 11 most populous cities in the US are in Texas, 5 of the top 15. There are A LOT of people in Texas cities. Not as many as NYC or LA or Chicago, but still. A LOT.
    posted by nushustu at 11:14 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


    Now, as to the breakdown of how those states would vote? I am too lazy to do the research, but the popular vote is a hell of a lot more interesting than NY and CA getting to decide for everyone.

    I've checked this in the past because of this silly talking point. Adding up the states from most populous to least, you reach 50% of the population after 10 states.

    I think the panic is largely that urban people would decide the election and leave rural people behind, which is a fairly reasonable panic: there are way more urban people, even in states people popularly imagine as more rural.

    I've also checked this. Adding up the top 300 municipalities doesn't break 50% of the U.S. population, and I'm too lazy to get a longer list.
    posted by Jpfed at 11:14 AM on January 9 [12 favorites]


    I think the panic is largely that urban people would decide the election and leave rural people behind, which is a fairly reasonable panic: there are way more urban people, even in states people popularly imagine as more rural.

    Kansas is 75% urban, Ohio's 78%, Pennsylvania 79%, Texas 85%, Utah and Arizona 91%. "Urban" in the conservative vocabulary has nothing to do with cities or population density: it's entirely a racial and cultural signifier.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 11:15 AM on January 9 [86 favorites]


    sciatrix When I've spoken with pro-Electoral College people who argue that the views, or rights, or whatevers of rural people must be protected by giving them an outsize say in politics, I've asked why exactly they think that the only minority who deserves this extra voice is rural?

    There's no history, either in America or worldwide, of city dwellers viciously passing anti-rural legislation that shows a need to protect people who are a minority based purely on their zip code. There is, however, a long history in America of white people viciously passing anti-black people laws. So I ask if they'd agree that to protect the voice, rights, whatever term they used, of black people we should give them all ten votes to balance the numeric advantage white people have.

    So far every person I've asked that question has either insulted me, gish galloped, changed the topic, invoked worship of the Founders, or told me that rural/urban is a fundamentally different issue than black/white but has been unable to explain why.

    Obviously they prefer the current setup because they know Republican voters are outnumbered by Democratic voters and they want to keep their unjust and unfair grip on power. But of course they never want to admit that.
    posted by sotonohito at 11:18 AM on January 9 [86 favorites]


    I suspect (without evidence beyond educated guesswork) that the extended privatization of government is more likely to have set in now and resulted in more federal contractors today being affected than in decades past.

    Anecdotally, that would be correct. My kind of role, my industry, is one of those that would have been a federal job 20+ years ago. There are so many industries like mine - you might be surprised what kind of federal work is done by contractors. It's not just janitorial and admin (as often highlighted during shutdowns), and it's not just Big Defense (as many people tend to think of when they think of government contractors).
    posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:19 AM on January 9 [8 favorites]


    [Maybe the Electoral College thing should get its own thread if people want to pursue it further]
    posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:20 AM on January 9 [15 favorites]


    Yes, they are, the military industrial complex is starting to make nervous noises about the shutdown: Government shutdown starting to burn aerospace and defense firms (WaPo). Concerns over contracts with DoD, NASA, FAA, NOAA, and export control paperwork slowdowns.

    Duffelblog: Border Wall to be constructed out of unfinished Coast Guard cutters
    “Shut your mouth!” the president said, pointing at a reporter. “They can’t get here on boats. You think those rapists and murders can afford a yacht?”
    (/fake)
    posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:22 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    Why Mr. Manafort wanted them to see American polling data is unclear. He might have hoped that any proof that he was managing a winning candidate would help him collect money he claimed to be owed for his work on behalf of the Ukrainian parties.

    Of course, absent collusion, that would be a non sequiter, because why else should he expect the Kremlin, supporter of his Ukrainian campaign, to also be pleased with him for helping out some American from Queens?
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:22 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    Trump executive order seeks increased logging on federal lands [Brett French, Billings Gazette 1/8/2019]:
    After failing to receive broader authority to log national forests through the 2018 farm bill, President Donald Trump issued an executive order [Federal Register disclaimer*] Monday to boost the cut on Forest Service and Department of Interior lands.

    [*"During the funding lapse, Federalregister.gov is not being supported. If data feeds are not available from GPO, FederalRegister.gov will not be updated, so please use the official edition of the Federal Register on Govinfo (https://www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/fr). If there is a technical issue with the Public Inspection List, you can view the documents on public inspection at our office in Washington, DC or on archives.gov."]

    “To protect communities and watersheds, to better prevent catastrophic wildfires, and to improve the health of America's forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands,” Trump ordered the secretaries of Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to identify a multitude of logging projects.

    The order also urges “developing and using new categorical exclusions” to speed projects along and avoid delays while also reducing the time required to comply with “obligations under the Endangered Species Act.”

    Although executive orders carry the force of law, Congress has the power to overturn them or deny funding.

    ...

    Under Trump’s latest order, the acting secretary of Interior — Ryan Zinke stepped down as the agency’s leader at the beginning of the year — is ordered to identify 750,000 acres of DOI lands to reduce fuel loading; 500,000 acres to protect water quality and mitigate severe flooding and erosion risk from forest fires; and to treat 750,000 acres of land for native and invasive species.

    Interior also must offer 600 million board feet of timber to reduce wildfire threats and improve forest health. To accommodate the logging, Interior is ordered to maintain public roads.

    ...

    Likewise, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is ordered to identify 3.5 million acres of land for fuels reduction; 2.2 million acres for water quality and erosion; and treat 750,000 acres for native and invasive species.

    Trump also ordered the secretaries to identify by March 31 salvage logging projects where forests have been burned or killed by insect infestations.
    Responses for/against in the article.
    posted by cenoxo at 11:24 AM on January 9 [13 favorites]


    you might be surprised what kind of federal work is done by contractors.

    I have some idea, although not as much as I'd like! For other people who are curious, here are the federal agencies awarding contract work by total budget as of last year. Homeland Security is in first place, but not by much: NASA award nearly as much money to federal contractors. The State Department, Dept of Justice, Dept of Transportation, and USDA are also big contributors, and the FDA is listed along with the EPA. The biggest recipients of that money are also listed.
    posted by sciatrix at 11:34 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    There are so many industries like mine - you might be surprised what kind of federal work is done by contractors. It's not just janitorial and admin (as often highlighted during shutdowns), and it's not just Big Defense (as many people tend to think of when they think of government contractors).

    YEP.

    Pretty much any IT system supporting a program, from surveys of small tribes to grants in the hundreds of billions of dollars, was designed and is maintained by contractors. In my office (which is an IT shop within a division of a Cabinet-level departed), there are less than a dozen federal staff but about eighty contractors. Some of the contractors are former feds who lost their jobs and/or benefits, thanks to the decades' worth of sabotage of conservatives and libertarians who have vilified the idea of any service to one's country outside of the military.

    And apologies in advance for the rant, but it used to be that a job in the government came with excellent opportunities to find education, have great health care, and know that your years of civil service would be rewarded with decent support in your retired life. Nowadays, though, while you can still have pride in that service, just about the only major benefit to being a federal worker is the job security, and even that seems to be not long for this world. More and more, a job in the government has meant indifference, disdain, hate, or even violence. Witness the Bundy standoff and subsequent armed takeover of Malheur by armed bigots and thugs, who even here were given the benefit of the doubt by some despite their obviously violent aims.

    Anyway, this isn't in any way meant to denigrate the massive amount of work that contractors are now responsible for, because for many people, that's just about the only way to be involved in government work. And as we can see, a lot of that work is a thankless job that lives or dies based on the vagaries some of worst people in this country and their enablers.
    posted by zombieflanders at 11:44 AM on January 9 [59 favorites]


    The Exceptions to the Rulers (Adam Serwer, The Atlantic)
    "When people of color enter elite spaces, they’re often attacked as undeserving charlatans. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no different."

    The focus on undeserving minorities receiving unearned benefits at white expense is not an incidental element of modern Republican politics; it is crucial to the GOP’s electoral strategy of dividing working-class voters along racial lines.
    ...
    Obama became the living, breathing symbol of the narrative that undeserving people of color were being elevated even as hardworking white people were being left behind. In a country where most wealthy CEOs, legislators, governors, presidents, justices, and judges are white Christian men, Republicans believe whites and Christians face more discrimination than anyone else.

    What this narrative is meant to obscure is the reality that American policy making has not created some nightmare inversion of power between white people and ethnic minorities, but a landscape of harrowing inequality where people are forced to beg strangers for money on the internet to pay their medical bills. Upward mobility is stagnant; those who are born rich, die rich, and those who are born poor, die poor. Real wages have risen painfully slowly for decades; housing, particularly in urban centers, is unaffordable; and young people are saddled with skyrocketing student debt for educations that did not provide the opportunities they were supposed to.

    These trends are even more pronounced for people of color, who have historically been excluded from government efforts to help Americans build wealth. The entirety of the Republican Party’s response to this situation during its two years of unified control of the federal government was a failed effort to slash health-care coverage for millions and a successful effort to cut taxes on the wealthy. The GOP needs a different story to tell about what’s wrong with the country, and the one about people of color living lavishly at the expense of white people who work hard and play by the rules is an old classic.


    The unworthy, in this case, are not the legislators and their wealthy benefactors who have worked tirelessly for decades to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few, at the expense of American welfare and democracy. Rather, they are marginalized communities and their white liberal allies, who maintain a corrupt spoils system for black and brown people at the expense of hardworking white Americans. As long as rank-and-file Republicans are focused on these supposed villains, they won’t realize who is being conned, and who is trying to con them. And it isn’t Ocasio-Cortez.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 11:59 AM on January 9 [57 favorites]


    Politico: New Pentagon Chief Under Scrutiny Over Perceived Boeing Bias—Concerns about Patrick Shanahan’s Boeing ties have re-emerged since President Donald Trump said he may be running the Pentagon ‘for a long time.’
    Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s private remarks during his 18 months at the Pentagon have spurred accusations that he is boosting his former employer Boeing, people who have witnessed the exchanges told POLITICO — fueling questions about whether he harbors an unfair bias against other big military contractors.

    Shanahan, who spent 31 years at Boeing before joining the Pentagon in mid-2017, has signed an ethics agreement recusing him from weighing in on matters involving the mammoth defense contractor. But that hasn’t stopped him from praising Boeing and trashing competitors such as Lockheed Martin during internal meetings, two former government officials who have heard him make the accusations told POLITICO.
    Shanahan's shit-talking Boening's competitors and boosting his former employer may not have direct influence on Pentagon spending, but he definitely violating the spirit of his ethics recusal.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 12:10 PM on January 9 [16 favorites]


    he hears over social media that he's doing the right thing from people who are missing a paycheck, essentially: the lurkers support me in email.

    So, he's directly being led by bots. Which means Russia. I actually don't think he's making this up right here. I think he's literally scrolling through Twitter mentions all day. (also who the fuck pronounces 'patriot' like that...what the goddamn fuck. pay-try-oughts??1!)
    posted by odinsdream at 10:51 AM on January 9 [10 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]
    I get between 2 and 10 emails a day from RNC/TFP/ETC that all feed into identical "ADD MY NAME" click counters. They promise to "show Trump" the list of supporters for a given policy, which I interpret to mean that however many million clicks (bots/rubes) added themselves to a given bullshit policy/issue/agenda is flashed before him at some point in support of staying whatever crazy course they've chosen.

    The constant barrage from the right via email is bad enough, but it's compounded by a nearly identical operation run on the left by MoveOn/Our Revolution/Onward Together/DNC/ETC. The data that this generates must be significant, but it's also every last bit of it pointing directly at monetary contributions. Politics is a gaping maw of money-sucking—right and left just the un-hinged sides of the jaw—and nothing else will change about the system before that does.
    posted by carsonb at 12:11 PM on January 9 [7 favorites]


    US orders [wildlife] refuges to staff for hunters despite shutdown (Ellen Knickmeyer, AP)
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is directing dozens of wildlife refuges to return staffers to work to make sure hunters and others have access despite the government shutdown, according to an email obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 12:15 PM on January 9 [19 favorites]




    I think we’ll eventually learn that Manafort’s data and Cambridge Analytica’s stolen data was fed to the Russians for a literally individualized set of social media interventions- not just ads, but comments, replies, emails and DMs focused on key swing voters.

    It’s where we are inevitably heading unless serious privacy laws with teeth are passed. Also, kill Facebook.(Remember Zuckerberg talking about running for president? Shudder)
    posted by msalt at 12:21 PM on January 9 [31 favorites]


    ABC News: Rosenstein expected to depart DOJ in coming weeks once new attorney general confirmed

    Update: @KenDilanianNBC: News: A source close to Rod Rosenstein told @PeteWilliamsNBC today that Rosenstein plans to stay until Mueller submits his report -- further evidence that Mueller is close to wrapping up.

    I've heard that claim every couple weeks for the past year, though sourcing it to someone close to Rosenstein instead of Giuliani is a new twist.
    posted by zachlipton at 12:23 PM on January 9 [25 favorites]


    > sciatrix's Bloomberg link: Shutdown Threatens $200 Million a Day in Federal Contracts

    Purely a personal opinion, but the Trump Shutdown is not "leverage", it's a protection racket. After decades of dealing with — and learning from — the Mafia and Russian oligarchs, apparently The Donald can't be the Artful Dodger Dealer unless he thinks his offers can't be refused. It's time for a bipartisan Congress to give him an unmistakable NO, before he's encouraged to use this blackjack again.
    posted by cenoxo at 12:26 PM on January 9 [26 favorites]


    Meanwhile, in Canada... the newly formed "People's Party," which may describe themselves as populist, libertarian, or just plain freedom-lovin' depending on the day (but consistently anti-immigrant--er, excuse me, anti-multiculturalism), has unveiled its first electoral candidates, which include a wild-eyed anti-LGBT activist who calls gender fluidity "the greatest and most insidious assault against our children that this nation has ever seen."

    The party's leader (whose Twitter account I will not link to) was a close runner-up in the recent Conservative party elections who has tacked hard-right since then. When not railing against 'political correctness,' he can be found spreading conspiracy theories about the one world government, talking about the "need" to reduce family reunification policies, and advocating for the deregulation of everything from the Canada Post to the telecom industry. In other words, a mix of red meat for the masses and graft for the rich.

    It remains to be seen if any of this will resonate with the electorate in Canada, but the same forces at work in the US are working hard elsewhere too.
    posted by duffell at 12:39 PM on January 9 [9 favorites]


    Meanwhile, Obama is just his usual self
    posted by growabrain at 12:40 PM on January 9 [25 favorites]


    @realDonaldTrump: Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!

    @LisaDNews: SCHUMER: The president slammed the table, asked Speaker Pelosi if she would support his wall and when she said no, he walked out and said "we have nothing to talk about".

    @kylegriffin1: Chuck Schumer, coming out of the W.H. meeting, said that Trump "just got up and walked out" after about 30 minutes. "Again we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way."

    @stevenportnoy: PELOSI, after 3rd Sit Room mtg, tells reporters Trump thinks "maybe [federal workers] can just ask their father for more money. They can't."

    @SimonMaloy: feel like we have to keep reminding ourselves that there is no "dealing" or "negotiating" happening -- it's just Trump saying "give me what I want" and cajoling congressional Republicans to not break ranks

    I really think the only way this ends is if Senate Republicans look at the mounting shutdown damage (the Coast Guard just suggested that people try having garage sales) and insist on voting for the same spending bill they all passed unanimously in December. Or Trump declares an emergency and who knows what happens then.

    McConnell apparently no-showed the GOP press conference again; he really wants no part in any of this.
    posted by zachlipton at 12:41 PM on January 9 [97 favorites]


    Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time

    I know this is the very pettiest of all things to be upset about, but his first-naming people he is not on good terms with just to diminish them the slightest bit in other people's eyes is so childish and destructive when they are negotiating over actual lives.
    posted by corb at 12:46 PM on January 9 [54 favorites]




    To be clear, assuming Democrats stay firm, any possible shutdown ending comes down to the Senate and/or the executive branch, right? There's no significant role for House Republicans in terms of likelihood they would filibuster or otherwise obstruct the Democratic majority there?
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:48 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    I think we’ll eventually learn that Manafort’s data and Cambridge Analytica’s stolen data was fed to the Russians for a literally individualized set of social media interventions- not just ads, but comments, replies, emails and DMs focused on key swing voters.

    I think we'll eventually learn that Russian online active-measures analytics along with data from hacked documents were fed back to the campaign, probably with plausible deniability. We know that the Guccifer 2.0 persona shared DCCC documents and turnout models with operatives. We also know very little about the US persons who interacted with Internet Research Agency people on the ground. I very much want to know the details and provenance of Parscale's FB Custom Audience / Lookalike Audience datasets, and I suspect Mueller does too.
    posted by holgate at 12:49 PM on January 9 [14 favorites]


    @stevenportnoy: PELOSI, after 3rd Sit Room mtg, tells reporters Trump thinks "maybe [federal workers] can just ask their father for more money. They can't."

    Hahahaha oh man I do not envy Pelosi having to hang out in Trump's head like that, but at least she's doing something fun with the place
    posted by schadenfrau at 12:50 PM on January 9 [113 favorites]


    I really think the only way this ends is if Senate Republicans look at the mounting shutdown damage (the Coast Guard just suggested that people try having garage sales) and insist on voting for the same spending bill they all passed unanimously in December. Or Trump declares an emergency and who knows what happens then.

    Well, i can think of another way, but it probably won't happen (yet)

    It starts with "I" and ends in "mpeachment and removal from office".
    posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:52 PM on January 9 [15 favorites]


    McConnell apparently no-showed the GOP press conference again; he really wants no part in any of this.

    He seems to act in the belief that he can't lose if he never shows up. Can't blow up the Death Star if it's not there.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 12:54 PM on January 9 [7 favorites]


    So far he’s right. There’s no one who’s paid attention at all for the last two years who doesn’t know that if McConnell allowed the Senate to pass the thing they already passed and sent it to Trump with a message, Trump would sign. He’d find some torturous, addle-brained but emotionally resonant excuse to claim it as a win, and he’d sign. He’s more easy to manipulate than a goddamn toddler.

    McConnell single handedly has the power to stop the shut down, and everyone knows it, but for some reason they’re not saying it.
    posted by schadenfrau at 12:58 PM on January 9 [73 favorites]


    ArgentCorvid: Well, i can think of another way, but it probably won't happen (yet)

    It starts with "I" and ends in "mpeachment and removal from office".


    Both conviction and veto-override (on a spending bill) require the same number of Senators. Yet the latter is vastly more likely to happen than the former, partly because a lot more primary-voting Americans are loyal to Trump than they are to the The Wall as anything more than a symbol.

    There are face-saving ways for red-state senators to say "I know this looks anti-Trump but actually it isn't because blah blah" (the most obvious being "Democrats wouldn't budge and we're giving in to their demand for no wall because in the end we wanted the government to stay open", but they'd probably prefer to be less blatant about capitulation). But no equivalent is available for a vote to convict, so the latter requires really major (though not impossible) changes to the landscape, something serious enough to in some way negate the cult.
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:03 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]




    NYT, Tom Steyer, Billionaire Impeachment Activist, Won’t Run Against Trump
    Tom Steyer, the California billionaire who has crusaded for President Trump’s impeachment, said on Wednesday that he would not join the pack of Democrats running for president in 2020 and would instead redouble his efforts to topple Mr. Trump before the election.

    Mr. Steyer’s decision came as a surprise even to some of his political confidants. He had made deliberate preparations in recent months to seek the White House, running television ads in the early primary states, recruiting potential staff members and even designating a campaign manager for a possible run.

    But Mr. Steyer began informing aides early this week that he would not be a candidate after all, after concluding that he could have a greater political impact through his impeachment activism, several advisers to Mr. Steyer said. Mr. Steyer intends to spend at least $40 million on impeachment efforts in the coming year — money that might otherwise have been directed toward a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
    I like the guy a lot, though I can think of some better uses for $40 million, but I can't say I'm not relieved he's not running.
    posted by zachlipton at 1:06 PM on January 9 [50 favorites]


    Trump blames California for wildfires and claims he will withhold FEMA aid for victims (Vox)
    President Donald Trump lashed out at the state of California again on Wednesday, this time blaming forest managers for recent wildfire tragedies, including the Camp Fire, which resulted in 86 deaths.

    In a tweet, he also said he had ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to withhold funding from the state “[u]nless they get their act together.”
    Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2019
    ...
    The tweet also blames the state of California for poorly managing its forests. Yet this is based on a major misunderstanding: The federal government owns and manages 57 percent of the state’s 33 million acres of forest land, while the state manages only about 3 percent.

    And as of October 2018, the US Forest Service had only been able to reduce fire risk with prescribed burns and thinning on 235,000 acres in California, leaving millions of acres untended. The majority of the burned area in 2018 was on federal land, and the Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest and most destructive fire on record, was likely ignited by power lines on federal land.
    ...
    It’s notable that US Forest Service is part of the US Department of Agriculture, which is currently shut down. The forest service in recent years has spent more than half its budget fighting fires, leaving little leftover for fire prevention and forest management. The Trump administration has proposed cutting the forest service’s budget, including zeroing out critical fire research programs.

    Also, it’s bizarre, and cruel, to link FEMA aid with federal forest management. Trump has already issued a disaster declaration for the 2018 wildfires in California, and FEMA is managing relief operations for the thousands of people left homeless, providing emergency housing, food, and water.
    They're looking for more hostages, and this time, I think it's notable that it's a traditionally "vulnerable" group like women, immigrants, or people of color, or the sick, or the poor, it's Americans who happen to live in a liberal state. Added to the paychecks of federal employees which are now hostage, this feels like a real escalation. A lot more people are gonna get hurt if Republicans are allowed to stay in power.

    I'm looking for Democrats who are willing to say that deliberate cruelty, rather than Russian shenanigans, is the reason to impeach.

    McConnell single handedly has the power to stop the shut down, and everyone knows it, but for some reason they’re not saying it.
    posted by schadenfrau at 4:58 AM on January 10 [+] [!]


    I think the guns for him come out after the first missed paychecks on Friday. I hope Democrats have the foresight to make the coming pain stick to him.
    posted by saysthis at 1:07 PM on January 9 [47 favorites]


    @SimonMaloy: feel like we have to keep reminding ourselves that there is no "dealing" or "negotiating" happening -- it's just Trump saying "give me what I want" and cajoling congressional Republicans to not break ranks

    I don't think that's correct. Trump is not just saying "give me what I want." He's saying "give me what I want or I'll keep hurting people you care about."
    posted by The World Famous at 1:08 PM on January 9 [26 favorites]


    > (the Coast Guard just suggested that people try having garage sales)

    People are mocking this advice, but I am here to tell you that I have made *tens* of dollars from a single garage sale.
    posted by The Card Cheat at 1:08 PM on January 9 [76 favorites]


    InTheYear2017 You are correct. It's 100% with the Senate and/or President at this point.

    Unlike in the Senate where the minority has significant power, in the House the minority party has essentially no power at all. They can complain, but other than that the Republicans can't stop the Democrats from passing bills with no wall funding.
    posted by sotonohito at 1:10 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    The tweet also blames the state of California for poorly managing its forests. Yet this is based on a major misunderstanding: The federal government owns and manages 57 percent of the state’s 33 million acres of forest land, while the state manages only about 3 percent.

    This is not based on a misunderstanding. "Poor forest management" means "not selling off all federal forest land for lumber." They don't hide it: ask a conservative about their forest management solutions for fires and the first thing they'll say (couched in dishonest analyses) will be "sell the trees." Institutional media can not and will not grasp the Trump GOP's use of language.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 1:16 PM on January 9 [48 favorites]


    McConnell single handedly has the power to stop the shut down, and everyone knows it, but for some reason they’re not saying it.

    Bernie Sanders said it in his response last night:

    On January 3rd, 2019, on their first day in the majority, the Democrats in the House passed legislation to re-open the government. This was exactly the same bill unanimously passed by the Senate.

    Tonight, I urge Senate Majority Leader McConnell to allow that bill to come to the floor to get a vote. This is the same bill that he supported when it was unanimously passed in the Senate.

    Senator McConnell: let’s vote to end this shutdown now in a bipartisan way.

    posted by duoshao at 1:16 PM on January 9 [31 favorites]


    Should we start calling McConnell's offices? 202-224-2541
    posted by yoga at 1:18 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    They're looking for more hostages, and this time... it's Americans who happen to live in a liberal state.

    But, according to NPR, largely in pro-Trump counties
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:18 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


    McConnell single handedly has the power to stop the shut down, and everyone knows it, but for some reason they’re not saying it.

    This is more of a media thing than anything else:
    A group of Senate Democrats spent Tuesday evening taking turns on the Senate floor calling on Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, to bring up the House-passed legislation to reopen the government. The dozen Democrats, led by Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, plan to spotlight the harm from the shutdown on federal workers and those who benefit from government programs.
    @timkaine:
    Mitch McConnell is refusing to allow Senators to vote to end this stupid shutdown. People are sick of these political games. Congress should stop covering for the president. Our Senate effort tonight to push to reopen government says enough is enough.

    Will Sen. McConnell listen?
    A whole lot of other Senate Democrats are all pushing McConnell on this, publicly. If you're not hearing it, that's because the reporting has been mostly focus on Trump.
    posted by cjelli at 1:21 PM on January 9 [72 favorites]


    I think McConnell is doing that thing that Comey did when he tried to blend in with the drapes. Maybe he told Trump that he (McConnell) has the power of invisibility. So Trump thinks McConnell is doing a Pence, sitting alongside Trump silently during these meetings with S&P.
    posted by angrycat at 1:21 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    > I think McConnell is doing that thing that Comey did when he tried to blend in with the drapes.

    Who knows, maybe McConnell is just holding out so that Trump can have the biggest Government shutdown ever. That shuldn't take much longer - the record holder is the 1995-96 shutdown lasting 21 days (but affecting many fewer people - see sciatrix's comment above), and we're already at 18d 16h 29m per the Washington Post homepage.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 1:28 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    [He's] not just saying "give me what I want." He's saying "give me what I want or I'll keep hurting people you care about."

    Sam Stein, per source familiar:
    Schumer: you’re using people as leverage. why won’t you open the government and stop hurting people?
    POTUS: because then you won’t give me what I want.
    posted by holgate at 1:33 PM on January 9 [76 favorites]


    McConnell’s non-action is a real puzzler. If he was truly on-board with the $5-billion for a wall, I think we’d see him taking biger shots at the dems.

    I have to think he’s either genuinely scared of Trump and his base, orrrrr he’s so pissed at Trump for reneging on the original, unanimous funding bill that he’s just sitting back and letting I-1 dig a big ol’ hole for himself that he can’t escape, and then McConnell will swoop in like a vulture, gather a veto-proof pile of votes, and send the original bill to Trump. And then quietly feast on Trump’s humiliated bones.
    posted by Thorzdad at 1:39 PM on January 9 [18 favorites]


    George Packer. The Atlantic. The Suicide of a Great Democracy
    A shutdown looks like the beginning of the end that Lincoln always knew was possible.

