“There will be plenty of unfavorable things about the president
April 3, 2019 5:08 PM   Subscribe

in the full report, which we think will eventually come out, so let’s not go overboard saying there’s no wrongdoing,” said a senior White House official to Olivia Nuzzi @NYMag. "In interviews with New York, White House officials and people familiar with internal events have described mood swings rippling through the administration: First came relief, in the form of smiles and tears and bottles of Champagne; then, the catharsis of “righteous anger,” with fuck yous to the press, Democrats in Congress, and members of the intelligence community; as the excitement waned, “cooler heads” emerged in the White House with brand-new anxieties about a president inclined to inflict self-harm by taking things too far."

• Mueller Report Round-up:
Mueller report will be delivered by ‘mid-April, if not sooner,’ attorney general tells Congress (WaPo) "“Everyone will soon be able to read it on their own,” Barr wrote, adding a key new detail — that he does not plan to submit the report to the White House beforehand." • AG: Mueller report to be released 'by mid-April, if not sooner' (Politico) "Attorney General William Barr [...] indicated he's prepared to testify to Congress by early May. [...] House Democrats don't appear willing to wait for Barr's timetable. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said an April 2 deadline set by his committee to access the full report "still stands." He said Congress expects to see the report without redactions and to review all of its underlying evidence by that date." • House Judiciary authorizes subpoena for full Mueller report (NBC News) "Nadler said Wednesday that he would give Barr "time to change his mind" before he issues the subpoena."

William Barr Can’t Hide the Mueller Report (Renato Mariotti, Politico Magazine) "Barr’s position is indefensible. The Constitution gives the “the sole Power of Impeachment” to the House of Representatives, and the House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over impeachments. The Mueller investigation was, among other things, an investigation into possible criminal conduct by the president of the United States. There is no legal principle, including the separation of powers, that would permit the executive branch to block the results of an investigation into crimes allegedly committed by the president from the House of Representatives. To do so would deny the House’s ability to carry out its constitutional power of impeachment." • To Understand Mueller’s Work, Focus on Counterintelligence (Nate Jones, Lawfare) "The reason for my surprise, perhaps better characterized as disappointment, is not just that these descriptions of “no collusion” ignore the plain text of the Barr summary—not to mention the extensive body of information about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia in Mueller charging documents and in other press reports, much of it catalogued here by House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Rather, I am disappointed because these reports miss the most important point of all of this: The special counsel’s prosecution and declination decisions tell only a small part of the story that all Americans, and their elected representatives, should care deeply about. After all, criminal culpability is not the standard by which someone’s fitness to be elected to the office of president of the United States, or in this case to remain in that office, should be judged."

Mueller’s report is a warning – and Britain won’t listen (Carole Cadwalladr, Guardian) "The all-consuming nature of Brexit left almost no space for us to contemplate the significance of the news from America even as it demonstrated how entwined our fates are and continue to be. [...] Mueller’s investigation has laid out how a foreign power had used America’s own media organisations and technology platforms to subvert its own democracy." • Here’s the Real Trump-Russia Hoax: It’s Trump defenders and lefty Russiagate skeptics claiming there is no scandal (David Corn, Mother Jones) "They are embracing Trump’s own self-serving standard. They are studiously ignoring what has already been established: Moscow waged information warfare against the United States, Trump’s campaign enthusiastically engaged with Russians while the attack was transpiring (conveying to Moscow that it did not mind the Kremlin’s intervention), and Trumpists lied about these interactions and misled the public about the Russian operation."

How journalism can win back public trust (Vox) "Brexit comes to my mind as a bad example of media failing to rise to the challenge. Clearly [if the US has] got the kind of president it has at the moment, it’s an essential job of journalism to scrutinize everything he’s said and to be as definitive as you can in saying whether the thing is true, untrue, or partly true. That seems to be a fundamental job of journalism at the moment." • Major news organizations amplified Trump’s misinformation about Mueller's report (Media Matters) "Over the course of more than six days since news broke on March 22 that Mueller had delivered his report to Attorney General William Barr, the Twitter accounts of major national print, digital, wire, cable, and broadcast news outlets sent at least 45 tweets which parroted misinformation from Trump, his administration, or his campaign."
• Refugee Crisis Round-up:
Border crisis: US failure to respond to migration surge has created chaos (Guardian) "And there is no sign that the mass exodus is likely to end soon. Most of the current wave of migrants come from three small Central American countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – where migration is driven by a a toxic mix of violence, poverty, food insecurity, climate change, political instability and corruption. Violence perpetrated by drug traffickers, street gangs and state security forces have made this region, known as the Northern Triangle, the most dangerous place in the world outside an official war zone." • Spring Brings Surge of Migrants, Stretching Border Facilities Far Beyond Capacity (NYT) "“The current surge was totally predictable and the Trump administration chose not to prepare for it. Instead it launched a raft of harsh deterrence measures that were totally ineffective,” said Wayne Cornelius, a migration scholar at the University of California, San Diego. He and other critics said the administration had focused on measures to discourage migrants, including restricting their entry at border stations and requiring some asylum applicants to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed, instead of planning humane border reception facilities and working seriously to diminish the violence and poverty in Central America that is driving the migrations." • The Unprecedented Surge in Families Crossing the Border, in Charts (MoJo) "President Donald Trump’s ceaseless lies about immigration can make it easy to assume that anything the administration says about the border is hyperbolic. But McAleenan is right that the increase in the number of families crossing the border is unprecedented. The data back him up." • US expands ‘catch and release’ amid surge in migrants (AP) "“We’re asking volunteer doctors and nurses and community members to step up and do what the government should be doing. If this was a hurricane, FEMA would be on the ground helping,” said Jim Gannon, CEO and executive director of Catholic Charities in Albuquerque, New Mexico."

Migrants Moved Out of Holding Pen Under El Paso Bridge (NYT) "But authorities appeared to have shifted some processing of migrants to another site on the other side of the bridge, using a military-style tent near an existing processing facility operated by Customs and Border Protection. A smaller number of migrants could be seen at that site late Sunday afternoon. [...] The border agency contended last week that it had no choice but to hold the migrants in the outdoor location, surrounded by fencing and razor wire, because of overcrowding at processing facilities in El Paso brought on by a surge in Central American migrants applying for asylum." • Here's what's driving the ‘crisis’ at the border (Politico) "[Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas)] said DHS hasn’t taken adequate steps to deal with a long-term trend of more family and child arrivals. [...] At the same time, the administration has moved slowly to disperse funding to address root causes of migration in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras."

US struggling with growing number of asylum seekers (AP) "Border officials are aiming to more than quadruple the number of asylum seekers sent back over the southern border each day, a major expansion of a top government effort to address the swelling number of Central Americans arriving in the country, a Trump administration official said Saturday." • A Federal Judge Is About to Decide If Trump’s Latest Immigration Restrictions Are Illegal (MoJo) "The lawsuit, brought by the ACLU and other immigrant rights group on behalf of 11 asylum-seekers, argues that the so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy threatens migrants’ lives by forcing them to wait in some of the world’s most dangerous cities." • Trump administration to hasten officer deployment to U.S.-Mexico border: statement (Reuters) "following a March 22 hearing on whether the program should be halted, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco ordered both sides to submit further briefing on the question of whether or not the California court has jurisdiction to preside over the case, likely prolonging any decision on the policy."

Trump threatens to close the U.S.-Mexico border next week: 'I'm not playing games' (Politico) "The president had yet to put a timeline on his proposed threat until now, but it's still unclear what a border closure would entail or if it's even possible." • Trump’s threats to close the US-Mexico border, explained (Vox) "administration officials can’t stop people from claiming asylum once on US soil — they tried to do that last fall, by banning illegal entrants from making asylum claims, and were struck down in court. A refusal to allow people to seek asylum based on some assertion that the border is “closed” would similarly violate the statutory right. And Trump can’t stop people from coming simply by making such a declaration." • US will run out of avocados in three weeks if Trump closes Mexico border (Guardian) "The US and Mexico trade about $1.7bn in goods daily, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, which said closing the border would be “an unmitigated economic debacle” that would threaten 5m American jobs." • Avocado Shortages and Price Spikes: How Trump’s Border Closing Would Hit U.S. (NYT) "If the border were shut down, consumers would most likely see an immediate spike in food prices, and supplies of fresh food could dwindle from grocery store shelves in a matter of days. [...] Northern Mexican cities that depend on trade with the United States would be devastated by any extended border closing, leading to mass unemployment that could ironically prompt more attempts to cross the United States border." • Trump again threatens Mexico border closure, seeks Congress action (Reuters) "President Donald Trump again threatened on Wednesday to close the U.S. border with Mexico, this time calling on Congress to take steps immediately to deal with immigration and security loopholes that he says are creating a national emergency."

Trump Directs State Dept. to End Aid to 3 Central American Countries (NYT) "On Thursday, the president said that he did not share concern over the plight of people in danger. In front of supporters at a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., he used harsh language to describe the thousands of people who have tried to flee violence and poverty, calling the problem an “invasion” and referring to asylum seekers as a “big fat con job.”" • US aid cuts will spur Central America migration, experts say (AP) "The aid is meant to promote democracy-building, good governance, trade, agriculture, education, health, public safety and law enforcement. Experts say all of those areas play a direct role in whether people feel they can get by or even survive in their home countries." • Trump Turns U.S. Policy in Central America on Its Head (NYT) "While legislators have tools to push back against that decision, it is very possible that some, if not all of that aid, could be suspended for now." • US will cut off aid to Central American countries over asylum seekers (Guardian) "Congressional Democrats on a visit to El Salvador said the aid decision would only increase the flow of migrants. House foreign affairs committee chair Eliot Engel and others said in a statement US aid was helping deal with the root causes of migration by families and children. Trump’s move, they said, was therefore “entirely counterproductive”." • Senior U.S. House Republican questions Trump plan to cut Central American aid (Reuters) "congressional aides noted that, since the U.S. constitution says Congress, not the president, sets spending policy, Trump cannot overrule spending bills passed by Congress, which he signed into law, without lawmakers’ approval."
• Steve Bannon Round-up:
Christian right summit in Verona draws massive protest (Guardian) "The hosting of the World Congress of Families (WCF), a US coalition that promotes the values of the Christian right, has been especially contentious in Italy as it is supported by the far-right League, a partner in the country’s coalition government. Matteo Salvini, the party’s leader and Italy’s deputy prime minister, spoke at the event on Saturday evening."

Steve Bannon backs "gladiator school" to bolster Europe's right wing (CBS News) "A new school backed by Steve Bannon will give students tools to defend "the Judeo-Christian West," he explained to CBS News as part of a wide-ranging interview. [...] According to reports, his services have been welcomed by Marine le Pen in France, though initially she rejected them, and Matteo Salvini in Italy." • An Italian Expose Documents Moscow Money Allegedly Funding Italy's Far-Right Salvini—An exposé claims that Vladimir Putin is funneling $3 million to Matteo Salvini through dirty diesel to help swing European elections towards Russia-friendly candidates. (Daily Beast) "All of these leaders happen to be part of Steve Bannon's new ‘Movement‘ coalition of right-wing leaders hoping to take Europe by storm in elections in May." • Italian Monastery Turns Into Hotbed of Bannon-Fueled Nationalism (Deutsche Welle) "To general consternation, educational courses are to be held at a secluded monastery to create a populist political vanguard capable of "launching an assault on Europe."

The Movement: Steve Bannon role in 2019 EU elections (BBC) "Strategist Steve Bannon, credited with helping get Donald Trump into the White House, is turning his attention to European politics and seeking to support populism in the EU." • Bannon descends on Rome, sowing chaos (Yahoo) "Bannon, who has been spending much of his time lately in Europe, promoting an alliance of populist right-wing parties, was in Japan less than two weeks ago, praising Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as “Trump before Trump” before jetting off to Cincinnati, then Detroit, to rally support for privately funding the Great Mexican Wall, with attendees nearly outnumbered by protesters outside." • Bannon: Russia Probe Set Back Efforts to Work With Moscow (AP) "Former White House strategist Steve Bannon said Tuesday that the “poisonous” atmosphere that built in Washington during the now-completed Russia investigation has set back efforts to work with Russia “to unite the Judeo-Christian West.”"

You Need to See the Steve Bannon Doc The Brink (NYMag's David Edelstein) • 'I'm Gonna Get Crushed': Ex-Trump Aide Steve Bannon Pleads His Case In 'The Brink' (NPR) "[Alison] Klayman's film is nearly two hours of unbridled Bannon with little battening. We are invited to marvel anew at all the hyperbole and dishevelment, the casual talk of apocalypse and the trademark look of dissolution. [...] This is where we hear Bannon speak of Trump's election as an act of God, recruiting activists by adding that "Divine intervention needs human agency.""
• Reproductive Rights Round-up:
Trump expands global gag rule that blocks US aid for abortion groups (Guardian) "Studies have shown that it has increased the number of abortions where the policy has been strictly enforced, by decreasing access to contraceptives and other family planning support." • U.S. expands abortion 'gag rule,' cuts funding to regional bloc: Pompeo ( Reuters) "U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Twitter: “There is no end to the depths of the Trump administration’s cruelty. Millions of women ... will be arbitrarily left without care due to this shameful decision.”"

North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban is unconstitutional, a federal judge rules (WaPo) "This year alone, at least 11 states — including some of the country’s most populous, such as Texas and Florida — have introduced fetal heartbeat legislation." • Abortion-rights group sues Mississippi over ‘heartbeat’ law (AP) "An abortion-rights group is asking a federal judge to block a Mississippi law that will ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks into pregnancy. The Center for Reproductive Rights on Thursday expanded a lawsuit it filed last year challenging a Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks’ pregnancy. A federal judge declared that law unconstitutional." • Georgia approves abortion ban if foetus has heartbeat (Guardian) "The ACLU of Georgia said it will challenge the law in court if it is signed by Kemp. “Under 50 years of supreme court precedent, this bill is blatantly unconstitutional,” Sean Young, legal director for the ACLU of Georgia, said in an interview. “That is why every single federal court that has considered such bans has struck them down.”"

Trump Administration Gives Family Planning Grant to Anti-Abortion Group (NYT) "The changes to the Title X program and the grant to Obria are part of a broader strategy by the administration and some Republican state officials to use government regulations — and funding — to limit access to abortion and some forms of contraception." • The wrong way to eradicate HIV (Politico) "The Trump administration is also cutting funding to many of the safety net medical clinics that do a significant number of these tests."

Trump's Title X rule will restrict abortion access and obstruct women's healthcare (LAT Editorial Board) "Lawsuits filed by Planned Parenthood with the American Medical Association, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the California attorney general, Essential Access Health (the state’s Title X grantee) and a coalition of nearly two dozen states argue that the rule prevents healthcare providers from offering the comprehensive counseling and information they have an ethical obligation to give patients. The lawsuits also contend that the rule violates federal statutes — including the Affordable Care Act, which prevents HHS from interfering with a provider telling patients about their full range of treatment options. They also argue it violates the 1st and 5th Amendments."

High court takes abortion vote, but key tests still to come ( AP) "The law in question would require Louisiana abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Supreme Court’s four liberals [on February 7, 2019] in putting the law on hold pending a full review of the case."
• ACA Round-up:
Trump’s battle with ‘Obamacare’ moves to the courts (AP) "Two federal judges in Washington, D.C., this past week blocked parts of Trump’s health care agenda: work requirements for some low-income people on Medicaid, and new small business health plans that don’t have to provide full benefits required by the Affordable Care Act. But in the biggest case, a federal judge in Texas ruled last December that the ACA is unconstitutional and should be struck down in its entirety. That ruling is now on appeal."

Trump punts health care until after 2020 (Politico) "The president’s pledge comes days after his Justice Department endorsed a federal court ruling to eliminate the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, moving to invalidate the landmark health care law despite objections within Trump’s orbit from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General William Barr."

House condemns Trump's bid to get rid of Obamacare (Politico) "The non-binding resolution is one of is one of several steps Democrats are taking to try to link vulnerable Republicans with the administration's controversial legal strategy while touting their own work to shore up the law. [...] The 240-186 vote came one week after the Justice Department abandoned a narrower legal strategy and backed scrapping the entire law in the case brought by 20 GOP attorneys general that's now at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals."

Trump’s New Legal Strategy Is to Lose and Then Blame the Courts (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate) "That is his current play on the ACA, betting on the opportunity to use decisions of the courts and the Congress as excuses for his failure to perform on a central campaign promise. This will always be his play so long as allocating blame is more valuable to him than achieving any policy outcomes. Cruelty itself is still emphatically the purpose of this president’s decision-making, but evading responsibility is the prime method."
• Disinformation Round-up:
Census Bureau prepares to fight disinformation campaigns ahead of 2020 count (CBS News) "Overall, misinformation is not really a new issue," said Stephen Buckner, a Census Bureau spokesperson. "Because of the digital channels and how we share information globally now, it allows for spread of misinformation much quicker. Something could get out of hand really quickly if you're not prepared to address misinformation quickly." • How the anti-abortion movement helped invent fake news (Amanda Marcotte, Salon) "It's standard operating procedure for the anti-choice movement to deploy lies and conspiracy theories to fight against women's rights." • Trump calls Census 'meaningless' without citizenship question (Politico) "A federal judge in New York blocked the Trump administration from adding the question in January, arguing that the addition was illegal and intended to discriminate against noncitizens."

How Q-Anon Hijacked the White House Petition Site to Push the Next Pizzagate (MoJo) "The site features several other conspiracy-related petitions echoing—and spreading—ideas prominent in Q-Anon, as shared by believers on YouTube groups and on Facebook." • Trump retweets QAnon conspiracy theorist, via Larry the Cable Guy, to slam the TSA (WaPo) "the source who belatedly brought the video to Trump’s attention, through a winding path of Twitter celebrities, is likely to raise new questions about where a president fond of spreading conspiracy theories gets his information." • The Mueller investigation is over. QAnon, the conspiracy theory that grew around it, is not. (Vox) "As evidenced by Trump’s Thursday night rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, QAnon — a conspiracy theory that took root in online forums before bursting into the public eye in early 2018 — is alive and well."

Scammers peddling bogus tax breaks find traction on Facebook (AP) "Last year, Facebook launched a searchable database that provides details on political ads it runs, including who bought them and the age and gender of the audience. But it didn’t make that information available for other ads until Thursday, when it announced it was expanding the database to include all active ads. Twitter offers its own database of ads and promoted tweets. Google has an archive for political ads only. The partial approaches allow misleading ads to fester. One problem is the fact that ads can be targeted so narrowly that journalists and watchdog groups often won’t see them. “That allows people to do more dirty tricks,” said Ian Vanderwalker, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program." • As India Votes, False Posts and Hate Speech Flummox Facebook (NYT) "But the stakes are especially high for Facebook, which has been under scrutiny since the 2016 United States presidential election for distributing misinformation and for being misused by Russian agents to stir discord. While the company survived the 2018 American midterm elections relatively unscathed, it still found foreign influence networks attempting to use it to sway voters." • India election body struggles with scale of fake information (AP) "“Millions of voters are waking up to fake news, propaganda and hate speech inciting violence against Muslims and other minorities every day. But all the commission can do is monitor it,” said Apar Gupta, a lawyer and executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation."
• Somalia Round-up:
The Secret Death Toll of America’s Drones (NYT Editorial Board) "The Pentagon says American airstrikes in Somalia have killed no civilians since President Trump accelerated attacks against Shabab militants there two years ago. [...] the number of civilians killed in these attacks is shrouded in secrecy. President Trump has made it even harder to lift that shroud, by allowing the Central Intelligence Agency to keep secret how many civilians are killed in the agency’s airstrikes outside of the Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian war zones — in places like Yemen, the lawless border region of Pakistan and North Africa." • Trump Administration Steps Up Air War in Somalia (NYT) "A surge in American airstrikes over the last four months of 2018 pushed the annual death toll of suspected Shabab fighters in Somalia to the third record high in three years. [...] The Times could not independently verify the number of civilians killed. The rise in airstrikes has also exacerbated a humanitarian crisis in the country, according to United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations working in the region, as civilians are displaced by conflict and extreme weather."

America’s Least-Noticed War (Slate) "All this raises the question of why the U.S. is suddenly so much more engaged in Somalia, which has after all been unstable for decades. [Bronwyn Bruton, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center] suspects that “it’s a sense of desperation. There’s an awareness that the strategy of Somalia—to empower the government and build a national government—has failed entirely.”" • Inside the Secretive US Air Campaign In Somalia (The Nation) "In March of last year, 13 NGOs, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, released a statement criticizing the lack of information on the use of armed drones and other lethal force by the Trump administration: “We are deeply concerned that the reported new policy, combined with this administration’s reported dramatic increase in lethal operations in Yemen and Somalia, will lead to an increase in unlawful killings and in civilian casualties.”"

US attacks on Somalia's al-Shabab increase under Trump (BBC) "The move has seen increased attacks by aircraft, as well as the first public deployment of US boots on the ground since 1993 to "advise and assist" Somali government troops." • Russia’s Military Mission Creep Advances to a New Front: Africa (NYT) "About 6,000 United States troops and 1,000 Defense Department civilians or contractors work on a variety of missions throughout Africa, mainly training and conducting exercises with local armies."
IN OTHER HEADLINES:

White House whistleblower says 25 security clearance denials were reversed during Trump administration (WaPo) "The whistleblower, Tricia Newbold, was suspended for two weeks after raising concerns about the administration's security clearance practices" • House panel votes to subpoena former White House official over security clearances (WaPo) "The Oversight and Reform Committee voted 22 to 15, along party lines, to force Carl Kline, the former White House personnel security director, to answer questions as part of its ongoing investigation into the security clearance process."

Mitch McConnell Goes Nuclear, Again (Washington Monthly). The procedural steps, which are expected to take place Tuesday, will shorten the post-cloture debate period from 30 hours to two hours for most nominees, excluding Cabinet members and Supreme and appellate court nominees, • Republicans push easing U.S. Senate rules to help Trump nominations (Reuters) "Republicans in the U.S. Senate will attempt to alter its rules next week in order to accelerate the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominees for some judgeships and sub-Cabinet level positions in his administration."

Disaster aid stalls in Senate amid fight over Puerto Rico (AP) "Democrats want to add almost $700 million more to unlock further disaster aid for Puerto Rico and several states, including help to rebuild badly damaged water systems. Democrats are also trying to force the administration to release billions of dollars in rebuilding funds that have already been approved." • Trump accuses 'grossly incompetent' Puerto Rican politicians of misusing federal hurricane aid (Politico) "In a string of tweets late Monday night and Tuesday morning, Trump falsely claimed that “Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before.”"

Exclusive: More than 1 million acres of U.S. cropland ravaged by floods (Reuters) "The U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned of what could be an “unprecedented flood season” as it forecasts heavy spring rains." • U.S. disaster aid won't cover crops drowned by Midwest floods (Reuters) "The USDA has no mechanism to compensate farmers for damaged crops in storage, Northey said, a problem never before seen on this scale. That’s in part because U.S. farmers have never stored so much of their harvests, after years of oversupplied markets, low prices and the latest blow of lost sales from the U.S. trade war with China - previously their biggest buyer of soybean exports."

How Rupert Murdoch's Empire of Influence Remade the World (NYT) "Using 150 interviews on three continents, the Times describes the Murdoch family's role in destabilizing democracy in North America, Europe, and Australia." Six Takeaways from the Times's Investigation into Rupert Murdoch and His Family (NYT) "and its role in the illiberal, right-wing political wave sweeping the globe."

The Rapture and the Real World: Mike Pompeo Blends Beliefs and Policy (NYT) "But no secretary of state in recent decades has been as open and fervent as Mr. Pompeo about discussing Christianity and foreign policy in the same breath. That has increasingly raised questions about the extent to which evangelical beliefs are influencing American diplomacy."

Trump's Big Tent Revival (Topic magazine) "Yet faith in the absence of proof—indeed, in the face of evidence to the contrary—is the purest form of belief. For Trump rally attendees, the virtue to be celebrated is a pagan one—victory—and the underlying text to be followed isn’t so much Scripture or even the Constitution, but Trump himself, his narrative of political ascendancy and his heretical deification as a leader capable of defining the value that all of our freedom rests upon: truth."

Commander in Cheat? New book recounts golf misdeeds by Trump (AP/Rick Reilly) “In golf, he’s definitely not exonerated. There’s been dozens and dozens of people that can declare him guilty of cheating.” • Trump Lives by Ratings. He Won’t Like This One. (NYT) Mr. Trump was most often described as “aggressive” (48 percent) and “mean” (38 percent), according to his [E-scores] from December. He also scored high for being “insincere,” “confident” and “creepy.” But he scored between 0 and 4 percent for the attributes of “sexy,” “impartial,” “handsome” and “physically fit.”

Trump, Putin and a Possible ‘Red-Line Moment’ in Venezuela (NYT) "Mr. Putin has plenty of reasons for keeping Mr. Maduro in power. Russia is also focused on recovering billions in debt that Mr. Maduro owes Moscow and Beijing, some of which is measured in oil."

Leaked reports reveal severe abuse of Saudi political prisoners (Guardian) "The reports seem to provide the first documented evidence from within the heart of the royal court that political prisoners are facing severe physical abuse, despite the government’s denials that men and women in custody are being tortured."

Forget the shouting and demonizing: College students organize civil discussions (WaPo) "In the wake of violent political protests on campuses, some students have stepped away from the fray to seek what’s been lacking: space for reasoned conversation, listening and middle ground. Their hunger for moderation comes with rules that emphasize facts, ban personal attacks and respect ideological opponents."

Today is the 804th day of the Trump administration. There are 579 days until the 2020 elections.

MetaTalk:
MetaTalk on Keeping Arguing about the US Primaries in Check, about avoiding the stuff that has gone badly on MetaFilter in previous election cycles.
Political Humorizing Thread, a thread where people can post their jokes, one-liners, favorite Twitter snark, alternative song lyrics, etc...

Previously in U.S. Politics Megathreads: "If the people don’t have the facts, democracy can’t work."

Megathread-Adjacent Posts and Sites:
Saving The World 101
Who is Andrew Yang?
Tragedy in Christchurch
All I can hear is: You did something wrong to cause this. (Trump administration and pesticides)
Killing Progressivism In the Crib (Mitch McConnell)
The morning after not leaving the EU the night before (UK Politics)
But here’s a fact about Pete Buttigieg: He picks up languages quickly.
Maybe Joe Biden Is Not Going to Handle This Well
We’re going to teach her if she gets elected... (Lori Lightfoot)
• OnceUponATime's Active Measures site
• Chrysostom's 2018 Election Ratings & Results Tracker

Elsewhere in MetaFilter: Help me be a single issue voter (Climate Change) • Will having political bumper stickers on my vehicle jeopardize my job?Working for a Campaign 101Should I volunteer for this candidate?Find me a backgrounder on Trump / Russia / Special Counsel InvestigationGuatemalan Migration: Violence, Economics or ??? (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, zachlipton, and Doktor Zed 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 Little Dawn (1208 comments total) 186 users marked this as a favorite
 
James LaPorta, Newsweek: Top Marine General Let Emails Leak Amid Border Funding Fight So Service Families Would Not Be Forgotten: Sources
The Marines’ top general allowed internal memos to leak out of the Pentagon to bring attention to service families living among hurricane-ravaged military installations as the Trump administration tries to bankroll the southwest border with defense funds at the expense of combat readiness.

General Robert Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps, let two internal Defense Department memorandums leak to The Los Angeles Times and NBC News in the past two weeks, two Pentagon sources, who asked not to be named due to U.S. military media regulations, told Newsweek.
Via Twitter, LaPorta updates: Update: @USNavy Secretary Richard V. Spencer sent a statement to @Newsweek - "I have personal assurances from the Commandant that he did not leak the memo himself, or direct or otherwise encourage any member of the Marine Corps or his staff to do so."

I feel like we're in another case of "High-ranking military person undercuts the president's political wishes and yay for that but also holy shit it's very bad that shit like this is even happening."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:25 PM on April 3 [57 favorites]


> The ‘red phone’ tradition died with Ailes. But Mediaite has learned Shine continued to call into Fox News’s studios — even after he was ousted from the network and hired by Trump to serve as his communications director.

Just to put that in stark relief...

The U.S. President is not just heavily influencing and influenced by the Fox network, but — through his Communications Director — was literally directing the network’s moment-by-moment programming, including how the President was being covered.

At which point, whatever distinctions there may be between Fox and an actual state television network become rather irrelevant, don’t they?


—darkstar in the last thread; I feel it's obligatory to point out this tidbit about the Kremlin's relationship to RT's editor-in-chief:
...on her desk sits an old yellow telephone, a government landline, the sort with no dial pad, the sort usually seen in the offices of senior Russian officials. It is her secure connection, she admits, directly to the Kremlin.
posted by XMLicious at 5:34 PM on April 3 [33 favorites]


From the NYTimes Muellerleak scoop that zachlipton posted in the previous thread
The special counsel’s investigators had already written multiple summaries of the report, and some team members believe that Mr. Barr should have included more of their material in the four-page letter he wrote on March 24 laying out their main conclusions...
I don't remember hearing this before. Mueller et al prepared their own summaries, but Barr decided to write his own.

Thanks for the new thread Little Dawn!
posted by pjenks at 5:53 PM on April 3 [58 favorites]


David Klion, Russiagate Is Ending Like Any White-Collar Crime: “That’s an undeniable scandal. Just ask Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi.”
Russiagate is best understood as a story of international white-collar crime. I’ve argued this point in various publications since the 2016 election. While cable-news conspiracists were making Donald Trump out to be a literal foreign agent and some left-leaning commentators were denying the mere existence of a Russian interference campaign, I tried to emphasize post-Soviet Russia’s transformation into a neoliberal hellscape, the way oligarchic fortunes from Russia and other countries have been laundered through luxury real estate in cities like New York, and the corrupting effects of globalized capitalism. Russiagate was blowback for the economic policies that successive American governments have pushed on the rest of the world, as well an exposure of the weaknesses of our unregulated campaign-finance system at home. Above all, it was a story of a presidential candidate who has surrounded himself throughout his life with crooks and grifters, and of a Republican Party that didn’t care.

It’s only fitting, then, that Robert Mueller’s investigation should end with Trump escaping any accountability for his inner circle’s strange dalliances with Russia, just as he has consistently escaped accountability for dozens of other criminal dealings throughout his sordid career. After all, this is how white-collar crime stories usually pan out.
...
None of this should be surprising to anyone who has read With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, by the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Glenn Greenwald
posted by zachlipton at 6:07 PM on April 3 [57 favorites]


This is a *really* well put together FPP. It's really valuable to have stuff like this as a checkpoint of sorts, it feels way more comprehensive than the kind of short summaries we get elsewhere, or the raw firehose of headlines day-to-day. Thank you!
posted by odinsdream at 6:10 PM on April 3 [138 favorites]


The NYT Muellerleak scoop is odd. This is the first time we’ve seen leaks directly attributed to Mueller’s team (it’s also the first time I recall hearing that in addition to the attorneys, there were 40 FBI agents on staff). The piece first attributes those comments to “government officials and others familiar with the[] simmering frustrations” of team members, when the piece could have just said “sources close to” or something similar. Later, the piece (without quoting) attributes thoughts directly to members of the team (“Some members of Mr. Mueller’s team are concerned that...”). Seems like an authorized leak by some part of DOJ, but how could it come from Main Justice when it paints Barr negatively? Perhaps it’s from some of the federal prosecutors in regional offices who got the handoff investigations? I also think it’s odd that the article says members of Mueller’s team are concerned with the US public’s perception; that is a little unusual in DOJ land—not that the prosecutors would actually be concerned with this, but that they would openly admit it. That’s a red flag saying “you people reading this article haven’t interpreted our clues correctly.”

Secondly, the summary issue. Why would the team prepare multiple summaries to turn over to Barr at the same time they’re turning over the actual report? 400 pages is long, but not that long! This suggests the summaries were not meant for Barr’s own elucidation. But Barr claims the summaries contained confidential or otherwise non-public information, which Mueller’s team would well know couldn’t be made public.

And there are other claims that don’t make sense. It says Barr’s reasoning in drafting his summary was “not to disclose derogatory details in closing an investigation.” Ok...but Barr is going to release the Report itself later this month! He also notes in his own summary that the Report has evidence both for and against obstruction. Then it says Barr was pissed that Mueller didn’t make his own decision on obstruction. It what world does that seem likely?!

Finally...Mr. Mueller examined Mr. Trump’s attempts to maintain control over the investigation, including . . . his attempt to oust . . . Attorney General Jeff Sessions to install a loyalist to oversee the inquiry. Awkward for Barr!
posted by sallybrown at 6:33 PM on April 3 [26 favorites]


Seems like an authorized leak by some part of DOJ, but how could it come from Main Justice when it paints Barr negatively? Perhaps it’s from some of the federal prosecutors in regional offices who got the handoff investigations?

A bunch of senior attorneys on the Mueller team have left DOJ and don't have to answer to Barr any more, there's a lot more avenues for leaks, especially if Barr is mischaracterizing their work.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:51 PM on April 3 [33 favorites]


How long do you think staff can keep Trump’s phone from him to keep him from tweeting that Mueller’s team needs to be investigated/prosecuted for leaking about the ‘classified’ report.
posted by chris24 at 7:12 PM on April 3 [4 favorites]


‘You pay and you get in’: At Trump’s beach retreat, hundreds of customers — and growing security concerns (WaPo):
To protect the president, that requires the Secret Service to screen hundreds of would-be visitors against preapproved lists.

But to protect his business, it has also required the Secret Service to defer to Mar-a-Lago staffers and allow in some visitors who are not on the list.

Last weekend, that complex system of lists and exceptions broke down.

When a visitor approached the club, officers found she was not on the approved list — but let her in anyway after a Mar-a-Lago staffer suggested she might be the relative of a club member.
So while the Secret Service maintains a protective bubble around Trump, they don't control who enters the property. They have to defer to the whims of Mar-a-Lago employees who might recognize a face or if a member vouches for any rando who shows up.
posted by peeedro at 7:35 PM on April 3 [26 favorites]


I also think it’s odd that the article says members of Mueller’s team are concerned with the US public’s perception; that is a little unusual in DOJ land—not that the prosecutors would actually be concerned with this, but that they would openly admit it. That’s a red flag saying “you people reading this article haven’t interpreted our clues correctly.”

Mueller himself made a statement about a Buzzfeed article just a short while ago so it wouldn't be out of character to correct misperceptions or factual inaccuracies.
posted by srboisvert at 7:44 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


This is the first time we’ve seen leaks directly attributed to Mueller’s team

Close, but the leaks are actually from "associates" of Mueller’s investigators, so there's still at least one degree of removal here. Though this does imply that some investigators are now talking to people who weren't on the team, and potentially that they intended those comments to be then be leaked in turn to the press. (Recall that Comey had sent the unclassified memo of his meeting with Trump to a friend in the hopes that it would then be leaked.)
posted by stopgap at 7:48 PM on April 3 [5 favorites]


But it isn't clear whether that one degree of removal is significant. Remember, the original leaks which got Mueller appointed in the first place were also at one degree of removal but were none the less deliberately orchestrated by Comey.
posted by Justinian at 7:51 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Mr. Mueller examined Mr. Trump’s attempts to maintain control over the investigation, including . . . his attempt to oust . . . Attorney General Jeff Sessions to install a loyalist to oversee the inquiry.

The Attorney General could have recused himself from the decision of whether there was sufficient evidence to prove obstruction of justice beyond a reasonable doubt. Given that he obtained his job by writing a 19-page unsolicited memo making the dubious legal claim that it is almost impossible for any President to be guilty of obstruction of justice, he should have recused himself.

Now we learn that the investigation of obstruction of justice was also an investigation of how the Attorney General got his job.

Did the Attorney General truly consider it ethical to choose to be the authority on the question of whether his own hiring process was criminal? Of course not. He did it because he himself is attempting to obstruct justice.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:56 PM on April 3 [85 favorites]


This is the first time we’ve seen leaks directly attributed to Mueller’s team

The sourcing here is pretty obviously from Barr's side, and seems like a mixture of arse-coverage, bullshit rationale and some (well-grounded) fear that those on Mueller's team no longer employed with DOJ might get a little chatty if their work continues to be misrepresented.
posted by holgate at 8:06 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


It's possible but I don't think its at all obvious. There was not a single suggestion on any of The Shows tonight that the sourcing was on the Barr side.
posted by Justinian at 8:12 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


“> The ‘red phone’ tradition died with Ailes. But Mediaite has learned Shine continued to call into Fox News’s studios — even after he was ousted from the network and hired by Trump to serve as his communications director.

Just to put that in stark relief...

The U.S. President is not just heavily influencing and influenced by the Fox network, but — through his Communications Director — was literally directing the network’s moment-by-moment programming, including how the President was being covered.”
-quoted from darkstar and XMLicous

Glad you brought this up again XMLicious.
I meant to ask in the previous oh so long thread.
Could Fox News be in trouble with the FEC for providing something of value to the Trump re-election campaign with this behavior?
posted by Gadgetenvy at 8:32 PM on April 3 [26 favorites]


Mr. Barr has come under criticism for sharing so little. But according to officials familiar with the attorney general’s thinking, he and his aides limited the details they revealed because they were worried about wading into political territory.
[my emphasis]

That's bullshitty arse-coverage and the classic "familiar with thinking".
posted by holgate at 8:36 PM on April 3 [5 favorites]


The Klion piece linked by zachlipton is so very good. There's even a Michael Tracy cameo! If for some strange reason you've subjected yourself to any post-Barr told-you-so celebratory songs and dances from the Greenwald crowd, that article is the antidote.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:43 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


The WaPost has a new MuellerLeaks story to match the NYTimes, and it has more info on the "summaries":
The displeasure among some who worked on the closely held inquiry has quietly begun to surface in the days since Barr released a four-page letter to Congress on March 24 describing what he said were the principal conclusions of Mueller’s still-confidential, 400-page report.
...
But members of Mueller’s team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming and significant.

“It was much more acute than Barr suggested,” said one person, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the subject’s sensitivity.
...
But members of Mueller’s team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming and significant.

“It was much more acute than Barr suggested,” said one person, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the subject’s sensitivity.
...
Some members of the office were particularly disappointed that Barr did not release summary information the special counsel team had prepared, according to two people familiar with their reactions.

“There was immediate displeasure from the team when they saw how the attorney general had characterized their work instead,” according one U.S. official briefed on the matter.

Summaries were prepared for different sections of the report, with a view that they could made public, the official said.

The report was prepared “so that the front matter from each section could have been released immediately — or very quickly,” the official said. “It was done in a way that minimum redactions, if any, would have been necessary, and the work would have spoken for itself.
posted by pjenks at 8:48 PM on April 3 [77 favorites]


Breaking - WaPo matches NYT report:

Limited information Barr has shared about Russia investigation frustrated some on Mueller’s team (WaPo)
But members of Mueller’s team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming and significant.

“It was much more acute than Barr suggested,” said one person, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the subject’s sensitivity.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:49 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


Why can't the House of Representatives conduct an investigation into Trump's racist past? It's a very important question that affects national policy. I know the easy answer but there should be a public answer on the record. Subpoena Mark Burnett, Tom Arnold, et al., put them under oath and get definitive testimony that breaks through non-disclosure forms.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:49 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


That's bullshitty arse-coverage and the classic "familiar with thinking".

Oh, yeah, clearly that's from Barr or his people. I thought you meant the stuff about Mueller's team being upset about Barr's characterization and lack of transparency which seems pretty clearly from Mueller's side, sorry.
posted by Justinian at 8:51 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


I don't remember hearing this before. Mueller et al prepared their own summaries, but Barr decided to write his own.

It is new. It's also what I was thinking when Barr's letter came out: there was no way that Mueller's team hadn't produced summaries, and Barr's decision to just... do one on his own was suspect already.

And later on in the piece, the DoJ has supposedly decided that even Mueller's summaries have information that can't be shared. This seems... unlikely. Did the team really and truly not produce one single paragraph summarizing its findings that didn't contain confidential information or grand jury testimony? I find that unlikely.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:10 PM on April 3 [34 favorites]


Oh, I had missed the WaPo followup. There you go. It never sense that they hadn't prepared summaries that could be released. I'm sure they could be released yesterday, but instead Barr is pretending that he needs to review the whole thing for redactions before he can release any of it (other than the sentence fragments most favorable to the President, of course!). It's nonsense. If they wanted to, they could expedite the summaries and release them tomorrow, with the details to come later. If Mueller's summaries made the President look great, they'd surely have been, right?

I don't think this report is going to look good for Trump. It almost certainly won't take him down, but it's not going to be good for him.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:22 PM on April 3 [5 favorites]


So yeah, if you want to do a bit of old-school gospel scholarship on those two pieces, there's a Q that they share, the NYT has more sources-close-to-Barr, and the WaPo has more sources-close-to-Mueller side spelling out the stuff about the summaries.
posted by holgate at 9:43 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


Again, and not to harp on this, but when the foot was on the other shoe last and it was Republicans who held the Congress and a Democrat the Executive, there was absolutely no effort made not to "impugn the reputation of peripheral third parties" with the (broad and wide) publication of a Special Counsel's report.
posted by riverlife at 10:30 PM on April 3 [42 favorites]


The Republicans argue that the Independent Counsel/Special Counsel regulations were changed after Starr. That’s true. What hasn’t changed is the oversight role of Congress. Congress needs to see all the evidence. And because the Mueller team are no longer silent, I have hope.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:33 PM on April 3 [37 favorites]


Does this mean Trump can go back to lambasting the “ten angry Democrats” and their hoax witch-hunt? I think that’s a more comfortable space for him
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:06 PM on April 3 [7 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Hamed Aleaziz, ICE Arrested More Than 280 Immigrants In A Texas Raid, The Largest Worksite Sweep In A Decade: "In the last fiscal year, ICE agents made nearly 10 times as many immigration arrests at workplaces than they did in the previous fiscal year. In August 2018, ICE agents in Texas arrested 160 undocumented workers at a trailer manufacturer."

McClatchy, Trump campaign seeks a list of ‘climate change victories’ to tout on 2020 trail, in which they're realizing that insisting there's no problem isn't effective, so they also want to simultaneously insist the problem is solved while playing host to deniers. This sentence sums it up: "The two-pronged campaign strategy – both to defend the administration’s approach to climate change while simultaneously casting doubt on the extent of the threat – is intended to address a substantial political divide within the Republican Party over the seriousness of the problem, the role of human activities and what can be done about it." In particular, they're looking for stuff they can advertise in Michigan and Florida for election purposes.

Foreign Policy, Bolton Builds Anti-China Campaign at the U.N., in which Bolton has spent his time trying to sideline the UN, ignored all the warnings about how walking away from international institutions means countries like China will take our place, and now he's suddenly concerned that China has too much influence.

The Appeal, What Are the Prospects for an Initiative on Rights Restoration in Mississippi? Voting rights legislation in Mississippi died last week in the legislature. Nearly 10% of the voting age population is disenfranchised, and 16% of adult blacks were disenfranchised in 2016.

WaPo, NIH police yank Iranian graduate student from lab as agency clamps down on security (you did not know there was an NIH police did you?): "The National Institutes of Health is requiring all visitors — including patients — to disclose their citizenship as a condition of entry, a policy that has unnerved staff scientists and led to recent disputes with at least two Iranian scientists invited to make presentations, only to be blocked from campus....The tightened security at the biomedical research center comes as the agency is under mounting pressure to more strictly scrutinize potential security risks. In recent months, NIH and the FBI have warned U.S. scientists to beware of Chinese spies intent on stealing biomedical research from NIH-funded laboratories at universities."

Data For Progress has some good stuff on proposals to end money bail, though I wish it discussed some of the problems activists have raised with risk assessment models.
posted by zachlipton at 11:06 PM on April 3 [24 favorites]


Given Trump's increasing incoherence, and a new spate of taped evidence and commentators and opinion pieces remarking on it, like Jennifer Rubin's (Headline: Trump is unraveling before our eyes. He isn't fit for reelection.) and Greg Sargent's (Headline: Fresh signs of Trump's unfitness have emerged. How can Democrats deal with this?) columns in yesterday's WaPo, I think Trump and his handlers will gin up some reason for him to skip the Presidential debates. Surely this and all, but how could he possibly get through them, especially if sundowning is an issue?
posted by carmicha at 1:59 AM on April 4 [13 favorites]


Alabama’s Gruesome Prisons: Report Finds Rape and Murder at All Hours

Trump Lashes Out Again at Puerto Rico, Bewildering the Island

Is this a first world developed highly industrialized rich country that is headed by the leader of the free world?

or, is it Lord of the Flies sprinkled with strategic exportaton of hate and violence against the Other, served up by a drunk and dishevelled demagogue of startegy?
posted by infini at 3:02 AM on April 4 [33 favorites]


From the WaPo article:
Mueller’s team assumed the information was going to be made available to the public, the official said
I really hope this isn't accurate, because if it is that would mean the investigation was operating under fundamental assumptions so naive that it hurts to imagine. The Trumps always put themselves first, the rest of the administration and the party always enable it, and no one ever acts in good faith because they believe that's for chumps. I don't think a clear-eyed investigator could really miss that.
posted by trig at 5:10 AM on April 4 [51 favorites]


First on CNN: Key House Democrat requests Trump's tax returns from IRS House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has formally requested President Donald Trump's tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, likely launching a battle with the administration that could stretch months or even years in the courts and could shed light on the President's finances.

In a letter to the IRS sent Wednesday and first obtained by CNN, Neal cites a little known IRS code in his request for six years of Trump's personal tax returns from 2013 to 2018. He also requested the tax returns of eight of Trump's business entities, a nod to escalating pressure from liberals in the caucus who have argued that Trump's personal returns wouldn't sufficiently paint a picture of the President's financial history.
posted by box at 5:21 AM on April 4 [9 favorites]


Even if that's faux-naivety, Nadler has now been told what to request and what he ought to receive if Barr continues to stonewall on providing the entire report to House Judiciary.

So: there's the Judiciary request for the report, Oversight's subpoenas on security clearances, and Ways & Means using its power to obtain tax returns. I'd imagine HPSCI and/or Oversight will want to talk about Mar-a-Lago. And Barr has been made clear that Iran-Contra tactics may not work as well this time. That's a lot of squeezing.
posted by holgate at 5:23 AM on April 4 [8 favorites]


The Times article seems pretty clearly to be Barr & Co. trying to get ahead of the WaPo story they knew was coming with their own spin on things. The extent and details/release-ability of Mueller-produced summaries being one big example.
posted by chris24 at 5:25 AM on April 4 [24 favorites]


And later on in the piece, the DoJ has supposedly decided that even Mueller's summaries have information that can't be shared. This seems... unlikely. Did the team really and truly not produce one single paragraph summarizing its findings that didn't contain confidential information or grand jury testimony? I find that unlikely.

Of course not, but it's also unlikely that Mueller's team did not produce one single paragraph that didn't implicate Trump.

The problem for Barr having, hopefully, shot his credibility with his bogus summary is that news organizations might look upon further goalpost-moving with less credulity than they swallowed his original spin.
posted by Gelatin at 5:51 AM on April 4 [14 favorites]


They already did the job for Trump by swallowing the Barr summary hook line and sinker. The prevailing narrative now is “no colllusion, full exoneration”. Democrats now have to overcome the spin that the NYT et al took straight from Trumps appointed coverup specialist and repeated as if it came from Mueller.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:31 AM on April 4 [40 favorites]


I think it is too easy to forget that today's media is profit driven. Liberals in particular believe in an altruistic press.
posted by notreally at 6:47 AM on April 4 [18 favorites]


POLITICO Playbook: A bad 24 hours for the president (Politico)
WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE of a really bad 24 hours for the president.

NO. 1: SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER’S team is saying that the A.G. BILL BARR letter didn’t completely capture the spirit of his findings. NO. 2: It was believed that JARED KUSHNER could possibly be subject to foreign influence. NO. 3: CONGRESS is bearing down on the president, prodding his personal and business relationships going back many years, and requesting his tax returns from the IRS. NO. 4: The HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE is looking into Trump’s inaugural committee.

FIRST: THERE HAD LONG BEEN CHATTER that if BARR had mischaracterized the spirit of MUELLER’S report, the Mueller team would let that be known and start talking. And, here we are …
posted by Little Dawn at 6:57 AM on April 4 [21 favorites]


Rep. Pramila Jayapal Tears Up During Speech About Her Gender-Nonconforming Child (Hayley Miller, HuffPo)
“My child is free to be who they are,” the Democratic congresswoman said during a House hearing on the Equality Act. […]

The Equality Act, introduced to the House on March 13 and co-sponsored by Jayapal, would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal laws to ensure LGBTQ people are treated as a protected class under federal law. It would also expand protections for members of existing protected classes.

“We’re talking about fear versus love,” Jayapal, a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, said during a House judiciary committee hearing on the act. “We’re talking about fear versus freedom.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:07 AM on April 4 [40 favorites]


FAA Is Not Alone In Allowing Industry To Self-Regulate (Brian Naylor for NPR, April 4, 2019)
Since an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft crashed March 10, the Federal Aviation Administration has been under a microscope.

The agency had delegated to Boeing much of the testing of its 737 Max jets. Critics say the FAA let the company basically certify its own plane. But, it turns out, that sort of thing happens a lot in the federal government.

The FAA's model of self-regulation has come under attack from the government's own watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, which criticized the practice as far back as the 1990s.

But James Goodwin of the Center for Progressive Reform, a left-leaning research group, says "the American public would be surprised, and maybe even concerned, if they knew how widespread the practice of self-regulation was.
Violence Against Women Act Gets Tangled Up In Gun Rights Debate (Susan Davis for NPR, April 4, 2019)
The House will take a divisive vote today to renew a lapsed 1994 law to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence because it includes new provisions to expand transgender rights and restrict gun rights.

The Democratic additions to the law have exposed fault lines within the GOP as it wrestles with how to regain support among women.

"I think we need to speak to everyone, including women, and talk about the issues they care about and take reasonable, pragmatic positions, and this is one of them," Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., told NPR. He is the lone GOP cosponsor of a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. He represents a swing district and survived the woman-fueled, 2018 Democratic wave.

However, House Republicans broadly object to at least four new policies added to the bill to reauthorize VAWA — which expired back in February when Democrats objected to GOP efforts to include a short-term extension of the law in a spending deal. But the most controversial are new provisions to lower the criminal threshold to bar someone from buying a gun to include misdemeanor convictions of domestic abuse or stalking charges. Current law applies to felony convictions.

It would also close the so-called "boyfriend loophole" to expand existing firearm prohibitions to include dating partners convicted of abuse or stalking charges."Sometimes things are as simple as this: If we are doing a Violence Against Women Act and we are trying to save lives, why would you not close a simple loophole that says if someone has been convicted — convicted not accused! — convicted of domestic violence, that they not have access to a gun," said Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., who has shared her experiences growing up with an abusive father who owned a gun in her efforts to get the bill passed.

The National Rifle Association is calling for a "no" vote, and notified Capitol Hill offices this week that the NRA is "scoring" how lawmakers vote on the bill to measure future ratings and endorsements in elections. Congressional Republicans rarely run afoul of NRA positions on legislation.

NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said the group supports the underlying VAWA law, just not the new gun restrictions. "The gun control lobby and anti-gun politicians are intentionally politicizing the Violence Against Women Act as a smokescreen to push their gun control agenda," she told NPR. Gun rights activists say the new provisions are too low of a threshold to deny someone a constitutional right for the rest of their life.

But for Rep. Fitzpatrick, it's a no-brainer. "I understand for some of my colleagues that may be controversial. For me, it's not," he said. Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent, worked closely with Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., on the House version of the VAWA update. "I tell my colleagues all the time, I think the biggest threat to the Second Amendment is when you allow all of these gun crimes to occur unaddressed, because that erodes people's confidence and trust in people that are legitimately trying to protect themselves, and their families, and their homes."
Emphasis mine -- it's an interesting view that I haven't heard before.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:11 AM on April 4 [37 favorites]


U.S. states sue to undo Trump rollback of healthy school lunch rules (Jonathan Stempel, Reuters)
Several U.S. states sued the Trump administration on Wednesday to undo its recent decision that allowed fewer whole grains and more sodium in school breakfasts and lunches.

The states accused the U.S. Department of Agriculture of ignoring federal dietary guidelines and scientific research on children’s nutrition when it eased rules championed by former first lady Michelle Obama to make school meals healthier.

New York, California, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico, Vermont and the District of Columbia said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner, and asked a Manhattan federal judge to void the new sodium and whole grain standards.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:13 AM on April 4 [30 favorites]


FAA Is Not Alone In Allowing Industry To Self-Regulate

Where some countries have separate agencies for promoting and encouraging industries versus regulating them, the US seems to have a few that mash all those responsibilities into one agency.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:18 AM on April 4


Based on the not extreme idea that we live inside a branch of the Murdock empire at this point, it’s wild to think it was the 96 Telecom act that got us here. The importance of preventing consolidation and monopolies really underlines I guess (say what you will about the BBC but the government saw the power of a private broadcast radio monopoly forming and shut that down ...local news sources often save towns money by exposing fraud, so maybe that’s an argument for non profit local news)

I don’t think we’re talking about the Midwest floods as much as we should, considering we’re all going to be feeling the effects of them from forlcosed farms to high food prices for everything to knock on economic effects - but I get why we’re not cause there’s nothing we can do aside from put it inthe growing column of ‘Reasons Shit Has To Change Right Now’.
posted by The Whelk at 7:20 AM on April 4 [27 favorites]


If food industries are going to self regulate, what are the insurance premiums they need to pay to cover the next outbreak that happens on their watch?
posted by PenDevil at 7:20 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


I think it is too easy to forget that today's media is profit driven. Liberals in particular believe in an altruistic press.
posted by notreally at 6:47 AM on April 4 [2 favorites +] [!]


Yes, profit driven. If anything, what Trump has exposed is exactly how much coverage depends on profit. Altruistic? nope, not this progressive/liberal.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:22 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


ZeusHumms: U.S. states sue to undo Trump rollback of healthy school lunch rules (Jonathan Stempel, Reuters)

Woot woot NM! Glad to see us involved here, particularly because we have so many students from poor families who rely on school meals, and we as a state rely more heavily on the Federal government for financial support than New York or California, for example.


Cross-posting from the Christchurch tragedy thread -- Australia takes a bold stance: Australia Criminalizes Failure To Remove Violent Content From Internet Platforms (Francesca Paris for NPR, April 4, 2019)
Australia's parliament has passed new laws to criminalize Internet platforms for failing to remove violent videos and audio, after an Australian gunman livestreamed himself shooting worshipers in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Under the new legislation, social media executives — among other online content or hosting providers — could be imprisoned for up to three years and companies could face penalties of up to 10% of their annual revenue if they do not remove violent content in an "expeditious" manner.

The bill passed on Thursday local time with cross party support but faced criticism, including that it could cause increased censorship and that the process was rushed.
Again, fantastic to see legislators act quickly in a desire to produce significant changes in the wake of tragedies (New Zealand was quick to introduce a new gun control bill, which is likely to become law within weeks -- NPR), even if I'm slightly worried to see how this plays out. It could be that platforms take down borderline content more quickly, or that they shrug this off and assume it'll get hashed out in courts after the next live-streaming of violent content.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:22 AM on April 4 [23 favorites]


NO. 2: It was believed that JARED KUSHNER could possibly be subject to foreign influence.

I know this has been done to death, and surely this, but seriously imagine Congress and the media if it came out that Obama had overridden a denial of security clearance for, say, his brother-in-law, so that he could work as a top staffer in the White House, even after the CIA had decided he was not trustworthy.
posted by thelonius at 7:26 AM on April 4 [57 favorites]


when it eased rules championed by former first lady Michelle Obama

And there it is.
posted by archimago at 7:27 AM on April 4 [43 favorites]


The Trump stands alone (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos)
However, Trump does seem to be standing alone when it comes to taking, reversing, and re-reversing positions. As the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, in the middle of a stream of just plain gibberish, Trump is also stating positions on everything from health care to border security that he seems incapable of maintaining from one sentence to the next. […]

As Bloomberg points out, Trump’s willingness to act unilaterally isn’t a strength, it’s a weakness. Without a strategy that goes deeper than “look at me!” he’s unable to align the forces necessary to use the power he is. An executive with the Senate in the bag and a Supreme Court heavily weighted in his favor should have the leverage to push through issue after issue, even if that means throwing some crumbs to an opposition House to secure the edge he needs. But Trump isn’t willing to plan. He’s not willing to strategize, not even with his own team. […]

As the Bloomberg article points out, most of what Trump is talking about is only that—talk. He’s not actually proposing legislation, or signing bills, or even scribbling his name on a memo. He just … says things.
He's fishing for a specific, large, and immediate response, and will do anything in the moment to get it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:31 AM on April 4 [34 favorites]


And in comparison with Australia's new law, Elizabeth Warren's plan now sounds light-weight -- Elizabeth Warren wants jail time for CEOs in Equifax-style breaches (Timothy B. Lee for Ars Technica, April 3, 2019)
In 2017, criminals stole the personal data of about 143 million people from the credit rating system Equifax. It was a huge embarrassment for the company and a headache for the millions of people affected. Equifax's then-57-year-old CEO Richard Smith retired in September 2017, weeks after the breach was discovered, with a multi-million dollar pay package.

