"To be or not to be, ay, there's the point"
May 6, 2019 9:47 AM   Subscribe

After a catastrophic performance by Bill Barr (Atlantic), the Trump team resists oversight (AP) in a remarkable state of affairs between the executive and legislative branches, unseen in recent times, as Democrats try to break through Trump’s blockade of investigations and exert congressional oversight of the administration. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will vote to hold Barr in contempt (NYT). This is the US Politics megathread.

• Mueller Report Round-up:
The Mueller Report by the Washington Post review – the truth is out there… somewhere (Guardian) Robert Mueller’s detailed investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia makes for a lively read • Wittes' mid-length Mueller report summary (Atlantic), which hits all of the conclusions.

Trump: 'Mueller should not testify' (Politico) A tweet by the president could now set up the most consequential legal battle related to the special counsel’s probe. • Trump Objects to Mueller Testifying Before Congress (NYT) • In reversal, Trump says Mueller ‘should not testify’ before Congress (WaPo) • 'Tentative date' of 15 May agreed for Mueller to testify before Congress (Guardian) Democratic congressman says: ‘We hope that the special counsel will appear’ while Trump tweets: ‘Bob Mueller should not testify’
• Foreign Policy Round-up:
Kim oversees missile firing drills, tells North Korean troops to be alert (Politico/AP) • Pompeo insists North Korea nuclear deal still possible despite weapons test (Guardian)

Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs Ahead of Final Trade Talks (NYT) • Trump, citing slow pace of talks, revives threat to put tariff on all Chinese goods (Politico) • Stocks plunge as Trump escalates trade war with China with plan to raise tariffs (Guardian) • After latest threats, Chinese see Trump as a Marvel villain out to destroy them (WaPo) The Chinese stock markets had their sharpest fall in more than three years Monday.

US deploys aircraft carrier and bombers after 'troubling indications' from Iran (Guardian) • Navy strike group deployed to send ‘message’ to Iran (Politico) • AP source: Possible attack on US forces led to deployments (AP)

Venezuela: Russia urges US to abandon ‘irresponsible’ plan to topple Maduro (Guardian) Secretary of state meanwhile slammed Russian meddling in the country: ‘We don’t want anyone messing around with Venezuela’ • Pompeo won’t promise to consult Congress about potential military intervention in Venezuela (WaPo)
• Domestic Policy Round-up:
The Department of Justice filed its brief arguing that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional: William Barr’s Justice Department Just Filed the Most Nakedly Political Brief in the Agency’s History (Slate) • Further analysis from Nicholas Bagley focusing on DOJ's wild contention that Judge O'Connor's opinion should stand, except for the fact that would declare unconstitutional the part of the ACA they're actively relying on: the criminal health care fraud laws they're currently using to prosecute fraudsters.
IN OTHER HEADLINES:

Trump tweets support for far-right figures banned by Facebook (Guardian) President railed against social media companies on Saturday and said he would ‘monitor the censorship’ of US citizens

• NYMag reports on a recent meeting of the Democratic Party’s highest-profile financial industry donors: Wall Street Democrats Are Absolutely Freaking Out About Their 2020 Candidates “I mean, honestly, if it’s Bernie versus Trump, I have no fucking idea what I’m going to do,” one Democratic hedge funder told me. “Maybe I won’t vote.”

Hard-line Views Made Lou Dobbs a Fox Powerhouse. Now He’s Shaping Trump’s Border Policy. (WaPo) "The 70-somethings share a penchant for schoolyard-style name-calling, grumbling about enemies seen and unseen, an apocalyptic view of illegal immigration and a deep embrace of hair-color shades not found in the natural world."

Democrats: Don’t Fall Into the ‘Electability’ Trap (Crooked) "Thus we wanted to step back and break down what people mean when they say someone is not “electable,” and explain why their assumptions are unfounded."

Why Stacey Abrams is still saying she won. (NYT Mag) "I believe we have reached a place where those who share my values actually outnumber those who share the values of my opponent. And that wasn’t made manifest because of his structural racism and how he diminished people’s ability to vote."

Today is the 837th day of the Trump administration. There are 548 days until the 2020 elections.

Previously in U.S. Politics Megathreads: The █████████ Mueller Report

Elsewhere on MetaFilter: A Massive Giveaway to the Tax Preparation Industry (Taxpayer First Act) • The rise of conspiracy entrepreneurs and their followersHuman society under urgent threat from loss of Earth's natural life • OnceUponATime's Active Measures site

MeFi ChatUnofficial PoliticsFilter SlackVenting Thread for catharsis and sympathizingPolitical Humorizing Thread for jokes and one-linersHelp fund the siteNext FPP draft • Thanks to Doktor Zed, zachlipton, and box for helping to create this thread.

posted by Little Dawn (1117 comments total) 121 users marked this as a favorite
 
I really hope we don't go to war with Iran, for any reason, let alone in a sad attempt to distract the nation from corruption and solidify the chances of a second Trump term.
posted by mecran01 at 9:56 AM on May 6 [25 favorites]


After being "stolen" due to investigation, Trump's presidency should be extended by two years. Trump retweets it.
  • Clearly, theses folks closely follow the constitution.
  • I had thought folks worrying about Trump refusing to leave office, not have elections, etc., were a bit extreme. Now, I'm not so sure.
  • President Obama and Merrick Garland would like a word.
posted by MrGuilt at 9:59 AM on May 6 [38 favorites]


Another day, another tweet sends stocks tumbling: Trump's Threats To Raise Tariffs On China Send Markets Falling (Jim Zarroli for NPR, May 6, 2019)
President Trump's latest threat to set higher tariffs on imports from China is raising new fears about the ongoing trade talks with Beijing and sending global financial markets tumbling.

Stock prices opened sharply lower in the United States on Monday — with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 450 points — after Trump tweeted a vow Sunday to raise tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of imported Chinese goods. The stocks of companies that trade heavily with China were especially hard hit.

Earlier Monday, the Shanghai Composite Index plunged 5.6%.

"The United States has been losing, for many years, 600 to 800 Billion Dollars a year on Trade. With China we lose 500 Billion Dollars. Sorry, we're not going to be doing that anymore!" Trump said in a tweet Monday. (The goods trade deficit with China rose to a record $419.2 billion in 2018, but most economists say a deficit doesn't say much about the health of the economy. [NPR x2])

But the stock markets crept higher as the day wore on, a sign that investors may be seeing Trump's threat as a negotiating ploy that he is unlikely to follow through on. By early afternoon, the Dow was down about 235 points, or 0.9%.
Has anyone looked to see if Trump and Co are shorting stocks, to make gains from these stock drops?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:01 AM on May 6 [57 favorites]


Only a rogue nation would break a nuclear treaty and an arms control treaty, if there's no other reason than mere profit for these actions?
posted by hugbucket at 10:02 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


This was linked near the end of the old megathread but I think everyone deserves to see it -it's a really long, really in-depth podcast about the Mueller report's content and it's equal parts hilarious and terrifying
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 AM on May 6 [11 favorites]


More background on Bolton's sleight-of-moustache: The new Lincoln carrier group is in the middle of a globe circling engagement in training to reach a new deployment certification. Nothing new, nothing special. Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group enters European waters (Apr 9 UPI).
posted by Harry Caul at 10:04 AM on May 6 [5 favorites]


the House Judiciary Committee will vote to hold Barr in contempt

I'll believe it when I see the perp walk.
posted by sammyo at 10:11 AM on May 6 [39 favorites]


After being "stolen" due to investigation, Trump's presidency should be extended by two years. Trump retweets it.

Of course this just increases the need to see his taxes so that we can verify all the income he's “lost” due to whatever has been stolen.

I'm sure something has been stolen from someone—y'know, there's always a kernel of truth to these things.
posted by XMLicious at 10:25 AM on May 6 [10 favorites]


This seems to be a significant development, at least on the PR front:

Trump would have been charged with obstruction were he not president, hundreds of former federal prosecutors assert.
posted by Shadan7 at 10:28 AM on May 6 [64 favorites]


a statement asserting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings would have produced obstruction charges against President Trump — if not for the office he held.

It isn't a hard call. Mueller said this in his report. Just not so clearly that it couldn't be obfuscated by bad actors.

(Paraphrasing, but he said "I can't charge him with obstruction, but if I didn't think it was warranted, I'd say so. I'm not going to say so.")
posted by diogenes at 10:47 AM on May 6 [10 favorites]


“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,” the former federal prosecutors wrote.

If memory serves me correctly, Mueller made it quite clear that he was operating under the presumed constraint that a sitting president would not be indicted by the DoJ, and that therefore he was writing a prosecution brief for Congress. This conviction, if you will, that Trump had obviously obstructed justice was part of the contention between Mueller and Barr, who misrepresented the report in an attempt -- partially successful, thanks to the media's gullibility -- to exonerate Trump.

Consider how openly Trump commits some of his crimes, including obstruction, and then ponder how terrible whatever they're still working so hard to conceal, as with his tax returns, must be.
posted by Gelatin at 10:49 AM on May 6 [19 favorites]


Axios reports Trump reaching 46% approval in a new polling: Trump Hits All-Time High Approval Rating in Gallup Poll
Gallup notes that Trump's bump is likely due to good economic news — higher than expected GDP and jobs growth — and the administration's interpretation of the Mueller report, which the president erroneously claimed exonerated him of allegations of collusion and obstruction.

The president managed to notch a 12% approval rating from Democrats — substantially higher than his all-time low of 4% just a few months ago. His approval rating with Republicans also flirted with an all-time high, sitting at 91% — just short of the 92% reached late last year.

The poll ended on April 30, meaning that it does not include the most recent flareup between Attorney General Bill Barr and the House Judiciary Committee, which could be viewed negatively by the public. And it's of course worth nothing that Trump's disapproval rating from Gallup remains at 50%, meaning his net approval remains underwater by 4 points.
n.b. Axios’s headline indicates the diminished expectations under which the media covers Trump. By comparison, Obama’s Gallup approval rating was rarely if ever a net negative, and his highest was 67% in late January 2009.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:54 AM on May 6 [11 favorites]


And notice that the Repubs in Congress don't give a shit about any of this, until it affects their personal bottom line. They really can stand up to Trump, they just choose not to. Hiding tax returns? Huh, we don't know what to do. Appointing a guy to the Fed who may screw up our investments? Not happening!!
posted by Melismata at 10:55 AM on May 6 [31 favorites]


Axios reports Trump reaching 46% approval in a new polling: Trump Hits All-Time High Approval Rating in Gallup Poll

Marvel at how the so-called "liberal media" trumpets a mediocre approval rating as an "all time high." But then again, it did take them a long time to recognizes that George W. Bush's obvious mendacity and incompetence brought him down from being a "popular wartime president."

Speaking of Trump's middling popularity, I wondered towards the end of the last thread how the media never seems to recognize the risks for Republicans at going all in on an obviously crooked and authoritarian President. Nixon went from a landslide victory to resignation in disgrace in a scant couple of years -- and one of the things Congress was preparing to impeach him for was refusal to abide by supboenas.
posted by Gelatin at 11:01 AM on May 6 [10 favorites]


Don’t Get Lured by False Question of Whether Mueller Got “Played” by Barr (Joshua Geltzer, Just Security)
"It’s Not How Mueller Saw His Job, and It’s Not How We Should Either"

Asking whether he was “played” by the man to whom he reported distracts public analysis away from the true subject of concern regarding how the release of Mueller’s report was handled: Barr and his distortion of Mueller’s work. It also distracts from what, in the end, should be our real focus: Mueller’s findings themselves.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:02 AM on May 6 [10 favorites]


NY AG Letitia James is going after the hidden donor lists of shady non-501(c)(3) tax-exempt groups so beloved by conservative activists: “We've filed a lawsuit against the Trump Treasury Department & IRS for failing to respond to records requests as required by law. The agency eliminated donor disclosure requirements for tax-exempt groups & refuses to comply w/the law to explain the rationale for these changes.”

Here’s her statement, in which she elaborates, “My office depends on these critical donor disclosure forms to be able to adequately oversee non-profit organizations in New York. Not only was this policy change made without notice, the Treasury and the IRS are now refusing to comply with the law to release information about the rationale for these changes. No one is above the law – not even the federal government – and we will use every tool to ensure they comply with these regulations to provide transparency and accountability.“
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:18 AM on May 6 [50 favorites]


The agency eliminated donor disclosure requirements for tax-exempt groups & refuses to comply w/the law to explain the rationale for these changes.

They did this the day after it came to light that the NRA was getting Russian money, right?
posted by diogenes at 11:21 AM on May 6 [18 favorites]


And notice that the Repubs in Congress don't give a shit about any of this, until it affects their personal bottom line. They really can stand up to Trump, they just choose not to. Hiding tax returns? Huh, we don't know what to do. Appointing a guy to the Fed who may screw up our investments? Not happening!!


And even when it _does_ affect their personal bottom line -- see also: pointless tariffs, or the "bigot laws" noted as causing division in Texas near the end of the last thread -- they don't care. Because they reason that tax cuts and deregulation will help them more than stupid shit will hurt.

Also, because Bernie will take 90% of their money and hand it to poor and brown and poor brown people.
posted by delfin at 11:32 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


Are centrist candidates really the most "electable"? It may be the opposite (Amanda Marcotte, Salon)
'Despite the mainstream media's centrism fetish, voters want someone inspirational, not just "nicer than Trump"'

The problem is that this category of [moderate] voters, who would be called "libertarians" in political science circles, don't really exist in American politics. As Paul Krugman of the New York Times noted in February, these fabled economically conservative but socially liberal voters only constitute about 4% of the electorate. This is in contrast with the consistently liberal (45% of voters), economically liberal but socially conservative (29%), and the consistently conservative (23%).
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:40 AM on May 6 [36 favorites]


No one is above the law – not even the federal government – and we will use every tool to ensure they comply

Statements like this are piling up. I'll feel a lot better when we get our first example of the use of the available tools resulting in compliance.

As deadline looms, Treasury expected to buck Democrats' demand for Trump tax returns, again ABC News (Today)
posted by diogenes at 11:50 AM on May 6 [21 favorites]


23% are consistently conservative white nationalist
posted by benzenedream at 11:54 AM on May 6 [24 favorites]


I'll feel a lot better when we get our first example of the use of the available tools resulting in compliance.

I wonder if the House could absolutely zero out the White House's budget. Fund the government, yes, but not a dime for, say, Steve Miller's salary, or however many acting positions Mike Pompeo is filling, and Trump would have to pay for his stupid fast food banquets out of his own pocket.

Trump might take money from somewhere else, of course, but that'd be yet another obviously impeachable offense.
posted by Gelatin at 11:55 AM on May 6 [7 favorites]


these fabled economically conservative but socially liberal voters only constitute about 4% of the electorate [...] and the consistently conservative (23%)

And there's our crazification factor.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:59 AM on May 6 [19 favorites]


Kate Riga at TPM reports that DOJ is reaching out to Nadler to 'negotiate' re: documents and testimony. My gut tells me that they're only trying to run out the clock - even incrementally.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:03 PM on May 6 [10 favorites]


Run out the clock, indeed. DOJ invites Nadler and co. to DOJ on Wed afternoon, which would be several hours of them NOT voting on contempt citations.
posted by Harry Caul at 12:14 PM on May 6 [13 favorites]


The Intercept: “The Complete Mercenary: How Erik Prince Used the Rise of Trump to Make an Improbable Comeback”

Interview with the author Matthew Cole on today's Democracy Now! (full episode, direct .mp4, alt link, torrents 1, 2, second part of interview not yet broadcast should show up here)

Salient points for me: Erik Prince, founder of “security firm” military and CIA contractor Blackwater/Xe/Academi which repeatedly committed atrocities during the U.S. war in Iraq, (and brother of Trump Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos) moved his family to the UAE after selling off the company around a decade ago. He formed further mercenary companies in the Middle East but in recent years decided to diversify and move to providing
...an entire supply chain of warfare and conflict. He wants to be able to skim a profitable cut from each stage of a hostile operation, whether it be overt or covert, foreign or domestic. His offerings range from the traditional mercenary toolkit, military hardware and manpower, to cellphone surveillance technology and malware, to psychological operations and social media manipulation in partnership with shadowy operations like James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas.
Like a certain U.S. President, he did all kinds of conventional criming like money laundering, international mercenary-related criming, and had money problems. And this is all one reason he ended up playing the part documented in the Mueller Report and previous investigative journalism of helping to form connections between the newly-elected Trump Administration, the Russians, and Middle East actors.

The Prince family has supported, and received support from, Mike Pence during the latter's congressional career. Erik Prince was evidently offered a financial stake at one point in the Israeli company Black Cube, which does lots of sketchy stuff such as running private intelligence operations for Harvey Weinstein against his victims and journalists investigating him. Prince turned down the offer but may have liked the basic business plan of the company.

So
...in late 2015 or early 2016, Prince arranged for O’Keefe and Project Veritas to receive training in intelligence and elicitation techniques from a retired military intelligence operative named Euripides Rubio Jr. According to a former Trump White House official who discussed the Veritas training with Rubio, the former special operative quit after several weeks of training, complaining that the Veritas group wasn’t capable of learning. Rubio did not respond to requests for comment.

In the winter of 2017, Prince arranged for a former British MI6 officer to provide more surveillance and elicitation training for Veritas at his family’s Wyoming ranch, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort. Prince was trying to turn O’Keefe and his group into domestic spies.
Of course
After Trump won the election, Prince began sending defense and intelligence policy proposals to the Trump team via Bannon, including his plan for privatizing the war in Afghanistan. The plan called for removing all U.S. troops and replacing them with a small cadre of security trainers, a small fleet of light attack aircraft, and a surge of covert CIA operations.
And also
Meanwhile, Prince’s relationship with Bannon has gone from fellow ideological traveler to business partner.
posted by XMLicious at 12:52 PM on May 6 [33 favorites]


surveillance and elicitation training

What does "elicitation" refer to in the intelligence community?
posted by odinsdream at 1:04 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]




Kate Riga at TPM reports that DOJ is reaching out to Nadler to 'negotiate' re: documents and testimony. My gut tells me that they're only trying to run out the clock - even incrementally.

It's what happens when a bunch of professional litigators go up against a bunch of political hacks with law degrees.
posted by The World Famous at 1:40 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Politico: Dems Accuse Trump of Flouting Russia Sanctions Deadline
The leaders of the House Foreign Affairs and Financial Services Committees are accusing the Trump administration of violating a law requiring a report on human rights abuses in Russia.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs panel, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the Financial Services chairwoman, on Monday said the Trump administration is four months late to a deadline requiring a report on the U.S. government’s efforts to impose sanctions on human rights abusers in Russia.
Here’s their letter, in which they demand the Trump administration’s overdue mandated 2018 report on implementing the Magnitsky Act by May 17th.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:46 PM on May 6 [28 favorites]


fabled economically conservative but socially liberal voters only constitute about 4% of the electorate. This is in contrast with the consistently liberal (45% of voters), economically liberal but socially conservative (29%), and the consistently conservative (23%).

WTF.

Seriously, for at least a full decade I actually thought of myself as economically liberal but socially conservative, and from what I heard in the media, I would have thought that people who so identified were the 4%, and while the "fiscally conservative, socially liberal" were the 29%.

I don't know if I understand the strategic goal (enlarge/absorb the libertarian margin with liberalism?), but that in-quotes phrase was repeated often enough for a while that the chances of it being a coincidence vs a coordinated campaign to annex some cognitive linguistic territory feels small.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:46 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


I feel compelled* to mention that the title of this thread is from the 1603 First Quarto of Hamlet--usually called the "bad quarto". It's a fascinating read. Check it out. And now I will forcibly stop myself from going on a tangential well-nigh dissertation.

*Usually a figure of speech, but not this time. I was actually gonna have trouble sleeping until I typed this out.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:22 PM on May 6 [31 favorites]


AP, Treasury denies Democrats’ request for Trump tax returns
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has made it official: The administration won’t be turning President Donald Trump’s tax returns over to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Mnuchin tells Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal in a Monday letter that the committee’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”
Here's the full letter.

So is anybody going to do anything? Congress Is Failing
posted by zachlipton at 2:50 PM on May 6 [33 favorites]


Firehouse Strategies/Optimus has a couple 2020 Dem polls out. They confirm what every other poll is showing; Biden has slightly widened his lead from medium sized to pretty big, particularly in SC where it is approaching landslide levels. However, this is a mediocre-at-best outfit per 538's ratings so I don't think looking at the full crosstabs is likely to be useful. Feel free to do so if that's your thing though.

Hopefully we'll get a more highly rated firm polling SC to confirm or rebut.
posted by Justinian at 2:59 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Mnuchin tells Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal in a Monday letter that the committee’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”

It bears repeating that Congress has other constitutionally-defined roles than legislation. Oversight is one of them. The White House's own website has this to say:
Both chambers of Congress have extensive investigative powers, and may compel the production of evidence or testimony toward whatever end they deem necessary. Members of Congress spend much of their time holding hearings and investigations in committee. Refusal to cooperate with a Congressional subpoena can result in charges of contempt of Congress, which could result in a prison term.
posted by sjswitzer at 3:00 PM on May 6 [21 favorites]


A Democratic Congress has exactly those powers and roles which it can successfully enforce. If they are unwilling or unable, as they have so far been, to enforce those powers then they don't actually have them.
posted by Justinian at 3:05 PM on May 6 [25 favorites]


Treasury denies Democrats’ request for Trump tax returns

UGH. Every time one of these headlines says "Democrats' request" instead of "Congress' request" smoke comes out my ears.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:08 PM on May 6 [92 favorites]


“Catch-22,” the old woman repeated, rocking her head up and down. “Catch-22. Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.”

This is our government, until we choose as a nation to change that.
posted by delfin at 3:08 PM on May 6 [36 favorites]


A Democratic Congress has exactly those powers and roles which it can successfully enforce. If they are unwilling or unable, as they have so far been, to enforce those powers then they don't actually have them.

I kind of doubt that the House Sergeant at Arms is going to get into a shootout with the Secret Service in an attempt to arrest Mnunchin.

You may recall that Republicans (along with 17 Democrats!) cited Attorney General Eric Holder for criminal and civil contempt for withholding documents related to Fast and Furious. The Obama Justice Department declined to prosecute, citing executive privilege.

So don't expect anything dramatic to happen in this case.
posted by JackFlash at 3:18 PM on May 6 [9 favorites]


I don't expect anything to happen, much less anything dramatic. That was the point I was making and the point summed up in the "So Much for Checks and Balances" article posted above. Congress has so long abdicated its authority and place in our system of government that it has become a nearly vestigial shell. Unless they start putting people in jail for contempt that isn't going to change and, as you say, that is very unlikely.
posted by Justinian at 3:22 PM on May 6 [17 favorites]


Trump would face obstruction charges if he wasn't president, prosecutors say

Hundreds of former federal prosecutors – and counting – signed an open letter published on Monday expressing their belief that Donald Trump would have faced “multiple felony charges of obstruction of justice” if he were not president.

The letter’s signatories, which include prominent Republicans from administrations going back to Richard Nixon, said it was clear that Trump would have faced charges had he not been protected by the guidelines.