    A constant theme runs throughout Lincoln’s writings, from his years as a young Illinois politician to the last great speeches of his life: the supreme value of self-government. Everything depended on this idea, “our ancient faith,” which itself was “absolutely and eternally right.” But its endurance was never guaranteed. From the start of his career, Lincoln foresaw how American democracy might end—not through foreign conquest, but by our own fading attachment to its institutions. “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher,” he said in 1838. “As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
    ...
    It makes sense that Donald Trump is indifferent to the paralysis of the government he leads, and that he welcomes a shutdown of months or even years. If shutdowns become routine, if politicians view the government in which they serve as a disposable tool, if we’re no longer capable of governing ourselves, this only reflects Trump’s contemptuous attitude toward democracy itself. Shuttered museums, federal workers who can’t pay their bills, national parks with stinking toilets: This is what Trump thinks of American republicanism. This is what the suicide of a great democracy looks like.
    posted by bluesky43 at 1:40 PM on January 9 [85 favorites]


    It's been suggested the polling data was needed so the Russians would know what states to focus their efforts on, but... couldn't Manafort have simply told them? I would be interested in what that information included, and more theories on how it could have been used.

    posted by xammerboy at 9:45 AM on January 9 [2 favorites +] [!]


    Pretty sure Manafort had neither the tools nor the intelligence to properly analyze the data to identify specific subtargets in specific states, which I believe Cambridge Analytica or some other agency produced for the Russians. Those data were then used to target individuals in swing precincts in swing states, resulting in that narrow margin of victory for Trump.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 1:42 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


    McConnell’s non-action is a real puzzler. If he was truly on-board with the $5-billion for a wall, I think we’d see him taking biger shots at the dems.
    I think he's hoping that he can somehow avoid paying any sort of political price for the whole mess if he stays out of it and lets the media depict it as a fight between congressional Democrats and Trump. He isn't thinking about anything other than the politics of the thing, but that's because he's fundamentally morally bankrupt.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:43 PM on January 9 [41 favorites]


    For my money, McConnell knows any pro-wall coalition in the Senate is fragile and doesn't want to push his caucus to do more than stay resolutely silent. He knows that if the Senate overrides a veto it could piss Trump off to the point where he'll stop blindly signing off on Republican policies he doesn't personally care about, and is banking on either POTUS himself or the Dems to blink and just leave the broader GOP of it.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:44 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    In the wake of Pelosi & Schumer's statement, there's noise about how they're misrepresenting him because he didn't just walk out, no, he offered them candy before leaving. A variety of candy. And then said bye-bye.

    Which is just... I mean, if that happened, Pelosi & Schumer basically did him a favor by leaving that out of their statements. It's distracting, it's pointless, and oh yeah it makes him look fucking bizarre -- except Trump's own people are trying to use his bizarre bullshit in his defense. I'm gonna go bang my head into my desk for a while now.
    posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:45 PM on January 9 [28 favorites]




    WSJ, Trump Walks Out of Border Talks, Calls Them ‘Total Waste of Time’
    The collapse of the negotiations came on the 19th day of the partial government shutdown, which is days from becoming the longest in history. The president earlier in the day said he would declare a national emergency to pay for a border wall “if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.”
    That's, er, by definition not an emergency if you can wait around before you do it, but do go on:
    As a possible way out of the shutdown, Mr. Trump’s advisers in recent weeks have suggested that the president could declare a national emergency to fund the border wall and agree to sign a spending bill without such a provision. While the declaration would likely be swiftly held up in litigation, Mr. Trump would be able to tell supporters he did everything he could to build the wall, one of his top campaign pledges in 2016.
    I fear this is where we're headed (even though it's unclear how the timing would work since you can't just get an injunction overnight). He's realized that "SEE YOU IN COURT" works for him, and looking like he's fighting for the wall in some arena or another is more important than actually getting it. The key thing here is that the wall is a political outcome, not a policy outcome. We know this because Trump has not actually done offered in negotiations that would help him achieve the policy goal of building a wall; he's just demanded it over and over in various venues ranging from Twitter to prime time TV to the Situation Room. If a wall was his preferred policy outcome, he'd be offering trades on Dreamers and other things that Democrats want in order to get them to support what he wants. But the only thing he actually wants is the political outcome of "Trump is seen to be boldly fighting for the wall against the evil liberals" (and Democrats want the political outcome of "stop the wall"), so he's not offering anything that would actually make a wall closer to reality.

    Since he's entirely uninterested in the wall as policy, the only thing he wants is a political offramp for this that allows him to not be seen as losing, and I'm not sure what that's going to be if not an emergency declaration, unless perhaps Senate Republicans force his hand first.
    posted by zachlipton at 1:48 PM on January 9 [9 favorites]


    Coast Guard families told they can have garage sales to cope with government shutdown
    ‘Bankruptcy is a last option,’ the service said in a tip sheet published on a service website.
    Employees of the U.S. Coast Guard who are facing a long U.S. government shutdown just received a suggestion: To get by without pay, consider holding a garage sale, babysitting, dog-walking or serving as a “mystery shopper.”

    The suggestions were part of a five-page tip sheet published by the Coast Guard Support Program, an employee-assistance arm of the service often known as CG SUPRT. It is designated to offer Coast Guard members help with mental-health issues or other concerns about their lives, including financial wellness.

    “Bankruptcy is a last option,” the document said.
    posted by scalefree at 1:49 PM on January 9 [21 favorites]


    "They should come back to the table,” Pence says after a meeting with top Democrats in which Trump literally walked away from the table

    They're still there, right? Like, they're going to hang out at the negotiating table, chatting about their grandkids and single-payer and trump's mental condition and the plight of the American worker until the president* comes back? In front of the cameras? Yes?
    posted by tivalasvegas at 1:50 PM on January 9 [10 favorites]


    Sure, who's going to hire them to babysit? Everyone else around them who is also out of work and can't pay and needs money?
    posted by jenfullmoon at 1:54 PM on January 9 [10 favorites]


    From the sad Lincoln story linked above:

    It was as if Washington had been stricken by a grotesque illness

    No "as if" about it, friend. Though I understand the failure to process events while you're in the middle of them.
    posted by Quindar Beep at 1:55 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    McConnell is staying out of it because Republican voters support Trump's position. At the risk of being a broken record on Senate Republicans: McConnell only cares about what gets him and his caucus re-elected. Full stop. And his consideration for re-election is Republican electorate opinion, statistically. Full stop. Until he gets polling that says the he or a significant subset of his caucus is in trouble for their views, he's not going to move.

    McConnell only cares about one thing: staying in power. That's it. Not his responsibilities to his constituents, or as a steward/protector of the Constitution. None of it. He wants nothing more than to stay in power. He has no moral compass, no ethics, no other rules by which he abides.

    Mitch McConnell is very, very easy to understand. His lens is laser-focused. If it doesn't involve his retention or expansion of power, he ain't interested. Full stop.
    posted by Brak at 1:55 PM on January 9 [61 favorites]


    McConnell’s non-action is a real puzzler.

    He's scared of losing his seat in the Senate -- not his Majority Leader seat, mind you -- to a degree he hasn't been in a long time, and he's hoping no one notices that he should be standing between a lot of furloughed voters and a Republican President.
    posted by Etrigan at 1:57 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


    Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw Mueller probe, leaving DOJ after investigation wraps up (Pete Williams & Alan Smith, NBC News)
    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had been overseeing the special counsel investigation, plans to step down after Robert Mueller finishes his work, according to administration officials familiar with his thinking.

    A source close to Rosenstein said he intends to stay on until Mueller's investigative and prosecutorial work is done. The source said that would mean Rosenstein would remain until early March. Several legal sources have said they expect the Mueller team to conclude its work by mid-to-late February, although they said that timeline could change based on unforeseen investigative developments.

    The source said once Mueller's work is done, the special counsel's report to the Justice Department would follow a few weeks later, and Rosenstein would likely be gone by then.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 1:57 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    He's scared of losing his seat in the Senate -- not his Majority Leader seat, mind you -- to a degree he hasn't been in a long time, and he's hoping no one notices that he should be standing between a lot of furloughed voters and a Republican President.

    Then the Democrats should be going after McConnell (and Individual-1). Tie them up together with a big red bow.
    posted by bluesky43 at 1:58 PM on January 9 [19 favorites]


    Coast Guard families told they can have garage sales to cope with government shutdown
    ‘Bankruptcy is a last option,’ the service said in a tip sheet published on a service website.


    A quick reminder from our previous shutdown shitshows: being a military service, Coast Guard personnel cannot quit and find new jobs. That would be a tall order for most federal employees regardless, and I'm not saying it's a simple solution. The Coast Guard isn't a civilian job, though. It's military, subject to the UCMJ, and therefore walking out even if it's because you're not getting paid has other labels like "unauthorized absence" and "AWOL" and "desertion."

    Military exceptionalism is gross and we shouldn't act like The Troops are somehow more important than other federal employees. They are not. But for what it's worth, there's "I can't leave because I need my job," and then there's "I will literally go to jail if I don't keep showing up for work."
    posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:04 PM on January 9 [106 favorites]


    Not to abuse edit windows: all that said, I can't imagine shit like this is going to help service retention at all when people's enlistments do expire naturally. But then I'm still trying to wrap my head around how anyone stays in any of the services with this dumpster fire in the White House.
    posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:06 PM on January 9 [12 favorites]


    The source said once Mueller's work is done, the special counsel's report to the Justice Department would follow a few weeks later, and Rosenstein would likely be gone by then.

    I suspect Rosenstein will need to be interviewed as a witness to finalize the obstruction case, and he can't be in a supervisory position at that point. Though the proposed timing (leaving before the report is submitted) makes it seem like Rosenstein is confident that Barr (or Whitaker) won't be able to block the report or any prosecutions at that point.
    posted by stopgap at 2:07 PM on January 9 [10 favorites]


    That's, er, by definition not an emergency if you can wait around before you do it

    Trump just undermined his own border-wall ‘national emergency’ (WaPo):
    Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Trump said that he has the “absolute right” to declare an emergency. Then he was asked what would make him take such an action. “My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable” on the partial government shutdown, he said. He added at another point of the negotiations: “Otherwise we’ll go about it in a different manner,” but “I don’t think we’ll have to do that.”

    Importantly, this is the first time Trump has explicitly said the national emergency declaration is his backup plan. It has been clear that it was a conveniently timed alternative that could be invoked in the absence of a deal to fund the wall and end the shutdown. But the White House could have argued that it was still deliberating about the legality of such a move — or even that it was still considering whether it was appropriate. Here is the president acknowledging that such a declaration is basically a strategic option.
    posted by peeedro at 2:07 PM on January 9 [17 favorites]


    I've been thinking about the parallels between the Roman Republic and its transition to Empire with the current situation -- nothing serious, I just play with historical parallels a lot to see if I can come up with fun, inobvious ways to extrapolate the future for my side gig writing SF RPG materials.

    But guys, perils of analogy aside, not paying the troops was a really bad idea at the time and seems like it would be no better now.
    posted by Quindar Beep at 2:10 PM on January 9 [57 favorites]


    Since the DoD is fully funded, most of the troops are being paid. It's only the Coast Guard that is unappropriated right now since they are structured under the Department of Homeland Security.
    posted by parallellines at 2:22 PM on January 9 [10 favorites]


    Uh, what the what now???

    Mercury News, Planning to fly? You may need a passport beginning Jan. 22 — thanks to government shutdown
    Planning to fly in the coming weeks? You may need a passport beginning Jan. 22.

    That’s right. Even though we were all told the federal REAL ID cards wouldn’t be required until October 2020 — when plane passengers will need to present either a REAL ID or a passport — that deadline may be pushed up to just 13 days from now if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) doesn’t certify California’s REAL IDs as compliant with federal regulations or issue an extension.
    ...
    “Unfortunately, due to a lack of response on the part of the federal government with the ongoing shutdown there has been no final confirmation,” he said. “The department, along with the governor’s office liaison in Washington D.C. continues to work to get formal notification that the state has been deemed compliant.”
    I have to hope that someone will wake up and provide the certification despite the shutdown, since many travelers simply do not have another form of accepted ID, but here we are.
    posted by zachlipton at 2:26 PM on January 9 [19 favorites]


    I have to hope that someone will wake up and provide the certification despite the shutdown, since many travelers simply do not have another form of accepted ID, but here we are.

    "UPDATE, 2:29 p.m.: The DMV announced Thursday afternoon that California now has until April 1, 2019, to become certified as compliant with the federal government’s REAL ID requirements. "
    posted by jedicus at 2:33 PM on January 9 [7 favorites]


    REAL ID is another one of those bullshirt PATRIOT ACT-era laws that was pushed off for years and years, but never eliminated. I decided to get one when my license expired for various reasons, but you need at least 3-4 papers proving your identity, citizenship and proof of residence (and an expired drivers license can't be one of them). I think it's going to be a shirtshow in 2020, and it's defiantly going to be shirtshow if the requirement is implemented now (which I guess it isn't).

    Still, down with REAL ID!
    posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 2:36 PM on January 9 [23 favorites]


    WaPo. Shutdown impasse: 8 House Republicans break with Trump on shutdown strategy, back Democrats’ plan to reopen Treasury without new border wall funds

    House Democrats passed a bill that would reopen the Treasury Department and ensure that the Internal Revenue Service would remain funded as tax season kicks off and millions of taxpayers begin to file their returns.

    Eight House Republicans voted in favor of the bill, defying the president’s pleas for unity. But the measure has no path to passage, as Trump has said he opposes any legislation that does not include funding for the border wall.
    posted by bluesky43 at 2:40 PM on January 9 [19 favorites]


    AP FACT CHECK: Democrats put the blame for the shutdown on Trump. But it takes two to tango. Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for his border wall is one reason for the budget impasse. The Democrats refusal to approve the money is another.

    Kate Aronoff (Intercept)
    AP FACT CHECK: Leia put the blame for the destruction of Alderaan on Darth Vader. But it takes two to tango. Vader shooting a powerful superlaser at the planet is one reason it was destroyed. Leia's refusal to tell him where the Rebel base was is another.
    posted by chris24 at 2:49 PM on January 9 [100 favorites]


    Leia's refusal to tell him where the Rebel base was is another.

    She actually did give a location, and then shortly after Tarkin and Vader destroyed Alderan anyway, as destroying Alderan would be a greater demonstration to the rebel’s as to what heppens if they don’t fall in line.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    posted by kabong the wiser at 3:03 PM on January 9 [29 favorites]


    this is the first time Trump has explicitly said the national emergency declaration is his backup plan... ...the White House could have argued that it was still deliberating about the legality of such a move

    I think his legal team is still deliberating the legality but it looks like Trump would just as soon take the same approach to the muslim ban (act now, court battles later), and because of how that went last time around, his lawyers are having him lay some groundwork first this time.

    So the speech was to reframe the debate away from refugees and toward "humanitarian crisis" to use as defense for the inevitable lawsuits that come up against the national emergency declaration.

    Which is all the more reason to call Senators and put maximum pressure on the senate to end the shutdown before we have to test the legality of his national emergency.
    posted by p3t3 at 3:27 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    Dude is just free range hallucinating. I suspect a recent viewing of one of the Road Warrior films may be responsible for this one.

    @thedailybeast WATCH: Trump argues that we need a border wall to stop migrants just driving right across in their "unbelievable vehicles... stronger, bigger, and faster vehicles than our police have, than ICE has"
    posted by scalefree at 3:27 PM on January 9 [53 favorites]


    I look forward to his denunciation of that high school kid with the shaved head who wants to kidnap people's wives to come for your guns, and his claims that no one has given us as much water as him, no one.
    posted by schadenfrau at 3:30 PM on January 9 [7 favorites]




    you need at least 3-4 papers proving your identity, citizenship and proof of residence (and an expired drivers license can't be one of them).

    I got a REAL ID last fall. It took a birth certificate (proof of citizenship), a paystub printed from my online pay statement (proof of SS number), and my voter ID postcard (proof of residence). The latter isn't listed specifically on the DMV's checklist (it falls under "A document issued [by] a U.S. government agency") but is listed in the other places that give examples of usable documents.

    The process was nerve-wracking because I knew if something went wrong, it might be a huge hassle to deal with, but it went smooth and easy.
    posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:38 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    It occurs to me that "longest shutdown in history" is something Individual-1 must anticipate with real excitement. He won't necessarily brag about it out loud, but inwardly it will be a "Nobody else ever did it!" point of pride, and might even shift his frame of mind to "Yes, mission accomplished, I showed them all." Regardless, one can guarantee he won't budge until Saturday at the earliest.
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 3:39 PM on January 9 [24 favorites]


    He won't necessarily brag about it out loud, but inwardly it will be a "Nobody else ever did it!" point of pride

    Like how he once said Trump Tower was the tallest building in Manhattan after 9/11?
    posted by ZeusHumms at 3:48 PM on January 9 [13 favorites]


    It occurs to me that "longest shutdown in history" is something Individual-1 must anticipate with real excitement.

    Solution: Quit calling it a shutdown and call it "government failure." Have the media report on this as "the second-longest failure of the US government in history."

    Reporters need to ask him which aspect of his government failure was most unexpected for him, or how much the failure and lack of staff is impacting security on the border, or why he's failed to restore services to the people who need them.

    Use the word "fail" a whole lot. Have headlines saying, "Trump's Failure" - failure to act, failure to provide for the nation, failure to pay workers, failure to lead.
    posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:54 PM on January 9 [91 favorites]


    The WaPo's Jim Rieger, from Trump's presser this afternoon (/w video):
    TRUMP: I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want.

    REPORTER: What’s your threshold for when you might make that decision?

    TRUMP: My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.
    @realDonaldTrump, later that afternoon: "Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!"

    Buzzfeed's Lissandra Villa: "I have CONFIRMED that Trump said “bye bye” and in fact offered Butterfingers, M&Ms, and Baby Ruths. “We think skittles too,” per source, who added Trump “constantly spoke over Pelosi.”"

    Trump has an idiosyncratic definition of "unreasonable".
    posted by Doktor Zed at 3:55 PM on January 9 [31 favorites]


    It's been awhile since I've seen one of those "Proof we're living in a simulation" posts, but this one's a doozy:

    @_AlexHirsch:
    What the fresh hell. This is REAL. Filmed in 1958- about a conman who grifts a small town of suckers into building a wall. History not subtle enough for you? GUESS THE GRIFTER'S NAME
    (And watch until the end)

    posted by Atom Eyes at 4:02 PM on January 9 [98 favorites]


    Metafilter: She actually did give a location, and then shortly after Tarkin and Vader destroyed Alderan anyway, as destroying Alderan would be a greater demonstration to the rebels as to what heppens if they don’t fall in line.
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:03 PM on January 9 [14 favorites]


    My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.

    I assume this will be Exhibit A in any future constitutional crisis-related litigation?
    posted by schadenfrau at 4:04 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    As an aside...Anyone else think it’s odd that Pence has suddenly been let out of cold storage to get involved in this kerfuffle? They even let him speak to people and stuff!
    posted by Thorzdad at 4:20 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]


    That 1958 TV episode is real, according to Snopes. Extraordinary.
    posted by young_simba at 4:21 PM on January 9 [41 favorites]


    It's small beans but the Baltimore Sun points out that one of the few details in Trump's oval office address was false: Trump mentioned MS-13 members stabbing a 16-year-old girl in Maryland. That's not quite what happened. There have been MS-13 related stabbings, but none that fit Trump's (or Stephen Miller's) description.

    The local tv news reports that the White House has clarified that they were talking about an incident where a 16-year-old boy was stabbed, the WaPo describes the incident as: "Ten MS-13 members attacked a gang rival in these woods in February, hitting him in the back of the head with a baseball bat before stabbing him three times in the stomach, according to police." I can't find any follow-up reporting on the incident, so Trump's other claim in this case that the attackers "arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors" remains, well, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
    posted by peeedro at 4:24 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    @_AlexHirsch:
    What the fresh hell. This is REAL. Filmed in 1958- about a conman who grifts a small town of suckers into building a wall. History not subtle enough for you? GUESS THE GRIFTER'S NAME
    (And watch until the end)


    There's always a tweet entire god damn movie created by a large group of unionized workers.
    posted by rhizome at 4:24 PM on January 9 [37 favorites]


    The two Trumps even talk the same way:
    Trump: I am the only one. Trust me. I can build a wall around your homes that nothing will penetrate.

    Townperson: What do we do? How can we save ourselves?

    Trump: You ask how do you build that wall. You ask, and I’m here to tell you.
    posted by Joe in Australia at 4:36 PM on January 9 [31 favorites]


    It's been awhile since I've seen one of those "Proof we're living in a simulation" posts, but this one's a doozy:

    @_AlexHirsch:
    What the fresh hell. This is REAL. Filmed in 1958- about a conman who grifts a small town of suckers into building a wall. History not subtle enough for you? GUESS THE GRIFTER'S NAME
    I doubt the name's a coincidence or a sign we're living in a simulation. Fred Trump was investigated by the Senate for profiteering in 1954 - I don't know much about Trump family history or political culture at the time but it's not beyond belief that the Trumps were already a watchword for greedy, unethical fear-mongering back in the 1950s.

    I also don't know the history of walls as a political macguffin but given that they're, well, walls, I suspect it's very old.

    As the Faulkner quote goes: the past isn't over, it isn't even past.
    posted by galaxy rise at 4:38 PM on January 9 [40 favorites]


    That 1958 TV episode is real, according to Snopes. Extraordinary.

    It's real and it's on Youtube in all it's glory.
    posted by waitingtoderail at 4:39 PM on January 9 [31 favorites]


    My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.

    I just had a terrible thought - like, does he think it’s like negotiating with unions, where he can just implement the last best offer because he’s in charge and folks have no other choice? Like does he understand that if there’s an impasse here he doesn’t just get to unilaterally win?
    posted by corb at 4:57 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


    Has history proven otherwise yet?

    I mean, he has a hostage. People are being hurt by this. So if he reasons that (a) whoever blinks first loses, (b) if people are being hurt, eventually the Dems will blink simply to put people back to work, and (c) the Republicans in Congress will do absolutely nothing to stop him, he will keep that hostage.

    I have no reason to believe that (a), (b) or (c) have changed recently.
    posted by delfin at 5:05 PM on January 9


    does he understand

    No.
    posted by schadenfrau at 5:11 PM on January 9 [38 favorites]


    "Again we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way."

    I know to do so is probably a federal crime, but I would really like someone to surreptitiously record (and leak) a meeting where I-1 is screaming and cursing and ranting. As I understand it, that’s pretty much all of his White House meetings.
    posted by Thorzdad at 5:14 PM on January 9 [10 favorites]


    I know to do so is probably a federal crime, but I would really like someone to surreptitiously record (and leak) a meeting where I-1 is screaming and cursing and ranting. As I understand it, that’s pretty much all of his White House meetings.
    Out of curiosity, why would this be a federal crime? As far as I understand, Washington, D.C. is a one-party consent state for recording. Is there some other law that applies here?
    posted by Juffo-Wup at 5:18 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


    I thought 'I should call McCaskill's office and see if she's going to say something publicly about the shutdown'
    ☹☹☹
    posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:22 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    Out of curiosity, why would this be a federal crime?

    Probably something about state secrets or espionage or things along those lines. We are talking about secretly recording the president in the White House, after all.
    posted by Thorzdad at 5:27 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    Fact-checking the mob song from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
    An angry mob, having learned that a Beast lives near their village in rural France, 18th century

    GASTON AND VILLAGERS: We’re not safe until he’s dead.

    First off, there are many ways to die that are not directly related to beast attacks! (See chart.) But it is an observed fact that rates of beast attacks approach zero as the number of beasts approaches zero. So there is a factual basis for this approach.

    He’ll come stalking us at night. Set to sacrifice our children to his monstrous appetite.

    Although the Beast has not been spotted “stalking” anyone around the village, he is more nocturnally and crepuscularly active than diurnally. There are no recorded instances of him sacrificing children to his monstrous appetite, however, making this claim somewhat direr than the situation warrants.

    He’ll wreak havoc on our village if we let him wander free! So it’s time to take some action, boys! It’s time to follow me.

    This is a prescriptive rather than a descriptive statement. There are many times when taking action could be appropriate. However, based on the Beast’s habits, night would be a more appropriate time than otherwise to make an attack on his redoubt, thus making this not entirely incorrect.
    posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:27 PM on January 9 [38 favorites]


    CNN: Law Firm That Represented Russian Interests Part of Mystery Mueller Subpoena Case
    One law firm involved in a foreign government-owned company's challenge of a mysterious grand jury subpoena related to the Robert Mueller investigation is Alston & Bird, CNN has learned, a firm that has previously represented Russian interests, including working for a Russian oligarch and a contractor of the Russian government.[…]

    Attorneys involved in the case include DC-based white-collar lawyer Ted Kang and Brian Boone, a North Carolina-based appellate attorney. It is not clear whether they represent the company, the country's regulators or another interested party.[…]

    Alston & Bird's history of working for Russians dates back to the early 2000s.

    The Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a business contact of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort whom Mueller's team has sought information about, paid Alston & Bird $300,000 upfront in 2003 to help him reinstate his US visa, according to public lobbying disclosure filings. Over the next few years, Deripaska paid the firm another $270,000 for their work, the filings say. Around that time, Deripaska gave Manafort a $10 million loan, which the FBI cited in a 2017 search warrant on Manafort.[…]

    It has also done work for global public relations firm Ketchum Inc., which hired it to "provide advisory services to Ketchum, Inc. for the Russian Federation." This included gathering information on contemporary US-Russia relations and monitoring "legislative developments in the Congress in similar issue areas," according to filings from 2014.
    Reuters's Lawrence Hurley also reports: "Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has filed a motion to unseal the mystery grand jury subpoena case. The filing itself appears to be sealed"
    posted by Doktor Zed at 5:28 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


    NPR had a good story on the costs to government research of the shutdown.
    posted by acrasis at 5:30 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


    NPR had a good story on the costs to government research of the shutdown.

    I'm expecting walking papers next week at my research institution. Guess I'll see if I can start picking up some consulting work...
    posted by cowcowgrasstree at 5:38 PM on January 9 [11 favorites]


    Where are the subpoena cannons? I was told there would be cannons.

    As long as the shutdown goes on, subpoenas and the such are probably a bad idea.
    posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:59 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


    House Democrats force GOP to vote on protecting Obamacare (CNN)
    The House voted Wednesday on a resolution affirming the chamber's authority to defend the Affordable Care Act in federal court.

    The move was designed by newly empowered Democrats to put Republicans on the record voting for or against protecting Obamacare and its safeguards for those with pre-existing conditions. The GOP has for years fought against the law, with House Republicans voting in 2017 for repeal.