Massachusetts US Senator turned Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants to make sure that CEOs who preside over massive data breaches in the future don't get off so easily. On Wednesday, she announced the Corporate Executive Accountability Act, which would impose jail time on corporate executives who "negligently permit or fail to prevent" a "violation of the law" that "affects the health, safety, finances or personal data" of 1 percent of the population of any state.

A CEO could get up to a year in prison for a first offense. Repeat offenders could get three years.
This isn't the first time such a bill has been proposed. Trackbill.com includes US Congress S3049, Corporate Executive Accountability Act of 2010. This time, Warren promoted this bill with an Op-Ed in the Washington Post, detailing how CEOs get away with millions when they oversee companies that screw up like this.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:33 AM on April 4 [33 favorites]


Ken Dilanian NBC News is also reporting that some on the Mueller team say his findings paint a picture of a campaign whose members were was manipulated by a sophisticated Russian intelligence operation. Some of that information may be classified.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:43 AM on April 4 [19 favorites]


Eesh. I work in downtown Grand Rapids, and during Trump's Nuremberg cosplay campaign rally, QAnon, Three Percenters, Proud Boys and other typical members of the (not really so Alt anymore) Right were on full display. The police rounded up all the downtown homeless and shipped them to wherever they ship them whenever a DeVos-approved event takes place. Lines to get into the venue stretched through the surrounding low-income and minority neighborhoods. Witnesses reported Trump supporters heaping verbal abuse on the residents of local homeless shelters. So it goes.

So many red hats. So many smugly angry old white people.
posted by JohnFromGR at 7:46 AM on April 4 [49 favorites]


The problem for Barr having, hopefully, shot his credibility with his bogus summary is that news organizations might look upon further goalpost-moving with less credulity than they swallowed his original spin.
posted by Gelatin at 7:51 AM on April 4 [5 favorites +] [!]


They already did the job for Trump by swallowing the Barr summary hook line and sinker. The prevailing narrative now is “no colllusion, full exoneration”. Democrats now have to overcome the spin that the NYT et al took straight from Trumps appointed coverup specialist and repeated as if it came from Mueller.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:31 AM on April 4 [8 favorites +] [!]


I am not sure the Democratic Party is playing this one wrong. There seems to be a building consensus of a coverup of the coverup of a coverup that will only help with the overall perception of deep criminal, ethical and patriotic problems in this administration and the Republican Party. There are a lot Republican and admin officials who have run ahead of the story and evidence trying to shape a nothing burger narrative who are now like Wile E. Coyote out over the edge of the cliff running on air. The question is will there be sufficient gravity at some point? Is sudden gravity better than gradual gravity? The D's seem to be going for sudden gravity and hoping for a body slam while the republicans are trying to glide in on gradually increasing gravity.
posted by srboisvert at 8:03 AM on April 4 [43 favorites]


GOP congresscritters' leaked tales about their run-ins with Trump have been collected in the forthcoming The Hill to Die On: New Book Details Trump’s Topsy-Turvy Relationship With Congress (WaPo)
During a Republican retreat at Camp David last year, President Trump seemed particularly enthralled as Gary Cohn, then his chief economic adviser, delivered a briefing on infrastructure. The president impressed the assembled lawmakers with his apparent interest in the presentation, nodding along and scribbling furious notes.

But Trump’s notes “had nothing to do with infrastructure,” journalists Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer write in their new book, “The Hill to Die On.”

Instead, Trump had scrawled “Sloppy Steve” atop his index card, followed by “copious notes” criticizing Stephen K. Bannon, his former chief strategist whom he had fired several months earlier.

“As Cohn had detailed his plans to rebuild America’s roads, the president was writing down how he wanted to trash Steve Bannon the next time someone asked him about it,” the authors write, in one of buzzy scenes that pepper the book.
As expected from a pair of Politico reporters, this latest Trumpian behind-the-scenes tell-all sounds like a pretty superficial affair, despite its access to Trump himself and his aides. It's as though the best media strategy his handlers have concocted is to let him be depicted as, in the words of the WaPo reviewer, "bumbling, if genial".
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:12 AM on April 4 [11 favorites]


Ken Dilanian NBC News is also reporting that some on the Mueller team say his findings paint a picture of a campaign whose members were manipulated by a sophisticated Russian intelligence operation.

What we need is a campaign to educate the public that cronyism is the new treason. One rarely commits treason for ideological reasons anymore. People no longer commit treason because they are sympathetic to communism. And why bribe or resort to payoffs or extortion when you can legally fund your treason through shady, but legal, business operations?
posted by xammerboy at 8:22 AM on April 4 [28 favorites]


Tweets are often like thoughts and prayers, but better than nothing I guess.

Chuck Grassley (R Sen: IA)
I support release of the Mueller report
posted by chris24 at 8:30 AM on April 4 [29 favorites]




Ken Dilanian NBC News is also reporting that some on the Mueller team say his findings paint a picture of a campaign whose members were was manipulated by a sophisticated Russian intelligence operation.

NBCNews (Some on Mueller team say evidence against Trump stronger than Barr disclosed):
DEVELOPING: Some members of Special Counsel Mueller's team have expressed frustration that AG Barr cleared President Trump of obstruction of justice, a US official who has spoken with them tells @NBCNews. Some members of the team also believe the evidence that President Trump sought to impede the investigation is stronger than AG Barr suggested in his March letter summarizing Mueller's findings, the official tells @NBCNews.

Justice Dept. officials say Barr had no choice but to render a judgment, because the regulations say that he is ultimately in charge of the investigation. If Mueller believed the president was guilty of obstruction, he could have said so, the officials argue — but he didn't. Three government officials have told @NBCNews that a dispute within the special counsel's office on the facts and the law was one factor behind Mueller's decision not to make a call on the obstruction question. The lawyers and FBI agents on Mueller's team could not reach an agreement about whether Trump's conduct amounted to a corrupt — and therefore illegal — effort to impede the probe, the three officials said.

The feelings of some members of Mueller's team do not change the attorney general's legal conclusions—which technically cleared Pres. Trump on both obstruction and conspiracy with Russia. But the political impact continues, as Democrats seek more information on Mueller's findings
Does this mean Trump can go back to lambasting the “ten angry Democrats” and their hoax witch-hunt?

Does it ever. @realDonaldTrump just tweeted, "The New York Times had no legitimate sources, which would be totally illegal, concerning the Mueller Report. In fact, they probably had no sources at all! They are a Fake News paper who have already been forced to apologize for their incorrect and very bad reporting on me!" And this morning, he was on a roll, complaining "There is nothing we can ever give to the Democrats that will make them happy. This is the highest level of Presidential Harassment in the history of our Country!" and "According to polling, few people seem to care about the Russian Collusion Hoax, but some Democrats are fighting hard to keep the Witch Hunt alive. They should focus on legislation or, even better, an investigation of how the ridiculous Collusion Delusion got started - so illegal!"

On a more sober note, a DoJ spokesman (unnamed, for some reason) defended Barr to the press (Politico) and DoJ OPA director and former conservative PAC flack Kerri Kupec shot back at NBC's report. Expect more of this kind of pushback between the Trump White House and Barr's DoJ.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:49 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


Elizabeth Warren wants jail time for CEOs in Equifax-style breaches (Timothy B. Lee for Ars Technica, April 3, 2019)

She's really putting together an exciting and detailed platform.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:53 AM on April 4 [54 favorites]


Tim Ryan, most known for his unsuccessful attempt to replace Pelosi as Speaker of the House, is now officially running for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination.

538 thinks he has a chance of winning.
posted by sotonohito at 8:56 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Seriously? Tim fucking Ryan? Talk about trying to fail upward.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:00 AM on April 4 [24 favorites]


538 writes that same article format for each contender.
posted by condour75 at 9:01 AM on April 4 [21 favorites]




>538 thinks he has a chance of winning.

>>538 writes that same article format for each contender.


Yeah, it's more like "here are the conceivable ways in which [candidate] MIGHT actually win, even if they're very unlikely" rather than "we think [candidate] has a good chance of winning."
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:06 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


He's fishing for a specific, large, and immediate response, and will do anything in the moment to get it.

By proposing, or at least suggesting, every conceivable position ("We'll see what happens"), Trump gets to take credit for nearly any outcome as a "win."
posted by Gelatin at 9:06 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


He's fishing for a specific, large, and immediate response, and will do anything in the moment to get it.

By proposing, or at least suggesting, every conceivable position ("We'll see what happens"), Trump gets to take credit for nearly any outcome as a "win."


I think his strategy is more market segmentation and saturation. He knows all the different and often conflicting groups in his base and whether it is deliberate strategy or accidental stimulus response behavior he is just a shotgun liar firing out all the possible lies and thus giving each group different lies that they can choose to believe in. He is similar to a running shoe company like Nike. They pretend to have science driven shoe design yet still sell every conceivable running style. Here is our minimalist shoe. Minimalist shoes are the best. Here is our maximalist shoe. Maximalist shoes are the best. They sell every lie that people will buy into and absolutely nobody gives a shit about the lack of logical consistency across the full set of claims.
posted by srboisvert at 9:25 AM on April 4 [14 favorites]


WaPo, NIH police yank Iranian graduate student from lab as agency clamps down on security

I frequently work with the National Cancer Institute and visit on of their buildings in Shady Grove. Every time I visit I have to go through a security screen twice as draconian as the TSA administers to flyers. Because I usually am flying out from there, I have a briefcase and a suitcase, and practically have to unpack and repack there at the entrance. There are lots of police there managing this process. They don't have a TSA pre✔ process, either, so even though I go there often, I'm subjected to this every. single. time.

I'm not sure what all the paranoia is about. I'm sure NIH has some labs that involve potentially dangerous substances and organisms, but locking down whole buildings with mainly researchers is way out of proportion to any threat they face. Everyone who works there rolls their eyes at it, but they don't have to put up with the nonsense directly.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:33 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


NIH is one of the biggest collectors of health data in the US, putting them on par with other organizations with tons of potentially private data such as the Social Security Administration. Having worked with both orgs on IT security, I don't really have an issue with locking down whole buildings. The problem is that they're going after scientists based on country of origin.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:41 AM on April 4 [8 favorites]


NIH is one of the biggest collectors of health data in the US, putting them on par with other organizations with tons of potentially private data such as the Social Security Administration. Having worked with both orgs on IT security, I don't really have an issue with locking down whole buildings.

So I'm going to blow up the building to destroy private data? A guy who has private data on millions of people already? I don't think that's the rationale. If it is, it's really a weak reason to do this kind of search. And, apparently, these "security gurus" couldn't keep my private information, demanded by OPM, private, along with the info from 23 million other Americans. Again, weak rationale.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:50 AM on April 4


WaPo, NIH police yank Iranian graduate student from lab as agency clamps down on security

It’s like something straight out of Wag The Dog.

Security Boss: Yeah, one of the Presidents Massage Parlor friends got busted at Mar-a-lago, can you guys roust some brown folks so it changes the headlines and it looks like we know what we’re doing?

Security Flunkie: Roger that.
posted by valkane at 9:53 AM on April 4 [12 favorites]


I think his strategy is more market segmentation and saturation. He knows all the different and often conflicting groups in his base and whether it is deliberate strategy or accidental stimulus response behavior he is just a shotgun liar firing out all the possible lies and thus giving each group different lies that they can choose to believe in.

Trump backs off threat to close southern border immediately, says he’ll give Mexico ‘one-year warning’ on drugs, migrants (WaPo)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:54 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]




Alexandra Erin has been astutely comparing the Trumpian persuasion methods to speedrunning in a video game. For context, that means doing things that seem strange on the outside and break the written or unwritten "rules of play" but can (sometimes) accomplish goals more rapidly. It turns out that if you stand on this block at the right moment, your high score loops from -1 to a maximum value. If you're talking to a crowd, just strip the rhetoric down to essential parts and run it until the engine explodes. Take the advice of other tycoons and slick operators such as "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and trim it to "How to Win". This doesn't achieve any kind of stable success, but it fits well with the inherent acceleratory nature of fascism.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:58 AM on April 4 [23 favorites]


I've got a feeling that the today's "the red line has officially been crossed, now we take to the streets" event is going to be underwhelming. My workplace isn't exactly abuzz with the news that it was triggered.
posted by diogenes at 10:01 AM on April 4 [12 favorites]


Welcome to our Orwellian nightmare -
April the 4th, 1984. To the past, or to the future. To an age when thought is free. From the Age of Big Brother, from the Age of the Thought Police, from a dead man - greetings!”
posted by growabrain at 10:01 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


I refuse to believe that the Senate will confirm Herman Cain to the Fed. The Republican donors won’t allow it. Our timeline is bleak, but surely, surely this is too bleak.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:03 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


I've got a feeling that the today's "the red line has officially been crossed, now we take to the streets" event is going to be underwhelming. My workplace isn't exactly abuzz with the news that it was triggered.


I got an email on Tuesday saying that our local event wouldn't be taking place, citing vague "logistical and planning issues."
posted by Mothlight at 10:04 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


To be clear, Herman Cain on the Fed would be in addition to Stephen Moore, as there are currently two empty seats.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:14 AM on April 4 [11 favorites]


fox'n'friends is talking about Trump's REIGN ...(?)
posted by growabrain at 10:16 AM on April 4 [8 favorites]


Trump: "This is the highest level of Presidential Harassment in the history of our Country!"

It this what the linguists call syntactic ambiguity?
posted by JackFlash at 10:16 AM on April 4 [18 favorites]


Politico: House Rebukes Trump With Vote Ending U.S. Support For Yemen War
The House on Thursday approved a measure to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's bloody civil war, in yet another harsh rebuke of President Donald Trump's foreign policy.

Trump is expected to veto the measure, which passed with bipartisan support in both chambers. Thursday’s 247-175 vote marks the first time in history that a War Powers resolution will reach the president's desk.[…]

The House passed a Yemen War Powers resolution in February, but it couldn’t advance to the Senate because it included a Republican amendment condemning anti-Semitism. The Senate’s parliamentarian said the amendment was not “germane” to the underlying bill, effectively killing it.

On Thursday, the GOP tried again to derail the bill. Republican leaders offered an amendment to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which encourages companies and individuals to cut off ties with Israel and Israeli-linked entities.

That amendment failed, officially sending the bill to Trump’s desk.
16 House Republicans voted Yes on Yemen war powers resolution, and Justin Amash (R-MI) voted Present (via CSPAN's Craig Caplan).
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:19 AM on April 4 [8 favorites]



Trump backs off threat to close southern border immediately, says he’ll give Mexico ‘one-year warning’ on drugs, migrants (WaPo)


I mean so we’re forgetting it then?

This has been pointed out before but this is just the logicistics and methods of reality TV and wrestling - one year warning! Tune in next week! Big decision coming up! It’s all bluster and no conclusion, no sense of closure, no consequences for anything , cause does not follow effect anymore it just bleeds into the next episode to set uo the next cause.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 AM on April 4 [55 favorites]


Bloomberg, House Leaders Vote to Sue Trump Over Border Emergency Order (unsurprisingly, the list of leaders there does not include the Republicans, but this will authorize the suit)
posted by zachlipton at 10:26 AM on April 4 [10 favorites]


If you never apologize you'll Never lose, the people who sold us the Iraq war figured that out, and now it’s standard policy everywhere- and it works! black face Governor is still in power! You can power through anything and not even lose your job! Accountability disappeared a long time ago.
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 AM on April 4 [33 favorites]


For those of you who see that Herman Cain was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and figure, Oh, well, I guess he at least knows something..., I can assure you that, no, the stopped clock is not right today either:
Cain's main claim to monetary policy expertise is that he chaired the board of directors of the Kansas Fed. That sounds impressive, until you understand the reality.
Regional Fed boards are usual local business bigwigs, who essentially do nothing.

(Twitter thread by Justin Wolfers, an actual economist)
posted by Etrigan at 10:32 AM on April 4 [19 favorites]


I'm just here to say that this OP is fucking impressive even if there were 4 of you contributing to it. #hattip
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:40 AM on April 4 [40 favorites]


If you never apologize you'll Never lose, the people who sold us the Iraq war figured that out, and now it’s standard policy everywhere- and it works! black face Governor is still in power! You can power through anything and not even lose your job! Accountability disappeared a long time ago.*

*unless you are a black woman, apparently.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:47 AM on April 4 [11 favorites]


The weird thing about putting up Cain is that his shtick has always been tight money and the gold standard. But Trump has been bitching that Fed policy is too tight!
posted by Chrysostom at 10:53 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


Elizabeth Warren wants jail time for CEOs in Equifax-style breaches (Timothy B. Lee for Ars Technica, April 3, 2019)

She's really putting together an exciting and detailed platform.


And it will matter just as much as Hilary Clinton's platform did. Sanders and Biden will bodge together some mush of vague proposals, and the MSM will nod sagely and say how exciting they are. Then they'll go back to focusing their Warren coverage on headlines like "Is Warren really 1/64th Indian?"

They'd the way the WWA MSM works these days. You can't have something boring like a woman's policy details interfering with their fight narrative.
posted by happyroach at 10:58 AM on April 4 [58 favorites]




In case anyone else is confused too, the Trump Is Not Above the Law / Nobody Is Above the Law events do appear to be happening today. I got an email a few hours ago talking about protests “this Thursday” with no date or details and the https://www.trumpisnotabovethelaw.org/ site isn't loading for me (DDoS) but the corresponding MoveOn.org page works and says,
BREAKING: Mueller’s investigators say Attorney General Barr’s summary misrepresented their findings and that the full report is more “troubling” for Trump. This is a cover-up. We’re taking action across the country TODAY to demand Mueller’s full report and underlying evidence are made public.

On Tuesday, Trump's hand-picked attorney general missed the deadline set by Congress to release the full Mueller report. Today, April 4, we’re launching a National Day of Action to demand that Barr #ReleaseTheReport. We deserve the full report and congressional leaders and the American people expect it now. Find an event near you and RSVP to join a local action.
I also just confirmed that last night's The Rachel Maddow Show said that the protests would be today. The nearby events show the time as 5PM (Eastern, for me.)
posted by XMLicious at 11:39 AM on April 4 [6 favorites]


State Politics Are Completely Broken (Libby Watson, Splinter News)
[…] Though ALEC may have fallen out of the spotlight, a new investigation from the Center for Public Integrity, the Arizona Republic and USA Today reveals that their influence is as strong as ever. The outlets used an algorithm to look for similarities or identical language across thousands of bills in state legislatures, and found “at least 10,000 bills almost entirely copied from model legislation” in the past eight years, with many model bills coming from organizations like ALEC. More than 4,000 of those were pushed by industry groups for their own benefit. […]

Republicans have made state politics their battleground for years, and Democrats have struggled to catch up; the article notes that liberals’ attempts to set up ALEC-style organizations have failed because they haven’t been able to offer the same relationships between corporations and other interests and lawmakers. It turns out access is a two-way street, and state legislators want it too.

Corruption is rife at the state level. Most states have part-time legislatures, where being an elected representative is just a side-gig to supplement their real job. Sometimes, they’re farmers or pizza guys; others own businesses that benefit from the legislation they vote for, or work at law firms representing clients who benefit. One example that has stuck in my brain since I heard about it in 2016: Jennifer McClellan, a member of the Virginia State Senate, is also an assistant general counsel at Verizon Communications, “focusing on state regulatory matters for several states.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:41 AM on April 4 [28 favorites]


In case anyone else is confused too, the Trump Is Not Above the Law / Nobody Is Above the Law events do appear to be happening today.

Resistbot also says it's on.
posted by diogenes at 11:42 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


If Mueller believed the president was guilty of obstruction, he could have said so, the officials argue...

But, of course, as any and all know, only courts render judgements of guilt. So, um, no?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:56 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Accusing someone of guilt is the basis of any criminal charge by a prosecutor. It’s only the judicial branch that assumes someone’s innocence until they are proven guilty in court.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:02 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]


Accusing someone of guilt is the basis of any criminal charge by a prosecutor.

True, but prosecutors often believe someone is guilty, but that they can't prove it. They make accusations in the indictment, but if they don't indict, it doesn't mean they don't believe the person is guilty. Mueller may or may not believe Trump is guilty, but that is not the same as guilt, which is decided by a court (but innocence is not).

I guess in the end, we really don't know what Mueller said or believes, but the administration seems unfazed by that in its pathetic attempts at deflection.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:50 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


What I don't understand is: this isn't the 70s. To leak something you don't need a printout of 400 pages. You can copy it on a microUSB in seconds and hide it anywhere. There MUST be at least one, if not many, people out there with the full Muller report sitting on a thumb drive, locked in a desk somewhere.
posted by zardoz at 1:04 PM on April 4 [13 favorites]


‘Dozens’ of Whistle-Blowers Are Secretly Cooperating With House Democrats (Atlantic)
[...] Democrats on Capitol Hill say that beyond Newbold, a small army of whistle-blowers from across the government has been working in secret with the House Oversight Committee to report alleged malfeasance inside the Trump administration. Lawmakers and aides are reluctant to discuss information they have gleaned from anonymous government tipsters in detail. But the list of whistle-blowers who either currently or previously worked in the Trump administration, or who worked closely with the administration, numbers in the “dozens,” according to a senior aide from the committee now led by Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland. [...]

Of the dozens of whistle-blowers Democrats said they are working with, they have publicly confirmed that a handful work in the White House. All but Newbold, however, have come forward on the condition that they remain anonymous. Newbold spoke to the committee as part of its investigation of White House security clearances, and she’s not the only whistle-blower involved in that matter, the panel confirmed in a memo describing her testimony. [...]

The number of Trump-administration whistle-blowers has already grown now that Democrats are in power and have signaled that they will conduct aggressive oversight of the Trump administration. The committee was receiving about three or four tips a week before the November midterm elections; that has increased to an average of five—and as many as 15—a week in the months since, according to a second committee aide who provided the data on the condition of anonymity.
posted by Little Dawn at 1:05 PM on April 4 [56 favorites]


Relevant for its discussion of Facebook's measures to help – and also to prevent – election transparency in the USA:

Australian election: Facebook restricts foreign 'political' ads but resists further transparency
Facebook will not be rolling out transparency features it introduced in the UK, US, EU, India, Israel and Ukraine
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:22 PM on April 4 [6 favorites]




The number of Trump-administration whistle-blowers has already grown now that Democrats are in power

You would have been crazy to go to the Republican led oversight committee. Can you imagine hoping for support from Gowdy, Jordan, and Meadows?
posted by diogenes at 1:38 PM on April 4 [6 favorites]


filthy light thief: Violence Against Women Act Gets Tangled Up In Gun Rights Debate (Susan Davis for NPR, April 4, 2019)

It passed the House! NPR's article is updated with the title "House Passes Bill Protecting Domestic Abuse Victims; GOP Split Over Gun Restrictions," and The Hill has more details: House votes to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act, closing 'boyfriend loophole' (Juliegrace Brufke, April 4, 2019)
The House passed legislation on Thursday reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) over objections from the National Rifle Association and Republicans who say it will restrict gun rights by preventing people convicted of stalking or abusing dating partners from buying a gun.

Thirty-three Republicans opted to break party lines and vote for the bill backed by Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), the only GOP lawmaker to co-sponsor it.

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) was the sole Democrat to vote against the measure, which passed 263-158.

“I was disappointed that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization was made partisan with the inclusion of language that would strip individuals’ right to due process with respect to their 2nd Amendment rights," Peterson said in a statement to The Hill.
Heads up: Collin Peterson is the lone Democrat here who thinks that the safety of people (let's be honest, mostly women) in relationships with abusive partners (usually men) is less important than the rights of those abusers to bear arms, something that 33 other Republicans thought was wrong. Peterson might be most senior representative from Minnesota (Wikipedia), but that might also mean it's time to replace him with someone more progressive, because some of his political positions are pretty grim (Wikipedia).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:38 PM on April 4 [29 favorites]


Altogether now: there is no reason, zero, for the AG to not release the full unredacted report to the congressional intelligence committees today. THERE IS NO LEGITIMATE REASON.

Obstruction tsar Barr is simply burning news cycles so that the "exoneration" narrative will set in the minds of the addled Fox Friends.

Not impressed with how the Democrats are handling Iran Contra II: This Time It's Treasonal.
posted by petebest at 2:21 PM on April 4 [22 favorites]


What I don't understand is: this isn't the 70s. To leak something you don't need a printout of 400 pages. You can copy it on a microUSB in seconds and hide it anywhere. There MUST be at least one, if not many, people out there with the full Muller report sitting on a thumb drive, locked in a desk somewhere.

Remember the group of people with access are not just a cross-section of Americans, they are people who self-selected to work for the DOJ. This group likely feels differently about choices like this (and individual versus collective good) than others. And not that DOJ IT technology is particularly advanced (especially compared to private sector), but I’m sure they are told that something like this will be logged and tracked (whether true or not).

I would not be surprised if the electronic version of the report resides in a secure place and was never emailed or transmitted, and a specific number of paper copies were printed, handed out, and required to be kept in specific places.
posted by sallybrown at 2:21 PM on April 4 [10 favorites]


Scott Wong, writer for The Hill: Trump loyalist Gaetz eyes Senate bid in Alabama

Matt Gertz, writer for Media Matters (often mistaken for Rep. Florida Man): no no no no no please god no he wouldn't come the fuck on no no no no no
posted by zombieflanders at 2:23 PM on April 4 [17 favorites]


Senate Republicans block resolution to release Mueller report for 5th time (Axios)

Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday blocked a resolution calling for special counsel Robert Mueller's report to be released to Congress and the public.

The big picture: This is the 5th time that Republicans — led by Paul and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — have blocked the resolution, which passed unanimously in the House last month. Paul has argued in favor of an amendment calling for the release of communications between Obama-era intelligence officials that he says could shed light on potential "misuse of power" leading up to the launch of the Trump-Russia investigation.

The Senate resolution comes on the heels of reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post that members of Mueller's team are dissatisfied with Barr's summary of the "principal conclusions" of the special counsel's findings.


Come for the obstruction, stay for the delightful picture of a background swastika pattern behind Paul. (They're "Greek keys" pattern but in the frame they ... aren't)
posted by petebest at 2:28 PM on April 4 [29 favorites]


To leak something you don't need a printout of 400 pages. You can copy it on a microUSB in seconds and hide it anywhere.

You'll likely then need a lawyer and a high tolerance for federal prison time.
posted by parallellines at 2:54 PM on April 4 [9 favorites]


'Students at Johns Hopkins University — joined by neighborhood groups, workers’ unions and left-leaning advocacy organizations — are currently occupying the university administration building on campus, demanding an immediate end to the university’s push for an armed private police force and its contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).' Truthout on The Militarization of Johns Hopkins Exposes a Nationwide Trend
posted by Harry Caul at 3:01 PM on April 4 [32 favorites]


You'll likely then need a lawyer and a high tolerance for federal prison time.

Don't forget Reality Winner; the government is capable of keeping close track of records when it needs to. They'll definitely know exactly who accessed/copied/printed out the report, and in all likelihood it's located on servers that are not on a larger network. Probably not connected to the internet at all.

The content of the report might be leaked, but I don't expect the report itself to leak until Congress gets a copy.
posted by suelac at 3:15 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]


538 has taken a look at all its forecasts (including non-politics forecasts) back to 2008 in order to determine how good a job it has done. The upshot... pretty dang good: When we say 70 percent it really means 70 percent.
But we’ve been publishing forecasts for more than a decade now, and although we’ve sometimes tried to do an after-action report following a big election or sporting event, this is the first time we’ve studied all of our forecast models in a comprehensive way. So we were relieved to discover that our forecasts really do what they’re supposed to do. When we say something has a 70 percent chance of occurring, it doesn’t mean that it will always happen, and it isn’t supposed to. But empirically, 70 percent in a FiveThirtyEight forecast really does mean about 70 percent, 30 percent really does mean about 30 percent, 5 percent really does mean about 5 percent, and so forth. Our forecasts haven’t always been right, but they’ve been right just about as often as they’re supposed to be right.
538 has been the best forecaster over the past decade and I suspect they will continue to be the best forecaster.
posted by Justinian at 3:26 PM on April 4 [17 favorites]


CNN, In bid to remain out of jail, Michael Cohen tells Congress he has more to add, in which christ what an asshole:
Cohen's attorneys Lanny Davis and Michael Monico told lawmakers in a letter Thursday that Cohen has discovered substantial files on a hard drive that might be helpful to investigators. Cohen is asking for additional time, and congressional help to persuade the Southern District of New York to allow him to postpone reporting to jail in order to review them.

They said they hoped Cohen would receive a reduced term and that the May 6 date Cohen is scheduled to report to prison "will be substantially postponed while he is fully cooperating with prosecutors and Congress." The letter adds, "However, with 30 days left before he surrenders to prison, time is no longer a luxury he is capable of.

"We hope that this memorandum demonstrates that Mr. Cohen needs to be readily accessible and immediately available to provide ongoing assistance to Congress in order for it to fulfill its executive branch oversight responsibilities. Mr. Cohen was only recently able to access a hard drive with important documents," it states.
NYT, Trump Asked That Confirmation of I.R.S. Counsel Be a Priority, in which this looks suspicious:
President Trump earlier this year asked Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, to prioritize a confirmation vote for his nominee to be the chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, indicating that it was a higher priority than voting on the nomination of William P. Barr as attorney general, a person familiar with the conversation said.
Why might that be? Desmond "briefly advised the Trump Organization on tax issues before Mr. Trump took office" and "In private practice, Mr. Desmond worked for a time alongside William Nelson and Sheri Dillon, who currently serve as tax counsels to the Trump Organization."

@ilyamarritz: Timely reminder: Trump appointed as IRS commissioner a tax attorney who wrote an opinion piece arguing that Trump should not release his returns
posted by zachlipton at 3:40 PM on April 4 [53 favorites]


YOU ELECTED THEM TO WRITE NEW LAWS. THEY’RE LETTING CORPORATIONS DO IT INSTEAD. (Center For Public Integrity)

posted by The Whelk at 1:30 PM on April 4 [19 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Here's a thought. Is there room for a generic "public citizen forum" that parallels ALEC to write and disseminate model legislation at the state level that, instead of narrow commercial and ideological interests, addresses broad good governance and social welfare issues like transparency, voting rights, reproductive rights, and social safety nets? How could we effect such an organization and how would it be funded? Is this a project that could be done virtually instead of requiring lobbyist funding for venues and travel expenses?
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:41 PM on April 4 [31 favorites]


I think we can officially declare that the "rapid response" model is useless. At least we can stop posting that link in every thread now.
posted by diogenes at 4:47 PM on April 4 [22 favorites]


I think we can officially declare that the "rapid response" model is useless. At least we can stop posting that link in every thread now.

It serves a purpose. Get people's email addresses to sell when times are tight.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:03 PM on April 4 [12 favorites]


Reuters, Exclusive: Only 6 percent of those subject to Trump travel ban granted U.S. waivers
The U.S. government granted waivers to just 6 percent of visa applicants subject to its travel ban on a handful of countries during the first 11 months of the ban, new data reviewed by Reuters shows.
...
“This data paints a clear – and deeply disturbing – picture of the Trump travel ban,” Van Hollen said in a statement to Reuters. “The administration repeatedly swore to the Supreme Court and the American people that this was not a de-facto Muslim ban and that there was a clear waiver process to ensure fairness. That couldn’t be further from reality.”
posted by zachlipton at 5:04 PM on April 4 [17 favorites]


It’s too bad Michael Cohen will be too busy doing absolutely nothing in federal prison to have time to further cooperate.
posted by jasondigitized at 6:36 PM on April 4 [7 favorites]


Well, only me and one other old hippy showed up at our protest. To be fair, we may be the only liberals in town.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:39 PM on April 4 [24 favorites]


I just learned about the concept of personal space and would like to say sorry (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Hello hello hello, yes I have just learned about personal space and I would like to apologize very much for all my prior behaviors. I have been bad and I am very sorry. I did not mean to lick your face just now but I was very excited to see you but I now understand that my behavior was wrong and I am sorry, so sorry, that I have been so bad. That whimpering noise you hear is me apologizing for my prior behaviors.

I just want to speak (I am good at speaking, and I am getting better at sitting all the time!) to say that as far as intentions went, I never meant to do anything wrong. Never! I love you! I just wanted to show you my love and respect, my deepest respect! From my perspective it is a deeply respectful greeting to circle someone slowly and then take a deep whiff of their posterior. I am confident that many I have encountered could think of no better way to be greeted! Also, I consider it a sign of love to lean firmly on your shoulders and attempt to lick your face. I am now hearing, I think, that this is not all right? It seems very black-and-white, but then again, so does everything.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:49 PM on April 4 [39 favorites]


Vox, Emily Stewart, Howard Schultz hasn’t gotten into policy specifics. Here are 4 ideas from women candidates who have.

Schultz did a Fox News town hall where he claimed that all our problems with immigration could be solved by bringing Democrats and Republicans into the same room, telling them to leave behind their ideology and egos, pointing to an empty chair, saying the chair represents the American people, and telling everyone not to leave until it's fixed. Since this is obviously the dumbest thing anyone has said in American politics this week, and I am aware that Trump both said Herman Cain should serve on the Fed and claimed the noise from wind turbines causes cancer, let's mute him and look at the work of some of the women in the race who actually have policies to offer. The section headings:
Howard Schultz has been to China a lot. Elizabeth Warren has a policy package to help America’s farms.

Schultz wants young people to get a job. Kirsten Gillibrand backs a federal jobs guarantee.

Howard Schultz thinks there are “two economies in America today.” Kamala Harris has the LIFT the Middle Class Act.

Howard Schultz grew Starbucks. Amy Klobuchar has a new infrastructure plan.
posted by zachlipton at 6:58 PM on April 4 [36 favorites]


Regarding the possibility of Mississippi passing criminal justice reform... well lately I've been reading constitutions on southern states and initiative laws. Mississippi's amendment process for the constitution is really hard, even more arduous then the article suggests. It also, for the record, can't amend it's own process (or enable union shops).

Also it requires 1/5 of votes from each congressional district, but since the state doesn't have 5 of those anymore, it has to use the boundaries from when it last had them, in 2001.
posted by gryftir at 7:09 PM on April 4


Couple dozen protesters showed up to my least-activist of major cities in a small purple state to wave signs at rush-hour traffic. Fewer than last time, and we broke up earlier than last time, but it was a pleasant experience and a few people had never done any sort of demonstrating before and hopefully will consider it again in the future. The lady who organized the event, also a first-time organizer, seemed to feel her effort had been worthwhile.

For my part, it was a very windy day and I successfully deployed several advancements in sign technology that made mine wind-resistant and easier to carry, so I declare victory.
posted by XMLicious at 7:11 PM on April 4 [37 favorites]


We had about 300 people, but I had been hoping for more, since we combined two lists that had a total of 800 show up in November when Sessions got fired.

I think there were fewer this time because 1) the national organizers had us "pause" recruiting for a few days after Barr's letter came out and 2) the letter and "victory lap" have honestly demoralized a lot of people, who feel like it's over and Trump won. Finally 3) I got messages from some people saying "Don't worry, Barr is going to release the report in a couple of weeks."

I definitely don't think the problem is in the rapid response model itself. Spontaneous protests will necessarily be smaller because people don't plan around them. But they can be precisely targeted.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:29 PM on April 4 [10 favorites]


Anyway, the more protests, the better.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:30 PM on April 4 [10 favorites]


NYT, U.S. Ethics Office Declines to Certify Mnuchin’s Financial Disclosure
The top federal ethics watchdog said on Thursday that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s sale of his stake in a film production business to his wife did not comply with federal ethics rules, and it would not certify his 2018 financial disclosure report as a result.

Although Mr. Mnuchin will not face penalties for failing to comply, he has been required to rewrite his federal ethics agreement and to promise to recuse himself from government matters that could affect his wife’s business.

Mr. Mnuchin in 2017 sold his stake in StormChaser Partners to his then-fiancée, Louise Linton, as part of a series of divestments before becoming Treasury secretary. Since they are now married, government ethics rules consider the asset to be owned by Mr. Mnuchin, potentially creating a conflict of interest for an official who has been negotiating for expanded access for the movie industry as part of trade talks with China.
Treasury officials told him that he could resolve a conflict of interest by...handing it to his wife?

Politico, Wilbur Ross rejects second invite to testify before Congress, in which Ross keeps refusing to show up to testify before Congressional committees about his agency's budget request, presumably because he'll be asked questions about lying about the census citizenship question. The House subcommitee questioned an empty chair instead, and they were kind enough to provide the empty chair with a bottle of water.
posted by zachlipton at 7:33 PM on April 4 [21 favorites]


Trump backtracks on border closure and levies new threat at Mexico (Guardian)
“Mexico understands that we’re going to close the border or I’m going to tariff the cars. I’ll do one or the other. And probably start off with the tariffs,” Trump said. He added later: “I don’t think we’ll ever have to close the border because the penalty of tariffs on cars coming into the United States from Mexico, at 25%, will be massive.”

It was the latest, seemingly sudden attempt at new leverage by a president struggling to solve what his administration has called a border “crisis”. [...] Trump has wide-ranging power to impose tariffs on national security grounds, which he has repeatedly used as leverage against other countries. But the USMCA was worded to protect Mexico against auto tariffs based on national security concerns, and trade lawyer Daniel D Ujczo said those provisions are already in effect under a side letter.

“In short, this is the exact scenario that the Mexican negotiating team predicted and secured protections from in the USMCA,” he said. “Mexico ‘Trump-and-tweet-proofed’ its auto sector,” and the White House “would need to get very creative to impose auto tariffs on Mexico”.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:57 PM on April 4 [6 favorites]


trade lawyer Daniel D Ujczo seems a touch optimistic in that assessment in light of the white house's demonstrated regard for (or capacity to be constrained by) the provisions of agreements to which it is a signatory.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:21 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Sounds like the Ecuadorian embassy is looking to eject Julian Assange.

Kind of incredible how, in the time he's been in there, the world has gone from "people like Julian Assange is definitely the kind of people the imperalistic US want to silence" to "people like Julian Assange are definitely the kind of person who'd rape a woman then use their fame to get away with it"
posted by Merus at 8:23 PM on April 4 [16 favorites]


The interesting thing is if Assange had simply faced the rape charge, faced any charges the US decided to bring for espionage, and done time for them he would probably have a) spent less time in confinement and b) still been a hero instead of the sad rapey weirdo he has been revealed to be.
posted by um at 8:45 PM on April 4 [9 favorites]


If you want to look for the pivot on the whole Assange thing, it's when he was hanging out in Bungay in late 2010 and then decided to fuck over every UK-based institutional supporter he had at the time.
posted by holgate at 9:13 PM on April 4


New Yorker, Robin Wright, How Trump Betrayed the General Who Defeated ISIS. Set aside the headline for a second; it's a well-worth-reading overview of the little-noticed coalition in Syria, quite arguably "the most successful unconventional military campaign in history." Missing from this account is the bit of the story I will refuse to let die, the one where Flynn, who was on the Turkish payroll just weeks prior, blocked the Raqqa plan to ship arms to the Kurds; the administration would reverse that decision after he was gone. But it does illustrate how the President has no clue what he's doing and randomly promises to do things because people ask:
The joint campaign faced sporadic challenges—menacing warnings from the Syrian government, the deployment of Russian mercenaries nearby, and constant criticism from Turkey. In November, 2017, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Trump, who was in Florida, preparing for a round of golf with Tiger Woods, to complain about U.S. arms flowing to Kurds in the S.D.F., which Erdoğan considered a terrorist group. Surprising his aides, Trump promised to stop the shipments. Former U.S. officials familiar with the call told me that the President did not fully grasp the details, players, or regional politics of his own decision to arm the Kurds—or that it was the decision that enabled the Kurdish-led S.D.F. to liberate Raqqa. U.S. officials had to convince Trump that the weapons were essential because the war with ISIS was not over, a former Pentagon official told me The U.S. arms shipments to the Kurds continued.
That's a pattern that would repeat itself:
Trump had made the [withdrawal] decision unilaterally, U.S. officials told me. There had been no interagency review, no conferring with military brass, no discussions with the dozens of other countries in the U.S.-led coalition. Many were as surprised as Mazloum was. The pivot had been another telephone conversation with President Erdoğan. The Turkish leader asked why the U.S. needed two thousand troops in Syria if the caliphate was collapsing. Two days later, Trump tweeted, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” The problem was that ISIS had not yet collapsed. It still had tens of thousands of fighters, families, and fans in pockets of the Euphrates River Valley.
posted by zachlipton at 9:44 PM on April 4 [24 favorites]


How Rupert Murdoch's Empire of Influence Remade the World (NYT)

Power Transfer - "How Lachlan Murdoch Went From Studying Philosophy at Princeton to Exploiting White Nationalism at Fox News."

also btw...
Old, Online, And Fed On Lies: How An Aging Population Will Reshape The Internet - "Older people play an outsized role in civic life. They also are more likely to be online targets for misinformation and hyperpartisan rhetoric."

The rise of moral simplicity - "What interests me is: why do so many people fall into such childlike binaries? ... I concede that this list of reasons is vague and incomplete. But in a sense, this is the point. Some people are calling for a gentler, more understanding politics. What this misses, though, is that there are powerful sociological and psychological mechanisms driving us towards a morally simplistic mutually hostile politics."

re: ALEC...
Ooh ooh, now do when companies control governments: "'When governments control companies, economic assets (companies, lenders and so on) over time are used to further political interests – leading to inefficient companies and markets, enormous favoritism and corruption', Dimon wrote in the letter, which was released along with the bank's 2018 annual report."

Dimon vows JPMorgan will take policy advocacy 'to next level'
To address “what is holding back growth and opportunity”, Mr Dimon said policymakers should reform a dysfunctional mortgage market and tackle “soaring healthcare costs”.

His laundry list of issues demanding attention also includes education, immigration, infrastructure, regulation, the tax system, litigation, the labour market and budgeting and planning.

He called on CEOs to “get involved” and use their “unique capabilities, data and resources” in designing solutions. JPMorgan is strengthening its own public policy teams to “take advocacy to the next level”.
@ewarren: "You know the system is rigged when the IRS targets working Americans while dedicating fewer and fewer resources to holding the ultra-wealthy taxpayers accountable."
posted by kliuless at 11:56 PM on April 4 [39 favorites]




kliuless, those are some terrific links, especially the one about How An Aging Population Will Reshape The Internet, which is FPP-worthy in my opinion.

The JP Morgan quotes sound like code for, "fellow conservatives, spend more to end regulation." I am enraged at JP Morgan for creating their own internal blockchain payment system, which misses the entire point of blockchain, on top of normalizing an environmentally catastrophic technological trend.

Per the BBC, now the US has revoked the entry visa for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
The decision is thought to be the US response to Ms Bensouda's investigation into possible war crimes by American forces and their allies in Afghanistan. The US secretary of state had warned the US might refuse or revoke visas to any ICC staff involved in such probes. Ms Bensouda's office said the ICC prosecutor would continue to her duties "without fear or favour".
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "If you're responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of US personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you will still have or get a visa, or that you will be permitted to enter the United States.

posted by heatvision at 4:01 AM on April 5 [13 favorites]


NYT: One Trump Victory: Companies Rethink China.

GoPro, the mobile camera maker, and Universal Electronics, which makes sensors and remote controls, are shifting some work to Mexico. Hasbro is moving its toy making to the United States, Mexico, Vietnam and India. Aten International, a Taiwanese computer equipment company, brought work back to Taiwan. Danfoss, a Danish conglomerate, is changing the production of heating and hydraulic equipment to the United States.

Somehow it’s a victory to move jobs from China to another country that isn’t the United States.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:03 AM on April 5 [13 favorites]


I went to Times Square and couldn't even find the rally at first. Maybe 300 people? I know it's imporant and the size is not important. But it looked like any other day in Times Square. I feel deflated. The website said 22000 people rsvp'ed via email. I didn't even get an email saying it was definitely happening. Until I saw it, I wasn't sure it was.

I don't know what the takeaway is.
posted by archimago at 4:22 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


Genuine question:

Trump has been saying that his taxes are "under audit" since early 2016, possibly even sooner. When someone's taxes are being audited, exactly how long does an audit take? Does an audit typically take 3 years?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:22 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


Alex Shepard and Kasie Hunt in New Republic's observation that the MSM fix is underway to ignore the current Democatic frontrunner by any means possible.

"That about sums up the Democratic field right now—or so you might think, based on the political conversation of late. But a certain someone is missing from this picture: the candidate who consistently polls first among declared candidates, and who, in the first quarter, raised $18 million from an astounding 900,000 donors. He is the frontrunner for the nomination until someone proves otherwise."
posted by Harry Caul at 4:35 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Sanders is being ignored for three reasons:

1) There is no evidence that he has made inroads with the parts of the party base that went for Hillary last time, and are more likely to go for a different primary candidate this time. Yes, he is broadly liked across the party, but no one has shown that he is performing any better with key parts of the Democratic primary voter population than he did last time.

2) He is no longer a novelty, and "novelty" candidates -- especially anyone who can be spun as a centrist or an "outsider" -- is more likely to get media attention because of longstanding patterns in media coverage, as Hunt notes.

3) Sanders has not proposed any new policies or initiatives, as even Hunt's article tacitly admits in calling him a "pacesetter" but declining to note what he is offering this time that he did not offer last time. More generally, his stump speech is basically the stump speech he's been giving for the last four years.

All of this is going to make it hard for Sanders to get loads of media coverage. He is no longer an "outsider" who lets the media create a narrative of an unexpected challenger in what was assumed to be a noncompetitive primary. And he is not offering much he wasn't already offering.

In other words, there's a reason Hunt points to Sanders being everyone's number two choice in current polling. It seems to me that it is less likely that he is the candidate of preference and more that Democratic primary voters want Sanders-esque policies, but would prefer to get them from one of the other candidates.

For this reason, I do not think that we will see a turn to Sanders among voters who prefer one of the other candidates and rank Sanders a second choice. Instead, I would bet that they will pivot to one of the other remaining candidates espousing similar positions.
posted by kewb at 4:54 AM on April 5 [22 favorites]


Trump has been saying that his taxes are "under audit" since early 2016, possibly even sooner. When someone's taxes are being audited, exactly how long does an audit take? Does an audit typically take 3 years?....

In theory, his Tax Year 2018 returns CANNOT be under audit, since they're due in 10 days. Just as is TY2017 returns weren't under audit when (IF) he filed them.
posted by mikelieman at 5:15 AM on April 5 [11 favorites]


Bernie's 2018 tax returns are also not under audit.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:30 AM on April 5 [28 favorites]


Anyway, the more protests, the better.

I'm not sure that's true in this case. This was supposed to be "The Event." It was supposed to be a massive nationwide response to Trump finally crossing a red line. And it resulted in a few hundred people milling around in Times Square. In Boston, a few hundred people wandered around for 30 minutes before giving up and going home. That's counterproductive and demoralizing.

(None of this is a criticism of you. I'm just frustrated with the organizers for putting together a system that fairly predictably created a result that was damaging to their goals.)
posted by diogenes at 5:41 AM on April 5 [15 favorites]


Politico: Dems Ratchet Up Pressure On Barr Over Mueller Probe—Democrats are asking for more material after reports indicate some members of Mueller's team are unhappy with the attorney general's summary of their work.
A top House Democrat on Thursday demanded that the Justice Department produce all communications between Attorney General Bill Barr and special counsel Robert Mueller, citing news reports indicating that some members of Mueller's team are bristling at Barr's characterization of their final report on Russian collusion.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler is also demanding the immediate release of any summaries that Mueller's team intended to become public.

"You have already provided an interpretation of the Special Counsel’s conclusions in a fashion that appears to minimize the implications of the report as to the President," Nadler said in a letter to Barr on Thursday. "Releasing the summaries — without delay — would begin to allow the American people to judge the facts for themselves."[…]

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) said there’s increased urgency to be concerned Mueller’s report may be destroyed, adding, “The best indicator of future activity is past activity.” He said Barr’s “biased” summary was such an indicator.
Former federal prosecutor Mimi Roach, writing in the Daily Beast: Barr Looks Like He’s Trying to Protect Trump, Not Get Out the Mueller Report—The attorney general had neutral ways to relay what the special counsel found. Instead, he’s being coy. It’s hard not to infer bad reasons from how he’s acting.
I was one of several alumni of the Department of Justice who was inclined to give Barr the benefit of the doubt. In my experience, people like Barr who have worked for decades within the DOJ understand the unique importance of its independence and integrity and the need for the public to have faith that decisions made at DOJ are based on facts, evidence, and law and not political considerations. In my experience, the pull of DOJ helps ensure that people, in the words of my former boss and friend Preet Bharara, “do the right thing, in the right way for the right reasons.” And so it is with some sadness that I say, Barr did absolutely the wrong thing, in the wrong way, and one can certainly infer bad reasons in his handling so far of the special counsel's report.[…]

In 48 hours, in just a few short paragraphs, Barr essentially threw out the window the facts, findings, nuances, and “difficult questions of law and fact” of Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation which, to any rational observer, was thorough and conducted with integrity.

Coming from the man who had written the 19-page memo saying Trump couldn’t commit obstruction, this looked pre-determined and political -- like a lawyer trying to protect his client, not a public servant trying to get the truth and facts where they belong.
Former DoJ Director of the Office of Public Affairs Matthew Miller similarly has sourced on the once and current AG, writing in Politico: The Barr-Shaped Cloud Over the Justice Department—The attorney general has made a total hash of the Mueller report, undermining the very department he runs.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:03 AM on April 5 [28 favorites]


In theory, his Tax Year 2018 returns CANNOT be under audit, since they're due in 10 days. Just as is TY2017 returns weren't under audit when (IF) he filed them.
posted by mikelieman 46 minutes ago [4 favorites +] [!]
Bernie's 2018 tax returns are also not under audit.


Both these things are true (mostly; it’s not theoretically impossible for a return to be submitted early and to trigger attention, though with enforcement staff at record lows it surely would have gone nowhere as yet) but I’m also a lot less interested in a return that can still be easily amended. You can amend returns later, of course, but the likelihood diminishes with time and if you have multiple returns to examine. IIRC it was believed that Romney massaged his recent return to make his tax burden percentage higher and then went ahead and amended it to take full advantage of possible dedications after he lost, but I could be confusing him with a different candidate.
posted by phearlez at 6:09 AM on April 5


undermining the very department he runs


The number one qualification for serving on Trump’s cabinet.
posted by darkstar at 6:10 AM on April 5 [34 favorites]


The number one qualification for serving on Trump’s cabinet.

Barr invited to meet DoJ officials on day he submitted memo critical of Mueller (Guardian)
The revelation about the meeting, which was arranged by Steve Engel, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, and which has not previously been publicly disclosed, raises new questions about whether the White House’s decision to hire Barr was influenced by private discussions he had about his legal views on Mueller’s investigation.
posted by Little Dawn at 6:19 AM on April 5 [26 favorites]


mikelieman: In theory, his Tax Year 2018 returns CANNOT be under audit, since they're due in 10 days. Just as is TY2017 returns weren't under audit when (IF) he filed them.

Plus he will almost certainly file for an extension; I think it's what he's done every year so far.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:20 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Regarding the "red line has been crossed" protest, i saw one guy with a sign on a street corner; I had no idea there was supposed to be any kind of coordinated protests about the Mueller report yesterday, and assumed it was just one obsessive guy.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:21 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]




"The latest arrests are said to include at least six men and one woman, according to ALQST. Among them is Khadijah al-Harbi, a pregnant feminist writer, and US-Saudi citizen Salah al-Haidar, whose mother was one of the activists recently freed.
The other US-Saudi national arrested was reportedly Badr al-Ibrahim - a writer and doctor." Saudi Arabia 'launches wave of arrests' over rights support < BBC

Looks like it's officially a WH sanctioned open season on US citizens who happen to be writers critical of Saudi policies.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:27 AM on April 5 [17 favorites]


I dunno about Boston proper, but in our nearby city we had about 60 folks, which was much less than the 200 or so we had at the last "red line" protest (which was already the smallest of all the protests I've seen here, not counting the monthly Vigil Against Hate). Also this was the first time someone who was presumably a Trump supporter (he never said, he was too busy asking agitated yet inane questions that he appeared to think were very pointed of anyone who would acknowledge him) was openly looking to sow discord. No one gave him any traction, but the whole thing had a much more somber feel than the last many.
posted by solotoro at 6:31 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


Man if there was half the scrutiny on all the Saudi corruption and involvement as opposed to Russian ....

But then silicon valley would counter attack.
posted by The Whelk at 6:35 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


US revokes ICC prosecutor's visa over Afghanistan inquiry (Guardian)
The US has revoked the visa of the international criminal court’s chief prosecutor in response to her intention to investigate potential war crimes by US soldiers in Afghanistan. A statement from the office of Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian national, said she would continue to pursue her duties for the court, in The Hague, “without fear or favour”.

Last month, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, announced restrictions on any ICC staff who investigated US or allied personnel, in a hardening of America’s policy of non-cooperation with the ICC. [...] Pompeo’s move came as he delivered another snub to multilateralism by refusing to attend a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in France on Friday. [...]

The ICC said the US decision was not expected to affect Bensouda’s trips to the UN in New York, where she gives regular briefings to the security council. The UN office is seen as covered by a form of diplomatic immunity. [...] Last September, the ICC pledged to continue to investigate war crimes “undeterred” by the Trump administration’s earlier threat of sanctions against its judges.
posted by Little Dawn at 6:39 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


The revelation about the meeting, which was arranged by Steve Engel, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, and which has not previously been publicly disclosed, raises new questions about whether the White House’s decision to hire Barr was influenced by private discussions he had about his legal views on Mueller’s investigation.

No shit, media. This is why he was hired. Do your jobs.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:50 AM on April 5 [61 favorites]


re taxes - he's been saying, i think, that his taxes KEEP being audited. so not the same tax year each time he says it, just that it's happening AGAIN because gosh the IRS donchaknow.

however, now that the administrative files have been asked for from IRS, he doesn't have an excuse anymore.

bc they're not asking him.
posted by sio42 at 6:59 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


White House maneuvers to block release of Trump’s tax returns (clickbaity title from WaPo - Trump is flapping his addled gums)

In an indication of how the standoff might escalate, Trump himself suggested that the Justice Department could become involved — even though Democrats directed their request to the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

“They’ll speak to my lawyers and they’ll speak to the attorney general,” Trump said during an unrelated event in the Oval Office when asked about the Democrats’ request for six years of his personal and business tax returns.

... “While his taxes continue to be under audit, he doesn’t anticipate that changing at any point anytime soon, and therefore doesn’t have any intention to release those returns,” Sanders said on Fox News.

...But Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen told a congressional committee earlier this year that Trump’s taxes were never under audit and that he simply didn’t want any scrutiny over his financial dealings.

“What he didn’t want is to have an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts run through his tax return and start ripping it to pieces, and then he’ll end up in an audit, and he’ll ultimately have taxable consequences, penalties and so on,” Cohen said, adding, “I presume that he is not under audit.”

... Congressional Republicans have unified in opposition ... Grassley had previously said that if the Ways and Means Committee got Trump’s tax records he wanted the Finance Committee to have them, too, but he has backtracked on that and indicated he will not seek Trump’s tax returns.

Grassley delivered a fiery speech on the Senate floor Thursday slamming House Democrats for seeking Trump’s taxes.

“They dislike him with a passion, and they want his tax returns to destroy him,” Grassley said. “That’s all that this whole process is about, and it’s Nixonian to the core.”
[So true, Chuck. So very, very true.]