“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,” the prosecutors wrote in part.
posted by xammerboy at 3:41 PM on May 6 [19 favorites]


Yes, when nearly the entire cadre of professional support personnel of an institution are thrown out in a deliberate attempt to destroy said institution, it tends to become ineffective. That is by design. Inexperience hobbles their every move. People made it that way. Most of them keep showing up around the White House whenever a Republican is holding office.
posted by wierdo at 4:06 PM on May 6 [12 favorites]


I have been saying for some time that, faced with the changing demographics of America, that the ruling classes would never just turn over the keys and shrug their shoulders. It would and will get (and has gotten) ugly. Democracy is all well and good as long as it comes up with the "right" outcomes; less so when it does not. Democrats like Biden either do not get this or... are fundamentally on the wrong side. (Maybe there's no distinction to be made there, though.)
posted by sjswitzer at 4:43 PM on May 6 [16 favorites]


NYT, In Push for Trade Deal, Trump Administration Shelves Sanctions Over China’s Crackdown on Uighurs
Administration officials have declined to use any of the economic leverage the White House amassed through tariffs placed on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to compel China to change its policies toward Uighurs. It has also backed away from imposing economic sanctions on Chinese officials believed to be involved in the repression of Muslims in the northwest.

In the fall, the United States was on the verge of imposing sanctions on top Chinese individuals and companies but pulled back after some administration officials said doing so would jeopardize trade talks with Beijing, according to three American officials.

Outrage over China’s repressive practices has grown among officials not working on trade. On Friday, Randall G. Schriver, the assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said at a news conference that the Pentagon had significant concerns about the “mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps,” which he said could have up to three million people.
posted by zachlipton at 4:52 PM on May 6 [7 favorites]


To the surprise of no one, I'm sure, Mnuchin's letter to Congress declining to provide Trump's tax returns, is pure bullshit. The precedent cited is a Supreme Court case which Mnuchin represents as requiring a "legitimate legislative purpose" for any Congressional investigation. And the AP article a little sloppily parrots this (note the lack of quotation marks around the final phrase):
Mnuchin told Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., in a Monday letter that the panel’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose” as Supreme Court precedent requires.
In point of fact, the case in question, McGrain v Daugherty was an outgrowth of the very same Teapot Dome scandal that also spawned 26 U.S. Code § 6103, which Congress used to make its request. It involved a Senate demand to have the Attorney General's brother testify; Daugherty refused, whereupon the Sergeant at Arms arrested him [oh lord please let this happen to Barr].

The Court adjudicated and ruled in favor of the Senate. While it did indicate a legislative purpose was a requirement of investigation (noting also that legislation is broader than the literal act of authoring a bill), the holding in the case was specifically that a legislative purpose can't be questioned by the Court:
"We are bound to presume that the action of the legislative body was with a legitimate object, if it is capable of being so construed, and we have no right to assume that the contrary was intended."
So what Neal did in his request was pretty smart--tying it to a legislative interest and betting the Court will side with him. I don't know how far Congress will go with this one or whether it would be a case that would move faster than the emoluments lawsuit, for instance. This could be a bellwether, though.
posted by Room 101 at 5:23 PM on May 6 [48 favorites]


NBC News, Trump grants pardon to Army officer who killed Iraqi prisoner
The White House says President Donald Trump has granted a pardon to a former first lieutenant in the U.S. Army convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump granted clemency to Michael Behenna of Oklahoma.

Behenna was convicted in 2009 of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing a suspected al Qaeda terrorist in Iraq. He was paroled in 2014 and had been scheduled to remain on parole until 2024.
Trump (with the exception of the one-off pardon he granted at Kim Kardashian's request) has used the pardon and commutation power to show exactly what he thinks the justice system should be.
posted by zachlipton at 6:13 PM on May 6 [31 favorites]


Today at Chicago's Ultimate Women's Power Lunch event Democrats talked about how there was a months long investigation into Nixon before his impeachment process began, suggesting this will also need to be the case if Trump is impeached. However, just today a hundred plus lawyers, including prominent Republicans, signed a letter stating that the evidence against Trump for obstructing justice is ironclad. Democrats have all the evidence they need to move forward now.
posted by xammerboy at 7:25 PM on May 6 [19 favorites]


[Couple of comments deleted. As we've been doing for a long time now, if you want to talk about general stuff like how things are hopeless or how all the current mess makes you feel, etc, please do it over in the venting thread instead of in the main catchall/potus45 thread. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:32 PM on May 6 [8 favorites]


Pompeo: Melting sea ice presents 'new opportunities for trade'

The ongoing destruction of the world isn't real until a buck can be made, then it's good.

Anyway, everybody look around you and appreciate this final stage of capitalism.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:46 PM on May 6 [30 favorites]


It's like looking at your house burning down and speculating how easily customers will be able to enter and exit from your new wall-less business space, once you find something to sell.
posted by Scattercat at 7:49 PM on May 6 [34 favorites]


The melting sea ice probably will be good for trade. At least Russia's. Seeing as it gives them much more opportunities to ship goods.

God, they're not even pretending to hide it anymore....
posted by downtohisturtles at 7:52 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


I'll believe it when I see the perp walk.

Who exactly would walk the perp? Like, is there any piece of Congress that can do law enforcement in this manner? I thought that it was always the Legislative Branch getting the Executive Branch to use their law enforcement powers to stand behind them when they required such a thing.
posted by hippybear at 7:57 PM on May 6


This was originally intended to be a comment just rounding up a few unrelated news stories, and then I realized they all happen to be about the same thing, Nazis, so that's just great.

Washingtonian, What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right, which is just kind of devastating yet not without hope?

Michelle Goldberg, Trump Helps Bigots Go Viral
That wasn’t all; Trump also tweeted an Infowars video, as well as retweeted a message from a conspiracy account that said, “The ‘elite’ proclaim America must submit to Islam or else!!!”

It’s tempting to ignore Trump’s tweeting, even if his social media messages do occasionally cause global financial markets to plummet. Yet when Trump amplifies far-right voices, people on the fringes notice. On 8chan, the online hangout of both the man charged with slaughtering Muslims in New Zealand recently and the man charged in the Poway synagogue shooting, a poster wrote, “IF POTUS is retweeting something like this, the gloves are really off. It’s ON.”
Ken Klippenstein, ‘Put Them All in a Gas Chamber,’ Said Border Militia Member: Report: "'Why are we just apprehending them and not lining them up and shooting them,' a border militia member in New Mexico is alleged to have said of border migrants that the group had been monitoring. 'We have to go back to Hitler days and put them all in a gas chamber,' the militia member, Armando Gonzalez, is also alleged to have said." That's according to the police report. The man asking that question was armed with an AR-15 rifle while watching migrants cross the border at the time he said that.

@jdawsey1: Trump is attending a “Be Best” event for Melania Trump’s online bullying initiative at 11 am tomorrow before meeting with the Vice President and GOP senators.
posted by zachlipton at 8:08 PM on May 6 [34 favorites]


Ken Klippenstein, ‘Put Them All in a Gas Chamber,’ Said Border Militia Member

Another ranting livestreamed mass kidnapping last night. This has been made normal, and the FBI's failure to arrest any of the last batch for kidnapping is actively enabling it.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:19 PM on May 6 [45 favorites]


National security independent journalist has posted a Twitter thread about Mueller on the timing of Wikileaks's October surprise:
Something about the Mueller report that's been nagging at me: it repeatedly mentions the one hour time gap between the Hollywood Access tape and the first Podesta release.

Mueller knew about – and apparently disregarded – claims that WL's release schedule was set and unchanged. To be clear – this is no way means that Mueller has evidence that @SMaurizi [La Repubblica reporter Stefania Maurizi] was dishonest. I think she told the truth when she said she was told about the release schedule the day before. I do think that Mueller must have a part of the story that neither Stefania nor we have. The Hollywood Access tape had been brewing for a while. Did WL learn about it the night before? Very possible, but also speculative.

I believe both Maurizi and Mueller are reliable, but what we know of their data doesn't fit together – so something's missing.
Whether the missing information lies behind the redactions or Mueller's counterintelligence referrals, it's another of the known unknowns in the wake of the redacted Mueller report's release, which continue to bother me (and don't get me started about the mysterious case of the Trump Org.–Alfa Bank servers). The only way to get to the bottom of this is to have Mueller testify, which Trump is clearly terrified of.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:10 PM on May 6 [12 favorites]


The only way to get to the bottom of this is to have Mueller testify, which Trump is clearly terrified of.

If those questioning him during his testimony don't ask the right questions, then it all will be for naught. How do we know/guarantee that if he does testify, that he will be asked the questions that will elicit the revelations needed?
posted by hippybear at 10:32 PM on May 6 [5 favorites]


The only way to get to the bottom of this is to have Mueller testify, which Trump is clearly terrified of.

If those questioning him during his testimony don't ask the right questions, then it all will be for naught. How do we know/guarantee that if he does testify, that he will be asked the questions that will elicit the revelations needed?
posted by hippybear An hour ago [1 favorite +] [!]


I'm writing a letter to my congressional representatives along these lines: You're a great team player and you're going to totally carry the day - you play D, give Kamala the ball. Only YOU can defend the Constitution, Go!
posted by From Bklyn at 12:11 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


Before you send your letter, you might want to re-think. Kamala Harris is a US Senator. She won't be participating in any House oversight hearings, nor (as a member of the minority party) can she control whether the appropriate Senate committees conduct hearings. A better strategy is to urge the House committee members to ensure that the hearings are structured to ensure that professional counsel are able to ask questions on behalf of the committee for at least a substantial portion of the time allotted.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:33 AM on May 7 [16 favorites]


The committee chair could, if he so chose, have Mueller testify in narrative form for as long as he wants. Uninterrupted. I know one of the key Watergate witnesses did it that way but I wasn't born yet so I remember the details. I suppose it could have been John Dean.
posted by Justinian at 12:42 AM on May 7 [11 favorites]


Before you send your letter, you might want to re-think...
... aaaand re-think done. No, I'm still going to put forward Harris. This was the biggest disappointment to me of the Democratic side - they had the chance to let Barr (who quite clearly had not crossed all his T's or dotted any i's) hang himself and only Harris was able to make that case clearly and concisely. Barr's super-power is obfuscation, restrained to 'yes' or 'no' answers he reveals all his perfidy (perfidy I say!) for lack of material to construct himself a legal or linguistic hide-out. (Also my assumption was the hearing in question was Graham's comment about Mueller being welcome to come 'clarify' Barr's comments/prevarications about Mueller's letter) If the testimony is to be in the house, I imagine Ms. Harris would be willing to offer her legal and strategic advice (or if possible be the professional counsel ok ok ok I recognize that's not realistic): (Klobuchar made a really good point (maybe the most significant point) by suggesting Barr look at the 'pattern' of Trump's behavior as laid out in the report but of course Barr, oppositional, isn't going to look at anything that doesn't help his client. I mean, what he doesn't want to. Harris' strategic coup was recognizing that Barr would not want to reveal anything - Klobuchar asks Barr to look at, Harris asks factual 'yes' or 'no's leaving Barr's autonomy out of it.)

The best of all possible worlds would be, and I hope it goes this way:
The committee chair could, if he so chose, have Mueller testify in narrative form for as long as he wants. And Mueller lays out the case leading to the inevitable conclusion.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:08 AM on May 7 [6 favorites]


I feel like one way of combatting the insanity-causing daily shenanigans coming from the White House is for the news to begin reporting a la Ron Howard's Arrested Development narration:

"President Trump tweeted, Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back.

Narrator: "It wasn't. President Obama can be thanked for the current US economy. There is literally not one single social, economic or historical standard that can be used as measurement to confirm that Trump is the most successful President in history. The suggestion of 2 extra years violates the Constitution and if attempted, is an impeachable offense, and...

...stolen has one L."
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:48 AM on May 7 [31 favorites]


Missed this one yesterday: Joining such luminaries as Miriam Adelson, Antonin Scalia, Orrin Hatch, Babe Ruth, and Elvis, the newest Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient is... Tiger Woods.
posted by box at 4:55 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]


Manu Raju: McConnell will take to the floor this morning to say it’s time to move on from the Mueller probe and call the “case closed,” per his office

I assume this means that even if the House votes to impeach, the GOP controlled Senate will not carry out the trial.
posted by PenDevil at 5:29 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


McConnell will take to the floor this morning to say it’s time to move on from the Mueller probe and call the “case closed,” per his office

They are absolutely going to wield the shithammer on this. It'll be game over and unrestrained everything we've seen so far without even the pretense of anything holding it back.

This is what the "ehm, er, uh" indecision to process impeachment has wrought. They are totally going to beat us up in class with everyone and the teacher watching and nothing will ever happen to dissuade them ever. Democratic Leadership: Quit Sucking And Impeach Now.*

* The argument against this is typically "polls show it would be unpopular" which I would disagree with anyway but let's say that's the case - there is a Time To Ignore Polls. This is one of those times. Suit up or GTFO.
posted by petebest at 5:45 AM on May 7 [31 favorites]


No, I'm still going to put forward Harris

OK, but you know that's not how Congress works, right? They don't bring Senators into the House.
posted by schroedinger at 5:46 AM on May 7 [14 favorites]


McConnell saying it's time to move on from a subject just means Putin pulled the string that hangs from McC's back again.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:19 AM on May 7 [10 favorites]


McConnell will take to the floor this morning to say it’s time to move on from the Mueller probe and call the “case closed,” per his office

At this point, Mueller could sit in front of Congress and cite chapter and verse with testimony and pictures and paper to prove 10 exact instances of obstruction of justice and could say that those are completely impeachable as well as felonies and Trump should go to jail.

And Trump will tweet, "lyin little Bobby M no collusion delusion" and Congress will drop it all and he'll get reelected (after he takes his two bonus years) because that's where we are right now.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 6:33 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


FBI Dir Chris Wray testifying in the Senate today. PBS Newshour stream
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:38 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


Manu Raju: McConnell will take to the floor this morning to say it’s time to move on from the Mueller probe and call the “case closed,” per his office

McConnell helping Trump cover up his crimes means that McConnell perceives little risk in tying the Republican Party to Trump's crimes -- possible, since the so-called "liberal media" has proven gullible twice in letting Barr spin -- by which me mean lie about -- the Mueller report, or it means that McConnell perceives a great risk in having the narrative of Trump's criminality grow out of control.

Since all we know about McConnell is that he operates in bad faith, why not presume the latter and use the opportunity to damage the Republicans? They'd do the same thing, and have done, even when there wasn't anything there.

Speaking of Mueller, I agree that he needs to testify John Dean style, as long as he needs, not a five-minute-per-Representative dog-and-pony show.
posted by Gelatin at 6:48 AM on May 7 [12 favorites]


Secretary of State's speech in Finland at yesterday's Arctic Council meeting, Pompeo "pointedly warned about China and Russia's growing “aggressive behavior” in the Arctic", which "shocked many diplomats and observers, who said the council was intended to address climate change, not security issues." Incidentally, not once in his 2,400-word speech did he use the phrase "climate change." Instead, he touted, "Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passage ways and new opportunities for trade." (Axios)

Also, WaPo's Anton Troianovski reports: "Today: Pompeo cancels meeting with Merkel on a few hours’ notice. Russia announces Pompeo will come to Sochi to meet Lavrov and maybe Putin on May 14. https://tass.ru/politika/6408189" (Google translation)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:08 AM on May 7 [12 favorites]


Never listen to polls. They are comprised of people too stupid not to answer a phone call from an unknown number.
posted by Manic Pixie Hollow at 7:18 AM on May 7 [34 favorites]


Shocked, shocked I say, that the Times was fooled by Guiliani and Schweizer AGAIN on sliming a D candidate.

Bloomberg: Timeline in Ukraine Probe Casts Doubt on Giuliani’s Biden Claim
posted by chris24 at 7:22 AM on May 7 [6 favorites]


So at the end of the linked podcast they ask , after reading the report, what should the next step be ? The argument is impeachment is a process not s big red button and if for whatever reason going for it is not on the table, then they should just keep issuing subpoenas and grind the administration down to a halt because we have a very good faith reason to do that because the report basically says “hey if you wanted to start investigating all the many, many crimes committed by literally everyone involved in this administration, here is where you start.”

“Don’t take the wind out of your sails” and all that, and the report does nakedly lay out a portrait of a deeply unstable person who can’t stop lying surrounded by people who can’t even commit conspiracy without accidentally documenting it.
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 AM on May 7 [6 favorites]


"Incidentally, not once in his 2,400-word speech did he use the phrase "climate change." Instead, he touted, "Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passage ways and new opportunities for trade." (Axios)"
Its moments like this that a little tickle goes up in the back of my brain that says: "not only do they know what they're doing, we don't know the extent of their plans yet. They have an entire vision for the world. For its powers, for its people. They're moving towards it but we only get the broad strokes because their plans aren't fully realized yet. They're saying 'what climate change?' while simultaneously carefully watching the way the climate is changing to pounce on the upheaval it costs. It is very possible that they want it to change because of what they can grab as it happens.
posted by Brainy at 7:32 AM on May 7 [35 favorites]


[Couple deleted, if folk want to dig into "what's the bad guys' secret plan for climate change", probably better to make that a separate thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:54 AM on May 7 [5 favorites]


[Couple deleted; let's back up and do this without the "your wife's ass"-grab analogy, which I promise contains the ingredients for a fight we're better off avoiding.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:21 AM on May 7 [13 favorites]


(Trying this again, with apologies. Mods, if this still delete-worthy, please don't take this as my trying to test you or anything.)

Since all we know about McConnell is that he operates in bad faith, why not presume the latter and use the opportunity to damage the Republicans?


Exactly. What's a better message:

"As the House, we fulfilled our Constitutional oversight duty and, as a result, moved to impeach the President. This Senate, led by Mr. McConnell, has abdicated its responsibility to even *hold a trial*, let alone do the right thing in convicting the President of offenses far worse than many members of this same Senate voted, in fact, to convict President Clinton of in 1999. This is tyranny, and it's bullshit, and for the sake of democracy—and to put a stop to the very real suffering this administration has caused people around the world—these people need to go. And we need your help! Call your senators, organize yourselves, get out in the streets, or just vote Democratic in the next election, and we'll clean house. Enough is enough."

OR

"Yes, the Constitution and all that, but we won't *win*, ultimately, as we've let the other side define "winning," so why even try? Sorry, democracy, immigrants, LGBT folks, and women. But for sure, vote for us in 2020—we'll *definitely* fight for you in some similarly-high-stakes future situation."
posted by Rykey at 8:23 AM on May 7 [24 favorites]


Apropos of Pompeo's side-talks with Lavrov in Finland, WaPo last Friday: Trump echoes Putin on Venezuela — and contradicts his own secretary of state
“I had a very good talk with President Putin — probably over an hour,” Trump [tweeted]. “And we talked about many things. Venezuela was one of the topics. And he is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela. And I feel the same way. We want to get some humanitarian aid."[…]

In an interview Thursday, Mike Pompeo said that not only had Russia gotten involved in Venezuela, but that it had actually “invaded” it. {emphasis in original} […]

"You’ll hear people saying we need to make sure there’s not an invasion in Venezuela, and yet there’s been one. I mean, it took place. The Cubans invaded some time ago; the Russians have now followed suit."
Then on Sunday, Trump said Putin isn’t looking to get involved in Venezuela. Two days later, Russia’s and Venezuela’s foreign ministers meet. (WaPo)

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald has dug up a suspicious Trump Org real estate deal in "Disneyland for Chavistas" back in 2015: Trump Deplores Chavistas, But Did He Cash In Selling Property to One Of Them?
The Trump Organization sold an ocean-view property in the Dominican Republic in 2015 to a mysterious shell company that appears tied to Venezuelans linked to a powerful politician now under U.S. sanctions, according to records obtained by McClatchy and the Miami Herald.

The Venezuelans are close associates of Diosdado Cabello Rondón, widely believed to be the second most powerful man in President Nicolás Maduro’s regime in the troubled, oil-rich South American nation. The Trump administration has accused Cabello of drug trafficking and money laundering.[…]

There is no evidence of anything illegal on the part of the Trump Organization, but the sale is notable today as President Trump tries to muscle out Maduro and blasts past U.S. presidents for failing to drive from power Venezuela’s socialist governments.
The Herald notes, "Rather than appearing to be at odds, Cabello sat next to Maduro last week during May Day pronouncements, a day after a would-be uprising failed in Venezuela."
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:34 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


Bill Gates Actually Made a Good Point About the Socialism Debate in America (Matt Novak, Gizmodo)
Billionaires Bill Gates, Charlie Munger, and Warren Buffett were interviewed on CNBC [together in the same room], and it wasn’t surprising to hear the three men defend capitalism. But it was surprising to hear Gates make a really good point about socialism. Or, at least a good point about how socialism is defined in the U.S.

Gates pointed out that the current surge in pro-socialist rhetoric in the U.S. isn’t really socialism by any strict definition of the word. The so-called “socialist” policies we’re hearing from politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders are largely just capitalist policies with a strong social safety net. And that’s okay!

“Socialism used to mean that the state controlled the means of production,” Gates said on CNBC (YouTube). “And a lot of people who are promoting socialism aren’t using that classic definition.”
Apparently, this interview had a lot of uncomfortable squirming from the billionaires.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:37 AM on May 7 [53 favorites]


OnceUponATime: Every time one of these headlines says "Democrats' request" instead of "Congress' request" smoke comes out my ears.

You might want to have some cold water handy for this one -- Democrats Want To End Dark Money, But First They Want To Use It (Peter Overby for NPR, May 7, 2019)
Reform-minded Democrats have long held up "dark money" — political money that can't be traced to its source — as a symptom of what's wrong with politics in Washington. But while House Democrats this winter passed a bill to end the secrecy shielding donors (NPR's previous coverage of "symbolic first act") behind unregulated dark money contributions, liberal activist groups now deploy those funds to boost the party's candidates in the 2020 elections.

A recent study by the government reform group Issue One found (PDF) that in the 2018 midterm elections, politically active tax-exempt groups spent about $150 million in secret money, and Democratic-leaning groups accounted for 54% of it.
...
Robin Kolodny, a political scientist at Temple University who studies the history of campaign finance, said there's a pattern to it.

"One party stretches the law, gets away with it, and then the other party just goes ahead and does the same thing," she said. "And then eventually the FEC [Federal Election Commission] will just say, 'Yeah, obviously, I guess this must be OK.' "
Beyond that bleak closing thought on the FEC's inaction when both parties do it, of course the other party will do it -- to even the playing field.

If you're racing cars, and someone uses unauthorized boosters and gets away with it, everyone else will do so, too, because the game was rigged otherwise. "But it tarnishes the sport!" says a commentator! Change the rules, then enforce the rules, and we're back to a (more) fair game. But expecting the "honest" players to change before then is foolish.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:43 AM on May 7 [13 favorites]


If you're racing cars, and someone uses unauthorized boosters and gets away with it, everyone else will do so, too, because the game was rigged otherwise. "But it tarnishes the sport!" says a commentator! Change the rules, then enforce the rules, and we're back to a (more) fair game. But expecting the "honest" players to change before then is foolish.

Unilateral disarmament is a sucker's game.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:45 AM on May 7 [13 favorites]


“Socialism used to mean that the state controlled the means of production,” Gates said on CNBC

So Republicans have a problem with the state controlling the means of production. Except when they don't.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:45 AM on May 7 [11 favorites]




So Republicans have a problem with the state controlling the means of production. Except when they don't.

*cough* Farm subsidies *cough*
posted by Rykey at 8:51 AM on May 7 [15 favorites]


So Republicans have a problem with the state controlling the means of production. Except when they don't.