    Wednesday's vote was 235 to 192, with three Republicans supporting the measure.
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:09 PM on January 9 [38 favorites]


    [A few comments removed, let's not get into the whole "an interruption of pay is slavery" thing, however fucked up the interruption-of-pay situation itself may be.]
    posted by cortex (staff) at 6:11 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    It makes sense that Donald Trump is indifferent to the paralysis of the government he leads, and that he welcomes a shutdown of months or even years. If shutdowns become routine, if politicians view the government in which they serve as a disposable tool, if we’re no longer capable of governing ourselves, this only reflects Trump’s contemptuous attitude toward democracy itself. Shuttered museums, federal workers who can’t pay their bills, national parks with stinking toilets: This is what Trump thinks of American republicanism. This is what the suicide of a great democracy looks like.

    Trump's contempt for federal civil service and his mission to make it an unbearable ordeal are not deviations from the Republican norm. His actions are entirely in line with Ronald Reagan's smirking hatred of civilian government workers. (Military, of course, gets an exemption.) A month into the Trump administration, Steve Bannon openly stated that Trump's goal was "deconstructing the administrative state." The chaos that has been sowed throughout various federal agencies, the appointment of toadies who openly despise their subordinates and oppose the missions of the agencies they run, the loss of institutional knowledge, the erosion of benefits, the dwindling respect for federal agencies both internationally and among talented young Americans -- this is what conservatives have wanted for the last four decades. In this, at least, Trump is not an aberration.
    posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 6:11 PM on January 9 [82 favorites]


    Does the shutdown mean that every contract made with the US government has an implicit clause saying "we might not pay you, let alone be responsible for any losses, if it turns out that no funds are appropriated for this"? Because that isn't just destructive of any sort of good government, but seems inconsistent with e.g. the 14th Amendment. Surely if there's a contract there's a debt?

    Also, the knowledge that the US government can just say LOL WE DON'T ACTUALLY NEED TO PAY YOU to people who can't legally quit their jobs must be pretty terrifying to people who are considering enlistment. I'm sure they will get paid, eventually, but still.
    posted by Joe in Australia at 6:25 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]


    A month into the Trump administration, Steve Bannon openly stated that Trump's goal was "deconstructing the administrative state."

    Source for the quote?
    posted by bluesky43 at 6:28 PM on January 9






    And here's what it means to the Supreme Court, where there's a building conservative attack on Chevron v. NRDC, the foundation of modern administrative law. It's not just Bannon, this is a real conservative movement to repeal most of the federal government's ability to regulate, well, anything.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 6:37 PM on January 9 [43 favorites]


    Bannon on deconstruction of the administrative state: "But the third, this regulation. Every business leader we've had in is saying not just taxes, but it is -- it is also the regulation. I think the consistent, if you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction, the way the progressive left runs, is if they can't get it passed, they're just gonna put in some sort of regulation in -- in an agency.

    That's all gonna be deconstructed and I think that that's why this regulatory thing is so important."

    /I think the quote provides some context for what the phrase means...
    posted by bluesky43 at 6:39 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    I think the consistent, if you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction

    I...am not sure he's using a common definition of "deconstructed." Even so, if he's talking about appointees having multiple...let's say "influences," and that they're appointed for only one ( or some) of them, that wouldn't seem to satisfy deconstruction as a method for extracting more meaning. What Bannon could be saying is that the diversity of voices in the cabinet has been intentionally reduced.

    That's all gonna be deconstructed and I think that that's why this regulatory thing is so important."

    If this is about Democrats regulating instead of passing laws, isn't regulation enacted by law itself? How that might be "deconstructed" remains to be seen, but perhaps related to the diversity reduction above maybe he's saying Democrats will be criticized though a subset of traits.

    rhizome's rating: four question marks.
    posted by rhizome at 6:52 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


    Speak of the Devil: Steve Bannon Angled for a Job Lobbying on Behalf of E-Cigarette Giant Juul (Betsy Woodruff and Asawin Suebsaeng, Daily Beast)
    Juul Labs, which hawks flavored e-cigarettes that teens love, recently drew a controversial suitor: ex-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

    The offer came during a meeting on Oct. 10 of last year, where Nick Muzin, a former staffer for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), met with Tevi Troy, vice president of public policy at Juul. At the meeting, Muzin pitched Troy on the lobbying services of his firm, Stonington Global. Muzin also brought up Bannon, saying the former White House strategist would help with his company’s lobbying work for the vape company, according to communications by a person with direct knowledge of the pitch, which The Daily Beast reviewed.

    Muzin’s pitch also highlighted the fact that one of his fellow Stonington lobbyists, James Frinzi, previously worked for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) —one of the Senate’s most outspoken critics of the e-cigarette industry. The message was clear: Frinzi’s access to Murkowski could have big payoffs.
    posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:53 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]




    My sense is that Bannon thinks "deconstruction of the administrative state" sounds super radical. It sounds like fancy political theory speech but I'm not sure it means anything more than the getting rid of regulations, the age old Republican saw horse. Like reneging on a treaty restores our sovereignty? puh-leeze.
    posted by bluesky43 at 6:56 PM on January 9 [20 favorites]


    The Worst Wing, Orange is the new black, Three Men and a Manbaby and other #WhiteHouseSitcoms
    posted by growabrain at 6:59 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    Jeff Bezos is getting a divorce. Who cares, right? Except the National Enquirer, which held Trump's secrets and helped him win, says it "tracked Jeff Bezos & his mistress "across five states and 40,000 miles" in "four-month investigation".

    Jake Tapper: Big investment of money, time, and energy to dig up dirt on someone a) who’s seldom mentioned in celebrity mags,
    b) whose face is unknown to millions, BUT
    c) who just happens to own the Washington Post and is often attacked by POTUS because of its coverage.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 7:00 PM on January 9 [91 favorites]


    @amyklobuchar
    I tried (as did Blumenthal) to get meeting w/AG nominee Barr and was told he couldn’t meet until AFTER the hearing. The reason given? The shutdown. Yet shutdown didn’t stop him from other mtgs. This is a 1st for me w/any nominee as a member of judiciary. #Uncool #BadSign

    11:01 PM - 9 Jan 2019
    posted by bluesky43 at 7:06 PM on January 9 [60 favorites]


    NBC Boston reports a group of neighborhood dog owners in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood are now removing the trash from the Bunker Hill Monument on a daily basis.
    posted by adamg at 7:18 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    Don’t give up. Don’t allow it to happen. If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it, go over it, go around it, but get to the other side of that wall

    Video.
    posted by kirkaracha at 7:39 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


    Surely if there's a contract there's a debt?

    That's what I was told when I mentioned that breach of contract might cause some contractors to sue. There are supposedly multiple statutes appended to contracts that say basically 'No funding, no payment, sorry'
    posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:46 PM on January 9


    It’s been a while since I bid on government contract jobs, but as part of the bidding process there was disclosure that projects had to be funded before approval. That said, I don’t remember verbiage that addressed a shutdown, because who could possible have foreseen that the Republicans would continuously hold the nation hostage.
    posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:55 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


    Jebus! If someone as "healthy" as Donnie J can get up, around, over, or through any wall, there's not a lot of point to walls in general.
    posted by sexyrobot at 8:11 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


    I tried (as did Blumenthal) to get meeting w/AG nominee Barr and was told he couldn’t meet until AFTER the hearing. The reason given? The shutdown. Yet shutdown didn’t stop him from other mtgs. This is a 1st for me w/any nominee as a member of judiciary. #Uncool #BadSign

    @matthewamiller Somehow he found time to meet with Graham and Grassley today. I guess the shutdown wasn’t an issue for meeting with Republicans.
    posted by scalefree at 8:22 PM on January 9 [29 favorites]


    My sense is that Bannon thinks "deconstruction of the administrative state" sounds super radical.

    If you replace "deconstruction" with the word "destruction" it all makes sense.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 8:22 PM on January 9 [8 favorites]


    So I'm guessing that whole "Barr & Mueller best friends" thing isn't something we should count on.
    posted by scalefree at 8:23 PM on January 9 [8 favorites]


    Contractors are issued a stop work order and cannot bill hours or costs to the contract during the shutdown.
    posted by InfidelZombie at 8:25 PM on January 9


    Contractors are issued a stop work order and cannot bill hours or costs to the contract during the shutdown.

    Unless granted an exception. We can't get approval or feedback or talk to anyone furloughed but we're still working.
    posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:54 PM on January 9


    But we also only have a few already planned sprints in the hopper so, if this goes say til March, not sure what we'll be doing.
    posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:55 PM on January 9


    Contractors are issued a stop work order and cannot bill hours or costs to the contract during the shutdown.

    Yeah, it really depends on the contract. I was an in-house contractor during a shutdown in the 90s, and all my federal coworkers went home and I stayed in the office. Doing nothing, because everyone I needed to work with was gone. And there was no internet, so I have no idea what I wasted my time on...

    But apparently my office right now is empty of both civilians (except for a couple of people funded with multi-year money, which didn't expire) and contractors.

    I have a couple of projects I'm running as the PM, with outside consultants preparing reports, and one of them may be in trouble because the period of performance expired today and there is no contracting officer available to extent the contract period. I'm really not sure what's going to happen with that...

    Anyway, in conclusion, federal contracting during a shutdown is a land of contrasts.
    posted by suelac at 9:10 PM on January 9 [12 favorites]


    But we also only have a few already planned sprints in the hopper so, if this goes say til March, not sure what we'll be doing.


    Tech debt?
    posted by awfurby at 9:17 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    The New York Times and AP bungled their fact checks of Trump’s speech — badly (Aaron Rupar, Vox)
    Fact-checkers wandered into false equivalency territory Tuesday night after President Trump’s Oval Office address on immigration and Democrats’ response to it.

    The Associated Press was clobbered on Twitter after it anointed the Democratic claim that Trump was at fault for the shutdown “false,” saying that the Democrats are at fault too. As the AP put it on Twitter: it takes “two to tango.”

    The New York Times, meanwhile, attempted to fact-check a “should” claim made by Democrat Chuck Schumer — the kind of statement that doesn’t really lend itself to a fact check at all.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 9:38 PM on January 9 [18 favorites]


    Atom Eyes: "The premise—coming from the bureau at the Times that covers the operations of the federal government—was that the only people affected by the government shutdown are the people who have government jobs. The sole function of the federal government, as the Times sees it, is to give out paychecks to federal government workers.

    Meanwhile, here’s some context: 1,150 federal rent-subsidy contracts with landlords who provide poor people’s housing have already expired with no money to renew them, with another thousand on their way to expiring, in a program that serves 1.2 million people.
    "

    Besides which I'd bet on average at least one person is dependant on each of the people not receiving a cheque. Spouse, child, parent, etc.
    posted by Mitheral at 9:38 PM on January 9 [13 favorites]


    . . .and the small businesses where these people spend their money
    posted by yesster at 9:48 PM on January 9 [10 favorites]


    So when will Fox News finally let Donald Trump's shutdown end? (Amanda Marcotte, Salon)
    Trump's only real goal in this shutdown fight is to save face. That has been well-established. He's not sincerely worried about breaking a campaign promise, since that's largely what he has done since taking office. He's repeatedly indicated that he'd be satisfied with a solution where he simply tells his followers he won and tweets out a bunch of photos of existing fencing while pretending that he built it. He has no compunction about flatly declaring victory even in the face of obvious defeat, because he knows his base voters — the only ones he cares about — will happily go along with any lie he tells, out of loyalty to him and their own unwillingness to admit they were wrong.

    But there's a problem, which started well before the shutdown. So far, Fox News simply won't let Trump go down the "pretend you won and move on" route. The network, which Trump watches loyally and regards as a more important adviser than anyone on his actual White House own staff, has stuck to the false and racist claim that the U.S. is being invaded and only a wall will suffice to stop the problem. Fox hosts have also consistently minimized the impact of the government shutdown. And any time Trump gives even a whiff of softening his stance on this issue, the Fox talking heads, knowing that Trump is watching, will turn up the pressure, hinting that they will go after him hard if he backs down.
    ...

    Since the wall is already semi-fake, why not just fake it altogether?

    One possible answer is that the shutdown and the wall debate have done a bang-up job at shoving another big story off the front page, which is that the walls continue to close in on Trump when it comes to his massive corruption and likely criminal activity. As Salon's Heather Digby Parton writes, Tuesday was "a blockbuster day in the Russia investigation," and was only overshadowed by all the chatter about the shutdown and the border wall.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 9:56 PM on January 9 [14 favorites]


    Yeah, if you burn down the house, no one complains about the broken toilet.
    posted by valkane at 10:00 PM on January 9 [7 favorites]


    Gail Collins goes where Metafilter fears to tread.
    posted by xigxag at 10:27 PM on January 9 [8 favorites]


    > Contractors are issued a stop work order and cannot bill hours or costs to the contract during the shutdown.

    FFRDC employee here. Yeah, what suelac said.

    Our primary federal sponsor is .mil instead of .gov, so everyone is still coming to work during the shutdown. However, many of our larger work plans are with civilian agencies where many of the .gov employees are furloughed. The funds for those work plans are disbursed annually well ahead of time based on agreements sometimes many years in the making, so the funding for my work (about 2/3 funded by civilian and 1/3 funded by military) is basically guaranteed unless the shutdown extends late into the spring. Of course, the people I would normally be sending release notes, status updates, etc. to are furloughed, and the "essential" govvies I rely on to install my software are at best overworked and at worst looking wistfully at the many "come make three times your current GS salary" billboards in the DC area.

    I'll be *fine*, for some value of *fine*. But the stability of government work is the one thing our government partners actually have over us, and Individual One is squandering that for a few feet of fencing.

    The machinery of the (military|civilian) industrial complex will keep operating during the shutdown, only far less efficiently, and with far less information about what the government really wants.
    posted by tonycpsu at 10:40 PM on January 9 [12 favorites]


    I'm sorry if I have not read every comment in this as-usual catch all thread, but why are right-thinking people not out in the streets protesting this nonsense? I know most of you are fortunate enough to have jobs, but isn't it our duty to the people who aren't getting checks from the gov (especially for those still working) to be out in the streets. making our voices heard (and hey that goes for both sides, right?). Saturday and Sunday should see some sort of public sacrifice along these lines assuming nothing changes. Are there any multi-city protests efforts being talked about?

    If not, why the hell not?
    posted by BigBrooklyn at 10:41 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]


    Gail Collins:
    There’s no way to be cheery about the government shutdown. This is really terrible. Some of those suffering most are smaller government contractors, whose businesses could very well fail while they wait to be paid for work they’ve already done. (Stiffing contractors is possibly the only area of his job in which our president has a lot of pregovernment experience.)
    True dat.
    posted by flabdablet at 10:42 PM on January 9 [25 favorites]


    why are right-thinking people not out in the streets protesting this nonsense?

    Because nearly two years have passed of a demented psychopath occupying the job of president while everybody on that beat pretends that he's normal. And because political labour is as hard as emotional labour, especially when the mechanisms for change are so attenuated and ultimately anti-democratic. ("You look so tired, unhappy / Bring down the government.") Being out in the streets of wherever you are if it's not DC counts for fuck-all right now in terms of political labour compared to, say, dumping a bag of trash in the lobby of the Old Post Office hotel or sitting in at the top of the tower. And if anyone's up for that, organise it.
    posted by holgate at 11:01 PM on January 9 [20 favorites]


    I have mentioned this before but I also work for a federal contractor. The work for my contract was funded through Jan. 11th so I've been getting paid to "work" from home*. Realistically, as others have mentioned, my work depends on the government employees and resources (like the computers with all the data on them that have been turned off). There's a company wide conference call on Friday to discuss what our options are should the government not reopen on Monday. So, I have been working and getting paid for the last three weeks, but that all changes for me on Monday.

    As for protests, I know there is a protest near the white house on Thursday (today), around noon, sponsored by the AFL-CIO. And, if I am not getting paid on Monday I will be spending the week protesting and/or going through the congressional phone book making my ire known. I suspect, or at least hope, as more contract funding runs out, protests will continue to grow, which will hopefully put pressure on congress to end this dumb shit.

    *The real motherfucker is that my previous contractor's contract expired early December, so I've only been with this company for a month as of today and have no saved up vacation time to use.
    posted by runcibleshaw at 11:02 PM on January 9 [8 favorites]


    If not, why the hell not?
    posted by BigBrooklyn at 2:41 PM on January 10 [1 favorite +] [!]


    Good question. Really good question. There are laws against "essential personnel" striking in some cases, but certainly not all, and general fears about lost paychecks in others.

    But I say, I as an expat contractor for mostly the entertainment industry in places far poorer and used to unreliable pay than the US, y'all just wait. Wait until the money doesn't come through. Friday is federal paycheck day, and nobody signed up for this. I know how I get when I don't get paid, and I've raised some holy hell that got me paid, and I'm even used to going without paychecks for months.

    We've all witnessed the lull in these threads after Christmas last year. It's markedly less noisy. The economy is scared. Everybody is scared. Why is there no organized protest yet? Critical mass ain't felt the pain yet. But now we're about to see what 800,000 pissed off federal employees and their constituents do.

    Shit is about to get real. 2018 was bumpy, but 2019...strap in, game on.
    posted by saysthis at 11:04 PM on January 9 [10 favorites]


    One possible answer is that the shutdown and the wall debate have done a bang-up job at shoving another big story off the front page, which is that the walls continue to close in on Trump when it comes to his massive corruption and likely criminal activity.

    When dictators are caught doing something horribly wrong they very predictably do big, dumb, dangerous things to distract the people and try to fix it. Trump's shut down, or something like it, was predictable - almost inevitable. I would not be surprised if he tries to manufacture another, even bigger, crisis.
    posted by xammerboy at 11:12 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]


    Trump's team had over 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, report shows
    Members of President Donald Trump's campaign and transition team had more than 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to a new report.

    The milestone illustrates the deep ties between members of Trump's circle and the Kremlin. The findings, tracked by the Center for American Progress and its Moscow Project, come amid reports that special counsel Robert Mueller is nearing the conclusion of the two-year investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by the president.
    COLLUSYOURDADDY
    posted by kirkaracha at 11:16 PM on January 9 [57 favorites]


    As for protests, I know there is a protest near the white house on Thursday (today), around noon, sponsored by the AFL-CIO.

    I'm serious here: protesting near the White House doesn't mean shit to the person squatting in it. Protesting in and around the hotel up the road with his name slapped on it -- and I mean seriously protesting, as in making it shitty for the people busily emolumenting -- will have more impact.
    posted by holgate at 11:22 PM on January 9 [36 favorites]


    Let me be clear with my intention inre protests. If you are a federal worker/contractor/public servant impacted by this shutdown, I'm not saying that you should be the ones protesting. It should be up to the rest of us mooks to demonstrate to our "leaders" via the media outlets that we actually give a shit. Its my sincerest hopes you guys have the ability and wherewithal to spend this forced downtime in a productive and comforting manner. Not that you aren't welcome to join a protest of course, but please, you guys probably deserve a break.

    To holgate's point, sending a message to Trump is absolutely useless. He doesn't care, and will never care. The point here is to help drive the narrative home - that the shutdown is not supported by the majority of the American people. If the media captures people mad as hell on the streets, there will be less wiggle room for the press to start to move accountability back onto democrats, immigrants or other non-Trump parties. If this happens, you know that garbage outlets like WaPo will head there sooner or later.

    We owe this to our government servants who are currently sol without pay, we owe it to our immigrant and refugee populations who are being needlessly demonized, we owe it to the people who are working against Trump daily, but who need an expression of public support to make it actually mean something.

    If anyone is interested in hanging out along these lines somewhere relevant in downtown SF this weekend, message me privately.
    posted by BigBrooklyn at 11:27 PM on January 9 [9 favorites]


    AOC tweeted that a HUD employee told her they haven’t had a paycheck in 3 weeks but to not give in over the wall.

    90% of the replies were other govt workers and some people who said they were also HUD and that it was not possible someone from HUD hadn’t been paid in that long, linking to the pay calendar showing a last pay date of Dec 28. And also saying the first missed pay will be Jan 11.

    Are people already missing pay? I’ve seen this about TSA employees as well and I’m so confused.
    posted by sio42 at 11:31 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


    Takeaways from Sam Harris' podcast with Renée DiResta about Russia’s “Internet Research Agency”:

    1. We should not call it a "disinformation" campaign. The point was to further polarize existing factions of Americans, often by amplifying factual information or commonly held beliefs or opinions.

    2. Russians would infiltrate existing social media groups. They would start by emphasizing identity-base pride, and then slowly suggest the identity was not compatible with voting for Clinton or America in general.

    3. They worked all sides, infiltrating groups of all kinds: black and blue lives matter, intersectionalist groups, Bernie supporters, etc.

    4. Their posts weren't easily identifiable as foreign. Most were indistinguishable from other member posts. They were often disarmingly funny. Often the messages poked fun at the idea that a Russian campaign existed.

    5. They recruited individuals, reaching out to group members to post ads or engage in activities. They would organize protests, and then organize the counter protests. They targeted specific people they could unwittingly convert into assets to do their bidding.
    posted by xammerboy at 11:36 PM on January 9 [43 favorites]


    Are people already missing pay? I’ve seen this about TSA employees as well and I’m so confused.

    AFAIK, I keep hearing that Jan 11 date as the first missed pay period. If you assume pay is every two weeks, maybe that three weeks is a slight exaggeration, but with the holidays, who knows.
    posted by BigBrooklyn at 11:38 PM on January 9


    Are we really arguing over the exact best place to protest? Wow.
    posted by runcibleshaw at 12:03 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


    AFAIK, I keep hearing that Jan 11 date as the first missed pay period. If you assume pay is every two weeks, maybe that three weeks is a slight exaggeration, but with the holidays, who knows.
    posted by BigBrooklyn at 3:38 PM on January 10 [+] [!]


    That's what I keep hearing, but also, I keep seeing articles like this where it's like...it's on.

    We're at this point where it's time for if you are in any way supportive of organized labor and rights against the government (or whatever employer you have) deciding it's ok to not pay you, you need to stand up. I'm agitating because if the expectation that payment is prompt goes away, I suffer. My reference point vanishes. So this is my last post of the day here, but I'll be damned if I let it not be said that the government not paying people is a major break, and that something needs to be done by the Affected, and that I'll be donating to whatever effective labor body is set up.

    If you're not getting paid, make sure nobody gets the business. I'll be damned if I wasn't an expat. I would be among you printing fliers and spray-painting the houses of Pinkerton agents. STRIKE ALREADY!!!!
    posted by saysthis at 12:11 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


    90% of the replies were other govt workers and some people who said they were also HUD and that it was not possible someone from HUD hadn’t been paid in that long, linking to the pay calendar showing a last pay date of Dec 28. And also saying the first missed pay will be Jan 11.

    Paychecks should have gone out on Dec 28th, yes. The phrasing of that tweet was odd ("“My family is hurting now that I’m three weeks without a paycheck”) and I'd say the charitable interpretation is "I have missed three weeks of work and don't expect to get paid for them", since there's no legal requirement to give backpay to furloughed workers (although most people are assuming that it will be done anyway).
    posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:30 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


    Top Bernie Sanders 2016 adviser accused of forcibly kissing subordinate

    “Becker, now 50 years old, told the 20-something woman that he had always wanted to have sex with her and made a reference to riding his “pole,” according to the woman and three other people who witnessed what happened or were told about it shortly afterward by people who did. Later in the night, Becker approached the woman and abruptly grabbed her wrists. Then he moved his hands to her head and forcibly kissed her, putting his tongue in her mouth as he held her, the woman and other sources said.

    The woman did not formally report the incident at the time because the campaign was over. But over the past several months, Becker, who is not on Sanders’ payroll, has been calling potential staffers and traveling to early primary states to prepare for another presidential run—activities that Sanders’ top aides did not endorse, but did not disavow, either.”
    posted by msalt at 1:47 AM on January 10 [19 favorites]


    So now Trump has a real crisis on his tiny hands. A threat from a fellow NATO member, no less.
    (If it wasn't so terrible, the threat in itself would an almost Monty Python level of absurd: if you say we are massacring Kurds, we will massacre Kurds, boo).

    Turkey says it will launch Syria offensive if US delays pullout
    Turkey will launch an offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces if the US delays the withdrawal of its troops from the war-torn country, the foreign minister has said.

    “If the [pullout] is put off with ridiculous excuses like Turks are massacring Kurds, which do not reflect the reality, we will implement this decision,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told NTV television.
    posted by mumimor at 3:02 AM on January 10 [20 favorites]


    apparently as per twitterdom when Trump said bye-bye to Pelosi and Schumer he did some sort of jazz hands or whatever open palms on either side of his face means.

    What I want to know is if he waved with those tiny little hands next to his face while saying "Bye-bye" Hooo boy.
    posted by angrycat at 4:14 AM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    So, here's my morning coffee thought this morning: Trump is laying the groundwork for the National Emergency notion, and stoking the shutdown impasse, because deploying a National Emergency when things are really really broken and most everyone is panicked and suffering is the one single thing that he can do that will knock the Mueller report off of the front pages, when it finally hits within the next month.
    posted by Sublimity at 4:38 AM on January 10 [9 favorites]


    They worked all sides, infiltrating groups of all kinds

    If this is the pattern then you would assume they infiltrated more than one campaign, too.
    posted by schadenfrau at 4:41 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


    I think it's possible a few people have gone three weeks without pay, there are the occasional time sheet hickups (supervisor/timekeeper on vacation, timesheet corrections, change in direct deposit, something that needs manual input) usually this would get fixed but with the shutdown that started on 12/22 it's conceivable those things were never processed.

    Also note that the pay period ended on 12/23 so the paycheck on the 28th was one day smaller than it should have been for most employees.
    posted by AlexiaSky at 4:45 AM on January 10


    So, here's my morning coffee thought this morning: Trump is laying the groundwork...

    No way. Trump might cause ridiculous chaos on a whim, but he does not lay groundwork for anything. Those-who-would-manipulate-him have to allow that he'll blow up something for no reason at random times.

    I will grant him that he's very astute at reading the tenor of his immediate environment for how much attention he's getting, and to some extent, what kind of attention. But that's it.

    All our colluding Republican friends and their "well-meaning" WH staff are well and truly treed by this narcissistic animal now.
    posted by petebest at 5:09 AM on January 10 [37 favorites]


    Trump may not lay groundwork, but he does seem to need to work himself up to doing some things. We saw that pattern with him firing people. For weeks before he actually did it he'd badmouth them, assure everyone that he was totally not thinking of firing them, and then finally fire them via Twitter when they were out of town.

    Maybe actually declaring a national emergency is something he has a similar emotional difficulty just doing and needs to work himself up for as well?
    posted by sotonohito at 5:16 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


    He’s a coward, that’s all.

    God, all this energy expended trying to understand a simple, hollow, narcissist. There’s nothing there to understand. You’d think we were all traumatized children trying desperately to find some sort of sense in an abusive tyrant we can’t defend against.