[F]ormer IRS commissioner[s] — Mark W. Everson, who served under President George W. Bush, ... [said] “They have the absolute right to request the return,” said Everson, who now works at the tax consulting firm Alliantgroup. “The law is clear.”
posted by petebest at 7:01 AM on April 5 [18 favorites]


Iowa socialists already over 2020 "Schoonover is tall, blond, and ruddy-cheeked, with a goofy sense of humor that probably comes in handy during her day job teaching children about agriculture at a local museum. She’s finishing up her second year as the co-chair of the Central Iowa DSA, a position she sees as a way “to actually do something instead of being mad and upset every day after Trump became president.”
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 AM on April 5 [13 favorites]


I just don't understand simultaneously holding the positions: His tax info will destroy him, but also Wanting to see it is bad. Crazy.
posted by dbx at 7:28 AM on April 5 [12 favorites]


Here’s why NASA’s audacious return to the Moon just might work (Eric Berger for Ars Technica, April 5, 2019)
Speaking in front of a high-fidelity model of the Apollo program's Lunar Module spacecraft, Vice President Mike Pence charged NASA (Ars Technica) with accelerating its Moon plans last week. Instead of 2028, Pence wanted boots on the ground four years earlier, before the end of 2024. This marked the rarest of all moments in spaceflight—a schedule moving left instead of to the right.

Understandably, the aerospace community greeted the announcement with a healthy dose of skepticism. Many rocket builders, spaceship designers, flight controllers, and space buffs have seen this movie before. Both in 1989 and 2004, Republican administrations have announced ambitious Moon-then-Mars deep space plans only to see them die for lack of funding and White House backing.

And yet, this new proposal holds some promise. Pence, as well as NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, have adopted a clear goal for the agency and promised enduring political support. Moreover, they have said the “end” matters more than the “means.” This suggests that whatever rockets and spacecraft NASA uses to reach the Moon, the plan should be based on the best-available, most cost-effective technology. In short, they want to foster a healthy, open competition in the US aerospace industry to help NASA and America reach its goals.
...
As Pence and Bridenstine have drilled deeper into the agency’s human exploration programs over the last year, they’ve grown frustrated at the pace of progress. A mid-March meeting with Boeing officials, during which the Space Launch System rocket’s prime contractor said they could not make a June 2020 test launch date, proved a breaking point.
...
Bridenstine, for his part, seems intent on supporting an “all-of-the-above” plan for a return to the Moon with a mix of NASA vehicles, such as the SLS rockets and private rockets. “He understands that starting a war between Alabama and SpaceX will be the end of the Moon program,” one Washington, DC-based source said.
Huh, June 2020 is a sticking point? What's the harm in waiting until after, say December 2020? Oh right, that darned election.

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz Sues Federal Election Commission (Peter Overby for NPR, April 5, 2019)
A new lawsuit by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, targets an obscure provision of campaign finance law.

At issue is loophole-closing language that restricts how much money lawmakers can accept from donors after Election Day as they seek to recoup loans they made to their campaigns.

The 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law puts a $250,000 limit on payments from post-election donors, even if the candidate lent more, and there's a 20-day deadline for donors to contribute. Cruz is suing the Federal Election Commission as enforcer of the provision.

Beyond those limits, "the donor is in effect putting money into an officeholder's pocket, which is very dangerous from an anti-corruption perspective," said Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit organization that supports the regulation of political money.
Emphasis mine, because you don't say.
But fighting corruption isn't the question here, said former FEC chairman Lee Goodman. He said the contribution limit — now $2,800 per donor per election — is so low that it's the "ultimate guard against corruption." He said, "It should not matter whether the donor makes that contribution before Election Day or after Election Day to retire the politician's personal campaign loan."

Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said the provision helps only two kinds of candidates: those "who can raise enough money from special interests," and "ultra-wealthy candidates" who can pour money into their campaigns.

Cruz appeared to set up the issue last fall, when he was running for re-election against Democrat Beto O'Rourke. The day before the election, Cruz borrowed $255,000 from Goldman Sachs. He also wrote the campaign a personal check for $5,000. In December, after the 20-day deadline, the campaign paid off the first debt but not the second.
...
Last year's campaign wasn't the first time Cruz made controversial campaign loans. During his first Senate run, in 2012, Cruz and his wife, Heidi, lent his campaign more than $1 million. Afterwards, Cruz revealed the funds were backed by personal loans they had obtained from Goldman Sachs and Citibank — transactions he hadn't disclosed before the voting.
Emphasis mine -- if you're gathering funds from "small" donors to pay off mega-donors, you're still beholden to mega-donors because they have leverage against you, and they fronted you in the first place.

Senators To Consumer Watchdog: Prove You're Protecting Student Borrowers (Cory Turner for NPR, April 5, 2019)
Six Democratic senators, including two presidential candidates, sent a letter to the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday demanding that the agency prove it is policing the companies, known as servicers, that the government pays to manage its trillion-dollar, federal student loan portfolio.

"We are concerned," the letter reads, "that CFPB leadership has abandoned its supervision and enforcement activities related to federal student loan servicers. This suggests a shocking disregard for the financial well-being of our nation's public servants, including teachers, first responders, and members of the military."

The letter, dated April 3, includes the signatures of Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — both presidential contenders — as well as Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Bob Menendez of New Jersey.

Much of their concern focuses on one program — a decade-old loan forgiveness program that has infuriated borrowers and entangled the Department of Education and its servicers in a legal thicket.
A copy of the letter is embedded in the article.
In the letter, the senators ask Kraninger "to clarify the role that the Bureau has played in overseeing student loan servicers handling of PSLF since December 2017," including how many examinations CFPB has done and how many times it has sought documents or data from loan servicers.

This concern over CFPB's role comes as the Education Department itself has been criticized for lax oversight of servicers. In February, the department's own Office of Inspector General released a scathing review. "By not holding servicers accountable," that report said, the department's office of Federal Student Aid "could give its servicers the impression that it is not concerned with servicer noncompliance with Federal loan servicing requirements, including protecting borrowers' rights."

In response to that review, Education Department press secretary Liz Hill told NPR, in a statement, that "the Department continuously strives to provide strong oversight of all contractors, including federal student loan servicers."

But the Education Department has also moved to protect servicers from state lawsuits that allege these companies have misled borrowers, and the department ended an information-sharing agreement with the CFPB that makes it much harder for the bureau to police federal student loan servicers.

The senators' letter requests the bureau respond to questions by April 23.
Emphasis mine. No words.

Motel 6 To Pay $12 Million After Improperly Giving Guest Lists To ICE (Francesca Paris for NPR, April 5, 2019)
The hotel chain Motel 6 has agreed to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the state of Washington after several locations gave information on thousands of guests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement without warrants.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday that Motel 6 shared the information of about 80,000 guests in the state from 2015 to 2017.

That led to targeted investigations of guests with Latino-sounding names, according to Ferguson. He said many guests faced questioning from ICE, detainment or deportation as a result of the disclosures.

It's the second settlement over the company's practice in recent months.

Motel 6 has also signed a legally binding commitment (PDF) to no longer share guest information without a warrant at any of its locations nationwide, a practice the chain says it has already ended.
...
The company told NPR in an emailed statement that, as part of the agreement, it would, "continue to enforce its guest privacy policy, which prohibits the sharing of guest information except in cases where a judicially enforceable warrant or subpoena is present, or local law requires this information."
Emphasis mine -- if there aren't any local laws that require hotels to work with ICE to document potential immigrants, there will be soon.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:32 AM on April 5 [19 favorites]


I'm not sure that's true in this case. This was supposed to be "The Event."

More "an event." The first time we considered a "red line" crossed was in November when Sessions was fired/Whitaker hired. We triggered the protests, and got decent turnout (most events in major cities got hundreds to a couple thousand.)

It then took a really long time for MoveOn to reactivate the RSVP website, which was annoying. Because to me it was pretty clear that there were more red lines yet to be crossed. Finally they did, but preparation for April 4th were really limited by some ambivalence and disagreement among hosts, resulting in a "pause" at one point that made it seem like they might get called off. Too many people (IMO) took Barr at his word on his "mid April" promise.

But even before the Nov 8th event, I had participated in two other nationwide protests through the same MoveOn network. One in Feb 2018 that was not triggered by any specific event, just intended to be rallies against obstruction of juatice in general. (These got pretty small turnout, but were valuable experiences for organizers like me.) And one in July 2018 which was a candlelight vigil to "confront corruption." That actually got almost as big a turnout as the November events. (People more likely to show up for stuff when given more notice, especially if planned for a summer evening instead of an early spring afternoon, when people would have to leave work early.)

But MoveOn's main role has been recruiting. First they recruited hosts to lead the protests... and most of us are just regular people with day jobs and family responsibilities and no budget, who have to pay for sound systems and signage out of our own pockets. (Though MoveOn did send about 20 signs each to the hosts of thr biggest events.)Then they helped us recruit people to RSVP over the last 2 years. But most of those people are not following the news carefully and believe they only signed up to protest if Mueller were fired. These more subtle moves don't seem outrageous to them.

Then MoveOn and Public Citizen have hosted conference calls and an email list where hosts can coordinate. I'm not sure I should give the names of the people running that stuff, but I do know them. They're not anonymous. And the decision about whether to pull the trigger on a specific event on a specific day is based on whether there is enough host support for it.

The model was supposed to be more like the successful airport protests in response to the Muslim ban. But this is a more abstract issue and the number of people who care is just smaller. And that's what is most frustrating to me.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:34 AM on April 5 [9 favorites]


I just don't understand simultaneously holding the positions: His tax info will destroy him, but also Wanting to see it is bad.

There are two possibilities:
  1. They know that any "legitimate" business person looks like they're cheating on their taxes, even if within the rules, because that's what accountants are for.
  2. They know that, if you look hard enough, you can find "mistakes" on anyone's taxes.
Of course, neither of these is true. They know damn well that Trump in particular has been cheating on his taxes well beyond the "acceptable" version that you pay accountants to do, and that exposing it will also expose massive incompetence and/or malfeasance on the parts of many, many other people and institutions. Also, they don't give a shit about any Trump criminality because he's putting their judges on the bench.
posted by Etrigan at 7:36 AM on April 5 [27 favorites]


fluttering hellfire: No shit, media. This is why he was hired. Do your jobs.

To be fair, this is the conventional mainstream journalistic approach for casting a negative light. There just isn't the language available for a headline to be "X Clearly Happened For Corrupt Reasons Because Come On We're Not Stupid". For an example of how the subtler terms were deployed in the opposite direction, the "Her Emails" story was made out of headlines about stuff Raising Questions and looking fishy, not "We Definitely Know This Is Officially Bad", and it had a substantive effect.

I actually think it's safe to say that Trump-era media has helped establish him in the public mind as definitely corrupt, even if they don't take it as far as they could and they do indeed seek an "out" as much as possible for all the false-balance reasons we've discussed here many times.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:45 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Instead of 2028, Pence wanted boots on the ground four years earlier, before the end of 2024

That way they can get it done before Trump appoints Mark Sargent to run NASA.
posted by flabdablet at 7:50 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


I should say the very FIRST event I participated in through more or less the same coalition that became the "Trump is not above the law network" was actually the "March for Truth" way back in June 2017, shortly after Comey was fired. I attempted to help organize one in my city, and it didn't end up happening for various reasons.

But my involvement with the later protests grew out of my involvment in that, so for me this was less "the event" than "the April 2019 event" which followed events in Nov 2018, July 2018, Feb 2018, and June 2017 involving the same national network.

And I hope they reactivate the website so we can do it again.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:50 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


The model was supposed to be more like the successful airport protests in response to the Muslim ban.

A Travel Ban’s Foe: A Young Firebrand and Her Pro Bono Brigade (NYT, 5/7/2017)
Tipped off by her Washington sources that an executive order blocking refugees was coming, Becca Heller fired off messages to her vast network of law students and pro bono lawyers: Tell any clients who already have visas to board a plane for the United States. Get ready for the possibility that they will be detained upon landing.

“URGENT-Protect refugees arriving at airports,” she wrote in an email blast on Jan. 25.

So when President Trump signed the order two days later, and thousands of lawyers flocked to airports in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere, the public saw not so much a spontaneous reaction as the meticulous preparation of a loud, pugnacious 35-year-old lawyer who is now in the middle of one of Mr. Trump’s biggest policy fights.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:56 AM on April 5 [47 favorites]


"On a recent episode of The Beat With Ari Melber, for example, it took a calm but clearly exasperated Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of the left-leaning The Nation, to point out that Trump’s rhetorical hostility to open-ended military conflicts and occupations represented an actual opportunity to begin a conversation about American military de-escalation rather than to natter on, again, about the irresponsibility of yanking troops out of Syria, however crass and inconsistent his reasoning—such as it is—might be.

Moments like this are few, in large part because the network so rarely finds time to pan out from its narrow focus on the baroque divagations of the investigations of Donald Trump, his political and business associates, and the specter of Russian interference in our elections." MSNBC's Wild Ride
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


The Whelk: Moments like this are few, in large part because the network so rarely finds time to pan out from its narrow focus on the baroque divagations of the investigations of Donald Trump, his political and business associates, and the specter of Russian interference in our elections." MSNBC's Wild Ride

Because in a 24 hour news cycle, where news coverage is competing with 240 character updates for public attention, taking time to have a discussion is a risky proposal, which is fully leveraged by Trump and co. News coverage not going your way? Sign a new executive order! Hire someone! Fire someone! Say something outrageous! Media coverage usually gets diverted by the chaff, ignoring the actual target.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:29 AM on April 5 [15 favorites]


I mean I remeber Hayes admitting he’d like to do more climate change news, but ratings always tank when they cover it so maybe for profit, massively consolodated news monopolies where a mistake?
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 AM on April 5 [21 favorites]


The first time we considered a "red line" crossed was in November when Sessions was fired/Whitaker hired.

In an infuriating way, I almost have to admire the care taken by the regime (obviously not by 45 himself) to avoid any of the red-line triggers we've been waiting for. Mueller was never fired. The Sessions-Whitaker transition was quiet. The report's release was peacefully, bureaucratically smothered in its crib, while the functionaries calmly reassure us that everything is fine and there's nothing to see here. We in the opposition, champing at the bit for an unambiguous signal, are left standing around saying "Was that--? Did that just--?"

It's true what they say: If you boil the frog slowly enough, the camel's back will never break.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:37 AM on April 5 [56 favorites]


Everybody has their own issues and their own priorities, and that is as it should be. Health care is an acute life or death issue for some, as police violence and racial inequality are for others, as gun violence is, as income inequality, as immigration is, as the climate is. When we organize around issues that authentically affect our own lives, we build real movements, not just political stunts. We should show up for each others' events when we can, because no man is an island and solidarity and all that. What affects any of us affects all of us, because we are a community, and we need each other. But it's natural that the issues that get the biggest response are going to be the issues where a lot of people feel personally affected, and that's the nature of grass roots movements where people don't have unlimited resources to attend or donate to every single cause.

Obstruction of justice just doesn't feel personal to a lot of people.

But I have read a lot about authoritarian regimes, and I know that in an authoritarian regime the people don't have any voice on ANY of those issues. It's really hard to fix ANYTHING if the government is more interested in exploiting the people than in helping them. Violence and pollution and poverty and war and disease are really hard to fix when you can't get your hands on the levers of government power at all. Without democracy, without being able to use the government's powers of taxing and spending and regulating, ordinary people are pretty much helpless. We can't let our government be taken away from us and turned against us.

We who have been holding these protests related to Trump's corruption and obstruction of justice tell each other that we are an American "democracy movement." Unfortunately too people don't see the threat to our democracy, or they are too cynical to believe democracy is really possible. But things, historically, really have been better in America than in Saudi Arabia or Russia or North Korea or any number of other dictatorships, where lives are cheap unless you are one of the autocrat's cronies. Democracy isn't perfect, but it's better than dictatorship. And if anyone is above the law, what you have is a dictatorship, because that person can consolidate power with theft and violence, and nothing will stop them.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:57 AM on April 5 [31 favorites]


Whether or not Trump's taxes are under audit is entirely irrelevant. When you sign the bottom of your return, where is says "under penalties of perjury", it becomes a legal document. Whether you are audited or required to amend your return later doesn't erase the original return you filed. That document stands as originally submitted.

This "under audit" excuse is just stupid and the press should point that out.
posted by JackFlash at 8:59 AM on April 5 [39 favorites]


We watched while Trump caged children in open defiance of every law and were told to wait for due process, an investigation, a careful examination of the law. Good people hesitated and waited and carefully proceeded while bad ones took every advantage.
posted by xammerboy at 9:00 AM on April 5 [34 favorites]




News coverage not going your way? Sign a new executive order! Hire someone!

Sure enough, last night @realDonaldTrump announced that he's nominating Jovita Carranza to head the Small Business Administrator.

What he doesn't mention is that the current administrator, Linda McMahon, is leaving to join his super PAC America First Action, (Politico). There she'll be raising funds among GOP mega-donors like herself (no word if she's rejoining her husband, Vince, at World Wrestling Entertainment, though.)

Trump's now in California to take a tour of his under-construction Border Wall, and tonight he'll be in Beverly Hills for a fundraising dinner (maybe after sneaking in a visit to his LA golf course, the WaPo's David Fahrenhold suggests).
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:12 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


The trailer for the upcoming Knock Down The House
posted by growabrain at 9:50 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Trump Is Already Plotting His Post-White House Tell-All Memoir (Asawin Suebsaeng, Maxwell Tani / Daily Beast)
'The president is ‘excited’ about penning a dishy book. So much so that he keeps talking about the scores he plans to settle.' […]

Though industry insiders freely admit that sales of a Trump presidential memoir would likely be explosive, several top publishing figures told The Daily Beast said that publishing a tell-all from the president would present several headaches.

The major publishing companies in New York are overwhelmingly staffed with left-leaning employees, many of whom often voice their displeasure internally when various imprints agree to publish books by Trump-friendly authors. Editors and publishers will also hear from authors themselves when publishers sign controversial authors, some of whom can threaten to speak out or even urge consumers or bankable authors to take their business elsewhere.

Other publishing industry insiders said Trump would be a difficult author to promote because he is liable to disregard a rollout plan for the book’s “scoops” and exclusive information.

“I don’t think he’d be able to keep his mouth shut to have the revelations land at the right moment,” one top publishing source said. “But I do think he’d be able to get his supporters to buy it as merchandise.”
I do wonder if such books or the press tours to support them would count as evidence in a court of law.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:59 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


As far as Trump's tax returns go, I'd argue that it isn't that the right holds mutually conflicting views, or that the right thinks everyone cheats, or any of that.

I think it's a near platonic example of the Alt-Right tactic of The Card Says Moops (link to Ian Danskin's alt-right playbook video on the topic).

Basically they are arguing to win, not arguing for any particular point of view. Their goal is to try and convince people that Trump's tax returns should be secret, to achieve that goal they will make **ABSOLUTELY ANY** argument in its support that they can even if those arguments are mutually contradictory. THey'll argue in one moment that we shouldn't have the returns because they're pointless, and the next that the only reason the Democrats want them is to destroy Trump, and it simply doesn't matter. Because the goal is not to form a coherent and internally consistent argument, but simply to throw out talking points in a fog to a) wear us down chasing a Gish Gallop, and b) try to convince onlookers that they're rational and winning because they present their points in an aggressive and condescending manner.

If they can make short, punchy, pithy, arguments that take us many paragraphs to dissect and deconstruct, and they can reply to our long answers with another short, punchy, pithy, argument then to the casual onlooker they appear to be winning. Because short means bold, and because by answering our long windy arguments with a single short statement means our long windy arguments must be wrong if they can be answered so easily.

The actual content of their arguments are irrelevant and they know it. Their real position here is "the king is above the law", but they can't say that openly so they say anything else they can to try and win, and failing that to give the shallow appearance of winning to people watching from the sidelines.
posted by sotonohito at 10:05 AM on April 5 [42 favorites]


Trump's now in California to take a tour of his under-construction Border Wall

ACLU Seeks to Stop Trump on Border Wall Funding (AP)
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday asked a judge in California to block the Trump administration from building a border wall using funds obtained through his national emergency declaration.

The court papers say President Donald Trump has overstepped his executive powers by diverting funds from the Department of Defense for a border wall and the threat is pressing because efforts by Congress to stop him have failed, and building plans are starting to come into focus. Lawyers asked for a hearing as soon as possible. [...]

The request to block the construction Thursday was part of a legal challenge filed in February on behalf of the Southern Border Communities Coalition and the Sierra Club environmental group, a day after Trump's declaration. In addition, a group of 16 states, including California, New York and Colorado, have also filed against the emergency declaration on similar grounds.
posted by Little Dawn at 10:06 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


It's not hearsay if it's him talking about himself doing bad things.
posted by BungaDunga at 10:06 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


I do wonder if such books or the press tours to support them would count as evidence in a court of law.

Trump's tweets undermined his justifications for the travel ban not a Muslim ban (Amber Phillips for Washington Post, June 5, 2017), as did his comments from the campaign trail (Ryan J. Reilly for HuffPost, Feb. 15, 2018).

So yes, yes a tell-all book could land him in more hot water.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:07 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


There just isn't the language available for a headline to be "X Clearly Happened For Corrupt Reasons Because Come On We're Not Stupid".

There is, Fox News does it very well all day every day. Corporate News is a sick joke and it's on us.
posted by petebest at 10:16 AM on April 5 [7 favorites]


Trump Administration's Census Citizenship Question Plans Halted By Third Judge (Hansi Lo Wang for NPR, April 5, 2019)
The Trump administration's plans to add a hotly contested citizenship question to the 2020 census have suffered another major blow in the courts.

The question asks, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"

A third federal judge has found the decision to include it on forms for the national headcount to be unlawful.

U.S. District Judge George Hazel in Maryland concluded that the decision by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, to add the question violated administrative law. Federal judges in New York and California came to the same conclusion.

Similar to the earlier ruling in California, the judge also found including the question would be unconstitutional because, at a time of increased immigration enforcement and anti-immigrant rhetoric, it hinders the government's ability to count every person living in the U.S. once a decade as the Constitution requires.

Hazel ruled that the plaintiffs did not provide enough evidence to prove two additional claims — that adding the question was intended to discriminate against Latinos, Asian-Americans and immigrants; and that it was part of a conspiracy within the Trump administration to violate the constitutional rights of noncitizens and people of color.

This latest district court ruling in this almost yearlong legal battle is likely to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

A Supreme Court hearing (Tweet from Hansi Lo Wang) about whether including the question is constitutional and the New York ruling, which has already blocked the citizenship question, is scheduled to be held on April 23, and the justices are expected to rule by June on whether the 2020 census will ultimately include the question.
Meanwhile, The State of Census 2020 Is Distrust (Kriston Capps for City Lab, Feb. 22, 2019)
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide in April whether the Trump administration can make good on its plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. But Americans are already resolved on the matter: Overwhelming majorities from across the political spectrum agree that a citizenship question could negatively affect the accuracy of next year’s census efforts.

Three-quarters (76 percent) of Americans say that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census is at least somewhat likely to mess up the count, according to a new poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and The Atlantic. And a majority of Americans (53 percent) think it is very likely that the census will not get an accurate count if the Trump administration adds a citizenship question.

The poll results reveal broad, shared, bipartisan concerns about the state of the 2020 census. Overwhelming majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Republicans (81 percent), and independents (71 percent) say that it is somewhat likely that the question will diminish the accuracy of the census. The share of Republicans who say that it is very likely that a citizenship question will negatively affect the census is close to half (48 percent).

While fears that a citizenship question will affect the count are widespread, there’s less consensus about how the citizenship question will be used. About one-quarter (26 percent) of Americans think that that question will be used solely for the purposes of counting the population. Mayors and community leaders are working hard in the run-up to the census to convince their constituents (Citylab), especially immigrant populations, that this is the case. They have their work cut out for them: One-third (33 percent) of Americans believe that the government will use the data to check on the immigration status of individuals; 41 percent said they didn’t know or didn’t answer
Emphasis original.

At this point, I'm considering that the Census is already "damaged," in that the message that the Census will try to identify non-citizens for nefarious purposes has already taken root. Maybe we'll be able to undo the damage in another 10 years, but in the meantime, at-risk populations will get less support than they could, and should, due to under-representation in the Census, which is already a recognized issue for African-American and Latinx communities, even before factoring in the chaos of not being able to do "dry runs" of the census with final questions (David A. Graham
for the Atlantic, June 25, 2018).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:20 AM on April 5 [14 favorites]


If they can make short, punchy, pithy, arguments that take us many paragraphs to dissect and deconstruct, and they can reply to our long answers with another short, punchy, pithy, argument then to the casual onlooker they appear to be winning. Because short means bold, and because by answering our long windy arguments with a single short statement means our long windy arguments must be wrong if they can be answered so easily.

Actually, it was a search for a short, pithy counter-argument that prompted my question. I was hoping to say - and it looks like I can say - "hang on, why do you trust a guy who's gotten audited by the IRS for three years in a row now?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:30 AM on April 5 [8 favorites]


“But I do think he’d be able to get his supporters to buy it as merchandise.”

Always with the grift.
posted by archimago at 10:35 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


The actual content of their arguments are irrelevant and they know it. Their real position here is "the king is above the law", but they can't say that openly so they say anything else they can to try and win, and failing that to give the shallow appearance of winning to people watching from the sidelines.

I think it's worse than that -- it's not even aimed at people watching from the sidelines, it's aimed at bucking up the people on their side, demonstrating that they don't have to concede anything, that their "peers" in the right-wing ecosystem will back them up no matter how inane or illogical or self-contradictory their argument is.

You can call it the Overton Window or "permission structure" but at some point it's more like a mob. The mob doesn't offer a logical argument for burning and looting; rather, its very existence offers implicit permission to go out burning and looting, because everyone else is doing it.
posted by bjrubble at 10:42 AM on April 5 [25 favorites]


“The idea that this is about a Chinese spy ring disguised as a rub-and-tug disguised as a day spa ... It’s just peak. We’ve reached peak Florida,” said Miami filmmaker Billy Corben, who’s built a cult following shooting popular documentaries about the state’s craziest stories.

It’s hard to remember now as investigators try to determine whether foreign intelligence operatives are buying their way into Trump’s inner circle with campaign donations and six-figure club membership fees, but the first thread to unravel in this yarn came in October with a tip from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and a Google search of a massage parlor review site called Rubmaps.com.

At the time, the sheriff’s office was well into a human trafficking investigation that would ultimately shutter 10 massage parlors and result in charges against more than 300 men. They’d flagged the Orchids of Asia day spa in Jupiter, and within weeks surveillance and health department inspections discovered evidence of women living in the spa and performing illegal sex acts.
More from the Miami Herald on Trump-adjacent and/or related massage-parlour action.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:48 AM on April 5 [9 favorites]


From Rewire.News. Sigh. Under the Trump administration, there has been a marked shift in how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) treats pregnant migrants in federal custody. At the same time, miscarriages experienced by migrants in detention have nearly doubled.

Since September 2017, ICE has been moving away from its previous policy that pregnant migrants “generally not be detained.” The Hill confirmed in March 2018 that ICE was indeed operating under a new directive, first issued in December 2017 by the agency’s former director, Thomas Homan.

So rather than releasing pregnant migrants within 24 hours of a positive pregnancy test, pregnant people are being detained indefinitely as they await court dates or are released at ICE’s discretion. This process can take months.

While in ICE’s custody, many pregnant people have reported complications from what they described as inadequate medical care in the facilities. It’s no surprise, given that medical care in detention centers is provided by private companies that have hundreds of complaints of negligence for issues “resulting in deaths and untreated injuries of countless people,” Yahoo News reported in October 2018. But ICE’s current policy only serves to exacerbate the problem, as Olivia’s story, and others like it, show.

The agency, for its part, doesn’t appear to be doing anything about it.

posted by Bella Donna at 11:43 AM on April 5 [29 favorites]


Desperate to change any Oranges/Mueller Report/House committee investigation stories that he would have to suffer hearing about, Trump has nominated/de-nominated several appointees, challenged/un-challenged Mexico about the border (or anything), jumped in with more of the same excuses about his tax returns . . and now struck back at the dead Barbara Bush. Someone is flailing.
posted by Harry Caul at 12:16 PM on April 5 [9 favorites]


Trump has nominated/de-nominated several appointees

Trump ditches his nominee to lead ICE, says he wants someone ‘tougher’ for top immigration enforcement role (WaPo):
Trump has imbued [Stephen] Miller with more authority over border security and immigration matters than ever before, according to two senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss fissures in the administration made worse by the surprise move against Vitiello.
[...]
One senior official said: “This is part of an increasingly desperate effort by Stephen to throw people under the bus when the policies he has advocated are not effective. Once it becomes clear that Stephen’s policies aren’t working, he tells the president, ‘They’re not the right people.’ ”

“Stephen wants to put Attila the Hun as director of ICE,” said the official, who believes Miller is seeking to install someone closer to him in the top ICE job.
posted by peeedro at 12:23 PM on April 5 [14 favorites]


Trump Is Already Plotting His Post-White House Tell-All Memoir

Maybe this guy will actually write it?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:54 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


So yes, yes a tell-all book could land him in more hot water.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:07 AM on April 5 [4 favorites +] [!]


At this point it's the Supreme Court's hot water. They sanctioned it by ignoring what he said on the campaign trail and in office.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:57 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


You thought we got all the Gorkas out of government, didn't you? HuffPost, Trump Homeland Security Official Suggested Antifascists Were ‘The Actual Threats’. Present is Katie Gorka's email pushing to revoke funding from the anti-extremeism group Life After Hate because its co-founder tweeted "@DonaldTrump [sic] fuck you, asshole" and DHS supposedly got a legal opinion that they can revoke funds from the organization due to the "vulgarity and lack of professional maturity."
posted by zachlipton at 1:13 PM on April 5 [14 favorites]


Let's check in on the President's trip to the border.

@atrupar: [video] TRUMP: "This is our new statement- the system is full. We can't take you anymore. Whether it's asylum or anything you want - illegal immigration - we can't take you anymore. Our country is full. Our area is full. The sector is full. Can't take you anymore, I'm sorry. Turn around"

@jbwashing: Trump just called doors "big gaping wounds on the wall."

Remember that one the next time someone insists he's totally in favor of expanding legal immigration.

@jbwashing: She then gives Trump a chunk of wall as a memento, calling Border Patrol "tip of the spear."
When that wall comes down in future decades, the memento will have a very different meaning.

@samstein: Trump on asylum seekers: “It’s a scam. It’s a hoax” He says they’re gang members pretending to be seeking asylum.

In fact, he decided to make attacking people fleeing persecution all about him, adding " I know about hoaxes. I just went thru a hoax."

@seungminkim: Trump is now using "tariff" as a verb?
posted by zachlipton at 1:20 PM on April 5 [30 favorites]


Breaking WaPo: Trump lawyer contends Treasury must not release president’s tax returns until the Justice Department weighs in

Not much more to the story than the headline as yet, though updates are forthcoming.
posted by box at 1:26 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


There is absolute, non-ambiguous black letter law saying Treasury must give over the tax returns (though with some conditions on HOW they do that.) This isn't something open to interpretation or nuance. The law says it must happen.

If any court, up to and including the SC, says otherwise it means we aren't a nation of laws any more.

Yes, I know you have some bad news for me.
posted by Justinian at 1:41 PM on April 5 [101 favorites]


Our country is full. Our area is full. The sector is full. Can't take you anymore, I'm sorry.

Hear that, everyone? Stop having babies! The country is full!
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:48 PM on April 5 [54 favorites]


Are there any countries with more extra livable space than the US? Canada and Russia are largely frozen, Brazil has rainforests, Australia has a lot of desert... and India and China each have four times our population.
posted by reductiondesign at 2:02 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]


A clever person on Twitter pointed out a reference to The Simpsons where Bart, in the crown of the Statue of Liberty, yells to immigrants coming into New York, "Go home! The country's full." So that's our president.
posted by angrycat at 2:05 PM on April 5 [19 favorites]


Elites hate him! (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
We do not pick things up off the floors of abattoirs and eat them. We never put metal into the microwave. We avoid staring directly at the sun. We vaccinate children against measles. We have food inspectors to inspect food and require security clearances for access to classified information. We have had a Federal Reserve that was composed of people capable of telling the difference between inflation and deflation and who did not want to bring back the gold standard. We have had, for lack of a better word, nice things.

Are we not tired of such dull, in-the-box thinking dictated by elites who claim to possess specialized knowledge about the way things work? Have we considered that it might actually be a very pleasant experience to lose a hand to a leopard? I am sick of being told my opinion does not count because I am not an expert and think it might make the leopard loyal and grateful. How do we know that rabid bats are bad? Have you ever really seen a rabid bat? Can bats even get rabies?

That is why I am putting Herman Cain on the board of the Federal Reserve! That is why I am putting Stephen Moore on the board of the Federal Reserve. That is why, soon, I will be putting my horse Incitatus on the board of the Federal Reserve. To shake things up.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:11 PM on April 5 [41 favorites]


Interactive world map of population density. [spoiler alert: The U.S. is not full]

But really what he means is the ratio of PoC to white. It's the same great replacement theory [ny times] that is part of the core propaganda of the current far right extremist movement.
posted by Buntix at 2:11 PM on April 5 [19 favorites]


Katie Gorka's email pushing to revoke funding from the anti-extremeism group Life After Hate

Defund an anti-Nazi group for using adult language? That's so not suspicious it's unsane! Yes, it's all just another day in Trumpmerica. Let's all congratulate the GOP on their fine upstanding ways that made all this possible.
posted by petebest at 2:29 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


WSJ, U.S. to Designate Iranian Guard Corps a Foreign Terrorist Organization
The Trump administration is preparing to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, U.S. officials said, a step that would vastly escalate the American pressure campaign against Tehran but which has divided U.S. officials.

The decision, which could be announced as early as Monday, would mark the first time that an element of a foreign state has been officially designated as a terrorist entity.
...
But Pentagon officials, including Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have cautioned against the designation, several U.S. officials said, fearing it could lead to a backlash against U.S. forces in the region without inflicting the intended damage to the Iranian economy.
Central Intelligence Agency officials have also had reservations about consequences of the decision, the officials said. Spokesmen for Gen. Dunford and the CIA declined to comment.

The U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S., forces in the Middle East, is planning to issue a regional alert to U.S. troops in the coming days, a precaution in case the move spurs Iran or the Shiite militias it supports within the region to retaliate, a defense official said.
...
“The designation of IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is precedent setting. Never before has the FTO sanctions tool been directed at a state-body. The future ramifications of this decision will be profound,” said Mr. Blazakis, now a professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
posted by zachlipton at 2:36 PM on April 5 [11 favorites]


zachlipton: DHS supposedly got a legal opinion that they can revoke funds from the organization due to the "vulgarity and lack of professional maturity."

Quoted out of context, I dream this is about allowing Trump to travel anywhere that is not already a secure government facility.

Speaking of daydreams, in the last thread there was a question of how to react to cutting the maximum time allowed for debating most executive branch nominations after an initial vote to bring the matter to a close, from 30 hours down to just two (NY Times article, which states this action is because the GOP is "Frustrated by a lack of Democratic cooperation on executive branch nominations," which almost had me shouting at my computer "FUCK YOU, they're packing the courts with grossly unqualified individuals, disregarding their super-conservative opinions, which put them at the far right on most topics compared to the public at large), I had an idea:

Just like most standard job applications, put qualification minimums on all nominations. At least 10 years of experience in the field, including at least 2 on the public side (so you understand how government actually works), and maybe a test for moderate understanding of the field in which you are entering, to be developed by a bipartisan group with a split of public and private professionals, who will also "grade" responses.

And make it retroactive -- because the GOP is packing the courts with potential impacts lasting to 2050 (Daily Beast), given how young these (mostly white, male) judge are, and there's no chance we can impeach them all.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:37 PM on April 5 [14 favorites]


And make it retroactive -- because the GOP is packing the courts with potential impacts lasting to 2050 (Daily Beast), given how young these (mostly white, male) judge are, and there's no chance we can impeach them all.

This might be a bit tricky... judges "shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour", so removing a judge for reasons outside of their actual conduct while in office seems a bit fraught. On the other hand people seem to think that term limits are constitutional, so who knows.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:59 PM on April 5


also since the law is basically Calvinball, a majority can pass a law mandating qualifications... and then another majority can turn it back off once the other guys get in power. That's the same problem term limits have- once your term-limited justice bumps up to the limit, you just nuke the filibuster and push through a law to remove the limit.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:03 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


I thought we didn't have to go through the Treasury - that we could request the tax returns from the accounting firm.
posted by Selena777 at 3:15 PM on April 5


The accounting firm would have to be subpoenaed and that would be a long fight with less certainty of victory. Treasury isn't being subpoenaed.
posted by Justinian at 3:17 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


DHS supposedly got a legal opinion that they can revoke funds from the organization due to the "vulgarity and lack of professional maturity."

This seems like a very dangerous precedent for the GOP to establish given their current composition.
posted by srboisvert at 3:21 PM on April 5 [7 favorites]


Rep. Cummings says the accounting firm says they're happy to comply with a subpoena and that one will be coming soon. So there are a couple parallel tracks here.
posted by zachlipton at 3:28 PM on April 5 [28 favorites]


Huh. Well, good.
posted by Justinian at 3:29 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


NYT, ‘Catastrophic’ Delays at U.S.-Mexico Border Follow Redeployment of Agents
President Trump may have relented Thursday on his threat to close the southwest border of the United States in punishment for what he has said was Mexico’s failure to control illegal migration. But for a week now the border has, in effect, been partly closed because of American staffing shortages — costing businesses millions of dollars a day, according to industry officials, and causing painfully long delays for people and goods trying to legally cross the border.

Last week, the Trump administration announced it was pulling 750 border agents from their normal assignments at specific ports of entry on the border, and reassigning them to help process the surge in migrants who have been crossing the border illegally and seeking asylum.
...
Mr. Sotelo [a national vice president of the National Chamber of Freight Transportation in Mexico] summed up the impact in one word: “Catastrophic.”
The article cites 8-20 hour waits for trucks at some crossings, and crippling implications for factories.
posted by zachlipton at 3:45 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]


Miami Herald on Fire
Twitter thread
@jkbjournalist
and her editor met with Trump apologist Alan Dershowitz Monday for a lengthy, off-the-record briefing regarding her investigative series #PerversionofJustice, which re-examines the case of serial sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein and his remarkably light punishment.
Mr. Dershowitz was not the primary focus of the series. But he was Mr. Epstein’s friend and lawyer, and helped fashion his plea deal. One of the teenage victims also accused Mr. Dershowitz of sexually abusing her, a fact that has been reported numerous times over several years
posted by adamvasco at 3:45 PM on April 5 [19 favorites]


"The Trump administration is preparing to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, U.S. officials said,"

Um, awkward, since Trump's Azerbaijan hotel project laundered money for and funneled money to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Will he be arresting himself for giving aid and comfort to terrorists (and violating the FCPA to boot)?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:47 PM on April 5 [50 favorites]


Trump lawyers up to fight the tax return demand. His lawyer's first shot across the bow is unconvincing and desperate.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 4:12 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]


Our country is full. Our area is full. The sector is full. Can't take you anymore, I'm sorry.

Hear that, everyone? Stop having babies! The country is full!
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:48 PM on April 5


Yesterday I watched a video of one of the Republican House members (in their diatribe against the New Green Deal) advising everybody to have more babies. I'm sorry, that's just not the consistency I've grown to expect in the GOP.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:29 PM on April 5 [14 favorites]


This might be a bozo question, but I don't know what taxes are like for people with a lot of money. What might be in Trump's taxes that he's so afraid of anyone seeing? He didn't seem to care at all about being called out for buying a painting of himself with his charitable foundation's money, or other cases of fraud.
posted by rifflesby at 4:34 PM on April 5


in the case of trump, it's not necessarily the fraud - it's who he got the money from
posted by pyramid termite at 4:37 PM on April 5 [7 favorites]


Maybe he’s afraid that we will find out that he is not a billionaire.
posted by njohnson23 at 4:38 PM on April 5 [27 favorites]


Could be a lot of things. It seems almost certain that he is not nearly as rich as he claims and that, despite still being quite rich (just not a megabillionaire), he pays a much lower effective tax rate than working men and women. The public learning the former is something a narcissistic like Trump could not tolerate, and the latter would be politically problematic although his cultists are so in the tank they'd likely not care.

There is also speculation about a bunch of his money coming from foreign sources like Russia but I have no idea how much of that might be true. The not as rich / low tax rate stuff strikes me as very likely by comparison.
posted by Justinian at 4:39 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]


"This might be a bozo question, but I don't know what taxes are like for people with a lot of money. What might be in Trump's taxes that he's so afraid of anyone seeing?"

In Mitt Romney's case, smart tax folks speculated that in addition to showing how little tax he paid in general, it would show that he took advantage of a tax amnesty program that allowed rich people illegally using offshore accounts to shield money from taxes to repatriate that money and pay back taxes without criminal prosecution, or that he filed taxes claiming California residency while voting in Massachusetts, which would be voter fraud.

With Trump, we know he launders money, we know he has connections to organized crime, we know he's a tax cheat and a government program cheat, we know he uses his charities illegally, we know he's not as wealthy as he claims. His taxes will prove some or all of this, probably including substantial tax evasion and substantial fraud, in the difference between what various projects earned and what he claimed they earned in order to fuck over other investors. IOW, LOTS OF CRIME, plus all the legal tax evasion that people are going to be APPALLED by, plus the inflated net worth, plus possibly clear evidence of money laundering for criminal syndicates.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:55 PM on April 5 [46 favorites]


I don't know what taxes are like for people with a lot of money

Luckily there's a relevant FPP that was just put up.

But, as a total guess on my part, given Eric's “most of our financing comes from Russia” (whatever the wording was) comment a few years ago, it's going to be a whole bunch of loose ends where if you tug on one it quickly leads to a bunch of Russian mobsters buying apartments in Trump projects in lieu of bank financing, and with everyone in the world taking a look the quid pro quos will rapidly be uncovered.
posted by XMLicious at 4:58 PM on April 5 [20 favorites]


Financial experts that have followed Trump's finances for years believe him to likely be a couple hundred million dollars in debt.

The New York Times previously discovered a portion of Trump's tax returns, and found he had not paid any taxes in the last ten years by abusing a loophole, likely illegally.

What's in those returns? It's probably really bad.
posted by xammerboy at 6:51 PM on April 5 [17 favorites]


I think specifically bad for either his business or his narcissism, not "it will look bad politically" or even "kinda illegal". They either reveal that he's broke and in debt, or that he's done something that would jeaprodize one of his revenue streams (such as proof of a lie that will wind up voiding his insurance or make him pay fees he doesn't want to pay).
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:56 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


All of those financial analysis are outdated now that he's had two years of selling US policy for pure personal profit and direct transfers from the US taxpayers to Trump controlled businesses. He most likely is an actual billionaire now, even assuming he's not the mysterious 19% owner of Rosneft. He's made a fortune from selling off the presidency, much more than he ever made in his business career.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:12 PM on April 5 [20 favorites]


What might be in Trump's taxes that he's so afraid of anyone seeing?

In the unlikely event that he’s not doing anything technically illegal, it’s still possible that his taxes will show that he’s floating loan B to pay off loan A, and that he doesn’t really have any solid assets backing his loans, which would cause the banks to start to call in his loans, which would mean that his entire business might start to collapse.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:21 PM on April 5 [21 favorites]


WP: What the heck does Steve King do all day?
posted by Chrysostom at 7:26 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


I should point out that he doesn’t literally have to be kiting checks; it’s just that if he is reporting one measure of wealth to the banks, and a much different measure of wealth to the Feds, it could potentially start to cause a whole lot of problems for him.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:36 PM on April 5 [8 favorites]


Even if you're not kiting checks, banks finding out you're leveraged 10:1 when you've been telling them you're only leveraged 5:1, they're gonna have some uncomfortable questions.

Worse than that has been publicly reported, however. If the reporting is true, he's guilty of some sort of fraud at least in regards to what has been told to lenders. I'm only slightly surprised not to hear of any consequences. (It's not as if..unofficial..lenders couldn't quietly buy some or all of the debt to avoid any public noise and keep the laundry running)
posted by wierdo at 9:51 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]


I've read multiple stories about Trump getting loans, and in each case, the bankers seemed both aware and relieved that Trump was greatly and obviously exaggerating what he was worth. I recall one specifically saying the bank was looking for ways to invest money in riskier ventures. Anyway, it didn't sound like these banks really cared?

How Trump managed to run all his businesses into the ground is beyond me. He had banks loaning him hundreds of millions with no questions asked, and had no taxes to pay.
posted by xammerboy at 10:37 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]


It's almost like the banks were making more money from some other outside source of funding passing though Trump branded businesses than they lost by "lending" to Trump.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:54 PM on April 5 [37 favorites]


CNN, In bid to remain out of jail, Michael Cohen tells Congress he has more to add

Buzzfeed delves deeper into Cohen's new cooperative gambit: In New Documents, Cohen Says Trump "Instructed" Him To Lie
In a 12-page memo sent to top House Democrats, Cohen’s attorneys said Trump “encouraged Cohen to lie and say all Moscow Tower project contacts ended as of January 31, 2016 using ‘code’ language — telling Cohen during various conversations that there was ‘no collusion, no Russian contacts, nothing about Russia’ after the start of the campaign.’”[…]

The more than 100 pages of documents included with Cohen’s memo claim to lay bare a “conspiracy to collude” with the Russian government during the campaign, along with an array of other crimes by the president. The memo also for the "first time discloses Michael Cohen’s testimony to the Mueller team and to other non-public testimony to congressional committees," according to Cohen's legal team.

Cohen’s memo supports BuzzFeed News' earlier reporting that Cohen told investigators Trump had directed him to lie about the timing of real estate negotiations in Moscow.[…]

Cohen’s attorneys also made new claims in the memo about Trump’s involvement in the Moscow tower project, which he has previously dismissed as barely more than a notion, and his role in trying to close the deal.
MoJo has more: Michael Cohen Claims He Has Evidence of Possible Illegal GOP Contributions From China
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and a former deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee, claims that he “knows of possible federal campaign finance violations” by the RNC, including its alleged receipt of donations from foreign citizens.[…]

Cohen’s lawyers also sent lawmakers a 12-page memo, first reported by BuzzFeed, outlining evidence Cohen has offered congressional committees about Trump. The memo mentions Cohen’s knowledge of possible illegal foreign donations in just one sentence, which cites “possible federal campaign finance violations by the Republican National Committee, including possibly illegal conduiting of illegal substantial donations to the RNC by foreign nationals, including from China.”
CNN reports that Trump says he's not concerned with contents of Michael Cohen's hard drive, which, in Trumpspeak, means that he's very concerned.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:29 AM on April 6 [19 favorites]




Out of the blue, Roger Stone fires up an instagram attack on drunk, "nasty, rude, vindictive, entitled , self-important Barbara Bush"
posted by growabrain at 9:07 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Not entirely out of the blue. Barbara Bush recently said that she no longer considers herself Republican, because she can't tolerate Trump.
posted by xammerboy at 9:19 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


She can't have said it that recently, because she died on April 17, 2018.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:21 AM on April 6 [62 favorites]


Earlier this week, Trump told the Washington Times apropos of the new bio The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of a Dynasty, “I have heard that she was nasty to me, but she should be. Look what I did to her sons” (Politico). Jumping on that bandwagon is a pretty repellent way to suck up to Trump, but it's standard behavior for Roger Stone.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:22 AM on April 6 [4 favorites]


Oh, it looks like there's a new book that alleges that Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan hated each other. Which I completely believe.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:23 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Roger Stone himself is a vile ratfucker, and Barbara Bush is indeed dead, but he is probably right describing her that way.
posted by growabrain at 9:30 AM on April 6 [4 favorites]


If Republicans want to expound on how horrible their peers are, I’m not really going to get too worked up over it.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 9:36 AM on April 6 [18 favorites]


“The Denaturalization Investigations Handbook is dated January 15, 2008 and designated OFFICIAL USE ONLY. It includes information an agent would consult on whether to attempt stripping citizenship, and the intricacies of building up the case against a naturalized citizen.“ Icebreaker Pt 1 – Secret Homeland Security ICE/HSI Manual for Stripping US Citizenship
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 AM on April 6 [19 favorites]


NYT, Herman Cain Opens a New #MeToo Minefield for Republicans, in which we remember what Herman Cain did. But there's a portion further down that's particularly significant:
But people close to the administration said Mr. Trump was eager for a big fight on Capitol Hill, akin to the brawl over the Kavanaugh nomination, that will unite his base and distract from the spate of investigations being undertaken by House Democrats.

Mr. Trump and some of his staff members believe that stirring drama in the Senate during an election will help foster the impression that Senate Republicans are taking action at a time when Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, plans to do little more than push through judicial nominations, a person close the administration said.
Look over there! Nevermind the fact that the World's Greatest Deliberative Body has zero interest in governing and will simply be forcing through lifetime appointments for dozens of young Federalist Society members. Why care about that when we fight about Herman Cain? The problem with this plan is that it assumes anyone actually cares; a Supreme Court nomination is not the same thing as a Fed seat for a guy best known for ending his 2012 primary campaign before voting began.

It also doesn't seem like Cain...has particularly high expectations that this will happen? He posted a video complaining about the background check process and saying stuff like "It’s an honor to be considered, whether or not I will make it through this process -- time will tell. Would I be disappointed if I don’t make it through this process? No. Would I be thrilled and honored if I make it through this process? Yes."
posted by zachlipton at 11:49 AM on April 6 [4 favorites]


She can't have said it that recently, because she died on April 17, 2018.

We didn't know about the statement until recently:

In a new book, "The Matriarch," Susan Page reveals that Barbara Bush blamed Donald Trump for her heart attack.

Did she still consider herself a Republican? In an interview with me in October 2017, she answered that question yes. When I asked her again four months later, in February 2018, she said, "I'd probably say no today."
posted by xammerboy at 11:51 AM on April 6 [7 favorites]


The cruelty just never ends. From NBC San Diego: The Trump administration wants up to two years to find potentially thousands of children who were separated from their families at the border before a judge halted the practice last year, a task that it says is more laborious than previous efforts because the children are no longer in government custody.

The Justice Department said in a court filing late Friday that it will take at least a year to review about 47,000 cases of unaccompanied children taken into government custody between July 1, 2017, and June 25, 2018 — the day before U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw halted the general practice of splitting families. The administration would begin by sifting through names for traits most likely to signal separation — for example, children under 5.


But was the family separation policy truly halted? Of course not. From Slate: The Trump administration claims it now only separates families when parents have serious criminal histories, when parents or children have medical issues, or when officials determine that the parent poses a danger to the child. But the administration is apparently interpreting “serious criminal history” to mean the parent has tried to enter the U.S. before. Using that rationale, the government appears to be violating the spirit of last year’s court ruling against family separation.

“You had two children with you?” Texas Civil Rights Project attorney Karla Vargas, whom I was assisting in that Texas courtroom last month, asked one Honduran father. He nodded, begging to reunite with his kids, even if he was to be deported. Weeks later, this father remains separated from his children, and Vargas told me she has not been able to access information about whether the family will be reunited.

posted by Bella Donna at 11:53 AM on April 6 [15 favorites]


The Trump administration wants up to two years

Even if he's out of office in 1 3/4?
posted by rhizome at 11:56 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


I'm going to use the "elites hate Trump" thing all the time. Yes, we elites would prefer our judges have some basic understanding of the law. We think it's even better if they've had any experience practicing it before being given a lifetime appointment. We even like the idea that some judges not be white. Black judges, women judges, atheists, even gay judges are okay. We're open to the idea of even giving them some latitude in sentencing defendants. We're crazy and want to destroy your way of life.
posted by xammerboy at 12:03 PM on April 6 [17 favorites]


But was the family separation policy truly halted?

Again, the Supreme Court could hear this case and or issue an injunction and stop this tomorrow.
posted by xammerboy at 12:08 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


Just to remind folks that Roger Stone wrote a book accusing Bush family members of multiple murders, including that of JFK Sr. (Bill Clinton was supposed to have killed JFK Jr.) The book has a blurb endorsement from Trump.
This is Trump's National Enquirer level thinking. It explains the junk that comes out of his mouth.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:55 PM on April 6 [20 favorites]


But was the family separation policy truly halted?

Again, the Supreme Court could hear this case and or issue an injunction and stop this tomorrow.


Hold on. You know those are majority bad guys now, right? (i.e. are not on the side of humanity in this debate. I mean, I know you know that.) It's just that I seem to frequently see these appeals to decency and reason. Which seems to ignore the fact that the people in power are happy with, for instance, family separation as a tool to intimidate already suffering people and inflict torment and terror. Working as they intend. So need an option other than the Supreme Court then.

And anyway, on the off chance the Supreme Court did say stop it right now, recent history has shown they would stay the course and suffer few consequences.

Sorry. I know this is all obvious.(?) But I am here at metafilter with all you smart people so you can tell the regular people how best to help fix this motherf*cking historical blip, for which I seem to see less concern in the normal every day life living than I would expect. But that includes me, and my defense is I do not know what to actually DO. I send money to social justice organizations. But I can't go back to college at this point and become a lawyer. (Apologies if this should have gone in the &^!?#$@ thread.) I know, vote. (Which I just did last week in a small local election for I think the first time in my life.)
posted by Glinn at 2:04 PM on April 6 [17 favorites]


'Our mantra is chaos': Republican researchers target 2020 Democrats
The America Rising committee monitors everything the candidates do, hoping the large field will work in Trump’s favor
The locus of the Republican effort to define the Democratic field in advance of 2020 is America Rising, a political action committee that has become a clearinghouse for GOP opposition research.

Sarah Dolan, its executive director, told the Guardian the group’s goal was to “hold Democrats accountable”. America Rising already has a war room team monitoring everything Democratic candidates do on social media, full-time trackers in early states following candidates from event to event, and an aggressive field research effort using Freedom Of Information Act (Foia) requests and primary documents.

Dolan said her group would not play favorites. Instead, she said: “Our mantra this cycle is really just to cause chaos, especially with how big the field is.”
posted by XMLicious at 3:28 PM on April 6 [16 favorites]


The kind of people who are willing to break up families because they want a whiter America won't stop unless most of them see jail time. These are not normal times when politicians would back off from a criminal policy at the first rebuke, the current admin is a criminal mob that will keep breaking laws until stopped.
posted by benzenedream at 4:46 PM on April 6 [19 favorites]


'Our mantra is chaos': Republican researchers target 2020 Democrats

This is all standard political opposition stuff that happens every presidential cycle. I'm much more concerned about what Pascale and the actual campaign are doing, and how much of it will be "coordinated" but not in "collusion" with the Russian efforts to reelect Trump. And whether our canidates can avoid using the same right wing attack lines against each other this time as the primary really gets going.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:30 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


WaPo: Pelosi Outlines a Path to Victory For House Democrats In 2020 — And Guarantees It
Barely three months into her second turn in charge, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already mapped out a plan to overwhelm Republicans in the 2020 elections.

“I’m going to have our races won by this November,” the California Democrat said.

Yes, the House speaker predicted that she will have locked down the majority a full year ahead of schedule, leaving the political battlefield to what she considers an intense presidential race all the way up to November 2020.[…]

[S]he has charted a course of again appealing to moderate suburbanites and some rural voters frustrated by Trump’s reality-TV-style presidency. She doesn’t want to focus on impeaching Trump or on far-fetched legislation that has no hope of passing in divided government. She promises not to repeat the mistakes leading up to 2010.

“You cannot let your opponents characterize — mischaracterize — what you’re about. So, what was missing from that was a strong messaging piece, and that’s what we had in this last election,” she said.[…]

But Pelosi believes her endangered incumbents are shoring themselves up through a steady diet of town halls. And leadership is particularly pushing the freshmen running their first reelection to raise as much money as possible.

By Thanksgiving, if all goes according to her plan, potential GOP challengers will “think twice” about running against Democrats. And then she will deliver a stern warning to Republicans who remain in swing seats.

“We fully intend to win this election, and some of you are vulnerable. It’s going to cost you millions of dollars, to win or lose. And if you win — say you win — you’re in the minority, probably want to teach at the university,” Pelosi said, drawing out every syllable like the daughter of a Baltimore mayor who watched her father stare down rivals. “So we get the A-team, and they get the retirements. That’s my plan.”
Many on the left aren't going to like her plan, however, but at least she's determined not to repeat the mistakes of the 2010 midterms.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:38 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


Focusing on moderate suburbanites is exactly how they lost last time.
posted by The Whelk at 6:27 PM on April 6 [22 favorites]


That piece is equal parts YASSSS QUEEN and NOOOOOO NOT AGAIN.