They seem to have problems when other people are in control of the state.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:53 AM on May 7 [11 favorites]




A recent study by the government reform group Issue One found (PDF) that in the 2018 midterm elections, politically active tax-exempt groups spent about $150 million in secret money, and Democratic-leaning groups accounted for 54% of it.

This is a very misleading statistic. The study cited only refers to spending which is "reported to the FEC", which is a tiny amount of dark money spending. Most political spending by 501(c)(4) organizations is not reported to the FEC.

The only spending that these dark organizations report to the FEC is direct spending for "electioneering communications." Electioneering communications is a legal definition that refers only to radio, TV and cable ads that are run 60 days before an election and that mention a specific candidate or opponent by name or image.

It does not cover spending outside this time window. It does not cover spending for "issues ads" that only refer obliquely to a specific candidate. It does not cover ads that refer to a political party instead of an individual. It does not cover spending for mailers or telephone push polls. It does not cover millions spent on campaign offices or professional organizers. It does not cover millions of dollars that these dark organizations transfer directly to political PACs who then run campaign ads, thereby laundering the money anonymously.
posted by JackFlash at 9:26 AM on May 7 [11 favorites]




Again demonstrating courage and leadership when most Ds are running from it.
posted by chris24 at 9:35 AM on May 7 [41 favorites]


Judiciary Committee member, chicken enthusiast, and my Congressman Steve Cohen (on Facebook):
“The DOJ has agreed to meet with the House Judiciary Committee today regarding AG Barr's failure to comply with our subpoena for the full Mueller Report and underlying evidence. Chairman Nadler is willing to hear the DOJ’s offer, but, as of now, our plan to hold Barr in contempt of Congress still stands.”
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:43 AM on May 7 [16 favorites]


is Warren just reading the currently publicly-available report into the record?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:15 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


“Socialism used to mean that the state controlled the means of production,” Gates said on CNBC (YouTube) yt . “And a lot of people who are promoting socialism aren’t using that classic definition.”

Well, right now about 20% of GDP goes through the federal government, including state-controlled retirement funds (Social Security), state-controlled insurance (Medicare and Medicaid), and state-controlled military. All of these things could be privately run if we wanted (with of course worse service and higher waste). In addition, it's now standard doctrine on the left for the government to eventually provide medicare for all (administering another 20% of GDP, though of course not the medical services themselves) as well as college (which would probably remain a federal-state-private funding mishmash). And I expect that, should these things ever come to pass, there would be a fair amount of support on the left for nationalizing certain aspects of banking and finance, and also various essential digital services currently monopolized by entities like Google, Facebook, AT&T, Comcast, etc.

So anyway, I hear a lot from bemused left-leaning billionaires and other elites that these so-called "socialists" don't really know what socialism means. But is it really likely that smart people like AOC really don't know what the term they have adopted means or connotes? I think more likely, and unhappily for the bemused or mildly discomfited billionaires (many of whom would be perfectly happy with a billionaire-friendly scandinavian-style system), that that use of "socialism" is not just marking. It's just a slow roll-out.
posted by chortly at 10:21 AM on May 7 [15 favorites]


Mother Jones on Republican efforts in several states to make it harder to vote. The move to gut Amendment 4 is part of a broader effort by Republican-controlled states to restrict access to the ballot after voters approved ballot initiatives in November’s midterm elections to expand voting rights and elected Democrats who supported policies like automatic voter registration and felon reenfranchisement. “There is an uptick in activity around measures to restrict voting access,” the Brennan Center for Justice states in a new report, with 19 bills restricting voting access moving through state legislatures in 10 states.

For those who are tired of traditional media coverage of politics (and other things), consider donating to Mother Jones, which has launched the Mother Jones Corruption Project, "a push to do deep, time-intensive reporting on corruption as both the cause and the result of the crisis in our democracy. Our goal is to do the work to understand how we got here and how we might get out. Because like every crisis, this is also an opportunity—for clarity, transparency, and change. This project is unlike anything we’ve done at Mother Jones, and we’re asking the MoJo community for donations to help us go big. But whether or not you can contribute right now, we owe you our plan, the reasoning behind it, and the way we believe this reporting can break through the chaotic headlines."
posted by Bella Donna at 10:31 AM on May 7 [21 favorites]


TN Speaker's Racist Sexist COS Now Unemployed POS (Wonkette)

In which the TN House Leader's (Spoiler: Republican) Chief of Staff resigns after a string of gross tweets teeming with racism and sexism. Oh, at the time he was only the House Republicans' press secretary, so. And snorted coke in the office. Which. Cool.

How is it relevant to a MegaThread™ you ask? Well, it's because his boss, the GOP House Leader, who participated in these exciting threads claimed they were only "Locker room talk". So, once again for the record: no, it's not. And B: just because Turmp farted it into a phone once doesn't make it a True Thing so take this bullshit timeline and stuff it.

CASADA: So, yes, I participated in locker-room talk with two adult men that was not intended to go to anyone else, and I was wrong. In the last several years, that kind of talk has not entered and left my mouth.

And truly we are all relieved that that kind of talk has not entered his mouth in years. Those calling for the House Leader to also resign are still looking for the (Spoiler: Republican) Governor who Is Not Found.
posted by petebest at 10:53 AM on May 7 [12 favorites]


Mother Jones on Republican efforts in several states to make it harder to vote.

From the twitterverse just now:
Texas Sen. Bryan Hughes' new bill, S. Bill 9, will disallow driving of elderly, disabled, or poor people to the polls. It would ban efforts with vans full of elderly from nursing homes, disabled people, poor people who don’t have cars, would be illegal in Texas.
How low can they go?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:09 AM on May 7 [56 favorites]


I guess all that talk about Millennials being the "me generation" was actually yet another example of right wingers projecting their own motivations onto others. There once was a time when people of principle, when confronted with a sordid affair from their past that threatened the ability of their office to discharge its duties in a competent and timely manner would simply resign.

It's the right thing to do because it's not about you the officeholder, it's about the responsibility of government to its nationals/residents and the officeholder's responsibility to effectively carry out the duties of the office. They are the real me generation, who think that everything is about what they deserve, not about their duty to their office and to the public. Fairness for me but not for thee, they cry incessantly.
posted by wierdo at 11:14 AM on May 7 [7 favorites]




CASADA: So, yes, I participated in locker-room talk with two adult men that was not intended to go to anyone else, and I was wrong.

It's a borderline miracle that this actually includes an admission of doing something wrong, though of course it includes some weasel well I certainly wouldn't ever have said it if I thought I'd get caught that I guess folks think is somehow exculptory?

I guess it is, as sort of a dogwhistle to other horrible people. I only do this when I think I can get away with it comes across even worse to people with some integrity, but if you're trying to tell the deplorable people hey look I'm just like you in this way I guess it works.
posted by phearlez at 11:16 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]


I like Pelosi a lot, but the “He’s shredding the constitution and rule of law just to get us to impeach him” is hella stupid. He’s doing it to become dictator and his base will rally regardless.

We should stop taking in good faith the party establishment's hourly excuses for not governing.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:17 AM on May 7 [32 favorites]


is Warren just reading the currently publicly-available report into the record?

I don't believe she has any special access to the report. The Gang of Eight (which doesn't include Warren) would theoretically be able to see more of the report than is public, but as far as I know Barr hasn't thrown them that bone.

Texas Sen. Bryan Hughes' new bill, S. Bill 9, will disallow driving of elderly, disabled, or poor people to the polls. It would ban efforts with vans full of elderly from nursing homes, disabled people, poor people who don’t have cars, would be illegal in Texas.

Max Kennerly:
Can't transport more than 2 non-family voters unless you fill out a form identifying them and affirming they "are physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring their health."

Seems @SenBryanHughes hates it when Texans vote.
I'm guessing that the form thing may allow the bill to have the same practical effect while helping them avoid constitutional challenges.
posted by Jpfed at 11:19 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


is Warren just reading the currently publicly-available report into the record?

Just to clarify, as of 8:37am c-span pacific time, she's making a speech that involves the content of the Mueller report, she is not reading the report currently.
posted by odinsdream at 11:19 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


But Pelosi's right -- Democrats shouldn't be reacting to Trump's taunts on Twitter; they should be patiently and steadily assembling an ironclad case for impeachment that not only even-the-liberal-NPR can equivocate. Having Mueller testify in detail and at length is one step; having the "negotiation" with the DoJ about complying with the subpoena being "is one or two pm tomorrow better for you?" would be another.
posted by Gelatin at 11:21 AM on May 7 [24 favorites]


So as not to abuse the edit window: Trump feels powerful when his taunts get a response; he feels weak -- and looks weak! -- when he feels the walls of his abundant wrongdoing closing in on him. Would we rather have Trump enjoying his "executive time" with Twitter bravado or worrying about when the Democrats will get hold of his tax returns?
posted by Gelatin at 11:24 AM on May 7 [9 favorites]


Warren is currently presenting a narrative version of the Mueller report so that it's more listenable, and presents the most important parts in a clearer way.

It's a smart strategy, because it'll hopefully make people want to learn more. When you hear these stories they're just so obviously shady. It's something different than reading it, I personally find, and I bet others would, too.

She's at the part where, I shit you not, Trump tried to get Mueller not selected as the Special Counsel because he legit thought Mueller was trying to get him back for GOLF COURSE FEES.

I know it's presented flat in the Mueller report as if the President just didn't understand what a conflict of interest is, but the more you hear the story and think about it, I think it's much more likely that the simpler explanation is true: Trump literally thought Mueller was trying to "get him back" for when the Trump golf course made Mueller pay golf fees he contractually owed them. Which Mueller did not fight or give a shit about. And which happened years ago.

The president seriously thought that someone would take this enormous action over a fee grievance tells us two things: He would absolutely do that if the situation were reversed, and that he has no grasp of reality.
posted by odinsdream at 11:30 AM on May 7 [77 favorites]


For those of you supporting Pelosi's strategy, does that automatically mean you don't support Warren's? It seems like it would have to.
posted by diogenes at 11:47 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


I want to remind folks that you can contact Nancy Pelosi in her capacity as Speaker here: https://www.speaker.gov/contact/

and DuckDuckGo-ing "Rep Name + Contact" oughta get you to their contact page. I know we have to raise a lot more hell than online contact forms but since we're here writing comments on the internet anyway, we can do this too.

I am sure Speaker Pelosi's staff enjoys my daily emails suggesting they are late to the impeachment party for both Barr and Trump.
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:48 AM on May 7 [17 favorites]




I support Pelosi's strategy on the assumption that Warren and the left flank pushing for impeachment is part of that strategy. Given that we are where we are, which is that impeachment talk and even outright calls for Impeachment are beginning to show up in normally not-explicitly-political places, giving the appearance of this thing being pushed from the bottom up rather than the top down as in the failed impeachment of Clinton, I'm fairly secure in that assessment despite not being privy to the Speaker's internal thoughts and desires, whatever they may be.
posted by wierdo at 11:59 AM on May 7 [29 favorites]


For those of you supporting Pelosi's strategy, does that automatically mean you don't support Warren's? It seems like it would have to.

I have little doubt that Pelosi would impeach if she thought it were popular. Warren's strategy may make impeachment more popular. So the strategies can mesh.
posted by Jpfed at 12:00 PM on May 7 [39 favorites]


FBI Chief: NO SPYING. STFU Barr! (FBI chief Wray refutes Barr, says no 'spying' on Trump campaign) (NBCNews)

"I was very concerned by his use of the word spying, which I think is a loaded word," Shaheen said. "When FBI agents conduct investigations against alleged mobsters, suspected terrorists, other criminals, do you believe they're engaging in spying when they're following FBI investigative policies and procedures?"

"That's not the term I would use," Wray said of "spying." "So, I would say that's a no to that question."

... At another point, Wray was asked if he felt the federal government "spied into the 2016 presidential election," and replied that he didn’t "think it would be right or appropriate" to share his thoughts and that he wanted to respect an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice inspector general into aspects of the Russia inquiry.

Wray's answers on Tuesday would appear to contradict Barr's testimony from last month, when he told Shaheen during a committee hearing that he felt "spying did occur" by the U.S. government on Trump's 2016 campaign.


I'm starting to think Bill Barr might be a dirty lying rat bastard who was only hired to lie and obfuscate for Trump.
posted by petebest at 12:01 PM on May 7 [28 favorites]


I have little doubt that Pelosi would impeach if she thought it were popular.

Aye, there's the rub.
posted by petebest at 12:02 PM on May 7 [5 favorites]


Both approaches complement each other. There's no contradiction.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:04 PM on May 7 [14 favorites]


I support Pelosi's strategy on the assumption that Warren and the left flank pushing for impeachment is part of that strategy.

That theory would make more sense if Pelosi wasn't undermining Warren's message.
posted by diogenes at 12:05 PM on May 7 [6 favorites]


Pelosi is from the generation of Democrats that have political PTSD because they got crushed by Reagan and now live jumping at the shadows of the secret conservative majority they imagine must still be out there waiting to knock them out of their cushy jobs.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:09 PM on May 7 [12 favorites]


I have little doubt that Pelosi would impeach if she thought it were popular.

N-billionth reminder that support for investigating and impeaching Nixon was at 19% when the impeachment process began. Current support for doing the same with Trump seems to be around 40%. Pelosi waiting for it to be popular (enough) is basically a self-defeating argument.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:10 PM on May 7 [51 favorites]


Saying that she is focused on her legislative goals and will not be goaded into arguing on Trump's terms to allow him to distract her from those goals and get mired in pointless arguments in no way undermines the push for Impeachment by other members of the party. The soup isn't done yet. If she continues to disassemble once it's time to sit down and eat, I'll eat my hat.
posted by wierdo at 12:10 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


The Gang of Eight (which doesn't include Warren) would theoretically be able to see more of the report than is public, but as far as I know Barr hasn't thrown them that bone.

Politico 4/19: Dems reject Barr's offer to view a less-redacted Mueller report
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are rejecting an offer from Attorney General William Barr to view a significantly less-redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, contending that Barr is too severely limiting the number of lawmakers who can view it.
[...]
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd had said the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate Judiciary committees, in addition to members of the so-called Gang of Eight and certain staffers, would be able to view the less-redacted version next week in a secure setting at DOJ headquarters.
...
But while that document would include classified information and evidence related to ongoing investigations — which were deleted from the public version of the report — lawmakers would still be blocked from viewing sensitive grand jury information.
...
Republicans have argued that Democrats’ efforts to obtain grand jury material in Mueller’s report is fruitless and that Barr is legally prohibited from doing so under Justice Department guidelines and judicial restrictions on releasing such information. Rather, they say, Democrats’ only recourse to access grand jury information is to open an impeachment proceeding, a step top Democrats have been loath to take without bipartisan buy-in.

Democrats say Congress has received grand jury material after previous special counsel investigations — including after Watergate and the Starr investigation of Bill Clinton. But Republicans say both of those reports were delivered in the context of impeachment proceedings.
I basically don't care one way or the other if Trump gets impeached unless he is also removed. Impeaching him and leaving him in office seems to me unlikely to change the political landscape much either way, and thus strikes me as mostly posturing. But if impeachment proceedings are the only way for Congress to get access to the full report, then sure, what the heck. Impeach.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:12 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


White House 'Directed' Ex-Counsel McGahn Not To Comply With Congressional Subpoena (Brian Naylor for NPR, May 7, 2019)
The Trump administration says it is blocking former White House counsel Don McGahn from turning over documents requested by the House Judiciary Committee, escalating the standoff between the president and congressional Democrats.

In a letter (DocumentCloud via NPR) to committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., current White House counsel Pat Cipollone says the documents sought by the committee "remain legally protected from disclosure under longstanding constitutional principles, because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege."

Cipollone writes further that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney "has directed Mr. McGahn not to produce these White House records in response to the Committee's April 22 subpoena." He says the committee should instead direct its requests for such records to the White House.
In some very minor good news, NPR can get OnceUponATime's smoke-free seal of approval for accurately calling this a Congressional subpoena, and stating that it's a "standoff between the president and congressional Democrats." :)
posted by filthy light thief at 12:15 PM on May 7 [9 favorites]


> I support Pelosi's strategy on the assumption that Warren and the left flank pushing for impeachment is part of that strategy.

That theory would make more sense if Pelosi wasn't undermining Warren's message.


Precisely this. Trump will of course seize on anything that helps him politically, or just make something up if it doesn't already exist, but Pelosi giving him a gift-wrapped attack on anyone who supports impeachment is a terrible move, no matter how many dimensions you imagine the game of chess is being played in. "Joe Manchin cautions warns against talk of impeachment" isn't something Trump can weaponize very well, because Manchin gonna Manchin. "Nancy Pelosi warns against talk of impeachment" is going to, for good or for ill, be taken by a lot of Pelosi supporters (and opponents) as taking impeachment off the table, or pushing it to the very edge of the table until some as-yet-unspecified steps toward making impeachment an option are taken. That undermines not only those who are calling for impeachment now, but those who are trying to marshal public support for continued investigations that could make impeachment more politically viable.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:17 PM on May 7 [12 favorites]


To go back to the beginning, since we seem to have different underlying assumptions, Pelosi explicitly said that Trump wants to have the fight right now, because he feels he can keep the Republicans on side with the currently available evidence. He knows that all the stuff that will eventually come out thanks to the subpoenas he is obstructing will really move the needle with the general public. It's probably some unspinnably shady shit rather than the relatively complicated maybe-theyre-just-morons stuff that is stuck in the public narrative.

Waiting to report articles of impeachment until the evidence is in when it's likely that will happen by the end of summer seems like good strategy to me. It will be a lot harder for the Republicans in the Senate to look the other way when their constituents are calling for his head.
posted by wierdo at 12:18 PM on May 7 [13 favorites]


To me, the fact that the Republicans are goading the Dems to impeach is a good indicator of how they think impeachment will go down. I guess I don't see the downside of holding all the hearings and picking up impeachment later.
posted by schroedinger at 12:19 PM on May 7 [12 favorites]


As of this writing, nearly 700 former federal prosecutors have signed a statement that begins like this: We are former federal prosecutors. We served under both Republican and Democratic administrations at different levels of the federal system: as line attorneys, supervisors, special prosecutors, United States Attorneys, and senior officials at the Department of Justice. The offices in which we served were small, medium, and large; urban, suburban, and rural; and located in all parts of our country. Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:24 PM on May 7 [35 favorites]


How are Rs goading Ds into impeachment? They’re trying to shut down any and all investigations and airing of Trump’s crimes. Impeachment will defeat that.

And Trump’s not goading anyone either. He’s just committing/hiding crimes. If that’s goading then a bank robber goads the DA into charging him when he holds up a bank.
posted by chris24 at 12:29 PM on May 7 [28 favorites]


To me, the fact that the Republicans are goading the Dems to impeach is a good indicator of how they think impeachment will go down.

AFAICT, every single Republican has framed it as "PELOSI IS LITRULY HITLER" instead of "come at me, bro."
posted by zombieflanders at 12:36 PM on May 7 [9 favorites]


Trump orders McGahn not to comply with Democrats' subpoena

This is pure bluff and bluster. Trump cannot "order" McGahn to do anything. McGahn does not work for Trump anymore. He is a private citizen. There is no crime, no law, preventing McGahn from providing whatever information the Democrats request. There is no legal mechanism Trump can use to prevent McGahn from testifying. If there is some classified information involved, congressional members are cleared for classified information by virtue of being elected. They can take certain specific testimony in a closed session, if necessary.

McGahn can voluntarily decide to comply with Trump's request, but he is not bound by it. If he refuses to testify he can be cited for contempt by congress. And unlike Mnuchin and Barr, McGahn is not protected by the Secret Service.
posted by JackFlash at 12:40 PM on May 7 [23 favorites]


Daily Beast, Trump Furious With Ally David Bossie Over His Reported Self-Dealing
The drafting of the statement began only after extended internal griping by the president, according to four people with knowledge of his complaints. Trump was angry at a report from Axios that revealed how Bossie’s political group, the Presidential Coalition, had raised about $18.5 million since 2017, but had spent just $425,000 on actual political activity, a miniscule percentage for such a large outfit. The group spent even more than that buying books, including pro-Trump tracts authored by Bossie himself.
So grifters are grifting, but the interesting thing is that the statement straight-up says "there is one approved outside non-campaign group" and explicitly endorses the Super PAC America First Action. I have no idea if that's legal, but that's pretty brazen.
posted by zachlipton at 12:58 PM on May 7 [6 favorites]


I basically don't care one way or the other if Trump gets impeached unless he is also removed.

I concur, so long as all the investigating and holding hearings is going on and not explicitly impeaching isn't necessary to get it done. For example, the current tax return standoff and this well there's no legislative purpose to them getting them position.[1] If the only way someone will be compelled to hand them over is an impeachment hearing, okay, here's your monkey's paw you fuckstick.

I care a lot less about what Pelosi says than what she does, and overall I've found myself respecting her battle style. If she needs the leftward folk to be the ones to cry havoc that's fine. If she stops saying shit to reporters and starts actually impeding happenings that's not.

[1] Yes I know this doesn't matter, isn't their call, and is all bullshit, but you wanna ask for more basis then be prepared to get it.
posted by phearlez at 1:02 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


I support Pelosi's strategy on the assumption that Warren and the left flank pushing for impeachment is part of that strategy.

We don't have any way of knowing this, though. All we have to go on is what the Democratic leadership say and does, and that's undercut the case for impeachment every time it comes up.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:05 PM on May 7 [7 favorites]


the interesting thing is that the statement straight-up says "there is one approved outside non-campaign group" and explicitly endorses the Super PAC America First Action. I have no idea if that's legal, but that's pretty brazen.

I don't think there's anything in the letter of the law that says a campaign can't express approval of a specific PAC. The issue in theory is coordination, which is why you get this weird shit where a campaign will have trackers and then just willy-nilly dump everything they record to an online drop and then the PAC slices and dices to create attack ads.

I think as a reality it matters little since all the enforcement is toothless.
posted by phearlez at 1:06 PM on May 7 [6 favorites]


unlike Mnuchin and Barr, McGahn is not protected by the Secret Service.
Does that mean that Secret Service protection includes protection from being arrested or compelled to appear before a House committee?
What does the Secret Service do with a legal demand on one in their protection?
posted by MtDewd at 1:07 PM on May 7 [6 favorites]


From Laurence Tribe on Twitter: The S.Ct. has upheld Congress’s power to jail or fine anyone who defies its subpoenas. McGrain v. Daugherty, 273 U.S. 135, 174–75 (1927). See Groppi v. Leslie, 404 U.S. 496, 500–01 (1972) (limited procedural rights accorded a defendant in Congress’ contempt proceedings). Do it!

This would be Laurence H. Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, who has taught at its Law School since 1968. I guess I have to stop opinionating and starting calling/emailing/resistbotting all the elected politicos for my district again to insist that they do their jobs fully and completely when it comes to responding to administration officials and others who defy Congressional subpoenas. Cause that ain't right and, also, rule of law, etc.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:21 PM on May 7 [25 favorites]


“Trump is goading us to impeach him,” she said. “That’s what he’s doing. Every single day, he’s just like taunting, taunting, taunting.” Pelosi said Trump was dropping that bait because “he knows that it would be very divisive in the country, but he doesn’t really care. He just wants to solidify his base.”

This cuts both ways and Pelosi knows it. This statement also applies to Democrats who are demanding congress hold the president responsible for openly committing crimes. They must be gullible fools mindlessly helping Trump divide the country.