    I’ve been wondering, though, if spreading awareness of how this sort of abusive control works — like, it’s in memes now, you don’t have to read Foucault to learn about the internal policeman or whatever — will slowly neuter this form of authoritarianism. Until another form can rise, obviously, but still.
    posted by schadenfrau at 5:22 AM on January 10 [78 favorites]


    At this point I'd like to see "why aren't you all out protesting" go the way of re-litigating the 2016 primary in these threads. We've covered this.

    1. When we do protest at historic levels, much of the press declines to take us seriously
    2. Republicans and their dear leader DON'T CARE what we think
    3. most of us are trying to build power to fight Trump etc, such as
    4. how we just worked our asses off to get the blue wave that took the House and changed legislative bodies and governorships across the country
    5. this is a huge country so making an impressive showing of concerned citizen is more challenging than in many other places
    6. this has been going on for 2 years, and we have no idea when it will end

    Every day is an emergency. Every day feels like we should flood the streets. People still need to live and survive so we try to find a balance and direct our energy in ways that matter.

    I'll be at the Women's March on January 19, hopefully with a kickass sign and a warm coat. But I'll do a lot of stuff you will not see before and after that.
    posted by Emmy Rae at 5:24 AM on January 10 [147 favorites]


    If you're talking full-scale unrest, that happens only when people think there isn't any other option. Because it's bloody and violent. Most people have been through shutdowns that didn't affect them too badly. They're hoping to ride it out.

    Massive protests could still be on the horizon but everyone is basically holding their breath and hoping for a solution.
    posted by emjaybee at 5:34 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


    In Overton Window news, the guys over at National Review can't stop talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 70% top marginal tax rate proposal. My favourite one so far is Kevin's pedantic correction to the effect that AOC isn't being nearly as aggressive in her proposal as the pre-1980 tax codes actually were:
    Representative Ocasio-Cortez has spoken about introducing a 70 percent bracket on incomes of $10 million and up. In 1980, the top rate of 70 percent kicked in at $107,000, or about $360,000 in current dollars. A 70 percent tax that applies at $360,000 is an entirely different thing from a 70 percent tax that applies at $10 million.
    Indeed it is. I bet it would raise a lot more money to fund social programs, too. Thanks for bringing that up, NRO!
    posted by clawsoon at 5:37 AM on January 10 [79 favorites]




    @joshtpm:
    Means pretty clearly that Bill Barr is cued up to be a constitution breaker on Trump's behalf.
    He’s referring to Barr’s refusal to meet with Senate Dems prior to his confirmation shindig. Here’s the linked TPM article.

    Kinda hoping he’s called this one wrong, because I got nothin’.
    posted by schadenfrau at 6:12 AM on January 10 [9 favorites]


    From The Hill:

    Texas county GOP set to vote this week to remove leader because he is Muslim
    Republican Dorrie O’Brien is leading a group of colleagues in an attempt to unseat Shahid Shafi, a trauma surgeon in Forth Worth, the largest city in Tarrant County.

    “We don’t think he’s suitable as a practicing Muslim to be vice chair because he’d be the representative for ALL Republicans in Tarrant County, and not ALL Republicans in Tarrant County think Islam is safe or acceptable in the U.S.,” O’Brien wrote in a Facebook post.
    posted by jgirl at 6:37 AM on January 10 [32 favorites]


    . . .and the small businesses where these people spend their money

    Speaking as a small business owner right outside DC, who has had virtually no customers this week? YEAH.

    I even started offering a discount to federal employees until the shutdown ends.
    posted by nonasuch at 6:40 AM on January 10 [29 favorites]


    “We don’t think he’s suitable as a practicing Muslim to be vice chair because he’d be the representative for ALL Republicans in Tarrant County, and not ALL Republicans in Tarrant County think Islam is safe or acceptable in the U.S.,” O’Brien wrote in a Facebook post.

    This ain’t a theocracy, Dorrie O’Brien.
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:41 AM on January 10 [45 favorites]


    By the way, I oppose eliminating the EC, I just want to reform the ratio of EC votes per voter to be more equal across the board.

    I've mentioned it before, but updating the century-old Apportionment Act of 1911, which restricts the number of representatives to 435, should be a top priority the next time Democrats have power to do so. More representatives would certainly benefit Democrats, who after all represent more people, and it would also increase the Electoral College in ways that would generally benefit blue states (and Texas and Florida).
    posted by Gelatin at 6:43 AM on January 10 [9 favorites]


    updating the century-old Apportionment Act of 1911, which restricts the number of representatives to 435,

    I think you mean the Reapportionment Act of 1929 (the 1911 act set the house at 435, but did not restrict it to 435 permanently; Congress then intentionally failed to pass a post-census apportionment act after 1920 before eventually setting the House at 435 on a permanent basis in 1929). Which doesn't impact your point at all, but.
    posted by cjelli at 6:51 AM on January 10 [10 favorites]


    One of the things I like to do is think up what kind of explanations explain the details we know that might still result in "good" outcomes (for varying levels of what we Mefites would consider "good") to see how ridiculous those explanations are.

    The only thing that comes to mind RE: Barr's refusal to meet with Sen. Klobluchar is that maybe he has a similar attitude to Mueller and will absolutely support the investigation but has to appear to be on Trump's side at least until he gets confirmed. Other than Whitaker, most of the DoJ folks who have gotten involved with the investigation affirm that the investigation should keep moving forward at least once they've seen the evidence or, I assume, been briefed by Mueller and his team.

    Based on what we've seen from Barr, I wouldn't bet on this explanation but I still think there is a decent chance that Barr will be on Muller's side once he gets confirmed. It doesn't look good but I haven't lost all hope.
    posted by VTX at 6:51 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


    Daniel Dale: Trump's fuller quote on Mexico paying: "Obviously I never said this, and I never meant, they're going to write out a check. I said they're going to pay for it. They are. They are paying for it with the incredible deal we made with the...USMCA deal. It's a trade deal.

    So... is Canada paying for the wall too?
    posted by PenDevil at 7:02 AM on January 10 [20 favorites]


    Anyone claiming Trump is too stupid, too narcissistic, or too lazy to be "laying the groundwork" for anything nefarious -- I invite you to read Fintan O'Toole's very well reasoned opinion piece for the Irish Times.

    Trial runs for fascism are in full flow
    Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism


    PDF version

    It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as an ignoramus, not least because he is. But he has an acute understanding of one thing: test marketing. He created himself in the gossip pages of the New York tabloids, where celebrity is manufactured by planting outrageous stories that you can later confirm or deny depending on how they go down. And he recreated himself in reality TV where the storylines can be adjusted according to the ratings. Put something out there, pull it back, adjust, go again.

    Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people used to something they may initially recoil from; and they allow you to refine and calibrate. This is what is happening now and we would be fools not to see it.

    posted by pjsky at 7:03 AM on January 10 [71 favorites]


    Just now:

    “The buck stops with everybody.” - Trump

    [real] ... one for the history books.
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:10 AM on January 10 [51 favorites]


    maybe he has a similar attitude to Mueller and will absolutely support the investigation but has to appear to be on Trump's side at least until he gets confirmed.

    I keep telling myself this for every not-obviously-horrible nominee. I haven't been (entirely) right yet. They all cave to Trumpism to some degree.
    posted by Etrigan at 7:11 AM on January 10 [6 favorites]


    Regarding protests:

    You need a permit to stage a protest. Permits aren't being granted in DC right now because of the shutdown (the parks service people who would be granting them are furloughed). This is also a problem for big, long-term protests like the Women's March, which never received its permit for its annual protest on the 19th. Meanwhile, however, police are not furloughed, so "unlawful" protests would/could be broken up aggressively.

    Obviously people who work for the government can't really risk getting arrested or getting a record, and they could even plausibly get fired just for appearing at a protest "as" federal workers because of the Hatch Act. So they're going to be extra cautious. And these are people who already wanted to work for the feds anyway, they're generally pretty cautious as a group.

    AFL-CIO is holding today's big rally at their HQ, since that doesn't require a permit. Their HQ is very close to the White House and Lafayette Square (like literally across the street), which is why the rally is described as being "near the White House."

    I think people are also underestimating how fundamentally a shutdown changes the atmosphere in DC. It's a half-dead town filling up with trash (literally). Locally, there's no missing the impact.
    posted by rue72 at 7:12 AM on January 10 [55 favorites]


    Just now:

    “The buck stops with everybody.” - Trump


    Link? The Googles haven't caught up to this one yet, apparently.
    posted by Rykey at 7:25 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


    The Daily Beast's Sam Stein highlights some choice Trump quotes en route to AF1:
    Favorite Trump quotes from just note

    “I didn’t pound the table. I didn’t pound the table.”

    "I don't have temper tantrums."

    “I’ll probably will do it, maybe definitely.”

    "The buck stops with everybody"

    "I'm a professional at technology"
    Vox's Aaron Rupar has the video:
    TRUMP: "The buck stops with everybody."

    "The Democrats don't care about crime. They've been taken over by a group of young people that frankly, in some cases, I think they're crazy."
    posted by Doktor Zed at 7:29 AM on January 10 [46 favorites]


    They all cave to Trumpism to some degree.
    That's the thing, it's Trump's superpower. Anyone who attempts to engage with him is soiled.
    posted by mumimor at 7:31 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


    Vox's Aaron Rupar has the video: TRUMP: "The buck stops with everybody."

    Just to add/give credit, it was NBC White House Correspondent Kristen Welker who asked question (which was drowned out by noise, maybe helicopter rotors?):

    When I asked @POTUS if the buck stops with him he tells me: “The buck stops with everyone.”

    posted by bluecore at 7:34 AM on January 10 [18 favorites]


    Regarding protests:

    The Hatch Act does not prohibit most federal employees from attending and being active at rallies and political meetings.

    However, federal employees in some agencies are further restricted:

    "the Federal Election Commission;
    the Election Assistance Commission;
    the Federal Bureau of Investigation;
    the Secret Service;
    the Central Intelligence Agency;
    the National Security Council;
    the National Security Agency;
    the Defense Intelligence Agency;
    the Merit Systems Protection Board;
    the Office of Special Counsel;
    the Office of Criminal Investigation of the Internal Revenue Service;
    the Office of Investigative Programs of the United States Custom Service;
    the Office of Law Enforcement of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms;
    the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency;
    the Office of the Director of National Intelligence;
    the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice;
    and the National Security Division of the Department of Justice

    The heightened restrictions also apply to employees holding certain designated positions, including the following:
    career appointees in an Senior Executive Service position; administrative law judges; contract appeals board members; and administrative appeals judges."
    posted by jilloftrades at 7:37 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


    I am a Canadian, and I am watching all of this with horror and fascination.

    At this point, I am working on the pessmistic assumption that the President will never give in. He seems to see negotiation as a test of willpower, and he seems also to be completely indifferent to the struggles of the people who are being harmed by the shutdown, as he seemingly cares about nobody other than himself. And the Democrats can't give in. If they do, the President will try the tactic again and again.

    If the President was the only problem, this would be solvable - the House would pass legislation to reopen the government, the Senate would swiftly confirm it, and Congress would override the president's inevitable veto. But the Republicans prioritize party loyalty over actually governing, so they will do nothing.

    Again, I am possibly being overly pessimistic, but I am wondering whether the Republican Senate and the Republican President would be recalcitrant enough to block all legislation coming out of the Democratic House until 2020. Even before the last Presidential election, the Republicans violated historical norms by blocking Obama's Supreme Court nominee, and there's nothing in the rules (that I know of) to stop them from dragging their feet and simply blockading everything.

    Am I being too pessimistic? I am not knowledgeable about the details of American government - is there anything that municipal and state governments can do to mitigate the problems resulting from an indefinite government shutdown? Could they behave as though some natural disaster had befallen Washington, DC, and rendered the federal government structure inoperative?

    I guess it all depends on what Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and the people on "Fox and Friends" decide to do - they seem to be running the government, after all.
    posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 7:39 AM on January 10 [20 favorites]


    “I didn’t pound the table. I didn’t pound the table.”

    Repeating the lie to reinforce it is a classic tell of a bad liar (which he is, because he never learned how to be better at it, because he never had to).
    posted by Etrigan at 7:42 AM on January 10 [35 favorites]


    Trump's fuller quote on Mexico paying: "Obviously I never said this, and I never meant, they're going to write out a check. I said they're going to pay for it. They are. They are paying for it with the incredible deal we made with the...USMCA deal. It's a trade deal.

    Which, even if true (heh), still wouldn't answer the question: Why do Americans still need to pay anything?
    posted by Rykey at 7:42 AM on January 10 [6 favorites]


    NYTimes: Before Trump, Steve King Set the Agenda for the Wall and Anti-Immigrant Politics
    Mr. King, in [an interview with the Times this week], said he was not a racist. He pointed to his Twitter timeline showing him greeting Iowans of all races and religions in his Washington office. (The same office once displayed a Confederate flag on his desk.)

    At the same time, he said, he supports immigrants who enter the country legally and fully assimilate because what matters more than race is “the culture of America” based on values brought to the United States by whites from Europe.

    “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Mr. King said. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
    King's last general election saw his margin of victory shrink from double-digits to around three percent amidst his increasing overt racism, despite being in an extremely safe-R district; yesterday, Randy Feenstra (R), a long-time Iowa state senator, announced a primary challenge to King, as Iowa's governor Kim Reynolds announced she would not endorse King in the primary.

    King has not yet officially announced that he will be running for reëlection in 2020, but there's a decent chance for the first time in a long time that he may not make it to the general election if he does.
    posted by cjelli at 7:42 AM on January 10 [29 favorites]


    >“I didn’t pound the table. I didn’t pound the table.”

    Repeating the lie to reinforce it is a classic tell of a bad liar (which he is, because he never learned how to be better at it, because he never had to).


    Trump has also tweeted about it, bizarrely claiming that
    Cryin Chuck told his favorite lie when he used his standard sound bite that I “slammed the table & walked out of the room. He had a temper tantrum.” Because I knew he would say that, and after Nancy said no to proper Border Security, I politely said bye-bye and left, no slamming!
    'Because I knew people would lie and say I slammed the table, I chose not to slam the table.' And...if they weren't going to lie about it, he would have done what, exactly?

    He's a very bad liar, considering how much practice he gets.
    posted by cjelli at 7:47 AM on January 10 [24 favorites]


    cjelli: "He's a very bad liar, considering how much practice he gets."

    He's "wealthy" enough that in the past he rarely, if ever, got called out on it. You need constructive feeback of some sort to get better at a task and the Cheeto isn't going to provide that to himself.
    posted by Mitheral at 7:53 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


    He still never gets called out on it. The media fact-checks him, sometimes, but they still air him unedited and give him every illusion that whatever he says should be taken on authority.
    posted by Autumnheart at 7:56 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


    to paraphrase an old saying, if the buck stops with everyone, it stops with no one

    we're approaching peak nihilism
    posted by pyramid termite at 7:58 AM on January 10 [11 favorites]


    Anyone claiming Trump is too stupid, too narcissistic, or too lazy to be "laying the groundwork" for anything nefarious -- I invite you to read Fintan O'Toole's very well reasoned opinion piece for the Irish Times.

    No. It's actually worse than this.

    I agree that this is test marketing. But it's not Trump who's the architect of anything. He really is a ridiculous and empty as he appears. It's the people who are drawn to Trump because of his base who are test marketing genocidal fascism. It's Stephen Miller and the rest.

    And they are not stupid, hollow voids like Trump. In some cases they are smart enough and competent enough to get things done with sufficient access to power and political capital. Which is much, much worse. Because they're not going away. They will latch on to the next white male supremacist authoritarian who, it should be said, will almost have to be smarter, more competent, and more effective than the current demented moron.
    posted by schadenfrau at 8:01 AM on January 10 [57 favorites]


    I mentioned this NPR story on Trump threatening to withhold FEMA funds from California yesterday, but the transcript is now up.
    And, you know, I think there would also be a pretty big political fallout if this were to happen. It's worth noting that two of the hardest-hit counties from California's wildfires voted solidly for Trump in 2016, including the county that I'm talking to you from.
    That's Butte county, which went for Trump by about 3%.
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:02 AM on January 10 [13 favorites]


    They will latch on to the next white male supremacist authoritarian who, it should be said, will almost have to be smarter, more competent, and more effective than the current demented moron.

    Tom Cotton.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 8:03 AM on January 10 [6 favorites]


    Tom Cotton.

    Yuuuup. Which is why we gotta get him with the Russia stuff.

    I mean, for justice, too. But also for "oh fuck that's the next Big Bad" reasons.
    posted by schadenfrau at 8:06 AM on January 10 [7 favorites]


    They will latch on to the next white male supremacist authoritarian who, it should be said, will almost have to be smarter, more competent, and more effective than the current demented moron.

    This has been my fear since GW Bush. It's the Millers and Cheneys of the world that are the real threats, but if the GOP ever managed to elect a competent fascist President, it would take the threat up to a whole new level. The Dems need to build political and structural bulwarks against that inevitability, and not just tune their efforts towards Trump.
    posted by jetsetsc at 8:07 AM on January 10 [21 favorites]


    Hermeowne Grangepurr: REAL ID is another one of those bullshirt PATRIOT ACT-era laws that was pushed off for years and years, but never eliminated.
    ...
    I think it's going to be a shirtshow in 2020, and it's defiantly going to be shirtshow if the requirement is implemented now (which I guess it isn't).


    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on December 20, 2013 a phased enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act (the Act), as passed by Congress, that will implement the Act in a measured, fair, and responsible way. The following is a list of the current status of each state/territory. -- CA, OR, MT, OK, MO, IL, KY, PA, NJ, RI, ME, AK, GU, AS, MP, and VI all have extensions (and there are more details on some states, like the fact that Federal agencies and nuclear power plants may not accept for official purposes driver’s licenses and state IDs from Missouri).

    All other states are already REAL ID compliant, meaning you need to bring in all the required documentation to renew your ID.


    scalefree: @thedailybeast WATCH: Trump argues that we need a border wall to stop migrants just driving right across in their "unbelievable vehicles... stronger, bigger, and faster vehicles than our police have, than ICE has"

    Maybe he fell asleep watching Mad Max? I can see how Fury Road would give him nightmares. He's a plastic chest-plate away from being a half-decent cosplayer for Immortan Joe as it is, and the idea of a woman defying him is already a trigger for him.


    In other news, it sounds like there are some soon-to-be former AT&T workers who could join federal employees in strikes: Report: AT&T plans layoffs despite claiming tax cut would create 7,000 jobs -- AT&T memo says company needs to be "faster, leaner, and more agile." (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Jan. 9, 2019)
    AT&T is reportedly planning a significant round of layoffs, despite receiving a large tax break and various regulatory favors such as the repeal of net neutrality rules.

    Motherboard reported the pending layoffs yesterday, saying it obtained the information from AT&T internal documents and an anonymous AT&T source.
    The Motherboard article is titled "AT&T Preps for New Layoffs Despite Billions in Tax Breaks and Regulatory Favors," noting that Internal documents obtained by Motherboard show that the company is preparing for layoffs—megamergers, deregulation, and tax breaks aren’t providing the public benefits AT&T promised.

    AT&T isn't ready to make this kind of statement publicly.
    When contacted by Ars, AT&T said, "We are hiring to meet the needs of the growth areas of our business. In fact, we hired more than 20,000 new employees last year and more than 17,000 the year before. In cases where we do have to adjust our workforce, we take steps to lessen the effect on employees."
    Tell me more about "lessening the effect on employees," won't you?
    posted by filthy light thief at 8:07 AM on January 10 [21 favorites]


    Which, even if true (heh), still wouldn't answer the question: Why do Americans still need to pay anything?

    And even if we were getting billions from Mexico from the new NAFTA, claiming that that means "Mexico" is paying for "the wall" is like saying your employer is paying for your vacation via your year-end bonus, so none of that spending counts.
    posted by BungaDunga at 8:09 AM on January 10 [6 favorites]


    For those playing the "There's Always A Tweet" game: https://mobile.twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/398887965302091776
    posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:10 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


    The Motherboard article is titled "AT&T Preps for New Layoffs Despite Billions in Tax Breaks and Regulatory Favors," noting that Internal documents obtained by Motherboard show that the company is preparing for layoffs—megamergers, deregulation, and tax breaks aren’t providing the public benefits AT&T promised.

    At some point people are finally going to truly, truly understand that when a company is doing well, it will lay people off just as much as it would if it were doing poorly. The point of layoffs is to improve profit margin. It isn't to employ people. That's just something they say so that they get what they want.
    posted by Autumnheart at 8:13 AM on January 10 [50 favorites]


    In Cairo, Pompeo Slams Obama's Mideast Policies, Says Era Of 'American Shame Is Over' (NPR, January 10, 2019)
    "America is a force for good in the Middle East. Period," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday in Cairo, in an expansive speech in which the top U.S. diplomat excoriated the Obama administration's Middle East policies and accused it of making crucial errors that worsened a string of crises in the region.

    "The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering," Pompeo said.

    The U.S. State Department had billed the speech at the American University in Cairo as the most complete remarks yet on U.S. priorities in the Mideast by Pompeo, who is on an eight-day tour of the region. But it was most notable for the determined attacks on the previous U.S. administration.

    Nearly 10 years ago, then-President Barack Obama delivered a landmark address at Cairo University in which he said he had come to Egypt seeking "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world."

    Pompeo repudiated those words, saying, "Now comes the real 'new beginning.' "
    "We're radicalizing Muslims AND Christians, all over the world!" /fake
    posted by filthy light thief at 8:28 AM on January 10 [13 favorites]


    NBC: House Democrats Investigate HUD's 'Failure' To Act as Shutdown Threatens Affordable Housing—One HUD employee said the agency took "a shrug of the shoulders kind of approach" to protecting low-income Americans from the shutdown.
    House Democrats are using their new oversight authority to investigate the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s management of the shutdown, as questions mount about HUD's failure to renew low-income housing contracts for more than 1,000 properties across the country.

    “HUD knew for months about this impending deadline to renew the contracts, but for some reason they failed to take proper action in advance of the shutdown,” said Rep. David Price, D-N.C., the incoming chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on transportation and housing, in a statement.

    “I am seeking detailed explanations from HUD officials about this failure and how they will mitigate the consequences, and I will call a hearing if necessary."

    HUD told NBC News on Monday that about 1,150 contracts under a Section 8 program known as Project-Based Rental Assistance had lapsed. The program subsidizes rent and utilities for 1.2 million households, including families with young children, the elderly and the disabled.
    NBC: House Democrats Now Asking Questions about Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin—Mnuchin will give the House a classified briefing Thursday, after a request from the Democratic chairs of the main House investigative panels.
    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has agreed to deliver a classified briefing to U.S. House lawmakers on Thursday on his recent decision to lift sanctions on companies linked to a Russian oligarch and Vladimir Putin ally, marking the start of an aggressive new focus on Mnuchin by newly empowered House Democrats, according to two top Democratic aides.

    Mnuchin, who served as the Trump campaign's national finance chairman in 2016 before being confirmed to President Donald Trump's cabinet, has largely escaped investigative scrutiny.

    But because of his role in the campaign — and, most recently, the Dec. 19 announcement easing sanctions on companies aligned with Oleg Deripaska, the Putin ally with ties to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — House Democrats believe Mnuchin should be a focus of and source of information for several planned investigations both related and unrelated to the Russia probe, according to the aides. These include examinations of Trump's finances and the business practices of the Trump Organization.

    The Thursday briefing comes in response to a letter sent Tuesday to Mnuchin by the new chairpersons of the seven major House investigative committees, asking him to provide answers on the Treasury Department's decision to lift the sanctions, which was announced as lawmakers left town for the holidays.
    Accountability is coming to Capitol Hill, after a long absence.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 8:30 AM on January 10 [47 favorites]


    @thedailybeast WATCH: Trump argues that we need a border wall to stop migrants just driving right across in their "unbelievable vehicles... stronger, bigger, and faster vehicles than our police have, than ICE has"

    Maybe he fell asleep watching Mad Max?


    I'm thinking Fast & Furious (aka Furious 4), a portion of which takes place on the U.S.-Mexico border.
    posted by zakur at 8:30 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


    @atrupar, 7:12 AM - 10 Jan 2019
    REPORTER: Mr President, there are pictures this morning showing steel barrier wall being sawed right through. What good is it?

    TRUMP: "Well, that's a wall that was designed by previous administrations. There is nothing that can't be penetrated, but you fix it."
    “While it is true that previous administrations used this design, the prototype was built during his administration.”
    posted by kirkaracha at 8:32 AM on January 10 [16 favorites]


    Says Era Of 'American Shame Is Over'


    Only to the degree that these clowns have no sense of shame.
    posted by darkstar at 8:32 AM on January 10 [40 favorites]


    "The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering," Pompeo said.

    So... We produced a lot of needless suffering, and we're not ashamed of that?
    posted by OnceUponATime at 8:34 AM on January 10 [14 favorites]


    Michael Beschloss: Harry Truman at his Oval Office desk.
    posted by young_simba at 8:38 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


    > Pompeo repudiated those words, saying, "Now comes the real 'new beginning.' "

    That's incredibly ominous.
    posted by MysticMCJ at 8:39 AM on January 10 [9 favorites]


    I think he means we suffered needlessly by being ashamed.
    posted by agregoli at 8:39 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


    Trump argues that we need a border wall to stop migrants just driving right across in their "unbelievable vehicles... stronger, bigger, and faster vehicles than our police have, than ICE has"

    I'll knock it off with the hot takes (after this one, natch), but... wouldn't any entity with better vehicles than the police and ICE have at least marginally-competent wall-scaling / tunnel-digging technology?

    I'm not sure what hurts my brain more: that some of Trump's base believe his bullshit, or that some of them know it's bullshit and still like to hear it.
    posted by Rykey at 8:40 AM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    And even if we were getting billions from Mexico from the new NAFTA, claiming that that means "Mexico" is paying for "the wall" is like saying your employer is paying for your vacation via your year-end bonus, so none of that spending counts.

    Well we've decided that the health care provided to you as part of your compensation is subject to their personal whims about ladybits, why not credit them for that too?
    posted by phearlez at 9:02 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


    It's a waste of energy to debate and discuss the actual weaknesses of specific models of the wall. To do so is to continue to act as if they want an actual solution to an actual problem, which is to treat the base as rational actors and the administration as good-faith actors. They want a white-nationalist monument, and if some immigrants get stabbed by the spikes atop the steel flats then that's a bonus, but mostly they want a grand and permanent symbol of STAY OUT, WHITE ONLY.

    Think about the idiot analogy they constantly give of "well your house has walls and a door, why shouldn't the country." Conservatives know that their own houses aren't impenetrable. That's why they're also obsessed with the idea of shooting people who break in to their houses. Tell them "well here's all the weaknesses of your wall, surely loads of people would get through" and they'll respond, in so many words, with "just kill those ones." And that's where all arguments about immigration control end with them.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 9:06 AM on January 10 [61 favorites]


    I want the ghost of Harry Truman to not only haunt the White House, but also Blunt and Hawley's offices.
    posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:08 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


    rue72: "It's a half-dead town filling up with trash (literally). "

    People need to stop saying this. The DC government is footing the bill for garbage pickup, and things generally look about as clean as they usually do.