I don't know how to feel right now.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:43 PM on April 6 [14 favorites]


I am here at metafilter with all you smart people so you can tell the regular people how best to help fix this motherf*cking historical blip, for which I seem to see less concern in the normal every day life living than I would expect. But that includes me, and my defense is I do not know what to actually DO.

If you've signed up for Resistbot, local letter campaigns, and have become involved in a local political organization like Indivisible, then I think you're doing your part. If you want to go above and beyond, join a political campaign. If you want to really dedicate yourself to this, study to become an immigration lawyer stand in (this only takes a few months of self schooling) and jump in. Be active, be engaged, be local.

If other people have other advice I'm interested too. I know all of this stuff doesn't seem like enough. Try to remember that organizations like Amnesty International stop authoritarian countries from systematically abusing human rights simply by writing letters. That's all they have. Shame. Remember, don't shame the people whose minds you are trying to change. It's enough to point out the behavior and that you know about it.
posted by xammerboy at 7:14 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


I thought the logic was that we win when we turn up and that "independents" are actually a 30/40/30 split of people who are dem/actual indy/rep.

Which makes this focusing on people who aren't going to turn up to vote for our people as a headscratcher.

She doesn’t want to focus on impeaching Trump or on far-fetched legislation that has no hope of passing in divided government. She promises not to repeat the mistakes leading up to 2010.

I've got a cake! "The base of the democratic party goes home during a Presidential election after super turnout during a midterm because leadership didn't rock the boat."
posted by Slackermagee at 7:16 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


[S]he has charted a course of again appealing to moderate suburbanites and some rural voters frustrated by Trump’s reality-TV-style presidency. She doesn’t want to focus on impeaching Trump or on far-fetched legislation that has no hope of passing in divided government. She promises not to repeat the mistakes leading up to 2010.

The suburban blue wave was largely a repudiation of Trump. Orange County California, which has voted Republican for the last 50 years, didn't vote Democrat, because they suddenly started agreeing with Democrat policy, at least not primarily. They were disgusted by the new undemocratic tactics and policies of Trump, and see a party they no longer want to affiliate themselves with.

I think that's what's missing from Pelosi's plan. Don't call them deplorable. Don't chastise them for voting for Trump. But do point out that something's changed in the system, and specifically how and why it's dangerous. Do take on Trump. That's why they voted for you. Do try and pass through legislation people want. Don't sit out that fight. Even if you're going to lose, people want to see you fighting.

By all means focus on what you're about and plan to do also, but Democrats can chew gum and walk at the same time right? And another thing, be ready to go in 2020. Write that legislation now. If history is any guide you'll have only two years to get things done. Make the most of it.
posted by xammerboy at 7:27 PM on April 6 [11 favorites]




He also asked them how they could vote for President Obama. Because they are Jews, see?
posted by Justinian at 8:14 PM on April 6 [18 favorites]


The video of the Republican Jewish Coalition interrupting Trump to point out that they didn't support Obama, what with the whole being Republicans thing, is really something.
posted by zachlipton at 8:24 PM on April 6 [30 favorites]


Pelosi's plan is to pretend that we can return to the status quo ante. Even if we could, the outcome of the status quo ante was this entire fucking nightmare what is wrong with you. She really does believe that he's a random aberration in the process of everything becoming slowly better and should be discarded like every other fool who refuses to face the horror that is modern reality.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:43 PM on April 6 [35 favorites]


The Democratic Party seems to be messaging to their wealthy donors that the leadership doesn’t want to rock the boat. See, we’re all centrists here, they message, we’ve not decided to come after your hoard of treasure, we’re not replacing your old favorites with spicy newcomers and radical policy changes. See, we’re just like the Republicans you remember from nostalgia, only nicer and with more brown people. Donate to us, we’ll maintain the status quo.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:12 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


Alternative theory: Pelosi saw which areas swung back to the Democrats between 2016 and 2018 and wants to continue to target those areas in 2020. No wealthy donor conspiracy needed.
posted by Justinian at 9:21 PM on April 6 [44 favorites]


Obama was an institutionalist by nature and to some degree political necessity who ran up against radicals wearing institutionalist costume. Hillary Clinton ran as an institutionalist.

Other countries go through phases of electing leaders whose platforms include constitutional reform. Though his reputation is in the dirt these days, Tony Blair did this: devolution to Scotland and Wales (and eventually NI through power-sharing); House of Lords reform; the gradual untangling of the judicial system from the executive and legislature. In the US, constitutional reform on the federal level is never explicit, in part because the constitution is treated as holy writ, in part because it's a fucker to amend. It happens implicitly by packing the courts and shitting on norms and behaving as if laws don't matter because who's going to enforce them against you?

So this is the 2020 bind: is Candidate Oldwhiteguy Mulligan and a take-backsies platform the safest option to flush the turd out of the White House, even if it leaves all the institutional fuckery in place, or is it necessary to talk about reforming at least some of the institutional fuckery that keeps the US from being a modern democracy?

Going back to Tony Blair: New Labour of 1997-2001 was centre-left in a non-radical way, but radical in its desire to change the superstructure of British politics, and mostly succeeded. (Superstructure changes aren't necessarily self-interested: Scottish devolution made Nicola Sturgeon's political career possible.) It's a different axis.

The candidates who are willing a) to talk about how liberal legislation can pass under the status quo; b) to say that the electoral college and lifetime judicial appointments and other stuff is really fucking stupid ought to be given attention even if they're softer on actual policies. Radical policies without a mechanism to implement them are nothing more than polyphonic farting.
posted by holgate at 9:38 PM on April 6 [30 favorites]


The candidates who are willing a) to talk about how liberal legislation can pass under the status quo;

Obviously this requires elimination of the legislative filibuster if its ever going to happen but it still requires getting at least 50 votes in the Senate. Which I grow ever more pessimistic about. Granting DC and PR statehood is one tactic which can help offset things a little but that requires... 50 votes in the Senate.
posted by Justinian at 9:47 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


The candidates who are willing a) to talk about how liberal legislation can pass under the status quo; b) to say that the electoral college and lifetime judicial appointments and other stuff is really fucking stupid ought to be given attention even if they're softer on actual policies. Radical policies without a mechanism to implement them are nothing more than polyphonic farting.

Ezra Klein goes over related ground in this thread: "We often assume political style matches ideology, and the more modest you are in your aims, the more compromising you are in your style, and vice versa. But that's often not true."
posted by Jpfed at 10:08 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


What voters should we target? These voters.
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


Family Separation Has Scarred These Kids For Life: One year after Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy, HuffPost spoke to families who say their children are withdrawn, depressed and self-harming.

Nazis were put in prison for the rest of their lives for these specific crimes. "Recognize and seek justice for crimes against humanity" should be as much a Democratic primary litmus test as "get rid of the filibuster" and "pack the court."
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:01 AM on April 7 [48 favorites]


Democrats will 'never' see Trump tax returns – White House chief of staff

They don't seem very convincing in the article, but I guess it's worth trying...
posted by mumimor at 8:02 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]




As Trump struggles to curb unauthorized immigration, his rhetoric gets tougher, but quick solutions are elusive (WaPo)
“All of these actions alone are problematic, but when you compound them, you’re really left shaking your head,” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) said in an interview. Trump “lacks a fundamental understanding of how this works, and generally wants to stoke fear and racism among folks who don’t believe in offering asylum.” [...]

“Congress has to act. . . . They have to get rid of the whole asylum system because it doesn’t work,” Trump told reporters Friday. “And frankly, we should get rid of judges.”


[...] on the same day Nielsen warned in her letter to Congress that migrant children, two of whom died in federal custody last fall, are arriving “sicker than ever before,” Trump mocked the asylum system at a campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. The migrants are coached by lawyers to say, “I’m very afraid for my life,” he said, even though they look as strong and fit as “the heavyweight champion of the world.”
Emphasis added to the Shakespearean warning.
posted by Little Dawn at 9:21 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


"Recognize and seek justice for crimes against humanity"

This is one of the reasons I think Democrats should move forward with impeachment proceedings. It's the forum where what's happening can be clearly presented to the public, and the question asked: is this us?

And, it looks like having children in cages was the plan. If not the plan, then an ongoing criminally negligent oversight that only heartless monsters would be capable of.

The problem with Pelosi's plans is they are too careful and calculated. You don't need to overthink or hedge on doing something this fundamentally decent. I'm on the cusp of believing that only the DSA will ask for the right policies and demand we do the right things.

How many times does an Ocasio need to put forward radical proposals like, I don't know, taxing rich people, only for Democrats to find these proposals are massively popular for Democrats to finally get it.

The calculus right now should be to propose and do the right thing. There's nothing difficult or morally complex about this. When you're asked why you're doing what you're doing you just need to say because Trump's putting kids in cages and won't stop.

And if you're not brave enough for that? If you can't make that argument to the people? Then I really need to start looking elsewhere for hope.
posted by xammerboy at 9:27 AM on April 7 [17 favorites]


Do you believe that the Democratic party should have attempted to impeach Bush over the torture, xammerboy?
posted by Selena777 at 9:30 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Do you believe that the Democratic party should have attempted to impeach Bush over the torture

That Bush and many others in his administration should have been tried for various crimes against humanity shouldn't even be a question.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:33 AM on April 7 [39 favorites]


If the Democrats don't explicitly run on a "we will release these children in cages immediately" platform then what the fuck are they even for?
posted by odinsdream at 9:34 AM on April 7 [44 favorites]


It would be nice if we could stop doing the thing where when someone wants to stick up for what is right now, they are immediately subjected to a fifteen year lookback on ideological purity.

Bush II is no longer around to impeach, and that doesn't help the caged children, so knock it off.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:41 AM on April 7 [43 favorites]


I feel like there are credible grounds for impeachment and that Pelosi is considering both the likelihood of being able to impeach him and the consequences of a failed impeachment attempt. If an impeachment attempt can and should serve as a substitute for or precursor to a trial for human rights abuses, isn't precedent relevant?
posted by Selena777 at 10:04 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


But if it backfires and the GOP can claim "victory" or "not guilty," it could bolster the GOP voters and depress Dems, making the chance that Democrats take the white house and senate less likely.

Looking through my old photos, I found this: Sarah Palin for President 2012 - Let's Make America Great Again!

I tried to find anything about this online, but instead I found this: Reagan | Let's Make America Great Again button on Pinterest, which was apparently worn in 1980.

Truly, nothing is new under the sun.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:13 AM on April 7 [8 favorites]


I feel like there are credible grounds for impeachment and that Pelosi is considering both the likelihood of being able to impeach him and the consequences of a failed impeachment attempt.

This sends a message to children that they should only do the right thing if they know what the outcome is going to be.
posted by rhizome at 10:31 AM on April 7 [18 favorites]


If an impeachment attempt can and should serve as a substitute for or precursor to a trial for human rights abuses, isn't precedent relevant?

Not in the International Criminal Court (Wikipedia)
The United States is not a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute),[1] which founded the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002 as a permanent international criminal court to "bring to justice the perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humankind – war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide", when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so.[2]
This NYT Opinion piece by Sonia Nazario ‘Someone Is Always Trying to Kill You’ is hard to read because it describes unprecedented brutality and violence in Central America, and it also includes this:
This latest announcement comes on top of moves by the Trump administration to bar victims of domestic violence from applying for asylum. In June, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general at the time, sought to reverse a Board of Immigration Appeals decision from 2014 that added domestic violence to the list of horrors that could qualify someone for asylum. In December, a federal court ruled that he didn’t have the authority to do that. But the Trump administration has persisted and is appealing the decision.
And this:
Cutting off the border and trying to stop victims of domestic violence from applying for asylum are even greater mistakes. During World War II, the United States blocked a ship with hundreds of Jewish refugees from docking at our shores, sending many back to their deaths. After the war, the United States declared “never again” and became a leader in the modern-day refugee movement. This is at the core of who we are: We don’t send people who arrive at our borders back to die. We incorporated that ideal into international treaties and our own immigration laws.

If we turn our backs now on Central American women who are running for their lives, we will be failing to meet the lowest possible bar for human rights. These women are being targeted just for being women. They are fleeing countries where the government does little to protect them and is sometimes even complicit in the killings.
posted by Little Dawn at 10:39 AM on April 7 [22 favorites]




What if Pelosi's game plan is to let the various Congressional, federal, state and local investigations of the Trump businesses, foundation, campaign, transition, inauguration, and administration play out for the next 12 months or so, yielding a constant flow of damaging news and perhaps more indictments, and then impeach in the early summer of 2020?
The idea would be to time it so that the House convicts and impeachment goes to the Senate a couple of weeks before the GOP convention, thereby dropping a giant turd into their re-nomination punch bowl, and forcing their senators to have to deal with all the political fallout of defending Trump (or not) at the exact time when they'd hoped to be really ramping up for the fall.
I'm just spitballing here, obviously, but this seems at least semi-plausible.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:41 AM on April 7 [17 favorites]


Apparently, this morning, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney basically admitted that Trump could release his tax returns if he wanted to (link to Axios). "Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns. They knew that he didn’t and they elected him anyway."

It's frustrating that the press doesn't pressure T with quotes from his own staff. Next time T says his returns are under audit, someone should point out the IRS itself has said this doesn't matter and that Mulvaney said he could release them if he wanted to.
posted by StrawberryPie at 10:45 AM on April 7 [21 favorites]


What if Pelosi's game plan is to let the various Congressional, federal, state and local investigations of the Trump businesses, foundation, campaign, transition, inauguration, and administration play out for the next 12 months or so, yielding a constant flow of damaging news and perhaps more indictments, and then impeach in the early summer of 2020?

Certainly in the short term, although Pelosi's consistently resisted calls for impeachment, she hasn't done anything to prevent Dem committee chairs from repeatedly raising the issue or going after him for what definitely sounds like "high crimes and misdemeanors".

Just this morning, Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, asked about the Mueller report on CBS said: "There could be grounds for impeachment, there could be grounds for other actions, there could be things the American people ought to know." (w/ video)

And on CNN, Rep. Adam Schiff said: "I don’t regret calling out this President for what I consider deeply unethical and improper conduct, not a bit … I think the moment that we start to think we should back away from exposing this kind of malfeasance and corruption is a dangerous point." (w/video)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:28 AM on April 7 [17 favorites]


US forces evacuated from Libya as Haftar seeks military control (Guardian)
Haftar is seeking to capture the capital and seize military control of the whole country before UN-sponsored talks due to start next week that were designed to map out a path to fresh elections. Footage on social media showed two fast US navy transport craft manoeuvring off a beach in Janzour, in Tripoli’s western suburbs, sending up plumes of spray as American forces were ferried from the shore. [...]

Calls for sanctions to be taken against Haftar were heard for the first time, including from a former UK ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett. Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign affairs chief, will try to organise a united front at a meeting of the EU general affairs council on Monday. [...]

The evacuation is the first public acknowledgement that the US had forces in Libya. The US Africa Command saying in a statement: “Due to increased unrest in Libya a contingent of US forces supporting US Africa Command temporarily relocated from the country in response to security conditions on the ground.” The US gave no details of the size of the force, or its mission, but said it might be sent back later. “We will continue to monitor conditions on the ground and assess the feasibility for renewed US military presence, as appropriate,” it said.
posted by Little Dawn at 11:51 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


This sends a message to children that they should only do the right thing if they know what the outcome is going to be.


Well, yeah, but that’s not always a bad thing, really.

Sometimes doing the right thing in the short term can have much more negative consequences in the long term. Part of growing up, I think, is deciding that the benefits of following a moral ideal or principle to its logical conclusion can be outweighed by not causing the subsequent damage of doing so.

Impeaching Trump is definitely “the right thing” to do. But recognizing that it wouldn’t make it through the Senate is a legitimate reason to decide not to initiate the effort. Because, as others have said, maybe launching a failed impeachment leads to a second Trump term, which means he gets to appoint another hundred extremist judges (and maybe a couple of SCOTUS Justices), keep his lobbyist cronies in charge of the Cabinet, and maintain the war on immigrants for four more years. Which could lead to a lot of real-life pain and suffering for a lot of people.

I don’t know if Trump’s re-election is likely facilitated by a failed impeachment. But if soneone believes it is, then the subsequent decision to not impeach — so they don’t trigger that dire result — doesn’t mean they are morally flawed, or unprincipled.
posted by darkstar at 12:15 PM on April 7 [16 favorites]


Giuliani: Let Congress see the Mueller report (Politico)
Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, the former New York mayor who is one of President Donald Trump's personal lawyers, argued the president has nothing to hide and has demonstrated "unprecedented" cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. [...]

"If Andrew Weissmann, who was crying at Hillary Clinton's losing party, couldn't find anything," Giuliani said, referring to a lawyer on Mueller's team, "believe me, there was nothing there."

Asked by CBS host Margaret Brennan if the president has any qualms with the whole report being released, Giuliani said, "No Republican is pushing back on full disclosure of the report."
Mulvaney: No one in White House has requested Mueller report (Politico)
Mulvaney added that he does not “really have much interest in seeing” the highly anticipated, roughly 400-page report, as he directed the Office of Management and Budget until January and was removed from much of the White House’s political and legal response to the special counsel’s 22-month probe. “I don’t really have much interest,” Mulvaney said. “I know what it says, and it says, ‘No collusion’ and ‘No obstruction.’”
posted by Little Dawn at 12:21 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Charles P. Pierce: "Trump doesn’t care if Omar gets killed"
posted by growabrain at 12:49 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


I'm unfamiliar with the muckraking site Sludge, but it looks like they've got the goods on this AZ GOP congressman: Paul Gosar Omitted Dinner with Far-Right Nationalists in Travel Report—A new documentary on Steve Bannon reveals that the Arizona congressman dined with European far-right nationalists in London last year.
When Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar filed his travel report from a July 2018 trip to London with the House clerk’s office, he listed a Saturday night dinner with “members of the U.K. parliament” to “discuss the need to protect the right to free speech.”

Because of The Brink, a new documentary about former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s political work in Europe last year, we now know the guest list for the dinner Gosar attended that night, which took place in Bannon’s London hotel, included no British MPs at all—and instead included several right-wing nationalist politicians from Belgium, France, and Sweden. A clip of the dinner is available here.

Members of Congress are not required to report travel activities they undertake at their own personal expense. Gosar’s report, which includes a “tentative itinerary” but was stamped by the House clerk two days after Gosar’s return, lists “personal time” from 10am to 8pm that day. Based on the information Sludge has, it does not appear possible that Gosar went to Bannon’s dinner and paid for his meal before heading to the alleged event with U.K. members of Parliament, which was scheduled to run from 8-9:30 pm according to the disclosure. Gosar stayed through the end of Bannon’s dinner, and The Brink director Alison Klayman sent Google chat messages just after the dinner ended that were timestamped at nearly 10:00 pm London time.

Bannon told the Guardian that his dinner went from 6pm to 12am. Another attendee told CNN that the dinner lasted three to four hours.
If any Arizona Mefites want to bring this to the attention of the House Ethics Committee, that would be democracy in action.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:52 PM on April 7 [24 favorites]


AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s bad-guy talk belies migrants’ reality (AP)
When President Donald Trump talks about the masses of Central Americans trying to get into the U.S., he describes a horde of beefy men with ill intent, “some of the roughest people you’ve ever seen,” and mocks them for acting like frightened babies so soft-hearted Americans will take them in.

Figures from his own administration tell a different story
: Those coming are increasingly families and children. Among them are thousands who get a chance for a life in America because they make a compelling case that they risk persecution in their home countries.
posted by Little Dawn at 12:52 PM on April 7 [12 favorites]


Do you believe that the Democratic party should have attempted to impeach Bush over the torture, xammerboy?

Without question. Torture is not constitutional. Bush's own lawyers, including Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, clearly thought there was a danger of the practice being challenged on lawful grounds. This is why we got wordplay like "enemy combatants" and "enhanced interrogation" designed to subvert the law. The fact that the blatantly illegal tactic went unchallenged may be one of the reasons Republicans so confidently ignore the law now.

It's also a good example of where I think a public forum to consider the question may have changed public opinion. Contrary to what most Americans believe, many military executives are very much against torture for very good reasons. A public forum showing an army of military generals explaining why torture was bad for the war, bad at getting at intelligence, and deeply damaging to America's reputation and self conception would have, at the very least, given Trump's administration reason to think again about violating human rights with impunity.
posted by xammerboy at 12:53 PM on April 7 [48 favorites]


And imagine if we prosecuted war criminals and banksters right afterwards. No one went to jail for the Iraq war, or the mortgage financial crisis. Is there any wonder Republicans laugh off the idea that they could ever be subject to laws again? They have a mountain of evidence that they'll get away with anything when Democrats always "look forward, not backward". The rule of law requires looking backward, and punishment. Or it doesn't exist.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:35 PM on April 7 [44 favorites]




Perhaps better sourcing/confirmation: @washdems: WA Democrats officially adopt March 10, 2020 vote-by-mail primary, replacing caucuses, 121 to 40. Of 12,800+ public comments submitted, 93.6% supported a primary system.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:38 PM on April 7 [15 favorites]


@PaulaReidCBS: JUST IN: Two US officials tell @CBSNews DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen meeting with President Trump at 5pm, expected to resign.

I'm guessing this could have something to do with the whole 'Stephen Miller is in charge' thing.

@djlavoie: There better not be even a hint of DC Cocktail Party rehabilitation for the woman who caged babies, denigrated migrants, and empowered a racist aspiring fascist. She should be booed every time she enters a room for the rest of her life.

Ensuring that the idea of putting her on any corporate boards is completely toxic would be a good first step.
posted by zachlipton at 2:12 PM on April 7 [50 favorites]


Emerson poll of 2020 Dem primary in Massachussettes.
  1. Bernie Sanders: 26%
  2. Joe Biden: 23%
  3. Elizabeth Warren: 14%
  4. Pete Buttigieg: 11%
  5. Beto O’Rourke: 8%
  6. Kamala Harris: 7%
  7. Everyone Else: sadness
The only really surprise to me is Warren at 14% in her home state. Not great, Bob! Also, four white dudes in the top five. But, hey, two are really old and two are really young so... diversity!
posted by Justinian at 2:15 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


The Age: Leaked Turnbull-Trump phone call could lead to criminal charges
Devin Nunes, the highest-ranking Republican member on the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, announced on Sunday that he would send eight criminal referrals to US Attorney-General William Barr.

One of the referrals is aimed at finding out who leaked transcripts of Trump's January 28, 2017 phone call with [Australia's Prime Minister at the time, Malcolm] Turnbull. Leaks relating to the call with then Mexican President Pena Nieto will also be investigated, along with former national security adviser Michael Flynn's communications with a Russian ambassador.
This is actually a good idea, or would have been in the hypothetical universe where this administration were normal. But, in that universe the investigation would have taken place two years ago, because the leak of unreviewed transcripts was a shocking breach of national security.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:15 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


She should be booed every time she enters a room for the rest of her life.

And some day she will have to face justice for her role in perpetrating crimes against humanity.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:17 PM on April 7 [20 favorites]


Note that we don't have any prior Emerson polls of MA (nor from anyone else, I believe) so we can't tell if Biden and Sanders have swapped places in the last two no good very bad weeks for Biden or if Sanders was always slightly ahead. It could be either.
posted by Justinian at 2:20 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


The only really surprise to me is Warren at 14% in her home state. Not great, Bob! Also, four white dudes in the top five. But, hey, two are really old and two are really young so... diversity!

... one of whom is also openly and unapologetically gay. So yes, diversity! Also: it’s a poll of MA Dem primary voters and thus reflects the sort of awareness we’d expect based on proximity, no?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:29 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


(I mean, there’s an uncharitable reading of those numbers involving speculation about what’s in the hearts of Massachusetts Democrats, of course. But the geographic explanation is delightful so I’ll focus on that.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:33 PM on April 7


Well, that's why the Warren result is the surprising one to me. It makes sense that Sanders is polling a bit better in MA than elsewhere given he's from neighboring New England state Vermont. But Warren is actually from MA and her politics line up well with the electorate there so you'd expect this to be among her best states.
posted by Justinian at 2:34 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


From that MA Emerson poll, 18-29 year olds:

Sanders 52%
O'Rourke 15%
Warren 10%
Biden 10%
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:34 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


I take those poll numbers more as "Old white guys suck all of the oxygen out of the room" more than anything. I'm sure Warren would do better if it wasn't for that. As for Mayor Pete, yes, being a gay man does make him an intersectional candidate - as well as one hell of an "It Gets Better" advertisement; for an out and married gay man to be talked about as a serious Presidential candidate means a lot, I think. But I'm still pulling for Warren and/or Harris.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:36 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


Ah! Yes, I see what you’re saying, Justinian. That is odd about Warren. RM’s demographic numbers and Rosie’s comment taken together probably account for it. I retract my hypothesis. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:39 PM on April 7


>The problem with Pelosi's plans is they are too careful and calculated.

>>What if Pelosi's game plan is to let the various ... investigations ... play out for the next 12 months or so, ... and then impeach in the early summer of 2020?

>>>No one went to jail for the Iraq war, or the mortgage financial crisis. Is there any wonder Republicans laugh off the idea that they could ever be subject to laws again?

Reagan spent the next six generations' money on nuclear weapons in space and pioneered the "Give all the money to the rich" while demonizing "special interest groups" (that's us, btw), and Bush the First fucking invaded a country in the Middle East for - oil? I guess? - which was the first war we started for no good reason since the 19th century, then Clinton (pass), then Bush II who did the same fucking war again for - ?? fuckall nobody even knows what that shit was about except pissing away trillions from the taxpayers and cratering the g-ddamn global economy and that's not to mention instituting torture which - what the g-ddamned fuck does a taxpayer have to do around here to get some frickin justice for these outrageous crimes?!!

That whole time - that whole Reagan-era-on-to-this-very-day the Democratic Party made an ass of itself (tee hee, see 'cause...) by waffling and blathering and running completely boring banking-friendly candidates that LOST EVERY TIME. Pelosi wants that again. FUCK THAT. Jebus on a crutch if this orange fascist doesn't get you off your do-nothing let's lick some bankers maybe they'll favor us ass to swing the g-ddamned sword then nothing will. NOTHING WILL. Are the Democratic Party Leaders unaware of their own decades-old impotent bullshit? It seems that, sadly, they are.
posted by petebest at 2:57 PM on April 7 [14 favorites]


“This is a truly staggering fact: Wall Street bonuses totaled $27.5 billion last year, which is more 3 times the combined annual earnings of *all* American workers employed full-time at the federal minimum wage.“

Why do we even have Wall Street in the first place.
posted by The Whelk at 3:00 PM on April 7 [42 favorites]


Why do we even have Wall Street in the first place.

It's not for us.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:05 PM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Why do we even have Wall Street in the first place.

Oh, oh, I know the answer to this one. Liquidity! (And then they go to the bar and have a drink and laugh and laugh.)
posted by diogenes at 3:06 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Are the Democratic Party Leaders unaware of their own decades-old impotent bullshit? It seems that, sadly, they are.

Their impotent bullshit worked great for them. They are Democratic Party Leaders!
posted by diogenes at 3:07 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Children in cages enthusiast Nielsen has resigned. (warning: links to trump's twitter.)

Kevin McAleenan of CBP will be acting Secretary.
posted by Justinian at 3:08 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


Trump attacks Rep. Ilhan Omar hours after a supporter was charged with threatening to kill her (Amanda Sakuma, Vox)
He wants to drive a wedge between Jewish voters and the Democratic Party.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:08 PM on April 7 [10 favorites]


I mean he also called Netanyahu “their” prime minster, to a group of Americans. Because to him, all Jews are Israeli, or have a loyalty to Israel. The very same sentiment, ironically, that Rep Omar was accused of.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 3:20 PM on April 7 [42 favorites]


Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen is out because she put insufficient numbers of brown children in concentration camps. That’s not hyperbole. That is what is actually happening in this country.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:25 PM on April 7 [31 favorites]


Speaking as a Democrat in Massachusetts: I wouldn't completely read that poll standing on Warren as a dunk by her constituents.

Democrats in Massachusetts think Elizabeth Warren is an outstanding Senator, and if she became president, her seat would be filled by a person chosen by our Republican governor. It's complicated.
posted by Sublimity at 3:33 PM on April 7 [20 favorites]


I can see the confirmation hearings now.
Democratic Senator: Are you going to continue the policies of your predecessor, breaking up families and caging children?
Nominee: (anything other than a straight no)
Republican Senators: Excellent! Confirmed!

This is, of course, assuming we ever get around to a confirmation hearing and Trump doesn't just run the rest of his term with an Acting Secretary for this like he's trying for so many others.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:37 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


The thing I find really fascinating about the "what, you mean we should've not let Bush get away with it either??" thing is that in many cases we're dealing with not only the legacy from both those administrations but often literally the same people. The same exact people who suffered no consequences for their actions are at it again, and have continued to wreak havoc. I truly don't understand centrist Democratic party members unless they're just completely amoral and in it for the cash.
posted by odinsdream at 3:39 PM on April 7 [27 favorites]


It's not that hard to understand. Non-voters don't vote. So if you are a Democrat and you want to get more votes than your Republican opponent, you have to appeal to people who would otherwise vote for that opponent, who have probably voted for Republicans in the past. And you don't get those votes by saying "Republicans are monsters."

I know it's an article of faith in some quarters that Democrats don't need to appeal to swing voters because there is an army of non-voters out there who would vote if Democrats were only more ideologically and morally pure. But I have not seen much evidence of that.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:00 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


The same exact people who suffered no consequences for their actions are at it again, and have continued to wreak havoc. I truly don't understand centrist Democratic party members unless they're just completely amoral and in it for the cash.

This country has been dealing with the policy failures of the same group of GOP assholes (Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al) since the 1970s
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:06 PM on April 7 [10 favorites]


Non-voters don't vote.

I do feel this is an over-simplification. Both Obama and Trump brought out new voters who would otherwise have not participated.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:08 PM on April 7 [11 favorites]


I mean he also called Netanyahu “their” prime minster, to a group of Americans. Because to him, all Jews are Israeli, or have a loyalty to Israel. The very same sentiment, ironically, that Rep Omar was accused of.

Should someone tell Chuck Schumer and Steny Hoyer? And the rest of the Democratic leadership that came after Omar?
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:11 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


This country has been dealing with the policy failures of the same group of GOP assholes (Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al) since the 1970s

I'm convinced that it is because they are so utterly incompetent that they escape the blame for never achieving anything because all they do is fail and fail and fail at government so there is really nothing solid to point to that they are associated with. It's not like they ever really try to build or achieve anything. It's all domino theories. If we do x then y will "happen" and when y doesn't happen they just shrug and say oh well "y" didn't happen because we didn't x hard enough. So I guess they are just typical business school manager material.
posted by srboisvert at 4:16 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]



Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Leaving Post
(Arnie Seipel for NPR, April 7, 2019)
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is leaving her post, President Trump announced Sunday as he continues to focus on restricting border crossings amid a recent surge. Nielsen had recently warned a congressional panel of a "catastrophe" on the Southern border after the number of crossings hit a 10-year high.

Trump confirmed the news in a tweet, saying, "I would like to thank her for her service."
Meanwhile, Shelters And City Governments Scramble To Help Migrants In The Rio Grande Valley (Reynaldo Leanos Jr. for NPR, April 7, 2019)
More than 76,000 people were apprehended or surrendered on the Southern border in February and administration officials project that number would surpass 100,000 for March.

The highest number of crossings are taking place in Texas' Rio Grande Valley.

The Good Neighbor Settlement House, a homeless shelter in Brownsville, Texas, is now also being used to house migrants released from U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody. They normally help a couple dozen migrants a day, but recently the numbers shot up to more than 400 a day.

The migrants are brought here for a short period of time and can shower, eat and get some clean clothes. Volunteers help migrants work out travel arrangements so they can meet up with relatives or sponsors in other parts of the country while they await their day in immigration court.

All along the Texas border, cities are dealing with an unprecedented influx of migrants.

The shelter started their Refugee Respite Program in August at the request of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. Jack White, the director of Good Neighbor, says he's recently seen a spike in numbers and they are no longer receiving advance notice from CBP when migrants are being released.

Still, White says, they're dealing with it.

"Will it be hard?" asked White. "Yes, but we don't intend to back off of the mission we embrace. They can keep sending them, we're going to serve them."
Remember, Trump is cutting aid to Central American countries as migrant crisis deepens (Julia Harte and Tim Reid for Reuters, March 30, 2019) -- increasing suffering is their goal.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:16 PM on April 7 [14 favorites]


I do feel this is an over-simplification.

Maybe. But whether or not you or I believe in the existence of those idealistic non-voters, I am pretty sure Nancy Pelosi does not believe they exist. So for those puzzled at her behavior... just imagine you didn't believe they existed. What would you do?
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:17 PM on April 7


I know it's an article of faith in some quarters that Democrats don't need to appeal to swing voters because there is an army of non-voters out there who would vote if Democrats were only more ideologically and morally pure. But I have not seen much evidence of that.

This is literally what canvassers hear every day - issues and platforms related to material, everyday life get strong responses from reported non-voters and non-voters self report that they feel voting doesn’t matter or the current candidates aren’t taking their concerns seriously..

If you give people what they want, healthcare, Childcare, debt forgiveness, whatever then they will vote for you. But you have to earn their trust first.
posted by The Whelk at 4:19 PM on April 7 [25 favorites]


Even for the Democratic leadership, IOKIYAR applies to anti-Semitism, especially when there's an opportunity to gang up on Muslims and leftist Jews.

At this point, I consider them worse than useless as allies (if not actively hostile) to the Jewish left, and that if/when someone comes for us, Schumer and the ADL and the whole rotten bunch will raise approximately the same level of fuss that they are right now, i.e. not one whit.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:21 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


This is literally what canvassers hear every day -

I think you and I have canvassed different people. You live in New York, right? I live in the midwest.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:23 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


So how much do you want to bet that Homeland Security will only have an "acting" secretary for the next two years?
posted by octothorpe at 4:23 PM on April 7 [11 favorites]


For some good news: As 2020 Democratic Candidates Pitch Scrapping The Electoral College, Voters Are Intrigued (Britta Greene for NPR, April 6, 2019)
At a time of deep disenchantment with the political system, dramatic proposals to upend how politics are conducted are starting to resonate with voters.

So far, Democrats running for president have endorsed proposals to abolish the Electoral College, expand the number of Supreme Court justices, along with overhauling the role of money in politics. Some voters want them to go even further.

At a recent event at a high school in Littleton, N.H., with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., one attendee praised Warren for backing proposals to scrap the Electoral College in favor of a popular vote — then asked if she would support passing laws based on citizen petitions and national referendums.

Warren laughed. "You come to New Hampshire and you hear about democracy," she said. "I love this."

While the idea of a national system for citizen petitions isn't mainstream, Democratic voters aren't rejecting ideas that would have been unthinkable a decade or two ago.

That shift in sentiment comes at a time when just a third of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction, according to a recent Gallup poll.
See also: Democratic Candidates Embrace The Risk Of Radical Ideas (Scott Detrow for NPR, March 20, 2019)

When enough candidates make "radical" ideas their platform, those ideas become the norm, and force Republicans to respond. This is a good thing.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:24 PM on April 7 [20 favorites]


The Jewish reaction to Trump's comments at the RJC appears to have been delayed because of Shabbat, but there's been a lot. Keep in mind that many Jewish organisations don't issue press releases on the Jewish Sabbath as a matter of principle, even when they're headed by people who otherwise use electronic communication devices &c.

@temasmith has what appears to be a good rundown, but I commend this analysis of media coverage by Jewish law professor and blogger David Schraub:
What's The Story on Trump's Antisemitic RJC Speech:
[...] Outside the Jewish press, Business Insider wrote "Trump spoke to an audience of American Jews and referred to Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu as 'your prime minister'", and Slate ran with the similar "In Speech to Republican Jews, Trump Refers to Netanyahu as 'Your Prime Minister'".

So that suggests these remarks are getting coverage, and are getting coverage as an antisemitism case. Which is good. Because it should.

But what we haven't seen yet is the sort of secondary reporting that truly defines something becoming a story. Nobody, for example, has pressed the RJC's Matt Brooks or other prominent GOP figures to comment on Trump's remarks [...]

That's the big difference between how left and right antisemitism is covered. It isn't that the latter is ignored. It's that Jewish criticisms of the latter aren't amplified; they don't yield the multi-day meta-coverage and the demands for apologies and the calls for comment that requires everyone to take a stand and get placed in awkward and uncomfortable positions.
This lack of amplification is something I've noticed too. One consequence, as Schraub points out, is that third parties assume that this lack of followup is because Jews themselves don't really care about it and that their outrage is purely tactical. Consequently, they conclude, antisemitism isn't a "thing", and people calling it out are doing so for some other reason - the usual claim is that they're trying to suppress criticism of Israel. But what I've seen, time and again, is that it doesn't matter how united Jewish voices are: the only thing that counts is whether external voices decide to acknowledge it. And when it comes to antisemitism (and other forms of xenophobia, tbh) the mass media is very careful to never follow a story up in ways that would implicate White Middle America.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:29 PM on April 7 [27 favorites]


From what I read about the person who is slated to be the acting Homeland Security guy, he's not going to be anywhere near hardcore enough for Trump, so he will probably rearrange some deck chairs.
posted by Selena777 at 4:38 PM on April 7


When it comes to scrapping the electoral college, my one concren is that the number of Republican voters in New York and California, who currently find voting pointless but would come out if there were a national popular vote, would far outweigh the number of similar Democrats in midwest and western states. So, our vaunted 3 million vote lead in popular vote from 2016 might evaporate if there were a popular vote do-over. Do any of our MeFi voting and polling experts have anything to add to that?
posted by M-x shell at 4:50 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


My response would be that scrapping the electoral college is something that should be done because its the right thing to do rather than because it would grant an advantage to one party or another.

That said, I haven't seen evidence that there is a massive bloc of Republicans here in California that don't vote in Presidential races because of the electoral college. There are still Senate, House, and Local races.
posted by Justinian at 4:54 PM on April 7 [27 favorites]


Is there a catchall name for the law of unintended consequences besides something like "whatever can go wrong, will go wrong" ? Because I am very, very skeptical of the drift in this thread toward "because it's the right thing to do." I understand the attraction of a self-evident, absolute moral imperative and I find the argument compelling as well, but I don't believe human history supports such either/or reasoning. At all. Any historians here want to chime in?
posted by kemrocken at 5:20 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Basically I want to be able to support politicians who actually believe in something because it is the right and decent and moral and ethical thing to believe in, not because it's the most popular thing to get them elected. The process of getting people to vote for you should involve getting people to move towards these moral stances not to chase whatever happens to be polling well, because it's the fucking job to lead people towards prosperity and justice.
posted by odinsdream at 5:30 PM on April 7 [10 favorites]


Because I am very, very skeptical of the drift in this thread toward "because it's the right thing to do."

Clearly there is a balance between practicality and ethics as in the case of partisan gerrymandering where I don't support unilateral non-partisan districting in blue states without buy-in from red states to do the same. Because you don't end up with a more just system that way. You actually end up, paradoxically, with a less just system despite more people living in non-partisan districts.

But we make all sorts of decisions because they are right. Moving to prevent old white people from voting would guarantee Democratic landslides but nobody seriously proposes doing that. Why? Because it would be wrong.
posted by Justinian at 5:44 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Justinian: My response would be that scrapping the electoral college is something that should be done because its the right thing to do rather than because it would grant an advantage to one party or another.

That said, I haven't seen evidence that there is a massive bloc of Republicans here in California that don't vote in Presidential races because of the electoral college. There are still Senate, House, and Local races.


I agree with this. The Electoral College is anti-democratic, full stop. And it was originally (partially) created to give advantage to slave states, so even better reason to scrap it.

And considering that California has not had a Republican senator since 1992, and has just recently turfed out several Republican representatives - leaving us with a grand total of seven Republicans out of fifty-three total representatives in all - I'm hardly shaking in my boots about a surge in California Republicans up-ending the popular vote.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:54 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


How about recent history? Voting for the Patriot Act because it was a political necessity? Didn't go so well. Shying away from radical proposals like healthcare for all? Turns out that's really popular. I feel like we've seen the political calculus of the Democrats in action over the last 15 years or so, and they've been consistently wrong. Time and again, it seems the right thing to do politically would have been... the right thing to do?
posted by xammerboy at 5:58 PM on April 7 [19 favorites]


Because I am very, very skeptical of the drift in this thread toward "because it's the right thing to do."

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.
posted by diogenes at 5:58 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


and has just recently turfed out several Republican representatives - leaving us with a grand total of seven Republicans out of fifty-three total representatives in all

And a lot of folks don't realize that's with non-partisan districting! Doing a 53-0 Democratic district plan would be quite possible here in CA. Sadly, we were too nice to do that.
posted by Justinian at 6:05 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


I guess to approach the strategy question from a different angle, where are the test cases? If the argument, strictly in terms of electoral strategy and not the policies we want, is basically that Pelosi and Democrats should ignore moderates and go full DSA nationwide and that this wins us districts that went for Trump, who pulled off this strategy in 2018 and what can we learn from them? Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib won deep blue districts that were Clinton +57 and +61. The blue wave that we saw in 2018 was largely thanks to flipping red districts that were mainly Trump +6 or below, especially a lot of Obama/Trump districts. Who are the Congressional candidates in these districts who extended a middle finger to moderates and won by turning out nonvoters with leftist platforms?

In 2018, Republicans ran 100,000+ ads trying to link Democratic candidates to Pelsoi—all the usual "too liberal" "San Francisco values" stuff (meanwhile, actual San Francisco values at the moment include homeowners raising tens of thousands of dollars to sue to block a homeless shelter, but I digress). Pelosi gave 2018 Democrats total freedom to distance themselves from her and run on whatever they thought would be best for their districts (which included plenty of candidates were firmly pro-choice, firmly pro-science, anti-Trump's immigration policy, etc... even in districts where that hurt them). So if the argument is really the opposite—Pelosi is too far right and the 2020 electoral strategy needs to be to run to the left of her to turn out nonvoters—who are the test cases from the previous cycle that demonstrate that this is a winning strategy the whole country can use next time?
posted by zachlipton at 6:36 PM on April 7 [20 favorites]


There is also The Socialist Wave In Chicago
posted by The Whelk at 6:47 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


I'm just looking at the Board of Reasons to Impeach climbing like it's a telethon with millions of people clamoring for Reason and Justice to prevail and hearing "we're going to play middle-of-the-road and try to get some of the marginal racists to vote for us".

It's nuanced, it's strategic, it's a game - yes yes and at the same time What Are (Democratic Leaders) Waiting For?? It's not actually rocket surgery. Do we need trump to literally shit his pants and angrily scream the N word at rallies? Is there an identifiable quantity of destroying more of the State Department's lifetimes worth of work while tanking the economy for the 99%? Should the ICE people track journalists with the manual to De-naturalize them on their knee more than they are? It's beyond politics, it's beyond theatre, it's beyond *everything* and what'dya know we're gonna get "Better Jobs" as a slogan.

That's the big chasm we have now that there's no Mueller. It's up to the party of Tom Daschle.
posted by petebest at 6:51 PM on April 7 [12 favorites]


Justinian: "Note that we don't have any prior Emerson polls of MA (nor from anyone else, I believe)"

FWIW, I think n=371 is considered quite small.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:52 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


I mean, listen to the argument in Chris Hayes' podcast episode with Stacey Abrams, regarding the fact that it's a false choice that the Democratic centrists like Pelosi are posing:
...the debate goes in two parts, right? There is the, oh my god we lost touch with the white working class. We lost touch with the voters of places like Kentucky. We lost touch with the Obama/Trump voters. And we have to desperately get them back. Maybe if we throw Steve Beshear at them, in the diner, we will get those folks back and they will understand that this party is for them too.

And that I think was a very ascendent view for a long time. Now, there's another view. And it's the view that I think overtook that one. Which is a view that in a changing and dynamic country, there is the space for a progressive multiracial majority that brings new voters into the fold. That if you activate ...

That if you activate new energized, new marginal voters infrequent voters, who maybe vote in presidentials but don't vote in midterms, people who are not registered, but if you register them, get them to vote, you can build a multiracial progressive majority that prioritizes the interests of those folks and is not sort of stuck catering to the kinds of voters that might be swayed by the presence of Steve Beshear in a diner.


Now that's a theory that was put forward by a young Georgia state legislature that I went down to visit for my show back in 2014, named Stacey Abrams.

This is before Trump, it's before these debates. But Stacey Abrams had something called the New Georgia Project, she's the minority leader of the state house there. And her theory of the case was, look we have the votes for a progressive majority, a center left governing coalition in Georgia. We are just not registering them and getting them out. There are hundreds of thousands of people who we have not activated, that if we activate, we can win in this state as conservative as it has been. As much as Republicans have represented it for years. There has not been a state-wide elected Democrat in Georgia since 2010.

Stacey Abrams had this theory, we went down, we shot a package with her that we called the New Georgia Math. That was about this theory. And lo and behold, she had a chance to put it into practice when she was nominated to be the gubernatorial candidate in Georgia in 2018. And here is the fascinating thing about how that worked out. She lost. You should know that. But she lost by a very narrow margin, 55,000 votes in what was a very contested election for reasons she'll explain later. She got 150,000 more votes than Hilary Clinton.

Okay? That doesn't happen. She got 540,000 more votes than the last Republican who was elected in 2014, Nathan Deal. 540,000 more votes. She got 740,000 more votes than the Democratic nominee back in 2014, a guy who's walking around Georgia with the most famous Georgian Democratic name, Jason Carter. And here is the rub, and here is where we will end our little homily. Remember that choice, right? The choice about like can you get the Steve Beshear people back? Or do you mobilize these new people?

Stacey Abrams went out and she ran this campaign and they registered a lot of voters, and they mobilized these new voters. And when all was said and done, when you look to the exit polls, Stacey Abrams, the first black woman to be nominated to run for governor by a major party in this country's history. In the state of Georgia. In the old Confederacy. Stacey Abrams won a higher percentage of the white vote than Jason Carter.

Which I think suggests that that choice was false to begin with. Right? And it's one of the reasons that if you're gonna talk to anyone right now about what this political moment means and what it looks like, and what the future is, Stacey Abrams is the person to talk to.
posted by odinsdream at 6:54 PM on April 7 [61 favorites]


IDK, looking at 2016 turnout Missouri is a just ARGH either way on electoral college. We only have 5 million people here. Maybe, maybe, if we got all of STL, KC, and CoMo to show up...It's frustrating because we killed Right-to-work, and got medical weed, but lost McCaskill's seat. Rural Missouri and wealthy suburbs are killing this state. We're a microcosm of the big picture and I wish we were treated as competitive purple instead of a deplorable red state write off.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:01 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


And introvert me knocked on like 1000 doors for McCaskill, but they were only, and repeatedly, targeting known democratic voters. The strategy in this state is not great.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:10 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


NYT, Kirstjen Nielsen Resigns as Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary:
The president called Ms. Nielsen at home early in the mornings to demand that she take action to stop migrants from entering the country, including doing things that were clearly illegal, like blocking all migrants from seeking asylum. She repeatedly noted the limitations imposed on her department by federal laws, court settlements and international obligations.

Those responses only infuriated Mr. Trump further. The president’s fury erupted in the spring of 2018 as Ms. Nielsen hesitated for weeks about whether to sign a memo ordering the routine separation of migrant children from their families so that the parents could be detained.

In a cabinet meeting surrounded by her peers, Mr. Trump lambasted her repeatedly, leading her to draft a resignation letter and tell colleagues that there was no reason for her to lead the department any longer. By the end of the week, she had reconsidered and remained in her position, becoming an increasingly fierce supporter of his policies, including the family separations.
Profiles in courage right here. But setting aside Nielsen for a moment, who with any luck will be entirely unwelcome in polite society from now on, why is "the President calls his staff at odd hours to demand they very blatantly break the law" buried in a middle paragraph of this story instead of a major headline of its own?

On a related note, this happened with little attention: WaPo, Trump administration nearly doubles H-2B guest visa program, which brings many Mexican workers. Trump's own properties, naturally, use H-2B visas to bring in guest workers, which presumably explains why this was approved.
posted by zachlipton at 7:14 PM on April 7 [39 favorites]


Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen is out because she put insufficient numbers of brown children in concentration camps. That’s not hyperbole. That is what is actually happening in this country.

Homeland Security chief Nielsen is out (Politico)
A senior administration official aligned with Nielsen said the White House had summoned her to a meeting with the understanding that she would be required to explain the rising arrests on the southwest border. The official said Nielsen didn’t want to plead to maintain her role and chose to resign instead.

[...] Amid Trump’s busy immigration agenda, Nielsen remains best known for her involvement with the zero-tolerance policy and resultant family separations. The policy called for all suspected border crossers — including parents and asylum seekers — to be prosecuted for illegal entry. As a result, thousands of children were separated from their parents, with children classified as “unaccompanied.“

Nielsen eventually helped Trump draft an executive order barring family separations, but 10 months and several legal challenges later the administration is still struggling to deal with the fallout. Nielsen has repeatedly said the Trump administration never had a family separation policy, a semantic dodge undermined by the reality of increased separations at the border.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:15 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


why is "the President calls his staff at odd hours to demand they very blatantly break the law" buried in a middle paragraph of this story instead of a major headline of its own?

The WaPo has it obliquely in the 11th paragraph of their coverage:
The president grew frustrated with Nielsen again early this year as the number of migrants rose and as she raised legal concerns about some of Trump’s more severe impulses, particularly when his demands clashed with U.S. immigration laws and federal court orders.
There's also this awful nugget:
She appeared to regain her footing after U.S. Border Patrol agents used tear gas to repel a large crowd attempting to break through a border fence — the kind of “tough” action Trump said he wanted in a DHS secretary.
posted by peeedro at 7:41 PM on April 7 [17 favorites]


I firmly believe that Obama’s “look forward, not backward” stance on not holding Bush administration accountable for war crimes, torture, and warrentless wiretapping has directly led to our current situation.
posted by Manic Pixie Hollow at 7:51 PM on April 7 [53 favorites]


Jay Bybee is a federal appellate judge and John Yoo teaches at "liberal" Cal Berkeley. I'm not sure why anyone thinks Nielsen won't be welcomed with open arms and a high 6 figure lifetime salary by the bipartisan establishment.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:32 PM on April 7 [20 favorites]


I firmly believe that Obama’s “look forward, not backward” stance on not holding Bush administration accountable for war crimes, torture, and warrentless wiretapping has directly led to our current situation.

We haven't dealt with this country's demons since the Civil War. I agree now is always the time for accountability, but this is a pretty narrow reading of America 2019.
posted by wemayfreeze at 8:49 PM on April 7 [37 favorites]


There's a bit of a problem with the DHS Secretary situation, and it naturally comes from the administration's failure to bother to read and adhere to the law. You can't just make whoever you want the Acting Secretary, there are laws about this specific to DHS. The Times (see below) is very conclusive about what has to happen, though I've seen a bit more debate among lawyers online trying to parse this all out.
Ms. Nielsen said she planned “to stay on as secretary through Wednesday” in order “to assist with an orderly transition.” The abruptness was unusual because the Department of Homeland Security currently does not have a deputy secretary, who would normally take the reins. The president said in a tweet that Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, would take over as the acting replacement for Ms. Nielsen, who became the sixth secretary to lead the agency in late 2017. But by law, the under secretary for management, Claire Grady, who is currently serving as acting deputy secretary, is next in line to be acting secretary. The White House will have to fire her to make Mr. McAleenan acting secretary, people familiar with the transition said. Ms. Grady has told colleagues that she has no intention of resigning to make way for Mr. McAleenan.
posted by zachlipton at 8:55 PM on April 7 [32 favorites]




I guess to approach the strategy question from a different angle, where are the test cases?

The short answer is that there aren't any. The 2018 strategy was right: we don't know what works, we don't have enough data, and given that every election year is different we are unlikely to know for sure any time soon. The solution to uncertainty isn't to make up your mind one way or the other and go with it; the solution is to make the kinds of decisions that are right under uncertainty. That means spreading your bets, letting 1000 flowers bloom, etc, and not taking any strong actions that depend on the centrist or left strategy being the certain truth. That's why the DCCC's defense of their anti-challenger actions on electioneering grounds are mistaken: the cost are very real, but anyone who is certain of the benefits is deluded. Let the socialists and centrists run side by side, and even let them fight each other on policy and ideological grounds; but fighting on electoral grounds is a waste of time or worse, because there's just not enough data -- nobody knows nothing.
posted by chortly at 11:02 PM on April 7 [21 favorites]


Trump seeks to campaign on problems he promised to fix (WaPo)
On immigration, however, there are signs that some of Trump’s most ardent supporters are becoming disenchanted with the president’s failure to improve the worsening situation at the border after more than two years in office. The Department of Homeland Security said last month it was on track to apprehend 100,000 migrants at the border in March — the highest monthly total in a decade.

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, a close Trump ally, said recently that the president has kept his 2016 campaign promises “except when it comes to illegal immigration” and border security. “That is a horrible, worsening vulnerability for this president,” Dobbs said. “A glaring electoral burden facing 2020.” [...]

Seeking to highlight his record on immigration, Trump traveled to the border Friday for the third time this year and declared that “the country is full.” The area he toured includes a barrier with a plaque labeling it as “President Trump’s Border Wall,” though in fact it is long-planned replacement fencing.
posted by Little Dawn at 5:01 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


A New Bill Would Allow NY State Officials to Release Trump's State Tax Returns to Congressional Committees. (NY Times)

State tax returns contain much of the information that's in Federal returns, and New York's handover of his returns to Congress would be beyond Trump's ability to block. Some Republicans are characterizing this effort as a bill of attainder, but the way I see it, it's the exact opposite. Trump has been using his unique power over the executive branch to block Congress's access to his Federal return. No other person could assert that right. So this bill would simply level the playing field so that Trump is not given more rights than a normal citizen.
posted by xigxag at 5:43 AM on April 8 [25 favorites]


Stephen Miller pressuring Trump officials amid immigration shakeups (Politico)
The decision to pull Vitiello’s nomination came as a surprise to Nielsen, who protested the move, according to two people close to the situation. It also shocked Republicans on Capitol Hill. [...] Several Republican members of Congress have called the White House to question Vitiello’s withdrawal, according to two people familiar with the phone calls.

“There’s a worry now that there’s an erosion of people that actually have operational judgment that can at least provide the president with counsel about what will be some of the negative consequences for some of these ideas,” said a person close to DHS.
posted by Little Dawn at 5:47 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Trumpism Extols Its Folk Hero
Charles Blow/NYTimes
On the surface, it doesn’t make sense that my mother, who thought herself a moralist, would find a champion in a flaunting immoralist, but she did as did many other Louisiana voters. And I believe this was possible because Edwards achieved something that few politicians achieve: He transcended the political, and on some level even the rules of the workaday world, and entered the astral league of folk heroes.

The rules don’t apply to the folk hero. People don’t measure them by the same tape. Behavior that people would never condone in their personal lives, they relish in the folk hero.

I believe that the great miscalculation people make in trying to understand Donald Trump and the cultlike devotion of the people who follow him is that they continue to apply the standard rules of analysis. I believe that, like Edwards, Trump ascended to folk hero status among the people who like him, and so his lying, corruption, sexism and grift not only do no damage, they add to his legend.

The folk hero, whether real or imaginary, often fights the establishment, often in devious, destructive and even deadly ways, and those outside that establishment cheer as the folk hero brings the beast to its knees.
I think it's a good point, if you are not looking at what Trump does and says, but at the perception of Trump among Trumpists. And in built is the other point that you cannot take down Trump by merely pointing at his countless vices as long as those vices are aspirational for his voters. You have to demonstrate that he will not get away with it. That he isn't a folk hero, but a plain old dirty crook, and that there are consequences for his evil doings, wether they be racism, sexism, tax-evasion, money laundering, extortion, rape, treason or all of the above.
posted by mumimor at 6:10 AM on April 8 [22 favorites]


[Trump's] lying, corruption, sexism and grift not only do no damage, they add to his legend.

And that's why, some day, we will talk about Trump the same way Bostonians of a certain age talk about another larger-than-life character with decades of norm-breaking criminality to his name: Whitey Bulger.
posted by carmicha at 6:25 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


You have to demonstrate that he *will not* get away with it. That he isn't a folk hero, but a plain old dirty crook, and that there are consequences for his evil doings, wether they be racism, sexism, tax-evasion, money laundering, extortion, rape, treason or all of the above.

So far as I can tell, the Democratic Leadership appears to be communicating that he will.
posted by petebest at 6:29 AM on April 8 [13 favorites]


So far as I can tell, the Democratic Leadership appears to be communicating that he will.