I've yet to hear an explanation for why Trump should not be impeached beyond this will help Trump for reasons that cannot be explained or justified but simply will, because Pelosi must know something we don't.
posted by xammerboy at 1:39 PM on May 7 [12 favorites]


ICE announces program to allow local law enforcement to make immigration arrests

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday announced a new program that would allow local law enforcement officers to start arresting and temporarily detaining immigrants on behalf of the agency, even if established local policies prevent them from doing so.

Every jurisdiction is now potential volunteer gestapo. Giving special powers to those local police departments displaying the most loyalty and viciousness is a predictably grim development.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:22 PM on May 7 [45 favorites]


I've yet to hear an explanation for why Trump should not be impeached beyond this will help Trump for reasons that cannot be explained or justified but simply will,

I don't think it's a huge secret. Some reasons have already been discussed in Thread a number of times. One that hasn't gotten much play, but I think is significant, is that one Trump's core stories is that of a strong fighter who wins despite constant persecution. One of Democrats' weaknesses is being perceived as shrill, ineffectual scolds. When impeachment fails, that will play perfectly into both of these narratives.
posted by Jpfed at 2:22 PM on May 7 [13 favorites]


One of Republicans’ weaknesses is being perceived as corrupt partisan traitors. One of Democrats’ core stories is actually believing in democracy and rule of law. Impeachment, convicted or not, plays perfectly into both of those narratives.
posted by chris24 at 2:27 PM on May 7 [35 favorites]




Trump Fails the Betty Currie Test (Paul Rosenzweig, Atlantic)
Twenty years ago, I held President Clinton accountable. That’s why I joined hundreds of prosecutors to say that Trump has obstructed justice.
Respect for the rule of law means respect for, and adherence to, the processes of law. It means not lying and not suborning others to lie for you. And that obligation falls, in my judgment, even more strongly on the president, who takes an oath to uphold the law.
posted by Little Dawn at 2:29 PM on May 7 [17 favorites]


Texas Sen. Bryan Hughes' new bill, S. Bill 9, will disallow driving of elderly, disabled, or poor people to the polls.

"what, they voted? look i just drove them to this place next door, i had no idea they were going to wander over and VOTE!"
posted by pyramid termite at 2:40 PM on May 7 [38 favorites]


I foresee "neighborhood walks" or "breakfast outings" being popular on election day in Texas.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:54 PM on May 7 [13 favorites]


Yesterday Michael Cohen reported to federal prison to begin his three-year sentence (CNN). Today Reuter’s reports: Exclusive: Trump fixer Cohen says he helped Falwell handle racy photos
Months before evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.’s game-changing presidential endorsement of Donald Trump in 2016, Falwell asked Trump fixer Michael Cohen for a personal favor, Cohen said in a recorded conversation reviewed by Reuters.

Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation.

According to a source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the person who possessed the photos destroyed them after Cohen intervened on the Falwells’ behalf.
Maybe this is the kind of thing Cohen meant when he said, “There still remains much to be told. And I look forward to the day that I can share the truth.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:01 PM on May 7 [16 favorites]


Texas Sen. Bryan Hughes' new bill, S. Bill 9, will disallow driving of elderly, disabled, or poor people to the polls.

I was thinking about this last night. How many polling places take place in a church? Back in college several districts in my town had their polling places in the same church. It would be so easy to spin an arrest as "Texas arrests God fearing Christian for driving people to worship."

Granted, this law should be stopped before it becomes law, but still.
posted by gc at 3:02 PM on May 7 [8 favorites]


According to a source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the person who possessed the photos destroyed them after Cohen intervened on the Falwells’ behalf.

Let me guess, all it cost Falwell was a $1.8m investment in a Miami youth hostel?
posted by PenDevil at 3:08 PM on May 7 [21 favorites]


Now we're cooking with gas.

House Democrats threaten salaries of Trump officials who block interviews
House Democrats are threatening the salaries of Interior, Commerce and Justice Department staff if they block ongoing committee investigations.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent letters Tuesday calling for eight current and former Trump administration officials to provide information for two of the panel’s investigations, cautioning that officials who block the interviews from taking place could see their salaries withheld.
"Please be advised that any official at the Department who 'prohibits or prevents' or 'attempts or threatens to prohibit or prevent' any officer or employee of the Federal Government from speaking with the Committee could have his or her salary withheld pursuant to section 713 of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act," Cummings wrote in the letters.
posted by scalefree at 3:43 PM on May 7 [70 favorites]


maybe a stupid question: i can see the medium article featuring the federal prosecutor alumni's open letter, and i can see voluminous, breathless reporting on a-list signatories at various outlets, but i have not found an actual list of signatories. have the 600+ names of signatories to the "open letter" also been published?
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:55 PM on May 7


Don't think small -- salaries, office expenses, travel budgets, expense accounts, the works.

Those who help Trump obstruct justice should receive not one dime from the Democratic House.

And if and when they pay themselves anyway, tee up charges of misappropriation of funds.
posted by Gelatin at 3:56 PM on May 7 [16 favorites]


Slate's Dhalia Lithwick is sounding the impeachment alarm even louder than ever: The 2020 Election’s Approach Is No Reason to Avoid Impeachment—Democrats are repeating a mistake they should have learned in 2016.
On some level, Pelosi is correct to fear the spectacle of a protracted public impeachment battle, but the notion that Democrats should somehow circumvent a president who evinces no respect for the law by persuading him that this time he lost for realz strikes me as demented.

Donald Trump won’t accept a 2020 presidential election loss, whether it’s by a large margin or a small one, for the same reason he never accepted his 2016 popular vote loss—he doesn’t like it, and so he won’t let it be true. He will convince a third of the country that it wasn’t true, because he doesn’t like it. […] His psychological fragility on this matter has meant that he has done less than nothing to deter more meddling in the 2020 election. He wouldn’t even broach the topic with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, because if you live in Donald Trump’s head, no election loss is legitimate. It’s funny to think that a “big” election loss would make the difference.[…]

It’s easy to forget this, but it bears repeating: The reason former FBI Director James Comey didn’t take the Russian threat against the elections system seriously enough in 2016 is because he believed Hillary Clinton would win by large margins. The reason President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder and others who knew about the threats before we did failed to respond with utmost urgency and seriousness is because they too believed that Hillary Clinton would win. By large margins. Time and time again, people who had access to both information and power opted to take the less draconian path because they believed that there would still be a free and fair election and that Trump would not win it. We know how that turned out.

We make the same mistake of not acting on the ongoing threats to congressional oversight, to free and fair voting, and to foreign cyberattacks because an election might solve it at our peril. An election may well become the problem. Doing less than absolutely everything possible to reinstate the rule of law in America today in the hopes that there will be less election interference next time, or more benign election interference, or less purposive election interference, is insane.
She wrote this following Pelosi's NYT interview on Saturday, so Pelosi's new "taunting, taunting, taunting" remarks only bolster her admonishments.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:58 PM on May 7 [44 favorites]


The New York Times has a decade of Trump's taxes: 1985-1994. Spoiler alert, he lost over $1 Billion
By the time his master-of-the-universe memoir “Trump: The Art of the Deal” hit bookstores in 1987, Donald J. Trump was already in deep financial distress, losing tens of millions of dollars on troubled business deals, according to previously unrevealed figures from his federal income tax returns.
posted by Brainy at 4:03 PM on May 7 [42 favorites]


NYT, Russ Buettner and Susanne Craig, Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses: Newly obtained tax information reveals that from 1985 to 1994, Donald J. Trump’s businesses were in far bleaker condition than was previously known.
The data — printouts from Mr. Trump’s official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts, with the figures from his federal tax form, the 1040, for the years 1985 to 1994 — represents the fullest and most detailed look to date at the president’s taxes, information he has kept from public view. Though the information does not cover the tax years at the center of an escalating battle between the Trump administration and Congress, it traces the most tumultuous chapter in a long business career — an era of fevered acquisition and spectacular collapse.

The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses — largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade.

In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.

Over all, Mr. Trump lost so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years. It is not known whether the I.R.S. later required changes after audits.
posted by zachlipton at 4:03 PM on May 7 [35 favorites]


maybe a stupid question: i can see the medium article featuring the federal prosecutor alumni's open letter, and i can see voluminous, breathless reporting on a-list signatories at various outlets, but i have not found an actual list of signatories. have the 600+ names of signatories to the "open letter" also been published?

Statement plus signatories (735 as of now):

STATEMENT BY FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTORS
posted by scalefree at 4:05 PM on May 7 [9 favorites]


continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade

My math isn't that great, but it feels like something doesn't add up.
posted by diogenes at 4:17 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


Scalefree, I can see a total of signatories at that link but no list of names. Am I correct in assuming that Project Democracy is tracking, tallying, and updating the number on the Medium article but not making public the actual list of signatories? Or is the list only available if you are able/willing to sign in to Medium?
posted by SpaceBass at 4:17 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses

Then again he could have been inflating his losses for tax purposes, but at least he can't use that excuse as it would be admission of tax fraud. Between his lying to banks and lying to the IRS, I'd at least wager that the IRS numbers are much closer to the truth.
posted by p3t3 at 4:18 PM on May 7 [8 favorites]


Trump’s steel tariffs cost U.S. consumers $900,000 for every job created, experts say (WaPo). This study is separate from the recent one showing that tariffs on washing machines cost consumers $815,000 per job created.
posted by peeedro at 4:23 PM on May 7 [36 favorites]


SpaceBass, here's a direct link to the signatories of the obstruction letter.
posted by peeedro at 4:23 PM on May 7 [6 favorites]


thanks, scalefree. guess i was at the right page, but my eyes just couldn’t see that scrollable panel of signatory tiles (right above “signatories have been vetted” notation), rolling off it as presumptive advertising or some like non-content page element.
posted by 20 year lurk at 4:26 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Scalefree, I can see a total of signatories at that link but no list of names. Am I correct in assuming that Project Democracy is tracking, tallying, and updating the number on the Medium article but not making public the actual list of signatories? Or is the list only available if you are able/willing to sign in to Medium?

Not signed in, don't even have one. I got the total by scrolling through the list & seeing what the highest number was. It's down at the bottom, I had to click through to get it but it appeared embedded on the same page. Or just follow the link from @peeedro.
posted by scalefree at 4:28 PM on May 7


How do you even lose a billion dollars

Money at that scale makes more money simply by existing
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:32 PM on May 7 [62 favorites]


The reason President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder and others who knew about the threats before we did failed to respond with utmost urgency and seriousness is because they too believed that Hillary Clinton would win.

That's some bullshit right there. President Obama tried to get bipartisan congressional backing in September 2016 to go public about Russia trying to sway the election and McConnell blocked it.
According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.
Now McConnell is blaming Obama for not doing more when McConnell blocked the revelation in the first place.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:49 PM on May 7 [59 favorites]


Trying to convince Mitch "The Gravedigger of Democracy" McConnell to sign off on bipartisan warning does not count as responding with the utmost urgency, especially not when there's a Russian intelligence asset running for president. Obama should have called McConnell's bluff and used the bully pulpit to warn the country himself. But, 20/20 hindsight and everything.

Of course, McConnell deserves to take the major part of the blame for this, certainly when he's on the Senate floor mocking Dems for belatedly "awakening to the dangers of Russian aggression." (w/video via Vox's Aaron Rupar).
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:03 PM on May 7 [11 favorites]




So Trump lost a billion over the decade 1985 to 1995. That means at $100,000 for that decade I made a billion more than Trump.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:17 PM on May 7 [22 favorites]


How do you even lose a billion dollars

I never imagined the sequel to Brewster's Millions would involve so much Russian money laundering.
posted by mrgoat at 5:19 PM on May 7 [23 favorites]


Friends, Romans, countrymen: Case closed! (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Oh, could I but speak of what President Barack Obama did, that set these Russians on —

Nay, I must speak! You have compelled me. I shall unfold you how he spoke to Mitt Romney — and this was what led them to interfere! It was his weakness set the Russians on! Nay, believe me, for I shall speak at length.

Aye, rend your garments, Democrats! For see where Donald Trump’s reputation lies, stabbed through the heart by this vile insistence on continuing to follow up on the conclusions of the report.

Yet Mueller is an honorable man. I would not criticize him, but — it was not good in him to say that Barr’s summary of his report was misleading.

What! Accuse a man of misdirection, who did no more than release a letter saying that based on the report the president should be cleared of wrongdoing, though the report did not say so at all?

If each redaction in this document but had a mouth, it would cry out, exonerating the president! I am sure of it.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:20 PM on May 7 [19 favorites]


Reuters has no evidence that Falwell’s endorsement of Trump was related to Cohen’s involvement in the photo matter. The source familiar with Cohen’s thinking insisted the endorsement and the help with the photographs were separate issues.

About that Falwell stuff...back in January, the WSJ reported that Michael Cohen hired Liberty University's CIO, via the CIO's own company, to rig early online polls for Trump. Cohen even went down to Liberty to do this in person, and paid 50k, iirc. Did Cohen the fixer use campaign funds to pay hush money on Falwell's behalf? Cabana boy digital suppression fits nicely with poll rigging, and neatly explains the continuing support from Falwell.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:48 PM on May 7 [14 favorites]


Daily Beast, Betsy Woodruff and Adam Rawnsley, Trump Admin Inflated Iran Intel, U.S. Officials Say
But multiple sources close to the situation told The Daily Beast that the administration blew it out of proportion, characterizing the threat as more significant than it actually was.

“It’s not that the administration is mischaracterizing the intelligence, so much as overreacting to it,” said one U.S. government official briefed on it.

Another source familiar with the situation agreed that the Trump administration’s response was an “overreaction” but didn’t dispute that a threat exists. Gen. Qasem Soleimani—the head of the Qods Force, Iran’s covert action arm—has told proxy forces in Iraq that a conflict with the U.S. will come soon, this source noted.

“I would characterize the current situation as shaping operations on both sides to tilt the field in preparation for a possible coming conflict,” continued the second source, who is also a U.S. government official. “The risk is a low-level proxy unit miscalculating and escalating things. We’re sending a message with this reaction to the intelligence, even though the threat might not be as imminent as portrayed.”
I can't help but feel I've had this nightmare before.
posted by zachlipton at 5:51 PM on May 7 [13 favorites]


Brian Buetler: Democrats Won’t Do the Right Thing Unless We Make Them
The evasive way House Democrats have responded to the report so far has done Mueller a real disservice. Their irresolution has allowed Republicans to drown the public in unanswered lies about what Mueller found and what the response to it should be. We are now likelier to witness months of full-throttled counter-investigations—of Mueller himself, and everybody who played a hand in the Russia probe—than we are to get the impeachment inquiry Mueller all but declared we need.

Their dithering about the Mueller report is sadly typical of the party’s general paralysis in the face of the most corrupt and dishonest administration in the country’s history, and it carries a sobering lesson for all those who might themselves in Trump’s crosshairs: Democrats won’t come to your rescue unless you make them.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:54 PM on May 7 [25 favorites]


Newly obtained tax information reveals that from 1985 to 1994, Donald J. Trump’s businesses were in far bleaker condition than was previously known.

As I was just listening to this story explained by Rachel Maddow, I can’t help but think - this assumes those tax returns aren’t fraudulent. Because isn’t that what guys like him do? You inflate and lie about your losses to the IRS, while inflating and lying about your profits to potential marks.

So it’s great we finally have this insight, but I’m just not sure we can gleefully chirp “he lost billions!” Because that may only be one half of his decades of fraud.
posted by dnash at 6:31 PM on May 7 [14 favorites]


He was the biggest failure, the best at losing, the king of failure! We lose to see it.

Remember the only rule during the Comedy Central roast of Trump was that the one thing they couldn’t make fun of, they could do incest jokes small dick jokes, whatever, the only thing they could not joke about was that he wasn’t as rich as he said he was
posted by The Whelk at 6:38 PM on May 7 [27 favorites]


And that's why I don't get why someone doesn't do the nickname thing back at him. I like Broke Trump - just every single time call him Broke Trump.
posted by meech at 7:06 PM on May 7 [7 favorites]


The Biggest Loser.
posted by chris24 at 7:17 PM on May 7 [14 favorites]


And that's why I don't get why someone doesn't do the nickname thing back at him

Con Man Don
Broke Broker Trump
Real Estate MAGAt
Russian Don
Dim Donald
Don the Dotard
Dumpster Trump
Trashy Trump
Russian Agent Orange
Laundromat Man
Sleazy Donald
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:20 PM on May 7 [5 favorites]


We’re lurching toward a constitutional crisis the Democratic Party does not have the stomach or temperament for because a demented reality tv star surrounded by a bunch of criminal monstrosities ran a campaign as a PR stunt.
posted by The Whelk at 7:24 PM on May 7 [69 favorites]


don't you see: being famous for being rich while being broke _is_ winning!
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:51 PM on May 7 [4 favorites]


Amid the hundreds of figures on 10 years of tax transcripts, one number is particularly striking: $52.9 million in interest income that Mr. Trump reported in 1989. In the three previous years, Mr. Trump had reported $460,566, then $5.5 million, then $11.8 million in interest. The source of that outlier $52.9 million is something of a mystery.

Taxpayers can receive interest income from a variety of sources, including bonds, bank accounts and mortgages. Hard data on the workings of Mr. Trump’s businesses is hard to come by. But public findings from New Jersey casino regulators show no evidence that he owned anything capable of generating that much interest. Nor is there any such evidence in a 1990 report on his financial condition, prepared by accountants he hired at his bankers’ request.

Mr. Trump’s interest income fell almost as quickly as it rose. By 1992, he was reporting only $3.6 million.
posted by xammerboy at 8:10 PM on May 7 [25 favorites]


Yeah, that interest income figure sure seems weird. Tax fraud, anyone?
posted by Sublimity at 8:20 PM on May 7 [7 favorites]


Introducing Operation Synthetic Theology.

U.S. Cyber Command Bolsters Allied Defenses to Impose Cost on Moscow
Officials would not discuss the campaign, called Operation Synthetic Theology, conducted during the 2018 midterm elections. The offensive effort included sending direct messages to the Russians behind disinformation operations letting them know that they had been identified. It also included an attack that temporarily took offline the Internet Research Agency, the troll farm based in St. Petersburg that created some of the most notorious disinformation campaigns, during the midterm voting and election count.
posted by scalefree at 8:32 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


CNN's Jeremy Herb has breaking news: DOJ says in a letter to Nadler it will ask the White House to invoke executive privilege over the entire Mueller report if he moves forward with a contempt vote tomorrow (Screenshot of letter 1, 2)

The Trump DoJ is engaging in brinksmanship as much as obstruction of justice here.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:32 PM on May 7 [14 favorites]


Trump lost a billion over the decade 1985 to 1995. That means at $100,000 for that decade I made a billion more than Trump.

Congrats to all the Mefites who correctly predicted he was hiding how rich he wasn’t.
posted by corb at 8:33 PM on May 7 [21 favorites]


Interest on a half billion dollar Russian loan?
posted by xammerboy at 8:33 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


@mikememoli [document attached]: NEW: DOJ throws down gauntlet. Tells House Judiciary either cancel contempt vote or AG will recommend asserting exec privilege over the Mueller report and underlying docs. The Committee sees this as not even an ultimatum: that the White House is proceeding with an assertion of privilege here after Ds made good faith counteroffer today

Here's the full letter

@kyledcheney: The language of this letter is unclear. Lots of people are reading it as "DOJ will ask for executive privilege *if* Nadler presses forward with contempt." BUT the letter also urges the committee to hold off on contempt "pending the President's determination of this question." Unless I'm reading it wrong, the letter appears to say both things. But they both can't be true.

@HeerJeet: How is this not a constitutional crisis?

Nadler says this is stupid and we're proceeding with the plan to hold Barr in contempt.
posted by zachlipton at 8:35 PM on May 7 [31 favorites]


Memoli has an update with Nadler's response: "This kind of obstruction is dangerous. ... In the coming days, I expect that Congress will have no choice but to confront the behavior of this lawless Administration. In the middle of good faith negotiations ... [DOJ] abruptly announced that it would instead ask President Trump to invoke executive privilege on all of the materials subject to our subpoena. This is, of course, not how executive privilege works. The White House waived these privileges long ago, and the Department seemed open to sharing these materials with us earlier today. The Department’s legal arguments are without credibility, merit, or legal or factual basis."
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:39 PM on May 7 [41 favorites]


Politico, Appeals court allows Trump to keep asylum seekers in Mexico, for now
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration may, for now, require certain non-Mexican asylum seekers to wait in Mexico pending resolution of their cases.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit cited different reasons for permitting the “remain in Mexico” initiative to move forward after a lower court blocked it last month. The appeals court allowed the policy to continue only on a temporary basis, while the court considers broader issues in the case.
...
Judge William Fletcher, the Clinton appointee, argued that existing federal statute did not allow DHS to send migrants to Mexico under the program.

“The government is wrong,” he wrote. “Not just arguably wrong, but clearly and flagrantly wrong.“
So the government is flagrantly wrong, yet will be allowed to keep doing the flagrantly wrong thing pending further proceedings? What a justice system we have.
posted by zachlipton at 8:47 PM on May 7 [12 favorites]


one number is particularly striking: $52.9 million in interest income that Mr. Trump reported in 1989.

In 1989, 10-year treasury bonds were yielding about 8%. This implies that Trump had something like $660 million cash suddenly appear and disappear in his accounts over the course of the year. That's a hella lot of cash.
posted by JackFlash at 8:47 PM on May 7 [17 favorites]


So you could match up these tax returns with the timelines in this Sarah Kendzior article.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:51 PM on May 7 [9 favorites]


Exclusive: Trump fixer Cohen says he helped Falwell handle racy photos

The Post has the story now, but they've also obtained the actual audio (Tom Arnold gave it to them). And they're being less shy about the rather suspicious timing of this incident and Falwell's endorsement. Cohen claimed he helped bury personal photographs of Jerry Falwell Jr. before the evangelical leader backed Trump. One significant bit:
“I actually have one of the photos,” [Cohen] said on the recording. “It’s terrible.”
So to summarize here, the President's "fixer" claims he had, and continued to hold, a compromising photo of a religious leader shortly before that leader gave Trump a crucial endorsement. And in the background: $1.8 million invested in a pool attendant's business venture.
posted by zachlipton at 8:53 PM on May 7 [37 favorites]


It's not going to sate my appetite for long but if it should happen that we get treated to the public disgrace and fall of Mammon-worshipping pious hypocrite Fallwell, Jr., I would be temporarily satisfied with that as an amuse-bouche while we wait for the chefs to prepare the main course.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:01 PM on May 7 [56 favorites]


Its Roy Cohn's world, we just live in it. Red Scare menace, Donald Trump's lawyer and the most hated gay man in America (The Nib)
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]


Today's Trifecta of Awful:

A day after blocking House demand for Trump’s tax returns, Mnuchin addressed gathering of his top fundraisers (Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Josh Dawsey and Damian Paletta, WaPo)
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin addressed a group of top donors backing President Trump’s reelection Tuesday evening, making an unusual political appearance at a gathering that included industry executives his agency is tasked with regulating. […]

Treasury secretaries in recent years have avoided attending fundraiser events with people they could be tasked with regulating, in part because of their unique role in overseeing a broad swath of companies in the financial system.

“There’s a legitimate concern that people may get the impression that they can get not just on Trump’s good side but the treasury secretary’s good side by donating or raising money for his campaign,” said Kathleen Clark, a legal and government ethics professor at Washington University School of Law.