    The same isn't true elsewhere, and we obviously need to re-open the government, but the narrative that DC cannot take care of itself needs to stop.
    posted by schmod at 9:18 AM on January 10 [31 favorites]


    I mentioned this NPR story on Trump threatening to withhold FEMA funds from California yesterday, but the transcript is now up.
    And, you know, I think there would also be a pretty big political fallout if this were to happen. It's worth noting that two of the hardest-hit counties from California's wildfires voted solidly for Trump in 2016, including the county that I'm talking to you from.
    That's Butte county, which went for Trump by about 3%.


    Yeahbut the students and professors at Chico State skew the countywide results pretty heavily. Shasta County, where the Carr Fire threatened to torch half of Redding this summer, went 65.6 percent Trump. Neighboring counties were all very solidly Trump:
    Butte: Trump 48.0
    Tehama: Trump 65.5
    Plumas: Trump 57.5
    Lassen: Trump 72.7
    Glenn: Trump 61.7
    Yuba: Trump 58.5
    Colusa: Trump 53.9
    tl;dr: Forget it Jake, it's Trumptown.
    posted by notyou at 9:23 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


    I really don't understand how Trump thinks that tweeting this video of Obama talking about "dropping the politics" to end a humanitarian crisis, is going to help him? I mean it's obviously super out of context and just reminds people what a sane President looks like.

    There's a claim that at the time Trump replied to that speech with a tweet worrying about presidential overreach through executive orders. I can't verify that but of course he would...
    posted by cirhosis at 9:27 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


    Trump will lost California in 2016 and will again in 2020. Maybe it will have an effect on him in the primary, but it's pretty clear that he's just written off California, and doesn't really care about the counties that voted for him, because they can't push him over the top in the general.
    posted by mach at 9:27 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


    Pompeo's a bona fide rapture-ready megachurch evangelical, and therefore the ideal person to tell the people of the Middle East (especially Coptic Christians) how things should be.
    posted by holgate at 9:30 AM on January 10 [9 favorites]


    it's pretty clear that he's just written off California, and doesn't really care about the counties that voted for him, because they can't push him over the top in the general.

    The question is, would Trumpists such as these actually mind that he has forsaken them, or are they so committed to their team having a chance to own some libs that they would literally die in flame?

    I think I…don't wanna know the answer
    posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:34 AM on January 10 [9 favorites]


    Trump will lost California in 2016 and will again in 2020. Maybe it will have an effect on him in the primary, but it's pretty clear that he's just written off California, and doesn't really care about the counties that voted for him, because they can't push him over the top in the general.

    No argument there. Many Trump supporters in Shasta County are proud that their county went so hard for Trump. Losing those folks won't hurt Trump in 2020. They'll stay home, and that'll hurt local down ticket races.
    posted by notyou at 9:37 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


    cirhosis: I really don't understand how Trump thinks that tweeting this video of Obama talking about "dropping the politics" to end a humanitarian crisis, is going to help him?

    It's not the bit about "dropping politics", it's that Obama said what have become the new magic words in the national conversation: "humanitarian crisis on the border". The idea here is that it's a brilliant "gotcha", because lately just about everyone outside the cult has been saying "Um, there's no crisis at the border", and thus no urgent need for a wall.

    In reality, of course, this isn't a case of the libs hipocritically changing their collective mind or whatever, because Obama was referring to a crisis experienced by migrants, not perpetrated by them.
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:37 AM on January 10 [36 favorites]


    OK, I'm trying to watch this Netflix documentary on Trump (and I'm really slow because I can only take about 5 or 6 minutes of him at a time). But I've reached to a segment where he is debating Ruth Messinger on local TV, I think during the 80's. And there you can see his method and manner all fully developed. He is a bit more subdued at that point, but the lying, the insults and the sexism is all there and frankly quite shocking even now when we know him. And also the media both-side-ism.
    posted by mumimor at 9:39 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


    The question is, would Trumpists such as these actually mind that he has forsaken them, or are they so committed to their team having a chance to own some libs that they would literally die in flame?

    I don't think so? I have family in and around Redding and I watched Carr Fire developments pretty closely on Twitter. At first there was confidence that Trump would act fast to direct resources to Shasta County, because the county was so solidly Trump. They're his people! When Trump failed to make it a priority those confident tweets turned to disappointment.

    I don't expect those folks to become Democrats. I expect them to become disaffected.
    posted by notyou at 9:46 AM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    NBC: A Beefed-Up White House Legal Team Prepares Aggressive Defense Of Trump’s Executive Privilege As Investigations Loom Large
    A beefed-up White House legal team is gearing up to prevent President Trump’s confidential discussions with top advisers from being disclosed to House Democratic investigators and revealed in the special counsel’s long-awaited report, setting the stage for a potential clash between the branches of government.

    The strategy to strongly assert the president’s executive privilege on both fronts is being developed under newly arrived White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who has hired 17 lawyers in recent weeks to help in the effort.

    He is coordinating with White House lawyer Emmet Flood, who is leading the response to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on his now-20-month-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. Flood is based in White House Counsel’s Office but reports directly to Trump.[…]

    In preparation for the looming legal battles, Cipollone has been beefing up the White House Counsel’s Office, which was down to fewer than 20 lawyers late last year, compared with 40 to 50 in past administrations. Four of the five deputies under previous White House counsel Donald McGahn had left the office, The Washington Post reported last year.

    Since his arrival in December, Cipollone has increased the staff to roughly 35 lawyers and aims to bolster the ranks to 40 in the coming weeks, administration officials said. He also hired three deputies, all with extensive experience in past Republican White Houses and the Justice Department.
    While the lawyers and former colleagues the WaPo interviews all make bipartisan/conciliatory sounds, Cipollone's actions show he's ready to go to the mattresses for Trump to defend "executive privilege" against House Democrats and Mueller.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 9:49 AM on January 10 [7 favorites]


    @b_fung: If a picture says a thousand words, the Instagram photos of these zero-dollar paychecks are going to hit like a college textbook

    Politico, Air traffic controllers, working without pay, ramp up shutdown pressure
    Pay stubs reading a net pay of zero dollars were distributed Thursday morning, including one for a controller at a major air traffic control hub outside of Washington, D.C. shared with POLITICO.

    Controllers and other aviation industry workers are planning to rally outside the Capitol building Thursday afternoon to call for the shutdown to be halted. They will be joined by several members of Congress from both parties and representatives of the airline industry, among others.
    posted by zachlipton at 9:52 AM on January 10 [44 favorites]


    [Al Jazeera] In Cairo, Pompeo delivers Trump's vision: Confrontation with Iran

    Pompeo's speech in Cairo was about as good as one might suspect:

    The US "will use diplomacy and work with our partners to expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria and will bolster efforts "to bring peace and stability to the long-suffering Syrian people," he said.
    ...
    Al Jazeera's senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said that Pompeo's speech failed to resonate with the Arab audience.

    His speech which began with "America is a force of good in the Middle East" marks a departure from Obama who started his humble speech with an apology, Bishara said.

    "I think that's an arrogant approach to the Middle East telling its people who suffered millions of casualties since America's wars in 1980. Last year alone 40,000 people were killed in Afghanistan, a war that has gone on now for 17, 18 years," Bishara said.

    "That does not strike people in the Middle East as a humble and engaging approach."


    Half a line on Yemen. No mention of Palestinians.
    posted by stonepharisee at 9:53 AM on January 10 [14 favorites]


    "I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency," Trump said after stating, correctly, that other presidents have used it, some fairly often. "I haven't done it yet. I may do it. If this doesn't work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely," the President said.

    Yesterday I was talking to a co-worker I know reasonably well, and when she told me she and her husband were thinking about taking a short trip to the United States in about a month I gently suggested that maybe it's not the *best* time to be traveling to the U.S. if you don't have to because, well, you know. And her exact words were "Why? What's going on?"
    posted by The Card Cheat at 9:54 AM on January 10 [31 favorites]


    "If this doesn't work out, probably I will do it."

    Nothing says "real emergency" like telling us it's your backup strategy.
    posted by diogenes at 9:57 AM on January 10 [56 favorites]




    Trump want's an emergency? It's time to stop fucking around, and pull out all the stops for a General Strike. Really show him what a shutdown looks like.
    posted by mikelieman at 10:03 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


    > Navarro files nails during border wall debate.
    "You can do your nails, Ana - you know who can't do their nails? Those people who've been killed by illegal immigrants."
    A few of my brain cells just shriveled up and died from exposure to that bit of smarmy bullshit.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 10:06 AM on January 10 [14 favorites]


    [Al Jazeera] In Cairo, Pompeo delivers Trump's vision: Confrontation with Iran

    Reminder: simulations of US war with Iran generally end catastrophically and feature 20 thousand US citizens drowning in the strait of hormuz in a few hours, likely followed by regional nuclear war and the death of a hundred million or so people. Those simulations assume competent and rational leadership, of course.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 10:07 AM on January 10 [23 favorites]




    Trump's closing line in E1 of that Netflix show I'm watching:
    I'll wait for bad times. I'll wait for bad times and then I'll get what I want.
    posted by mumimor at 10:10 AM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    It got less press for obviously convenient reasons, but a study not funded by the Koch Brothers and worked on by a team of economists also released last year found even larger savings from switching to Medicare-For-All
    posted by The Whelk at 10:11 AM on January 10 [27 favorites]


    Moulitsas chalked up the flower drive’s success to people’s desire for a rare sweet gesture in an often-negative political landscape. “People wanted to do something nice for once,” he said.

    I mean ... sure?
    posted by petebest at 10:13 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


    Furloughed federal workers protesting now, outside the WH. < Youtube live.
    posted by Harry Caul at 10:13 AM on January 10 [34 favorites]


    Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism

    I just want to remind people we know for a fact this is the case. Stephen Miller wrote about creating detention centers to make immigration less desirable and frightening. The horrible conditions were part of a plan, not an accident. Bannon openly talked about tearing the existing government apart as being his philosophy. Trump may play it by ear, but his underlings have blueprints they're working from.
    posted by xammerboy at 10:21 AM on January 10 [93 favorites]


    Just called my Representative and Senators to say this:
    I support 0 dollars allocated to build a racist border wall. I am watching honest, hardworking people protesting in front of the White House right now, and I demand that the government be reopened without any wall funding. I find holding these people hostage for Trumps fever-dream of a wall to be outrageous and unacceptable.

    [For a bonus round, which got a laugh out of the staffers for my deep blue Congress Peeps] You can quote me verbatim on this one, but: Impeach [and Convict] the Motherfucker Already.
    Pay the workers, furlough Trump, indeed.
    posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:42 AM on January 10 [49 favorites]


    Controllers and other aviation industry workers are planning to rally outside the Capitol building Thursday afternoon to call for the shutdown to be halted

    I am old enough to remember what Reagan did to the air traffic controllers. It would be a strange thing indeed if this new generation somehow defeated the latest Republican president.
    posted by gwint at 10:54 AM on January 10 [21 favorites]


    > Reminder: simulations of US war with Iran generally end catastrophically and feature 20 thousand US citizens drowning in the strait of hormuz in a few hours, likely followed by regional nuclear war and the death of a hundred million or so people.

    Yes, yes...but what is all of this when weighed against the possibility of the Republican Avatar suffering significant legal consequences for his actions?
    posted by The Card Cheat at 10:54 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


    Quartermaster Clerk: One BOOK, "Swedish-made penis Enlarger Pumps And Me: (This Sort of Thing Is My Bag Baby)", by Austin Powers.

    @JuddLegum Trump TODAY on Mexico paying for a wall: "I never said this and I never meant they're going to write out a check."

    Trump campaign website, AUGUST 2016: "It's an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion..."
    [image: Trump campaign website]
    posted by scalefree at 10:57 AM on January 10 [39 favorites]




    @realDonaldTrump announces that
    Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very important trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. My warmest regards and apologies to the @WEF!
    Trump wasn't just attending: he was scheduled to deliver a keynote address before the close of the meeting. Given that the Forum doesn't start until the 22nd, one possible takeaway is that the shutdown will (barring action by the Senate) last another ten days at least; another possible takeaway is that Trump just didn't want to go to an event that's not about him, and the shutdown is just an excuse.

    Still (so far) planning to attend: eleven members of the Trump administration, including Jared + Ivanka and the secretaries of Labor, Commerce, DHS (despite the 'border crisis'), and State, despite the shutdown.
    posted by cjelli at 11:15 AM on January 10 [16 favorites]


    The question is, would Trumpists such as these actually mind that he has forsaken them, or are they so committed to their team having a chance to own some libs that they would literally die in flame?

    They're not going to see it that way.

    Nobody on the progressive/liberal side is saying, "here's the plan to prevent California from burning" or even "here' the plan to reduce wildfires to the kind of problem they were 20-30 years ago," because it's not possible. There's some measure of, "here's how much more we want to spend in firefighters, on fire prevention, on making communities more resistant to fire, on getting people to move away from the places we can't protect." But they're not promising, "vote for me and you will be safe from fire."

    Trumpy the Wallmeister is saying, "clean up the forest floor and you will be safe from fire." It doesn't matter that it's a blatant lie - he is promising results! The liberals aren't promising results! And if they burn anyway, that's because the liberals failed to do the cleanup he said was necessary!
    posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:17 AM on January 10 [15 favorites]


    intransigence? warmest regards? C'mon, who wrote that?
    posted by Harry Caul at 11:18 AM on January 10 [23 favorites]


    Trumpy the Wallmeister is saying, "clean up the forest floor and you will be safe from fire."

    True, but what he’s actually doing is stuppping forestry officials from doing their jobs because of the shutdown. Government Shutdown Having Major Impact On Wildfire Prevention Efforts In California, Officials Say
    The shutdown has more or less stopped wildfire-prevention activities such as forest thinning and prescribed burns — that’s where fires are lit on purpose as a management tool — on federal land in California, even though weather conditions in a lot of the country are ideal for practices like prescribed burns, according to Quinn-Davidson.
    It doesn’t even feel like California has a fire season anymore, but to the extent that there’s a time when we have fires, it’s coming in a few months. Losing this prevention time could cost lives.
    posted by zachlipton at 11:29 AM on January 10 [23 favorites]


    "America is a force for good in the Middle East. Period," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday in Cairo, in an expansive speech in which the top U.S. diplomat excoriated the Obama administration's Middle East policies and accused it of making crucial errors that worsened a string of crises in the region.

    You use that "Period." as a emphatic authoritarian cancellation of further discussion and debate. So this is a conservative politician going into a university setting and declaring a topic settled and off-limits. Sure sounds a lot like the "political correctness" and "safe space" complaints conservatives are always going on about..
    posted by srboisvert at 11:42 AM on January 10 [21 favorites]


    It's going to be a fair challenge to design any steel wall that can't be cut through with an angle grinder.
    posted by bonehead at 11:45 AM on January 10 [11 favorites]


    "America is a force for good in the Middle East. Period," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday in Cairo

    Generally the kind of assertion you don't have to make if it's true.
    posted by Rykey at 11:56 AM on January 10 [25 favorites]


    intransigence? warmest regards? C'mon, who wrote that?

    The Trump or Not Bot computes there's only a 32% chance "warmest regards and apologies to the @WEF" was written by Trump himself.

    Compare that to the 99% probability of Trumpian authorship of this: "There is GREAT unity with the Republicans in the House and Senate, despite the Fake News Media working in overdrive to make the story look otherwise. The Opposition Party & the Dems know we must have Strong Border Security, but don’t want to give “Trump” another one of many wins!" Ditto the "I said bye-bye, nothing else works!" tweet. Trump's comms team still doesn't have his "voice" down pat.

    Meanwhile, the NYT's Maggie Haberman reports on more discontent with Bill Shine: Trump Thinks He’s His Own Best Messenger. Where Does That Leave Bill Shine?
    An alumnus of Fox News, where he was known as a protector of the network’s chairman, Roger E. Ailes, Mr. Shine has confined his White House role mainly to stagecraft, people who have worked with him say, and Mr. Trump, who chafes against being managed, has openly expressed skepticism about what he has done.

    Once he was back in Washington, Mr. Shine was among the aides pushing Mr. Trump to deliver Tuesday’s prime-time Oval Office speech and make a visit to the border on Thursday. And it was Mr. Shine who was among the unnamed targets of the president when Mr. Trump criticized those plans at a lunch with broadcasters before his speech.[…]

    The criticism was nothing surprising given Mr. Trump’s habit of quickly turning on his staff, and his recent habit of asking people whether Mr. Shine has been “good” for him since arriving last summer had a familiar ring.[…]

    A longtime associate of Mr. Ailes, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Trump thought he was “getting Roger,” who built Fox with a keen eye for aggressive political strategy, in his hire. But Mr. Shine, according to his critics, has shown little understanding of the conservative media beyond the cable news ecosystem and his former network — the one place where the president does not need much assistance, and where Mr. Shine has few remaining admirers.[…]

    Mr. Shine, for his part, has told several colleagues he is used “to working for crazy bosses,” a reference to his time at Fox that made its way back to the network, where officials were displeased.[…]

    But two senior administration officials said that Mr. Shine’s new colleagues, who expected him to come in with a degree of Ailes genius, have not been impressed by what they considered timeworn suggestions, such as the president not tweeting so much.[…]

    The shutdown has highlighted the inner workings of a strategy-challenged White House, where one official described Mr. Shine as a bridge between the bifurcated communications and press teams. He is one of four assistants to the president — an official distinction — who focus on communications. They often do not work in concert, according to several White House officials.
    As usual, one must read between the lines of this palace intrigue account to discern the subtext: Team Trump is losing confidence in their messaging at a time of crisis, and the knives are coming out again.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 12:04 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]


    Short Twitter thread documenting the progression of Buckey Wolfe's YouTube likes. Buckey Wolfe became a QAnon true believer, and last week he killed his brother with a sword.

    The progression is what you'd expect. From fitness videos to videos making fun of "SJWs" to white nationalism, Alex Jones, and QAnon.

    Buckey Wolfe is obviously unwell. (Not just because he killed his brother with a sword; he also told 911 that God was a lizard before he did it. ) But in previous eras he would have been privately unwell. Now YouTube preys on that vulnerability to maximize engagement, even when it turns people like Buckey Wolfe into far more monstrous versions of themselves.

    Without YouTube's radicalizing algorithms we wouldn't have the alt-right. We wouldn't have Alex Jones. We wouldn't have Donald fucking Trump.
    posted by schadenfrau at 12:05 PM on January 10 [60 favorites]


    Without YouTube's radicalizing algorithms we wouldn't have the alt-right. We wouldn't have Alex Jones. We wouldn't have Donald fucking Trump.

    Sorry, but that's too facile. To paraphrase Chris Rock, "what social media platform was Hitler using?"

    Not saying YouTube is without blame, but we need to be looking at far more than that to explain where we're at.
    posted by Room 101 at 12:10 PM on January 10 [24 favorites]


    It's going to be a fair challenge to design any steel wall that can't be cut through with an angle grinder.

    Scrap steel slats go for about $80-$160/ton in Texas recycling centers. Just saying.
    posted by lostburner at 12:13 PM on January 10 [13 favorites]


    But in previous eras he would have been privately unwell. Now YouTube preys on that vulnerability to maximize engagement, even when it turns people like Buckey Wolfe into far more monstrous versions of themselves.

    Worse: social media lets these people to find each other, just as it does the out-and-out Nazis. There's a massive QAnon community now, whereas five or ten years ago there were a hundred tiny unconnected paranoid subcultures and millions of the solitarily mentally ill.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 12:13 PM on January 10 [16 favorites]


    Alex Jones has been spewing his crazy since the Oklahoma City bombing. Talk radio and call-in shows were the Wingnut Social Media of the before-times, and I'm sure it radicalized people.

    YouTube is on another level entirely, but it's definitely not the first.
    posted by BungaDunga at 12:16 PM on January 10 [17 favorites]


    Sorry, but that's too facile. To paraphrase Chris Rock, "what social media platform was Hitler using?"

    In the Nazis own opinion? Radio.

    Also the Great Depression and hyperinflation. The barrier to fascism is perhaps lower when people are burning money for fuel.
    posted by schadenfrau at 12:17 PM on January 10 [52 favorites]


    (Slate's podcast on Ruby Ridge and the militia movement was enlightening. They were alt-right before the alt-right.)
    posted by BungaDunga at 12:17 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]


    "what social media platform was Hitler using?"

    One that removed the barriers between speaker and audience? One that ingrained a sense of commonality and shared communication whether it actually did so or not? One that moved, almost instantaneously, at the speed of radio? One that he put a "chief of staff" in charge of because it was clearly integral to his overall plans?

    And that was all before the Mtv Video Games.
    posted by petebest at 12:18 PM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    Here's the complete document still on Trump's campaign website detailing the entire process of exactly how Mexico would pay for the Wall.

    Pay for the Wall [PDF]
    Introduction: The provision of the Patriot Act, Section 326 -the"know your customer" provision, compelling financial institutions to demand identity documents before opening accounts or conducting financial transactions is a fundamental element of the outline below. That section authorized the executive branch to issue detailed regulations on the subject, found at 31 CFR 130.120-121. It's an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year.
    [...]
    posted by scalefree at 12:21 PM on January 10 [16 favorites]


    Yeah, talk radio has been radicalizing people since its inception. I think there is a weird virus/immune response dynamic that happens with the advent of new media, and maybe even with new distribution methods.

    At first the general public has no defenses, and there isn't much need for them, because new thing is great! And then some people figure out how to use the new thing to advance their own agenda, whether it's getting rich or getting powerful, and the general public is so unsophisticated that it has no defenses against these new techniques. So they fall for them, hard. Eventually that ends in ruin of various guises, and the general public becomes wise to those first gen techniques, and now only the most vulnerable are susceptible to them. So the predators adapt and come up with something new.

    I'm sure other people have thought about this a lot harder and probably have written books about it, but the bare outlines seem pretty clear to me. The combination of the internet and social media has given rise to a fundamentally new media, and we're seeing what happens in the absence of an effective first generation immune response.

    IMO an effective immune response will include regulation.
    posted by schadenfrau at 12:23 PM on January 10 [18 favorites]


    Lindsey Graham just said he sees no pathway forward for reopening the government. Said his ideas didn’t get traction (DACA fix for wall etc), and said he’s planning to go to the gym.
    — @StevenTDennis
    Womp Womp.

    Sorry, but that's too facile. To paraphrase Chris Rock, "what social media platform was Hitler using?"

    I suggest that, in turn, is too glib. Hitler, a broken narcissist, was radicalized in the years following WWI and in turn radicalized a nation with the power of radio. (I happen to have Marshall McLuhan right here.) It might be facile to blame "the alt-right" entirely on YouTube algorithms, but it seems fairly indisputable that intentionally designed to do so or not, YouTube has provided the opportunities for too many people to find the communities they seek to vent their rage.
    posted by octobersurprise at 12:26 PM on January 10 [24 favorites]


    Lindsey Graham just said he sees no pathway forward for reopening the government. Said his ideas didn’t get traction (DACA fix for wall etc), and said he’s planning to go to the gym.

    The Senate gym is still open.

    That is obscene.

    I don't think legislators should go unpaid while this shutdown is going on. AOC is wrong about it, and she's the perfect example of why she's wrong. Her ability to represent her constituents' interests would be compromised if she had to surf couches during the shutdown. BUT... all the amenities should shut down. No gym. No congressional subway system. No drivers. No cafeteria. No coffee. Coffee is for openers.
    posted by ocschwar at 12:32 PM on January 10 [100 favorites]


    I think there is a weird virus/immune response dynamic that happens with the advent of new media, and maybe even with new distribution methods.

    This is gincart theory in a nutshell, a novel supernatural stimulus (like say super cheap gin replacing small beer as a daily drink) can get its hooks into a population but the next generation that grows up with it considers it “normal” and it has less potency.
    posted by The Whelk at 12:37 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


    [We have at this point firmly established the youtube-radio connection and it's kind of a derail to start with, so let's let it go. Thanks. ]
    posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:37 PM on January 10 [8 favorites]


    Lindsey Graham just said he sees no pathway forward for reopening the government.

    Other than the obvious one, namely overriding Trump's veto. You're a senator, Lindsey!
    posted by BungaDunga at 12:37 PM on January 10 [38 favorites]


    The Senate gym is still open.

    I don't know if it is or not, but there's a pretty good chance he's a member of a non-government club, which is common for Senators.
    posted by The World Famous at 12:39 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


    Dallas Morning News: Trump Threatens to Build Border Wall By Invoking Emergency Power, But McAllen Briefing Focuses On Ports of Entry
    President Donald Trump visited McAllen on Thursday to dramatize his demands for a border wall, saying that it would be "very surprising" if he doesn't declare a national emergency in order to move ahead with the project by tapping into the Defense Department budget.

    But at a briefing in McAllen, customs and Border Patrol officials agents showed the president heroin, cash and weapons seized at ports of entry -- seeming to reinforce the argument of critics who assert that unfenced sections of the border aren't the main problem, as Trump insists.[…]

    A Border Patrol agent showed the president a large clear bag of U.S. currency that she said contained $362,000, traced to the home of a smuggler after a Border Patrol agent at the Weslaco crossing became suspicious.

    "Wow, that's something," Trump said. "The dogs are incredible, aren't they?"

    Trump didn't seem to notice that the examples of border problems he was shown didn't involve gaps between existing barrier segments.

    "We don't want to have openings" in the wall, he said, arguing that with an expanded wall, "You'll see the crime rate in this country coming way down."[…]

    On Thursday, at a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Trump reiterated his dubious assertion that Mexico will pay for the wall through an improved North American trade deal. He also asserted that whatever U.S. taxpayers spend will be vastly outweighed by savings as illicit drugs are kept out of the country.

    "When I say Mexico's going to pay for the wall...I didn't say they're going to write me a check for 10 billion or 20 billion." But he said, "If Congress approves this trade bill, they'll pay for the wall many times over."
    Elsewhere in McAllen, USA Today reports: As Trump Visits Border, McAllen Residents Ask: What Crisis?
    posted by Doktor Zed at 12:41 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]


    All the Republicans want very badly for a decision to be made, but for them to not have had any part in making it.
    posted by Autumnheart at 12:42 PM on January 10 [22 favorites]




    "When I say Mexico's going to pay for the wall...I didn't say they're going to write me a check for 10 billion or 20 billion."

    Pay For The Wall
    It's an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year.
    posted by scalefree at 12:51 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]


    "When I say Mexico's going to pay for the wall...I didn't say they're going to write me a check for 10 billion or 20 billion." But he said, "If Congress approves this trade bill, they'll pay for the wall many times over."