Yup, "He's not worth it" and all that. Feh!
posted by diogenes at 6:52 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


The Congressional investigations against Trump have Pelosi's full support and she has made numerous statements to that effect. Yes, yes, you want her to support impeachment, etc. We've had this discussion before.
posted by Jpfed at 6:54 AM on April 8 [22 favorites]


They're slow walking the investigations they are performing. Comey made his statement on July 5, 2016. On July 7, he was in front of the GOP House Oversight Committee. It took Democrats 4 months to request Trump's taxes. It's been a month since the Barr coverup letter, with no testimony, and no subpoenas. It's not just that they're not impeaching him, they're not conducting real oversight either, despite their campaign promises. They're playing at oversight, and coming up with a long list of excuses for why that boil down to "we dont want to piss off white men voters".
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:22 AM on April 8 [29 favorites]


They're slow walking the investigations they are performing.

I'm so sick of them giving the Trump administration a chance to act in good faith, waiting until they don't, and then moving to the next incremental opportunity to give them a chance to act in good faith. They never will! How is this not a given after 1000 demonstrations in a row?
posted by diogenes at 7:30 AM on April 8 [18 favorites]


Little Dawn: Trump seeks to campaign on problems he promised to fix (WaPo)

Does this open up some riff on the "are you better off now than you were 4 years ago" question for Dems to run with? I mean if you can beat the drum of "he said he was going to fix these things. That he was the only one that could fix these things. And he's fixed none of these things" maybe you can get through to the not-completely-cultified Trump voter?
posted by snwod at 7:39 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


The Barr letter came out on March 24, which was 16 days ago, which is slightly more than two weeks, and way less than a month.

I understand and share the impatience with the Democrats' pace in conducting oversight and investigations, but please can we not exaggerate things just for effect?
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 7:47 AM on April 8 [32 favorites]


I'm so sick of them giving the Trump administration a chance to act in good faith, waiting until they don't, and then moving to the next incremental opportunity to give them a chance to act in good faith.

This is not even remotely what they are doing. They are checking all the boxes on standard and proper procedures so that when all of this does end up in court, they will be on the strongest possible footing.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:58 AM on April 8 [18 favorites]


Does this open up some riff on the "are you better off now than you were 4 years ago" question for Dems to run with?

If they try it they'd better be careful - since Jan. 2016, unemployment is down, GDP is still growing, the stock market is up, and initial unemployment claims are down. All those are "doing well but not improving as quickly as with Obama," but then mean hourly wage is up and job openings are WAY up - and both of those, to be fair, are performing substantially better than they did under the previous administration. I'm sure you can find some bad stats to counter this (student loan debt - not looking good!), but these are the headline items and they are frankly doing pretty well. Unless there's a big economic turnaround in the next 16 months, which could TOTALLY happen, we have to face the fact that the economic picture is generally favorable for Trump.

There's the possibility for something more targeted, like "how are those tariffs working out for you?" in the Midwest, maybe. If it's thought that there are any swing voters to be convinced in that space.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 8:01 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]


Calculating that you have the election in the bag so long as you don't accidentally alienate Republican moderates by doing your job will only convince those moderates that the myth that Trump is some invincible winner is correct. One may not like Trump's methods, but he gets results. Trump doesn't quit, no one stops him, and no one really cares about his excesses.

Trump's core supporters don't call him POTUS. They call him GEOTUS (God Emporer). Their memes show him as a saint. They revel in every disgusting thing he does. When he breaks the law, it proves he's not an ordinary man. They talk in all seriousness about how it might be time for a king. They worship guns and believe in violence as a solution.

This stuff is a joke until it's not. They act "as if" at first because it's funny, and enrages liberals. Then one day after a long time of acting "as if" they're not acting anymore. They really believe it. We have real mass murderers whose derangement began with watching PiewDiePie videos. Large numbers of people believe the earth is flat, because they saw it on YouTube.
posted by xammerboy at 8:02 AM on April 8 [30 favorites]


There's the possibility for something more targeted, like "how are those tariffs working out for you?" in the Midwest, maybe. If it's thought that there are any swing voters to be convinced in that space.

Maybe we could swing some voters by being the party of not torturing children and scarring them for life by putting them in cages?

Maybe that could convince some "on the fence" voters. Who just aren't sure about this whole kids-in-cages thing and need to hear from some more experts on the matter.

This is a different time. This is not normal. We need to stop pretending like political judgements of the past are relevant. We have a party in power right now who is openly, nakedly authoritarian, and shows no signs of believing in the legitimacy of elections. They are using their power to cause decades of harm that is both vast in scope and fairly easy to explain to someone, if you have the time.

We need political leaders who are both willing and able to do that work, to point out what they will do to end this violence against our country and the world once given political power. We need a different path, and we need aspiring and current political leaders to be open about this, to call it what it is, to not participate in the gaslighting we're all being subjected to.
posted by odinsdream at 8:12 AM on April 8 [32 favorites]


Does this open up some riff on the "are you better off now than you were 4 years ago" question for Dems to run with?

If they try it they'd better be careful - since Jan. 2016, unemployment is down, GDP is still growing, the stock market is up, and initial unemployment claims are down.


None of those things moves the needle very much on "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago", though. Okay, more people have jobs -- are they good jobs? Are they barely-minimum-wage jobs with no guaranteed hours on a weekly or even daily basis? Are people working two or three of these new jobs to keep food on the table? Are they still terrified that they're going to lose that job and have to pay more for worse health insurance? Okay, the stock market is up -- how many people whose happiness is based on their stock portfolios weren't already voting Republican anyway?

No one cares about the economy nearly as much as they care about their economy, and the simple measures (DoL's unemployment number, DJIA index) aren't as useful as people touting them want you to think they are.
posted by Etrigan at 8:19 AM on April 8 [23 favorites]


The Barr letter came out on March 24, which was 16 days ago

By law, the House Judiciary Committee should have had the whole report on day 1. Instead, they let Barr write his bogus summary. Now they are patiently waiting for Barr to submit his redacted version. When they eventually get that "around mid April," they will politely ask him to please follow the law and give them the full version. He won't. Then they will subpoena the report. Guess what. He won't comply with the subpoena. And then we'll get to the crux of it. Let's just skip to the crux of it.
posted by diogenes at 8:48 AM on April 8 [48 favorites]


Does this open up some riff on the "are you better off now than you were 4 years ago" question for Dems to run with?

"Trump said he'd make America great again. What do you say? Is America greater now than it was four years ago? I say the answer is a resounding "NO". [then list the horrors]"

Turn it into a call-and-response thing.
posted by The Tensor at 9:05 AM on April 8 [8 favorites]


Let's just skip to the crux of it.

That's not how the rule of law works. You have to go through all the intermediate steps, including, as noted somewhere up-thread, dotting all the "i"s and crossing all the "t"s.

The House Judiciary committee didn't "let" Barr do anything. They literally are not the boss of him. The special counsel law requires Mueller to submit his report to the attorney general, not Congress.

And then, even though it was foreseeable, the Judiciary committee could not preemptively assume that Barr was not going to follow the past precedent of turning over the report to Congress in a timely way. They had to wait for him to do something - in this case, putting out his bogus non-summary - and then respond appropriately.

After Barr's refusal to provide the whole report, the committee voted to authorize a subpoena five days ago, which, on the time scale of legal proceedings, is not that long.

One big problem is that there also are political and media-spin aspects to this, which move much faster than the legal system. I'm not sure how to fix that, but I'm pretty sure that trying to speed-run the legal and investigative processes is not the way to go.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:14 AM on April 8 [35 favorites]


By law, the House Judiciary Committee should have had the whole report on day 1.

By what law? The independent counsel statute expired in 1999. Since then, there have only been a series of executive regulations written by the Justice Department regarding special counsels. The Justice Department decides the rules.

Congress can ask for the report but there is no law compelling the Justice Department to hand it over, only political pressure. Congress can also subpoena the report, but then it becomes an issue decided by the courts.
posted by JackFlash at 9:26 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


Just wanted to note that my preferred solution to the current situation would be to air-drop Captain America and Batman onto the White House roof and let them kick all the asses within. Problem solved!

Seriously though, Nadler, Schiff, Cummings, Waters and the chairs of the other relevant House committees are serious people, and based on their public statements, I don't think any of them are inclined to let Trump off the hook. It's OK to be frustrated with the pace at which events are playing out, but it seems a bit early to be questioning their motivation.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:27 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


@JuliaEAinsley: New: McAleenan has not ruled out separating migrant children and believes something called “binary choice” should be considered. That would give migrant parents the choice between separating from their children or being placed in long term detention with them. —three sources

@NBCInvestigates: President Trump has for months urged his administration to reinstate large-scale separation of migrant families crossing the border, three U.S. officials told NBC News.

@shearm: Can confirm this good NBC story. Despite having signed an executive order reversing the automatic family separation policy last summer, @realDonaldTrump has in recent months told his aides that he wants it back, saying it’s the best way to deter migrants.

@nycsouthpaw: The administration’s lie about a year ago was that family separation was not a Trump policy but a consequence of federal law. In fact, it was a Trump policy, as everyone was able to prove, and he was embarrassed into signing an order rescinding it. Now he wants it back.

These ghouls spent last year insisting that family separation was a lie (Nielsen even tweeting "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.") , but if it's something you can turn on and off at will, it's pretty obviously a policy.
posted by zachlipton at 9:28 AM on April 8 [48 favorites]


The Daily 202: Trump keeps pushing legal boundaries — and 10 other takeaways from Kirstjen Nielsen’s ouster (WaPo)
Nielsen “believed the situation was becoming untenable” because Trump was “becoming increasingly unhinged about the border crisis and making unreasonable and even impossible requests,” a senior administration official told CNN.

The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial board describes her termination as “a ritual sacrifice”: “Ms. Nielsen wasn’t responsible for the surge of Central American migrants arriving at the border to claim political asylum, but Donald Trump and Democrats in Congress both needed a fall guy.”
posted by Little Dawn at 9:28 AM on April 8 [8 favorites]


If there's heavy redactions there's an easy solution: subpoena Mueller and ask him whether he agrees with the redactions. They could even have him walk them through every redaction in closed session (for the bits that are actually classified).

The drama around a public hearing on a heavily-redacted report would be extremely high and probably 1) more informative, 2) more public than a drawn-out subpoena fight for the document and 3) more politically damaging to the Republicans.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:32 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


It's OK to be frustrated with the pace at which events are playing out, but it seems a bit early to be questioning their motivation.

I don't think anyone really cares what's in Nadler's heart -- the main complaint is that they are going too slow, and that more broadly the game can't be won at this pace.
posted by chortly at 9:33 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]


Despite having signed an executive order reversing the automatic family separation policy last summer, @realDonaldTrump has in recent months told his aides that he wants it back, saying it’s the best way to deter migrants.

"It's the best way to deter migrants." That is as close as you are ever going to get to an admission that family separation is not just an administrative requirement. It is a deliberate act of terrorism, terrorizing children, to deter migrants. It should be prosecuted as an international crime against humanity.
posted by JackFlash at 9:35 AM on April 8 [71 favorites]


Conservative activists in Michigan have pushed to, among other things, remove the term "democracy" from school curricula because they believe it is "not politically neutral or accurate" [source tweet]
posted by infini at 9:38 AM on April 8 [22 favorites]


Part of the problem with a subpoena is that Congress can't enforce it if the administration is determined to frustrate them. DoJ has criminal enforcement powers over subpoenas; all Congress can do is begin a grinding civil lawsuit that will take forever*. If they sue, Trump will be able to fight it for months. A heavily-redacted report followed swiftly by Mueller testifying will get far more of the information out much faster

* other than dredging up their inherent contempt powers, and as fun as it would be to see Barr clapped in chains and locked to a conference room table by the House sergeant-at-arms, it seems unlikely
posted by BungaDunga at 9:41 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


the best argument that the US was not founded as a democracy is, uh, white-male-land-owning suffrage, but I take it that's not the argument
posted by BungaDunga at 9:43 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]


Trump is on-record as being exactly the kind of person who'd want to just inflict harm on his enemies for harm's sake. He has publicly said that he'd like to kill the families of terrorists, he's publicly supported Stephen Miller's "policies" and all of this should be condemned as the criminal cowardice that it is. We shouldn't be having policy debates with these people. We shouldn't be giving ground on "how much" we should fuck with brown people who immigrate to our country. We should be calling this out loudly and publicly as inhumane and criminal and promising criminal action against it.
posted by odinsdream at 9:46 AM on April 8 [20 favorites]


Little Dawn: The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial board describes her termination as “a ritual sacrifice”: “Ms. Nielsen wasn’t responsible for the surge of Central American migrants arriving at the border to claim political asylum, but Donald Trump and Democrats in Congress both needed a fall guy.”

And Stephen Miller wants more blood: Stephen Miller wants Trump to oust more senior leaders at Homeland Security (Priscilla Alvarez, Jake Tapper and Abby Phillip for CNN, Updated 12:17 PM ET, Mon April 8, 2019)
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller wants to make sure that outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is only the first of a string of senior officials headed out the door.

Trump administration officials say that Miller, who played key a role in Nielsen's ouster, also wants the President to dismiss the director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Lee Cissna, and the department's general counsel, John Mitnick.

A senior administration official also said that under the law, DHS Under Secretary of Management Claire Grady, the current acting deputy secretary, is next in line of succession to be acting secretary. That means there are questions as to whether she will need to be fired as well in order to make Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan the acting DHS secretary, as Trump tweeted Sunday night.
Meanwhile, from CNN's live update feed on Border Immigration for April 2019:
Kirstjen Nielsen, outgoing Secretary of Homeland Security, spoke briefly to reporters outside her home on Monday.

She thanked the President for the “tremendous opportunity” to serve the country, and said she shares “the President’s goal of securing the border.”

She also thanked her DHS colleagues and said she has spent the last day working with officials on a smooth transition.

“I’m on my way to keep doing what I can,” she said when she walked away from the cameras and headed toward the car. She did not answer questions.
Copied in full, for ease of reading and posterity. Also, for all the after-the-fact spinning that Nielsen pushed against Trump's desires for her to do straight-up illegal things, she goes out with the message that she is still on Team Trump.

House Dems: looking forward to you grilling her further on her role in separating families as they come to the US to seek asylum. Oh, and don't forget to get Stephen Miller to (gleefully) confess his white power dreams under oath.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:47 AM on April 8 [18 favorites]


So, I popped on to twitter to waste some time until my meds kick in and I can go outside, and both "MikePences" (plural) and Episcopalians are trending...and I'm like, wait, what?

So, apparently, Pete Buttigieg commented on on his sexuality: "That's the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator." (Such an awesome answer.)

And the right wing has gone insane, (insaner? more insane? Off the fucking rails, bugfuck, ain't no coming back, we can't even put you in the parlor as entertainment, crazy?) by dismissing Episcopalians as not “really” Christian. Laura Ingraham derided him as “a traditional Episcopalian, whatever that means these days.” Erick Erickson said: "I mean if Buttigieg thinks evangelicals should be supporting him instead of Trump, he fundamentally does not understand the roots of Christianity. But then he is an Episcopalian, so he might not actually understand Christianity more than superficially." (I don't know who Eric Erickson is, but apparently he's an influencer on the right?)

Subsequently, more voices in the trumposphere are starting to repeat that Episcopalians aren't real Christians. They're going after other Christians now, for not being the "right sort" of Christians. (I mean Christians who aren't Catholic, they've never cared for the Catholics. )
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:52 AM on April 8 [41 favorites]


dismissing Episcopalians as not “really” Christian.

I thought conservatives would at least have the decency to wait until post-Trump before returning to pretending that they care about Christian values.
posted by diogenes at 10:04 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Oops, sorry missed the edit. The Erick Erickson of right wing AM Radio fame should not be confused with Erik Erikson, the renown developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst, who is dead and not tweeting. As far as we know.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:05 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]


Erickson is a conservative blogger, radio host, mouthpiece. (Atlanta's Evening News with Erick Erickson, RedState, CNN, etc. ).
posted by Harry Caul at 10:06 AM on April 8


@alexkotch: So @dccc just blacklisted consultants who work with Dem primary challengers but it welcomes donations bundled by lobbyists who represent members of this corporate @P4AHCF front group that’s running ads against incumbent Dems.
As predicted by many of us, it seems like the DCCC's policy of not accepting money to challenge incumbents is actually a cover for blocking popular leftist policies.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:07 AM on April 8 [30 favorites]


> I don't know who Eric Erickson is, but apparently he's an influencer on the right?

Count your fucking lucky stars.

Erick "Son of Erick" Erickson was a co-founder of the RedState blog, back in the days of Slashdot, as an explicit right-wing safe space and counterweight to Daily Kos. Since then, he has steadily failed upwards on the right-wing grift circuit, been a commentator on Fox and CNN, and been a Never-Trump Republican before - of course - endorsing Trump for re-election in 2020.

Probably his finest moment is calling Supreme Court Justice David Souter a "goat fucking child molester"? But he's had inflammatory comments related to Michelle Obama, Wendy Davis, Pinochet, guns, gay people, Parkland survivors - you name it. And yet he's routinely invited back on to CNN, that liberal media mouthpiece.

So yeah, an "influencer" on the right.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:09 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]


GOP worried by big early fundraising numbers by House Dems.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:12 AM on April 8 [11 favorites]


all Congress can do is begin a grinding civil lawsuit that will take forever*. If they sue, Trump will be able to fight it for months.

This is going to happen regardless. Every day it's delayed is just one more till the courts can rule.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:13 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


The DCCC, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, and the DNC are gonna be involved in predictably insider-ish bullshit, so I can't get too worked up about anything they do.

Fortunately, now that we have the internet, it is possible to completely bypass all three of those organizations by identifying who the good candidates are (by one's own standards) and donating directly to them.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:14 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]


CNN, Trump is removing US Secret Service director
United States Secret Service director Randolph "Tex" Alles is being removed from his position, multiple administration officials tell CNN.

President Donald Trump instructed his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to fire Alles. Alles remains in his position as of now but has been asked to leave.
Is everyone at DHS getting fired?
posted by zachlipton at 10:26 AM on April 8 [20 favorites]


Subsequently, more voices in the trumposphere are starting to repeat that Episcopalians aren't real Christians. They're going after other Christians now, for not being the "right sort" of Christians.

Fred Clark has warned repeatedly that when a religion gains political power, lines need to be drawn around who is in the proper sect, and there will always be those who want to draw them narrower to move the window their direction. Here's one post from 2010.
Proponents of a sectarian state are therefore forced into a kind of hung Parliament. Al Mohler may want to see his particular brand of post-Baptist Southern Baptist belief privileged as the established state religion, and William Donohue may want to see his politicized brand of pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism enjoy this state sanction, but both men realize that as large as their denominations may be, neither makes up anything like a majority, and both include many millions of adherents who don't share their hegemonic views.

So sectarians are forced to try to form a kind of coalition government, allying with one another against the separation of church and state in the hope that — one day, once it all gets sorted out in the post-secular, post-constitutional America — their sect will ultimately emerge as the dominant official, established religion.
posted by skymt at 10:26 AM on April 8 [18 favorites]


Some potential insight into the minds of establishment democratic party players like Rahm Emanuel via Chicago post-election sour grapes stories:

Luis Gutierrez Says Rahm Promised To Give Daughter 30th Ward Seat Last Summer — But When She Said No, Things Got Ugly
They sat outside, by the river, Luis Gutierrez said. He remembered ordering calamari.

The mayor began their meeting by confiding in Gutierrez an increasing anxiety about the country’s “changing electorate” celebrating a “new kind of left,” Luis Gutierrez recalled.

For example, he said: in New York, longtime Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) lost his primary to a young, progressive Latina woman named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Then, the mayor launched into his plan to protect Reboyras, who was finishing out his fourth term and had closely aligned himself with Emanuel, Luis Gutierrez said.
posted by srboisvert at 10:27 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]




Paul Campos: THE ANTI-ANTI-TRUMP VOTE:
Recently I had a long conversation with a very connected guy in the Republican establishment, and got an interesting perspective on what might be called the anti-anti-Trump vote.

My informant opposed Trump throughout the primary process in 2016, and I’m almost sure he didn’t vote for him in the general, though I didn’t ask (this is somebody who is a nationally prominent figure in conservative circles).

Here’s his take (not mine) on various issues:
...
In short, the “he’a an SOB but at least he’s our SOB” view of Trump has now become deeply embedded among lots of people on the right who supported him only tepidly, or not at all, three years ago.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:40 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


These people are called traitors and nothing less. Maybe hypocrites.
posted by archimago at 10:44 AM on April 8 [16 favorites]


President Donald Trump instructed his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to fire Alles.

Weird how he can’t fire a man himself, but a woman...
posted by chris24 at 10:44 AM on April 8 [14 favorites]


CNN, Woman accused of illegal entry to Mar-a-Lago had numerous electronic devices, thousands in cash
Prosecutors say they found multiple electronic devices in her hotel room, including a signal detector that can seek out detect hidden cameras, another cell phone, nine USB drives and five SIM cards. There were also several credit cards in her name.

Zhang arrived in Newark on a flight from Shanghai on March 28, Garcia said. The incident occurred on March 30.
I'm not quite sure why having credit cards is suspicious now, but, recent stories about Airbnb notwithstanding, most people don't travel with hidden camera detection equipment, right?
posted by zachlipton at 10:49 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]


From tmotat link

""... A huge amount of what happens on the right in American politics continues to be motivated by a desire to give liberals a kind of payback for Watergate.  And they’re never going to make that “mistake” again, no matter what the merits may be."

Everyone even nominally on the left needs to internalize this in how they deal with the GOP : its not about anything but revenge and grievance.
posted by The Whelk at 10:49 AM on April 8 [36 favorites]


“he’a an SOB but at least he’s our SOB”

Republicans are tribalists at heart, news at 11.
posted by benzenedream at 10:50 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]


And just as with Bork, it's not even over revenge for past wrongs but about revenge for not being allowed to commit whatever crimes they want.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:51 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


Conservative activists in Michigan have pushed to, among other things, remove the term "democracy" from school curricula because they believe it is "not politically neutral or accurate" [source tweet]
posted by infini at 9:38 AM on April 8 [4 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

If you didn't read this already, do it. It is so extreme, it should be on every front page of every country in the world. How did we get to a place where the word democracy can be banned from social studies?
posted by mumimor at 10:54 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]


We know Stephen Miller is in charge of the DHS moves. Since it's an escalation we should consider what Stephen Miller would consider an escalation. To me, that means turning DHS inward to purge people who aren't loyalists for Trump already, explicitly labeling them as enemies of the state. We've already got DHS terrorizing civilian populations, as Stephen intended.
posted by odinsdream at 10:54 AM on April 8 [20 favorites]


infini: Trump plans to designate Iranian military unit as a terrorist group

It's official: U.S. Labels Iran's Revolutionary Guard As A Foreign Terrorist Organization (Bill Chappell for NPR, April 8, 2019)
The Trump administration is designating Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization, taking an unprecedented step as it seems to increase pressure on Iran's regime. The move seems certain to bring a new level of tension between the two countries, as Iran's leaders have said they will retaliate in kind.

Iranian lawmakers have prepared legislation that would label part of the U.S. military as a terrorist group, according to Iran's state-run IRNA news agency.

President Trump announced the designation Monday morning, in a shift from the decades in which the U.S. has viewed Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.

"This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft," Trump said in a White House statement. "The IRGC is the Iranian government's primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign."

In response, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged his government to add the Pentagon's U.S. Central Command to its own list of terrorist organizations, IRNA reports.
...
It's the first time the U.S. has declared an element of a foreign government to be a terrorist organization, the Trump administration says. The Revolutionary Guard now joins ISIS, Boko Haram and other groups on the U.S. list of terrorist groups.
...
Among the cases cited by Pompeo were two that directly involved the U.S.: the 1996 Khobar Towers apartment complex bombing in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 American service members and wounded dozens more; and a 2011 case in which the Obama administration said it had foiled a Quds Force plot (NPR) to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in a bombing in Washington, D.C.
...
In recent months, the Trump administration has sought to impose "maximum pressure" on Iran's regime, after abandoning the nuclear deal brokered during the Obama administration. Even before news emerged of a possible terrorism designation for the Revolutionary Guard, more than 970 Iranian entities and individuals were already under U.S. sanctions.
Emphasis mine -- compared to a mere 84 persons identified as "part of, or operate for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation for the purposes of [Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”)], from the Sanctions Announcement on Russia Secretary of State webpage.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:56 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Abolish the DHS. It was a colossal mistake and failure
posted by The Whelk at 11:00 AM on April 8 [42 favorites]


more voices in the trumposphere are starting to repeat that Episcopalians aren't real Christians.

Not that any of it has to make sense anymore, but this is especially hilarious given that, as the American branch of the Anglican communion, Episcopalians simultaneously (1) are some of the OG protestants, (2) have strong roots in "Anglo-Saxon Culture" (for the gross people concerned about such things), and (3) are a church specifically created by AMERICANS to serve AMERICA.

... buuut they have failed to track along with the evangelicals in the culture wars, like they allow women to be priests and gay people to worship, so of course they're not "real" Christians anymore.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:01 AM on April 8 [23 favorites]


Also hey for what it's worth I did a quick search of the GEOTUS thing mentioned above and one of the very first results is a QANON blog full of other conspiracy shit that's registered under a shell company in the Bahamas so that's cool how fucking out there and obvious this disinformation campaign's involvement in targeting civilians is. Real fucking cool, real cool.
posted by odinsdream at 11:03 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


... buuut they have failed to track along with the evangelicals in the culture wars, like they allow women to be priests and gay people to worship, so of course they're not "real" Christians anymore.

I used to joke that the GOP was one loss in Appalachia away from saying scots-irish people aren't really white but it's seeming like less and less of a joke
posted by The Whelk at 11:04 AM on April 8 [31 favorites]


more voices in the trumposphere are starting to repeat that Episcopalians aren't real Christians.
This has been a talking point among evangelicals for a while. My mother has tried to talk me out of attending an Episcopal church because "they let the homosexuals lead them, so it's not a real church."
posted by pxe2000 at 11:05 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


News You May Have Missed for 7 April: Asylum and immigration round-up, airstrikes intensifying humanitarian crisis in Somalia, Russia grooming African countries, and more.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:12 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


The Daily 202: Trump keeps pushing legal boundaries — and 10 other takeaways from Kirstjen Nielsen’s ouster (WaPo)

One of the takeaways is Stephen Miller's ascendancy.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:12 AM on April 8 [8 favorites]


WSJ, Trump Administration Set to Tighten Rules for Baseball Players From Cuba
The Trump administration has informed Major League Baseball that it may impose a new waiver system that makes it tougher for Cuban baseball players to play professionally in the U.S., citing what it called the dangers of doing business with Havana.

“Major League Baseball has been informed of the dangers of dealing with Cuba,” a senior administration official said, saying that the White House would provide more details later Monday.

A MLB spokesman declined to comment.

Such a move could result in the reversal of a historic agreement that allowed Cuban players to join Major League Baseball without having to defect.

The discussions come as part of a broader crackdown on what the administration calls the “Troika of Tyranny”—Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The administration has criticized Cuba for its support of Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.
I mean, just, why? I know the cruelty is the point, but who possibly wakes up in the morning and decides the best use of governmental resources is fighting to block Cuban baseball players instead of literally anything that could possibly help people?
posted by zachlipton at 11:26 AM on April 8 [25 favorites]


... buuut they have failed to track along with the evangelicals in the culture wars, like they allow women to be priests and gay people to worship, so of course they're not "real" Christians anymore.

ALso, they sided against the Puritans in the old debate on whether there is anything genuine to the authority of bishops. (Puritans: "no." Anglicans: "yes.")

Hence the name "Episcopal", meaning "hey! We have bishops!"

This is important, because denominations with an episcopal hierarchy both provide sanity checks against local pastors going bonkers (for example, one of the more important functions of the Catholic Inquisition was to intervene to END witch hunts.), and empower local pastors if they have to confront local land owners over matters of social justice.

WHich is why the Southern gentry was happy to have an Episcopal church for themselves, while the lower order could go to evangelical chapels, run by pastors who could be made to answer to whoever had the money.
posted by ocschwar at 11:30 AM on April 8 [27 favorites]


Kirstjen Nielsen was rooting for you all along, you know (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
The resignation letter is on Donald Trump’s desk, and Kirstjen Nielsen is gone. Or rather, will be gone, as soon as they figure out a legal way for a fresh beast, its hour come 'round at last, to slouch toward the lectern to become the new face of the Trump administration’s immigration policy.

As she goes, the whispers are already spreading: Could the former head of the Department of Homeland Security be the Resistance within the Trump administration? Senior officials close to the matter speak feelingly of her opposition to the president’s policies and her desire to keep him within legal limits.

Kirstjen Nielsen just wants you to know: She was rooting for you, all along. She believes in the law. A little-known fact about Kirstjen Nielsen is that whenever President Trump wanted to do something bad, she was right there, objecting in the name of the law. Not many people know this, because it was not obvious from the policy stances that the department wound up embracing, but — we know, now. Please be reassured.

The terrible thing you saw was only the dangling glowing protuberance on the head of the immense submerged monster you did not see. Keep that in mind going forward as you decide whether Kirstjen Nielsen should be welcome in restaurants or on cable news.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:36 AM on April 8 [13 favorites]


[Let's move the Christianity in America sidebar to its own thread if it warrants it, please. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:37 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Invoking "America's Judeo-Christian tradition" while engaging in denominational spats and treating American Jews as vacationers from Israel is on-brand doublethink.
posted by holgate at 11:39 AM on April 8 [13 favorites]


figure out a legal way for a fresh beast, its hour come 'round at last, to slouch toward the lectern

I see that Petri and I have the same poem echoing in our brains lately. It's nice to know I'm not alone.
posted by diogenes at 11:46 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]


I'm not gonna say I love seeing the word "purge" in a headline.

More Top Homeland Security Officials Set to Leave in Trump Purge
Government officials said three more top department leaders were expected to leave soon: L. Francis Cissna, the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Randolph D. Alles, the Secret Service director; and John Mitnik, the agency’s general counsel.
....
The departures appeared to be part of a housecleaning of officials involved in the Trump administration’s immigration agenda as the president demands a harder line on border security. Mr. Trump on Friday said Mr. Vitiello would be replaced with someone who would move ICE in a “tougher” direction. All of the departing officials were appointed by Mr. Trump.
posted by Brainy at 11:51 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]




WaPo: How Regulators, Republicans And Big Banks Fought For A Big Increase In Lucrative But Risky Corporate Loans
Actions by federal regulators and Republicans in Congress over the past two years have paved the way for banks and other financial companies to issue more than $1 trillion in risky corporate loans, sparking fears that Washington and Wall Street are repeating the mistakes made before the financial crisis.[…]

Now, regulators and even White House officials are struggling to comprehend the scope and potential dangers of the massive pool of credits, known as leveraged loans, they helped create.

Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and other financial companies have originated these loans to hundreds of cash-strapped companies, many of which could be unable to repay if the economy slows or interest rates rise.[…]

The lending boom was precipitated, in part, by the rush to water down regulations at the start of the Trump administration. That’s when newly minted regulators — many with close ties to the financial industry — sought to strip away post-crisis financial rules and find ways to juice the economy by encouraging more lending.[…]

Asked about the company’s exposure to leverage loans, JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon told analysts in January that banks are much more resilient — and smarter — than they were 10 years ago. He acknowledged that some financial companies, particularly those that are not banks, could lose money during a recession because of these products, but he expected the impact would be contained.

“Someone’s going to get hurt there,” he said.[…]

One reason bankers have been able to make so many of these higher-risk loans without regulatory interference is that they sell these products on to outside investors. The loans are packaged into products known as collateralized loan obligations, or CLOs.

The CLO market has surged in the past 10 years, growing from $300 billion at the end of 2008 to $615 billion at the end of 2018, but the quality of these products is worse than it was before the financial crisis, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Some former regulators have noted an eerie parallel between the subprime mortgage crisis and the leveraged-loan buildup.
The WaPo zeroes in on PA's Pat Toomey as the chief instigator of this push for banking deregulation—and notes that 10 of his 17 biggest campaign contributors are financial company officials.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:18 PM on April 8 [12 favorites]


They're going after other Christians now, for not being the "right sort" of Christians.

Literally, they're evolving to consider only those with extreme right-wing views to be "true Christians." Liberalism is becoming a heathen religion to them.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:20 PM on April 8 [15 favorites]


Remember when we had that sort-of-off-topic digression into federal IT security practices regarding USB drives? Turns out the Secret Service has failed to absorb some of those basic lessons. Miami Herald, ‘She lies to everyone’: Feds say Mar-a-Lago intruder had hidden-camera detector in hotel
Secret Service agent Samuel Ivanovich, who interviewed Zhang at Mar-a-Lago, testified at the hearing. He stated that when another agent put Zhang’s thumb-drive into his computer, it immediately began to install files, a “very out-of-the-ordinary” event that he had never seen happen before during this kind of analysis. The agent had to immediately stop the analysis to halt any further corruption of his computer, Ivanovich said. The analysis is ongoing but still inconclusive, he testified.
This would be the same agency that conducted a four-and-a-half hour interview of Zhang, but recorded only video "because Ivanovich said he did not realize the audio was not working."
posted by zachlipton at 12:26 PM on April 8 [49 favorites]


I mean, just, why? I know the cruelty is the point, but who possibly wakes up in the morning and decides the best use of governmental resources is fighting to block Cuban baseball players instead of literally anything that could possibly help people?

Honestly I don't think there's much more to it than the President's brain* is stuck in the 1980s.


-------
*My brain is stuck in the Megathread of '17, when this explainer for Trump behavior was current and fresh.
posted by notyou at 12:26 PM on April 8 [16 favorites]


Trump reportedly wants to revive one of his least-popular policy proposals: Family separation (WaPo)
In the wake of the firing of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday, NBC News reported her relationship with President Trump became tense in part because of one specific issue: Trump’s support for reinstating a policy of separating children from their families when arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico.

“A senior administration official said it seems Trump is convinced that family separation has been the most effective policy at deterring large numbers of asylum seekers,” NBC’s Julia Ainsley and Geoff Bennett report. [...]

It is not clear the extent to which the separation policy actually contributed to deterring families from arriving at the border, though, according to multiple administration officials, that was explicitly one of the points of the program.
And then there is a review of polling data on the issue, e.g.
In polls from both Quinnipiac University and CNN and its polling partner SSRS, about two-thirds of Americans opposed the administration’s policy. That included, in each poll, a third of Republicans — an unusually high level of dissent from the president’s own party.
posted by Little Dawn at 12:41 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


Kidding/not kidding: could SNL do a few skits about how that dead-eyed fuck Stephen Miller is really the one in charge?
posted by danielleh at 12:46 PM on April 8 [29 favorites]


The agent had to immediately stop the analysis to halt any further corruption of his computer

This is just so completely, jaw-droppingly stupid. What are the odds this skilled agent had the machine connected to the internet while conducting his analysis? Did that computer get thoroughly wiped, or did they just run a virus scan and keep it in service?
posted by contraption at 12:47 PM on April 8 [25 favorites]


How did we get to a place where the word democracy can be banned from social studies?

By not paying attention as movement conservatives started getting themselves elected to school boards.
posted by Gelatin at 12:48 PM on April 8 [37 favorites]


Jesus, doesn't the Secret Service carry burner laptops and such to do field testing and perimeter work? I suspect they don't talk to the NSA much?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:57 PM on April 8 [8 favorites]


Kidding/not kidding: could SNL do a few skits about how that dead-eyed fuck Stephen Miller is really the one in charge?

Played by Pauly Shore please!
posted by M-x shell at 12:58 PM on April 8 [11 favorites]


How did we get to a place where the word democracy can be banned from social studies?

By not paying attention as movement conservatives started getting themselves elected to school boards.


In Michigan, the kerfuffle was led by a state senator who has never run for or sat on any actual educational board.
posted by Etrigan at 1:05 PM on April 8 [8 favorites]


Grassley unintentionally contradicts White House claims that Congress can’t see Trump tax returns (Josh Israel, Think Progress)
The senior GOP senator and finance committee chair acknowledged the law gives Congress the power to get anyone's tax returns. […]

Grassley, who serves as both Senate president pro tempore and chair of the Finance Committee, said Monday he did not actually want to see Trump’s tax returns but acknowledged that, under the law, he and House Ways & Means Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) have the right to do so.

“As chairman of the finance committee we could have opportunity to see those too,” he told Fox & Friends, referring to Section 6301(f)(1) of the tax code, which explicitly gives chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Joint Committee on Taxation the right to receive any American’s tax returns upon request.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:05 PM on April 8 [22 favorites]


acknowledged that, under the law, he and House Ways & Means Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) have the right to do so.

Well it's a good thing that House Ways & Means Chair Richard Neal is the very person who requested them.
posted by diogenes at 1:16 PM on April 8 [14 favorites]


CNN, Trump pushed to close El Paso border, told agents not to admit migrants and to resume family separations
Two Thursdays ago, in a meeting at the Oval Office with top officials -- including Nielsen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, top aides Jared Kushner, Mercedes Schlapp and Dan Scavino, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and more -- the President, according to one attendee, was "ranting and raving, saying border security was his issue."

Senior administration officials say that Trump then ordered Nielsen and Pompeo to shut down the port of El Paso the next day, Friday, March 22, at noon. The plan was that in subsequent days the Trump administration would shut down other ports.

Nielsen told Trump that would be a bad and even dangerous idea, and that the governor of Texas, Republican Greg Abbott, has been very supportive of the President.

She proposed an alternative plan that would slow down entries at legal ports. She argued that if you close all the ports of entry all you would be doing is ending legal trade and travel, but migrants will just go between ports.

According to two people in the room, the President said: "I don't care."
...
Behind the scenes [during his trip to Calexico], two sources told CNN, the President told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don't have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, "Sorry, judge, I can't do it. We don't have the room."

After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.
...
According to multiple sources, the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers. The President wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.
...
"At the end of the day," a senior administration official said, "the President refuses to understand that the Department of Homeland Security is constrained by the laws."
The President repeatedly orders people to violate the law. This has been well-established. He does so in big ways and ways that are just stupid, like walking up to individual agents who work on the border and personally telling them not to let people in.
posted by zachlipton at 1:17 PM on April 8 [86 favorites]


Trump’s support for reinstating a policy of separating children from their families when arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico.


I asked this a hundred years ago in one of the older threads, and I'll ask it again: For what crimes is permanent separation from one's children a legally prescribed punishment in the United States?

Now let's narrow that down a bit: For what crimes is permanent separation from one's children—and a significant likelihood that you'll never even find out what happened to them—a legally prescribed punishment in the United States?

And a little narrower: For what crimes is permanent separation from one's children—and a significant likelihood that you'll never even find out what happened to them—a legally prescribed punishment in the United States, largely carried out without proper oversight or due process?

Answer: Not that many crimes. Definitely not that many related to illegally entering a place.
posted by Rykey at 1:18 PM on April 8 [19 favorites]


Not that many crimes. Definitely not that many related to illegally entering a place.

It's worse than that. They are separating asylum seekers from their children, and they haven't committed any crime at all.
posted by diogenes at 1:23 PM on April 8 [36 favorites]


According to multiple sources, the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers. The President wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.

Should impeachment still be off the table? What is it going to take?

He's trying to break the law to commit an atrocity.
posted by diogenes at 1:29 PM on April 8 [58 favorites]


How did we get to a place where the word democracy can be banned from social studies?

"If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy." -David Frum

Yeah, David Frum. But he correctly identified the threat in a pithy fashion.
posted by Justinian at 1:46 PM on April 8 [46 favorites]


the best argument that the US was not founded as a democracy is, uh, white-male-land-owning suffrage, but I take it that's not the argument

posted by BungaDunga at 9:43 AM on April 8 [6 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Unfortunately, it kind of is. They believe only the "right kind of people" should be voting. You know which ones.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:47 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


From CNN: When it comes to considering the top political issues facing the country -- immigration, health care and gun control among them -- politicians in Congress can give the impression that the public is hopelessly divided on policy solutions. In reality, the polling shows the majority of the public usually backs policy positions preferred by the Democratic Party.

No duh. If only every single Democratic elected official and candidate were as clear about that fact as most of us are. Also, in this case "the public" appears to mostly mean Democratic voters and independents (who we need) but even, on occasion, Republican voters.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:54 PM on April 8 [13 favorites]


@Haleaziz: NEW: A federal court judge has BLOCKED the Trump administration's policy of keeping Central American asylum seekers in Mexico as their cases proceed in the US. Yet another Trump immigration policy blocked by the courts.

The judge issued a preliminary injunction finding that the policy is not authorized by law and lacks sufficient safeguards to comply with legal requirements against returning people to places where they may be at risk. Here's the court order.
posted by zachlipton at 2:01 PM on April 8 [35 favorites]


"At the end of the day," a senior administration official said, "the President refuses to understand that the Department of Homeland Security is constrained by the laws."

He's going to keep firing and appointing new goons until he finds a group willing to blatantly ignore court orders and clearly written laws. This is going to come down to an unambiguous "let's see the courts enforce their decisions." (I mean, we've already been here...) And then Mitch McConnell will ignore that, too.

We're going to need to find a way to re-energize people to the sort of mass protests we saw in the first travel ban and then some. This is only going to stop when it becomes too painful for the rest of the Republican party to live with it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:10 PM on April 8 [30 favorites]


The President is ordering his Cabinet to steal children from asylum seekers to deter others from seeking refuge here!
posted by diogenes at 2:13 PM on April 8 [16 favorites]


We're going to need to find a way to re-energize people to the sort of mass protests we saw in the first travel ban and then some. This is only going to stop when it becomes too painful for the rest of the Republican party to live with it.

I dont have a lot of faith that the repeated factual rejoinders that seeking asylum is not a crime will make inroads against the folks using "illegals" as a noun. Like, what republican who was already okay with Steve fucking King being kept in the party and having Stephen Miller shadow-run DHS is going to acknowledge any of this is "painful"?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:17 PM on April 8 [13 favorites]


As predicted by many of us, it seems like the DCCC's policy of not accepting money to challenge incumbents is actually a cover for blocking popular leftist policies.

The DCCC's policy of not working with vendors that work for challengers is a bog-standard one that's been used by virtually every political organization from the beginning of time to prevent their vendors from playing both sides of the aisle (where the "aisle" separates right and left). The phenomenon of vendors-for-the-right and vendors-for-the-left existed long before 2019. The DCCC has never implemented this ban on vendors who worked with primary challengers in the past. If someone has proof that they're going to start doing it now I would love to see it.
posted by schroedinger at 2:20 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Chrysostom: FWIW, I think n=371 is considered quite small.

It's because... and I can't believe I'm saying this... it looks like the HarrisX primary poll is a forking daily tracking poll. Yes, they are doing a daily tracking poll for a primary a year out. Oh god.
posted by Justinian at 2:24 PM on April 8 [19 favorites]


I dont have a lot of faith that the repeated factual rejoinders that seeking asylum is not a crime will make inroads against the folks using "illegals" as a noun. Like, what republican who was already okay with Steve fucking King being kept in the party and having Stephen Miller shadow-run DHS is going to acknowledge any of this is "painful"?

No, I mean we're going to have to create a sustained protest that makes life too uncomfortable to ignore. Filling the airports and the streets mattered. It didn't win the final battle in the Supreme Court but that shit saved lives and it made the White House step back. And they did step back again when there was a huge pushback against family separations--yes, they crept back toward it, yes, they've found other shitty things to do, but the effort mattered and it made a difference. It can be done again. Probably more, now that Democrats hold the House.

The small victories matter.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:48 PM on April 8 [19 favorites]


Is it just me, or is "family separation" a bit of a euphemism? It doesn't really capture the horror.

(This isn't a criticism of anyone using the phrase. I honestly don't know if we should call it something else.)

No, I mean we're going to have to create a sustained protest

I don't know what to do, but I did just write to my minister about this. I attend a liberal church, but we've been sitting on our hands so far. I'd like us to start mobilizing for protest. What's the point in having values if you're just going to sit and watch as an atrocity occurs?
posted by diogenes at 3:22 PM on April 8 [10 favorites]


Sanders again comes out against ending filibuster.

I really like a bunch of his policy ideas but most have literally a zero percent chance of passing with the filibuster in place. As Ezra Klein notes in his linked above piece, policy differences between two candidates who don't support tactics like ending the filibuster are immaterial given neither will pass their agenda.

Would still vote for, of course, but I imagine it would be quite disillusioning for his staunchest supporters when he got into office and accomplished a bunch of nothing that any other Democrat, including the most centrist, would accomplish.
posted by Justinian at 3:27 PM on April 8 [7 favorites]


Is it just me, or is "family separation" a bit of a euphemism? It doesn't really capture the horror.

(This isn't a criticism of anyone using the phrase. I honestly don't know if we should call it something else.)

Family destruction? Family annihilation? "Crimes against humanity in furtherance of 'racial purity' programmes by kidnapping children"?
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:42 PM on April 8 [18 favorites]


diogenes: Is it just me, or is "family separation" a bit of a euphemism?

It's also pretty standard to reference "kids in cages" or "baby jails". Sometimes that prompts a "There was detention for kids under Obama too" (ignoring that was a matter of unaccompanied minors).

Probably the most effective is to fuse the two concepts, emphasizing the main victims and the specifically superfluous cruelty involved: child separation.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 3:43 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


If any other country were doing it we'd just call it state kidnapping
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:47 PM on April 8 [55 favorites]


From the UN:
According to Article 2 of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
Bolding mine. I understand why we don't use the term and the potential quibbles about how they don't mean to destroy the entire group just prevent them from blah blah blah but this shows how deadly seriously the UN takes separating children from their families.
posted by Justinian at 3:54 PM on April 8 [25 favorites]


separating babies is a hop skip and jump from ethnic cleansing.

oh oops, guess we can't find the parents, so sad, here's a nice white evangelical family to foster them
posted by BungaDunga at 3:58 PM on April 8 [7 favorites]


[Folks, enough on "what should we call the policy" when it's repeating stuff we've said many times in these threads; let's keep this thread for new updates please.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:02 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Lobbyist behind illegal purchase of Trump inaugural ticket a ‘valuable resource’ for Mueller investigators (Politico)
W. Samuel Patten met or spoke by phone with prosecutors for special counsel Robert Mueller and other government investigators nine times as part of his cooperation agreement after pleading guilty last summer for failing to register as a foreign lobbyist in the U.S., according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia, which inherited the case from the special counsel.

“In all of these sessions, Patten has been honest and straightforward with government investigators,” the government said in a court filing ahead of the lobbyist’s sentencing on Friday.

The federal prosecutors’ sentencing memo largely holds back in describing exactly what Patten helped them on, explaining to U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson that they’d file that material under seal because it “includes sensitive information about other investigations and persons who have not been (and may not be) charged with a crime.”

Patten’s past work as an overseas political consultant, the federal prosecutors said, helped to make him a “valuable resource for the government in a number of other criminal investigations, providing helpful information about additional individuals and entities.”
posted by Little Dawn at 4:05 PM on April 8 [11 favorites]


Senators urge Pompeo to address human rights during Egyptian leader’s visit (Politico)
One day before Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to the White House, senators from both parties sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday urging him to address “the erosion of political and human rights” in Egypt during his discussions with the autocratic leader.

Lawmakers raised concerns about Sisi’s government ahead of Tuesday’s negotiations between the United States and Egypt to discuss their strategic partnership and priorities in the Middle East. The letter was signed by 17 senators, including the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and ranking member, Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).
Why Is Trump Helping Egypt’s Dictator Entrench His Power? (Politico Magazine)
Eight years after Egyptians went to the streets to remove 30-year ruler Hosni Mubarak and only weeks after Algerians did the same to remove 20-year autocrat Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the White House is betting on Sisi. It’s an endorsement Egypt’s president-for-life will use to entrench his grip on power: Showing he has Trump’s enthusiastic support will help Sisi force any potential critics in the army or elsewhere to follow suit.

Sisi’s Oval Office photo-op will come just a week or two before Egypt holds a popular referendum on amendments to the constitution that would give Sisi an exception to term limits, allowing him to stay in office until 2034. The amendments will also give the military a constitutional right to intervene in politics and will tighten his grip over the judiciary. If the referendum is similar to Sisi’s second election in 2018, Egyptian voters—demoralized and cowed by years of brutal repression since the 2013 military coup—will largely stay home.
posted by Little Dawn at 4:13 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]




Can we just skip ahead to next year and have a Warren/Swallwell ticket k thx.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:48 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Just what the 2020 race needs, another white guy (and I like Swalwell as a Representative). I wish every last one of the white guys except for Jay Inslee and Mayor Pete would stand down and let Warren, Harris, and Gillibrand take center stage. We have three terrific women candidates right here. We don't need a Benevolent White Daddy - especially one over 75 - to save us.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:54 PM on April 8 [35 favorites]


WaPo, ‘I’ve been battling Nadler for years’: Feud between Trump, Democrat rooted in decades-old New York real estate project
Assembling a group of House Republicans at the White House to talk trade last month, President Trump suddenly launched into a tirade about the congressman leading an extensive investigation into his presidency: his New York antagonist, Rep. Jerrold Nadler.

“Fat Jerry,” Trump called the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee as he prattled on about Nadler’s weight-loss surgery in the 2000s and suggested that the Democrat was still overweight, despite it.

“I’ve been battling Nadler for years,” Trump told the GOP lawmakers, who were embarrassed by the outburst, according to several individuals in the room who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss the remarks.
...
The feud between Trump, 72, and Nadler, 71, began in the 1980s when Nadler, a New York state assemblyman and later congressman, proved to be a major obstacle to a vast development project that Trump envisioned for Manhattan’s West Side, Nadler’s turf.
Everything is stuck in the damn 80s.
posted by zachlipton at 5:06 PM on April 8 [15 favorites]


A day after Trump's "your prime minister" remark, Beto's take on Netanyahu:

(CNN) Former Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke offered sweeping criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, outright calling him "racist" and an obstacle to peace.
Speaking in Iowa as he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president, O'Rourke said the US-Israeli relationship was among the most important "on the planet" and singled out Netanyahu.

"That relationship, if it is to be successful, must transcend partisanship in the United States, and it must be able to transcend a prime minister who is racist, as he warns about Arabs coming to the polls, who wants to defy any prospect for peace as he threatens to annex the West Bank, and who has sided with a far-right, racist party in order to maintain his hold on power," O'Rourke said.

O'Rourke continued, saying he did not believe Netanyahu "represents the true will of the Israeli people" or the "best interests" of the relationship between the US and Israel. He went on to endorse a two-state solution to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians. [...]

O'Rourke made his comment to reporters after a rally where a voter asked about the conflict in the region. In the rally itself, O'Rourke offered similar criticism of Netanyahu, while also saying the Palestinian Authority had not acted in good faith.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:48 PM on April 8 [11 favorites]


NYT: Trump Purge Set to Force Out More Top Homeland Security Officials
The White House announced the departure of Randolph D. Alles, the director of the Secret Service, who had fallen out of favor with the president even before a security breach at his Mar-a-Lago club that the agency effectively blamed on Mr. Trump’s employees.

Government officials, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel changes before they were announced, said at least two to four more high-ranking figures affiliated with Ms. Nielsen were expected to leave soon, too, hollowing out the top echelon of the department managing border security, presidential safety, counterterrorism, natural disasters, customs and other matters.[…]

The latest moves appeared to be a housecleaning of officials associated with John F. Kelly, the president’s former chief of staff and his first homeland security secretary, who was pushed out at the end of last year after months of tension with Mr. Trump.[…]

Mr. Trump, who talks with members of his own Secret Service detail, had soured on Mr. Alles a while ago, convinced that as an outsider he was not popular among the agents, officials said. The president even made fun of the director’s looks, calling him Dumbo because of his ears. But a Secret Service ally of Mr. Alles disputed the notion that he did not fit in, saying that the director was well liked among the work force.

Mr. Alles was told to develop an exit plan before the arrest of a Chinese woman carrying a malware-laced device at Mar-a-Lago, exposing holes in the security of the private club. The Secret Service was so disturbed that it issued a statement faulting the club’s staff for not tracking its guests closely enough.

Some Secret Service officials said on Monday that they suspected that Mr. Alles’s departure was accelerated in part because of the episode.
(n.b. Maggie Haberman contributed to this piece, bringing her hallmark anonymous Trump White House sources for their spin on the breaking story.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:03 PM on April 8 [7 favorites]


So... a “national emergency” in which the part of the government having all the money re-directed to it is also having its top leadership replaced
posted by XMLicious at 6:16 PM on April 8 [25 favorites]


Exactly, this is part monster and part grift. Yes, trump and Miller are racist monsters who would spin up camps in a heartbeat, but suddenly there’s no career people at DHS to oversee these billions of dollars for this fake emergency. Now the emergency makes sense.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:26 PM on April 8 [31 favorites]


Axios reports Nadler "joined ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) in calling for special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the committee after Congress receives his full report and hears from Attorney General William Barr."
"Today, Ranking Member Collins called for Special Counsel Mueller to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. I fully agree. Special Counsel Mueller should come before the Committee to answer questions in public about his 22 month investigation into President Trump and his associates. In order to ask Special Counsel Mueller the right questions, the Committee must receive the Special Counsel’s full report and hear from Attorney General Barr about that report on May 2. We look forward to hearing from Mr. Mueller at the appropriate time."
So May 2nd appears to be the new deadline.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:21 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Nothing says you are serious like setting a deadline and then simply pushing the deadline back to a new date when the first deadline is missed.
posted by Justinian at 7:24 PM on April 8 [23 favorites]


So May 2nd appears to be the new deadline.

39 days after March 24th, for the pedants above. Seems reasonable, when the Republicans had Comey in within 48 hours. Anyone want to bet that this "deadline" gets pushed another month? Or that Mueller testifies before 2020? I'm taking odds.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:30 PM on April 8 [22 favorites]


Dallas, Houston considered for new migrant shelters as monthly apprehensions expected to reach 100,000 (Dallas News)
Theresa Brown, director of Immigration and Cross-Border Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said [...] “In my opinion, yes, this is a crisis,” [...] “But a different type than just the absolute numbers of apprehensions would indicate. Talking about this in the terms of historical illegal immigration is not helping understand what is happening.”

She added that the issue isn’t so much about numbers, but who “they are, and the fact that they are not traditional migrants seeking to ‘sneak in’ to work. The crisis is that the numbers are families with children seeking asylum and not from Mexico. And they are coming in large groups - larger than we’ve seen before. So, I’d say it is an ‘asylum crisis,’ not an ‘immigration crisis’ per se.”
posted by Little Dawn at 7:35 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Trump Signals Even Fiercer Immigration Agenda, With a Possible Return of Family Separations (NYT)
Mr. Trump shook up the ranks of his top immigration officials after spending months demanding that they take tougher action to stop the surge in migrant families at the border and seething about what he considers their overly legalistic refusals to do what he has said was necessary.

That anger was underscored on Monday when a judge blocked Mr. Trump’s efforts to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases proceed — a practice that immigration advocates called inhumane and illegal. Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that existing law did not give Mr. Trump the power to enforce the policy, known as “migrant protection protocols.”

[...] On Monday in California, the judge said in his ruling that in addition to violating immigration laws, the protocols did not include “sufficient safeguards” to comply with the Department of Homeland Security’s obligation against returning migrants to places where their “life or freedom would be threatened.”
Shake-up at Homeland Security goes beyond Nielsen’s exit (AP)
Nielsen’s departure threw into sharp focus just how few full-time leaders are at the sprawling department of more than 240,000 people. There’s no confirmed secretary, no deputy secretary, no head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, no formal head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, no head of Customs and Border Protection once McAleenan moves over, and no head of the science and technology branch. In addition, the deputy undersecretary for management at the agency, Claire Grady, will have to be moved aside for Trump to install McAleenan as acting secretary.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:48 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


A big Morning Consult poll (n=13,644 April 1-7) on the Democratic nomination.
  1. Joe Biden: 32%
  2. Bernie Sanders: 23%
  3. Kamala Harris: 9%
  4. Beto O'Rourke: 8%
  5. Elizabeth Warren: 7%
  6. Everybody Else: Sub-5 Sadness
Biden's lead is essentially unchanged. Only Sanders is close and everybody else is in single digits, with most at 5% or less. Roughly half have 1% support.