Cabinet secretaries can appear at campaign events as private citizens without violating the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits public employees from using their official capacity to conduct political activity. But the law prohibits them from being named by their official title in connection with their appearance, either in introductory comments or official event materials, and from soliciting donations.

Trump administration wants to allow debt collectors to call 7 times a week and text, email as much as they want (Renae Merle, WaPo)
The proposal is a victory for debt collectors such as San Francisco-based TrueAccord. Instead of making a barrage of phone calls, TrueAccord sends out millions of emails and texts every month. Next, it hopes to contact delinquent consumers through chat programs such as WhatsApp.

“When you have a good online digital presence, you don’t need to make those calls,” said Ohad Samet, the company’s co-founder and chief executive. “The only question here is why hasn’t everyone else moved to digital-first models yet.”

But this digital-first approach has alarmed consumer advocates who worry that the CFPB could give an industry known for high pressure tactics a new way to violate consumers’ privacy. While many Americans understand how to deal with a pesky creditor calling their landline, their texts, emails and social media are new and more personal territory.

“People are able to ignore phone calls, and that is the thing debt collectors don’t like,” said David Phillips, an Illinois attorney who has filed dozens of lawsuits against debt collectors. “It’s as if a debt collector is able to show up at your house and pound on the door. That is the effect of a text message.”

Trump’s latest regulatory rollback should horrify you (S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, WaPo)
April 20 marked the ninth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, an offshore drilling disaster that killed 11 men and triggered a pollution nightmare as uncontrolled oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico for almost three months. Last week, shortly after that anniversary, the Trump administration announced a rollback of regulations that had been written to prevent such an incident from happening again.

This should horrify you. Just three years after adopting the regulations in response to public outcry and the recommendations of a presidential commission, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has concluded that its rules caused “unnecessary burdens” on the industry.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:11 PM on May 7 [41 favorites]


The Post has the story now, but they've also obtained the actual audio (Tom Arnold gave it to them).

Man, this timeline is just plain fucked up

Who wants popcorn
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:06 PM on May 7 [9 favorites]


Donald Trump paid no income taxes in 8 of the 10 years we examined. His losses were so big that in 1991 they accounted for fully 1% of all business losses declared that year by individual American taxpayers.

-via Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner, Twitter.
That's astounding.  The sheer level of utter incompetence…Jesus.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 10:41 PM on May 7 [45 favorites]


"N-billionth reminder that support for investigating and impeaching Nixon was at 19% when the impeachment process began. Current support for doing the same with Trump seems to be around 40%. Pelosi waiting for it to be popular (enough) is basically a self-defeating argument."

Tonight Steve Kornacki said 17%, don't know where he got the figure. It might be 40% among Democrats.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 12:06 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Not incompentence (well, not entirely incompetence). Just lies like everything else. Yes, he's useless and awful, but do you really believe he's twice as bad as the next closest idiot? Far easier to believe he's twice as crooked.
posted by Buck Alec at 3:02 AM on May 8 [5 favorites]


The whole cultivated Apprentice mythos was that he went bankrupt and then rebuilt himself into the Strong Successful Businessman he claims to be today. So I think the age of those returns means they won't matter to people who believe the TV crap.

/buzzkill
posted by schroedinger at 3:34 AM on May 8 [10 favorites]


I apologize if I've missed this in the thread, but if they plan on holding the same public hearings they would under impeachment, then what is the downside of holding those hearings and calling for impeachment later when support (hopefully) goes up?
posted by schroedinger at 3:37 AM on May 8 [5 favorites]


How can the executive branch exert privilege over something not produced by the executive branch? If the legislative branch has to tread carefully with respect to asking Mueller to testify about work product from the DOJ, does the WH really have any ground to stand on here?
posted by emelenjr at 4:22 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Mueller works for the DOJ and thus is a part of the executive branch. He reports to Barr, who reports to Trump.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:28 AM on May 8 [5 favorites]


It would be a pretty big flaw in the Special Counsel process if the subject of the investigation can declare executive privilege over the results of the investigation.
posted by diogenes at 5:12 AM on May 8 [48 favorites]


It would be a pretty big flaw in the Special Counsel process if the subject of the investigation can declare executive privilege over the results of the investigation.

It's an(other) impeachable offense. He's destroying the way the government works, because he's crooked and crazy, just as we expected he would. We were already in a Constitutional crisis by WH refusing to hand over documents, but this is just open fire.

Nadler says: "In the coming days, I expect that Congress will have no choice but to confront the behavior of this lawless Administration."

NO SHIT. Perhaps waiting for him to (cry on tv / lock himself in the bathroom / deploy toops) is the plan? There's not a lot of visible unifying leadership on the Democratic side right now. Except from the committee chairs, I guess - which, yay. Which, maybe that's the plan? Like how background characters are slowly built up over the franchise to eventually star in their own movies? It doesn't have to be complicated though - defend the Constitution and the rule of law, why don't we start there.
posted by petebest at 5:55 AM on May 8 [27 favorites]


Because why not, let's make it even more stupid/crazy: Popular Information report on the massive spending on facebook by Epoch Times, the disputed 'newsletter' for Falun Gong.
"The Epoch Times, an obscure publication aimed at the Chinese diaspora, was one of the top three political spenders on Facebook in the last week in April. The paper outspent every presidential candidate except Biden and Trump himself, according to an analysis by Acronym."

"The Epoch Times is written by people who are persecuted by the Chinese government. Trump is destabilizing the relationship between the U.S. and China through a trade war.

On Sunday, Trump "announced in two tweets...that he would raise American tariffs on Friday to 25 percent from 10 percent for $200 billion a year in Chinese goods. The Trump administration cited what it called backpedaling by Chinese officials during talks held last week in Beijing."

Tariffs are ultimately paid by American consumers, but they could also slow Chinese economic growth and make the current Chinese government less popular. A full-blown trade war could slow Chinese GDP growth by 1.2 to 1.5 percent.

"We see the Trump administration’s efforts to change socialist policies in America, as well as set policies to counter infiltration and subversion by China, as remarkable reversals from past policies, and sincere efforts that, if fully realized, will benefit America and the world as a whole," Jasper Fakkert, the Editor-in-Chief of The Epoch Times, said in an open letter responding to the BuzzFeed story."

Another enemy of China that's Trump friendly? Mar-a-Lago member Miles Kwok, who just established a 100 million dollar fund with Steve Bannon last year.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:02 AM on May 8 [9 favorites]


los pantalones del muerte: "That's astounding. The sheer level of utter incompetence…Jesus."

It's only incompetence if it's not intentional.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:09 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


Tonight Steve Kornacki said 17%, don't know where he got the figure. It might be 40% among Democrats.

Nope: 37% among all Americans, 62% among Democrats, as of last week.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:22 AM on May 8 [15 favorites]


A bright spot in a bleak world: Overwhelming Public Support For Albuquerque's $250k For Migrants (Hannah Colton for KUNM, May 7, 2019)
Advocates packed the Albuquerque City Council chambers Monday night in support of a resolution to spend $250,000 to help care for migrants passing through the city as they seek asylum. Support for the measure was overwhelming, but not unanimous, and it passed by a vote of 6 to 3.

The Department of Homeland Security has dropped off more than 2,000 people in Albuquerque since March. The asylum seekers have all needed the basics – food, shelter, sometimes medical attention after traveling for many days – and many of the volunteers who’ve been providing those basics showed up on Monday night to tell the city officials what they’ve seen.
...
The City Council voted along party lines, and a cheer went up as the measure was approved.
...
The $250,000 will come out of the city’s nearly billion dollar budget, and go mostly to the handful of organizations that have been providing humanitarian aid since March.
There are heartbreaking stories in the article, but also a lot of people helping, and hope.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:05 AM on May 8 [29 favorites]


US is hotbed of climate change denial, major global survey finds
The US is a hotbed of climate science denial when compared with other countries, with international polling finding a significant number of Americans do not believe human-driven climate change is occurring.

A total of 13% of Americans polled in a 23-country survey conducted by the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project agreed with the statement that the climate is changing “but human activity is not responsible at all”. A further 5% said the climate was not changing.

Only Saudi Arabia (16%) and Indonesia (18%) had a higher proportion of people doubtful of manmade climate change.
There is a lot to think about in that article. Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the US are countries that will be hit really hard by climate change. I know they also all profit from fossil fuels, but it's a bit weird to be so resistant to reality when it's about to kill you.

Also, there's a graph in there that clearly shows that most of the growth in emissions is in China, India and "other countries". So if we all want change, the way to go is diplomacy and international collaboration. For example, one of the hopes of the Iran deal was that the huge country of 80 million people or so could develop and improve its energy system and vehicle park, which are naturally old and worn down and extremely inefficient and polluting after years of isolation.
posted by mumimor at 7:06 AM on May 8 [16 favorites]


It's only incompetence if it's not intentional.

And he has declared that it _was_ intentional. Intentional tax fraud, at least.

Trump: ....you would get it by building, or even buying. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes....almost all real estate developers did - and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!

The likelihood of reporters asking him "Mr. President, does this mean that you were more incompetent or fraudulent?" is, of course, miniscule.
posted by delfin at 7:14 AM on May 8 [24 favorites]


‘He’s Becoming Self-Impeachable’ (WaPo)

Okay but that's not a thing

“The point is that every single day, whether it’s obstruction, obstruction, obstruction — obstruction of having people come to the table with facts, ignoring subpoenas . . . every single day, the president is making a case — he’s becoming self-impeachable, in terms of some of the things that he is doing,” Pelosi said at a Washington Post Live event.

Right, but

It was not immediately clear what she meant by “self-impeachable.” The House speaker has resisted calls by some members of her party to pursue impeachment proceedings against the president.

Yes! Good ... catch? WaPo. Although kind of a dickish way to say it, I'm not sure how else to say "Pelosi trys to have it both ways, fails". By the by here's another WaPo headline on the same front page, Should Democrats bother reaching out to rural America? Should they bother? Fuck you, WaPo.

And while typing this, the deed has apparently been done: White House asserts executive privilege over Mueller report in latest confrontation with Congress

Nadler dismissed the Justice Department’s move as “without credibility, merit, or legal or factual basis,” arguing that the White House waived privilege when it allowed aides to testify before Mueller in the first place. He promised to soon “take a hard look at the officials who are enabling this cover up.”

... “[S]uch a request would force the Department to ignore existing law,” Boyd wrote.

posted by petebest at 7:22 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


The apathy of Republican politicians to this constitutional crisis proves once again that Republicans consider the U.S. Constitution to be the most important thing in the world, until it becomes even slightly inconvenient to do so, in which case we should just move on and worry about more important issues
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:35 AM on May 8 [20 favorites]




Every single day, the president is making a case,” Pelosi told the Post’s Robert Costa.

Y U NO MAKE CASE
Execrable. A crouton would make a better speaker. Primary out 70% of congressional democrats now or watch the House flip back to red in the next few years and stay that way forever.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:38 AM on May 8 [15 favorites]


Meanwhile, As Hurricane Relief Stalls In D.C., Trump To Rally Base In Florida Panhandle (Domenico Montanaro for NPR, May 8, 2019)
President Trump will hold his first 2020 Florida political rally since the 2018 elections on Wednesday, and he's doing it in the Panhandle, the heart of his base in the state.

But the region is facing setbacks because of a federal funding shortfall after Hurricane Michael last fall that threatens to dampen enthusiasm.

"As much as Bay County votes Republican, we don't need a political rally right now," said Bay County Commissioner Philip Griffitts, a Republican. Trump's rally will be in Panama City, which is in Bay County. "We need some good news from the federal government," he said.
...
Several Florida lawmakers are saying they feel as if Michael has become the "forgotten" storm (Panama City News Herald).

That's despite Trump declaring after Michael hit, "We're doing a lot, more than anybody would have ever done."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency last month touted that it had provided $1.1 billion (FEMA.gov) in funding to the Panhandle with almost $1 billion going directly to survivors. Officials on the ground, however, are frustrated with the agency's denial of claims and the slowness of aid. Bay County has seen 33,000 denials (Tampa Bay Times), for example.

"The bureaucracy of FEMA is very impressive, and that's not meant to be a compliment," Griffitts said. "The processes and bureaucracy of the federal government has been painful at times."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:40 AM on May 8 [7 favorites]


Primary out 70% of congressional democrats now or watch the House flip back to red in the next few years and stay that way forever.

This makes no sense. People are going to be so frustrated with Democrat's refusal/inability to hold Republicans to account that they will vote for Republicans instead, or allow Republicans to be elected through inaction?
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:40 AM on May 8 [13 favorites]


This makes no sense. People are going to be so frustrated with Democrat's refusal/inability to hold Republicans to account that they will vote for Republicans instead, or allow Republicans to be elected through inaction?

Demoralization regarding one's own party doesn't get out the vote. A large part of the GOP's electoral success of the last two or three decades has been due to the failures of the Democratic Party and the (charitably) incompetence now on display in doing the one job they have to do to try to save the country will not bring 'em to the polls. If being a center-right party that's supposed to represent a center-left-to-left base leads to endless electoral failure, what will "he's impeaching himself, I don't have to do anything" do to voter enthusiasm?
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:47 AM on May 8 [9 favorites]


This makes no sense. People are going to be so frustrated with Democrat's refusal/inability to hold Republicans to account that they will vote for Republicans instead, or allow Republicans to be elected through inaction?

Yep. It doesn't and they do. Reagan Democrat

As has been discussed, Pelosi's been on board for a long list of Republican administrations and Democrats are very familiar with inaction. This is THE time, THE test, THE moment in history; more of the focus-group-tested DNC consultant way is disastrous to the momentum from 2018.
posted by petebest at 7:48 AM on May 8 [12 favorites]


What happens when economic analysis doesn't agree with conservative orthodoxy, Economists flee Agriculture Dept. after feeling punished under Trump (Politico).
posted by peeedro at 7:50 AM on May 8 [9 favorites]


House committee debating vote on contempt live, WaPost youtube
Watch some history being made.
posted by Harry Caul at 8:00 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


[Enough on same old general arguments about primarying, corporate/slowmoving/centrist Dems vs lefty Dems, etc; we don't need to re-tread that ground again today.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:07 AM on May 8 [13 favorites]


I'm watching some chump called Mr Jordan spouting absolute bollocks. Have I got the right link?
posted by Devonian at 8:08 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


CNN: Exclusive: Mueller Fought Release of Comey Memos to Prevent Trump And Others From Changing Stories
Special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors didn't want former FBI Director James Comey's memos released because they feared that President Donald Trump and other witnesses could change their stories after reading Comey's version of events, according to an argument they made in a January 2018 sealed court hearing.

The newly released record gives a rare glimpse into the Mueller team's concerns at a time the special prosecutors were publicly silent about their work -- and before redacted versions of Comey's memos were made public.

A court order on Tuesday forced the Justice Department to provide a transcript of the hearing to CNN as part of a lawsuit over access to the Comey memos.[…]

Mueller, in his final report on his investigation, wrote that he had "substantial evidence" to corroborate Comey's version of what happened.
See also: Transcript of Mueller prosecutor fighting release of Comey memos in early 2018

I'm watching some chump called Mr Jordan spouting absolute bollocks. Have I got the right link?

That's Trump's congressional bollocks-whisperer, Rep. Jim Jordan, whom Trump earlier this morning quoted when he was on Maria Bartiromo's Fox Business show, “‘The real “Obstruction of Justice” is what the Democrats are trying to do to this Attorney General.’” It's a bollocks-spouting feedback loop.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:14 AM on May 8 [22 favorites]


One way to look at it. Makes possible tiers pretty clear.

G. Elliott Morris
New Economist/YouGov polling on 2020:

% of Democratic primary voters saying they are considering voting for ___ divided by their name recognition:

Biden: 56%
Buttigieg: 51
Harris: 49
Warren: 47
Sanders: 44
Booker: 29
O'Rourke: 29
Castro: 21
Klobuchar: 20

Everyone else: Under 20%

GRAPH
posted by chris24 at 8:26 AM on May 8 [6 favorites]


Watching the House Judiciary Committee, where resident asshole Jim Jordan finished speaking a little while ago. Repeating the same old irrelevant, unfounded conspiracies. These mother f**kers love seizing onto one little dirty thing (omg Peter Strzok once said something in a private text- CONSPIRACY!!!)

Now, I hate this man with a burning passion. Of all these assholes, he's always been one of the worst- loudest, least honest, least scrupulous, just an all around piece of shit. But he's been very good about not just staying on message, but speaking with passion. It all stems from lies and BS, but the way Republicans frame OUTRAGE with staying on message, if I wasn't so sickened by it I'd be impressed. They persist, they persist, they lie, they don't give a fuck, they speak with passion, and they connect with their base.

And just now, Hank Johnson (D) finished speaking, where he clearly laid out the facts (which are on our side), but the difference in demeanor was striking. Jordan was animated, fierce, passionate- Johnson was subdued, slow and sounded more disconnected to what he was saying. Similar to how I find Nadler in committee- when he's giving press conferences he's good, but he seems to have a few "umm.."/stammer type moments in committee that slow momentum. Case in point: watch his interaction a while ago with Jordan, where he doesn't seem to have the quick "comeback" ability that Jordan does.

I'm not suggesting we sink to their level and use OUTRAGE as a weapon; heck, some of the Ds already do that to some effect. I don't have an answer here. But to me, it was too sharp a contrast to ignore: one person passionately fighting for their side, telling uninterrupted lie after lie, and the other side responds with the truth, yet the message tenacity is WAY tempered down. People are persuaded by strong emotion, and I worry the undecided (ugh) will see strength on one side and weakness on the other. Which is the problem with these reality TV moments.

Again, the republicans are evil masters are using disgust/outrage to solidify the base; when Dems use it, we're a little more divided about how to go about things. Because we're independent thinkers who have differences, where it's a heck of a lot easier to fall in line behind the strong man. I sure hope Jim Jordan gets what he deserves some day, but when he's allowed to lie uninterrupted like that in a House committee, I don't know how we push back.
posted by andruwjones26 at 8:26 AM on May 8 [10 favorites]


WaPo (Greg Sargent): Only one 2020 Democrat fully grasps the threat Trump poses
Warren’s call for an impeachment inquiry is linked to a big argument -- one broader than that of any other candidate -- about how the GOP has actively enabled Trump’s authoritarianism, lawlessness, shredding of governing norms, and embrace of the corruption of our political system on his behalf.

Warren is comprehensively treating Trump as both a severe threat to the rule of law in his own right, and treating this as inextricably linked to a deeper pathology -- the GOP’s drift into comfort with authoritarianism.

[...]

None of this is to say the other candidates don’t have great policies and virtues. Bernie Sanders has in some ways offered a bigger response to inequality. Biden has said good things on Trump’s racism and on impeachment. Kamala Harris has taken on Trump’s lawlessness.

But only Warren has done all of these things, and only Warren has woven them all into a big story -- one that treats Trump as both a unique threat and a symptom of so much of what’s gone so horribly wrong.
posted by chris24 at 8:34 AM on May 8 [86 favorites]


Alex Pareene for The Baffler: Teenage Pricks - "Middle school students don’t develop political identities in a vacuum. They are reflections of their parents, their peers, their society, and racist comments made by professional video game streamers. But while the adults in their lives mostly know to cloak their darker beliefs in polite (or at least ass-covering) euphemism—“patriotism” and “border security,” not white nationalism—teens, while quite good at figuring out ways to hurt people, are less skilled at plausible deniability. And so the ways certain white teenagers wield Trump banners or MAGA hats show their obvious meaning as symbols of militant white identity."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:42 AM on May 8 [29 favorites]


But to me, it was too sharp a contrast to ignore: one person passionately fighting for their side, telling uninterrupted lie after lie, and the other side responds with the truth, yet the message tenacity is WAY tempered down.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
(I'm far from the first to notice how apt Yeats' poem is in these troubled times.)
posted by Gelatin at 8:46 AM on May 8 [24 favorites]


Big fan of the social media person at Yahoo News. Now if only AP, WaPo, NYT could learn this lesson.

@YahooNews
President Trump claims executive privilege over document that he said totally exonerated him yhoo.it/2V4H0AY
posted by chris24 at 8:51 AM on May 8 [62 favorites]


When John fucking Yoo says the president’s power grab is too much, you might want to open impeachment hearings.

NYT: Clash Between Trump and House Democrats Poses Threat to Constitutional Order
John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a former official in the George W. Bush administration, said Mr. Trump’s approach was novel and dangerous.

“The thing that’s unusual is the blanket refusal,” Professor Yoo said. “It would be extraordinary if the president actually were to try to stop all congressional testimony on subpoenaed issues. That would actually be unprecedented if it were a complete ban.”

“He’s treating Congress like they’re the Chinese or a local labor union working on a Trump building,” he said.
posted by chris24 at 8:59 AM on May 8 [46 favorites]


Eric Swallwell just called trump the "Commander in Cheat" in the house hearing and while i know pithy deprecating names wont save the republic . . . i kinda like this one.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:07 AM on May 8 [19 favorites]


pretty good, and passionate, comprehensive recitation of this misministration's performance by maryland's raskin, just now. i thought jeffries' 5 mins was pretty good too.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:26 AM on May 8 [4 favorites]


yeah, at the risk of live-blogging its basically alternating five minute increments of Dems running down the list of trumps crimes (and further crimes covering up and obstructing investigations of those crimes) and then a republican acting indignant for 30 seconds before listing all the important things they want to be doing but arent (like border security and ACA repeal).

Pramila Jayapal continues to be inspirational - read a quote from a then-unamed congressmember saying that having staff counsel question witnesses depoliticizes the process and makes it better . . . before noting that it was what Chuck Grassley said during the Kavanaugh hearings. . . and none of her republican colleagues had issues then.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:38 AM on May 8 [27 favorites]


It's the little things: On Saturday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came up to Brookline, Mass. to endorse a candidate for the Select Board (which is sort of like having five mayors). He won.
posted by adamg at 9:47 AM on May 8 [26 favorites]


There's a really interesting part of the House Judiciary committee between Buck-R, Nadler-D, and Collins-R, where the Republicans thought they were gotcha-ing with an amendment, which the D's accepted cause it was literally nbd, and then during this matter Buck was genuinely confused about why the R's were being dicks about a particular matter and starts arguing for the D side in good faith in his conversation with Nadler. It's really interesting to watch their argument crumble through basically a Socratic Method of their own making.
posted by odinsdream at 9:56 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


Odinsdream, can you elaborate on or link to something explaining the situation you’re referring to?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:02 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]




Ouch. Madeline Dean-PA reads from document where John Dowd, Trump's personal attorney, waived all executive privilege over Mueller's investigation last year. 
posted by Harry Caul at 10:10 AM on May 8 [83 favorites]


I just wrote my own House representative to ask them to thank Dean, cause that was fucking beautiful.
posted by odinsdream at 10:12 AM on May 8 [16 favorites]


RAICES, the Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services, is asking supporters to call 210-283-4723 to speak to Deborah Achim, Deputy Field Office Director of Karnes Detention Facility in Texas, and demand she restore legal access for individuals detained at the facility.

From RAICES on Twitter: It is incredibly shocking to see that the gov’t is denying access to council to Karnes’ detainees because a for-profit company is telling them to do so. This is why immigrant detention needs to 🛑 Allowing these companies to profit out of detaining our communities needs to STOP.

Basically, ICE used to give RAICES access to detainees at Karnes so the detainees had free legal representation. No longer. For over a month now @ICEgov in cahoots with the @GEOGroup have put obstacles in our way. From refusing to allow us to meet more than 1 person at a time to 🛑 us from using private rooms to meet our clients. They’re discriminating against those who cannot afford private attys.