    The fact that he did say Mexico could make a "one-time payment" aside, is this Trump's setup to end the shutdown while saving face? This reads to me that if the trade bill is approved then the wall is paid for and he would declare victory and end the shutdown. Where in the process is the trade bill?
    posted by mikepop at 12:57 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


    New Yorker, Isaac Chotiner, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Takes the Democrats Back to the Future: An Interview with the Historian Rick Perlstein. It's really more about the Democratic Party as a group "who built their political identities around a neurotic response to trauma" (Reagan-Gingrich-Bush) and moving past that, with a heavy dose of history.

    I don't have a quote to highlight, but well worth the read.
    posted by zachlipton at 12:59 PM on January 10 [26 favorites]


    Speaking of AOC, she has a new Instagram page that’s officially for herself as a congressperson, because House rules say that she can’t post videos in her office on her personal account.
    posted by gucci mane at 1:04 PM on January 10 [8 favorites]


    @passantino: WH pool report from the border: "Sean Hannity has special access here. He huddled with Bill Shine and Secretary Nielsen and is following along on Trump’s tour, only standing with the staff and federal officials as opposed to the press corps."

    I see we're not even pretending that Hannity isn't White House staff anymore.
    posted by zachlipton at 1:10 PM on January 10 [81 favorites]


    Hey, anyone remember how Hannity was Michael Cohen's other client
    posted by theodolite at 1:17 PM on January 10 [114 favorites]


    CNN: Exclusive: Robert Mueller Met with Trump's Pollster
    Special counsel Robert Mueller sought information directly last year from one of Donald Trump's campaign pollsters who is also a former business associate of Paul Manafort's.

    Mueller's team met with pollster Tony Fabrizio in February 2018, an interview that has not been previously reported and takes on new significance after Manafort's attorneys revealed Tuesday that Mueller's team is still interested in how Manafort shared polling data with his Russian intelligence-linked colleague.

    CNN journalists observed Fabrizio leaving the special counsel's office on the first of February last year and have since confirmed he was meeting with Mueller's team. At the time, the special counsel had been digging into Manafort's finances and political work ahead of his trial.[…]

    Fabrizio's involvement with Mueller is intriguing because he's one of the few people in Manafort's orbit with knowledge of the inner-workings of the Trump campaign as well as Manafort's Eastern European connections.[…]

    A source familiar with the special counsel's interest said Fabrizio's interview included questions about his polling work for Manafort in Ukraine rather than his internal Trump campaign polling. It is not clear what other topics were broached in the interview or whether it solely focused on Fabrizio's knowledge of Manafort's business dealings.
    Coincidentally, when Fabrizio was working with Manafort on Ukrainian business in 2013, Konstantin Kilimnik was setting up Manafort's Kiev operation.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 1:24 PM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    It's really more about the Democratic Party as a group "who built their political identities around a neurotic response to trauma" (Reagan-Gingrich-Bush) and moving past that

    And it's about time. Many Democrats, Republicans, and journalists internalized the notion that Republican policies are popular because Reagan was popular, and so they all assumed that Democrats should naturally incline toward Republican preferences, even when not only did Democrats often successfully oppose Reagan on policy grounds, but he also even reversed himself on issues like tax cuts(!).

    Unfortunately, that perception has severely distorted both politics and reporting on politics, even as Republican policies have become increasingly unpopular, to the point that they have to work overtime to hide their shameful priorities.
    posted by Gelatin at 1:25 PM on January 10 [21 favorites]


    because House rules say that she can’t post videos in her office on her personal account

    How is this not a single 1st Amendment lawsuit away from being declared unconstitutional?
    posted by reductiondesign at 1:30 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


    I just got off the phone with my father. He is an old man (mid 70's). I would describe his political outlook as a compassionate libertarian. He's skeptical of government in general but can be convinced of its utility when put in practical terms, like, "children will starve if X program is cut." Today we spoke about the current shutdown and two heartening things happened.

    One, I convinced him that he should call his two senators (1 D, 1 R) and tell them to pressure McConnell to let a funding bill come to the floor. I gave him a short two sentence script to read to the staffer he talks to. Warmed my little heart.

    Two, I finally figured out what's so insane about this shutdown over the wall (besides everything). As has been discussed in this thread earlier, the wall was never meant to be a real thing. It was a mnemonic for Trump about border security that his advisors let him latch onto because his crowds loved it and therefore Trump loved it. But, it's just that: a mnemonic.

    It's as if Trump promised increased funding for NASA but during his rallies he used the "my very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas" (RIP Pluto) mnemonic and is now demanding $5 billion for everyone's mothers to have nine pizzas. Then those around Trump keep coming up with explanations for how the pizzas and the mothers are obviously analogies for space exploration. Except, every time they ask Trump about it he's describing the toppings on the pizza (very artistic pepperoni). Anyway, I thought that analogy really crystallized the insanity of this whole situation for me.

    Please delete if too much of a derail.
    posted by runcibleshaw at 1:30 PM on January 10 [44 favorites]


    How is this not a single 1st Amendment lawsuit away from being declared unconstitutional?

    I believe there are federal guidelines about using your government position to enrich yourself personally, and they consider followers on social media to be a form of enrichment. Nikki Haley had to purge all her Twitter followers when she resigned as UN ambassador as well.
    posted by PenDevil at 1:35 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


    Then Trump should have been forced to nuke his personal Twitter spew and had it all on the POTUS45 feed so we could just be made nauseous by one instead of two barrels of vomit.
    posted by mephron at 1:40 PM on January 10 [20 favorites]


    ocschwar: "I don't think legislators should go unpaid while this shutdown is going on. AOC is wrong about it, and she's the perfect example of why she's wrong. Her ability to represent her constituents' interests would be compromised if she had to surf couches during the shutdown. BUT... all the amenities should shut down. No gym. No congressional subway system. No drivers. No cafeteria. No coffee. Coffee is for openers."

    The Gym is more or less entirely operated with membership fees, and the cafeterias are privately-operated by a variety of companies who pay rent to lease those spaces (at least one of which is a minority-owned small-business).

    The subway isn't an "amenity" as much as it's a mechanism to ensure that the Members of Congress don't spend their entire day walking across the Capitol complex. [Think of the Congressional subways as horizontal elevators], because that's more or less how they operate.

    As a former Congressional employee (contractor), I feel fairly comfortable saying that the Capitol complex is extremely light on amenities compared to the average corporate office building. Almost everything in the Capitol exists solely to help Congress do its job. There really isn't a whole lot of fluff. [I also wasn't allowed to use the gym, and I'm still a little bitter about that -- the contractor/employee dynamic in the government sucks, creating a class of haves and have-nots that coincidentally seems to be divided along boomer/millennial lines, but that's a rant for another day]

    I guess you could send the Library of Congress's staff home, and furlough the Architect of the Capitol's non-essential maintenance staff, but given that government shutdowns are already pointless and harmful, I'm not really going to argue in favor of expanding their scope (particularly in a way that will primarily harm a group of already-underpaid workers)
    posted by schmod at 1:41 PM on January 10 [19 favorites]


    Adam Johnson tweet: guys it’s over shut it all down

    Linking to (don't click without brain bleach handy):

    Joe Lieberman for Fox Business News: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn't the future of the Democratic Party.

    For a rookie, Ocasio-Cortez sure seems to be making the right enemies. I'm more impressed at every turn!
    posted by RedOrGreen at 1:42 PM on January 10 [82 favorites]


    How is this not a single 1st Amendment lawsuit away from being declared unconstitutional?

    time/place/manner restrictions on speech can totally be legal; this is not restricting what congresspeople say, but what venues they use to say it. also it's just a rule, there's almost certainly no actual legal repercussions for violating it.

    Also it sounds more like this is done out of an abundance of caution than anything:
    The Members’ Congressional Handbook doesn’t explicitly say that lawmakers are required to make new accounts, but in most cases it’s easier to separate their government resources and personal ones in order to avoid ethics violations. The rules do prohibit lawmakers from using any of their newfound government resources to maintain their personal accounts, whether that be their new staff or office funds.
    posted by BungaDunga at 1:43 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


    NBC News, Trump could take billions from disaster areas to fund wall
    President Donald Trump has been briefed on a plan that would use the Army Corps of Engineers and a portion of $13.9 billion of Army Corps funding to build 315 miles of barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the briefing.

    The money was set aside to fund projects all over the country including storm-damaged areas of Puerto Rico through fiscal year 2020, but the checks have not been written yet and, under an emergency declaration, the president could take the money from these civil works projects and use it to build the border wall, said officials familiar with the briefing and two congressional sources.
    ...
    Under the proposal, the officials said, Trump could dip into the $2.4 billion allocated to projects in California, including flood prevention and protection projects along the Yuba River Basin and the Folsom Dam, as well as the $2.5 billion set aside for reconstruction projects in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria.
    The members of Congress who appropriated that money for those purposes, Republicans included, are going to be utterly furious if it's redirected, though the question, as always, is whether they actually do anything with their rage.
    posted by zachlipton at 1:55 PM on January 10 [37 favorites]


    Of course he'll take money from Puerto Rico to do this. Of course.
    posted by clawsoon at 1:57 PM on January 10 [55 favorites]


    Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand: FBI Agents Say the Shutdown Is a Threat to National Security—Nearly 5,000 FBI special agents, intelligence analysts, attorneys, and professional staff have been furloughed.
    “I’m not going to try to candy-coat it,” Tom O’Connor, a special agent and president of the FBI Agents Association, told me this week. “We really feel that the financial insecurities we are facing right now equate to a national-security issue.”[…]

    Morale at the FBI had already been steadily declining for months before the government shut down on December 22, according to current and recently departed agents who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity to discuss their feelings candidly. President Trump’s open warfare on the bureau has made agents’ jobs more difficult, they say, as trust in the FBI wanes among people who identify as Republicans and right-leaning independents. “Part of it is Trump’s constant attacks,” said one agent who left late last year. “Bigger than that, though, is that it seems like a portion of the population believes him. Which makes their jobs harder to do.”

    Another agent who left the bureau last year told me that certain leads that might be politically controversial were sometimes tabled indefinitely because they were not seen as worth incurring the wrath of the Trump White House. […] The withering morale and possibility of having to work without pay has made it increasingly difficult to recruit new agents, the agents said.[…]

    If the issue does not get resolved within the next few weeks, however, agents in various field offices may stage a callout—a coordinated sick day to protest the shutdown. […] A coordinated “sick-out” would be one way of protesting the current conditions, since the Taft-Hartley Act, enacted in 1947, prohibits public employees from overtly striking. Federal-employee unions may also find recourse in the courts—some have already filed lawsuits arguing that requiring employees to work without pay violates the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

    For now, the FBI Agents Association is simply pressuring elected officials. In a petition sent to the White House, the vice president’s office, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and other House and Senate leaders on Thursday, the agents association warned of the effects of the ongoing shutdown on the bureau’s work.
    Here's the FBI Agents Association's petition, in which they "urge expediency before financial insecurity compromises national security."
    posted by Doktor Zed at 1:57 PM on January 10 [30 favorites]


    I see we're not even pretending that Hannity isn't White House staff anymore.

    Seems more like it’s the other way around — the president is Fox News staff.
    posted by Celsius1414 at 1:59 PM on January 10 [43 favorites]


    All the Republicans want very badly for a decision to be made, but for them to not have had any part in making it.

    Perhaps we just need a bit of nucleation. Once I was boiling water for spaghetti and I put too much oil in the water. I guess it made a floating layer about 1/8" thick. That oil inhibited the formation of steam bubbles. When I went to stir it a little while later, the entire pot of water seemed to boil all at once. Breaking the oil layer allowed all the superheated water to boil at once. I was lucky I didn't scald my face.

    The Republican senators are the water and Trump is the oil. It's possible we just need one or two senators to break and then the pot will boil over.
    posted by M-x shell at 2:09 PM on January 10 [38 favorites]


    Sure, but we've been waiting for just one or two senators to break for over two years now.

    I'm not sure it's a matter of breaking. Honestly, I think most of them are broken, and that's the problem. Mitch McConnell is pushing around a big squad of universally broken senators--and he's happy to let Trump take all the attention and heat off of himself.
    posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:18 PM on January 10 [19 favorites]


    Bernie Sanders Apologizes Again to Women Who Were Mistreated in 2016 Campaign [NYTimes]

    “It appears that as part of our campaign, there were some women who were harassed and mistreated — I thank them from the bottom of my heart for speaking out,” Mr. Sanders said during a scheduled news conference on Thursday about prescription drugs. “What they experienced was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign or any campaign should be about.”

    “When we talk about — and I do all the time — ending sexism and all forms of discrimination, those beliefs cannot just be words. They must be based in day-to-day reality and the work we do, and that was clearly not the case in the 2016 campaign,” he added. [...]

    In a statement posted on Twitter shortly after Thursday’s news conference, Mr. Sanders said: “Clearly we need a cultural revolution in this country to change workplace attitudes and behavior. I intend in every way to be actively involved in that process.”


    I certainly don't speak for all women or even any woman but my own self, but a man saying "I intend in every way to be actively involved in that process." is just way too aggressive for me.

    "I will do whatever I can to be a positive part of that process."
    "I will listen to marginalized people and join them in making change."
    "I commit to pushing for that revolution right alongside you."
    etc. Any of these would have been better.
    posted by Emmy Rae at 2:19 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]




    It's possible we just need one or two senators to break and then the pot will boil over.

    Sure, but we've been waiting for just one or two senators to break for over two years now. I'm not sure it's a matter of breaking. Honestly, I think most of them are broken, and that's the problem.


    We waited for the frogs to jump out and now there's just a boiling pot of soupe a la nazi with the occasional surfacing frog bone.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 2:23 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]


    "I intend in every way to be actively involved in that process." is just way too aggressive for me.

    I'd be happier if it said, or even implied, that what that meant was, "I will be taking direct action against men who harass, mistreat, and discriminate against women" rather than "I will publicly state that I find this kind of behavior deplorable."
    posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:25 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]


    The House just voted to fund and reopen USDA. Joni Ernst held a call earlier today trying to split the difference, but we'll see how her constituents handle that.
    posted by holgate at 2:27 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


    I see we're not even pretending that Hannity isn't White House staff anymore.

    Seems more like it’s the other way around — the president is Fox News staff.


    Close.

    FoxNews is the President.
    posted by The World Famous at 2:28 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


    Rep. Veronica Escobar: The Gov’t Is Shutdown Because Trump Is Afraid Of Fox | Velshi & Ruhle |

    Oh, that's Pelosi's-condo-in-Trump's-head good.

    Sidenote: Velshi and Ruhle are my favorite odd couple. They both get these intense, terrier-like looks on their faces when they've cornered someone. I like it.
    posted by schadenfrau at 2:29 PM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    On a related note, Giulianna Di Lauro Velez, I Was Sexually Harassed on Bernie Sanders’s 2016 Campaign. I Will Not Be Weaponized or Dismissed.
    Accusations of sexual misconduct during a political campaign should not be weaponized to serve a political agenda. Nor should claims be ignored to protect a beloved candidate — doing so only adds to the cycle of shame and punishment that makes sexism so hard to tackle.
    posted by zachlipton at 2:30 PM on January 10 [29 favorites]


    I see we're not even pretending that Hannity isn't White House staff anymore.
    posted by zachlipton


    I was listening the the first episode of a podcast called The Dollop, which had been recorded at the time of the Clive Bundy armed insurrection. In it, the host talks about how Hannity is cheering these guys on, boosting their signal as they were standing on overpasses with assault rifles. He attacked the anti gun kids. He’s talked about ruby ridge like those morons were heroes. And so, it occurs to me, is Hannity actively working to undermine America? I mean, like a whole lot of this right wing talk radio stuff gets broad play specifically because of Hannity. He’s Alex Jones without the Ritalin.
    posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:33 PM on January 10 [23 favorites]


    It’s Time for a ‘Green New Deal’ (Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) via Politico, January 10, 2019)
    As the 116th Congress convenes, one essential legislative proposal it should move on quickly is to throw in the trash the 44 separate energy tax breaks, anchored by advantages for big oil companies that get billions of dollars in beneficial tax treatment.

    The dirty relics of the past century should be replaced with just three new energy tax incentives: one for clean energy, one for clean transportation fuel and one for energy efficiency. Under this new system, benefits would be received only if carbon emissions are decreased or eliminated. The cleaner it is, the greater the benefit. These reforms will not only set off a wave of investment and innovation in clean and renewable energy, they will also cut subsidies and save Americans money.

    Research by economists from across the spectrum shows that nothing drives behavior in the American marketplace like the right incentives — which millions of American now say should help green, not dirty, energy. Rewarding investment based on carbon emissions ensures a transition away from fossil fuels and provides flexibility for new technologies to enter the market. The result? Cleaner energy, lower electricity bills and more clean energy jobs across the country.
    Sounds good to me.
    posted by filthy light thief at 2:57 PM on January 10 [58 favorites]




    Daniel Dale, once again showing how it's done:

    Trump lies his way through a visit to Mexican border
    posted by The Card Cheat at 3:12 PM on January 10 [34 favorites]


    A BBC radio news item today started "President Trump has falsely claimed..." - I forget what, because everything, but those were the first five words of the headline.
    posted by Devonian at 3:18 PM on January 10 [20 favorites]


    Giulianna Di Lauro Velez, I Was Sexually Harassed on Bernie Sanders’s 2016 Campaign. I Will Not Be Weaponized or Dismissed.

    On Reddit's /r/politics, this article was immediately downvoted into oblivion, along with any other story remotely seen as harmful to Sanders' electoral prospects (unlike pretty much any other candidate). Given the well-documented intervention of Russian troll-farms to signal boost his campaign in 2016, it's a very disturbing phenomenon.

    Especially since this article is not anti-Sanders.
    posted by msalt at 3:29 PM on January 10 [21 favorites]


    Axios: Senate approves backpay for federal workers after shutdown ends

    So that happened.
    posted by saysthis at 3:30 PM on January 10 [39 favorites]


    Axios: Senate approves backpay for federal workers after shutdown ends

    So that happened.


    Does anyone know if that bill covers federal contractors? Asking for a friend.
    posted by runcibleshaw at 3:39 PM on January 10 [11 favorites]


    Given the well-documented intervention of Russian troll-farms to signal boost his campaign in 2016, it's a very disturbing phenomenon.

    I remember reading /r/politics in early 2016 and being absolutely struck by the volume and intensity of Sanders support (in the form of posts, comments, upvotes, trolling, etc) and how incredibly rapidly it all vanished once Clinton secured the nomination.

    It was very strange. I attributed it to some weird Reddit-specific social contagion at the time.
    posted by prize bull octorok at 3:42 PM on January 10 [16 favorites]


    TRUMP: "The buck stops with everybody."

    ME: ... 'else'
    posted by ZeusHumms at 3:48 PM on January 10 [11 favorites]


    Does anyone know if that bill covers federal contractors? Asking for a friend.

    This is the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019, and my understanding is that it unfortunately does not directly cover contractors, but I'm not a law-person.
    posted by cjelli at 3:49 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


    I remember reading /r/politics in early 2016 and being absolutely struck by the volume and intensity of Sanders support (in the form of posts, comments, upvotes, trolling, etc) and how incredibly rapidly it all vanished once Clinton secured the nomination.

    ...Isn't the simplest explanation that online Sanders support (including its toxic aspect) vanished because Clinton secured the nomination? Wouldn't it have been much more indicative of troll-farm chaos-fomenting interference if it hadn't vanished?
    posted by Rust Moranis at 3:49 PM on January 10 [10 favorites]


    I seem to recall Reddit updating their front page algorithm around the same time to prevent r/trump from constantly gaming it, so I kind of assumed that the Sanders posts became less visible from that point forward for similar reasons. This is personal impression, I could be very easily disproved.
    posted by Think_Long at 3:54 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


    Mueller's team met with pollster Tony Fabrizio in February 2018, an interview that has not been previously reported

    A reminder that Mueller's team Does. Not. Leak. And his bulletin board/string/photo mashup has more people and more connections than any of us has ever imagined. I remain hopeful that Mueller's going for an indictment. IF he doesn't have one under seal already.
    posted by mikelieman at 3:56 PM on January 10 [15 favorites]


    ...Isn't the simplest explanation that online Sanders support (including its toxic aspect) vanished because Clinton secured the nomination? Wouldn't it have been much more indicative of troll-farm chaos-fomenting interference if it hadn't vanished?

    I have the same recollection of odd behavior as prize bull octorok, and the specific nature of the oddity argues against this theory.

    When Bernie was still running, any topic favorable to Bernie or opposed to Hillary would get a very consistent number of upvotes (around 5,000) as a baseline. Opposing topics would be voted down in similar amounts. But if you went into the comments to discuss it, there were few pro-Bernie people; Clinton supporters were a clear majority. It really looked like bot-driven voting.

    And this effect vanished instantly on the night he conceded, which seems unlikely from real invidividual Sanders supporters. It wasn't necessarily all Russian trolls; Sanders paid a HUGE percentage of campaign expenses ($28 million in 2016) to Revolution Messaging, the spun-off social media operation from the Obama campaigns, and they may have been engaged in bot behavior too.

    (FYI, Beto O'Rourke's senate campaign hired Revolution Messaging to the tune of $5 million in 2018 alone.)
    posted by msalt at 4:10 PM on January 10 [10 favorites]


    That Daniel Dale article The Card Cheat linked is great.

    In McAllen, Trump derided critics who dismiss walls as outdated and ineffective. He said some old technology, like the wheel, is timeless.

    “A wheel is older than a wall,” he said. He repeated it a few seconds later: “The wheel is older than the wall. Do you know that?”

    Defensive walls predate wheels by thousands of years. (Jericho’s famous wall existed around 8,000 BC; the wheel is thought to have been invented around 3,500 BC.)


    Jericho. Heh.
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:13 PM on January 10 [56 favorites]


    So now Lindsey Graham is telling Trump to declare an emergency.
    posted by diogenes at 4:16 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


    The wheel-vs-wall debate has come up in studies of ancient tech before. Walls are about as old as humanity; it takes no special technical skills to figure out "put something solid between us and the wind," and then it gets adapted to whatever dangers are coming from a known direction. Wheels don't become useful for more than novelty toys until you have flat roads.

    Someone needs to tell the trumpists - or rather, the media that reports on them - that nobody is saying walls are useless, just that a wall isn't the tool to fix this problem, even if this problem actually existed.

    Maybe tell the trumpists that roads are even older than walls and that all we need to prevent illegal immigration is enough roads going out of the country.
    posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:23 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]


    ..Isn't the simplest explanation that online Sanders support (including its toxic aspect) vanished because Clinton secured the nomination? Wouldn't it have been much more indicative of troll-farm chaos-fomenting interference if it hadn't vanished?

    It didn't vanish, it just morphed into dead-enders posting that if they could vote for Bernie they'd vote for Stein instead of Clinton. Or just not vote in protest.
    posted by nathan_teske at 4:24 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


    Prediction: A significant fraction of Senate Republicans will abandon the President before or during Cohen's House testimony in February. Cohen will testify under oath about various specific felonies committed by the President. The President's removal from office will begin to appear inevitable, and Republican politicians will stop defending him, instead prioritizing the defense of the Vice President as the President's legal successor, notwithstanding his role as the head of a Presidential Transition Team that was colluding with Russian Intelligence.
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:25 PM on January 10 [34 favorites]


    My Reddit recollection was that the pro-Sanders stuff dropped off, but mostly because it seemed to switch to anti-Clinton stuff.
    posted by schadenfrau at 4:26 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


    While we’re reminiscing on the good ole days,in the mid-00’s Digg (and then Reddit) both had a huge boner for anything involving Vladimir Putin acting “manly”. All photos of him shirtless, in camo fatigues, walking through ice cold water, followed by hundreds of comments about him wrestling bears.

    Oh yeah, and there was that fervent support for a real independent, no nonsense politician named Ron Paul, whose son is now gung ho about how great Russia and Putin are.

    The Russian government’s media propaganda campaign has probably been going on for much longer than the Bernie Sanders campaign. I’m sure a lot of the drop off for Bernie support was typical stuff after he lost the nomination and the field was narrowed to Hillary and Donald, but it also could have been that the Russian trolls switched over to using their Black Lives Matter accounts and creating fake protests and counter-protests in order to cause violence and further polarize the nation.
    posted by gucci mane at 4:35 PM on January 10 [32 favorites]


    I want whatever EMRJKC94 is dabbing.
    posted by Thorzdad at 4:37 PM on January 10 [8 favorites]


    So now Lindsey Graham is telling Trump to declare an emergency.

    He tweeted, "I hope it works." But does he mean the wall or the emergency declaration? Unclear.

    CNN's Kaitlan Collins: White House lawyers are prepping the legal justification for a national emergency declaration. This has included advising aides to ramp up "crisis" talk. Lawyers suggest the more times they say it, the more often they can point to it in a legal defense filing, per @Kevinliptakcnn

    So the White House legal strategy is to get the word "crisis" to be said a lot to justify an emergency declaration. That's not how any of this works.
    posted by peeedro at 4:41 PM on January 10 [10 favorites]


    In the other thread we were talking about what was going on in 2014 on social media, and I threw in some links about what Russia was doing in 2014 on social media.
    posted by OnceUponATime at 4:41 PM on January 10 [7 favorites]


    I mean, let the heavens fall. I want to know about all of it. I want to know about the Pauls, I want to know about Lindsey Graham’s abrupt change of heart, I want to know about Tom Cotton’s NRA connection — oh fuck, the NRA, then too! — I want to know about Jill Stein’s fun little junkets to Moscow where she was photographed with I think at least one current indictee? Am I remembering that right? And I want to know what Tad Devine from the Sanders campaign told Mueller about both 2016 and his years working with Manafort in Ukraine.

    I want to know about Russia’s involvement in fucking Brexit. I want to know about what they’re doing in Germany and France, not to mention Georgia, Ukraine, and like a million other former Soviet states.

    Seriously, let the heavens fall, but we gotta find out what Putin has done, who he’s corrupted, and what he’s doing now.

    And then we gotta figure out what to do about it.
    posted by schadenfrau at 4:42 PM on January 10 [79 favorites]


    I want to know about Jill Stein’s fun little junkets to Moscow where she was photographed with I think at least one current indictee? Am I remembering that right?

    Same table as Flynn and Putin
    posted by Rust Moranis at 4:44 PM on January 10 [18 favorites]


    Cash. Stein isn't any different...
    posted by Windopaene at 4:45 PM on January 10


    It didn't vanish, it just morphed into dead-enders posting that if they could vote for Bernie they'd vote for Stein instead of Clinton. Or just not vote in protest.

    My Reddit recollection was that the pro-Sanders stuff dropped off, but mostly because it seemed to switch to anti-Clinton stuff.


    I know there is no shortage of live, human, sincere Bernie stans.