How votes are distributed geographically within states doesn't matter for now but would matter a lot on the actual primary day if a ton of candidates are still in since the 15% threshold for delegates is not state-wide but based on... something else which I'm sure we'll all become familiar with in a year.
posted by Justinian at 7:55 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Oh, the only candidate whose support has meaningfully changed in the last few weeks is Pete Buttigieg; he has moved up to 5% from sub-1%.
posted by Justinian at 7:57 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Sacramento Bee, First Twitter, now The Fresno Bee: Devin Nunes files $150 million suit against McClatchy
In his latest legal onslaught against perceived critics of his policies, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, filed a $150 million defamation suit Monday in a Virginia circuit court against the McClatchy Co. and a Virginia communications consultant described as a “digital terrorist for hire.” A record of the lawsuit couldn’t be found in the Virginia online records system, but Nunes confirmed the lawsuit in a Monday night appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.

Nunes declared that McClatchy reporters need “to come clean with the American people” and retract their “fake news” reports. He said he wants such stories scrubbed from the internet and promised more legal challenges. “If you’re out there and you lied and you defamed, we are going to come after you,” he told Hannity.
...
But the lawsuit targets one particular story in The Fresno Bee that ran during his re-election effort last year and reported on a 2016 lawsuit against a winery whose investors include Nunes.

The story by reporter Mackenzie Mays detailed claims in the lawsuit about an event that took place aboard a yacht where winery employee Alene Anase alleged she saw guests on the charity cruise using what appeared to be cocaine “and ‘drawing straws’ for which sex worker to hire.”

That suit was later settled for an undisclosed amount, but Nunes contends the headlines about the suit and its dissemination via Twitter and the internet “was part of a scheme to defame Nunes.”

Nunes never requested a correction to the story.
posted by zachlipton at 9:35 PM on April 8 [18 favorites]


I'm very much a person interested in polls, but I don't think it's worth thinking much about them at this point.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:40 PM on April 8 [25 favorites]


Headline on Jewish Insider: Beto, Bernie & Buttigieg berate Bibi

Two thoughts:
1) Where's Biden?
2) Why have I never noticed that all the male Democratic contenders start with the same letter?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:42 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Swalwell, Inslee, Hickenlooper, Castro, Delaney, Ryan, Yang.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:47 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


Beto, Bernie & Buttigieg berate Bibi

Only one of these people has a last name that starts with B.
posted by reductiondesign at 9:50 PM on April 8 [10 favorites]


Is it just me, or does it seem like a bad idea for a president to screw around with the Secret Service? Who is overworked and underpaid already thanks to all those Mar-A-Lago trips? Where they can't make everything secure?
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:54 PM on April 8 [10 favorites]


So, I had lawerence o’donnel podcast on. Normally the show is a little too...excited...for me, but his guest used the words Steve Miller and puppet master in the same sentence, and I thought “Yes, people do understand how important it is to make trump resent Miller”. Start talking about him as the shadow president. Start asking if mr miller has approved it when trump says some insane thing about policy. Grind it in to 45s dementia riddled sponge of a brain that everyone knows he’s not the big man, Steve Miller is the real man.

If we can rid the nest of that viper, the insane incest bunch should be easier to manage. They’ve run off everyone with skills and contacts. Get rid of the strategist and the strategy will start to crumble.

Sorry about weird caps, I’m having trouble editing without deleting all the way to the error, and frankly, ain’t nobody got time for that.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:13 PM on April 8 [27 favorites]


Is it just me, or does it seem like a bad idea for a president to screw around with the Secret Service? Who is overworked and underpaid already thanks to all those Mar-A-Lago trips? Where they can't make everything secure?
Only if we assume the President wants everything to be secure.
posted by fullerine at 10:43 PM on April 8 [11 favorites]


So, I had lawerence o’donnel podcast on. Normally the show is a little too...excited...for me, but his guest used the words Steve Miller and puppet master in the same sentence, and I thought “Yes, people do understand how important it is to make trump resent Miller”. Start talking about him as the shadow president. Start asking if mr miller has approved it when trump says some insane thing about policy. Grind it in to 45s dementia riddled sponge of a brain that everyone knows he’s not the big man, Steve Miller is the real man.

If only Trump was a reader, I'd suggest slipping a copy of It Can't Happen Here onto his desk, opened to the chapter detailing what Lee Sarason eventually does to Buzz Windrip marked up in bright yellow highlighter.
posted by non canadian guy at 11:41 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


That was a thing before Bannon left though, right? The Real President and stuff like that.
posted by rhizome at 1:05 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Is it just me, or does it seem like a bad idea for a president to screw around with the Secret Service?
Only if we assume the President wants everything to be secure.


Much as scaryblackdeath has speculated about DHS, much as we have already seen in action with Barr as AG, I assume that the main reason the President wants secret service leadership/staff to change is that he wants it to do things it normally would not do.

Consider the philosophy that selected the current AG, and make the analogous speculation about the SS.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:16 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Pedantry, but the Secret Service prefers USSS to SS, for obvious reasons.
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:38 AM on April 9 [21 favorites]


I think I’ve said this before, but a very liberal friend was with the Secret Service for 8 or so years, part of the VP detail for both Biden and Pence. Aside from all the stories of “you wouldn’t believe how fucking stupid POTUS and VPOTUS are,” he has so many sad tales of the Service being full of well intentioned military vets trying to do something honorable and useful with their special set of skills (instead of being mercenaries). And yet having among the worst morale of any sector in the federal work force. #398 out of 415.

Example: never knowing until Friday night what hours and days you’d be working the next week—which started on Saturdays. And on each Friday night, he’d also learn which countries he’d be traveling to, starting on Saturday. And for what duration. Imagine if you have kids. Now imagine you’re a divorced parent sharing custody with your ex. Then throw in that on Friday night you learn tomorrow you travel to Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Jordan for 9 days instead of spending time with your kids on their only school vacation till summer.

According to him, everyone in the protective service hates their job and is always trying to leave.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 3:09 AM on April 9 [50 favorites]


I dont have a lot of faith that the repeated factual rejoinders that seeking asylum is not a crime will make inroads against the folks using "illegals" as a noun.

Trump's base is a lost cause, but it's important that middle-of-the-road media like NPR continue to assert, forcefully (to the extent that NPR ever asserts anything forcefully) that seeking asylum is legal and that Trump's desired policies to stop immigration are not. The audience is not so much swing voters as the totebag crowd. If their opinions didn't matter, David Brooks wouldn't have as much of a career putting an acceptable mask on Republican policy.
posted by Gelatin at 3:30 AM on April 9 [9 favorites]


DoJ’s new stance on foreign payments or gifts to Trump ‘blurs lines’ – experts (Guardian)
[...] in a forthcoming article in the Indiana Law Journal, Washington University Law professor Kathleen Clark reveals justice department filings have recently changed tack. The new interpretation, Clark says, is contained in justice filings responding to recent lawsuits lodged by attorneys generals and members of Congress. [...]

The justice department stance now closely parallels arguments made in a January 2017 position paper by Trump Organization lawyer Sheri Dillon and several of her law partners. On 11 January 2017, just days before he was sworn in, Dillon said Trump isn’t accepting any payments in his “official capacity” as president, as the income is only related to his private business. “Paying for a hotel room is not a gift or a present, and it has nothing to do with an office,” Dillon said.

That goes against what many experts believe. “For over a hundred years, the justice department has strictly interpreted the constitution’s anti-corruption emoluments clause to prohibit federal officials from accepting anything of value from foreign governments, absent congressional consent,” Clark told the Guardian. [...]

Some 200 members of Congress have also filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump has conflicts of interest in at least 25 countries.

The inspector general at the General Services Administration, which oversees the government owned Old Post Office building leased by the Trump International Hotel, has faulted the agency for “improperly ignoring (the) emoluments clauses” and for conflicts of interest involving the hotel while Trump is in office.

Former intelligence officials also expressed concerns. “There’s a perception among lobbyists for foreign governments that the White House is for sale,” said Robert Baer, a 21 year CIA veteran with a Middle East background. “It’s a counter intelligence nightmare.”

The Trump Organization did pledge that while Trump was president it would donate any profits from foreign entities to the treasury. To that end it has written checks for $342m to the government covering the years 2017 and 2018. But some ethics watchdogs have questioned the methodology for calculating these payments, arguing it doesn’t account for foreign revenues to Trump businesses which overall have had yearly losses.
posted by Little Dawn at 3:57 AM on April 9 [20 favorites]


Yikes. That Guardian article is very wrong. It’s not $342m, it’s $342,000.

According to the Washington Post, “The Trump Organization said that it had donated the company’s 2018 profits from its business with foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury, the second year in a row that President Trump’s company has made such a move in an attempt to avoid running afoul of an anti-corruption provision in the Constitution.

“The donation was for $191,538, up from $151,470 the previous year, according to a check dated Feb. 20 and made out to the Treasury, a copy of which the company provided.”
posted by young_simba at 4:33 AM on April 9 [17 favorites]


So I don’t abuse the edit window: I just did a quick Google and found that “m,” as in “$342m”, can also mean thousands. I’ve never read it that way, though, and it seems that if it can be read both ways, additional clarity is desirable.
posted by young_simba at 4:41 AM on April 9 [12 favorites]


Here's a podcast/video from Intelligence Squared US Debates.

The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump

Arguing for: Jeff Flake, Bret Stephens.
Arguing against: Kris Kobach, Liz Peek

I find it interesting to hear Jeff Flake and Kris Kobach arguing against each other on this topic.
posted by rebent at 4:47 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


So supposedly the purge at DHS will allow the Director of CBP (Trump's favourite federal agency) to take over as Secretary of Homeland Security.
posted by PenDevil at 4:58 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Long piece from The Atlantic on Stephen Miller, in case anyone wants a deeper dive on the person driving the latest round of staff and policy shakeups: Trump's Right-Hand Troll.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:26 AM on April 9 [8 favorites]


FBI Confirms Comey Was a Witness in Mueller Investigation (Axios)

In which, well, yeah he was. It'd be disturbing if he wasn't right? The memos of Trumps obstruction - those contemporaneous documents that prove Trump crimed immediately - would be of interest one would think.

But apparently USA Today filed a FOIA request (it appears to have been CNN, see the link below) for All The Memos and in it they got news in the wording of the FBI's denial for information. USA Today's Brad Heath has more in his tweeter: (Threadreader version)

Key sentence: “The Comey Memos contain ... information concerning the President’s foreign policy decision-making.” Then suggests there’s a confidential source on that issue. It was never confirmed the Russia investigation focused on Trump’s foreign policy decisions - until now

Another twitter person quotes the court filing (linked, which shows Cable News Network, Inc. as the plaintiff) to note that Comey's memo includes the code name and true identity of a source of foreign intelligence, as well as that foreign intelligence, as well as details surrounding the FISA information on "a particular individual".

So. Yeah.
posted by petebest at 5:37 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Democrats plan to use hearing to press Barr on Mueller report (Politico)

House Democrats plan to grill Attorney General William Barr about his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report when he appears before an Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday morning.

... “All we have is your four-page summary letter, which seems to cherry pick from the report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president,” Lowey will say. “In many ways, your letter raises more questions than it answers. “I must say, it is extraordinary to evaluate hundreds of pages of evidence, legal documents, and findings based on a 22-monthlong inquiry and make definitive legal conclusions in less than 48 hours. Even for someone who has done this job before, I would argue it is more suspicious than impressive.”


9:30 am ET on C-SPAN
posted by petebest at 5:47 AM on April 9 [22 favorites]


With resort properties like Trump's, turning over the simple profits is window dressing. Even turning over all the revenue would be inadequate. Paying the U.S. Government promotional consideration would be more like it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:01 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


petebest: I'd probably accept a given fact [NPR] reported, but their p.o.v. is as bad as Fox, or worse, depending on how one feels about gaslighting. At least Fox has no qualms about stating up front for the record they support a fascist administration.

This is probably getting deraily but -- no they don't. They're just not very convincing in the lie, but they don't actually have their reporters say "We're in the tank for the president; our job is to cheerlead his every thought and action". Even Tucker Carlson uses euphemisms for his white nationalism.

The channel is "up front" about being fascist in the same sense that, while he was a candidate, Trump was "up front" that he would never release his taxes, and Mick Mulvaney could say with a straight face that a lot of people knowingly voted for a man who would keep them to himself. But in fact Trump explicitly promised to release them, and Fox explicitly labels itself as neutral rather than conservative -- and millions of Americans take it for its word (just as millions of other Americans consider NPR the epitome of facticity). An inability to fool me or you specifically does not make someone a non-liar or non-gaslighter.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:14 AM on April 9 [12 favorites]


I find it interesting to hear Jeff Flake and Kris Kobach arguing against each other on this topic.

Really? I might listen to them argue about which one drifts off into space and which stays to run out of air but that’s about the limit to my interest in hearing them discourse. I guess Flake could come up with as yet undiscovered ways to communicate concern while simultaneously doing nothing but Kolbach is just a racist liar. Who needs to hear more from him?
posted by phearlez at 6:28 AM on April 9 [21 favorites]


Redacted Mueller report to be released within a week with explanations for the redactions made, Barr says.

Barr says he offered Mueller the opportunity to review the Mar. 24 summary and he declined that.

via @nycsouthpaw
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:02 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Inside 12 days of turmoil that shook Homeland Security (AP)
This account is based on interviews with 20 administration officials, congressional aides and people familiar with the events, many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.

[...] Nielsen took the brunt of Trump’s fury over rising border crossing numbers, and the situation was only getting worse. Aides spent months desperately trying to come up with new solutions, and some tried to steer Trump away from more drastic measures, including his talk of reinstating the family separation policy that prompted international outrage.
Trump Says the U.S. Is ‘Full.’ Much of the Nation Has the Opposite Problem. (NYT)
To the degree the president is addressing something broader than the recent strains on the asylum-seeking process, the line suggests the nation can’t accommodate higher immigration levels because it is already bursting at the seams. But it runs counter to the consensus among demographers and economists.

They see ample evidence of a country that is not remotely “full” — but one where an aging population and declining birthrates among the native-born population are creating underpopulated cities and towns, vacant housing and troubled public finances. Local officials in many of those places view a shrinking population and work force as an existential problem with few obvious solutions.
David Miliband: the most vulnerable pay for Trump's 'manufactured crisis' (Guardian)
David Miliband, the former British foreign secretary who now leads the International Rescue Committee (IRC), issued a scathing critique of the Trump administration’s handling of border issues. “The US government is failing in its most basic responsibilities, never mind as a global leader but as a local example of how a civilized country should behave,” he said.

In an interview with the Guardian from IRC’s headquarters in New York, Miliband said that Trump’s approach to immigration amounted to “disorder by design”. “The administration needs to create the evidence to justify its immigration policies – it is using the concept of crisis to create the justification for government by executive fiat.”

The national emergency declared by the US president in February to bolster his plans for a border wall were denounced by Miliband as “manufactured crisis”. He said: “By no standards of national or international precedent would you describe it as a crisis, even in the communities affected in the southern US.”

Meanwhile, thousands of vulnerable people are suffering because of the removal of US protections, slow processing of their asylum claims and cuts in federal aid, he said. “The people who pay the price for government policy failure are the most vulnerable and least able to cope, whether Americans who are on the edge or Central Americans who are over the edge. That is a great danger."
posted by Little Dawn at 7:07 AM on April 9 [25 favorites]


I’m guessing Mueller declined to avoid giving the appearance of having approved it in any way.
posted by chris24 at 7:07 AM on April 9 [34 favorites]


What More Than 40 Years Of Early Primary Polls Tell Us About 2020: Part 2 (Geoffrey Skelley, 538)
The 2020 presidential contest is starting to pick up steam, but we’re still a long way from any votes being cast. To see if we can learn anything at this stage of the election cycle, we’ve been looking at past years’ early primary polls to see how well they predicted the eventual nominee. It turns out that they have a fair bit of value, especially when we adjust for how well known a candidate was.

This is the second part of a three-part series on early presidential primary polls. Last week, we examined polls for competitive nomination processes from 1972 to 1996, and now we’ll look at more recent contests, from 2000 to 2016.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:07 AM on April 9


In case there was any doubt: the Attorney General just told Congress that they would not be receiving the unredacted report. It’s also clear that Attorney General Barr has not attempted to minimize redactions, or he would have accepted the invitation of Representative Nadler (D) to ask a Federal judge to allow the release of grand jury information to Congress, as occurred in the Watergate inquiry. Barr also declined to say whether the White House had already received the report.

This is a cover-up in an attempt to obstruct justice.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:13 AM on April 9 [90 favorites]


Barr is unwilling to answer further questions on the Mueller Report, but he’s quite willing to tout the virtues of Trump’s secret replacement for the ACA, which will be revealed “if and when the ACA is overturned”. What a hack.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:21 AM on April 9 [30 favorites]


young_simba: “The Trump Organization said that it had donated the company’s 2018 profits from its business with foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury, the second year in a row that President Trump’s company has made such a move in an attempt to avoid running afoul of an anti-corruption provision in the Constitution.

That's ... not how you show you're not corrupt. There are other benefits to be gained beyond direct payments, just as there are other pay-outs than cold, hard cash. It's more political theater -- "see, we gave away the money!"

Speaking of money, Congress is about to ban the government from offering free online tax filing -- Thank TurboTax. (Justin Elliott, ProPublica.org via Ars Techniac, April 9, 2019)
Just in time for Tax Day, the for-profit tax preparation industry is about to realize one of its long-sought goals. Congressional Democrats and Republicans are moving to permanently bar the IRS from creating a free electronic tax filing system.

Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), passed (Ways and Means.House.gov) the Taxpayer First Act, a wide-ranging bill making several administrative changes to the IRS that is sponsored by Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa).

In one of its provisions, the bill makes it illegal for the IRS to create its own online system of tax filing. Companies like Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and H&R Block have lobbied for years to block the IRS from creating such a system. If the tax agency created its own program, which would be similar to programs other developed countries have, it would threaten the industry’s profits.

“This could be a disaster. It could be the final nail in the coffin of the idea of the IRS ever being able to create its own program,” said Mandi Matlock, a tax attorney who does work for the National Consumer Law Center.

Experts have long argued that the IRS has failed to make filing taxes as easy and cheap as it could be. In addition to a free system of online tax preparation and filing, the agency could provide people with pre-filled tax forms containing the salary data the agency already has, as ProPublica first reported on in 2013.

The Free File Alliance, a private industry group, says 70% of American taxpayers are eligible to file for free. Those taxpayers, who must make less than $66,000, have access (Apps.IRS.gov) to free tax software provided by the companies. But just 3% (Marketwatch) of eligible US taxpayers actually use the free program each year. Critics of the program say (The Hill) that companies use it as a cross-marketing tool to upsell paid products, that they have deliberately underpromoted (ProPublica) the free option, and that it leaves consumer data open to privacy breaches.
A good day for grifting. I'd love to know how this came to be a bipartisan bill, because making filing taxes easier and cheaper seems like a net positive thing, except for tax preparers.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:24 AM on April 9 [50 favorites]


Barr also declined to say whether the White House had already received the report.

So that's a yes. It's could also partly explain them suddenly accelerating the fascist project with the DHS/USSS putsch. Even allowing for their general ineptness their reaction makes it clear that the report doesn't exonerate him.



many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations

@juliaioffe: When I profiled Stephen Miller back in 2016, a person who used to work with him asked for anonymity because “He’s going to find out that I spoke with you and I’m going to end up in a camp somewhere.”
posted by Buntix at 7:25 AM on April 9 [69 favorites]


In case there was any doubt: the Attorney General just told Congress that they would not be receiving the unredacted report.

Vox's Andrew Prokop: "Barr: “We will color-code the [redaction] decisions from the report and we will provide explanatory notes describing the basis for each redaction.”" (Color-coded for your convenience? Seriously?)

CNN's Jeremy Herb, reporting on the GOP side of the Barr hearing: "Asked about Nunes' criminal referrals and the FISA process, Barr says that the DOJ IG report on the FISA process could be finished around May or June"

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz: "Barr says he is “reviewing the [FBI's] conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016.”

NYMag's Andrew Cohen: "Barr hearing a good reminder of same planet/different world time in which we live. GOP questions about border "crisis" and FISA/Carter page and sex trafficking. Dem questions about Mueller report."
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:33 AM on April 9 [25 favorites]


The Forgotten Reason Congress Needs to See the Mueller Report (Politico Magazine)
Asha Rangappa is senior lecturer at Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and former special agent in the Counterintelligence Division of the FBI.
In contesting a subpoena from Congress, the White House will likely make its favorite defense, which is that the president, legally speaking, can’t obstruct justice. [...] The problem with this defense is that it conflates enforcement of the laws—a power that resides in the executive branch—with the administration of justice, which is constitutional responsibility that is shared by all three branches, including Congress. When it comes to the administration of justice—and those who would thwart the integrity of that process—Congress has a big role to play.

The idea of obstruction of justice has its origins in a Supreme Court case, McCulloch v. Maryland (a case you might be familiar with if you’re a Hamilton fan), which challenged Congress’ power to create a national bank. The court found that Congress’ authority to create a bank—even though not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution—stemmed from its power to create laws “necessary and proper” for executing its explicit powers, like collecting taxes, borrowing money and regulating commerce. Importantly, the court noted that under the same reasoning, Congress could similarly pass laws which are “necessary and proper” to execute the powers of the other branches, as well. As an example of the latter, the Supreme Court pointed out that Congress could pass laws to ensure the effective functioning of the courts, noting that crimes like “falsifying … a process of the court,” or perjury, were “conducive to the due administration of justice.” In other words, the court made clear that Congress’ has the constitutional authority to ensure that the justice system can function without malevolent interference: This is exactly what obstruction of justice is about.

As courts have observed in more recent cases, it makes sense that Congress would be entrusted with safeguarding the integrity of the judicial process. After all, Congress itself is responsible for creating all federal courts apart from the Supreme Court. Protecting the procedure through which cases are investigated, tried and adjudicated is what allows the judicial branch to function as a coequal branch—if defendants could derail cases, mislead investigators or lie to the court with impunity, courts would cease to have the ability to administer justice at all. This is why so-called “process crimes”—the family of crimes that includes not only obstruction of justice, but false statements, perjury, witness tampering and contempt of court (a mechanism by which the judiciary can assert its own interest in fair administration of the laws)—are indispensable to the rule of law: They ensure that the integrity of the justice system is maintained from start to finish. If it’s Congress’ job to create rules that protect the courts’ ability to do their job, then it’s also Congress’ duty to get to the bottom of whether the president has tried to thwart those efforts.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:52 AM on April 9 [28 favorites]


When Barr is asked a question about the report he is comfortable with, he answers it. When he finds the question uncomfortable, such as the question of whether he has already given the report to the White House, he says “I’ve said everything I’m going to say about the report today”, before going back to answering questions about the report today.

This is like a murderer being asked, “Is the body in the lake?” “No!” “Is the body in the woods?” “No!” “Is the body in your basement?” “I’m going to have to consult with my attorney.”
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:52 AM on April 9 [74 favorites]


Barr says he offered Mueller the opportunity to review the Mar. 24 summary and he declined that.

What Barr means to say is that he asked for Mueller's endorsement of the summary and he declined. Mueller is no fool.
posted by JackFlash at 7:53 AM on April 9 [52 favorites]


Probably too much to hope that the redactions are done incompetently like the Manafort team’s were.
posted by The World Famous at 8:05 AM on April 9 [7 favorites]


Trump renews Mueller attacks as Russia report release looms (AP)
While the president unleashed his personal grievances, his team seized on any exculpatory information in Barr’s letter, hoping to swiftly define the conversation, according to six White House officials and outside advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private deliberations.

Those officials and advisers acknowledged that the victory lap was deliberately premature.

Trump’s inner circle knows there will likely be further releases of embarrassing or politically damaging information. Barr’s letter, for instance, hinted that there would be at least one unknown action by the president that Mueller examined as a possible act of obstruction. A number of White House aides have privately said they are eager for Russia stories, good or bad, to fade from the headlines. And there is fear among some presidential confidants that the rush to spike the football could backfire if bombshell new information emerged.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:10 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Mnuchin reveals White House lawyers consulted Treasury on Trump tax returns, despite law meant to limit political involvement (WaPo)
Treasury Department lawyers consulted with the White House general counsel’s office about the potential release of President Trump’s tax returns before House Democrats formally requested the records, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said Tuesday.

Mnuchin had not previously revealed that the White House was playing any official role in the Treasury Department’s decision on releasing Trump’s tax returns.

Democrats are asking for six years of Trumps’ returns, using a federal law that Federal law says the Treasury secretary “shall follow” the request of House or Senate chairmen in releasing tax return information. The process is designed to be walled off from White House interference, in part because of corruption that took place during the Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:15 AM on April 9 [27 favorites]


When Devin Nunes quits congress, either because he's going to prison, or because Fresno voters kick him out, he should go into marketing - He is really good at generating trending twitter memes
#covfefe
posted by growabrain at 8:40 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Stephen Miller takes command: Trump's shadow chief of staff wields his dark magic (Amanda Marcotte, Salon)
This insistence that federal officials simply start violating the law rather than allow migrants into the country has Miller's fingerprints all over it. Politico reports that Miller has made threatening phone calls to mid-level officials at various government agencies and pushing for the ouster of Lee Francis Cissna, who runs U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

What's critical to keep in mind here is that Miller strongly objects to legal immigration, on grounds that must be called racist. His attacks on other government officials and pressure campaigns on their agencies are focused on finding as many ways as possible, legal or otherwise, to prevent people from applying for asylum, getting green cards or otherwise finding ways to live live legally in the U.S.

Miller's influence is so strong that conservative Trump critic Max Boot has blamed him almost entirely for Trump's ever-more-radical attitudes on immigration, calling Miller a "puppet master" with "a long and odious agenda, which includes repealing birthright citizenship" and "cutting levels of legal immigration." […]
Emphasis mine. Trump should be reminded of his puppet masters as much as possible, so he remembers who they are.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:41 AM on April 9 [24 favorites]


The Politico profile of Steve Miller is , in a word, y i k e s

All the anger right underneath the surface just waiting to come through, about what I don’t know,” says a former staffer with the Republican leadership on the Hill. “I’ve seen the videos of him getting the crowd fired up. People that knew him when he was on the Hill, I don’t know how to describe the reactions people had to the videos of him. Maybe creeped out a little bit? Like, what’s going to happen when this guy gets the power?” He pauses as a thought dawns on him. “Oh my God,” he says. “He’s going to find out that I spoke with you and I’m going to end up in a camp somewhere.”
posted by The Whelk at 8:48 AM on April 9 [21 favorites]


Miller's influence is so strong that conservative Trump critic Max Boot has blamed him almost entirely for Trump's ever-more-radical attitudes on immigration, calling Miller a "puppet master" with "a long and odious agenda,

Max "we should stay in afghanistan for 300 years because it's like the native american genocide, which was good" Boot shouldn't get a cookie for using actual anti-semitic tropes to solely blame Miller for the country's resurgent white nationalism.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:48 AM on April 9 [22 favorites]


From DC Report:
Trump is Just One Step Away from the Russian Mob and a North Korean Arms Dealer - Why Trump Wants the Mueller Report and His Taxes Kept Secret
posted by growabrain at 9:28 AM on April 9 [7 favorites]


Attorney General Barr: "My March 24 letter was meant to state the bottom line conclusions of the report, not summarize the report, and I tried to use as much of the Special Counsel's own language as I could."

This is a lie. If the Attorney General had stuck to his pathetic claim that he couldn't release excerpts from the Special Counsel's report because of the boilerplate language on every page warning of possible grand jury information, at least he would have a consistent story. But he did quote from it! He quoted one-hundred-and-one words! Are we supposed to believe those are the only words he could legally include from the 300+ page document?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:32 AM on April 9 [28 favorites]


Haberman: "People close to her [Nielson] say one reason [for staying so long] - perhaps not only one - is that she was aware how awful life would/will be for her on the outside after defending his policies for a long tome."

Krugman: "This is classic gang strategy: get your members to commit crimes as proof of loyalty, so there's no going back. Yes, Trump is like a crime boss."

Oh, and Maggie, please spare us the "people close to her" bullshit, over and over again.
posted by JackFlash at 9:37 AM on April 9 [37 favorites]


On the psychological damage of child separation (Gabe Ortiz at DailyKos, via twitter)
Matías was just 6 years old when he was separated from his mom Victoria at the southern border. "Up until recently, the child slept with a cellphone flashlight on due to nightmares about men watching him in the dark." #FamiliesBelongTogether

Dad Vincente says his nine-year-old daughter is angry following their four-month-long separation. When he tries to ask her about the time they were apart, she lashes back: "What do you care? Why is it important to you?" #FamiliesBelongTogether
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:37 AM on April 9 [23 favorites]


Maybe someone can explain something for me. Suppose we see one of Trump's tax returns. That will list flowthroughs from likely dozens of C corps, S corps, LLCs, and/or LPs. Won't we then have to go and get the returns for each one of those? Or do we expect that just the names of those entities will be enough to connect him to something bad? You can look up the directors of each of those entities in the states they are registered in, but they might just lead to other entities, some of which will be in the Cayman Islands or other places with strict privacy laws. I want us to get the returns, but I'm not sure that is the end point, just the beginning of a long and multi-branched rabbit hole.
posted by M-x shell at 9:39 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


CNN, Woman accused of illegal entry to Mar-a-Lago had numerous electronic devices, thousands in cash
> Prosecutors say they found multiple electronic devices in her hotel room, including a signal detector that can seek out detect hidden cameras,


I only just noticed this bit and it seems unfair to hold that last item against her. Probably that should be standard carry for any woman who is going to be staying at a Trump property or anywhere else he frequents.
posted by phearlez at 9:40 AM on April 9 [28 favorites]


> Mnuchin reveals White House lawyers consulted Treasury on Trump tax returns, despite law meant to limit political involvement (WaPo)
[...] Democrats are asking for six years of Trumps’ returns, using a federal law that Federal law says the Treasury secretary “shall follow” the request of House or Senate chairmen in releasing tax return information. The process is designed to be walled off from White House interference, in part because of corruption that took place during the Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s.


I know this is a tiresome exercise, but please make an effort to imagine Congressional Republicans trying to investigate Obama's book royalties, and Timothy Geithner revealing that he was in discussions with Obama's staff about how to proceed.

There would be howling outrage on the cable channels - not just Fox, but CNN and MSNBC too. There would be investigations of corruption by the FBI, finger wagging statements by Jim Comey[*], hearings by Devin Nunes[*], and ALL CAPS editorials in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

The lack of urgency here - as crimes stack up right and left - is unbelievable to me. We have a completed report on criminal activities by people close to the President, if not the President himself - including activities that have led to multiple jail sentences - and Congress can't even get its hands on the report itself, let alone take action on it.

I guess I'm all out of evens today.

[*] Temporal anomalies
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:41 AM on April 9 [35 favorites]


Trump just now: "President Obama did child separation. Those cages you saw? I thought those were very inappropriate. Those were built by the Obama administration. I'm the one that stopped it... and when you don't have it you're just calling for all the immigrants to come in."

😮
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:42 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Link/cite?
posted by Rykey at 9:45 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]




"Obama did it first" has actually been a Trump administration talking point vis-a-vis the border and children for a while now. At least FactCheck.org investigated it a year ago.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:54 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


“I stopped it, and also it’s essential” appears to be a new take, however.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:55 AM on April 9 [45 favorites]


Because the GOP cheats and steals in order to rob and crime and Trump's going to get away with it, let's just make it legal to do (in Alabama). Problem solved.
posted by petebest at 9:58 AM on April 9


Re Miller: is threatening government officials to coerce illegal behavior not illegal? If he threatened an official in a state, is that something a state AG could investigate?
posted by Slackermagee at 9:58 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I mean at this point, I’m beginning to think that the whole signs of resistance from Dem leadership was naught but circus clowns distracting us.

It is beginning to look like the complete fascist takeover of the government is all but accomplished. There is nobody confirmed by the senate in most director roles at most agencies. Everyone is “acting” director. The president is giving illegal orders to immigration officers. The president is ramping up child separation despite both court orders and executive order. Steven Miller wants to get rid of birthright citizenship. (Which on one hand would rid us of Ted Cruz, but even that doesn’t outweigh the insane racism.)

The right wing has talking heads on npr and bbc this morning saying camps for asylum seekers is a doubleplus good thing. They are attacking Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, and the “wrong kind “ of Christians. The executive branch has high jacked the power of the purse from congress with barely a whimper. The senate is doing nothing, and will do nothing. The house is doing nothing, and will continue to do nothing. We will not be saved by legislators.

We have a madman armed with an arsenal that can destroy the world, being egged on by a nihilist psychopath, and there’s nothing that looks to stand in his way. We have our very own Mad King George, and I have no ideas how to stop this train, unless we start putting ourselves on the tracks.

My teenager really believes that the only way forward is revolution, which is not an uncommon thought for young activists. Thus far, I’ve successfully argued that revolution never goes as well as revolutionaries might hope, and that as unarmed brownish middle class folks, we’re first against the wall if the rednecks revolt, but the more Congress and the justice department cover up and hand wave away the radical systemic change that has happened in the last two years, the more I feel we edge closer to disaster.

The Barr hearing has left me deflated even more than the non-summary summarization. What do we do from here?
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:03 AM on April 9 [36 favorites]


Don't mourn, organize!
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 10:07 AM on April 9 [21 favorites]


Krugman: "This is classic gang strategy: get your members to commit crimes as proof of loyalty, so there's no going back. Yes, Trump is like a crime boss."

Don't sugarcoat it, Paul. He is a crime boss. His crimes are publicly available and he treats his underlings like a Mafia don.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:08 AM on April 9 [21 favorites]


Maybe someone can explain something for me. Suppose we see one of Trump's tax returns. That will list flowthroughs from likely dozens of C corps, S corps, LLCs, and/or LPs. Won't we then have to go and get the returns for each one of those?

Not having seen them, I don't know for certain, but I'm pretty damn sure that it will be one long list of blatant and obvious lies meant to hide his true activities. The essential incompetence of his criminal family will ensure that his chicanery be transparent.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:11 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


But is he the top boss? I doubt it. I still think he may have gone through an initiation ceremony of his own at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:12 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


[Let's reel it back to contentful updates; yes he's a fucker, compromised, tax cheat, etc but we know that; understandable people are feeling bad after Barr etc but please take that side of the discussion to the venting thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:20 AM on April 9 [12 favorites]


Trump denies there's any plan to restart family separations (Politico)
The president also deflected responsibility for the family separation policy, claiming that former President Barack Obama had begun the policy in the first place while taking credit for issuing an executive order to halt the practice.

“Obama separated the children, by the way. Just so you understand,” Trump said. “President Obama separated the children. Those cages that were shown — I think they were very inappropriate. They were built by president Obama's administration, not by Trump.”

But while previous administrations occasionally detained migrant families, they were kept together. Trump's White House was the first to institute a policy of separating families.
posted by Little Dawn at 11:07 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


Trump denies there's any plan to restart family separations

It would be nice if one of the profiles in courage who anonymously said the opposite yesterday would step up and clarify this with their name attached.
posted by diogenes at 11:16 AM on April 9 [13 favorites]


There are good reasons you can’t see the Mueller report yet, so please stop asking (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
— Christ, do we have to do this now?

— Please stop asking.

— You are giving me a headache.

— You read my summary, didn’t you? Okay. So if you read the summary, I guess, I don’t understand what the problem is. You know what it says.

— Don’t you trust me?

— Then why would you keep asking, if you trusted me?

— I’m tired.

— I think this is more about your paranoia and your investment in this “narrative” of “collusion" than it is about the report at all, frankly.

— Just because someone says they had a summary ready for release doesn’t mean it was actually ready for release, honey. We’ve been over this. Just as saying that something should not be construed as exonerating can mean that, actually, it is.

— You need to calm down.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:44 AM on April 9 [32 favorites]


Stephen Miller takes command: Trump's shadow chief of staff wields his dark magic

QZ White House reporter Heather Timmons: "Miller used a special trick to manipulate Trump into yelling at Nielsen, ex-DHS folk tell me. He'd leak alarming border numbers to the @dcexaminer*, then print out the story they wrote and put it on Trump's desk..."

* This is your periodic reminder that the Washington Examiner, part of billionaire Philip Anschutz's Christian conservative media group, lies somewhere between Fox and Brietbart on the rightwing noise machine spectrum and that its articles should be treated accordingly as sources.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:53 AM on April 9 [45 favorites]


That tweet is retweeting a link to this story, Stephen Miller is behind a purge at homeland security , so as to save everyone the multiple clicks to get there. (For me, not logged in to twitter, I sometimes have to refresh the page multiple times to get past their rate restricted nonsense. And that’s before clicking on the retweet to click on the story. Twitter ui leaves something to be desired.)
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:06 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


LA Times: Netanyahu Says Trump Named Iran’s Revolutionary Guard A Terrorist Group At His Request
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing a hotly contested bid for a fourth term, tweeted on the eve of the election that the Trump administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization at his request.

“Thank you, my dear friend, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, for having decided to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization,” he wrote in Hebrew on Twitter on Monday. “Thank you for responding to another of my important requests, which serves the interests of our countries and countries of the region.”

His English-language thank you note posted later omitted taking credit, but said of Trump, “Once again you are keeping the world safe from Iran aggression and terrorism.”
On the other hand, Iraq says U.S. decision on Iran's Guards 'could have negative repercussions' (Reuters).
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:29 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


Although I always enjoy a good Ted Lieu gotcha, when watching him today play Candace Owens a recording of her remarks wherein she was, to paraphrase, it was only that Hitler had international ambitions that made him problematic, after watching it I was like, 'why'd they subpoena Candace Owens, and who is Candace Owens," because it turns out she also said (today) that the Southern Strategy was a myth and some other weird shit.

It turns out this "Hitler had some good points" person was invited by the GOP at a hearing about white nationalism. They wanted the pro-Hitler person there to establish that white nationalism isn't a problem.

I mean, I guess I follow their logic if they are full Hitler at this point, but I didn't think we were quite there yet.
posted by angrycat at 1:17 PM on April 9 [21 favorites]


They wanted the pro-Hitler person there

Technically I suspect they wanted a black person there.

If you have a black friend you can't be racist, that's the law.
posted by Buntix at 1:26 PM on April 9 [27 favorites]


Technically I suspect they wanted a black person there.

Yup, they think that because some black people sympathize with Nazis that somehow invalidates the correlation between white nationalism and Nazism.
posted by diogenes at 1:34 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


Previously on Owens filter.
posted by Yowser at 1:49 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


So, (I'm not sure if it has been mentioned elsewhere but) Mike Gravel is running for President. Kinda. He was drafted by teens. He does not expect to be the nominee, but they want him on the stage to push anti-Imperialism, radical democracy, and social justice by being in the debates. Once he leaves the race, he's committed to donating all the money donated to him to the Flint water crisis.

“When they first approached me, I responded, ‘Do you know how old I am?’"


Normally, I'm against any old white guy joining the race, especially since the guy is 88. However, I think there are a few things that are noteworthy here: 1) he know he's an issues candidate and has no plans on winning, only raising awareness, 2) Gravel has been a consistent anti-imperialist voice for the last fifty years and that has been missing from the Dems, 3) extra money goes to Flint, and 4) his campaign is meming it up severely.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:03 PM on April 9 [28 favorites]


4) his campaign is meming it up severely.

His campaign and social media (and im not sure theyre really different given its just a sideshow - with a purpose) is being run by those same teens who drafted him, so the meme-ification isnt surprising.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:08 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


I’m only voting for the dictatorship of the Teen.
posted by The Whelk at 2:16 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


Gravelanche Gang and Yang Gang are the good and evil sides of the same coin: raw lumpen grievance channeled through extremely online memelords. There may be a whiff of weekend at bernie's about it but it seems consensual so bless 'em.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:20 PM on April 9 [21 favorites]


Eric Levitz: If You Are Defending Stephen Miller, You Are an Ally of Anti-Semitism (emphasis in original)
It is true that Stephen Miller is Jewish, and that white nationalists have historically targeted Jews for persecution. But this does not mean that Miller cannot be a white nationalist. There was a time in the U.S. when white supremacists were virulently anti-Catholic, and considered the Irish to be a subhuman race. That has not made it impossible for an Irish Catholic like Steve Bannon to openly endorse white-nationalist novels and thinkers. “White people” is not a coherent biological or ethnic category. It is a social caste with semi-porous borders. And by all appearances, Miller identifies with that caste. More to the point, there is no evidence whatsoever that Omar directed her criticism toward Miller because of his Jewish heritage and not because of his (undisputed) status as the White House’s most influential and hardline immigration adviser.

But the GOP’s decision to brand Omar’s comments as anti-Semitic is something much worse than unfair or unsupportable. It is confirmation that the party sees anti-Semitism less as a scourge to be combatted than as a political cudgel to be exploited.

Last fall, Stephen Miller encouraged the president to focus his midterm message on the threat posed by a caravan of Central American migrants. Trump proceeded to tell supporters that this caravan was an “invasion,” that “the Democrats had something to do with it,” and that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Jewish billionaire George Soros was financing this “invasion” in an attempt to rig the midterm elections.

Lee Zeldin did not object to these remarks. In his view, it was not anti-Semitic (or even irresponsible) for the president to suggest that a wealthy Jew was orchestrating an invasion of the United States, using nonwhite immigrants as his shock troops — even though the president was saying such things just days after a neo-Nazi had murdered 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue because he believed that Jews were orchestrating an invasion of the United States, using nonwhite immigrants as their shock troops. Instead, Zeldin chose to demonstrate his solidarity with American Jews last fall by inviting Steve Bannon to headline one of his campaign events.
[...]
And even if Trump’s politics did not endanger Jews, anyone who has ever uttered “never again” in earnest would still be obliged to oppose him. If you are a Jew who has “zero tolerance” for anti-Semitism — but infinite tolerance for a president who describes immigrants as an “infestation,” and directs extrajudicial cruelty at their children — then you aren’t so different from the Nazis’ apologists. You share their conviction that some populations are entitled to basic rights, while others are not.

You just believe the führer should have included your people among the chosen.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:59 PM on April 9 [76 favorites]


A video, in which the Secretary of the Treasury would like to leave, so a barrage of disrespectful nonsense comes out of his mouth, directed at committee chair Rep. Maxine Waters, culminating in him instructing her "I believe you're supposed to take the gravel [sic, he meant gavel, as he even mimes it] and bang it."
posted by zachlipton at 3:18 PM on April 9 [25 favorites]


Judge denies request for speedy release of Mueller report (Politico)
U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton said in his ruling from the bench that he understands the public clamor to see Mueller’s findings on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. But, he said, the lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy and Information Center didn’t meet the threshold required for him to make such an extraordinary emergency move. [...]

EPIC attorney Alan Butler argued that the request for a court injunction to quickly gain access to the Mueller report, as well as to executive summaries the special counsel’s team had prepared and other materials dealing with offshoot referrals for civil actions beyond the Justice Department, was needed to inform the public ahead of a series of congressional hearings on the Russia investigation. [...]

Enlow replied by spelling out DOJ’s plan to submit its next response in the FOIA case by April 25. “We’re not talking about months and months here,” she said. Walton affirmed the schedule and also set a May 2 status hearing.
Newly released testimony: Former top FBI lawyer says agency concerned Trump obstructed justice (Politico)
James Baker, the former top lawyer of the FBI, told lawmakers last fall that there were widespread concerns inside the FBI that President Donald Trump had attempted to obstruct the bureau's investigation into his campaign's links to Russians, according to a newly released transcript of Baker's testimony.

Under questioning in 2018 from a Democratic committee lawyer, Baker described numerous officials who were distressed that the president may have obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. Baker said he had personal concerns and that they were shared by not just top FBI brass but within other divisions and at the Justice Department as well.
posted by Little Dawn at 4:14 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


Nadler holds fire on Mueller report subpoena (Politico)

We’re just making every effort to show the court that we’re making every effort to reach an accommodation,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) told reporters on Tuesday. “Because that strengthens the case for enforcement of the subpoena.”

Barr indicated during an appearance on Capitol Hill earlier Tuesday that he intends to release — to lawmakers and to the public — a redacted version of Mueller’s conclusions...

How is Barr telling Democrats to go fuck themselves not sufficient evidence that a subpoena is warranted?

“I think it’s unfortunate,” Nadler added.
posted by diogenes at 4:34 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


To abuse the metaphor, Democrats are going to still be holding their fire as the Republicans drive a bayonet through their hearts. "Just wait until they get a little closer" will be their final words.
posted by diogenes at 4:41 PM on April 9 [31 favorites]


To abuse the analogy, Democrats are going to still be holding their fire as the Republicans drive a bayonet through their hearts. "Just wait until they get a little closer" will be their final words.

A lot of legislators have experience as attorneys, so they are familiar with how much judges tend to hate being involved in discovery disputes. Judges can be like rubber for issues like this, and they will often tell the parties to try to work it out, and do whatever they can to avoid being drawn into it, e.g:

The Motion to Compel: Think Tactically & Keep it Simple (Lawyerist)
When it comes to motions to compel, lawyers must accept three truisms: Judges are busy—and often impatient—people. Judges hate discovery disputes. And what judges hate even more than discovery disputes is having to settle discovery disputes.
How To Not Make Judges Hate You (Above the Law)
Besides, if you can’t work things out with opposing counsel, and even if you know that from that start, it’s incredibly important to show the judge that you tried—because you almost certainly will need to show that you tried.
posted by Little Dawn at 4:53 PM on April 9 [33 favorites]


Nate Cohn at the NYT: The Democratic Electorate on Twitter Is Not the Actual Democratic Electorate.

In which Nate lays out why the impression you get from the internet (including sites like Metafilter I presume) is so different from how the primary electorate votes.
posted by Justinian at 5:02 PM on April 9 [21 favorites]


Harry Enten takes a look at name ID vs current polling: Name id is highly correlated with polling right now, but I think it's noteworthy that a. Biden/Sanders have same name id, but Biden is 10 pts up. b. Warren has lower name id than Harris/O'Rourke & yet is behind them. c. Booker/Gillibrand meh. d. Buttigieg over-performing.

Tweet includes graphic. Warren really needs to turn this around somehow. Still early, etc, etc, yeah yeah.
posted by Justinian at 5:11 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Oh my god the clip of Waters kicking the shit out of Steve Mnuchin is Fucking Incredible and everyone should watch it.
posted by odinsdream at 5:17 PM on April 9 [60 favorites]


Warren isn't going to turn it around. I spent yesterday arguing with a bunch of feminist-identified women who don't like Warren because she's "schoolmarmish" and her tone is "scolding." People hate smart, serious women, and they will never forgive Warren for it. I don't know if they'll forgive any of the women in the race, but Warren is smart and serious and not pretty, and she's toast. I hate so much that it's true, but it's true.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:29 PM on April 9 [22 favorites]


> b. Warren has lower name id than Harris/O'Rourke & yet is behind them.

FYI Enten quickly corrects this little typo to reflect what is shown in the chart, which is that "b. Warren has ***greater*** name id than Harris/O'Rourke & yet is behind them".
posted by flug at 5:34 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Huh, I read it the way he intended it rather than what he actually wrote. Brains are weird.
posted by Justinian at 5:39 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


I'd imagine Nadler is trying to head off two likely excuses by a judge for why it's not worth deciding a subpoena fight over the report.

1) Sure, they missed your deadline, but the White House misses deadlines in Congressional requests all the time. By months and months. Here they've given you a target that's only a couple of weeks off of what you wanted -- why shouldn't they get a chance to meet that date?

2) This was a national-security investigation. There are going to be national-security issues implicated in the report. How can you argue that we need the unredacted version before we see how deep the redactions actually are?

I want the subpoenas to start flying as much as anyone, but I'm also very aware from covering a ton of politically charged court cases that you don't give the judge any reason to say "this isn't actually ripe for decision yet, go away and finish the process before you bother me." Because they fucking love to say that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:52 PM on April 9 [25 favorites]


The redacted Mueller report is going to be released during the Game of Thrones season premiere isn't it?
posted by srboisvert at 5:56 PM on April 9 [18 favorites]


If it's a Friday news dump it'll happen at the same time as the Star Wars Episode IX trailer.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:56 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Trump Administration to Push for Tougher Asylum Rules (NYT)
The administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity even as Mr. Trump was making his remarks, said a modified version of family separation, in which parents are given a choice of whether to be separated or to accept indefinite detention alongside their children, continues to be under consideration.

But the so-called binary choice proposal is “not ripe for White House consideration” right now, he insisted, because the government does not currently have the detention space to hold families if the policy were put in place.

The asylum changes being envisioned could drastically alter the role that the United States plays as a refuge for people fleeing poverty, violence and war. American and international laws require it to allow migrants to request asylum once they come to the country. [...]

Also on Tuesday, the acting deputy secretary of homeland security, Claire Grady, who was next in line by law to become the acting secretary, submitted her resignation, according to a Twitter post by Ms. Nielsen. Ms. Grady’s resignation paves the way for Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, to take the role.
posted by Little Dawn at 6:02 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


DOJ's plan to submit it's next response in FOIA case by April 25


Avengers: Endgame premieres in a million theaters on April 26. Serious scheduling here.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:39 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Politico: Democrats prepare their response to Barr's redacted report
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is preparing to "very quickly" subpoena the Justice Department and go to court seeking to obtain grand jury information, while House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff says he's made a formal request to obtain the counterintelligence information from Mueller's investigation to learn whether the President is "compromised" in any way.

"I think that's a betrayal to what he promised during his confirmation," Schiff told CNN, referring to Barr's refusal so far to not provide Congress with the full report and underlying evidence. "But it's what he was hired to do, which is to protect the President. The President wanted his own Roy Cohn and apparently he got one. But it is deeply concerning."[…]

"I don't intend at this stage to send the full, unredacted report to the committee," Barr told a House Appropriations subcommittee. "Until someone shows me a provision" permitting the release of grand jury material, Barr added, "Congress doesn't get" that material.

In response, Nadler said he expected to issue the subpoena, which the committee authorized last week for the report and underlying materials, once Barr releases the report.

"I assume we will get the redacted report within a week. When we do so, if we don't get everything, we will issue the subpoena and go to court," the New York Democrat said, adding that the subpoena was likely to come "very quickly."
Schiff, whom @realdonaldtrump attacked last week as "Shifty Adam Schiff" over his requests for testimony and documentation from the Trump administration, is even blunter:
Schiff said Tuesday that he had made a formal request for his committee to obtain the counterintelligence materials from Mueller's investigation.[…]

A committee aide said the request was made in the last few weeks. The request to the Justice Department, Schiff said, would fall under a grand jury exemption for material related to counterintelligence matters, and Schiff didn't rule out using a subpoena if necessary.

"We have an independent basis to want the counterintelligence information, after all of this began as a counterintelligence investigation, to determine, to find out whether the President or people in his campaign had been compromised in any way by a foreign power," Schiff said. "That means giving us classified information, that means giving us grand jury information."
Secretary Mnuchin literally offers to “cancel his important meeting”

His meeting was with Bahrain’s visiting Interior Minister to discuss "important cooperation in the fight against terrorism and illicit finance".
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:45 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


People hate smart, serious women, and they will never forgive Warren for it. I don't know if they'll forgive any of the women in the race, but Warren is smart and serious and not pretty, and she's toast. I hate so much that it's true, but it's true.

Hillary was just as smart, just as serious, not particularly pretty (no judgement intended), and hated far, far more than Warren is - whole careers were made on the back of hating Hillary Clinton - and she still won the nomination, the popular vote and came within an ace of closing the deal.

I mean, I'm not saying Warren will win or no - but it's very early in the game to be counting anyone out.

That said, I'd also recommend Justinian's link above for anyone who wants a sobering read on the hidden difficulties facing those, Warren included, who're aiming to get the nom as an outspoken radical, even in this relatively insurgent moment.
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:47 PM on April 9 [31 favorites]


I'd also recommend Elizabeth Warren Had Charisma, and Then She Ran for President
Warren’s troubles, on the other hand, are being compounded by journalists who analyze her image without recognizing how bound up it is with her gender. The media aren’t responsible for the fact that many male, and some female, voters demand that women presidential candidates work so much harder to prove their competence—and then react negatively once they do so. But journalists have an obligation to explain what’s going on.

On Sunday, The Washington Post became the latest publication to contrast Warren’s “policy nerd” campaign with those of opponents who “may lay a greater claim to charisma.” But why can’t policy nerds be charismatic? The academic research is clear: They can. It’s just easier when the nerds are men.
posted by zachlipton at 6:49 PM on April 9 [38 favorites]


From that NYT article on the administration's programme, my emphasis:
The administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity even as Mr. Trump was making his remarks, said a modified version of family separation, in which parents are given a choice of whether to be separated or to accept indefinite detention alongside their children, continues to be under consideration.

But the so-called binary choice proposal is “not ripe for White House consideration” right now, he insisted
[...]
I bet Miller thinks he's being witty.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:05 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


I mean, I'm not saying Warren will win or no - but it's very early in the game to be counting anyone out.

Yeah, at this point I'm taking any predictions - let alone any Cassandra-ing - with a grain of salt, considering the time frame. A lot can happen in a year.

Same with all the "Democrats in Disarray!" regarding Congress and the Mueller report and so on. I mean, we just had a blue wave not even six months ago, and before that the Democrats were the minority party. And even now the blue House has to deal with the red Senate. All i's must be dotted and all t's crossed and all asses covered.

We're all political junkies here, but we don't necessarily know the inner workings of how stuff gets done in Congress. I really think the Democrats in the House are doing the best they can with what they have. Now if we can flip the Senate in 2020, while keeping the House, we'll be in an infinitely better position.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:29 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]




A Former Immigration Official on How Much Harm Trump Could Do (Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker)
On Sunday, President Trump forced out the secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, and, on Monday, the White House announced that the Secret Service director, Randolph Alles, would leave his position. These decisions are reportedly the beginning of a purge of top D.H.S. officials, as Trump grows increasingly angry about the limits of his authority at the southern border. This past week, he cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, threatened to close the border, and rescinded the nomination of Ron Vitiello to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying, “We’re going in a tougher direction.” Now there are reports that he intends to fire L. Francis Cissna, the longtime head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and to reinstate a child-separation policy at the border.

What might Trump be able to accomplish with new people in charge? To discuss this question, I recently spoke by phone with Doris Meissner, who ran the Immigration and Naturalization Service under President Bill Clinton, and is currently the director of the U.S. immigration policy program at the Migration Policy Institute. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we also discussed how Trump has worsened problems at the border, what immigration hard-liners in the bureaucracy have already done, and her biggest concern about the President’s latest moves. ...

Meissner: I think it is a very serious concern to have an agency as important and large and as in the spotlight almost entirely in the hands of leadership that is “acting.” An acting secretary, an acting deputy secretary, an acting head of ice. You are going to have an acting head of the Secret Service. This is not a good recipe for managing a very complex set of functions at a very large agency. The civil service that works for these people will constantly be wary and holding back because they don’t know whether their leadership is going to be with them in another two weeks. These acting people will have a very hard time building relationships with their congressional committees, and congressional committees will have a hard time trusting what they have to say. It is hard to explain why that is so important, but having Senate-confirmed officials, where the legislative branch has basically bought in, is very critical to government functioning.

That is now all missing.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:23 PM on April 9 [11 favorites]


Bloomberg reports: Barr Forms Team to Review FBI's Actions in Trump Probe

This is Barr following orders from Senate Republicans to start hunting down, purging and prosecuting people that Trump or his enablers consider enemies inside the DOJ. This is the beginning of the DOJ purge, mark my words.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:44 PM on April 9 [37 favorites]


I'm sure this is too small-bore for the scale of problems we are currently facing, but that NYT article referenced above by Nate Cohn and Kevin Quealy about "The Democratic Electorate" sure is filled with centrist pejoratives for the left unencumbered by quotation marks. So we get things like, "Roughly a quarter of Democrats count as ideologically consistent progressives, who toe the party line or something further to the left" versus centrist "skepticism of ambitious, idealistic, pie-in-the-sky liberals and progressives who offer big promises with no record. It has meant an appreciation for well-known, battle-tested politicians who have been on their side or even delivered in the past."

By contrast, "woke" most definitely definitely gets the ironic quotation marks: "Today’s Democratic Party is increasingly perceived as dominated by its “woke” left wing" -- which also adds in a passive voice attribution plus a mildly pejorative "dominated," and is one of several instances where verbs are subtly deployed, such as how "progressives clamor for a Green New Deal or Medicare for all."