What might the Geo Group be? GEO provides complementary, turnkey solutions for numerous government partners worldwide across a spectrum of diversified correctional and community reentry services. From the development of state-of-the-art facilities and the provision of management services and evidence-based rehabilitation to the post-release reintegration and supervision of individuals in the community, GEO offers fully diversified, cost-effective services that deliver enhanced quality and improved outcomes. Apparently "improved outcomes" does not include, say, justice.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:25 AM on May 8 [18 favorites]


Scoop: Inside a top Trump adviser's fundraising mirage
(Alayna Treene, Jonathan Swan, Harry Stevens; Axios)

Ex-Trump campaign official now scamming elderly voters out of millions (Igor Derysh, Salon)
David Bossie, who helped run Trump's 2016 campaign, raised $15.4 million from elderly voters in Facebook scam
Via a report from the Campaign Legal Center, Bossie's Presidential Coalition spent only 3% on candidates.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:27 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


If only we could get all Trump officials to just scam directly from their supporters without involving the rest of us, or being in office.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:33 AM on May 8 [27 favorites]


The House Judiciary Committee is in recess until 2:30 Eastern, at which time they'll take up the vote on holding Barr in contempt. This morning was taken up with amendments, showboating, listings of Trump's many crimes, and legitimate confusion.
posted by odinsdream at 10:34 AM on May 8 [6 favorites]


I got distracted by actually needing to work-does anyone know what the last amendment they just voted on was about?
Also, if you get a chance check out Rep. Escobar's speech. I don't have a link but just try googling "freshman rep spanks and then shames R reps."
posted by Bacon Bit at 10:42 AM on May 8 [3 favorites]


For those of us who are watching Committee hearings and don't know what "strike the last word" is all about:

... to “strike the last word” means to offer a pro-forma amendment such that you can get 5-minutes to speak on the actual amendment. Under the rules, only one 5-minute speech in support of an amendment and one 5-minute speech against it are allowed. But by motioning to “strike the last word,” you are technically offering a 2nd-degree amendment, which gives you five minutes. The 2nd degree amendment is never voted on, and after you are done the floor simply moves to the next person seeking to strike the last word.
posted by petebest at 10:44 AM on May 8 [8 favorites]


This is the US Politics megathread.

Does anyone else hear a little nightly news theme play in their head when they click on these threads? For me, it's this theme that John Williams cooked up for NBC. Thank goodness for this place and for all you folk puttin these together.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:48 AM on May 8 [23 favorites]


> motioning to “strike the last word” ... gives you five minutes

This is real? I can see where the gold-fringe Admiralty flag people get their kooky ideas from.
(I motion to strike the last word of petebest's comment above, so that the Mods don't delete this comment as irrelevant...)
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:48 AM on May 8 [15 favorites]


Meanwhile: BREAKING: @BernieSanders workers have become the first presidential campaign staff in U.S. history to ratify a union contract. Read the full story:
posted by The Whelk at 10:59 AM on May 8 [24 favorites]


While Trumpist Matt Gaetz was mouthing off again about Democrats experiencing "The Five Stages of Grief" post-Mueller at the HJC hearing, the Tampa Bay Times has an update on his legal impropreties: Further Investigation Into Matt Gaetz Is Needed For Tweet At Michael Cohen, Florida Bar Determines.—The Panhandle Republican faces discipline for a message he posted the day before Trump’s former lawyer testified to Congress.

"The grievance committee will assign the case to an investigator who will interview witnesses and review evidence. The investigator will then make a recommendation to the committee. It could take up to 6 months. If the committee finds probable cause, a formal complaint will be filed with the Supreme Court of Florida for a trial."

Like Jim Jordan, who went full Trumpist by trying to impeach Rod Rosenstein while dodging a sex abuse scandal at Ohio State's wrestling program, Gaetz has learned that distraction is the better part of valor when it comes to surviving in Trump's GOP.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:00 AM on May 8 [12 favorites]


This is real?

It's a direct acknowledgement that you're using the opportunity to offer an amendment as a pretext to speak on the underlying matter. You can spot people who are really fussy about procedure b/c they'll move to "strike the requisite number of words" so as not to technically propose an amendment which has already been offered. It's one of those times when someone's clever hack a long time ago turned into a normal process.

The chamber or committee can prevent it by directly or indirectly pre-specifying what the amendment tree being considered will look like.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:14 AM on May 8 [5 favorites]


When a work-around to a rule becomes routine, it's time to throw the rule out and consider what you want the rule to accomplish so it can be reformulated to do that thing.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:30 AM on May 8 [13 favorites]


Paraphrasing former Governor Christie talking to Stephanie Ruhle at the SALT Conference:
RUHLE: Why does the President call the Mueller investigation a hoax?
CHRISTIE: The President is a salesman. He uses hyperbole.
RUHLE: It’s a lie.
CHRISTIE: That’s your opinion. This is the President’s opinion. If it’s an opinion, it can’t be a lie.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:37 AM on May 8 [14 favorites]


Daily Beast, Trump Goes to Bat for His Pal Matt Schlapp's Casino Client, in which Trump echos Schlapp's language to attack a tribal casino project and Elizabeth Warren at the same time.

Swampy.
posted by zachlipton at 11:39 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


video clip of

@RepSwalwell: "I ask my colleagues, look at the person you're going to such great lengths to protect! Look at this pathetic person who stood at a press conference as our country was being attacked & said, 'Russia, if you're listening, you'll be rewarded if you keep attacking.'

That's the person you want to protect? That's the person you want to break the law for?

... The most basic function of government is to protect its people from a foreign attack. If this President, or the Attorney General, or his allies in Congress, are unwilling or unable to do that, then we don't have a government.

Fortunately, we're not powerless anymore. The American people voted to put a balance of power on all of these abuses of power. And this committee is going to protect and defend America, and it's going to start with holding this lawless Attorney General in contempt."


dyn-o-mite.gif
posted by petebest at 11:45 AM on May 8 [83 favorites]


Fun- on that same tweeter link above, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) prounounces Mueller as "Mew-ler". Which. I don't know what to say about that. Perhaps this whole two-year national headdesking marathon is new to him?
posted by petebest at 11:50 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Seeing randomly on Twitter that the Wikipedia entry for Executive Privilege has been changed 7 times already today.
posted by archimago at 11:56 AM on May 8 [11 favorites]


I had to look up Fiat justitia ruat caelum, 'let justice be done though the heavens fall'. I wanted to know exactly what I would write over my back tattoo of Pelosi if she did her fucking job and successfully impeached Donald Trump. It's certainly classier than 'Impeach the motherfucker', which was my first instinct.

I thought it had the ring of antiquity, a fundamental concept understood since ancient times, but it's not as old as all that. One of the first instances I found was in the David Hume essay On passive obedience. I can't read philosophy, but it seems Hume was suggesting exceptions to this maxim, such as when it's time to overthrow a Nero. I think Hume would have liked the ending of To Kill a Mockingbird, when the policeman decides not to charge Boo Radley because no-one would be better off, knowing that it was clearly self-defense. Not very helpful here, but I hope someone would explain it better. I also noticed that Hume died in 1776, before he could see some of these ideas come to realisation on a grand historic scale.

Then I wondered if this was the orangen of the title of Skyfall, and indulged a brief fantasy that this would all end when a sexy superspy breaks a shadowy Russian cabal in an orgy of violence. We should find a better way, but it'd make a good movie.
posted by adept256 at 12:20 PM on May 8 [11 favorites]


I have to admit I pronounce Mueller mew-ler, also, petebest.
My reading voice sees that ‘u’ and must pronounce it.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 12:21 PM on May 8 [9 favorites]


Anyone? Anyone? Mewler? Mewler?
posted by JackFlash at 12:27 PM on May 8 [20 favorites]


Yeah it doesn't help that everyone else with that name pronounces it "Mew-ler" (apologies to any Muellers who don't here).

Still. If you were on the House Judiciary Committee I'd have thought you'd have gotten over that hurdle by now.
posted by petebest at 12:28 PM on May 8 [4 favorites]


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: CHRISTIE: That’s your opinion. This is the President’s opinion. If it’s an opinion, it can’t be a lie.

Chris Christie was formerly a federal prosecutor -- I wonder if he believed that opinions can't be lies then, too.

Meanwhile, Iran Says It Will Stop Complying With Parts Of Nuclear Deal, A Year After U.S. Left It (laurel Wamsley for NPR, May 8, 2019)
Iran's president says increased uranium enrichment will begin in 60 days if world powers don't shield it from U.S. sanctions, under the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement. The move is a signal to the world that Tehran is losing patience with U.S. efforts to punish Iran economically.

The news comes exactly one year (NPR) after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, calling it "a horrible one-sided deal." In August, the Trump administration restored some of the sanctions (NPR) that were lifted as part of the deal.

President Hassan Rouhani announced on Wednesday that Tehran will start keeping larger amounts of enriched uranium and heavy water, instead of selling the excess to other countries, as the deal requires (AP News).

And he said that if the other countries in the accord haven't figured out how to shield Iran's oil and banking industries from U.S. sanctions, Iran will begin enriching uranium to higher levels, ending a commitment made under the deal. The return of U.S. sanctions has been damaging to Iran's economy (NPR).
The Art of the Deal.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:29 PM on May 8 [13 favorites]


HuffPo's Jennifer Bendery checks in on what Mitch McConnell's been up to today:
Meanwhile, the Senate just confirmed another circuit court nominee, Joseph Bianco.

It's Trump's 38th circuit judge. That's a LOT.

McConnell held Bianco's vote over the objections of both of his home-state senators (Schumer and Gillibrand). 3rd time in history that's happened.
Next up, the Senate voted to limit debate on 2nd Circuit nominee Michael Park, whose record includes supporting the Trump administration's citizenship question for the 2020 Census, challenging affirmative action at UNC and Harvard, and representing the Kansas Department of Health against Planned Parenthood.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:38 PM on May 8 [12 favorites]


Neal takes Munch to court: This may have gotten lost in the wash of the HJC contempt hearing this morning. I'm favoring Wonkette because not GAF is required.

(Wonkette) House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal has had enough of Steven Mnuchin's shit, thankyouverymuch. Munch can hand over Trump's returns, or he can 'splain to a judge how there's a secret provision in that non-discretionary statute which empowers the Treasury Secretary to look into Richard Neal's soul to judge the purity of his motivations and then tell him to get lost because of very serious legal reasons, TBD.

Politico reports that Richard Neal is in no mood to screw around with a subpoena or contempt vote, since the White House has already announced it intends to stonewall indefinitely. He's ready to let a federal judge sort it out: "There doesn't have to be any intermediary step. They seem not to be paying a lot of attention to the subpoenas, so take it from there."


Rep. Neal, we will recall, spent what seemed like a long time putting together the request just for this purpose, so let's hope it hits the mark.
posted by petebest at 12:40 PM on May 8 [48 favorites]


Schiff introduces constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

"The Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United overturned decades of legal precedent and has enabled billions in dark money to pour into our elections," Schiff said in a statement.

The amendment would also allow states to enact laws creating public financing of campaigns.

"Amending the Constitution is an extraordinary step, but it is the only way to safeguard our democratic process against the threat of unrestrained and anonymous spending by wealthy individuals and corporations," he added. "This amendment will restore power to everyday citizens."


In other news, our contest for the "Schiff Cake" recipe is now commenced. Begin taste-testing immediately.
posted by petebest at 1:04 PM on May 8 [58 favorites]




Axios, Senate Intel subpoenas Trump Jr. over Russia matters
The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. to answer questions about his previous testimony before Senate investigators in relation to the Russia investigation, sources with direct knowledge told Axios.

Why it matters: It's the first congressional subpoena — that we know about — of one of President Trump's children. The subpoena sets up a fight that's unprecedented in the Trump era: A Republican committee chair pit against the Republican president's eldest son.
This is focusing on the contradiction between Trump Jr's testimony that he was only "peripherally aware" of the Trump Moscow project, and Cohen's testimony that Trump Jr was more significantly involved.
posted by zachlipton at 1:12 PM on May 8 [48 favorites]


Will Wilkinson
The idea I keep hearing that impeachment without conviction is merely "symbolic" is ignorant and misunderstands how the politics of authority work. First, impeachment is a legal reality. It's a precondition for conviction, and puts it on the table. Second, and perhaps more importantly, effective authority is in part a function of perceived legitimacy. Trump understands this incredibly well, which is why he relentlessly undermines the perceived legitimacy of anyone who opposes him.

This is how Trump marshals authority -- by undermining the credibility of his opponents' claims to authority with the public. He does this in a ham-fisted way, yet it's effective, even if it's merely "symbolic." Public attitudes toward those who claim political authority place real constraint on its exercise. That's why authoritarians need propaganda, and want to control information. It keeps the ultimate source of authority, popular opinion, behind them, and against their enemies.

The House of Representatives *represents* the American people. Impeachment amounts to a vote of no confidence from the people. If public opinion is behind it, and impeachment isn't seen as mere partisan opportunism, this is incredibly damaging to POTUS's perceived legitimacy. And this, in turn, damages his effective authority. That's critical to bargaining power in standoffs between the legislative and executive branches, like the one we're having now.

This has real political and legal teeth, regardless of the prospects of conviction. The important thing for the House, before launching impeachment, is pulling public sentiment to its side by drawing a contrast between sober standard procedure and hyper-partisan lawlessness. From Day One, Trump has been "symbolically" running down the legitimacy of congressional Democrats, casting them as un-American, vaguely treasonous partisans because demagogues grasp the public psychology of authority, even if they literally don't know what the rules are.

VERY SOPHISTICATED bien pensant sighs about impeachment without conviction being "merely symbolic" amount to advising unilateral disarmament in the public relations game of contested authority, and a gift to Trump, a genius of steamrolling his opponents with "mere" symbolism.
posted by chris24 at 1:22 PM on May 8 [60 favorites]


The need to uphold norms and to re-establish congress' power and authority in the face of an increasingly Imperial executive office is the best argument I've heard for impeachment the other being well we should just subpoena everyone relentlessly and grind the administration to a halt because they are all doing all the crimes.

I find it kind of weird that the sort of center-left liberals and the leftist I kinow of reversed what you think what would be the normal position, with most lefties I know say yeah we should begin impeachment it would be a good thing
posted by The Whelk at 1:26 PM on May 8 [19 favorites]


The House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Barr in contempt, 24-16, a party line vote. Next step is the full House.
posted by zachlipton at 1:31 PM on May 8 [67 favorites]


Second, and perhaps more importantly, effective authority is in part a function of perceived legitimacy. Trump understands this incredibly well, which is why he relentlessly undermines the perceived legitimacy of anyone who opposes him.

Absolutely -- because he doesn't want anyone thinking clearly enough to realize that the Russia scandal undermines his own legitimacy, tenuous as it was, having squeaked into a razor-thin Electoral College victory (which he keeps lying about) and having lost the popular vote by more than 2.7 million votes.

Our Constitutional crisis is this: Trump is not a legitimate president, and never has been. Therefore his SCOTUS picks, and all those judges McConnell keeps working to confirm, aren't legitimate either.

He is not legitimate because the Russians helped install him, collusion or no collusion. And he is not legitimate because of the way he has governed, including, but not limited to, being in flagrant violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause the moment he swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend that very Constitution. He was and is in direct and obvious violation of that oath, and proves it every day.

Trump is not legitimate.
posted by Gelatin at 1:31 PM on May 8 [79 favorites]


Another quote that leapt at me from the Baffler piece linked by by the man of twists and turns:

Trumpism’s pitch to young white men is thus a stirringly amoral sort of syllogism: we can’t give you anything material, because we stole it all and are hoarding it, but we can create a world in which you can regularly act on your worst impulses and get away with it.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:49 PM on May 8 [45 favorites]


The Lead CNN: “We’ve talked for a long time about approaching a Constitutional crisis. We are now in it,” says Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler moments after the committee held AG Barr in contempt. “...There can be no higher stakes than this attempt to arrogate all power to the executive branch.” (w/video)

He adds, "Now is the time of testing whether we can keep our republic, or whether this republic is destined to change into a different, more tyrannical form of government. We must resist this."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:03 PM on May 8 [93 favorites]


WaPo, Dana Milbank, The White House revoked my press pass. It’s not just me — it’s curtailing access for all journalists.
I’m not the only one. It was part of a mass purge of “hard pass” holders after the White House implemented a new standard that designated as unqualified almost the entire White House press corps, including all six of The Post’s White House correspondents. White House officials then chose which journalists would be granted “exceptions.” It did this over objections from news organizations and the White House Correspondents’ Association.
...
Now, virtually the entire White House press corps is credentialed under “exceptions,” which means, in a sense, that they all serve at the pleasure of press secretary Sarah Sanders because they all fail to meet credentialing requirements — and therefore, in theory, can have their credentials revoked any time they annoy Trump or his aides, like CNN’s Jim Acosta did.
...
In response, it seems, the White House established a clear — if nearly impossible — standard: No credentials to any journalist who is not in the building on at least 90 out of the previous 180 days — in other words, seven of every 10 workdays. The White House wouldn’t provide numbers, but it appears most of the White House press corps didn’t qualify for credentials under the new standard, including regulars for The Post and the Associated Press. (Trump, who has spent more than 200 days at Trump properties and many more on travel, is barely in the White House this much himself.)

The White House has also restricted access by allowing only one journalist from a news organization at most events, and by admitting journalists to events only if they register days in advance. This has sharply reduced journalists’ attendance at the White House — just in time for the 90-day attendance purge.
posted by zachlipton at 2:16 PM on May 8 [63 favorites]


Our Constitutional crisis is this: Trump is not a legitimate president, and never has been. Therefore his SCOTUS picks, and all those judges McConnell keeps working to confirm, aren't legitimate either.

*hits the seekrit add-a-bajillion-favorites button*

He is not legitimate because the Russians helped install him, collusion or no collusion.

Point of order: Mew-ler did not speak to "collusion" at all.
“in evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of ‘collusion.’”
His report
“did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election-interference activities,”
The trouble, as former F.B.I. counter-intelligence agent Asha Rangappa explained to me last year, is that “collusion does not necessarily have to be criminal.” ... So while the special counsel may not have found that anyone associated with the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to hack the 2016 election, that doesn’t mean he didn’t outline a case for collusion. In fact, a closer reading of the Mueller report reveals a series of significant interactions involving Trumpworld and the Russians. In total, these six episodes paint a damning portrait of borderline criminality.

As we all know, impeachment is not a legal process as such. That said, either Mueller's got Roger Stone dead-to-rights conspiring with Wikileaks to time the release of stolen emails obtained by a cutout for the GRU; meaning the Trump Predisency is illegal AF, or golly gee wilikers that's a shit-ton of coincidences our sober Marine is not calling conspiracy. MAYBE WE SHOULD SEE THE EVIDENCE.
posted by petebest at 2:22 PM on May 8 [15 favorites]


Per Jay Rosen: Send the interns. There's not a lot of value having press at the White House when the White House lies to the press and refuses to hold press conferences anyway. The way to report on this administration is not by throwing questions at Sarah Sanders or 45 as he wobbles past on his way to another golf day.
posted by suelac at 2:23 PM on May 8 [22 favorites]


Point of order: Mew-ler did not speak to "collusion" at all.

Indeed, but as you note, he did establish that the 2016 election was the target of a concerted Russian attack in favor of Trump. That a hostile foreign power favored Trump for office and helped him get there. Trump's legitimacy does not hinge on whether he and his campaign traitorously helped the Russians do so, as McConnell did by informing Obama that he'd deny the intelligence that he, McConnell, had been made privy to and claim, falsely, that Obama revealing it was a partisan falsehood. His legitimacy is absent because the Russians put him in office in the first place.

Mueller's report, even the redacted version, establishes clearly that Trump is illegitimate -- it's right there in black and white, even if the so-called "liberal media" is too corrupt or cowardly to see it -- and that Trump obstructed justice to keep anyone from finding out. From day one, just as with Nixon, Trump has been haunted by a deep fear of his own inadequacy and unpopularity, and that fear drove him to commit many of his crimes (the rest were good old fashioned greed).
posted by Gelatin at 2:33 PM on May 8 [15 favorites]


One of the first instances I found was in the David Hume essay On passive obedience.

Interesting and perhaps related side note that David Hume was the first to articulate the counterfactual definition of causality, AFAIK:
“We may define a cause to be an object followed by another, and...where, if the first object had not been, the second never had existed.”
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:19 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


WaPo, Dana Milbank, The White House revoked my press pass. It’s not just me — it’s curtailing access for all journalists.

Good. Maybe now we'll finally get something other than access "journalism". If they're not in the room, they can't repeat what the Trump people told them to say verbatim.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:47 PM on May 8 [17 favorites]


The Senate Judiciary Committee's Democrats have sent a letter to Lindsey Graham to request Mueller testify before them. (PDF) a hearing with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. They list "at least _60_unanswered_questions_ related to both Russian interference and obstruction of justice" (emphasis in the original). These include the topics of:
—Offers of assistance from Russia or its potential intermediaries to the Trump campaign, including the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
—Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's sharing of internal campaign strategy and polling data with Russian operative Konstantin Kilimnik.
—Trump campaign efforts to benefit from Russian hacking and WikiLeaks' release of stolen documents.
—Trump campaign efforts to obtain Hillary Clinton's emails.
—Trump campaign efforts to establish "back channel" communications with Russia.
—Trump personal and business ties with Russia, including Trump Tower Moscow (2015-2016).
—No traditional prosecutorial decision on whether the President obstructed justice.
—Obstruction Standard
—Impact ofPresident Trump's limited cooperation
—President Trump's conduct towards Michael Cohen
—Paul Manafort's failure to cooperate
— President Trump's orders to White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire the Special Counsel
—President Trump's orders to White House Counsel Don McGahn to create a statement denying that he had been ordered to fire the Special Counsel
—President Trump's directive to Corey Lewandowski to order Attorney General Sessions to curtail the Special Counsel investigation
That's considerably broader than Graham's constricted invitation to Mueller "to provide testimony regarding any misrepresentation by the Attorney General of the substance of the [March 28th] phone call”, obviously.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:02 PM on May 8 [28 favorites]


Good. Maybe now we'll finally get something other than access "journalism". If they're not in the room, they can't repeat what the Trump people told them to say verbatim.

Unfortunately, it's the other way around. When official channels of communication between the government and the press are cut off, it makes the informal access afforded to people like Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, or Josh Dawsey even more valuable. It elavates sympathetic outlets like Fox or The Washington Examiner to a higher level because they're the only ones getting official coverage.
posted by peeedro at 4:36 PM on May 8 [27 favorites]


Isn't Brian Karem of Playboy one of those who gives no fucks and won't become obsequiously access hungry?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 4:38 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


There's a really interesting part of the House Judiciary committee between Buck-R, Nadler-D, and Collins-R, where the Republicans thought they were gotcha-ing with an amendment, which the D's accepted cause it was literally nbd, and then during this matter Buck was genuinely confused about why the R's were being dicks about a particular matter and starts arguing for the D side in good faith in his conversation with Nadler. It's really interesting to watch their argument crumble through basically a Socratic Method of their own making.

Can somebody provide more context for this? What was the issue, what was Buck's position/confusion about? Best of all would be video but I'll take what I can get.
posted by scalefree at 4:58 PM on May 8


An anonymously sourced statement by someone on behalf of Donald Trump, Jr. See if you can spot where it makes a hard turn & goes off the rails.