    It really did seem like there was a high volume of organized activity that just stopped like somebody'd thrown a switch, though. The sudden implosion of the very active and organized Sanders For President subreddit seems like a good example. I dunno, it's hard to quantify the weirdness in retrospect, but you could sort of see the pro-Clinton energy morph and disperse in organic ways after Nov 8 and this felt very different.
    posted by prize bull octorok at 4:48 PM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    Also, given things like the 2020 primaries and now Lindsey Graham suddenly calling for Trump to declare an emergency to build the wall, these questions have some fucking urgency to them. An authoritarian constitutional crisis is exactly the kind of escalating chaos that Putin has been after since 2016.
    posted by schadenfrau at 5:52 PM on January 10 [16 favorites]


    AP: As Trump visits border, Texas landowners prepare wall fight
    The government sued the local Roman Catholic diocese late last year to gain access for its surveyors at the site of La Lomita chapel, which opened in 1865 and was an important site for missionaries who traveled the Rio Grande Valley by horseback.

    It remains an epicenter of the Rio Grande Valley’s Catholic community, hosting weddings and funerals, as well as an annual Palm Sunday procession that draws 2,000 people.

    The chapel is a short distance from the Rio Grande. It falls directly into the area where CBP wants to build its “enforcement zone.
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:56 PM on January 10 [15 favorites]


    > in the mid-00’s Digg (and then Reddit) both had a huge boner for anything involving Vladimir Putin acting “manly”.... and there was that fervent support for a real independent, no nonsense politician named Ron Paul, whose son is now gung ho about how great Russia and Putin are.

    Bill Browder, Sergei Magnitsky's colleague, was refused entry to Russia in 2005. His book Red Notice (great for lite background on the Magnitsky Act and Russian klepto-plutocracy) claims it was because Putin wasn't really anti-corruption as he'd acted since 2000, but he wanted to pick oligarchs & have them remain loyal to him. [Chapter 18] The prosecution of Khodorkovsky [CEO of the Yukos oil company] was used to get the other oligarchs in line. Putin's breaking point might have been when Khodorkovsky "sent millions of dollars to the opposition parties for the upcoming parliamentary elections." Active measures for me, but not for thee...
    posted by ASCII Costanza head at 6:04 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]


    WaPo op-ed, Erica Newland, I worked in the Justice Department. I hope its lawyers won’t give Trump an alibi.
    But when I was at OLC, I saw again and again how the decision to trust the president failed the office’s attorneys, the Justice Department and the American people. The failure took different forms. Sometimes, we just wouldn’t look that closely at the claims the president was making about the state of the world. When we did look closely, we could give only nudges. For example, if I identified a claim by the president that was provably false, I would ask the White House to supply a fig leaf of supporting evidence. Or if the White House’s justification for taking an action reeked of unconstitutional animus, I would suggest a less pungent framing or better tailoring of the actions described in the order.

    I often wondered, though, whether my attempts to remove the most basic inaccuracies from the face of a presidential order meant that I was myself failing to carry out my oath to protect and defend the Constitution. After all, the president had already submitted, through his early drafts or via Twitter, his reasons for issuing a particular order. I sometimes felt that, rather than engaging in professionally responsible advocacy, my OLC colleagues and I were using the law to legitimize lies.

    I felt more than a twinge of recognition this month when reading a New Yorker article about Trump and the reality-TV show “The Apprentice.” Jonathan Braun, an editor on “The Apprentice,” described how editors would “reverse engineer” episodes after Trump made impulsive decisions about firing a contestant. The article described editors “scouring hundreds of hours of footage . . . in an attempt to assemble an artificial version of history in which Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip decision made sense.” Like a staff member at “The Apprentice,” I occasionally caught myself fashioning a pretext, building an alibi.

    Eventually, I decided that the responsibilities entailed in my oath were incompatible with the expectations of my job. If my former colleagues at OLC, and throughout the Justice Department, are now working on the possible declaration of a national emergency, I dearly hope they are as meticulous in their review of the president’s justifications as they are in their review of the actions he plans to take. And I hope, more than anything else, that they are asking themselves whether they, too, are just fashioning a pretext, building an alibi
    Newland received an award from DOJ last year for her work vetting Trump's executive orders, but declined to show up to accept it. I'm not really sure why it took a graduate of Yale Law over a year and a half to realize her job was to legitimize the President's lies "sometimes," yet that appears to be the case.
    posted by zachlipton at 6:15 PM on January 10 [50 favorites]


    Tech debt?

    Well we operate under Scaled Agile and after two 2 weeks sprints we do Innovation and Planning for future sprints. In an ideal world we'd have all of our PIs planned out and have work to do, but unreviewable. As it is we've only a couple of sprints planned and approved well before a shutdown was even thought of. At a certain point we'll run out of work and probably before that reach a point where we need PO feedback.

    My fear is we do a lot of work and then the shutdown ends and none of what we worked on is what the PO really wanted etc and we re-do all that work and never get to the cool things we had planned to do.
    posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:38 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


    I'm not really sure why it took a graduate of Yale Law over a year and a half to realize her job was to legitimize the President's lies "sometimes," yet that appears to be the case.

    I'm not sure why either, especially with statements like this:

    For example, if I identified a claim by the president that was provably false, I would ask the White House to supply a fig leaf of supporting evidence.

    I know I'm heading into #notalllawyers territory, but this is one of the reasons I could never become a lawyer. I have the cognitive temperament to likely be proficient in/excel at the ways in which lawyers need to think and act to best advocate for their clients. But the majority of my experience with lawyers in the context of legal disputes has been that it's more important to "win" than to do the right thing. I don't really have the stomach for that.

    I find this particularly troubling in the context of lawyers whose jobs get really close to the rule of law itself, as in this case. It's like John Yoo and the torture memos. I mean, come on. You know that the pretzel that you're twisting the Constitution into isn't for a just or moral cause—in fact quite the opposite. But it's your job to "win", so that's what you do. (I'm definitely not suggesting that all lawyers have the vanishing moral compass that John Yoo has.)

    As you say, Newland is a smart—or at least very well-educated—lawyer. And yet something so seemingly black and white, from a moral, ethical standpoint, took ages to become apparent to her. Why is that? I at least find it easier to understand with people who never demonstrate a moral compass at all. But if you have one, how does it take you that long to find it?
    posted by Brak at 6:45 PM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    ...the area where CBP wants to build its “enforcement zone".

    Well, the good news is that we've got royalty-free, off-the-shelf plans to use. The bad news is that we have to keep the EZ closed more than 41 years. Time will tell!
    posted by cenoxo at 7:03 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


    Doug Sovern is an excellent reporter for KCBS radio in the San Francisco Bay Area. He dropped a simple and not entirely unexpected story yesterday: Kamala Harris is getting ready to announce her candidacy at an event probably around MLK day in Oakland, though it's not yet final.

    After publishing that, he checks in a day later: I am kind of stunned by the level of vitriol in the emails and tweets I’m getting in response to my story about @KamalaHarris running for president. I didn’t realize the depth of some people’s irrational hatred for her. Underscores how tough it will be for a woman of color to run

    He makes it clear that the emails are personal, not attacking her policies or record and describes it as "These emails go way beyond anything I’ve ever seen before. Truly odious."

    As an example: And I didn’t realize there was an anti-@KamalaHarris birther brigade, since her parents (from Jamaica and India) were both in Berkeley as international students. Harris was born in Oakland, California, USA, making her an American citizen by birth.

    It just never stops. The hate doesn't even wait for her to announce she's running.
    posted by zachlipton at 7:06 PM on January 10 [112 favorites]


    mephron: "Then Trump should have been forced to nuke his personal Twitter spew and had it all on the POTUS45 feed so we could just be made nauseous by one instead of two barrels of vomit."

    He should of but that sort of petty ethics violation is barely worth noticing.
    posted by Mitheral at 7:45 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


    Trump’s advisers push for emergency declaration — while assuming it’ll be stopped in court (Dara Lind, Vox)

    Emergency declaration as get out of jail free card. Except they don't quite work like that.
    Lawsuits don’t come out of nowhere — and they’re rarely ready to go the minute a policy is enacted

    ... Both making policies and suing over them takes time.

    Trump can’t simply say the words “emergency declaration” and trigger a lawsuit. He has to declare which of the 100-plus emergency powers given to the president he’s invoking — not just because that’s how the law works, but because he has to identify which pools of emergency money he wants to raid to pay for the wall. (Not that it’s clear there’s even enough money in any of the applicable funds to get to $5.7 billion.)
    ...

    If you fight a court case, you cannot guarantee you will lose

    By treating an emergency declaration as a way to reopen the government, rather than as an actual policy that will be in effect barring a judicial injunction, the Trump administration risks the worst of both worlds: a policy they carelessly slapped together that they and everyone else then have to live with for a very long time.
    ...

    If the administration actually thinks it is both constitutional and a good idea on the merits to declare a national emergency over Democrats’ unwillingness to pay billions of dollars for a border barrier, that possibility won’t worry them.

    But if they see the emergency declaration as a politically convenient tactic with no legal or policy consequences, they really, really shouldn’t issue one. Because you shouldn’t issue a policy if you aren’t 100 percent comfortable with its consequences.
    This is a very, very dark comedy, with all too real consequences.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 8:56 PM on January 10 [18 favorites]


    Trump’s Hannity interview reveals a president out of touch with reality (Matthew Yglesias, Vox)
    Even when faced with some of the most egregious softball questions of all time, Trump is barely coherent — unable to describe in any detail what exactly it is that he wants, unable to cite any specific legal authority for a potential emergency declaration option, and unable to describe what such an operation would actually let him achieve.
    ...

    The man whose whims plunged the nation into a massive crisis that has air traffic controllers working without pay, FBI agents worried that ongoing investigations will have to be dropped, Joshua Tree National Park irreparably damaged, and food inspections curtailed seems to have no idea why.
    ...

    [This] is the crux of the matter. He doesn’t consider this issue very important. It’s not important enough for him to offer Democrats anything of substance in a legislative swap, and it’s not important enough for him to have bothered to learn anything about the issue or even develop a specific proposal. He is imposing huge costs on a huge number of people, but he personally is suffering nothing more than the indignity of hanging out in the White House.

    And he’s so unselfconscious that he actually threw himself a pity party in the midst of all the problems he’s causing. There’s no apology here for the inconvenience followed by an explanation of why he’s doing it. Because he’s not sorry. He wants us to feel sorry for him. And that in some ways is the most disturbing thing of all.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 9:07 PM on January 10 [54 favorites]


    ... he has to identify which pools of emergency money he wants to raid to pay for the wall ...

    I really wish "wall" in this context would always come with an adjective like "imaginary", "rhetorical", "impossible", or "insane". Because, we have to always keep in mind that any border wall that Trump has actually talked about in real terms is impossible OR that to make it possible would require a plunge into total authoritarianism. Please, stop talking about it like it's a normal thing.
    posted by runcibleshaw at 9:15 PM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    As an example: And I didn’t realize there was an anti-@KamalaHarris birther brigade, since her parents (from Jamaica and India) were both in Berkeley as international students. Harris was born in Oakland, California, USA, making her an American citizen by birth.

    While I am sure there are KH birthers, this smells like Russian trolls amplifying existing signal again.
    posted by benzenedream at 9:18 PM on January 10 [50 favorites]


    Trump White House urging allies to prepare for possible RBG departure (Eliana Johnson & Gabby Orr, Politico)
    After an ailing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed oral arguments, the Trump team began early groundwork for another potential confirmation battle.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 9:20 PM on January 10 [6 favorites]


    Legislators *have* to figure out a way to do this without his participation. They have to. He will not help. He was barely performing the duties of the office when his party spoon-fed him exactly what to do. In a divided Congress where actual bipartisanship is required he's simply incapable of playing any role besides obstructionist/destroyer of worlds. Not just on the current shutdown: anything going forward. We have *never* as a country had to deal with this notion: an unhinged executive acting not only irrationally but directly against the country as an entity. I truly fear we lack the legislative structure to cope with this in a meaningful way until he's removed. I already think most of the Republican party is compromised in the many continuing corruption cases, so we might simply not even have enough votes to do anything at all about fucking anything.
    posted by odinsdream at 9:20 PM on January 10 [16 favorites]


    Meanwhile Mitch McConnell could end this madness in an afternoon.

    (The WH leaked today that they were gearing up for RBG’s replacement. The leak was probably intended for McConnell and those in the GOP who might pressure him to break with the President over the shutdown: nice SCOTUS majority you’re about to have; shame if something were to happen to it.)
    posted by notyou at 9:24 PM on January 10 [14 favorites]


    In retrospect, it's probably a good thing that George III didn't realise that he could get away with taxing the American colonies by prepending the words “Because it's an emergency, I hereby ....”
    posted by Joe in Australia at 9:24 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


    ...something so seemingly black and white, from a moral, ethical standpoint, took ages to become apparent to her. Why is that?

    from a moral/ethical standpoint all these OLC lawyers pursued careers in the office of legal counsel of the department of justice of the united states of america. i imagine the moral calculus is different than that to which, say, i -- who learned he could not work in the defense/intelligence realm because of the crazy jingoism of every executive encountered as contractor, and, later, in law school, that he could never serve a government that creates unpersons and then tortures them -- might refer in my conscientious evaluations of things. OLC doesn't seem like the kind of place one thrives if, instead of coming up with persuasive interpretations of authorities to justify x, one instead regularly offers persuasive argument that x is impermissible.

    don't get me wrong. i'm not saying one cannot be righteous and work in government -- some of my best friends are prosecutors and civil service attorneys!* fine people. moral people -- just not this one. better stated: it is not that i'm too moral to serve the government, but that the government, by disobeying its founding documents and principles, ceased to be an entity eligible to be such an employer/client. ymmv.

    what lawyers do, other than joust for wins, depends a lot on what field they enter and what position they attain.

    yoo, bybee, gonzales -- i've already forgotten some of the names i meant to add and curse when i started writing this -- never forget! (also: the droning? the presumptive "combatant" status for male adults in the blast zone? fuck that, mr. holder). and all their staffs (staves?) and associates. their mentors and proteges. who sit on corporate boards, foundation boards of directors with them. who chair their university departments. who maintain their malauthority. never forget.

    * not really.
    posted by 20 year lurk at 9:27 PM on January 10 [13 favorites]


    "If the administration actually thinks it is both constitutional and--"

    lemme stop you right there.
    posted by 20 year lurk at 9:35 PM on January 10 [11 favorites]


    There is one person in the government who is keeping the government closed and it's not Trump. It's Mitch McConnell. He could open it tomorrow, but he refuses. Call your Senators.
    posted by runcibleshaw at 9:46 PM on January 10 [54 favorites]


    [This] is the crux of the matter. He doesn’t consider this issue very important. It’s not important enough for him to offer Democrats anything of substance in a legislative swap, and it’s not important enough for him to have bothered to learn anything about the issue or even develop a specific proposal.

    See, it's shit like this that makes you realize that Yglesias has spent way too much time on the political beat and has lost all his perspective - he's still interpreting this as if Trump was even a little bit a "normal" politician who would even recognize the idea of a "legislative swap."

    No. He won't consider a legislative swap because he has no fucking idea how any of this works. He's spent his entire life where people jump when he says "frog", and he genuinely for real doesn't understand why that doesn't happen now. And it's up to those peons to come up with the details about "how high", he never has to bother with the actual practical details. The Wall is important to Trump because 1) he thinks it would actually work because he's an ignoramus and 2) he got goaded into it by people he thinks speak for his supporters. You can't gauge Trump's motivations by the standards of people who might have even a vague idea of how government works.

    McConnell doesn't think the Wall is important, which is why he was perfectly willing to let previous bills through the Senate regardless of how much funding the wall got. And why he's perfectly willing to just sit on his hands now that Trump blew that up and wait to see if anyone blinks or comes up with a fake out.
    posted by soundguy99 at 9:56 PM on January 10 [9 favorites]


    Is it possible to impeach Mitch McConnell?
    posted by sexyrobot at 11:18 PM on January 10 [12 favorites]


    Can the Senate Majority Leader use his authority to block an impeachment trial?
    posted by scalefree at 11:50 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


    Twitter thread on Trump's wall, analyzed by someone who actually knows his stuff (TL;DR: it won't work, will be way more expensive than claimed, and it will be a disaster in many and varied ways):
    From Amy Patrick, an engineer, Wall Expert. I’m a licensed structural and civil engineer with a MS in structural engineering from the top program in the nation and over a decade of experience on high-performance projects...

    ...and particularly of cleaning up design disasters where the factors weren’t properly accounted for, and I’m an adjunct professor of structural analysis and design at UH-Downtown.

    I have previously been deposed as an expert witness in matters regarding proper construction of walls and the various factors associated therein, and my testimony has passed Daubert....

    Am I a wall expert? I am. I am literally a court-accepted expert on walls....

    Structurally and civil engineering-wise, the border wall is not a feasible project. Trump did not hire engineers to design the thing. He solicited bids from contractors, not engineers....

    This means it’s not been designed by professionals. It’s a disaster of numerous types waiting to happen. What disasters?...

    Off the top of my head... 1) It will mess with our ability to drain land in flash flooding. Anything impeding the ability of water to get where it needs to go (doesn’t matter if there are holes in the wall or whatever) is going to dramatically increase the risk of flooding...

    2) Messes with all kind of stuff ecologically. For all other projects, we have to do an Environmental Site Assessment, which is arduous. They’re either planning to circumvent all this,...

    ...or they haven’t accounted for it yet, because that’s part of the design process, and this thing hasn’t been designed.

    3) The prototypes they came up with are nearly impossible to build or don’t actually do the job. This article explains more: https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.engineering.com/amp/17599.html … And so on....

    The estimates provided for the cost are arrived at unreasonably. You can look for yourself at the two-year-old estimate that you see everyone citing. http://fronterasdesk.org/sites/default/files/field/docs/2016/07/Bernstein-%20The%20Trump%20Wall.pdf

    It does not account for rework, complexities beyond the prototype design, factors to prevent flood and environmental hazard creation, engineering redesign...

    It’s going to be higher than $50bn. The contractors will hit the government with near CONSTANT change orders. “Cost overrun” will be the name of the game. It will not be completed in Trump’s lifetime....

    I’m a structural forensicist, which means I’m called in when things go wrong. This is a project that WILL go wrong....

    When projects go wrong, the original estimates are just *obliterated*....

    And when that happens, good luck getting it fixed, because there aren’t that many forensicists out there to right the ship, particularly not that are willing to work on a border wall project—

    .. a large quotient of us are immigrants, and besides, we can’t afford to bid on jobs that are this political. We’re small firms, and we’re already busy, and we don’t gamble our reputations on political footballs....

    So you’d end up with a revolving door of contractors making a giant, uncoordinated muddle of things, and it’d generally be a mess. Good money after bad. The GAO agrees with me....

    And it won’t be effective. I could, right now, purchase a 32 foot extension ladder and weld a cheap custom saddle for the top of the proposed wall so that I can get over it...

    I don’t know who they talked to about the wall design and its efficacy, but it sure as heck wasn’t anybody with any engineering imagination.

    Another thing: we are not far from the day where inexpensive drones will be able to pick up and carry someone. This will happen in the next ten years, and it’s folly to think that the coyotes who ferry people over the border won’t purchase or create them.

    They’re low enough, quiet enough, and small enough to quickly zip people over any wall we could build undetected with our current monitoring setup.

    Let’s have border security, by all means, but let’s be smart about it. It’s not effective. It’s NOT cheap. The returns will be diminishing as technology advances, too. This is a ridiculous idea that will never be successfully executed and, would be a monumental waste of money.
    Why is no one asking for expert testimony on huge projects like that anymore? Why isn't the opposition using those facts to fight it? At least start calling it "Trump's Folly" or something, make clear that it is a stupid stupid stupid idea.
    posted by PontifexPrimus at 12:59 AM on January 11 [125 favorites]


    Why is no one asking for expert testimony on huge projects like that anymore? Why isn't the opposition using those facts to fight it? At least start calling it "Trump's Folly" or something, make clear that it is a stupid stupid stupid idea.
    In this case, it's because no one, not Trump, not his Trumpists, not the Fox News commenters want the wall for efficiency or anything remotely similar to usefulness. It's a symbolic wall. It's a monument to racism. It's a poke in the eyes of all liberals.
    I really like the twitter thread, because I like that type of thinking. But it is speaking into a void. Facts have no place in this discussion, neither structural facts nor demographic facts nor any other type of facts.
    This is a game of chicken, holding millions of Americans as hostages, between Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell. From the ledgers, the D side is screaming FACTS, FACTS!! and the R side is screaming LIES, LIES!! (and we know they are lies). Nothing matters. Just keep reminding ourselves that Nancy is in a shiny new electric train and Mitch is in a cheesy old vintage car.
    posted by mumimor at 1:56 AM on January 11 [16 favorites]


    Heading to War.
    Evangelicals, Chesnut said, “now see the United States locked into a holy war against the forces of evil who they see as embodied by Iran”.
    Brought to Jesus’: the evangelical grip on the Trump administration
    posted by adamvasco at 2:37 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]


    Brought to Jesus’: the evangelical grip on the Trump administration
    After reading that, I'm even more scared of President Pence. Trump at least is a coward and procrastinator.
    posted by mumimor at 3:07 AM on January 11 [16 favorites]


    Sorry if this has been discussed before and I've missed it: have there been proposals over the years to change the appropriations process such that government shutdowns are no longer a possible outcome? Is anyone talking now about trying to do that when this is all over? (And what would be possible mechanisms to take shutdowns off the table - is it something Congress would even be able to do, or is it all in the hands of the AG and their reading of the Antideficiency Act?)
    posted by trig at 4:00 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


    Trig: It's known as the Gephardt rule.
    posted by waitingtoderail at 4:30 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


    no one, not Trump, not his Trumpists, not the Fox News commenters want the wall for efficiency or anything remotely similar to usefulness. It's a symbolic wall. It's a monument to racism.

    Can we please not ever forget this? It is not about "border security". Don't play their game.

    It is about making America white again. It's starting with undocumented immigrants, DREAMers and refugees. The next step is ending immigration from non-European countries. Then the fascists will come for US citizens who are brown, black, Jewish, leftist, LGBTQ, and so on.

    That is what Wall is. I'd say that's all Wall means except that it's also a nice opportunity for side griftage. But that's not its main function. Its main function is to open up the psychological space that lets our country deport or kill people like me, a gay brown leftist immigrant.
    posted by tivalasvegas at 4:48 AM on January 11 [98 favorites]


    > "And what would be possible mechanisms to take shutdowns off the table"

    The two traditional methods are:

    1) Automatic raising of the debt ceiling whenever required (easy to institute in the U.S.) and/or
    2) Dissolution of government followed by immediate new elections in the event of a complete inability to pass funding bills (nearly impossible to institute in the U.S.)
    posted by kyrademon at 4:52 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]


    CNN's Kaitlan Collins: White House lawyers are prepping the legal justification for a national emergency declaration. This has included advising aides to ramp up "crisis" talk. Lawyers suggest the more times they say it, the more often they can point to it in a legal defense filing, per @Kevinliptakcnn

    So the White House legal strategy is to get the word "crisis" to be said a lot to justify an emergency declaration. That's not how any of this works.


    Not only that, but Trump has already spoken in public about how the emergency declaration is a fallback strategy to get what he wants. And courts have shown an admirable proclivity for slapping down Trump's lawyers' arguments by citing things Trump himself has said that contradict them ("travel restrictions are not a Muslim ban" being a particular hit).
    posted by Gelatin at 5:03 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


    Is it possible to impeach Mitch McConnell?

    It's happened before, but probably not. The very first impeachment in the United States was of Sen. William Blount of Tennessee, for plotting with Britain to invade (Spanish) Florida and Louisiana. The House impeached him in 1798, but the Senate had already expelled him (which required the same 2/3 margin), and they dismissed the impeachment, arguing that Blount wasn't subject to impeachment. It appears unclear whether no Senator could be impeached, or if it was moot because he was already out.
    posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:33 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


    Per the US Constitution **ANY** government official can be impeached. So yes, McConnell could be impeached.

    Per the current political reality of it requiring 67 votes to remove someone from office and removal from office therefore requiring 18 Republicans to vote for removal, it'll never happen. But yes, it's theoretically possible.
    posted by sotonohito at 5:51 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


    "But a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe confidential discussions, questioned the legality of using Army Corps funding, saying it would be subject to restrictions under the Stafford Act, which governs disaster relief. The official said the process was as much a political exercise intended to threaten projects Democrats valued as a pragmatic one." (NYT)

    Greg Sargent (WaPo)
    ...We now have a senior administration official *admitting* that Trump's plan to tap disaster funding for his wall is partly *intended* to pressure Democrats by holding disaster victims hostage.

    ---

    Which is why we can't give in. He only knows hostage taking, how to hurt people. If he thinks he won doing it, it will only get worse.
    posted by chris24 at 6:06 AM on January 11 [79 favorites]


    I dunno, I still think the "emergency declaration" is mostly some staffer's (and/or R Congresscritters') scheme to end the shutdown while allowing Trump to delcare victory and save face. The fact that the declaration or the money will be blocked by the courts is a problem for later, in the immediate present Trump can crow about how he was strong and decisive and solved the wall problem without caving to Pelosi and Schumer and so he'll sign whatever funding bill McConnell sticks in front of him.
    posted by soundguy99 at 6:27 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


    This is probably impossible, but could the individual states "hire" the furloughed federal workers, or those forced to work without pay, on contract, or offer interest-free loans to them until or if the federal government finally reopens again?

    The only leverage that the president has is that people will suffer until he gets what he wants. If the suffering can be eliminated, there will be no incentive to cave in.
    posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 6:34 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


    Every day part of me is sort of shocked that there isn't some secret trap door in the WH that opens in moments of extreme crisis and sucks all of those fuckers down into Hell. Part of me, even though I'm not comfortable with this idea, believes that this is the greatest country in the world, a beacon of freedom and opposition to tyranny. That nobody had some secret plan to dispose of an evil motherfucker brought into office who has the power to blow up the whole motherfucking planet, is just on some level deeply weird to me.

    I mean, part of it is that I smoke a lot of weed, but there is also something deeply surreal about Trump after eight years of Obama.
    posted by angrycat at 6:42 AM on January 11 [65 favorites]


    ...I still think the "emergency declaration" is mostly some staffer's (and/or R Congresscritters') scheme to end the shutdown while allowing Trump to delcare victory and save face. The fact that the declaration or the money will be blocked by the courts is a problem for later...

    That assumes, of course, that he doesn't then hold the jobs hostage unless the courts relent and allow the wall money to flow. Hell, the guy is so nasty, even if he gets every penny of his precious wall money, I would put it past him to say "Y'know what? The country got along just fine without these agencies getting in the way. Real American freedom. So, we're not gonna call them back. There's too many of 'em anyway. So many you can't believe."
    posted by Thorzdad at 6:43 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]


    I still think the "emergency declaration" is mostly some staffer's (and/or R Congresscritters') scheme to end the shutdown while allowing Trump to delcare victory and save face.