They also use odd locutions like, "The rest of the party is easy to miss. Not only is it less active on social media, but it is also under-represented in the well-educated, urban enclaves where journalists roam. It is under-represented in the Northern blue states and districts where most Democratic politicians win elections." "Under-represented" has a distinctly normative, democratic (small d) connotation, as if these "urban enclaves" are failing in their democratic duties or being actively exclusionary, as opposed to simply being places where one type of Democrat is common and another is not. And the text continues, "Many in this group are party stalwarts: people who are Democrats because of identity and self-interest — a union worker, an African-American — more than their policy views." I'm sure plenty of African-Americans will be interested to hear that they support Democrats because of identity or self-interest as opposed to policy.

Anyway, it's a weird article, as if David Brooks wrote a piece of polling analysis. Maybe we can blame it on the second author and preserve Cohn's reputation, but as it is, it certainly reads like the classic "stop calling us flyover country" centrist manifesto that we've all become so familiar with. The fact that its demographic analysis completely ignores the effect of age in shaping the "unrepresentative" nature of Twitter, and that it retains the usual historical myopia of being unable to see a time before Reagan, is all just analytic icing on a fairly standard centrist-harumphing cake.
posted by chortly at 8:46 PM on April 9 [22 favorites]


Bloomberg reports: Barr Forms Team to Review FBI's Actions in Trump Probe

This is Barr following orders from Senate Republicans to start hunting down, purging and prosecuting people that Trump or his enablers consider enemies inside the DOJ. This is the beginning of the DOJ purge, mark my words.


Yep. The next step is a new special prosecutor to investigate Mueller, Sally Yates, Comey, and maybe Obama himself. Remember the "Obama wiretapped Turmp Tower" thing? Expect that to come back. Barr is taking orders directly from Sean Hannity.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:50 PM on April 9 [18 favorites]


I think have a fair bit more respect for the Democrats' apparent caution in their pursuit of information (e.g subpoenas) than for Mueller's apparent caution in not explicitly recommending obstruction charges, because the audiences are entirely different. The special counsel's case is not one to be made to any judge (as I understand), certainly not one with real power over the fate of the president; it's ultimately a political matter that has (perhaps, we don't have the report so we don't know) been treated as non-political by that investigation. By contrast, the success of subpoenas doesn't rise and fall in the court of public opinion. Though it should be noted that a nontrivial part of that public is the "Why don't they just" contingent and associated dissatisfaction when they don't "just".
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:55 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


> “Many in this group are party stalwarts: people who are Democrats because of identity and self-interest — a union worker, an African-American — more than their policy views."

Well and also the idea that one should disinterestedly weigh “policy views” rather than consider self-interest (self-interests that include but are not limited to: one’s personal financial interest, one’s broader class interests, awhether or not the Republican party is interested in helping cops kill people for having your skin color) is hot nonsense, and it is deeply troubling that American media outlets treat that type of nonsense as reasonable.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:37 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


The Democratic Electorate on Twitter Is Not the Actual Democratic Electorate

I saw MSNBC's Steve Kornacki speak a few Scaramuccis ago, and in an offhanded comment, he framed Twitter as this thing that in reality no one is on, but it happens that people who make the news sausage are on it ALL THE TIME. So it's a weird public media back-channel.

(i also bought a book for my Texan-now Jersey husband and explained why Kornacki's Jersey tenure meant so much to him and Kornacki wrote a really funny inscription)
posted by armacy at 10:45 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


A strange thing happened on Trump's twitter tonight (fortunately, not involving threats of nuclear war this time).

He tweeted out this totally bonkers video featuring clips of him over dramatic music. It was weird; David Nakamura described it as "Hillary, Obama and Amy Schumer are villains in this and Kim Jong Un is a good guy." It included some text titles that started with "First they ignore you" and "Then they laugh at you" but then shifted to the less-traditional "then they call you racist."

As people began to mock it as being the kind of thing you whip up in iMovie to play with your new computer and then promptly delete it, Trump's campaign rushed to clarify that they didn't actually make it or anything; it was just something they got from a random supporter. "We like to share content from diehard supporters, and this is just another example of how hard Trump supporters fight for us," they said in a statement nobody was willing to sign their name to.

People quickly noticed that the dramatic music was from Hans Zimmer's The Dark Knight Rises score. Among those people were Warner Brothers, who released a statement noting that the use of the music was unauthorized and they'd be working to have it removed.

And sure enough tonight, on the President's twitter feed: This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner. This also happened in February when he used an REM song in a video.
posted by zachlipton at 11:31 PM on April 9 [52 favorites]


From Variety: President Trump’s latest 2020 campaign video was removed from Twitter Tuesday night after Warner Brothers Pictures requested it be taken down due to the use of music from “The Dark Knight Rises'” score in the clip.

“The use of Warner Bros.’ score from ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ in the campaign video was unauthorized,” a Warner Brothers spokesperson said in a statement before the removal. “We are working through the appropriate legal channels to have it removed.”

The two-minute video not only utilized Hans Zimmer’s “Why Do We Fall?” from the 2012 threequel, but also shared the font used for the film’s title cards.

“First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they call you a racist. Donald J. Trump. Your vote. Proved them all wrong. Trump: The Great Victory. 2020,” declared the video, using the “Dark Knight Rises” font. ...

“We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes,” HBO said in a statement at the time, as well as tweeting “How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?” from its official Twitter account.

posted by Bella Donna at 3:03 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


that NYT article referenced above by Nate Cohn and Kevin Quealy ... retains the usual historical myopia of being unable to see a time before Reagan, is all just analytic icing on a fairly standard centrist-harumphing cake.

Thank you chortly; I had attempted a multi-paragraphed analysis of that article and its supporting research before abandoning it, but you said it much better. At the core of it, the "Human Tribes" data was set up as such a 'here's what we're going to find' sort of thing, and some of the apparent contradictions (i.e. we surveyed 8000 people who don't talk about their political beliefs) that I couldn't buy it.

It's not that there isn't a dark army of middle-of-the-road, let's-not-go-crazy-with-fighting-injustice kind of voting bloc, but that this study wasn't the insightful view to it it presupposed to be. I appreciate Justinian sharing it and who-are-The-Democrats is certainly a vortex of interest for the upcoming Earth changes election, but that study had some problems, IMO.
posted by petebest at 3:42 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


In contrast, the Stacey Abrams interview transcript that was posted earlier has some information that seems much more pragmatic:

[STACEY ABRAMS]: In the south, race is the strongest predictor of political leanings. It was a little more than a million, 1.2 million, overall, who weren't registered. But 800,000 people of color, which meant they were completely outside of the body politic. I thought that was problematic, and so I decided to register them. ...

We lost because Georgia law does not require timely processing of applications to vote.

CHRIS HAYES: So it's just within the law, he [then SoS now Gov "Cheater" Kemp] can sit on it?

STACEY ABRAMS: It's within the law. He could sit around for 10 years and never process an application.

CHRIS HAYES: Really? That's legal under Georgia law?

STACEY ABRAMS: It is, still.
...
[STACEY ABRAMS]: And this is someone who raided the offices of Asians Americans Advancing Justice and their predecessor organization, held-

CHRIS HAYES: Wait. Raided the offices?

STACEY ABRAMS: Raided their offices because they registered too many Koreans and too many Asians to vote. And so, during his tenure, he had the GBI raid their offices because he was accusing them of fraud. His reaction to any communities of color increasing their registration numbers in a concentrated fashion was to raid their offices or accuse them of voter fraud.
...
CHRIS HAYES: If the Supreme Court had not gutted section five of the Voting Rights Act section two, but section five functionally. If they had not gutted that part of the Voting Rights Act, which is a federal pre clearance provision, which essentially keeps a civil rights cop on the beat for certain areas. Georgia, of course, was under pre clearance beforehand. Rerun that election with pre clearance, with the old voting rights regime, before Chief Justice Roberts wrote an opinion basically saying racism was gone. Would it look different?

STACEY ABRAMS: Yes. Without question. He closed 200 precincts.


So in one article it indicates there's a lot of Democratic voters that want a centrist candidate, in another (interview) it indicates there's just flat out voter suppression and corruption going on that keeps Republicans in power. Not that both can't co-exist but in a sane world where the press did its theoretical job, those things wouldn't co-exist.
posted by petebest at 3:55 AM on April 10 [58 favorites]


Hillary was just as smart, just as serious, not particularly pretty (no judgement intended), and hated far, far more than Warren is - whole careers were made on the back of hating Hillary Clinton - and she still won the nomination, the popular vote and came within an ace of closing the deal.

Not only is making this kind of judgment inappropriate it is also incorrect. Both Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are very attractive intelligent powerful women and it is kind of insane that people don't think so.
posted by srboisvert at 4:38 AM on April 10 [34 favorites]


Also, stop telling us any female candidate is unlikeable. I don't want to hear it.
posted by agregoli at 5:12 AM on April 10 [55 favorites]


Poll: Women voters could give women candidates a boost in the Democratic primary (Li Zhou, Vox)

“Women helped back women candidates during the midterms. Data suggests that could happen again.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:41 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


The piece that zachlipton linked in this comment is welcome, but as Sady Doyle said in a tweet: "I liked this article OK, but I liked it better when I wrote it."

Here is the link to her piece on medium.
posted by Emmy Rae at 5:42 AM on April 10 [19 favorites]


Breaking: Hush-Money Probe Gathered Evidence From Trump’s Inner Circle (WSJ)
The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office has gathered more evidence than previously known in its criminal investigation of hush payments to two women who alleged affairs with Donald Trump, including from members of the president’s inner circle.

Prosecutors interviewed Hope Hicks, a former close aide to Mr. Trump and White House communications director, last spring as part of their campaign-finance probe, which ultimately implicated the president in federal crimes.

They also spoke to Keith Schiller, Mr. Trump’s former security chief. Investigators learned of calls between Mr. Schiller and David Pecker, chief executive of the National Enquirer’s publisher, which has admitted it paid $150,000 to a former Playboy model on Mr. Trump’s behalf to keep her story under wraps.

In addition, investigators possess a recorded phone conversation between Mr. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and a lawyer who represented the two women.

The prosecutors’ campaign-finance investigation is based on the theory that the secret payments to keep women quiet were illegal contributions, because they were intended to influence the election. New details of the investigation—gleaned from interviews with 20 people familiar with the probe and from nearly 1,000 pages of court documents—show prosecutors had gathered information about Mr. Trump’s alleged involvement in the payments weeks before Mr. Cohen asserted it in open court.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:49 AM on April 10 [22 favorites]


> Also, stop telling us any female candidate is unlikeable. I don't want to hear it.

This take is especially bullshit in a world where tens of millions of voters apparently found Donald "J for Jovial" Trump likeable enough to elect him President. Unless the next Democratic nominee is the Xenomorph Queen from Aliens, this shouldn't be an issue.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:00 AM on April 10 [23 favorites]


Also, stop telling us any female candidate is unlikeable. I don't want to hear it.

Word. "Likeability" is the politics version of "hiring for fit" - it sounds meaningful, but all it really means is allowing all your implicit biases to make the judgment instead of actually interrogating why the people who you think are "likeable" or who "fit" just so happen to mostly parallel your own demographics of race/gender/sexuality/age/whatever. And of course when I say "you" I mean all the cis straight white male pundits who so need their voices to be heard because what they have to say is just. so. important.
posted by solotoro at 6:04 AM on April 10 [41 favorites]


Unless the next Democratic nominee is the Xenomorph Queen from Aliens, this shouldn't be an issue.

I can already see the chyron on FOX.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:11 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Here is the C-SPAN link for Bill Barr's round of obfuscation in front of Senate Appropriations at 9. Gnashing and wailing and swear words in chat.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:48 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


The Need That Democrats Aren’t Addressing (Rahm Emanuel, Atlantic Op-Ed) or "Democrats Must Counter Trump's Nationalism With Service"
Candidates must challenge the public to give, not just promise the public more of what it gets.
Aside from reiterating what JFK said, candidates must also challenge all socio-economic classes to be part of the public. No one group of people can be above all others, no matter their social or economic background.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:52 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]




[One deleted. First of all it is just super weird to dig into ranking the attractiveness of female public figures as a way of saying how it's bad to be hung up on attractiveness. Second if people want to talk in more depth about "likeability" it should get its own thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:26 AM on April 10 [18 favorites]


odinsdream: Oh my god the clip of Waters kicking the shit out of Steve Mnuchin is Fucking Incredible and everyone should watch it.

I LOVE that Auntie Maxine is in this position of power, and using Mnuchin's own dumb words against him. Folks on Twitter loved it, too (Hello Beautiful recap and round-up of tweets).

And she's back at it, leading the charge as best she can, while the GOP tries to shift focus: CEOs Of Big Banks Face Tough Questioning (FROM THE DEMS -- ed.) On Capitol Hill (Jim Zarroli for NPR, April 10, 2019)
The heads of some of the nation's biggest banks are facing a grilling Wednesday morning about the safety of the U.S. financial system a decade after the financial crisis.

The House Financial Services committee, led by Democrat Maxine Waters of California, is holding a hearing titled "Holding Megabanks Accountable: A Review of Global Systemically Important Banks 10 years after the Financial Crisis."

"Ten years ago, the CEOs appeared before this very committee to discuss the financial crisis and the massive bailout taxpayers provided," Waters said. "A decade later, what have they learned? Are they helping their customers and working to benefit the communities they serve? Or are the practices of these banks still causing harm?"

But ranking member Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., said the committee would be better focused on more current issues like the impact of Brexit on the U.S. financial system.

"Let's not make the companies who finance us as politicians too uncomfortable, or they might stop funding us" seems to be what the GOP is saying here.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:34 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


Kirstjen Nielsen Will Likely Pay No Price for Her Evil:
No matter how many op-eds come out in the next week calling for a complete shunning of Nielsen from public life, experience tells us that she’s probably going to be just fine. John Kelly and Don McGahn are already hard at work trying to repair their public perceptions. Oliver North is president of the NRA. War criminal Elliott Abrams lied to Congress, admitted doing so, took a few decades to work on D.C. think tanks, and has since worked in two more Republican administration.

And then, when Abrams was called out for his crimes after returning for his latest stint at the forefront of American foreign policy with a special focus on coups in Latin America, all of his think tank buddies, regardless of political affiliation, jumped to his defense. And don’t forget all the torturers and liars from the Bush administration who have paid no price for their crimes, such as Torture Memos writer and current UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo. Or Henry Kissinger. Or on and on and on.

According to Politico, Nielsen is “still plotting” what she wants to do after leaving the government, and her allies say she’ll probably “lay low for several months” in the meantime. Given what we know about accountability for powerful people in America, though, it’s a good bet that she’ll have little trouble finding a job once she’s ready.
posted by Ouverture at 7:48 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


Trump says he was the target of ‘an attempted coup’ with Mueller investigation (WaPo)
President Trump claimed Wednesday that he had survived “an attempted coup” and said he no longer cares about the forthcoming release of a report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III because, in his view, he has been exonerated. [...]

“It was an illegal investigation. It was started illegally. Everything about it was crooked,” Trump claimed. “This was an attempted coup. This was an attempted takedown of a president, and we beat them. We beat them.”
posted by Little Dawn at 8:00 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


“It was an illegal investigation. It was started illegally. Everything about it was crooked,” Trump claimed. “This was an attempted coup. This was an attempted takedown of a president, and we beat them. We beat them.”

A responsible person, much less president, does not use “coup” language when Americans are already bombing and shooting perceived political enemies.

There will be (more) blood on his hands.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:04 AM on April 10 [48 favorites]


@guardian: "William Barr claims Trump campaign was 'spied' on under Obama"

I'm sure we can trust this guy to give us the full meaning of the Mueller report
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:08 AM on April 10 [44 favorites]


The Guardian's live blog has more from Barr:
Robert Mueller did not indicate whether he wanted Attorney General William Barr to make a judgment about Donald Trump’s culpability for obstruction of justice.

Mueller’s report did not make a conclusion on whether Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice, instead laying out evidence on both sides. Barr, in his own summary, said he believes Trump did not commit obstruction.

Senator Patrick Leahy asked Barr whether Mueller told him that he wanted to let Congress decide about obstruction. “He didn’t say that to me, no,” Barr said. Leahy then asked if Mueller said that Barr should decide. “He didn’t say that either. But that’s generally how the Department of Justice works,” he said.

Barr said he would explain his conclusion that Trump was not guilty of obstruction, but not yet. “I don’t feel I can do it until the report is out. I think the report contains a lot of the information that would give meaning and content to the decision,” he said.
And: "Attorney General William Barr declined to say whether he believes, as Donald Trump does, that the Mueller investigation was illegal or a witch hunt. “I’m not going to characterize. It is what it is,” he said."

NBC's Ken Dillian: “Barr on why he wants to investigate the origins of the Mueller probe: "I think spying did occur" on the Trump campaign, but "the question is whether it was adequately predicated. I'm not saying it wasn't."”
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:17 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


> This was an attempted coup. This was an attempted takedown of a president

... by a former Republican director of the FBI, appointed to the position by Trump's own handpicked Attorney General, after Trump fired the previous Republican FBI director because he was "unfair to Hillary". Right.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:27 AM on April 10 [31 favorites]


Trump wondered why Mount Vernon isn’t named after George Washington. Here’s why. (Gillian Brockwell, Washington Post)
President Trump was not impressed with a tour of the first commander in chief’s home last year, Politico reported Wednesday, describing his visit to Mount Vernon with French President Emmanuel Macron and their wives as “truly bizarre."

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump reportedly said. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.”

On the subject of whether anyone remembers George Washington, The Washington Post, which is based in the capital city of Washington (not Washington state) near George Washington University, would refer readers to the fact that Washington has come in first or second in nearly every “best presidents” poll conducted, including the most recent one, in 2018, by Siena College Research Institute. Trump, in case you’re wondering, came in 42nd out of 45 commander in chiefs.

So why is Washington’s magnificent sprawling estate on the Potomac River called Mount Vernon instead of George Washington Plaza or George Washington International?

Doug Bradburn, CEO and president of Mount Vernon, may have said this on the guided tour, but the “Vernon” of Mount Vernon is British Admiral Edward Vernon. He was the commanding officer of George’s older half brother Lawrence Washington, who fought in a conflict between England and Spain in the West Indies called the War of Jenkins’ Ear.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:36 AM on April 10 [23 favorites]


commander in chiefs.

*eye twitch*
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:39 AM on April 10 [71 favorites]


Barr said he would explain his conclusion that Trump was not guilty of obstruction, but not yet. “I don’t feel I can do it until the report is out. I think the report contains a lot of the information that would give meaning and content to the decision,” he said.

Sure, after they redact everything and allow the narrative to then fit his justification. We need the full unredacted report now.
posted by gucci mane at 8:52 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


"William Barr claims Trump campaign was 'spied' on under Obama"

Which is true, after a fashion, but only because the national security apparatus was alarmed at the contact between key members of the Trump campaign and hostile foreign nations.
posted by Gelatin at 9:18 AM on April 10 [33 favorites]


Based on abundant past performance, this coup language is a decent signal that the Mueller report is actually pretty rough on him. The question remains whether that version sees the light of day.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:22 AM on April 10 [27 favorites]


Carter Page had left the Trump campaign by the time the FISA warrant was issued. In fact the Trump campaign was at that time denying that he had ever been part of it.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:24 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Of course Trump wouldn't be impressed by Mount Vernon. Apart from the nice river view, there's not much remarkable about it.

On the subject of stuff with George Washington's name on it, not only is my alma mater the first college founded in the new United States, but It's also the only one named for Washington that was founded while he was still alive.
posted by emelenjr at 9:28 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Apart from the nice river view, there's not much remarkable about it.

From the bottom of my beer-soaked heart, how dare you? But I will acknowledge that someone like Trump (1) would never make the walk you need to get to the sixteen-sided barn and (2) is certainly incapable of admiring clever design. Perhaps if it had been gilded.
posted by phearlez at 9:30 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


southpaw points out on twitter that Barr's statement about "spying did occur" has been picked up and spread by media outlets, putting it out there so that Trumpists can repeat it. Headlines such as "Attorney genereal says he believes spying did occur on Trump campaign" are now out there.
posted by StrawberryPie at 9:31 AM on April 10 [20 favorites]


And it’s a bullshit talking point that’s been debunked scores of times since Trump first rolled it out in December of ‘16.

Gah. Great job everyone.
posted by notyou at 9:34 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


phearlez I stand corrected!
posted by emelenjr at 9:34 AM on April 10


commander in chiefs.

*eye twitch*


commander in chieves
posted by The Tensor at 9:36 AM on April 10 [59 favorites]


Headlines such as "Attorney genereal says he believes spying did occur on Trump campaign" are now out there.

Meanwhile, we know that Trump was lying about his business negotiations with Russia during the campaign, and what's more, Putin knew Trump was lying about it, too.

Trump was, and is, compromised -- and we know this because of information in the public domain, never mind what's in the Mueller report.
posted by Gelatin at 9:36 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


In a bit of side news; Nate Silver of 538 fame, is unironically using words like "cuck" and other vocabulary of the alt-right in public. (Twitter link)
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:41 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


I agree it's a bullshit talking point, and I agree we all know Trump has been lying. We all know this, but for the AG to make statements like this and every news outlet from Wapo to NYT to simply repeat what Barr said is just providing more repetition and more ammo for Trumpists and Fox to beat the witch hunt drum. It appears to me that Barr & team Trump are succeeding in not just blocking full release of the Mueller report, but attacking the messengers and changing the narrative.
posted by StrawberryPie at 9:48 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Barr & team Trump are succeeding in not just blocking full release of the Mueller report, but attacking the messengers and changing the narrative

...again. Just as they got the so-called "liberal media" to trumpet the premature and almost certainly dishonest "Mueller Report Finds No Collusion Or Obstruction (according to Barr, who is of course a neutral and credible source)" spin, and despite the fact that their own reporting shows that that spin was at the very least premature.

Not to mention the fact that they know Trump lies all the time, even if they can't quite bring themselves to publish that word.

There's a reason one lies: One believes the truth is more embarrassing. My high school journalism teacher used to say that if your source lies to you, that's your story. It's a shame the Washington elite media pretends not to know it.
posted by Gelatin at 9:56 AM on April 10 [39 favorites]


There's a reason one lies: One believes the truth is more embarrassing. My high school journalism teacher used to say that if your source lies to you, that's your story. It's a shame the Washington elite media pretends not to know it.

The gravity is still strong two years later.

In a bit of side news; Nate Silver of 538 fame, is unironically using words like "cuck" and other vocabulary of the alt-right in public. (Twitter link)

Not that this isn't an embarrassing exchange for both participants, but what other vocabulary of the alt-right did Silver use?
posted by Jpfed at 10:06 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]




In a bit of side news; Nate Silver of 538 fame, is unironically using words like "cuck" and other vocabulary of the alt-right in public. (Twitter link)

Damn. Now where do I go for for statistical analysis by a grown up?
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:09 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Larry Sabato?
posted by box at 10:22 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Barr's bullshit talking point is not only a bullshit talking point but it further legitimizes the idea that the Trump campaign’s contacts with foreign agents were natural and legitimate, to the point where investigating those contacts was investigating the campaign itself, rather than, y’know, warning the campaign that they’re being targeted by a criminal enterprise. Like, even Barr’s "no collusion here, we’re all fine, how are you?" summary doesn’t bother pretending that the campaign did anything other than conceal its interactions with the same government that Mueller indicted for illegal interference in the election. And yet that did nothing to temper the headlines.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:27 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


(Or, if you don't like Sabato, maybe you'll like the Cook Report or 270 to Win?)
posted by box at 10:31 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Larry Sabato

The dean of Virginia politics! Eminently trustworthy but also a little bit stodgy and definitely not as talkative/transparent as Nate Silver. Kyle Kondik (who works for Sabato) is a great follow, as is Harry Enten.
posted by sallybrown at 10:31 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


I'm sure plenty of African-Americans will be interested to hear that they support Democrats because of identity or self-interest as opposed to policy.

That's not that controversial of a statement. There's been plenty of good pieces, especially last year, talking about how the Democrats often treat the African American vote as a given without doing things to address the community's needs in policy. And that does affect voter turnout - it's not like the Republicans are a better option, but I've talked with disaffected people in the community that point to the lack of policies and stances by local and national leaders relevant to their needs as a reason not to bother to vote.
posted by Candleman at 10:36 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]






In a bit of side news; Nate Silver of 538 fame, is unironically using words like "cuck" and other vocabulary of the alt-right in public.

So do the Pod Save America guys. The term has escaped from the stupid alt-right ecosystem and spread to the general stupid Twitter world.

He probably shouldn’t be using it, or engaging with people who troll him, but Twitter.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:47 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


NYT article headline right now has no hint that it's Barr's unsupported opinion or that he tempered the claim later in his testimony:
William Barr Testimony Highlights: Government ‘Spying Did Occur’ on Trump Campaign
In his testimony before Congress, Attorney General William P. Barr said that he believed President Trump’s 2016 campaign was spied on by the government and that he wanted to ensure that there was no “improper surveillance.”
Thanks, NYT. Thanks a lot.
posted by StrawberryPie at 11:05 AM on April 10 [24 favorites]


NBC News: "Analysis: Barr appeared to endorse a widespread GOP view that the Mueller probe may have involved inappropriate surveillance of the Trump campaign."

"blah blah blah the Mueller probe may have involved inappropriate surveillance of the Trump campaign"
posted by rhizome at 11:16 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Georgia the state lege is considering a law to impose state regulation and control on journalism. It's probably just a stunt bill by some backwoods types pandering to their base, but stuff like this is always a stunt, until suddenly it's in place and dead serious.

As is often the case they bundle all the awful with one tiny thing that seems vaguely reasonable (in this case mandating that when a person is interviewed the journalist must provide them with a copy of the transcript and recordings) so the would be authoritarians can point to that one vaguely reasonable measure as proof of their good intent.
posted by sotonohito at 11:28 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


You know what? At this stage I don’t give two fucks whether Obama personally dragged Comey into his office and told him directly “I want you to spy on Trump even though I have zero probable cause because I want Hillary to win.” The fruit-of-the-poison-tree shouldn’t apply to the President as with any normal citizen. If that “spying” uncovered crimes, the public needs to know about it, and I’ll be totally fine then if we go back and prosecute those responsible for the illegal spying.

Yes, I know that the accusation of spying is being done in completely bad faith and we shouldn’t treat it as if it were serious, but how can this not be a compelling counterargument?
posted by Room 101 at 11:40 AM on April 10 [13 favorites]


> how can this not be a compelling counterargument?

Will it be stated on Fox News? If not, does it make a sound?
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:48 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Without probable cause it's way easier for the incumbent president, with the help of the entire law enforcement and intelligence apparatus, to just spontaneously create useful dirt on their political opponents.
posted by Jpfed at 11:49 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Elsewhere on Capitol Hill today, Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman covered the sparsely attended Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing for Trump DAG nominee Jeffrey Rosen:
—Rosen serves as deputy secretary of Dept. of Transportation. He's a lawyer with significant legal/govt experience, but has never served in any position within the Justice Dept., which is unusual for DAGs. He addresses this in his prepared remarks: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/5810673/Jeffrey-Rosen-SJC-Opening-Statement-4-10-2019.pdf
—Rosen and AG Bill Barr go way back - the two are former law partners at the firm Kirkland & Ellis. Here's Rosen's Senate questionnaire: https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Jeffrey%20A.%20Rosen%20SJQ%20-%20PUBLIC2.pdf*
—Graham asks Rosen if he thinks he could lead DOJ if AG Barr had to step aside because of a conflict. "I do," Rosen replies, citing his past experience leading large federal agencies
* He mentions his tenure on the board of directors of the Free State Foundation, which is part of the Koch-funded ALEC bill-mill network.

The Daily Beast reports: Trump’s Nominee for Deputy Attorney General Refuses to Say if He Supports Brown v. Board Ruling—When asked about the landmark segregation ruling, Jeffrey Rosen said it wouldn’t be ‘a productive exercise’ for him to say ‘which ones are right and which ones are wrong.’

Rosen threw out some more red meat to Trumpists, the Washington Times notes: Jeffrey Rosen, DOJ nominee, says he'll 'keep an open mind' on probe into FBI
Jeffrey Rosen, President Trump’s nominee for deputy attorney general, told lawmakers Wednesday he’ll be “open-minded” on probes into allegations the FBI spied on members of the Trump campaign.

“The FBI needs to be an institution all Americans need to have confidence it will be independent from political influences from the outside and the inside,” Mr. Rosen said. “I don’t know what the facts are and I want to in a position that I can approach it an open-minded way.”
n.b. Unlike Barr, Rosen has no experience at the DoJ and is being brought in by Barr because of his conservative credentials and their time working together at Kirkland & Ellis. That's the kind of bureaucratic tactic employed when someone wants to conduct an institutional purge.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:09 PM on April 10 [24 favorites]


WaPo, Miller and Kushner on a potential collision course in Trump’s border crisis
In recent months, Kushner has been meeting with senators to pitch a possible plan on legal immigration, border security and interior enforcement, two White House officials said. Since the shutdown, Kushner has also held roughly 50 listening sessions, largely with conservative groups, to better understand what sort of immigration deal they could support, one of the officials said.

But Miller has at times been an impediment to Kushner’s ambitions. While Kushner has encouraged the president to make bigger deals with Democrats, Miller has worked with conservative House Freedom Caucus members to scuttle such compromises, in part by working around legislative affairs staffers, White House and legislative aides said.

Former and current senior Republican aides who interacted with Miller said he would often contradict what they had heard from DHS officials, particularly on visas and asylum rules. The aides said they never hear from Miller on any issue other than immigration, while Kushner has met with them about trade, criminal justice issues and health care.
...
Last year, for instance, Miller began chatting with Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) in the West Wing lobby and told the two centrists that if they worked to limit immigrants, the black unemployment rate would go down in Alabama, according to one person familiar with his comments. Both senators found the comments jarring and off-putting, this person said.
posted by zachlipton at 12:27 PM on April 10 [18 favorites]




Because government isn't enough of a dumpster fire already. From the Daily Beast: Believers in the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory are fond of telling each other to “Trust the Plan”—to remain firm in the belief that Donald Trump and the mysterious forces behind QAnon will, at any moment, defeat the deep-state operatives and Pizzagate-style pedophiles that secretly run the world. It’s a leap of faith that binds the community together. But one QAnon follower has grown impatient. Instead of trusting the plan, he’s running for Congress.

Matthew Lusk, a Florida bookseller who launched his House campaign for Florida’s 5th congressional district last month, appears to be the first QAnon follower to run for federal office. His candidacy was first reported by Florida Politics, a state politics blog. According to FEC registrations, he is currently the only Republican in the contest to run in the general election against, in all likelihood, Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL).

posted by Bella Donna at 1:02 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


a stunt bill by some backwoods types pandering to their base

This is a "Please let's not" request along the lines of avoiding "flyover country", etc.
posted by achrise at 1:22 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


Last summer, driving on the Georgia interstate, saw QAnon billboards... WTF?

Hoping this would mean a D hold in that district. On the other hand... Florida
posted by Windopaene at 1:29 PM on April 10


ZeusHumms: “If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump reportedly said. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.”

Which Trump said about George frickin' Washington, whose very visage could probably be drawn well enough by the majority of people in the U.S., thanks to being on the U.S. quarter and dollar, plus Mount Rushmore.

But back to Trump -- I look forward to the day that, like a modern day Ozymandiuas, all Trump brands are pulled down. At least he'll have his presidential library, which I like to imagine will be in Mar-A-Lago, because I enjoy daydreaming about the tides rise and swallow up his southern white house (Trump Rejects Climate Change, but Mar-a-Lago Could Be Lost to the Sea -- Bloomberg Business Week, December 16, 2016, paywalled beyond the intro).

Meanwhile, NPR has updated their story on the Dems grilling CEOs of big banks, with a new article title: How'd You Feel If Your Boss Made $486 For Every Dollar You Make?, and a new table:

Seven bank CEOs appeared before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Below is their 2018 annual compensation, median compensation for each bank’s employees and the ratio between the two.

The "best" ratios: Goldman Sachs (CEO - $20,662,835; Median - $136,513; ratio - 151:1) and Bank of New York Mellon (CEO - $9,383,885; Median - $61,380; ratio - 153:1).
The worst: Citigroup (CEO - $24,195,749; Median - $49,766; ratio - 486:1)

I'd love to hear see this become a talking point for the Dems (I'd really love to see some new laws, but if Net Neutrality will die in the Senate or with a POTUS veto, I don't expect bank regulations and/or maximum CEO ratios to get anywhere this year or next).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:35 PM on April 10 [16 favorites]


There's a Quinnipiac poll of CA today, as well as a Marquette poll of Wisconsin. It's gonna be way too long of a primary to post the full results of the thousands of polls so the bottom line is that Biden has an 8 point lead over Sanders in CA with Harris third and Sanders has a 3 point lead over Biden in WI with Warren in third.

No big surprises. But third place in California for Harris would probably not be sufficient to win the nomination.
posted by Justinian at 1:39 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Although it looks like Harris and Sanders are basically tied for second in CA (Biden 26, Sanders 18, Harris 17) and I'm sure she'll be pounding the pavement here for much of the next year.
posted by Justinian at 1:41 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


American Oversight has obtained the resumes of Trump administration political appointees at the Department of Education from 2017 and 2018 that offer yet another example of how Secretary Betsy DeVos has prioritized charter schools and for-profit institutions over public education. On Wednesday, DeVos testified about her department’s policies and priorities in front of the House Education and Labor Committee, and faced questions about department policy favoring those industries.

Out of 61 resumes American Oversight obtained, 11 political appointees had served on the Trump campaign prior to joining the administration — but only seven have any experience teaching in or overseeing traditional public schools.

Through FOIA litigation, American Oversight has obtained hundreds of resumes of Trump administration appointees from across the administration. Unqualified officials who list their Trump campaign experience or loyalty to the administration are not uncommon. But the lack of expertise in education, specifically public education, at the Education Department at the beginning of the administration is illustrative of the agency’s priorities.


I won't pretend this is news when it comes to priorities (KILL PUBLIC EDUCATION is probably tattooed somewhere on the DeVos hiney) but I do think it is interesting. If you have high blood pressure already, you may want to skip reviewing the resumés of some of the political appointees to Trump's Department of Education. They ain't pretty, they are maddening.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:41 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


>“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump reportedly said. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.”

this one is easy. The President didn't remember or didn't know that Mount Vernon is associated with George Washington. He was aggrieved by this, because he thinks of himself as the person with the best brain, the smartiest smartypants who's ever smarted a pant. To avoid narcissistic injury, he places the blame for his failure to remember or know on George Washington, rather than himself. Instead of having to think "I, Donald Trump, learned a thing today" — a painful thing to think, because learning something requires having not previously known it — he instead gets to think "I, Donald Trump, know more about real estate marketing than George Washington did. What a dum dum that George Washington was!" This latter thought is pleasant, because it's about Trump being right and another person being wrong.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:42 PM on April 10 [77 favorites]


@NickMiroff: Ron Vitiello announces resignation from ICE, less than a week after WH pulls his nomination with no cause or explanation. Vitiello‘s 30+year career ends with a thud and some trite gratitude. Helluva message to ICE/CBP workforce when you’re desperate to recruit more agents.

Given that Trump seems to spend all day ordering subordinates to break the law and getting mad when they say they can't do that, it's terrifying that those subordinates are all being fired.
posted by zachlipton at 2:12 PM on April 10 [10 favorites]


An obvious rebuttal to the GOP and Barr comments on "spying on the Trump campaign" is the same justification for any police inquiry, like stop-n-frisk -- if you've done nothing wrong, why are you so worried?

(Except stop and frisk was found to be *surprise!* racist and ineffective -- MSNBC, 12/14/12 09:16 AM—UPDATED 09/13/13 08:47 AM -- which I'd love to hear as the GOP's reason why they think that any accused spying on Trump was uncalled for)

Meanwhile, Pelosi: ‘I don’t trust Barr; I trust Mueller’ (Lisa Mascaro, Associated Press via Detroit News, April 10, 2019)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she doesn’t trust Attorney General William Barr and suggested his statements alleging President Donald Trump’s campaign was spied on undermine Barr’s independence as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

The California Democrat also said in an interview with The Associated Press she was “very concerned” about Barr’s handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia report and accused Barr doing Trump’s political bidding.

“He is not the attorney general of Donald Trump. He is the attorney general of the United States,” Pelosi told AP. “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.”

Barr testified Wednesday before a Senate panel that he believes “spying did occur” on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, aligning himself more closely with the president’s views on the origins of the Russia investigation. Critics of the Russia probe note that it was launched during the Obama administration, though Mueller was appointed special counsel by Trump’s Justice Department.

Pelosi said Barr’s comments undermine the Constitution and his role in the Justice Department.

Barr said Wednesday he expects to release a redacted version of the Mueller report next week, but Pelosi said it’s only a “matter of time” before the full report is made public.

“We will see it,” she said.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:14 PM on April 10 [20 favorites]


I'm sure she'll be pounding the pavement here for much of the next year.

Yeah, while Harris isn't exactly unknown in California, I think she's still way below most peoples radar compared to Sanders or Biden. I don't think her 2016 race generated lasting memories, given that (a) it was 2016 so there was something else we were paying attention to, and (b) she was running against another Democrat, so even those of us who had a preference weren't exactly worried about the outcome.

So even in California I think she's a celebrity tier or two below Sanders, for example, who had a much more active group of supporters (I like Harris, but any memory of her campaign is drowned out by Clinton v Sanders followed by Clinton v Trump).

We'll see how well she does in fixing that, she's not in a bad position now so I think there's still a real chance.
posted by thefoxgod at 2:16 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


[Couple deleted; let's skip having a sidebar on Israel.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:12 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


It looks like while Sanders isn't necessarily calling for completely eliminating the filibuster, he does want to go back to the old "talking filibuster" rules which in my opinion probably amounts to the same thing in the end. It's a way of calling to end the ability of the minority to completely stymie legislation with 41 votes without actually saying that. So that's good for the prospects of majority-supported progressive legislation.

Of course then he says you could pass Medicare For All with reconciliation which is obvious nonsense and I assume he knows that? Or not? But if you go back to the talking filibuster you likely don't have to use reconciliation to pass it anyway so eh.
posted by Justinian at 3:19 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


His position is that he could pass whatever he wants under reconciliation since technically the VP and majority determine the rules of reconciliation and he'd just have them declare by fiat that MFA could pass. That's actually a much more radical position than calling for the elimination of the filibuster! It's almost Trumpian.
posted by Justinian at 3:22 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


NPR: "How'd You Feel If Your Boss Made $486 For Every Dollar You Make?"

Way to bury the lede, NPR. They compute their ratios using the median employee wage. By definition that means that half the employees earn less than the median.

Maybe, how would you feel if your boss made $1000 for every dollar you make?
posted by JackFlash at 3:26 PM on April 10 [17 favorites]


Maybe, how would you feel if your boss made $1000 for every dollar you make?

Sure, although I'm not sure 500:1 vs 1000:1 is that different, really. Both are pretty crazy.

I just computed that my CEO's comp : my comp ratio is 666:1.
posted by thefoxgod at 3:30 PM on April 10 [20 favorites]


Nate Silver gives his current thinking on the chances of the Dem candidates to win the nomination. Predictably being dragged hard in the replies for ranking Harris as tier 1a while Sanders is only tier 1b. Does not explain his rationale. He really does like trolling, sometimes.
posted by Justinian at 3:46 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that the department will not be able to finish its review of Democrats' request for President Trump's tax returns by Wednesday -- the deadline that Democrats had given the IRS to provide the documents.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:52 PM on April 10 [6 favorites]


I don't think this is for the venting thread, but it really does feel like the Mueller investigation was the stalemate/standoff holding things back, and now that it's been muffled at the very least, I think it's emboldening a lot of attempts at further gains. What the purge in DHS feels like, what the "treason/spying" comments feel like is the moment after a standoff in a movie where one side has been shown to be bluffing, or the chamber is empty, and the villain grins, cracks wise, and does the thing we were trying to prevent them to do.

I'm not trying to be pessimistic about it, just note that at the moment it does feel like things are moving backwards and I'm not sure what levers we have available.
posted by Brainy at 3:52 PM on April 10 [28 favorites]


Of course then he says you could pass Medicare For All with reconciliation which is obvious nonsense

I mean you can do anything with reconciliation if the parliamentarian agrees to it but, yeah, any meaningful version of medicare for all will violate the byrd rule for sure.
posted by dis_integration at 4:01 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]



Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that the department will not be able to finish its review of Democrats' request for President Trump's tax returns by Wednesday -- the deadline that Democrats had given the IRS to provide the documents.


He's also already refused to come back to testify before the banking committee. I think Democrats are about to see the power of this fully-operational kleptocratic fascist administration and its appointees. They've already gotten rid of anyone who had any kind of moral compass that conflicted with being fully subservient to the administration. Those who remain are true loyalists, Mnuchin is just one of the most loyal and immoral.
posted by odinsdream at 4:01 PM on April 10 [18 favorites]


Metafilter: This latter thought is pleasant, because it's about being right and another person being wrong.

I just computed that my CEO's comp : my comp ratio is 666:1.

CEO addressing the staff: Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste...
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:06 PM on April 10 [25 favorites]


Ars Technica: DHS, FBI Say Election Systems In All 50 States Were Targeted In 2016—Joint Intelligence Bulletin issued in March says Russian hacking efforts were wide-ranging.
A joint intelligence bulletin (JIB) has been issued by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation to state and local authorities regarding Russian hacking activities during the 2016 presidential election. While the bulletin contains no new technical information, it is the first official report to confirm that the Russian reconnaissance and hacking efforts in advance of the election went well beyond the 21 states confirmed in previous reports.

As reported by the intelligence newsletter OODA Loop, the JIB stated that, while the FBI and DHS "previously observed suspicious or malicious cyber activity against government networks in 21 states that we assessed was a Russian campaign seeking vulnerabilities and access to election infrastructure," new information obtained by the agencies "indicates that Russian government cyber actors engaged in research on—as well as direct visits to—election websites and networks in the majority of US states." While not providing specific details, the bulletin continued, "The FBI and DHS assess that Russian government cyber actors probably conducted research and reconnaissance against all US states’ election networks leading up to the 2016 Presidential elections."[…]

The FBI and DHS analysts who authored the JIB noted that they had no information on how many of those attempts were successful, aside from two instances when "Russian government operators in June 2016 accessed voter registration files and a sample ballot from a US county website."[…]

The bulletin included no new technical data for defenders to use. But its purpose is fairly clear—it was meant to get officials in every state on board to prepare for the 2020 presidential elections now. "Since 2016," the DHS spokesperson said, "we have built relationships and improved threat information sharing at every level—we are working with all 50 states and more than 1,400 local jurisdictions, and are doubling down on these efforts as we work with election officials to protect 2020.”
(On a tangential note, the BBC's Africa Eye has published an in-depth investigation of Russian efforts to interfere in Madagascar’s 2018 Presidential elections, in which Yevgeny Prigozhin of Internet Research Agency infamy appears.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:25 PM on April 10 [17 favorites]


Mark Knoller, CBS News:
@markknoller
After hearing the border stories, Pres says he's "going to have to call up more military," even though they "can’t act like a military would act. Because if they got a little rough, everybody would go crazy." Says Dems will pay a very big price for inaction on border security.
It's fascist rhetoric and it's going to get people killed.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:33 PM on April 10 [53 favorites]


(I like Harris, but any memory of her campaign is drowned out by Clinton v Sanders followed by Clinton v Trump).

In some ways I think Harris is in the best spot. She's not getting all the attention, including negative attention like Biden and Sanders, but she's not so far down the list it feels hopeless.
posted by asteria at 4:33 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Trump not liking Stephen Miller taking the spotlight in this immigration fight:

"Frankly, there is only one person that is running it. You know who that is? It's me."
posted by zakur at 4:51 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


NYT, Retiring as a Judge, Trump’s Sister Ends Court Inquiry Into Her Role in Tax Dodges
President Trump’s older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, has retired as a federal appellate judge, ending an investigation into whether she violated judicial conduct rules by participating in fraudulent tax schemes with her siblings.

The court inquiry stemmed from complaints filed last October, after an investigation by The New York Times found that the Trumps had engaged in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the inherited wealth of Mr. Trump and his siblings. Judge Barry not only benefited financially from most of those tax schemes, The Times found; she was also in a position to influence the actions taken by her family.

Judge Barry, now 82, has not heard cases in more than two years but was still listed as an inactive senior judge, one step short of full retirement. In a letter dated Feb. 1, a court official notified the four individuals who had filed the complaints that the investigation was “receiving the full attention” of a judicial conduct council. Ten days later, Judge Barry filed her retirement papers.
...
In retirement, Judge Barry is entitled to receive annually the salary she earned when she last met certain workload requirements. Though the exact figure was not immediately available, it appears to be between $184,500 and $217,600.
So, uh, kind of thinking there might be some stuff in Trump's tax returns we need to see here.
posted by zachlipton at 4:51 PM on April 10 [48 favorites]


CEO addressing the staff: Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste...

More like:

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found
I've got a little list — I've got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!
posted by Melismata at 5:01 PM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Trump not liking Stephen Miller taking the spotlight in this immigration fight:

When Trump squeals, you know you've found a weak spot. This is why only humiliation will work on him and his.

Keep going!
posted by rhizome at 5:33 PM on April 10 [25 favorites]


[Sanders's] position is that he could pass whatever he wants under reconciliation since technically the VP and majority determine the rules of reconciliation and he'd just have them declare by fiat that MFA could pass. That's actually a much more radical position than calling for the elimination of the filibuster! It's almost Trumpian.

The "nuclear option" as it is currently practiced (and of course there's been a number of "nuclear" reforms now) is mostly just that though. The basic trick is you object to a cloture loss, the parliamentarian overrules you, you ask for a vote to rule on the parliamentarian's ruling, you overrule the parliamentarian with a bare majority, and voila, the rule is changed. Since the Senate constitutionally sets its own rules, it's not even clear that they must be bound by reconciliation as specified in the 1974 budget act, but even if so, they are free to interpret it however they like; the Byrd rule restricts what does and doesn't count for reconciliation, but the Byrd rule is just a rule, and therefore just as subject to bare-majority revocation as the filibuster is. In short, the Senate by constitutional design sets its own rules and therefore ultimately only requires a bare majority to do stuff. The only reason the filibuster, Byrd rule, and all the other garbage continues to exist is that a perpetual bunch of centrist Senators would rather the Senate get nothing done than lose their centrist veto.
posted by chortly at 5:36 PM on April 10 [6 favorites]


So, what happens when the Treasury refuses to comply with the law? Literally, what happens?
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:11 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Nate Silver gives his current thinking on the chances of the Dem candidates to win the nomination. Predictably being dragged hard in the replies for ranking Harris as tier 1a while Sanders is only tier 1b. Does not explain his rationale. He really does like trolling, sometimes.

I think it just has to do with Harris's superior room to grow. Harris and Beto have approval that is disproportionate to their name recognition; Sanders and Warren are underperforming relative to their name recognition.
posted by Jpfed at 6:43 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Reuters tweet just now: "Barr says 'spying did occur' against Trump".
posted by StrawberryPie at 7:04 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


So, what happens when the Treasury refuses to comply with the law? Literally, what happens?

They can be found in contempt of Congress, which carries with it jail time. Unless, of course, that system of law breaks down for some reason, like for example Republicans breaking it.
posted by mightygodking at 7:14 PM on April 10 [11 favorites]


WNYC, Trump Administration Goes to Court to Denaturalize U.S. Citizen (7 minutes, 21 seconds)

Maryam Saleh, Trump Administration Is Spending Enormous Resources to Strip Citizenship From a Florida Truck Driver
In a process that began under former President Barack Obama, the federal government identified Khan as a target for denaturalization by combing through hundreds of thousands of old records and determining that he had become a citizen fraudulently, by failing to disclose a past deportation order that he wasn’t even aware of. The fact that the Trump administration’s test case centers on a truck-driving grandpa who potentially could have become a citizen even if he’d been completely forthright with immigration officials is simultaneously a damning indictment of the federal government’s strategy and further evidence of its efforts to demonize nonwhite immigrants at any cost.
posted by zachlipton at 7:19 PM on April 10 [27 favorites]


I think it just has to do with Harris's superior room to grow. Harris and Beto have approval that is disproportionate to their name recognition; Sanders and Warren are underperforming relative to their name recognition.

Makes sense. It would also explain why Buttigieg is in 1b despite polling in the high single digits; he is overperforming his name ID by about as much as Beto and Biden. So I guess Silver does have a logical rationale behind his list.

Still getting super-dragged on twitter by the Sanders fans though.
posted by Justinian at 7:48 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


They can be found in contempt of Congress, which carries with it jail time. Unless, of course, that system of law breaks down for some reason, like for example Republicans breaking it.

So- my layman's understanding of this is as follows.

There are two (okay, three, but practically two) kinds of contempt of Congress. Civil, and criminal. Civil contempt means Congress just files a civil suit. Civil contempt can result in someone being held until they cough up the info, but it's not a criminal matter.

Criminal contempt has to be pursued by a federal prosecutor, ie the DoJ. There's a law that says that if Congress refers someone to the DoJ for criminal contempt, DoJ must pursue it, but in practice the DoJ's position is that this law does not actually bind them.

So the current state of things is that Congress can only really pursue contempt by a drawn out civil litigation, and eventually a judge may rule in their favor and order the Treasury to hand the documents over. This seems like the more likely outcome to me...

(The third kind of contempt is inherent contempt, ie a power that Congress can use on its own. It involves sending the House sergeant at arms, clapping the target in handcuffs, and dragging them back to a cell in the bowels of Congress until they hand over the information. It has been probably a hundred years since that power was used.)
posted by BungaDunga at 8:17 PM on April 10 [18 favorites]


The Congressional Research Service indicates the inherent contempt process was last used in 1935.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:37 PM on April 10 [16 favorites]


I, for one, am going to start suggesting option three to legislators who have that power. Maybe if enough of us remind them that we know they can do that, they will do it.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:48 PM on April 10 [20 favorites]


Criminal contempt has to be pursued by a federal prosecutor, ie the DoJ. There's a law that says that if Congress refers someone to the DoJ for criminal contempt, DoJ must pursue it, but in practice the DoJ's position is that this law does not actually bind them.

Note that it's also possible for a committee to just make a recommendation to refer someone for contempt, then oopsie-doopsie all of the conservative media outlets “accidentally” report that the person has actually been held in contempt, then oopsie-doopsie the Republicans, despite having had complete control of Congress, just forget to actually have either chamber vote on and make the referral, what a crazy kooky mix-up!

Which if I understand correctly is what happened with Bryan Pagliano, Hillary Clinton's IT manager, in late 2016 when someone needed more Butter Emails headlines.

I imagine the same thing could happen with the other two types of contempt?
posted by XMLicious at 9:10 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


BBC Africa Twitter thread on Russian backed 'observers' mucking around in the most recent elections in Madagascar.
posted by PenDevil at 1:46 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Assange arrested
posted by PenDevil at 2:50 AM on April 11 [18 favorites]


Russian stooge Julian Assange is in British custody in London after his arrest just now.
posted by Justinian at 2:50 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Here comes another conflict between the Pentagon and IC, on the one hand, and Donald "I love Wikileaks" Trump, on the other. Though I imagine perhaps it's already scripted out as this won't have come as a surprise to any of them.
posted by M-x shell at 3:45 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Here comes another conflict between the Pentagon and IC, on the one hand, and Donald "I love Wikileaks" Trump, on the other.

I think this will be a perfect opportunity for Trump (and Putin) to tie up a bit of a loose end.
posted by PenDevil at 4:06 AM on April 11


MW's word of the day is "despot" (real)
posted by angrycat at 4:10 AM on April 11 [11 favorites]


Ex-Obama Counsel Expects to Be Charged Soon in Mueller-Related Case (NYT)

The case against Mr. Craig, 74, stemmed from an investigation initiated by the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. An Ivy League-educated lawyer who held prominent positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations, Mr. Craig would become the first person who made his name in Democratic Party politics to be charged in a case linked to the special counsel’s investigation.

... The case against Mr. Craig is related to the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, which the Justice Department is prioritizing in part because of scrutiny related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation. ... The work, on behalf of the government of Viktor F. Yanukovych, then the president of Ukraine, was linked to Paul Manafort, who at the time was a political consultant earning tens of millions of dollars for his representation of Mr. Yanukovych.

... Mr. Manafort arranged for Skadden Arps to be paid more than $5.2 million in 2012 and 2013, primarily from a Ukrainian oligarch, to assist the Ukrainian Justice Ministry. Specifically, Mr. Craig and his team produced a report that Mr. Manafort intended to use to quell Western criticism of the prosecution and jailing by Mr. Yanukovych’s government of one of his rivals, the former prime minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko, and to train Ukrainian prosecutors handling matters related to the case.

... Prosecutors cast doubt on Mr. Craig’s claim in a settlement reached in January between the Justice Department and Skadden Arps. Under that settlement, the firm avoided prosecution in the matter in exchange for an agreement to pay $4.6 million, to retroactively register its Ukraine work under FARA, to beef up its compliance processes and to cooperate with government investigations of the work on behalf of Ukraine.


tl;dr: Clinton/Obama-related lawyer (clickbait), Ukraine, Manafort, oligarch, Yanukovych, millions, no FARA, lying to Mueller, boom.
posted by petebest at 4:33 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Wow, what, did they have like 6-7 guys dragging Assange out of that embassy? I haven’t seen anything that cringeworthy since the end of Fargo.
posted by valkane at 4:46 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Met Police: Julian Assange, 47, (03.07.71) has today, Thursday 11 April, been further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10:53hrs after his arrival at a central London police station. This is an extradition warrant under Section 73 of the Extradition Act. He will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court as soon as possible.
posted by PenDevil at 4:54 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Whoo boy: Sweden says they're surprised by Assange's arrest and that the statute of limitations for the crime with which he was charged has expired. And ...
Scotland Yard has confirmed that Assange was arrested on behalf of the US after receiving a request for his extradition.
I know many people suspected that was the actual reading for the UK's interest in the matter, but I expected they'd have the decency to extradite him to Sweden first, that being the theory justifying arresting him on the first place. You don't often see the sausage being made quite so obviously.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:56 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


As mentioned by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon above, Mnuchin isn't going to release the tax returns, but it's not a matter of meeting the timeline. He just flat out isn't as this WaPo article telegraphs:

Treasury says it will miss Democrats’ deadline for turning over Trump tax returns, casts skepticism over request

Mnuchin said he was consulting with the Justice Department as to the constitutional questions raised by the Democrats’ request and appeared deeply skeptical of the lawmakers’ intentions. He did not flatly reject the notion that he might ultimately comply, but his letter to the House Ways and Means Committee suggested that Mnuchin would not hold himself to any timeline.

So, yeah. They're just going to give the finger to the Democrats while they loot and burn. I guess that'll just be fine with everyone. Maybe Tom Daschle can broker some sort of temporary agreement where we all become more mindful of bipartisanship and possibly loosen some of those restrictive bank regulations while we're at it.

Srsly though there needs to be some table-flipping by the Congressional Democrats if they have any hope of stopping anything. That's the bare minimum required. And this whole "let's not upset the moderates among us" has got to be resolved very quickly, like in weeks at most.

Difficulty level: The corporate news media will not help us.
posted by petebest at 4:58 AM on April 11 [44 favorites]


Australia issued Assange a new passport in February.

Says the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance - @withMEAA: "Our government must ensure Julian Assange is safely brought to Australia."

Australia is one of the Five Eyes.

six if you count Sauron
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:18 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


I said to the man, "Are you trying to tempt me?"

This is Australia, not America; You Can't 'Waste' Your Vote

Handy comic on how ... preferential voting ... works. In places what have it. Interesting to imagine what 2016 would have looked like with it.

(on preview - craikey!)
posted by petebest at 5:19 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]




Wordshore has an FPP up about the Assange arrest.
posted by nangar at 6:05 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. There's a dedicated Assange thread, as has been pointed out.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:09 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


It looks like while Sanders isn't necessarily calling for completely eliminating the filibuster, he does want to go back to the old "talking filibuster" rules which in my opinion probably amounts to the same thing in the end. It's a way of calling to end the ability of the minority to completely stymie legislation with 41 votes without actually saying that. So that's good for the prospects of majority-supported progressive legislation.

There's a fair amount of ground one could set up shop on in between keeping the existing 60 vote filibuster and completely abolishing it. This is a pretty good writeup on both history and some options, ranging from requiring a Senator to hold the floor to using diminishing debate times. Personally I am skeptical about the wisdom of completely nuking it and would assert it's saved at least some of our bacon over the first two Trump years but I don't have anything to say I haven't said in past threads, so I'll just suggest that above article is worth reading.
posted by phearlez at 6:57 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Reuters: Exclusive: Egypt withdraws from U.S.-led anti-Iran security initiative - sources
Egypt has pulled out of the U.S. effort to forge an “Arab NATO” with key Arab allies, according to four sources familiar with the decision, in a blow to the Trump administration’s strategy to contain Iranian power.