@Bencjacobs A source close to Don Jr gives me the following statement about the Senate subpoena
Don is a private citizen, who has already been cleared by Mueller after a two year investigation. He has done 8-9 hours of testimony in front of Senate Intel already and 27 hours of testimony in front of various committees in total. When he originally agreed to testify in front of the Senate Intel Committee in 2017, there was an agreement between Don and the Committee that he would only have to come in and testify a single time as long as he was willing to stay for as long as they'd like, which Don did. Don continues to cooperate by producing documents and is willing to answer written questions, but no lawyer would ever agree to allow their client to participate in what is an obvious PR stunt from a so-called "Republican" Senator too cowardly to stand up to his boss Mark Warner and the rest of the resistance Democrats on the committee.
posted by scalefree at 5:17 PM on May 8 [17 favorites]


Message to the Congress on Designating Brazil as a Major Non-NATO Ally
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
In accordance with section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2321k), I am providing notice of my intent to designate Brazil as a Major Non-NATO Ally.
I am making this designation in recognition of the Government of Brazil’s recent commitments to increase defense cooperation with the United States, and in recognition of our own national interest in deepening our defense coordination with Brazil.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
May 8, 2019.
Weirdly this was not announced via Twitter but the actual White House website.
posted by scalefree at 5:20 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


scalefree, i believe the referenced Buck/Collins/Nadler discussion occurs here, starting about 02:36:xx and continuing through circa 02:45:00. will leave it to odinsdream to confirm.
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:30 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


> Venezuela: Russia urges US to abandon ‘irresponsible’ plan to topple Maduro (Guardian)

“I had a very good talk with President Putin — probably over an hour,” Trump [tweeted]. “And we talked about many things. Venezuela was one of the topics.


WaPo: A Frustrated Trump Questions His Administration’s Venezuela Strategy
President Trump is questioning his administration’s aggressive strategy in Venezuela following the failure of a U.S.-backed effort to oust President Nicolás Maduro, complaining he was misled about how easy it would be to replace the socialist strongman with a young opposition figure, according to administration officials and White House advisers.

The president’s dissatisfaction has crystallized around national security adviser John Bolton and what Trump has groused is an interventionist stance at odds with his view that the United States should stay out of foreign quagmires.

Trump has said in recent days that Bolton wants to get him “into a war” — a comment he has made in jest in the past but that now belies his more serious concerns, one senior administration official said.[…]

[…] Trump has nonetheless complained over the last week that Bolton and others underestimated Maduro, according to three senior administration officials who like others interviewed for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.[…]

Despite Trump’s grumbling that Bolton had gotten him out on a limb on Venezuela, Bolton’s job is safe, two senior administration officials said, and Trump has told his national security adviser to keep focusing on Venezuela.
I wonder how Bolton feels about his job when all it apparently takes for Trump to start second-guessing him is a nice, long phone chat with Putin.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:31 PM on May 8 [31 favorites]


Trump's incompetence goes without saying but it's still ridiculous to see him go all shocked-pikachu.jpg when John freaking Bolton gets too warmongery.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:54 PM on May 8 [12 favorites]


Trump's incompetence in world empire-ing is the only thing keeping us from destroying two continents right now. Imagine how President Tom Cotton will handle it.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:04 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


"Bolton's job is safe"? I doubt it. It is Trump he works for, after all.

If Trump fires Bolton it would be one of the only good things Trump has ever done in his life.
posted by litlnemo at 6:09 PM on May 8 [7 favorites]


Reuters, China backtracked on almost all aspects of U.S. trade deal - sources
The diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived in Washington late on Friday night, with systematic edits to a nearly 150-page draft trade agreement that would blow up months of negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, according to three U.S. government sources and three private sector sources briefed on the talks.

The document was riddled with reversals by China that undermined core U.S. demands, the sources told Reuters. In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: Theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.
WSJ, Why China Decided to Play Hardball in Trade Talks
The new hard line taken by China in trade talks—surprising the White House and threatening to derail negotiations—came after Beijing interpreted recent statements and actions by President Trump as a sign the U.S. was ready to make concessions, said people familiar with the thinking of the Chinese side.

High-level negotiations are scheduled to resume Thursday in Washington, but the expectations and the stakes have changed significantly. A week ago, the assumption was that negotiators would be closing the deal. Now, they are trying to keep it from collapsing.

Adding to the pressure, the U.S. formally filed paperwork Wednesday to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from the current 10% at 12:01 a.m. Friday. Beijing’s Commerce Ministry responded by threatening to take unspecified countermeasures.
...
In particular, these people said, Mr. Trump’s hectoring of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to cut interest rates was seen in Beijing as evidence that the president thought the U.S. economy was more fragile than he claimed.
So basically, Trump spouts his usual nonsense, and China interprets that as the result of an actual coherent logical process. The art of the deal!
posted by zachlipton at 6:17 PM on May 8 [30 favorites]


If Trump fires Bolton it would be one of the only good things Trump has ever done in his life.

you say that now, but wait until he nominates henry kissinger to replace him
posted by murphy slaw at 6:23 PM on May 8 [15 favorites]


@JordanUhl [video]: At his rally tonight, Trump says the government is unable to violently attack immigrants, someone in the crowd shouted "Shoot them!" The crowd & Trump erupt in laughter & cheers. Trump says, "Only in the panhandle can you get away with that statement."
posted by zachlipton at 6:49 PM on May 8 [24 favorites]


Will no one rid me of this meddlesome immigrant?
posted by scalefree at 7:05 PM on May 8 [10 favorites]


Just so we're all clear, and I don't mean this in a ... well. I mean it's negative innately, but I am not just adding this here for no reason. I think it's actually important and crucial to be covered for what it truly is.

So we're all clear: that is Stage Seven and Eight of Genocide.

If you read the stories of people who have survived a genoicide, this is what gets to me every, single, time: It's made commonplace and it's very sudden in its arrival. It surprises especially the moderate in society, who haven't had their ear to the ground, who don't feel it so keenly.

But it's there. It's ringing.
posted by odinsdream at 7:33 PM on May 8 [86 favorites]


wait until he nominates henry kissinger

more probably the disembodied shade of andrew jackson
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:36 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


He has done 8-9 hours of testimony in front of Senate Intel already

He has done 8-9 hours of testimony? ehhh so Don Jr.'s done time, and yet it doesn't sound like a brilliant legal mind crafted this PR shart. That's some rickety big boy tweetery right there.

The ... best? People?
posted by petebest at 7:52 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]


Jim Acosta:" At rally in Panama City Trump jokes about staying in office “10 or 14” years. But he’s only joking, he says."
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:54 PM on May 8 [11 favorites]





Jim Acosta:" At rally in Panama City They jokes about staying in office “10 or 14” years. But he’s only joking, he says."


Look, I know you think I've been alarmist at this, but he's not joking and I've literally put my long term plans on hold as I figure out what to do when realistically faced with the fact of a dynastic kleptocracy happening in my middle age. This is not a joke to me, as a single childfree woman. Take it seriously. I am a real person that will be hurt.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:13 PM on May 8 [82 favorites]


I don't think it's funny or alarmist at all.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:14 PM on May 8 [29 favorites]


Listen to the senator from Hawaii.

Brian Schatz
Kids in cages. Betsy DeVos. Bill Barr. Scott Pruitt. The Paris Climate Deal. Possible war w Iran. Negotiating poorly with North Korea. The trade war hurting farmers and consumers. Gutting the CFPB. Doing nothing on gun violence. The tax bill rip-off. Taking away your healthcare. Racism as policy and strategy. Corruption. Emoluments. Raiding military money for the wall. The wall. Undermining NATO. The War in Yemen. Record debt and deficits. Climate inaction. Gutting healthcare in native communities. The stacking of the judiciary branch with ideologues. The trans ban in the military. Opening up offshore drilling. Targeting organized labor. Being soft on our enemies and hard on our allies. Ryan Zinke. Charlottesville. Helsinki. Undermining Dodd-Frank. “Shithole countries.”

With 25 or whatever candidates in the Primary it’s just a statistical fact that your favorite candidate is unlikely to win the nomination. Make your peace with that now. Get ready for the electoral fight of our lives. Thank you.
posted by chris24 at 8:14 PM on May 8 [85 favorites]


Now, virtually the entire White House press corps is credentialed under “exceptions,” which means, in a sense, that they all serve at the pleasure of press secretary Sarah Sanders because they all fail to meet credentialing requirements […]

When I was growing up we heard lots of stories about protektsiya in the (former) Soviet Union; the way everything that was nominally available to everyone was actually only available as a favour, or to people with the right connections. This is characteristic of the slide into authoritarianism: things that were formerly available “as of right” now need authorisation, and the authorisations that were formerly governed by protocol are now subject to official discretion. This attack on press freedom is one example, but so too is immigration. It's not just refugees and people with “bad” passports: border control is becoming a more fraught experience for everyone, even someone highly privileged like me. You can see this happening across the Civil Service, too, because the loss of senior officers means more things ultimately get get passed up to political appointees. It's very troubling, and it will take a long time to reverse even with a Democratic victory in 2020.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:21 PM on May 8 [67 favorites]


Politico: FBI to Meet With Florida Delegation to Discuss Russian Hacking
The FBI will hold a classified briefing with members of the Florida congressional delegation next week about suspected Russian hacking during the 2016 elections.

The FBI is scheduled to meet with House members May 16. The agency will sit down Republican Sen. Rick Scott* ahead of the delegation meeting.

The FBI briefings were confirmed by three people with knowledge of the meetings who weren’t authorized to discuss them publicly.
CNN backs this up: FBI to Brief House Members On Alleged Russian Hacking of Florida County
The FBI will brief Florida members of Congress next week about the claim that a Florida county was hacked by Russian intelligence in 2016, two sources familiar with the plan told CNN.

Previous reporting and government announcements have established that the GRU, Russian military intelligence, created an email phishing campaign aimed at Florida county election employees in the summer preceding the 2016 presidential election. But it wasn't until special counsel Robert Mueller's report was published that the public learned the FBI had investigated a particular county for actually being hacked.

"[T]he FBI believes that this operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government," the report claims.
* Remember how during the 2018 campaign Scott had attacked then-Senator Nelson as “deeply confused or very dishonest” and “irresponsible and reckless” when he warned county election supervisors that “Russians are inside our records,” and hackers “already penetrated certain counties in the state”?
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:31 PM on May 8 [33 favorites]


Trump, Democrats are locked in a constitutional showdown over Mueller’s report (WaPo)
Jack Quinn, former counsel to Bill Clinton during an independent counsel investigation of the former president, said that Wednesday’s assertion of privilege by the White House could backfire over the long run.

“They are doing it so broadly and with so little judgment that I think they are debasing their overall approach to this,” said Quinn, suggesting a judge may come to view Trump’s position as untenable. “The overreliance on executive privilege in the end will be problematic for the White House.”

Quinn said Democrats must frame their requests as part of a review to determine if Trump committed impeachable offenses.

“There is absolutely no constitutional way they can block the impeachment powers granted to the House,” said Quinn.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:35 PM on May 8 [10 favorites]


Quinn said Democrats must frame their requests as part of a review to determine if Trump committed impeachable offenses.

See, I don't see why that matters. How can the administration claim privilege over only the redacted bits of the report? That's not at all how executive privilege has worked in the past.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:43 PM on May 8 [4 favorites]


RUHLE: Why does the President call the Mueller investigation a hoax?
CHRISTIE: The President is a salesman. He uses hyperbole.
RUHLE: It’s a lie.
CHRISTIE: That’s your opinion. This is the President’s opinion. If it’s an opinion, it can’t be a lie.


This sure sounds like a summary of a familiar conservative discourse strategy. "Who is to say what the objective truth is? When it doesn't support what we want to say, we put 'truth' on a subjective footing, just another opinion, we have as much right to our opinion as someone has to any opinion that's better substantiated, and it doesn't even matter if we know it's better substantiated, you can't make us acknowledge it. We value the posture of victory more than even the notion of truth. Accountability is for losers."
posted by wildblueyonder at 8:51 PM on May 8 [8 favorites]


Some math problems for Donald Trump’s tax returns (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
In 1991, his reported losses were $418 million, which was literally 1 PERCENT of all the losses by all individuals in that year. A full percent! How to reconcile this? Fortunately, he has a great brain. We must catch up.

Here are some Trump math problems:

Q: If you have $1 million and then you lose $55, how many dollars do you have to live on?

A: Whatever my father, Fred Trump, has.

Q: If you are $418 million in the red, do you have more money or less money than someone who has zero dollars?

A: More, $418 million more!

Q: If you have $5 of debt and someone else has zero dollars, who has more money?

A: I definitely have more money than the loser with zero dollars.

Q: It costs $0.08 to buy a banana. You have -$0.05. Can you afford to buy a banana?

A: I don’t know, let me ask Deutsche Bank.

Q: It costs $0.08 to buy a banana. Someone else has $0.16. Can she afford to buy a banana?

A: With just $0.16, she should not be wasting money on luxuries such as bananas. She should be working.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:11 PM on May 8 [18 favorites]


Previous reporting and government announcements have established that the GRU, Russian military intelligence, created an email phishing campaign aimed at Florida county election employees in the summer preceding the 2016 presidential election. But it wasn't until special counsel Robert Mueller's report was published that the public learned the FBI had investigated a particular county for actually being hacked.

I really don't understand what is gained by keeping these things secret. By definition, America's enemies already know.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:29 PM on May 8 [9 favorites]


RUHLE: Why does the President call the Mueller investigation a hoax?
CHRISTIE: The President is a salesman. He uses hyperbole.
RUHLE: It’s a lie.
CHRISTIE: That’s your opinion. This is the President’s opinion. If it’s an opinion, it can’t be a lie.


Ken "Popehat" White has mentioned a particular defense against defamation: that the speaker was just trash talking or using hyperbole, such that a reasonable person would not think that the speaker was making a factual claim. Christie is, as has been noted upthread, a "real lawyer"; it would be amusing in its own way if Christie foresaw some kind of legal trouble for Trump and tried to head it off with "actually his mouth emits such an unending torrent of bullshit that he can't be liable for anything he says".
posted by Jpfed at 9:32 PM on May 8 [9 favorites]


The argument is that adversaries don't know exactly what we know, which would tell them about our capabilities and maybe make them harder to detect going forward. Learning about what we found, what we missed, and how our assessment stacks up with the reality can tell them a lot.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:34 PM on May 8 [7 favorites]


I really don't understand what is gained by keeping these things secret. By definition, America's enemies already know.

The enemy they are concerned about is us.
posted by srboisvert at 11:32 PM on May 8 [27 favorites]


adversaries don't know exactly what we know, which would tell them about our capabilities and maybe make them harder to detect

Contrariwise, if we (i.e., non-spooks) knew more about the attacks we'd be able to assess the risks and potentially prevent further incursions. Russian interference with US elections is a fundamental threat to the country and it was a mistake to treat it as either a law enforcement issue or as another move in the Great Game. If the American public had known about the Russian threat to American elections they'd have been able to oppose it at all levels: by securing their own systems; by better recognising Russian propaganda; and by demanding action from their representatives. The secrecy around Obama's attempt to build a wartime coalition, as it were, allowed Republicans to resist any action and position themselves to discredit and ridicule the warnings when we ultimately learned of them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:55 AM on May 9 [8 favorites]


National Review columnist David French takes the American Family Association to task: Christians, Sign the Petition. Condemn . . . Me? .

The AFA described French's earlier article condemning Falwell's support for Trump as “yellow journalism” and “character assassination”. At least the second of these articles is worth reading for its plainspoken view of the proper Evangelical attitude towards the Presidency:
We should pray for presidents, critique them when they’re wrong, praise them when they’re right, and never, ever impose partisan double standards. We can’t ever forget the importance of character, the necessity of our own integrity, and the power of the prophetic witness.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:52 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Flashback Quote of the Day

“No one can be above the law, not even the Attorney General. I think an attorney general held in contempt of Congress is someone who should resign.”

— Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), quoted by the Tampa Bay Times, calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign after he was found in contempt of Congress in 2012.


To be fair, that was almost seven years ago. Back then they were posturing for law & order which he didn't believe in, rather than believing in it now and not saying anything. So it's 2012 Little Marco that's the rank hypocrite. 2019 Little Marco is just the silent toadying hack.
posted by petebest at 3:23 AM on May 9 [21 favorites]


That Fallwell Jr. story turns out to be pretty interesting if anyone is unfamiliar. This Buzzfeed News article has the skinny on the terrifically odd story of Falwell Jr. and his wife going into business with a young pool attendant (I thought you guys were joking about the pool boy) and buying a ~$4.5 MEEELYUN dollar youth hostel for him to manage which ... okay, how does a building of mostly empty rooms cost almost 5 mil? Granted, it sits over a liquor store but ... I dunno, but anyway here's the relevant part to our story:

The relationship between Cohen and Falwell Jr. has not been previously reported, but the two have been acquainted since 2012[*], according to a source with direct knowledge of Falwell’s decision to endorse Trump. The source, a high-ranking official at Liberty University, said that Falwell Jr. occasionally visited Cohen’s office in New York City but that there was no business relationship between the two men.

[Please note, as MonkeyToes commented above, the Liberty University CIO was paid to rig two online polls for Trump (rigged...trump...rigged) but instead of his fee of $50,000 he got $12k - in cash, in a plastic Wal-Mart bag - and a signed boxing glove. Which. is not a "business relationship" with Fallwell Jr. as such, per se, legally, so to speak. Wow that story was only 4 months ago.]

According to a separate source with knowledge of Trump’s campaign, Cohen was so confident in Falwell Jr.’s support that he and Trump assured others, even before Trump announced his candidacy, that Falwell Jr. would issue an endorsement.

... Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Donald Trump in January 2016 was a watershed event for Trump’s candidacy. While the evangelical Christian right is now a fervent Trump constituency, it wasn’t that way when Trump first announced his run for president in 2015.

... Falwell Jr.’s endorsement “marked a turning point for the entire religious right,” said Randall Balmer, a Dartmouth University religion professor who studies the evangelical movement. “Until that moment, this is a movement that had trumpeted its support for family values, and I don’t need to tell you there is no way anyone could claim this was a candidate who supports family values.” Falwell Jr., Balmer said, “led the way. He led the charge.”


Fun Fact: the major details of the business with the young pool attendant come from a lawsuit filed by Jesus ... Fernandez, Sr.
Fun Bonus Fact: Falwell Jr. is not a pastor, he's a lawyer. Everyone's good with that.
posted by petebest at 4:03 AM on May 9 [33 favorites]


Falwell Jr. occasionally visited Cohen’s office in New York City but that there was no business relationship between the two men.

...And visiting Cohen's office for personal reasons is supposed to be less shady than visiting for business reasons? Do I have that right?
posted by Rykey at 4:23 AM on May 9 [13 favorites]


I am a little confused about who was supposed to be blackmailing Falwell in this story. The pool guy? Or Michael Cohen? Or both?
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:32 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]


Something tells me there might be more than two people in the photos Falwell Jr. wanted Cohen to disappear for him. Not judging kinks, but still.
posted by emelenjr at 4:39 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


The pool guy, with Cohen helping to arrange for any evidence to go away.
posted by PenDevil at 4:40 AM on May 9


Allegedly The pool guy has/had the photos. Allegedly Cohen bought them in exchange for making him manager of the youth hostel ("Ashtrays on every table"!). Allegedly Falwell agreed to bring the Evangelical vote to Trump in exchange for the deal.
posted by petebest at 4:40 AM on May 9 [14 favorites]


But if Cohen had the photos ("terrible") then he was also very much in a position to blackmail Falwell. And if Trump wanted something from Falwell, and Falwell knew those photos might come out if Trump did not get what Trump wanted because Cohen had them... I guess I don't understand why the endorsement is being framed as a repayment for a favor rather than as the result of extortion. Because Cohen is the one framing this story?

Oh, such a shame about those pictures. Yes, I have them. They're terrible. Of course, we can make sure, they never get out, but we might ask you a favor...
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:49 AM on May 9 [5 favorites]


Pool guy denies all of this fwiw. I mean, if I were technically guilty of blackmail, I'd probably issue a strongly worded denial too, but...
posted by Room 101 at 4:50 AM on May 9 [6 favorites]


Nondisclosure agreements were one of Cohen's primary tactics as Trump's fixer (as in the whole Stormy Daniels thing.) If Cohen fixed stuff for Falwell, the pool guy was pressured by an NDA.
posted by Sublimity at 5:02 AM on May 9 [6 favorites]


the pool guy was pressured by an NDA.

A genuine "Team Trump!" NDA, the Strongest most reliable NDA possible (just ask Stormy Daniels!) This could get... interesting.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:10 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


Donald Trump Lost a Billion Dollars—Just Not His Own (Henry Grabar, Slate)
He lost other people’s money, then bogusly claimed the tax benefits of those losses for himself.
Typical Trump.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:33 AM on May 9 [25 favorites]


With 25 or whatever candidates in the Primary it’s just a statistical fact that your favorite candidate is unlikely to win the nomination. Make your peace with that now. Get ready for the electoral fight of our lives. Thank you.

Because I hate it when bad statistics happen to good people, I'll comment that this assumes the support for the 25 candidates is spread out equally among them and yes, someone who has 4% of voters is unlikely to be any given person's favorite. But verious polls show there to be just a handfull of front-runners with some numbers as high as 40%, meaning that for any given person there's a good chance their favorite is almost a toss-up depending on how other things shake out.

This mathmatical side adventure is mostly because I think we should avoid playing along with the media's fun - for them - game of ehrmagherd there's soooooo many of em! The reality of every presidential election is that there's actually a bunch more nobody bozos who file claiming they're running. Check the FEC page for the 2016 presidential election and feast your eyes on the one thousand seven hundred and forty eight declared candidates for that race. Even if you filter it down to people who actually raised more than $0 you get one hundred and thirty.

The reality is that half these people getting column inches at the moment are as significant as Wanda Duckwald turned out to be. It's fine that they're out there and maybe some of them will move the conversation places we need it to go. But in the long run they're an irrelevance and just talking about the fact that they're there - but nothing about them or their ideas - is a distraction. Let's not play along.
posted by phearlez at 6:49 AM on May 9 [21 favorites]


peeedro: When official channels of communication between the government and the press are cut off, it makes the informal access afforded to people like Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, or Josh Dawsey even more valuable. It elavates sympathetic outlets like Fox or The Washington Examiner to a higher level because they're the only ones getting official coverage.

"According to Fox News, Sarah Sanders defended [x] by saying [y] ..." "According to The Washington Examiner, Trump can extend his current term by two years because of [z]."

Even if they're reporting gonzo nonsense from the White House, Fox and Washington Examiner become more cited, if not more credible, sources, boosting the signals over-all.

Meanwhile, Trump Administration Considering Changes That Would Redefine The Poverty Line (Pam Fessler for NPR, May 9, 2019)
The Trump administration is considering changing the way the government measures poverty, which has anti-poverty groups worried that many low-income individuals will be pushed off assistance programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and Head Start.

The possible change would involve adjusting the poverty line annually using a different inflation measure, one that would result in a slower increase over time.

Arloc Sherman of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says this change would mean that millions of people eventually could see their benefits either reduced or eliminated because they would no longer be considered poor.