    Maybe, but I also feel like anybody who can get away with all the other obviously-disprovable lies Trump constantly spews—not the least of which is that large sections of the wall are already being built—would just tell his base, "I'm signing the bill to open the government, but don't worry, we are absolutely still building the wall, it's actually practically done already." That's pretty much what SHS did say, a few weeks back when she announced that the administration would find alternative funding for the wall (before the FOX News-inspired reversal).

    I think Trump's just an empty vessel of stupidity and ineptitude, blindly stumbling around inside Miller's and Bannon's trial balloons for implementing fascism. He gets to smash all his toys and burn the garage down, and they get the green light for their ghoulish experiments.
    posted by Rykey at 6:46 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


    Fair point, Thorzdad, although if it is the kind of plan I suspect, part of that is to get funding bills signed in the time between the emergency declaration and whatever court decision happens - IANAL but I think it would take at least a couple of weeks to get a case up and running and in front of a judge.
    posted by soundguy99 at 6:52 AM on January 11


    > "And what would be possible mechanisms to take shutdowns off the table"

    The two traditional methods are:

    1) Automatic raising of the debt ceiling whenever required (easy to institute in the U.S.) and/or
    2) Dissolution of government followed by immediate new elections in the event of a complete inability to pass funding bills (nearly impossible to institute in the U.S.)


    A shutdown is a lack of appropriations, which is a separate issue from Treasury being unable to issue bonds because of the debt ceiling. The Gephart rule refers to the debt ceiling, and specifies that the ceiling is automatically raised when funds are appropriated, removing the hostage point of a separate vote on raising the ceiling.

    That's not what we have now, where Congress cannot appropriate funds in the first place due to Trump's veto threat and Mitch McConnell's reelection. To really solve the shutdown problem, you'd need to attach continuing resolution language to every appropriations bill, such that when that fiscal year ended without a new appropriation, it continued at the old level. This is how sane countries like Belgium operate without a government for years...everything just keeps going until a new bill is passed.

    But no Republican would agree to that, they can only govern by hostage taking or having a bare majority overriding the concerns of the minority party. They are incapable of ever making policy in good faith, and would never agree to give up the only leverage they have, hurting Americans.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 6:58 AM on January 11 [14 favorites]


    I don't even care whose idea it is to use an emergency declaration. I don't care whether it's going to work or not, whether it's to save face or not, whether it's McConnell's out or not.

    It is terrifying that this is being contemplated with a straight face. There is no emergency. THERE IS NO EMERGENCY. If he is allowed to even attempt to declare an emergency we are well on our fucking way to full on authoritarianism and nothing will stop him from trying to push this further. Not Congress, not the courts, not his yes-men.

    If he can pull this trick even once he's going to do it again the next time he's cornered. National emergency declared to police voting lines, for example, is all too possible and should make us shit our pants. It doesn't matter if it stands in court, the mere idea that he could TRY is the problem.
    posted by lydhre at 7:02 AM on January 11 [114 favorites]


    NBC: Pelosi Blasts Treasury Secretary Mnuchin After Briefing For 'Wasting' Lawmakers' Time—Pelosi called it one "one of the worst classified briefings we've received from the Trump administration," despite "stiff competition"
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of "wasting the time" of lawmakers after a classified briefing Thursday in which he was supposed to shed light on the Trump administration's decision to lift sanctions on companies linked to a Russian oligarch.[…]

    "The secretary barely testified," Pelosi told reporters afterwards. "He answered some questions, but he didn’t give testimony. They had an intelligence briefing, which I won’t go into, and then they read a document that was unclassified, wasting the time of members of Congress."[…]

    Mnuchin had been called to answer questions about his Dec. 19 announcement that the administration was easing sanctions on companies tied to Oleg Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who also has ties to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

    The Treasury Department's notification triggered a statute that gives Congress just 30 days to try to reverse the decision by passing a joint resolution of disapproval. Schumer filed such a motion on Friday, but it's unlikely to succeed in the Republican-run Senate.
    Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has now requested an extension of the 30-day review period, the timing of which seems suspicious: “As my colleagues and I indicated in our January 8 letter to you, your notification to Congress was delivered just prior to an adjournment for an extended recess and during which time a government shutdown ensued. These factors frustrate our ability to complete our review of this matter within the 30-day period provided in CAATSA [Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act].”
    posted by Doktor Zed at 7:12 AM on January 11 [21 favorites]


    The Democrats, at every opportunity, need to push the message that THERE IS NO EMERGENCY. Start every press conference with it, every speech on the floor of the senate should open with that line. Push the message that there is no emergency, it's made up. Keep hammering it until Trump gets the message that his lie has no power.
    posted by jazon at 7:13 AM on January 11 [35 favorites]


    Border Patrol Agent Pleads Not Guilty To Killing 4 Sex Workers (NPR, January 11, 2019)
    Juan David Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol Agent pleaded not guilty Thursday to capital murder in the deaths of four women, The Associated Press reports. His "killing spree" might have continued, prosecutors say, had they not caught a "lucky break" when a fifth kidnapped woman escaped and contacted authorities.

    Ortiz thought it was his duty to clean up the streets of Laredo, a border town in Southwest Texas. So he began picking up alleged sex workers, driving them to remote areas, and then shooting them in the head, prosecutors say.
    'Whatever It Took': Republican Mark Harris' Path To The Election That Won't End (NPR, January 11, 2019) -- The candidate at the center of the disputed congressional election in North Carolina is a pastor who worked hard to break into politics. Now, state investigators are probing his campaign's tactics.
    One of the early [2018 midterm election] stops on his way included a stage in Charleston, S.C., in June 2015. Then a pastor a First Baptist Church in Charlotte, Harris spoke at an event aimed at encouraging religious leaders to run for office.

    He sang the first two verses of "This Little Light of Mine," admonishing the crowd of Christian leaders to sing along louder.

    "This is why the liberals are kicking our tails!" he growled with a smile.

    At the time, Harris had just run and lost in the 2014 primary race for a U.S. Senate seat.

    "I had recognized the emergency ... And I was willing to do whatever it took to be the man that God would use," Harris said in his speech. "And sacrifice whatever needed to be sacrificed."

    Now, North Carolina authorities are investigating just what exactly the Harris campaign was willing to do to win an election.

    Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the unofficial tally for the 9th Congressional District seat.

    But the state's board of elections is investigating potential election fraud there, focused specifically on the actions of a political operative who spoke with Harris frequently.
    Just another two men, reshaping the world in their views, by any means necessary, believing that their cause was just and right.

    Maybe, just maybe, if you need to resort to killing people and literally stealing votes, your causes aren't actually just and right. Perhaps you're on the wrong side of things, and you are instead the villain in these stories.
    posted by filthy light thief at 7:18 AM on January 11 [55 favorites]


    When is McConnell up for election next time? Wouldn't this be a good time for Kentucky Democrats to place the responsibility for all of this on his shoulders? And also find a good challenger. You don't know if you can win if you don't try...
    posted by mumimor at 7:21 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


    The emergency declaration is a pretty clear constitutional problem - the 'power of the purse' is one of the essential powers Congress, explicitly as a check on the executive. It's pretty quick for the courts to produce injunctions, too... So I guess or would like like Trump declaring the emergency, signing legislation without the wall, and then getting blocked on the wall by the courts.
    posted by kaibutsu at 7:23 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


    T.D. Strange: A shutdown is a lack of appropriations, which is a separate issue from Treasury being unable to issue bonds because of the debt ceiling. The Gephart rule refers to the debt ceiling, and specifies that the ceiling is automatically raised when funds are appropriated, removing the hostage point of a separate vote on raising the ceiling.

    Yes. They're easily mixed up, but debt-ceiling breaches (which have never happened except perhaps once by mistake, but we've gotten really close many times) and government shutdowns (which happen with increasing frequency) are distinct forms of dysfunction, both basically unique to the USA. (E.g the Wikipedia page "Government shutdown" redirects to "Government shutdowns in the United States", while the article for "Debt limit" is a paragraph explaining that Poland is the only other country that has one).

    The debt ceiling is even more pointless (and terrifying) than this shit we're going through now... it started with a peculiar arrangement to fund American entry into World War I, whereby Congress said "Fund the war as much as you like however you like but don't ever borrow more than $X" instead of "Let's borrow $X and spend $Y". It's self-inflicted, like if you forced yourself to never borrow a dollar, even just to eat, as soon as your credit-card limit was reached (a degree of zeal that even your credit card company doesn't match, and which would also make you unappealing to other companies, because at any time you could suddenly become totally fiscally irrational in your avoidance of new debt).

    All democracies have to come up with a way to fund (or not fund) government any time the different parts of the system disagree with themselves. But they don't have to cap borrowing; if debt becomes a serious issue, as la Greece, then the place to address that is spending and taxation, not a "motivational" life hack in the form of a ticking time bomb.
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:26 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


    When is McConnell up for election next time?

    2020, which is why he's being especially craven now.
    posted by NoxAeternum at 7:28 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]


    Wouldn't this be a good time for Kentucky Democrats to place the responsibility for all of this on his shoulders?

    If you think Kentucky Democrats are capable of getting any message out about anything...you're wrong. Either someone outside the traditional loser state party like Amy McGrath or radio person Matt Jones will be the nominee...or Mitch will win reelection running against the same losing, aimless, messageless campaign the same group of Frankfort consultants have run for the last 4 cycles. It's best not to expect anything of KY Democrats, because they're not really a party interested in winning as long as everyone gets paid to lose.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 7:32 AM on January 11 [23 favorites]


    Border Patrol Agent Pleads Not Guilty To Killing 4 Sex Workers (NPR, January 11, 2019)


    Because I think a lot of people missed it due to the Nov/Dec 2016 publication date, I'm going to drop Shane Bauer's report on his time undercover in a threeper militia participating in "ops" along the border.

    I only came across this piece because I'm reading Bauer's book on going undercover in an for-profit prison in Louisiana (it is...hard to read) and while there's been a few things that have seemed...clumsily sensationalized? (Like dude do not cite Zimbardo's prison experiment in 2018, please, especially not as an explanatory frame for when you stopped feeling like a journalist and, for a moment, "felt" like a guard) there's no real way to sensationalize the stuff he recorded.

    And the stuff he recorded is as terrifying as you'd dread it would be. Those threepers? Besides the open racism, open anti-semitism, and even more open misogyny, the real draw seemed to be a hobby that gave them a sense of meaning for their already pronounced desire to hurt people. And they had that in common with the several CBP agents that they befriended and coordinated with.

    The people who have signed up to become CBP or ICE agents are people who want an excuse to hunt brown people, to hurt people with impunity, to bully and degrade others whenever they can with the authority of the state at their back.

    They are there for the cruelty.

    I don't know how you deal with that, as a society, but we're going to have to figure it out soon.
    posted by schadenfrau at 7:33 AM on January 11 [57 favorites]


    I dunno, I still think the "emergency declaration" is mostly some staffer's (and/or R Congresscritters') scheme to end the shutdown while allowing Trump to delcare victory and save face.

    Remember a few hundred Scaramuccis ago when Trump kept saying he declared the opioid crisis a national emergency without actually doing so?
    posted by Gelatin at 7:36 AM on January 11 [19 favorites]


    Axios (linked by saysthis): Senate approves backpay for federal workers after shutdown ends

    This maddens me because there's almost no daylight between that (if it passes the House) and just not having a shutdown, except for the interim suffering.

    A lot of people have talked about the ways Trump has been, and perhaps still could be, satisfied with a "wall" that is more abstract than real, a "wall" that is totally going to be built any day now, etc. But perhaps it's a better strategy to apply that to the concept of "shutdown". Congress should just pass legislation declaring that all payments and government functions resume, but the government remains "shut down", yes sirree, one big shutdown as far as the eye can see, just the most tremendous shutdown ever.
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:36 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


    How Mitch McConnell Is Working Behind the Scenes to End the Shutdown [autoplaying video] (Philip Elliott, Time)

    In case anyone was worried that no one was pro McConnell.

    Mitch McConnell is Keeping the Senate Out of the Shutdown Fight. It's a Hypocritical Abdication of Congressional Responsibility (Peter Suderman, Reason)
    Five years ago, McConnell declared the need to restore the Senate. Instead, he's broken it further.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 7:38 AM on January 11 [18 favorites]


    Documents Show NRA and Republican Candidates Coordinated Ads in Key Senate Races – Mother Jones
    Although federal law prohibits such coordination, it’s rarely enforced as a practical matter. The FEC, which oversees elections, has been deadlocked along partisan lines for a decade. (FEC enforcement matters are confidential until resolved; it’s unclear if the NRA has formally responded to the complaints.
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:46 AM on January 11 [50 favorites]


    They are there for the cruelty.

    I don't know how you deal with that, as a society, but we're going to have to figure it out soon



    It's a few years old, but this essay by China Mieville makes some good points on that subject.
    posted by JohnFromGR at 7:51 AM on January 11 [14 favorites]


    We need demonstrations and protests directed directly against McConnell, making it clear that he can end the shutdown and making the Senate liable. Is this happening yet? If not let's start one.
    posted by benzenedream at 7:55 AM on January 11 [12 favorites]


    I was thinking more along the lines of a few thousand furloughed employees at his office, reminding news that Congress and the Senate together can override vetos.
    posted by benzenedream at 8:01 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


    > Documents Show NRA and Republican Candidates Coordinated Ads in Key Senate Races

    As you listen to the sound of crickets, just imagine this headline: "Documents show Planned Parenthood and Democratic Candidates Coordinated Ads in Key Senate Races". Consider the howls of righteous anger from the media and the Republican push to immediately outlaw Planned Parenthood and the calls for Obama's resignation since he's the head of the party, even if he didn't do anything wrong here. Imagine Tucker and Hannity calling for armed marches in the streets, because such an abuse of our democratic norms cannot stand unchecked.

    Then savor the quiet soothing sound of crickets.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 8:06 AM on January 11 [35 favorites]


    I was thinking more along the lines of a few thousand furloughed employees at his office...

    Or, y'know, surrounding the White House?
    posted by Thorzdad at 8:06 AM on January 11


    I guess my Kentucky bourbon boycott suggestion was too one-linery, but I do really think it could be an effective campaign. We can all switch to Shutdown Scotch for the duration.
    posted by contraption at 8:09 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


    Re: McConnell and 2020 - I don’t know Kentucky from the ground but it strikes me as the kind of place that would totally love a politician who knew that the electorate had basic needs that weren’t being met by the Fed Gov but could be. The National Dem Party should intercede and find that candidate if the State level won’t. McC is Gingrich-level destructive.
    posted by From Bklyn at 8:10 AM on January 11 [15 favorites]


    Protesting at the White House is fine, but at this point it's pretty clear: Trump is an idiot and he doesn't care. He's hurting his own party and putting the GOP in a bind. The best way to stop the shutdown is for protests at McConnell's office, and the offices of other Republican senators. ESPECIALLY the ones in blue states who are up for re-election next year.

    What needs to happen is for McConnell et al to break with Trump. For real. There isn't a way for them to "win" here. They are going to have to either lose with Trump or lose w/ America.
    posted by nushustu at 8:11 AM on January 11 [15 favorites]


    We need demonstrations and protests directed directly against McConnell, making it clear that he can end the shutdown and making the Senate liable. Is this happening yet? If not let's start one.

    Can we all boycott bourbon or something? I don't know what else comes from Kentucky specifically. Maybe everybody steal a handle of Jim Beam and pour it into Boston Harbor?
    posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 8:11 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


    I get this creeping suspicion that McConnell doesn't want to have to override Trump's Veto. He knows that it will set off Trump against him. Hell at this point I'm willing to bet Trump doesn't even know his veto can be overriden and McConnell wants to keep it that way.
    posted by Twain Device at 8:14 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


    CNN: Trump-Appointed Judge Upholds Mueller's Indictment Against Russian Troll Farm
    In a 32-page opinion, Judge Dabney Friedrich rejected efforts by Concord Management and Consulting to dismiss the indictment, which accused the Russian company of conspiring to defraud the US government. Mueller's team says the company was involved in a well-funded "troll farm" that pumped out political propaganda to millions of Americans throughout the 2016 presidential campaign.

    It was the second time that Friedrich, a Trump appointee, sided with Mueller and let the case proceed. Earlier this year, she rebuffed Concord's arguments that there were constitutional problems with Mueller's appointment and authority. Thursday's ruling centered more on the merits of the indictment.[…]

    But in upholding the indictment, Friedrich wrote that "the key question" was not whether Concord violated the underlying US laws that regulate foreign agents and political spending. Instead, she said the threshold to indict Concord on the conspiracy charge was whether the company's actions were "deceptive and intended to frustrate the lawful government functions" of the relevant agencies.

    Friedrich concluded that Mueller's team showed "plenty" of evidence that Concord tried to deceive US government agencies, bolstering the decision to indict the Russian firm. She cited parts of the indictment that accused Concord employees of lying to the State Department on visa applications and using virtual private networks to hide the fact that their social media posts originated from Russia.
    On a separate note, Bill Browder checked on the Magnitsky Act updates earlier this week: "Every year in December the US State Dept and Treasury issue a new list of Russians sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act. When I checked on the delay yesterday I learned that the people making the Magnitsky designations were all restricted by the US government shutdown."
    posted by Doktor Zed at 8:20 AM on January 11 [32 favorites]


    I'll do it if I have to I guess but god damn if I have to watch this all unfold without my Bulleit and Knob Creek I am gonna fucking lose it people.
    posted by mrjohnmuller at 8:21 AM on January 11 [38 favorites]


    Here's another way out. All it would take is for a majority of Senate Republicans to find their consciences and spines (I know, I know), call a meeting of the Republican Caucus, and tell McConnell to end his blockade or they replace him as Senate majority leader.

    I know he has never been seriously challenged (if at all) and that traditionally the Senate picks the leadership at the start of the session (this time they voted in after elections in November). But according to political scientists Larry Sabato (every political reporter's favorite academic) and John Fortier of conservative AEI, there's nothing that prevents a party from calling a vote at any time. At last count there were at least six Republican Senators who want to start moving appropriations bills. That's nowhere near enough, but it's a start. So there is a mechanism -- if, as noted, the Republicans give a damn and can find their backbones.
    posted by martin q blank at 8:24 AM on January 11 [10 favorites]


    AOC (Responding to Exasperated Democrats try to rein in Ocasio-Cortez): To quote Alan Moore: “None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with YOU. You're locked up in here with ME.” 🤣

    [real]
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:35 AM on January 11 [170 favorites]


    I found this list of McConnell's 25 biggest donors. Boycotts of these people would be effective, I think.

    How does Amway (I just saw the name "Devos" on that list) have grift money anyway? Who's buying Amway? Home Depot's former chairman (who lives in Atlanta) is right in there too. And the f**kin Adelsons, who own the Sands in Vegas, gave the dude $20 million. So there's some easy boycotts.

    And then there's One Nation, who gave him $11 million. Hoo boy, "One Nation is a dark money group run by Karl Rove's top operatives who run Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads...Steven Law, former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is the president and CEO of One Nation, the same role he has with McConnell's Senate Leadership Fund as well as Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads...The Guardian reported in August, 2016 that Adelson had given $10 million to the dark money group."

    McConnell is in power because gambling.
    posted by saysthis at 8:38 AM on January 11 [40 favorites]


    Exasperated Democrats try to rein in Ocasio-Cortez

    They're afraid because she's already being effective and only gaining influence. Her goal isn't to elect more bad Democrats, it's to elect more better ones. Be better, or be replaced by someone better.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 8:46 AM on January 11 [73 favorites]


    How does Amway (I just saw the name "Devos" on that list) have grift money anyway? Who's buying Amway?

    Amway (and its sister companies) reported sales of $8.6 billion-with-a-B in 2017, more than a quarter of which came out of China.
    posted by Etrigan at 8:47 AM on January 11 [12 favorites]


    There is no emergency. THERE IS NO EMERGENCY.

    Thing is, we're already on record as saying there's an "actual humanitarian crisis," with respect to immigration, specifically Obama said this back in 2014 and the Fox machine has been all over it. And to now say, well, crisis clearly isn't "emergency", and immigration isn't border, it sounds like so much mincing words to low-information citizens.

    Pretending for a moment that Trump is a legitimate president, unfortunately he's within his right to declare an emergency on the criteria he judges appropriate. If he were anyone but a loon who should have been 25th-amendment impeached two years ago, this would be uncontroversial. That notwithstanding, a declaration of emergency doesn't mean he has unlimited powers, and if/when it comes to that, Congress needs to push back fully. By all rights, an illegitimate declaration of an emergency for the purpose of abusing the separation of powers and budgetary process should itself be grounds for impeachment.
    posted by xigxag at 8:48 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


    How does Amway (I just saw the name "Devos" on that list) have grift money anyway?
    ADA, Mich., (Feb. 12, 2018) – Amway has announced sales of $8.6 billion USD for the year ending Dec. 31, 2017. The company achieved sales gain in several key markets, including South Korea, Thailand and India. Total sales in the second half of 2017 grew by 3 percent, compared to same period of the previous year, led by China and the United States. The company forecasts year-over-year sales growth in 2018.
    posted by notyou at 8:51 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


    And to now say, well, crisis clearly isn't "emergency", and immigration isn't border, it sounds like so much mincing words to low-information citizens.

    That isn't what Democrats are saying at all. They are saying that the idea of murderous hordes about to storm across the border is bullshit.
    posted by diogenes at 8:54 AM on January 11 [16 favorites]


    McConnell is in power because gambling.

    Which is an industry with a natural affinity for money laundering.
    posted by Uncle Ira at 8:54 AM on January 11 [11 favorites]


    (Of note: Amway's biggest sales in its booming overseas markets come from nutritional products -- powders, supplements, etc, which benefit from the US' reputation as the world's unrivaled producer of safe, wholesome food products, for which we can thank parts of the "Administrative State".)
    posted by notyou at 8:55 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]


    From Wikipedia, 2020 United States Senate elections, which effectively lists the 33 incumbent Senators running for reelection.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 8:56 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


    Thing is, we're already on record as saying there's an "actual humanitarian crisis," with respect to immigration, specifically Obama said this back in 2014 and the Fox machine has been all over it. And to now say, well, crisis clearly isn't "emergency", and immigration isn't border, it sounds like so much mincing words to low-information citizens.

    That's nonsense. The "actual humanitarian crisis" is the condition of the people stopped at the border wanting access to the United States because of their lived experiences in the countries they are attempting to leave. Trump's emergency is STOPPING these people rather than helping them.

    Now, the fact that the Fox News folks will believe anything they want to believe and look for the gotcha at every possible opportunity at the expense of things like reality is a problem, but it's not our problem because short of shutting down Fox News in toto there is nothing we can do about them.

    Trump can't be allowed to manufacture an emergency where there is none, which is precisely what Fox News is trying to do.
    posted by lydhre at 8:58 AM on January 11 [16 favorites]


    The Exceptions to the Rulers: When people of color enter elite spaces, they’re often attacked as undeserving charlatans. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no different.
    In America, when people of color succeed despite the limits placed on them, and use their newfound status to indict the system for holding others back, they are held up as proof that the limits do not exist, they are denounced as ingrates, or they are pilloried as frauds incapable of the successes attributed to them. The exception is if they present their success as evidence that the structural barriers are not as great as they seem, and that in truth the only thing that holds back marginalized communities is their own lack of ability or motivation. If they affirm the righteousness of the class and caste system that they defied to succeed, they are hailed as heroes by the same people who would otherwise have denounced them as frauds.

    The election of the most diverse Congress in history, and the presence of outspoken women of color in a chamber that has been dominated by white men for most of its existence, was bound to provoke these responses. When people of color enter elite spaces, they make those with unearned advantages conscious of how they’ve been favored by the system. That poses a choice to those whose access to such cloistered communities is unquestioned: They can recognize that others might also succeed given the right circumstances, or they can defend the inequities of that system in an effort to preserve their self-image, attacking the new entrant as a charlatan or the group they belong to as backwards.
    @AdamSerwer (the author of that piece): In light of this morning’s reporting on AOC I just want to emphasize that the observations in these two graphs are not limited to one party or the other. People experience this from white liberals too.
    posted by zombieflanders at 9:06 AM on January 11 [45 favorites]


    Trump’s Typos Reveal His Lack of Fitness for the Presidency (John McWhorter, The Atlantic)
    They suggest not just inadequate manners or polish, but inadequate thought.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 9:08 AM on January 11 [18 favorites]


    [probably getting into derail territory] By my understanding Amway, being a multilevel marketing company, is making money oversees via the large untapped populations of China and India filling out the lower tiers of its pyramid. My understanding comes from The Dream podcast, which details the impact of these scams on individuals, and also how these companies, Amway in particular, have evaded regulators.
    posted by antinomia at 9:09 AM on January 11 [13 favorites]


    They are there for the cruelty.
    I don't know how you deal with that, as a society, but we're going to have to figure it out soon.


    1) Surveillance. Require body cams; require the footage to be reviewed weekly; anyone whose cam was "nonfunctional" spends a day in the office doing maintenance tasks so they can better understand how to properly use their equipment. They also need to re-take the basic training course on using the camera--oh, and they lose their gun until they've completed it. Hammer it through that all your actions on the job will be recorded.

    2) Since their salaries are paid for by the government, the camera footage is public domain. After a 90-day period for review, so they're not releasing recent crime footage under investigation, release the documents to the public.

    3) Write up ethics and behavior standards based on those required by medical personnel.

    4) Enforce them. We need legislatures and governing bodies willing to say, "none of that boys-will-be-boys bullshit; these are not boys; grown adults should know how to keep their tempers in check." No internal investigations; refer all potential crimes to the courts. We need prosecutions for rape and sexual assault, prosecutions for battery, prosecutions for extortion. And we need even charges being brought against someone to be an instant firing offense - if your actions were sketchy enough that a DA though it was reasonable to bring charges, you're not a good representative for the department.

    ...Not gonna happen, is it? Damn.
    posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:10 AM on January 11 [26 favorites]




    Trump’s Typos Reveal His Lack of Fitness for the Presidency (John McWhorter, The Atlantic)

    Looks like we're going to have to add another axis to the political compass chart:
    Descriptivist >> Prescriptivist
    posted by Atom Eyes at 9:16 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]




    Over 80 government websites are down after TLS certificates expired and there's nobody on hand to renew them.

    This primarily affects secure connections (HTTPS). This opens such sites to potential vandalism. (One rogue thought: this could include restoration of previously deleted content.)
    posted by ZeusHumms at 9:19 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


    Trump’s Typos Reveal His Lack of Fitness for the Presidency

    Finally, concrete evidence of his lack of fitness...
    posted by uosuaq at 9:24 AM on January 11 [19 favorites]


    Hmmm...that zdnet story states the NASA site is down, but I was just on the NASA site (via https) and it's running same as always.

    (oh, and don't read the comments, unless you want to experience just how deluded Trump's supporters are.)
    posted by Thorzdad at 9:26 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


    Also it should be to their eternal shame that none of the Democrats quoted in that Politico piece about AOC said something like "I refuse to answer this bullshit question when the 3rd most senior Republican is a disciple of David Duke and there is a proud white supre