Egypt conveyed its decision to the United States and other participants in the proposed Middle East Security Alliance, or MESA, ahead of a meeting held Sunday in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, one source said.

Cairo did not send a delegation to the meeting, the latest gathering held to advance the U.S.-led effort to bind Sunni Muslim Arab allies into a security, political and economic pact to counter Shi’ite Iran, the source said.

Egypt withdrew because it doubted the seriousness of the initiative, had yet to see a formal blueprint laying it out, and because of the danger that the plan would increase tensions with Iran, said an Arab source who, like the others, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Uncertainty about whether U.S. President Donald Trump will win a second term next year and whether a successor may ditch the initiative also contributed to the Egyptian decision, the Arab source said.

“It’s not moving well,” a Saudi source said of the initiative.
And in Saudi-related news, CNN reports: Exclusive: Jeff Bezos to meet with federal prosecutors on extortion and hacking claims
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors in New York as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter. The meeting signals that the US attorney's office is escalating its inquiry connected to Bezos's suggestion that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was behind a National Enquirer story that exposed his extramarital affair and his claim that the tabloid attempted to extort him.

Plans for that meeting come as prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are seeking to obtain access to Bezos's electronic devices, these people said. They are attempting to examine Bezos's private investigators' allegation that the Saudis "gained private information" from his phone, and that such information wound up in the hands of American Media Inc. tabloid the National Enquirer, which published Bezos's texts.[…]

Prosecutors haven't reached a determination concerning the extortion claim, according to a person familiar with the investigation, and they are now working to examine another set of claims -- those made last month by Bezos's security consultant, Gavin de Becker.
And totally coincidentally, the WaPo reports that the National Enquirer is expected to be sold imminently as parent company faces pressure ("The decision to sell came after the hedge fund manager whose firm controls American Media became “disgusted” with the Enquirer’s reporting tactics, according to one [source].")
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:01 AM on April 11 [16 favorites]


The fruit-of-the-poison-tree shouldn’t apply to the President as with any normal citizen.

The fruit of the poison tree doesn't even apply to the cops anymore. Given this "good faith" exemption I think the only reasonable response when this is said is a simple "there's no situation where it's inappropriate to determine if a high-ranking government official is in cahoots with a foreign power." I'm not much for "use their techniques against them" but if there was a situation where they should hear a stern "why do they have something to hide?" and "so you don't care if a president is more committed to another country than our own?" this is it.
posted by phearlez at 7:01 AM on April 11 [9 favorites]




I emailed my Senators, and Speaker Pelosi at the page where you can contact the Speaker: https://www.speaker.gov/contact/. I emailed Chuck Schumer at his regular page. I don't know if it matters but I have to try. Feel free to use any of this to contact your own people.

Hello - Now that we know that Donald Trump, in addition to defying congressional oversight of his various departments by filling agencies with "acting" heads, is encouraging the Border Patrol to break the law. This is so dangerous for immigrants and for the future of democracy.

The people I know, and myself, are desperate for a bold, clear voice in Washington (Ilhan Omar, Adam Schiff and Alexandria Occasio-Cortez can't do it alone!) to call out the utter abuse of power being committed by Donald Trump.

I know as the minority party Democrats do not have the power we need in the Senate. But you still have an incredible platform from which to raise the alarm. If that doesn't happen our democracy is gone, and with it our hope for human survival on this planet.

I am tired of waiting, I am tired of begging the people who represent me to loudly proclaim how WRONG Donald Trump and his favorite handlers, Steve Miller, Mike Pence and Fox news are. Now is the time to be loud or it will truly be too late.

I want to see every voice in DC join together in denouncing Trump's abuses of power and constant lying. A press conference on the Capitol steps. A march from Congress to the White House. Something to show us that you are willing to fight for us.

Please. Please. We are desperate. We are scared. Sound the alarm and call him out.

Please.

Thank you for your time.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:04 AM on April 11 [55 favorites]


Perhaps Mnuchin can be the first person Congress uses the inherent contempt powers on in this century. We also might start building more cells in the Congressional jail, we might need them.
posted by Manic Pixie Hollow at 7:30 AM on April 11 [9 favorites]


Perhaps Mnuchin can be the first person Congress uses the inherent contempt powers on in this century.

Wouldn’t Trump just immediately pardon him?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:39 AM on April 11


The more I see Mnuchin's face, the more convinced I am the the House should dust off inherent contempt and use it on him. He's blatantly refusing to comply with the black-and-white letter of the law and offering no real reason why not. See how he enjoys being shackled to Nancy Pelosi's desk for a couple days.

The law that lets Congress procure tax returns dates from Teapot Dome... and Congress used its inherent contempt pretty freely during Teapot Dome. Let's bring both powers back, they're both laser focused on the exact situation we're dealing with right now.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:40 AM on April 11 [58 favorites]


Perhaps Mnuchin can be the first person Congress uses the inherent contempt powers on in this century.

Wouldn’t Trump just immediately pardon him?


He could try, but it might not work.
posted by Etrigan at 7:46 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Wouldn’t Trump just immediately pardon him?

He might try, but there's at least an argument that he can't pardon civil contempt. Inherent contempt is a kind of civil contempt, since it's not punitive. He can definitely pardon criminal contempt- which he did, with Arpaio.

When it comes to inherent contempt, if the target can be pardoned then the whole power is basically rendered a nullity. That threatens separation of powers at the very least. Of course the current SCOTUS can and will do what the hell it wants.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:53 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


The more I see Mnuchin's face, the more convinced I am the the House should dust off inherent contempt and use it on him. He's blatantly refusing to comply with the black-and-white letter of the law and offering no real reason why not.

Here's Ways and Means Chairman Neal's official response so far:

"I will consult with counsel and determine the appropriate response to the commissioner in the coming days."

We're a long way from shackles.
posted by diogenes at 7:54 AM on April 11 [9 favorites]


april 10 36-count avenatti indictment, announced this morning. courtesy of cnn.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:23 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


From The Appeal Political Report: A year into President Trump’s presidency, many jurisdictions were looking to counter the federal crackdown on immigration, but Sheriff Patrick Russo decided to dial up enforcement in New York’s Rensselaer County.

He joined ICE’s 287(g) program, which authorizes local officers to research the status of people held at the county jail and transfer them to ICE. Rensselaer is now the only New York county in this program. Russo then wrote in a local op-ed that he did not organize a forum on this because his “experience with public forums is that they become a platform for protests.” (He did go on Fox News, however.) He also traveled to the White House for an immigration event with Trump.

Immigrant rights groups have targeted 287(g) nationwide. In 2018, the officials in three populous Maryland and North Carolina counties lost their re-election bids in contests that were shaped by their decision to participate in 287(g). All three counties have since left the program.

But the prospect of Rensselaer County repeating that pattern dropped precipitously last week. Russo is up for re-election this year, but no one filed to challenge the Republican incumbent by the deadline. This swing county voted twice for President Barack Obama and then for Trump. Last year, the GOP District Attorney lost to a challenger endorsed by Democrats. Russo, unopposed in his bid for a second four-year term, told the press this week that he intends to renew his county’s 287(g) agreement when it expires in June.

posted by Bella Donna at 9:27 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


> no one filed to challenge the Republican incumbent by the deadline. This swing county voted twice for President Barack Obama and then for Trump.

> no one filed to challenge the Republican incumbent by the deadline.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:40 AM on April 11 [22 favorites]


Speaking of sheriffs, proof that Massachusetts is not 100% blue comes in Bristol County (think Fall River and New Bedford), where the sheriff once offered to send some of his inmates down south to help build Wall. He and ICE held a forum the other day and he had his deputies arrest a couple of protesters.

What's unusual abut this is that sheriffs departments in Massachusetts don't normally do the sorts of things sheriffs departments in the rest of the country do, like, oh, traditional law enforcement. State Police troopers patrol highways and local police do the rest. All our sheriffs normally do is run county jails. But, technically, they have arrest powers, so.
posted by adamg at 9:59 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


New York City is gearing up to enact its own version of the Green New Deal with a suite of bills that aim to dramatically slash the city’s planet-warming emissions, create thousands of blue-collar jobs and set the stage for future state and federal climate policies
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 AM on April 11 [35 favorites]


Senator Richard Blumenthal, after yesterday's Rosen DAG hearings (w/video):
Today I asked Deputy AG nominee Rosen 2 simple yes/no questions.

1. Would he commit, as the second in command of DOJ, to support full, complete release of the Mueller report?

2. Would he protect ongoing SDNY & EDNY investigations from WH interference?

He refused to answer.
(The rightwing press characterized Blumenthal as trying to bully Rosen into answering, which suggests that for all his senatorial grandstanding, he hit a nerve.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:15 AM on April 11 [29 favorites]


Wisconsin conservatives cement outsize power in a state that went blue just last year (Tara Golshan, Vox)
"Democrats nationwide should pay attention to the results of the state-level election."

On Wednesday, liberal Lisa Neubauer conceded the race for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat to conservative Brian Hagedorn, cementing Republicans’ control of the state’s top court until at least 2023. The outcome of this race is of major consequence to Democratic leaders in the state, who, after ousting Republican Gov. Scott Walker in November in a major victory, saw the state’s Republican legislature strip powers from elected Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in a lame-duck session.

For the past four months since taking power, Democrats have had to fight in the courts for their right to govern. They’ve had some big wins in the lower courts, but this state Supreme Court race is a major defeat.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:29 AM on April 11 [16 favorites]


Political op Matthias Reynolds: "No only has @seanhannity deleted every tweet mentioning Julian Assange, he's deleted every tweet mentioning @wikileaks in general." (Screenshot)

And this morning, the WSJ's Alex Leary reports from the Trump White House: "“I know nothing about Wikileaks. It’s not my thing," @realDonaldTrump tells reporters."
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:58 AM on April 11 [37 favorites]


Trump mentioning Wikileaks 141 times (SLYT)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:02 AM on April 11 [37 favorites]


Doktor Zed quoting reporter Alex Leary quoting Individual-1: "I know nothing about Wikileaks. It’s not my thing."

A possible follow-up: "I understand. Is it still perhaps the case that you know more about WikiLeaks than anyone else? That was my understanding, that you knew the most about WikiLeaks. If not, could you helpfully name someone who knows more about it than you do?"
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:09 AM on April 11 [19 favorites]


Trump mentioning Wikileaks 141 times.

OTOH, Trump mentions a lot of things he knows nothing about.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:59 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


News from Metafilter's Favorite Democrat: Joe Manchin endorses Susan Collins for reelection.

In the words of Pete Campbell: Not great, bob!
posted by Justinian at 12:47 PM on April 11 [11 favorites]


News from Metafilter's Favorite Democrat: Joe Manchin endorses Susan Collins for reelection.

Two party members in extremely vulnerable situations: I expect them to commiserate and co-plot, though I imagine that Collins never would have returned the favor.

I don't think it will matter. Maine Democrats are going hard against her, and I doubt she'll be able to hold on this time. She's a relic from the pre-Trump age. (So is Manchin, but it's the Republicans who are plotting against him.)
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:52 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]



What's unusual abut this is that sheriffs departments in Massachusetts don't normally do the sorts of things sheriffs departments in the rest of the country do, like, oh, traditional law enforcement. State Police troopers patrol highways and local police do the rest. All our sheriffs normally do is run county jails. But, technically, they have arrest powers, so.


County government in general barely gets any attention from the public in MA. Which is why sketchier types get elected to county positions. Which in turn is why the Commonwealth really needs to finish phasing out counties altogether.
posted by ocschwar at 12:59 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


Collins has become the Lieberman of the Republican party, swinging hard to the right. Progressive Democrats tried to take down Lieberman and it backfired big time. A vengeful Lieberman campaigned for McCain and Palin and torpedoed a public option in Obamacare.

Collins seems to be following the same path. She really resents the angry feedback she got in the Kavanaugh hearings and she is going to make liberals pay for it. So democrats better succeed this time or there will be hell to pay if she is re-elected.
posted by JackFlash at 1:02 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


A few tax topics of note.

First, individual income taxes. SF Chronicle, Early look at tax data shows average bill dropped in 2018
With tax season drawing to a close, H&R Block reports that its average customer paid $1,200, or 25 percent, less in federal tax in 2018 than 2017, providing one of the first pieces of hard data on how the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is affecting people in the real world.

People in the high-tax states of New Jersey, Massachusetts and California got the biggest tax cuts, even though many lost some or all of their federal deduction for state and local taxes.
This is a little surprising, as there was reason to believe states like California would be harder hit by the loss of the state and local tax deduction. The article speculates that this is mainly due to most everyone falling out of the AMT, though I'm skeptical that H&R Block's data is entirely representative of the types of taxpayers most likely to be hurt by the changes. It's also worth noting that many of the benefits of the tax bill were temporary and front-loaded, so many people will see tax increases in future years unless Congress passes further cuts. But despite the substantial cuts, Republicans entirely lost the messaging war:
In a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 17 percent of respondents said they are paying less in taxes under the new law while 28 percent thought they are paying more. The rest didn’t know or thought they were paying the same.
Meanwhile, in Texas, Is the Proposed State Sales Tax Hike Smart Fiscal Policy or a Hail Mary Pass?, in which the state is looking to pass a 1 percentage point sales tax increase to cut property taxes even further, which would give Texas counties some of the highest sales taxes in the country. The sales tax is deeply regressive: "lower-income Texas families pay 7.4 percent of their income directly or indirectly in state sales taxes, while wealthier income families pay only 1.6 percent."

Next up, corporate taxes. The Center for Public Integrity, Twice as many companies paying zero taxes under Trump tax plan
At least 60 companies reported that their 2018 federal tax rates amounted to effectively zero, or even less than zero, on income earned on U.S. operations, according to an analysis released today by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The number is more than twice as many as ITEP found roughly, per year, on average in an earlier, multi-year analysis before the new tax law went into effect.

Among them are household names like technology giant Amazon.com Inc. and entertainment streaming service Netflix Inc., in addition to global oil giant Chevron Corp., pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly and Co., and farming and commercial equipment manufacturer Deere & Co.

The identified companies were "able to zero out their federal income taxes on $79 billion in U.S. pretax income," according to the ITEP report, which was released today. "Instead of paying $16.4 billion in taxes, as the new 21 percent corporate tax rate requires, these companies enjoyed a net corporate tax rebate of $4.3 billion, blowing a $20.7 billion hole in the federal budget last year." To compile the list, ITEP analyzed the 2018 financial filings of the country's largest 560 publicly-held companies.
Which goes perfectly with Elizabeth Warren's policy proposal announced today. Vox, Elizabeth Warren’s new plan to make sure Amazon (and other big companies) pays corporate tax, explained
Right now, businesses tally up their taxable income and then pay corporate income tax at a 21 percent rate.

Warren wants to leave that system in place for any company’s first $100 million in profits reported to investors. But for companies with over $100 million in profits (that’s about 1200 companies) a second system kicks in. For every dollar of profit over $100 million that you report, you need to pay a 7 percent tax.

Last year, Amazon reported over $1o billion in profits to investors but paid $0 in corporate income tax. Under Warren’s plan, they would pay about $698 million in taxes instead. Her team has released an analysis from the economists Gabriel Zucman and Emannuel Saez which says this would bring in about $1.04 trillion over a 10-year time span — essentially undoing the $1 trillion in business tax cuts that Trump signed into law, but with the impact concentrated on a smallish number of very profitable companies.
I don't love this plan, as we could end up with tax collections that are very swingy if they're that focused on a small number of huge companies, surtaxes are problematic in general, and this seems gameable, but it's a really interesting proposal.
posted by zachlipton at 1:12 PM on April 11 [23 favorites]


She really resents the angry feedback she got in the Kavanaugh hearings and she is going to make liberals pay for it. So democrats better succeed this time or there will be hell to pay if she is re-elected.

We already paid the hell, Boof got seated. There's no threat the Republicans won't use anyway. As just linked above, they have no qualms about cheating and acting dishonestly, not to mention completely unethically.
posted by petebest at 1:19 PM on April 11 [26 favorites]


With tax season drawing to a close, H&R Block reports that its average customer paid $1,200, or 25 percent, less in federal tax in 2018 than 2017

Come on media, try a little harder. Average means nothing. If a millionaire gets a $100,000 cut and you get a $0 cut, the average cut is $50,000.

And percentages can also be deceiving. If you and the millionaire both get a 25% cut, that might mean $100,000 for him and $100 for you.

Actual numbers show the the median taxpayer got around a $10 per week tax cut. No wonder the Trump tax cut was a losing issue for Republicans in the 2018 election. Most people hardly noticed.
posted by JackFlash at 1:28 PM on April 11 [38 favorites]


I don't think it will matter. Maine Democrats are going hard against her, and I doubt she'll be able to hold on this time. She's a relic from the pre-Trump age. (So is Manchin, but it's the Republicans who are plotting against him.)

I've been waiting for a moment to mention this. Independent Tiffany Bond has announced she's running against Collins. She recently ran for (and lost) the CD2 race in Maine. I don't think she'll win, but I encourage you to follow her on Twitter, and particularly pay attention to the #maineraising hashtag she uses. She doesn't take campaign contributions. Instead, she encourages supporters to buy from Maine stores and fund Maine DonorsChoose projects, and then leave a note that says you're buying the thing or making the gift in support of her campaign.

I'm sure a Dem is going to appear to pick up the big money that is waiting in Ady Barkan's war chest for them, but Tiffany is a great voice in the race and I really, really hope there is a debate. She'll destroy Collins on the substance of legislation alone.
posted by anastasiav at 1:32 PM on April 11 [11 favorites]


she is going to make liberals pay for it.

Would that be more or less meaningless statements of concern before falling in line and voting with the fascists? Who the fuck cares what she thinks. She’s useless and actually worse than the true believers because she knows better but goes along with the demise of democracy because she’s craven.
posted by chris24 at 1:33 PM on April 11 [18 favorites]


David Roth, Power Is Never Being Asked To Leave. This is just kind of great, and like all David Roth, defies summary, but it's about Kellyanne and George Conway and Kirstjen Nielsen and power and who is held accountable for their actions and who just gets to stay there. It's a revealing look at what unwritten institutions endure even as the ones we usually talk about disappear.
And yet the old apparatus stirs into action on her behalf. There will be some institute or institution for her; Elliott Abrams held similar jobs for decades after suborning appalling war crimes in the Central American countries that now send migrants north, and now he might just get the chance to do it again. Nielsen may have to wait, but she won’t have to leave. As everything that was supposed to endure corrodes and crumbles, it reveals what is actually permanent.
posted by zachlipton at 2:03 PM on April 11 [32 favorites]


Everybody fire up those harp-strings-and-wavy-lines wayback machine for November 2017: (BusinessInsider article on Jr. & WL)

On October 10, Trump told a crowd of supporters: "I love WikiLeaks!"

Two days later, WikiLeaks sent Trump Jr. another private Twitter message: "Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us. There's many great stories the press are missing and we're sure some of your follows [sic] will find it. Btw we just released Podesta Emails Part 4."

Trump Jr. did not respond. But fifteen minutes later, Trump Sr. tweeted: "Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by Wikileaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!"

posted by petebest at 2:40 PM on April 11 [21 favorites]


BuzzFeed, Hamed Aleaziz, An ICE Official Who Said Detention Was "More Like Summer Camp" Will Now Lead The Agency
The Trump administration has tapped Matthew Albence to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the wake of the sudden resignation of its former leader, sources close to the administration said Thursday.
...
“He’s definitely enforcement minded and has long been working on making [deportation officers] more efficient and more effective at enforcing the immigration laws in the interior,” said a former senior ICE official about Albence. “It’s hard to imagine what’s tougher than what Nielsen and Vitiello were doing, but assuming there is such a thing, Matt is certainly up to the task.”
...

Albence became better known after his appearance on Capitol Hill on July 31 during which he said that family detention centers were best described as "more like a summer camp," to the shock of some advocates and politicians. "With regard to the FRCs," Albence said, referring to what ICE calls family residential centers, "the best way to describe them is more like a summer camp. These individuals have access to 24-7 food and water...There're basketball courts, exercise classes, soccer fields...In fact, many of these individuals the first time they've seen a dentist is when they've come to one of our FRCs."
posted by zachlipton at 2:44 PM on April 11 [7 favorites]


The Assange arrest isn't really bad news for Trump, right? Assange isn't charged with anything Trump/Russia related. Is Trump just being forced to freshly deny the connection because WikiLeaks is back in the news because of the arrest?
posted by diogenes at 2:50 PM on April 11


Why would anything scandalous stick to him now?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:59 PM on April 11 [11 favorites]


The Assange arrest isn't really bad news for Trump, right?

Potentially Assange could reveal a connection between the Russians, Wikileaks and Roger Stone, so Trump might have reason to be worried.
posted by JackFlash at 3:04 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


petebest: that tweet came from an iPhone, as did several others; the ones from an Android always misspelled it as 'Wikileakes'.
posted by holgate at 3:05 PM on April 11 [4 favorites]


The deportation state that Obama and Trump radically expanded is no longer content to just go after the undocumented. Its targets increasingly include citizens and political dissenters of all kinds:
Trump’s immigration policies should be opposed, first, because he, like Obama, is uprooting and expelling breathtakingly large numbers of immigrant populations who have resided, set up lives, and even made families in the country, sometimes for as long as decades. But even if you’re not undocumented — even if you actually approve of all this — there’s another reason to be worried. Just as marginalized groups have historically been used as the canary in the coalmine for justifying greater and greater encroachments on civil liberties (the way George W. Bush pointed to Muslim terrorists while he built up the post-September 11 surveillance state), so the activities of the increasingly extreme deportation machine are bleeding ever more extensively into the rest of American life.

Last month, the NBC 7 television station in San Diego revealed that immigration agents with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CPB), Border Patrol, Homeland Security, and the FBI had built up and were using a database of journalists, activists, and an immigration attorneys, all of whom were to be flagged for extra screening at the border. The lawyer and seven of the journalists are US citizens, and a number of them had reported getting extra scrutiny from border officials prior to the revelation of its existence.

Earlier this year, the ACLU raised the alarm over what appears to be a trend of ICE targeting immigration activists for arrest around the country due to their political work, a fact that, as the organization points out, has grave implications for free speech. Many of the activists didn’t even have criminal records.
posted by Ouverture at 3:39 PM on April 11 [29 favorites]


WaPo, Four Senate Republicans signal opposition to Trump’s plan to put Herman Cain on Federal Reserve Board, all but sinking nomination. Ok, yes, the Senate is souring on Cain (while still finding no issue with Stephen Moore, who is also incredibly unqualified), but it's worth calling this out:
Trump recently gathered with generals and other military leaders for a meeting about the Mexican border, according to two people familiar with the chain of events who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely describe the discussions. At the meeting, which was held in the White House Situation Room, an aide passed Trump a note informing him that Cain was in the building.

Trump summoned Cain to the meeting, and then told the military brass that they needed to come up with a “9-9-9” plan for the border. The joke fell flat.
posted by zachlipton at 3:53 PM on April 11 [10 favorites]


[Collins] really resents the angry feedback she got in the Kavanaugh hearings and she is going to make liberals pay for it.

Before: Votes conservative on anything of substance unless given a free pass by McConnell.

After: Votes conservative on anything of substance and doesn't have to bother with free passes any more anyway, since the Senate isn't as close.

Meh. Do your worst, milquetoast.
posted by delfin at 5:14 PM on April 11 [6 favorites]


WaPo, White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes
White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries, according to Department of Homeland Security officials and email messages reviewed by The Washington Post.

Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months — once in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and again in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was among those the White House wanted to target, according to DHS officials. The administration also considered releasing detainees in other Democratic strongholds.

White House officials first broached the plan in a Nov. 16 email, asking officials at several agencies whether members of the caravan could be arrested at the border and then bused “to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” places where local authorities have refused to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation.
...
After the White House pressed again in February, ICE’s legal department rejected the idea as inappropriate and rebuffed the administration.
What the everloving fuck?
posted by zachlipton at 5:20 PM on April 11 [51 favorites]


When ICE is telling you "hey, hold on a minute that seems bad" you might just be the baddies.
posted by Justinian at 5:28 PM on April 11 [25 favorites]


White House officials first broached the plan in a Nov. 16 email, asking officials at several agencies whether members of the caravan could be arrested at the border and then bused “to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” places where local authorities have refused to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation.

I mean...okay? Please do that, and then at least we can mobilize to feed and house the people who need it, keep their families together, and follow the “catch and release” model like we used to?
posted by sallybrown at 5:29 PM on April 11 [41 favorites]


Quinta Jurecic, managing editor of LawFareBlog (re: the WaPo story): this is a bizarre, costly idea, but it seems like the effects would only be really alarming if you believe increasing the undocumented population of an area would increase violence ... which Stephen Miller does but is not borne out by facts.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:30 PM on April 11 [17 favorites]


Yeah, I am pretty sure my town would qualify, and I was thinking that I have a spare bedroom, and if Stephen Miller wants to release immigrant detainees here, I can put one of the up for a while until we can figure out a more-permanent plan. (This is not unprecedented. We had a couple of teenage refugees from Vietnam living in our attic for a while when I was a kid.) I honestly think people here might be happy to have the opportunity to do something concrete to fight against the Trump administration's shitty treatment of refugees and immigrants, and we have pretty strong networks that can be mobilized to support people in need in our community. I do not think this is the terrible threat that they think it is.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:40 PM on April 11 [20 favorites]


this is a bizarre, costly idea, but it seems like the effects would only be really alarming if you believe increasing the undocumented population of an area would increase violence

This is not so, it's meant to punish pro-immigrant communities and politicians my inflicting strains on social services, housing etc, that are far out of scale to those the community would face through normal population movements.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:43 PM on April 11 [11 favorites]


I can say from experience that the only thing an increased number of undocumented immigrants brings is more car sales, more diversity in the sorts of overly loud music one hears on the street, and ethnic restaurants. I considered the taquerias a great boon to the place I was living. (This was in the late 90s and early 2000s when most people crossing illegally were actually Mexicans)

Before political figures were making a thing about it, nobody really cared. Since the rise of the crazies, the people who never really minded having people willing to work the shitty chicken jobs in the area now get worked up over "disease carrying illegals" and all kinds of other hateful shit. They've always been casually racist, but it is shocking (though it shouldn't be, I'm showing my own bias here) how much opinion changed thanks to propaganda and shit stirring despite their personal experience proving it to be total bullshit.
posted by wierdo at 5:45 PM on April 11 [16 favorites]


I mean...okay? Please do that

Yeah, I feel like if that's the fascists' idea of punishing sanctuary cities, that's a real opportunity to put our values into action. Let people in, give them work, let them pay taxes and vote. I don't think it would bode well for Republicans.

Of course, I know nothing about the logistics or economics of such a move, so there's that. And it looks like on preview, snuffleupagus raises some concerns. Ah well.
posted by Rykey at 5:46 PM on April 11 [11 favorites]


I'm not saying they're correct that it would be a meaningful burden! I'd imagine it depends on which city. I just mean that you don't have to buy into the bullshit about violence to see how someone like Miller is probably hoping it would work out.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:48 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


This is not so, it's meant to punish pro-immigrant communities and politicians my inflicting strains on social services, housing etc, that are far out of scale to those the community would face through normal population movements.

But they’ll have transported these immigrants to the communities most likely to support their being there and often pretty prepared to pitch in.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the major reason for their not doing this is that they’d be directly thwarting Trump’s/ICE’s/CBP’s ongoing ability to deport—they’d send these immigrants directly to communities that would refuse to send them back. Which is yet another example of Trump just being a straight up idiot who doesn’t think through his impulse planning.
posted by sallybrown at 5:48 PM on April 11 [15 favorites]


I considered the taquerias a great boon to the place I was living.

Still waiting for the promised taco trucks on every corner...
posted by sallybrown at 5:49 PM on April 11 [17 favorites]


So how does the indictment of Gregory Craig in connection with the Special Counsel investigation square with the Barr memo saying,
The Special Counsel obtained a number of indictments and convictions of individuals and entities in connection with his investigation, all of which have been publicly disclosed. During the course of his investigation, the Special Counsel also referred several matters to other offices for further action. The report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public.
Not a direct enough connection I guess? Or because it's obtained by someone other than the SCO themselves?
posted by XMLicious at 5:53 PM on April 11 [2 favorites]


Which is yet another example of Trump just being a straight up idiot who doesn’t think through his impulse planning.

The gross part is that they stop caring about deportation numbers if they can use these human beings as literal tools to own the libs and drain their cities' coffers.

Again, I'd be delighted if they tried it and it backfired.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:53 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


As everyone knows, rabbits hate being thrown into briar patches.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:00 PM on April 11 [8 favorites]


Here's something good from the Jill Stein recount in Pennsylvania:

Allegheny County seeks proposals for new paper ballot voting machines

The local Democratic machine is keeping tight control over the purchasing process, and bypassing many of the provisions that would have been included in a ballot initiative that they successfully stymied, such as including a security expert in the committee. However, there will be paper and it will be auditable, so that's good.
posted by M-x shell at 6:14 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


Again, I'd be delighted if they tried it and it backfired.


My commute takes me through a Salvadoran neighborhood in a sanctuary city. Dumping migrants here would save them a greyhound ride.
posted by ocschwar at 6:29 PM on April 11 [7 favorites]


Trump Jr. did not respond. But fifteen minutes later, Trump Sr. tweeted: "Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by Wikileaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!"

Jesus Fucking Christ, Mueller. I guess this is all aboveboard.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:51 PM on April 11 [12 favorites]


I don't think it would bode well for Republicans.

This presupposes logic plays a factor in how Republicans decide on whom to vote for. That kind of thinking is always going to cost us. Trump has proven logic plays no role.
posted by petebest at 8:14 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


ABC: Cain to withdraw self from Fed nomination.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:28 PM on April 11 [32 favorites]


snuffleupagus: This is not so, it's meant to punish pro-immigrant communities and politicians my inflicting strains on social services, housing etc, that are far out of scale to those the community would face through normal population movements.

But undocumented immigrants are typically less prone to seeking out such services than other people, for obvious reasons, though such reasons are less important in a sanctuary city. To make a genuine impact on a city by simply adding migrants would probably require massive numbers, because only a fraction of them would use public services (and probably just try returning to whichever city they had been taken from anyway).

I actually think the rationale here would be pure deluded racism. Remember the way these people have openly talked about what immigrants "are like". I really think what they picture is: happy, thriving city + immigrants = various horrors, tailor-made for Fox News. (The less-deluded ones are thinking: It only takes one released person committing one crime, even mere vandalism, to exploit over and over for a "How do you like them now, liberals?" campaign.)

The only reason any ICE agents are opposed is that they know the reality of migrants' relative powerlessness rather than scariness (being the scary ones to powerless people is what they relish about the job!). And they know the result would perhaps instead be what sallybrown described (putting people partly outside the federal government's own reach), with the small caveat that the sanctuary cities are distinguished by a lack of actively reporting known unauthorized residents -- if border agents come to town with a person in mind to capture (which they would if they had already released them there), the city won't generally stop them, as far as I know.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:00 PM on April 11 [12 favorites]


Get those popcorns in the microwave and remain standing for the CNN smash-cut of Tmurp saying "wikileaks" 141 times. All from the last month of the campaign.

Y'know when you repeat a word enough it loses meaning? That happens very fast.
posted by petebest at 9:04 PM on April 11 [16 favorites]


Great, now it's not even a wiki OR a word.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:07 PM on April 11 [18 favorites]


My commute takes me through a Salvadoran neighborhood in a sanctuary city. Dumping migrants here would save them a greyhound ride.

My suspicion is it would ALSO give ICE an excuse to do increased raids in those neighborhoods. Increasing fear and stress in immigrant-heavy communities has to be a major goal of the policy.
posted by happyroach at 9:50 PM on April 11 [9 favorites]


Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months […]

I suppose they want to overburden the sanctuary cities' welfare network by transporting and abandoning more migrants than the cities can accommodate. If so, it should probably be regarded as a crime against humanity. It's also a malicious attack against the cities themselves, much like the ancient practice of pre-emptively running down a besieged city's supplies by causing locals to seek sanctuary within its walls before a siege.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:58 PM on April 11 [20 favorites]


Y'know when you repeat a word enough it loses meaning?

Semantic satiation.
posted by The Tensor at 10:58 PM on April 11 [8 favorites]


For me, it eventually sounded like he was saying “Wookie Legs”.
posted by mach at 11:08 PM on April 11 [20 favorites]


I actually think the rationale here would be pure deluded racism. Remember the way these people have openly talked about what immigrants "are like". I really think what they picture is: happy, thriving city + immigrants = various horrors, tailor-made for Fox News. (The less-deluded ones are thinking: It only takes one released person committing one crime, even mere vandalism, to exploit over and over for a "How do you like them now, liberals?" campaign.)

This is how racists think here. It's really weird, since the people who actually live in areas with a high percentage of immigrants don't vote for racists. When sometimes I get into discussions with racists, they *always* say that I'm a typical elitist socialist and I'd have different views if I lived in a community filled when immigrants. Which I do. So the conversation ends there.
posted by mumimor at 12:22 AM on April 12 [35 favorites]


I don't think it would bode well for Republicans.

This presupposes logic plays a factor in how Republicans decide on whom to vote for.


I'm not sure what you mean here. I was thinking of the increase in numbers of new voters—those new immigrant communities who would be eligible to vote within a generation—and "native" non-Republican residents galvanized by such a stupid move by the administration.
posted by Rykey at 12:39 AM on April 12


Ah, yes I see. I thought you meant short-term. Agreed, over the next generation or so we would see an increase in Democratic/liberal votes there.
posted by petebest at 5:00 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


Samantha Bee posits that the Conways actually get off on their public differences with the President.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:05 AM on April 12 [5 favorites]


And now, Because It's Friday brings you, How To Be A Real President. Starring Barack Obama.

Barack Obama's letter to the family of Nipsey Hussle

Because someday, there's a "good timeline" we're going to get back to™.
posted by petebest at 5:34 AM on April 12 [31 favorites]


The Conways are playing a game. There is nothing deeper than that.
posted by archimago at 5:40 AM on April 12 [7 favorites]


My commute takes me through a Salvadoran neighborhood in a sanctuary city. Dumping migrants here would save them a greyhound ride.

My guess is that if you're an asshole of the type Miller is you intentionally drop these people off somewhere that is less able or willing to absorb them and whose residents' attitudes might change if they had to.

L.A. and S.F. can absorb lots of people, targeting smaller "bedroom" communities and monied enclaves on the list might go differently?

Although just bringing them to California is probably a net positive, so have at it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:54 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


archimago: "The Conways are playing a game. There is nothing deeper than that."

Yes, but it may be shortsighted. At the current rate, they're soon going to have fewer than two neighbors left.

</joke>
posted by schmod at 5:58 AM on April 12 [11 favorites]


Where is the whistleblower that will leak the full Mueller Report online?
(Instead of the Mueller Draft Light?)..
posted by growabrain at 6:33 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


Inside Ivanka’s Dreamworld: The “first daughter” spent years rigorously cultivating her image. But she wasn’t prepared for scrutiny. (Elaina Plott, The Atlantic)
In any case, it’s not clear that Ivanka disagrees with her father, for all the public perception of distance. When I spoke about Ivanka with Jared, the one comment from that conversation he was willing to make publicly had to do with how much she resembles her father. “She’s like her dad in that she’s very good at managing details. Her father is meticulous with details and has a great memory,” he said in a recent interview in his office. “He really knows how to drive people, and I think she’s the same way—results-oriented and also an excellent communicator.”

Ivanka has come to disdain the notion that her father’s agenda should be any different from what it is. She believes his critics have it all wrong. She is unwilling to concede that she ought to understand why someone might have interpreted her father’s Access Hollywood comments as misogynistic, or his remarks after Charlottesville as tone-deaf, if not racist. Ivanka knows Trump probably better than anyone, and she knows him to be good. In Ivanka’s snow globe, evidence to the contrary simply does not exist.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:57 AM on April 12 [11 favorites]


Illinois Senate to Trump: Show Taxes or No 2020 Dice (title paraphrased)

The Democratic-led Illinois Senate voted Thursday to compel President Trump to release five years’ worth of his personal income tax returns or be barred from appearing on the state’s presidential ballot next year.

... The measure now moves to the Illinois House, which like the Senate is heavily controlled by Democrats. Pritzker has not taken a public position on the bill.

Similar legislation is in play in 17 other statehouses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


So nice how news organizations like to add which party leads a legislative body. Particularly when they're "Democratic-led". In fact, almost exclusively when they're "Democratic-led". They seem really interested in that.
posted by petebest at 7:14 AM on April 12 [20 favorites]


Inside Ivanka’s Dreamworld: The “first daughter” spent years rigorously cultivating her image. But she wasn’t prepared for scrutiny. (Elaina Plott, The Atlantic)

I really like Elaina Plott’s writing (her piece on Heidi Cruz was fantastic/horrifying), but I can’t bear to give Ivanka even one more iota of the attention she clearly craves as much as her dad. She’s a self-satisfied, vapid snake and I dislike her out of proportion to her limited influence (although not her ego). It just kills me how many women through the years would have done incredible work in her position and were denied the chance to do it purely because of gender, and how little she has earned her place, while playing up her feminitiy as a way to defang any fear of a powerful woman on the part of the right/men.
posted by sallybrown at 7:21 AM on April 12 [34 favorites]


Inside Ivanka’s Dreamworld: The “first daughter” spent years rigorously cultivating her image. But she wasn’t prepared for scrutiny.
But Ivanka, whom he sometimes calls “Baby” in official meetings, is “unique.” If Trump sees any of his children as his heir apparent, it’s Ivanka. “If she ever wanted to run for president,” he said, “I think she’d be very, very hard to beat.” At 37, she is old enough. But Ivanka has never talked with her friends about running for office, and the president said she has never expressed any interest about that to him. Still, while Don Jr. might be a hit at political rallies, Ivanka is the only child the president ever considered for an administration post. “She went into the whole helping-people-with-jobs, and I wasn’t sure that was going to be the best use of her time, but I didn’t know how successful she’d be,” the president said. “She’s created millions of jobs, and I had no idea she’d be that successful.”

The “millions of jobs” claim is not true. (Through Ivanka’s work as an adviser to the president, companies such as Walmart and IBM have pledged to provide re-skilling opportunities over the next five years, mainly to people with jobs already.) But it’s true that when jobs open up in the Trump administration—a frequent occurrence—Ivanka is at the top of her father’s mind. “She’s a natural diplomat,” Trump said. “She would’ve been great at the United Nations, as an example.” I asked why he didn’t nominate her. “If I did, they’d say nepotism, when it would’ve had nothing to do with nepotism. But she would’ve been incredible.” Warming to the subject, he said, “I even thought of Ivanka for the World Bank … She would’ve been great at that because she’s very good with numbers.”
Last month Sarah Kendzior wrote (apropos of Don Jr. talking smack about running in 2024): "I've warned for years this is the game plan for Ivanka and Jared; Don Jr may end up elsewhere. But yes they are trying to build a dynastic kleptocracy. It's how mafia syndicates and dictatorships launder money, among other things."

(See also Kendzior's article for The Correspondent from two years ago: The Tale of the Dictator’s Daughter and Her Prince.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:26 AM on April 12 [19 favorites]


I suppose they want to overburden the sanctuary cities' welfare network by transporting and abandoning more migrants than the cities can accommodate.

I'm definitely missing something, because when I heard that Trump wanted to send immigrants to the sanctuary city, I was like... great? Couldn't it be an opportunity? Get them working, get them situated, show there's nothing to be afraid of? A fundraiser online would probably net a lot of money to help them.
posted by xammerboy at 7:31 AM on April 12 [16 favorites]


In case you wanted more concerns beyond your direct control: Trump’s Homeland Security Purge Worries Cybersecurity Experts (Emily Dreyfuss for Wired, April 11, 2019)
“DHS’s cybersecurity operators don’t take a day off when they’re without top leadership, and to some extent, their day-to-day is insulated from the political level,” says R. David Edelman, former director for international cyber policy on President Obama’s National Security Council. "But absent leadership at the Cabinet and Deputy Secretary level, DHS is going to start losing the fight for resources and its voice in interagency policy development—and that’s a cause for concern."
In short, DHS gets a lot of focus for its fascist, racist actions against asylum seekers and immigrants, but DHS is also in charge of cybersecurity, counterterrorism, monitoring critical infrastructure, border privacy, and the development of science and technology in defense of the country.
There are more than a few top-level vacancies at DHS. According to the Washington Post’s tracker, only 39 percent of key Homeland Security positions are filled. Even before the past week’s purge, FEMA, which is under the umbrella of DHS, had no Senate-confirmed leader. Neither does the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans, the Science and Technology Directorate, nor the Office of the Inspector General.

“DHS’s voice is vital around the Situation Room table,” says Edelman “Looking ahead, as we consider issues like national security controls over AI, or limits to foreign investment, DHS is going to be more crucial than ever—and their absence of leadership could lead to some very skewed outcomes.”
I get it that the GOP wants less regulations on businesses so they can increase their pay-backs from political sponsorship that helps to keep them in office so they can continue to undercut business regulations, but strong cybersecurity and maintenance of critical infrastructure are really good for businesses.

Speaking of infrastructure fragility: Why the US still won’t require SS7 fixes that could secure your phone -- The regulatory back door big telecom uses to weaken security regulation. (Project On Government Oversight investigator Andrea Peterson, with research from former POGO intern Vanessa Perry, via Ars Technica on April 11, 2019)
The outages hit in the summer of 1991. Over several days, phone lines in major metropolises went dead without warning, disrupting emergency services and even air traffic control, often for hours. Phones went down one day in Los Angeles, then on another day in Washington, DC and Baltimore, and then in Pittsburgh. Even after service was restored to an area, there was no guarantee the lines would not fail again—and sometimes they did. The outages left millions of Americans disconnected.

The culprit? A computer glitch. A coding mistake in software used to route calls for a piece of telecom infrastructure known as Signaling System No. 7 (SS7) caused network-crippling overloads. It was an early sign of the fragility of the digital architecture that binds together the nation’s phone systems.

Leaders on Capitol Hill called on the one agency with the authority to help: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC made changes, including new outage reporting requirements for phone carriers. To help the agency respond to digital network stability concerns, the FCC also launched an outside advisory group—then known as the Network Reliability Council but now called the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC, pronounced “scissor-ick”).

Yet decades later, SS7 and other components of the nation’s digital backbone remain flawed, leaving calls and texts vulnerable to interception and disruption. Instead of facing the challenges of our hyper-connected age, the FCC is stumbling, according to documents obtained by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and through extensive interviews with current and former agency employees. The agency is hampered by a lack of leadership on cybersecurity issues and a dearth of in-house technical expertise that all too often leaves it relying on security advice from the very companies it is supposed to oversee.

CSRIC is a prime example of this so-called “agency capture”—the group was set up to help supplement FCC expertise and craft meaningful rules for emerging technologies. But instead, the FCC’s reliance on security advice from industry representatives creates an inherent conflict of interest. The result is weakened regulation and enforcement that ultimately puts all Americans at risk, according to former agency staff.

While the agency took steps to improve its oversight of digital security issues under the Obama administration, many of these reforms have been walked back under current Chairman Ajit Pai. Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, has consistently signaled that he doesn’t want his agency to play a significant role in the digital security of Americans’ communications—despite security being a core agency responsibility since the FCC’s inception in 1934.
Good security is complicated and expensive, so let's not do it.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:35 AM on April 12 [18 favorites]


I'm definitely missing something, because when I heard that Trump wanted to send immigrants to the sanctuary city, I was like... great?

It just shows that his racism isn't a pose, he actually believes the shit he spews about immigrants and probably thinks the sanctuary cities are bluffing and secretly agree with him. Trump only ever sees what he wants to see.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:35 AM on April 12 [18 favorites]


WaPo: A column suggested waiters could ‘tamper’ with Trump officials’ food. Amid backlash, the Boston Globe pulled it.

The main thrust of the column was that Kristjen Nielsen be forever treated as a pariah.

After posting the column, the Globe at first removed the author's regret that he didn't piss on Bill Kristol's salmon a few years back when Kristol ate at the Cambridge resident where he was working at the time, and his suggestion that restaurant workers do that if Nielsen ever showed up. They kept the edited column online for a day or so before pulling it altogether.
posted by adamg at 7:37 AM on April 12 [6 favorites]


People could still write him in, which could get him a decent turn-out, assuming write-ins for ineligible individuals wouldn't just get tossed out.


zachlipton: Mr. Trump and some of his staff members believe that stirring drama in the Senate during an election will help foster the impression that Senate Republicans are taking action at a time when Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, plans to do little more than push through judicial nominations, a person close the administration said.

There's new drama to stir, from McConnell's 2020 Plan: Cast GOP As 'Firewall' Against Socialism (Kelsey Snell for NPR, April 11, 2019)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the path to GOP success in 2020 is running "to be the firewall that saves the country from socialism."

McConnell told reporters Thursday that he is advising all Republican Senate candidates to run on offense by casting themselves as the only alternative to Democrats who want to drive the country to the left.

"You add up things like packing the Supreme Court, getting rid of the electoral college, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for none and you have a prescription of turning America into something it never has been and never should be," McConnell said. "So we intend to be on the offense in running our races."
Emphasis mine -- interesting twist on the widely supported Medicare for All. And not just widely supported, but with majority support from Republicans, too:
A vast majority — 70 percent — of Americans in a new poll supports "Medicare for all," also known as a single-payer health-care system.

The Reuters–Ipsos survey found 85 percent of Democrats said they support the policy along with 52 percent of Republicans.
(The Hill, August 23, 2018)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:55 AM on April 12 [11 favorites]


NBC: Trump Advisers Discussed Whether Military Could Build and Run Migrant Detention Camps—Top Trump advisers met at the White House Tuesday to talk about increasing military involvement at the border, including building tent cities for migrants.
When some of President Donald Trump's top national security advisers gathered at the White House Tuesday night to talk about the surge of immigrants across the southern border, they discussed increasing the U.S. military's involvement in the border mission, including whether the military could be used to build tent city detention camps for migrants, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the conversations.

During the meeting, the officials also discussed whether the U.S. military could legally run the camps once the migrants are housed there, a move the three officials said was very unlikely since U.S. law prohibits the military from directly interacting with migrants. The law has been a major limitation for Trump, who wants to engage troops in his mission to get tougher on immigration.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was at the White House meeting Tuesday night and was open to sending more U.S. troops to support the border mission, so long as their assigned mission is within the law, according to the three U.S. officials.[…]

The idea has trickled down into planning meetings held this week at DHS, one of the officials said.

Discussions this week, at the White House meeting and afterward, have included the suggestion that troops may be needed to run the tent city detention camps once immigrants are being housed there, according to the U.S. officials familiar with the conversations.
Expect more of this to come—both extremist policy ideas from the Trump White House and leaks from a DHS under siege.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:56 AM on April 12 [18 favorites]


"You add up things like packing the Supreme Court, getting rid of the electoral college, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for none and you have a prescription of turning America into something it never has been and never should be," McConnell said. "So we intend to be on the offense in running our races."

Also, when Kavanaugh's nomination only had 37% of public support (CNN, Aug. 16, 2018 -- direct link to poll as PDF), and even more people like the New Green Deal (The Hill, Dec. 17, 2018) --
More than 80 percent of registered voters support the Green New Deal proposal being pushed by progressional Democratic lawmakers, a new poll found.

The survey conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans back the Green New Deal plan.
-- it seems like there's plenty of bipartisan support for this version of socialism. So please, tell us again why we should vote for the GOP? It seems you're out of step with the public demands and desires.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:59 AM on April 12 [43 favorites]


We were talking about contempt of Congress yesterday? They are at least thinking about it. Telegraphing your moves doesn't have the same impact as just showing up to someone's office and handcuffing them.
posted by Manic Pixie Hollow at 8:07 AM on April 12 [11 favorites]


Manic Pixie Hollow: Telegraphing your moves doesn't have the same impact as just showing up to someone's office and handcuffing them.

Dems are still giving this administration the chance (and another one, and another one) to do the right thing the right way. Charge in with cuffs, and it's easy to spin that story as "Dems overreach their authority," though I'd love for that to happen as a way to send a message to this administration that the Democrats are not fucking around.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:18 AM on April 12 [12 favorites]


They will spin it no matter how it goes down. We asked them to be bold - for we are in an actual existential fight for our democracy against a group of authoritarians and fascists - and they are being milquetoast.
posted by Manic Pixie Hollow at 8:35 AM on April 12 [37 favorites]




We were talking about contempt of Congress yesterday? They are at least thinking about it.

"Gore was scheduled to sit for the deposition Thursday. An Oversight Committee spokesperson told The Hill that the testimony had been postponed, and a rescheduled date would be announced later."

Brilliant. We should definitely assume he'll cooperate with the new date. And if he doesn't, watch out, we're going to consider our next steps like you wouldn't believe!
posted by diogenes at 9:52 AM on April 12 [5 favorites]


The Conways are playing a game. There is nothing deeper than that.

posted by archimago at 5:40 AM on April 12 [5 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


One possible explanation for their game is that they want at least one of them to have credibility and be employable regardless of how our flirtation with autocracy turns out.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:00 AM on April 12 [17 favorites]


That Like to Katie Porter was impressive, but the link further down the page to the John Kerry questioning cannot be believed. I don't often feel sorry for Kerry, but I certainly do watching that. you can just tell his head was exploding and he couldn't say a fraction of the things he was thinking about the sheer stupidity of the moron questioning him.
posted by sardonyx at 10:01 AM on April 12 [16 favorites]


The moron is THomas Massie. I'm an MIT alum, like Massie, and I'm a FOAF with Massie.

Massie is not a moron. He has, however, consciously chosen to pander to the same anti-intellectualism that's taken over at the GOP. He really likes his 170K congressional salary.

I'm talking with other MIT alums about sending Massie an open letter asking him to keep his brass rat out of sight. His pandering has been a disgrace to the 'tute for some time now, but letting a Harvard man be the adult in the room, well, surely this.
posted by ocschwar at 10:04 AM on April 12 [43 favorites]


So he’s acting like a moron as a ruse? Perhaps I just can’t wrap my head around the eleventh-dimension chess you think he’s playing at, but I have a hard time listening to his words and not concluding that he’s a deeply stupid man, regardless of his intentions.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:44 AM on April 12 [24 favorites]


There's a recent headline I wanted to share, but I've been putting off posting about it until I had time to add the context I think I needs...

Here's the headline, from Haaretz (left-leaning Israeli newspaper) and Reuters, April 4th: "Saudi Nuclear Reactor Nears Completion Without Kingdom Signing Non-proliferation Agreement, Report Says"
Saudi Arabia has almost finished building its first nuclear reactor, according to Bloomberg’s assessment of the first satellite images of the facility, which were published on Google Earth.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that satellite photos show a containment vessel for atomic fuel at the reactor site in Riyadh. The report notes the “ advancement is alarming to arms-control experts because Saudi Arabia has yet to sign up to the international framework of rules other nuclear powers follow to ensure that civilian atomic programs aren’t used to build weapons."

U.S. senators from both parties on Tuesday asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry for details about recent approvals for companies to share nuclear energy information with Saudi Arabia, with the lawmakers expressing concern about possible development of atomic weapons.
And here are some other headlines for context...

NPR and Reuters, March 27th... "Trump Officials Tried To Rush Nuclear Technology To Saudis, House Panel Finds"
The Atomic Energy Act requires that Congress approve any transfer of nuclear technology to a foreign country. The committee's report states that a senior director at the National Security Council (NSC), Derek Harvey, "reportedly ignored ... warnings and insisted that the decision to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia had already been made."
The Intellectuallist, March 22nd... "Stephen Bannon Used Private Email To Discuss Transfer Of Nuclear Tech To Saudis"

Reuters, December 1, 2017: "Exclusive: Mideast nuclear plan backers bragged of support of top Trump aide Flynn"
Backers of a U.S.-Russian plan to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East bragged after the U.S. election they had backing from Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn for a project that required lifting sanctions on Russia, documents reviewed by Reuters show.
Buzzfeed September 15, 2017, "Trump Advisers Secretly Met With Jordan’s King While One Was Pushing A Huge Nuclear Power Deal"
Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, and Steve Bannon met with King Abdullah II while Flynn was reportedly pressing for a controversial, for-profit deal to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East.
Other concerning factors: Kushner's visits to Saudi Arabia (during which he allegedly shared classified information), the murder of Jamal Kashoogi, the Saudis hacking the text messages of the Washington Post's owner, Elliot Broidy's dual role as a lobbyist for Saudi Arabia and as RNC finance chair, and the Saudi contracts with Cambridge Analytica/SCL, and the meetings that Erik Prince, Donald Trump Jr., Bannon, Flynn, and others had with Saudi officials during the campaign and transition. Prince's meetings also included a Russian financier.

Put it all together, and it seems like the "Russia scandal" is actually more of a "Russia/Saudi Arabia scandal." God I wish I could read the Mueller report, which was supposed to include investigations of this stuff too.

But anyway, I think it's an underreported fact that after all that, Saudi Arabia has nuclear reactors now. And Trump told us way back in 2016 that it was going to happen.

COOPER: Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapons?
TRUMP: Saudi Arabia, absolutely.
COOPER: You would be fine with them having nuclear weapons?
TRUMP: No, not nuclear weapons, but they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us. Here's the thing, with Japan, they have to pay us or we have to let them protect themselves.
COOPER: So if you said, Japan, yes, it's fine, you get nuclear weapons, South Korea, you as well, and Saudi Arabia says we want them, too?
TRUMP: Can I be honest with you? It's going to happen anyway. It's going to happen anyway. It's only a question of time.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:46 AM on April 12 [33 favorites]


It's going to happen anyway. It's going to happen anyway. It's only a question of time.

Stopped clock time. The opposing lessons of North Korea and Libya have shown dictators that they need nuclear weapons ASAP to protect themselves against the United States. Not their countries, their personal hides, but there it is.
posted by Quindar Beep at 10:52 AM on April 12 [6 favorites]


Samanatha Bee, Yemenis in Djibouti (6:54), in which she reminds us that the travel ban is still a thing hurting many, many people around the world by traveling to Djibouti to interview the immediate relatives of US citizens stuck in an opaque waiver process and to crack jokes about the name of the country.
posted by zachlipton at 10:54 AM on April 12 [7 favorites]


The Whelk: Katie Porter's Questioning of Jamie Dimon Shows Exactly What a Member of Congress Is Supposed to Do
And that is what Katie Porter, a Democrat who serves California's 45th district, did during a House Financial Services Committee hearing featuring executives from several Too Big to Fail Banks this week. She asked Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, what financial advice he'd give to a theoretical employee of his working in Irvine—a city in her district. It did not disappoint.
.@RepKatiePorter challenged big bank CEO Jamie Dimon to pay his workers a living wage by literally showing him the math pic.twitter.com/Sr7S8Agv5c

— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 11, 2019
This is how it's done. The way to illustrate the deep structural problems in our political economy is to ask the CEO who makes $31 million a year how his employee is supposed to make ends meet on a wage that just does not pay the bills. This is a representative sample: top American CEOs make close to 300 times what their average workers do. In the 1950s, a boomtime for the American economy, it was 20-to-1. In the meantime, real wages—that is, pay when you account for the rising cost of living—have barely risen.
As JackFlash pointed out previously: By definition that means that half the employees earn less than the median.

Meanwhile, Venezuela is way ahead of the US in a few ways: Wage Limits Set for State Officials in Venezuela (February 15th 2011, Venezuelanalysis.com)
First level positions such as the president and vice president of the country, minister, the president of the national bank, and so on, can receive a maximum of twelve minimum wages.

The minimum wage per month is currently Bs 1,223.89 (US$ 284.62) and the government usually increases the minimum wage each 1 May. Pensioners receive one full minimum wage, and new teachers, for example, usually receive one to two minimum wages.

Hence, the highest wage for any public official, including the president of the country, would currently be US$ 3415 per month, or US$ 40,985 annually. The amount does not include end-of-year bonuses.
First, tying ALL government salaries to the minimum wage is pretty brilliant. Congress wants to give itself a raise? Great! Raise the minimum wage.

And second -- annual increases to the minimum wage? *MIND BLOWN* ... Countries just do this? They don't stagnate