"They have a goal, and the goal is to cut people of low or moderate income off of government assistance," Sherman said of the administration. He noted that the idea is being floated at the same time that the White House is proposing work requirements and steep budget cuts for safety net programs.
Nothing says "compassionate Christian" like cutting social services to reduce taxes on the wealthy.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:27 AM on May 9 [35 favorites]


He lost other people’s money, then bogusly claimed the tax benefits of those losses for himself.
So Mel Brooks' 'The Producers' ends up being the prescient narrative of our time, accurately foretelling the ineptitude, the shady accountants, and Springtime For Hitler?
posted by Harry Caul at 7:43 AM on May 9 [29 favorites]


Trust Pelosi (William Saletan, Slate)

emphasismine.boilerplate
Some critics on the left bristle at Pelosi’s language in the interview about staying in the “mainstream,” along with her refusal to support big ideas like the Green New Deal. But at the level of policy, there’s little daylight between the speaker and the left. The issues she talked about in the Times are the same ones she acts on in the House and brings up in press conferences: health care, “bigger paychecks,” infrastructure, and the environment. The list goes on: education, equal pay, gun safety, immigration reform, Social Security, violence against women.

Many progressives think the best way to attract and mobilize voters is to push big ideas like “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal. Pelosi disagrees. Big ideas often alarm the other side’s voters more than they inspire yours. Instead, she focuses on specific policies that affect people’s lives. She knows such policies are easier to explain and harder to caricature. And she emphasizes tangible benefits. “The climate issue is a jobs issue,” she says.

The smarter play, in Pelosi’s view, is to defend policies that are well understood and supported. Let your enemy be the aggressor, and rally your base against his attack. Instead of pushing Medicare for All, the speaker targets President Donald Trump’s assault on the Affordable Care Act. She specifies elements of the ACA that score well in polls: “protections against pre-existing conditions, bans on lifetime limits and annual limits, the Medicare-Medicaid expansion, savings for seniors on their prescription drugs, [and] premium assistance that makes health coverage affordable.”

...

In Pelosi’s view, a politician’s job is to produce results. In the House, that requires 218 votes. The peril of the moment—an executive branch controlled by the most dangerous president in living memory—makes it even more crucial that Democrats maintain control of a chamber of Congress. The speaker calls herself “a liberal from San Francisco,” but she reminds colleagues that there aren’t enough deep blue districts to elect a majority. She focuses on issues that, while important to progressives, will also help Democrats in more vulnerable districts. On Tuesday, at the Cornell forum, Pelosi acknowledged that this “coldblooded” battle plan could cause “unease for some people who may want to go way in one direction.” But she warned that if Democrats were to lose the purple districts, the left would lose power altogether.
There's plenty more. Worth a read.
posted by perspicio at 7:46 AM on May 9 [32 favorites]


Schiff Makes Good On Threat, Subpoenas Mueller Report, Underlying Intel

“The department repeatedly pays lip service to the importance of a meaningful accommodation process, but it has only responded to our efforts with silence or outright defiance,” Schiff said. “Today, we have no choice but to issue a subpoena to compel their compliance.”

Sloooowly I turn ... step by step ...
posted by petebest at 7:47 AM on May 9 [40 favorites]


FBI is investigating 850 domestic terrorism cases (David Shortell for CNN, May 8, 2019)
The FBI has 850 open domestic terrorism investigations, 40% of which are cases of racially motivated violent extremism, Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity said Wednesday.

Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, McGarrity said a "significant majority" of those racially motivated cases involved white supremacist extremists, and he called the threat posed by domestic terrorists in the US "persistent and evolving."

"The FBI assesses domestic terrorists collectively pose a persistent and evolving threat of violence and economic harm to the United States. In fact, there have been more arrests and deaths in the United States caused by domestic terrorists than international terrorists in recent years," McGarrity said.
...
While the number of open cases of domestic terrorism cases investigated by the FBI has fluctuated in recent months -- actually decreasing from the number six months ago -- McGarrity noted that the pace of new cases has increased.

"Cases are a point in time. We can literally open and close cases every day, so it's two data points," McGarrity said. "What I can tell you of what we're seeing is the velocity in which our subjects and the velocity in which we're working our cases -- both on the domestic terrorism side and the international terrorism side with homegrown violent extremists -- that velocity is much quicker than it's ever been before."

Of the 850 domestic terrorism cases open at the FBI, about half are into anti-government and anti-authority extremists, McGarrity said.
This article only gives a year-to-year trend, not pre- and post-Trump, which is the real gauge of Trump's impact (and the FBI's response).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:51 AM on May 9 [11 favorites]


Big ideas often alarm the other side’s voters more than they inspire yours.

Build that wall. Lock her up. Make America Great Again.

Sorry, no. The left needs some serious rallying cries, and we need politicians who have the spine to say "we are America, this will get done."

I'm not saying that we should lie like Trump and pretend these policies have no cost, but we should be banging the drums of moral imperative, and leave the right whinging about costs.

When the right says "they want to promise you everything," the counter isn't "no, we're making moderate promises backed by fact." The counter is, "yeah, but the Republicans want to promise you nothing."

Rhetoric and ideas got us to the moon. Rhetoric and ideas get the ball rolling. Policy and details get ironed out in legislating, not in running for office.
posted by explosion at 8:06 AM on May 9 [35 favorites]


Build that wall. Lock her up. Make America Great Again.

Sorry, no. The left needs some serious rallying cries, and we need politicians who have the spine to say "we are America, this will get done."


I agree that rallying cries are important. But in fairness to the point made in the article, I hope you would agree that two of those three rallying cries are not, in fact, big ideas. It's a distinction worth recognizing.

And it takes no spine at all, but only chutzpah, to say "this will get done" (as in the case of all three cries). Rather, it takes spine to get big ideas done, such as the ACA.
posted by perspicio at 8:25 AM on May 9 [8 favorites]




Pelosi already signaling some stalling on Barr contempt vote on the floor. CBS News.

"When we're ready, we'll come to the floor. We'll see because there might be some other contempt of Congress issues that we want to deal with at the same time."
posted by Harry Caul at 8:45 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


I can't tell if Pelosi really does think contempt and impeachment fights are too damaging to be worth fighting, or if she just doesn't think those fights will be won, or if she's trying to run the clock closer to 2020 before unleashing it all and she's just looking for more strategic timing.

By and large I think she's done a great job until these issues became more acute since the Mueller report came out. Since then I haven't found her statements comforting or convincing at all. If she's got a plan, she's not selling it well.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:53 AM on May 9 [20 favorites]


The statement on the contempt vote sounds to me like she doesn't have the votes just yet.
posted by VTX at 9:08 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


Trust Pelosi

I have so many problems with this article, but I guess the main one is that it makes it sound like we're in a normal moment of political differences and not facing an existential threat.
posted by diogenes at 9:08 AM on May 9 [14 favorites]


I don't think we can infer that she thinks contempt is too damaging. She said "We'll see because there might be some other contempt of Congress issues that we want to deal with at the same time."

That sounds like there are others who may also be held in contempt; I can't see a point in making that statement otherwise.
posted by Jpfed at 9:09 AM on May 9 [5 favorites]


If she's got a plan, she's not selling it well.

If there was a plan, it would have been acted upon from day one of the release of the report. The hedging and stammering responses to fairly straightforward questions seem indicative of a leadership that sees Trump as a historical aberration, and not the danger that he and his people truly represent.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 9:23 AM on May 9 [23 favorites]


Only a simple majority is needed to pass the contempt citation. She's got the votes.

What she is doing is managing what is within her power to manage. Congress does not have many cards to play, so they need to be played very purposefully.

Here is your periodic reminder that Neil Gorsuch's mother, Anne, was once held in contempt of Congress as the head of the EPA, and Reagan's justice department simply declined to prosecute.

It's easy to see that's where this is headed, too.

So ask yourself, if you were Pelosi, what could possibly be the point of holding Barr in contempt at all, beyond the optics of making a brave, principled, but ultimately futile stand? In other words, what would it take to make it matter, in terms of tangible results?
posted by perspicio at 9:35 AM on May 9 [7 favorites]


“Own the center left, own the mainstream,” Ms. Pelosi, 79, said. “Our passions were for health care, bigger paychecks, cleaner government — a simple message,” Ms. Pelosi said of the 40-seat Democratic pickup last year that resulted in her second ascent to the speakership. “We did not engage in some of the other exuberances that exist in our party” (NYT)

Big ideas often alarm the other side’s voters more than they inspire yours. Instead, she focuses on specific policies that affect people’s lives... she warned that if Democrats were to lose the purple districts, the left would lose power altogether. (Slate)


The Slate piece, like the Times interview before it, does clarify the meta-question at least. Whether you agree with Pelosi's strategy and statements or not, empirically speaking, we call people who talk and strategize like that "centrists" (or "center left" if you prefer). Again -- she may be right and the "go big or go home" left wing may be wrong, and it may be that her long-term goals are the same as the left wing but her strategic concerns as Speaker compel her otherwise -- but inasmuch as we do distinguish centrists from leftists by what they say and do and not just what they believe in their hearts, Pelosi is clearly and explicitly positioning herself in the centrist faction both now and looking ahead to the 2020 election cycle.
posted by chortly at 9:36 AM on May 9 [8 favorites]


Exactly.

And as far as the presidential race goes, why would we accept that many Obama voters could swing to Trump, but Trump voters would never swing to the eventual Democratic nominee?

Obama was a centrist.
posted by perspicio at 9:43 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Here is your periodic reminder that Neil Gorsuch's mother, Anne, was once held in contempt of Congress as the head of the EPA, and Reagan's justice department simply declined to prosecute.

See, the thing about this is that there are, in fact, ways to escalate this with effect. The Democrats can ask the House Sergeant-At-Arms to deputize somebody - probably the DC police - to bring the person(s) in contempt into custody, and just let them sit in jail until either they do what they're supposed to do or you just keep finding the next assistant down the chain in contempt until one of them does it.

Yes, it's an escalation, but at this point the question is whether or not it is justified.
posted by mightygodking at 9:48 AM on May 9 [17 favorites]


WaPo, U.S. seizes North Korean coal ship, accuses Pyongyang of violating sanctions
U.S. authorities have seized a North Korean ship used to sell coal in alleged violation of international sanctions, Justice Department officials said Thursday.

Justice Department officials confirmed the ship, the “Wise Honest,” is approaching U.S. territorial waters, with coordination of the U.S. Marshals and the Coast Guard. Officials said it was the first time the U.S. has seized a North Korean cargo vessel for violating international sanctions.
posted by zachlipton at 9:48 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


U.S. authorities have seized a North Korean ship used to sell coal in alleged violation of international sanctions, Justice Department officials said Thursday.
Well, Donald won't be happy about that!
posted by Harry Caul at 9:49 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]


Trust Pelosi

Do not like. The list is long but here's a couple:

What's with the picture of Trump and Pelosi at the top? Ostensibly Slate is left-leaning and the article supports Pelosi. Why make Trump look normal and Pelosi look like she's pulling a hamstring? So weird right out of the gate.

Then the first sentence: "Is Nancy Pelosi a sellout?" What? No .. no one has said she's actively working for the bad guys. A sellout has sold their share of the store to the bad guys. That's not even the question. (A theory perhaps, but not a serious one.) Poor word choice? Misstated premise? *shrug*

Then: Instead, she focuses on specific policies that affect people’s lives. She knows such policies are easier to explain and harder to caricature.

In the - NO. The whole point of Trump is that Democrats fail to understand that at this level of politics reason does not matter. "Centrists" such as may be said to exist voted for Trump not because his policies were easier to explain: that presumes he had a policy! Trump caricatured the Democratic positions with alarming efficiency. Of course they're easier to caricature (for what that's worth) - Trump did it! He's a frickin demented moron!

That's just wrong at every level. Ugh. Bless her she's got mad skeelz and I wouldn't say otherwise, but she's just wrong at every level here.

Pelosi understands that Trump is just a foil. The real goal is to build a relationship with voters.

What the shit? Did the reporter just get it wrong? Trump is just a foil? For WHO? He's a frickin bull destroying the china shop! He's not a tool of ... uh ... Putin? I guess? Which ... okay that's a point I guess, but he does an amazing amount of damage all on his own. People that presume Trump is working on behalf of others like the QAnon thing are way off base. I really don't get how that's not Painfully Obvious. Impeach now.

And the opposite is somehow to build a relationship with voters ... ALERT ALERT this is the language that has lost every major election against Republicans in the last 40 years. ALERT do not go down this path. This is not a place of honor, etc. Run, Luke, run!

Ugh.
posted by petebest at 9:51 AM on May 9 [19 favorites]


With Daniel Dale apparently is a bit of a burnt-out case, here's a thread by Vox's Aaron Rupar of video highlights from Trump's Panama City Beach rally from last night. While it doesn't have Dale's fact-checking rigor, it's nevertheless instructive to see how Trump deploys his outrageous statements to play with his audience. In addition to the incredibly incendiary and provocative things he said that we've noted in this thread, it's worth mentioning how many familiar topics emerge, such as bashing PR over disaster funding, making false claims about Mueller's findings, harping on John McCain's vote against ACA repeal, inveighing against immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, and returning to his sick human-trafficking fantasy of women with taped-over mouths. Also check out his satisfied reactions to the perennial "Build the Wall" and "Lock her up" chants. He's workshopping his 2020 campaign's themes with his crowds as oversized focus groups until he's fully confident he can manipulate his voters.

Only a simple majority is needed to pass the contempt citation. She's got the votes.

Although Pelosi needs her feet held to the fire on all sorts of issues, vote-counting is her field of expertise. If she's indicating she needs time before bringing the contempt charges to the floor, then she must feel she doesn't have the numbers for the vote. A failure on this issue would be a tremendous defeat for all the House Dems' investigations, which she obviously won't risk for her caucus. In the meantime, we keep hearing about Dems telling the media that their constituents aren't interested in pursuing these investigations or impeaching Trump and care only about bread-and-butter domestic issues. Either these reps are filtering their message in favor of their limited agenda, or they need to hear from voters who really do think that the Trump administration is an existential threat to American democracy.

Of as much importance as the contempt vote against Barr is the Senate vote for Jeffrey Rosen's nomination as Barr's deputy attorney general, which just passed the Senate Judiciary Committee along party lines of 12 to 10. His lack of any DoJ experience not only calls into question his qualifications, but also sets him up to be Barr's hatchet man (a lack of institutional ties is always a plus when firing people). Call your senators—202-224-3121.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:55 AM on May 9 [6 favorites]


The Democrats can ask the House Sergeant-At-Arms to deputize somebody - probably the DC police - to bring the person(s) in contempt into custody, and just let them sit in jail

Barr and Mnuchin have Secret Service protection. Exactly how do you think that's going to play out?
posted by JackFlash at 9:59 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Barr and Mnuchin have Secret Service protection. Exactly how do you think that's going to play out?

Secret service is to protect them from threat of bodily harm, not from lawful actions. I imagine the deputy would bring the lawful order forward, and ask the secret service to step aside, and the agents would do so.

To resist a lawful arrest is a crime, and I cannot imagine the secret service agents have taken a pledge to aid and abet their charges in crimes committed.
posted by explosion at 10:05 AM on May 9 [43 favorites]


@agearan: Per ace pooler @katierogers Trump has this to say about WaPo story on Vz policy and @AmbJohnBolton “John’s very good. He has strong views on things which is ok. I’m the one who tempers him which is ok. I have John Bolton and I have people who are a little more dovish than him.”

I'm really not comfortable living in a world where we rely on Donald Trump to "temper" John Bolton.
posted by zachlipton at 10:05 AM on May 9 [19 favorites]


Secret service is to protect them from threat of bodily harm, not from lawful actions. I imagine the deputy would bring the lawful order forward, and ask the secret service to step aside, and the agents would do so.

Think again.

Secret Service is blocking lawsuit on behalf of Jared Kushner, DNC complains (Salon)
posted by perspicio at 10:13 AM on May 9 [6 favorites]


He's not a tool of ... uh ... Putin? I guess?

I just have to: he is absolutely a tool of Putin. The only thing the Mueller report showed that at all mitigates that conclusion is that he may not have realized the full extent to which he was being used.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:23 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


Secret Service is blocking lawsuit on behalf of Jared Kushner, DNC complains (Salon)

So I'm reading that article and can't figure out why they don't just serve it by one of the other authorized methods of service, such as by publication. Get better lawyers, DNC.
posted by The World Famous at 10:24 AM on May 9 [20 favorites]




Handmaid's Tale postoned until next week in Alabama. < WaPost

"After a shouting match broke out, the Alabama Senate on Thursday voted to table an amendment to a controversial bill that would criminalize abortions by making performing the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years imprisonment.

A vote affecting the abortion bill was then tabled. Democrats shouted demands for a roll-call vote.

The vote was then moved until next week. The bill would be the most restrictive in the country and would impose what is in effect a near-total abortion ban."
posted by Harry Caul at 10:46 AM on May 9 [7 favorites]


I feel like we skipped right past the significance of the the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaing Trump Jr.

I don't think Burr is any nobler than his Republican colleagues, yet he's really sticking his neck out here. It makes me optimistic that he knows more than they do and he knows which way the wind is blowing.
posted by diogenes at 10:49 AM on May 9 [23 favorites]


I just have to: he is absolutely a tool of Putin

Agreed, I may have phrased it badly but that's what the "Which ... okay that's a point I guess, but he does an amazing amount of damage all on his own." that followed was about. The article said Pelosi believes Trump is "a foil" which I can't understand because even without Putin's leadership, he still would be a corrupt racist pig destroying the environment and stuffing his pockets. His "foil-ness" is hugely irrelevant as an argument against impeaching him immediately.

> "Only a simple majority is needed to pass the contempt citation. She's got the votes."

... vote-counting is her field of expertise. If she's indicating she needs time before bringing the contempt charges to the floor, then she must feel she doesn't have the numbers for the vote.


If she needs a simple majority, and Democrats have a majority ... there are House Democrats who wouldn't vote to impeach if it was up for vote? Who, please?
posted by petebest at 10:50 AM on May 9


The question of whether or not Pelosi and her ilk will fight for universal healthcare and to fix global warming has been answered. That answer is no. And no, saying the party is for policy to the right of nearly every Democratic candidate now and for the last two or three decades is not centrist.
posted by xammerboy at 10:55 AM on May 9 [11 favorites]


I don't think Burr is any nobler than his Republican colleagues, yet he's really sticking his neck out here. It makes me optimistic that he knows more than they do and he knows which way the wind is blowing.
It’ll just be soft questions and rehearsed answers. Then Trump jr. et al will insist that since he went and answered to the senate he doesn’t have to do anything else. They’ll spin it as republicans doing their due diligence and any further inquiry from democrats as more ‘with hunting’.
posted by vocivi at 10:59 AM on May 9 [6 favorites]


The Whelk: The ridesharing app strike terrified Uber, and politicians noticed.
For one thing, the effort attracted a ton of media interest, and it also garnered the support of high-profile politicians on the left, including presidential candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. “Your Direct Action for today: Don’t take an Uber or Lyft just for the day. (Just today! Cabs are fine! You can do it!),” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, urging her followers not to cross the digital picket line. Even technocratic whiz kid Mayor Pete Buttigieg tweeted that he was down with the driver’s strike.
...
Consumers may love ride-hailing apps, but the more they become aware that drivers feel they’re getting a raw deal, the more they’ll be receptive to politicians who want to do something about it. If the courts don’t do it first (Reuters), lawmakers absolutely have the power to turn Uber’s big, thus-far-unprofitable experiment into something that better benefits its workforce. A bill is currently moving forward (S.F. Chronicle) in California that would reclassify drivers as employees rather than independent contractors. And Sens. Sanders, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand have all co-sponsored legislation (Mother Jones) that would improve gig workers’ collective bargaining power.
In other news, Cocaine, racy texts and a potentially fraudulent email: A week of chaos roils one statehouse (Eli Rosenberg for Washington Post, May 9, 2019)

In which Justin Jones, a black student and activist in Nashville, was arrested in February during a protest over a statue in the State Capitol of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and early member of the Ku Klux Klan. Then he was told that he had violated the terms of his bail, which stipulated that he avoid contact with Republican House Speaker Glen Casada.

Except that email was sent before his arrest, and
The disclosure kicked off a chaotic week in Nashville that now threatens to bring down Casada, who observers say has helped bring the state’s House on a Trump-esque pivot to the right since he became speaker in January.
In which, we learn that House Speaker Glen Casada, left, a Republican from Franklin, Tenn., and Cade Cothren, his former chief of staff, are garbage people who say and do terrible things, but in this glorious day and age of digital records, of course there are receipts to take them down.

Good luck, Tennessee!
posted by filthy light thief at 11:01 AM on May 9 [28 favorites]


So, the legislative session has either just ended or today’s the last day (so he can’t be voted out when they’re not in session), but yeah, things in Nashville seem to be escalating around the speaker.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:07 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Perhaps instead of criticizing Pelosi, we should all get on the phone to our House reps and ask what their positions is on contempt. Ask them to make a public statement supporting a contempt vote.

And ask them to make a public statement supporting impeachment too.

I’m annoyed too, but I think it’s more productive to actually call your individual house rep than to write comments on Mefi about how the Speaker and House aren’t doing enough.
posted by nat at 11:22 AM on May 9 [39 favorites]


No we must argue it out here daily forever
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:26 AM on May 9 [59 favorites]


Perhaps instead of criticizing Pelosi, we should all get on the phone to our House reps and ask what their positions is on contempt. Ask them to make a public statement supporting a contempt vote.

porque no los dos?
posted by absalom at 11:44 AM on May 9 [9 favorites]


> Perhaps instead of criticizing Pelosi, we should all get on the phone to our House reps and ask what their positions is on contempt. Ask them to make a public statement supporting a contempt vote.

I expect to see the "why aren't you out taking direct action instead of sitting on the Internet complaining" thing in other corners of the Internet, but seeing it here in the megathreads from longtime members who presumably know exactly what they're getting into in a MetaFilter political megathread is disappointing.

> No we must argue it out here daily forever

We can (and in my opinion should) do both.

To review some points that have been made in response to this complaint previously:

(1) Talking about these issues with other informed citizens helps us organize our thoughts, question our assumptions, and ultimately arrive at a more informed perspective on the issues we can then take to our elected officials.

(2) There is no zero sum dynamic here, since a lot of folks are reading MetaFilter during times when more direct democratic action is impossible or inconvenient.

(3) Under the same incorrect assumptions that would lead one to conclude complaining about Pelosi is counterproductive / wasteful, so too is complaining about complaining about Pelosi.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:47 AM on May 9 [19 favorites]


it’s more productive to actually call your individual house rep than to write comments on Mefi about how the Speaker and House aren’t doing enough.

Fax Zero offers a free service to send a fax to your Congressional Representative

Incidentally, I noticed on their page that Attorney General William Barr is not accepting faxes. The DoJ's contact page lists a public comment telephone line at 202-353-1555.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:52 AM on May 9 [7 favorites]


So, in what seems like a pretty basic squid-ink obfuscation/distraction move, Individual 1 today is saying that former Secretary of State John Kerry should be prosecuted for allegedly violating the Logan Act by talking to Iran.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 11:57 AM on May 9


Just called my Rep (Wexton, VA 10th). Here's a script for inspiration to others.
"Hello, my name is ______ and I live in _______. I'm calling Representative ______ _______ to demand they support House Resolution 257 and support an impeachment inquiry of Trump.

Can I count on your support?
Thank you for your time."

You may end up just leaving a voicemail, but that is also really good.
posted by Harry Caul at 12:04 PM on May 9 [16 favorites]


From the above article on Tenn. Speaker Glenn Casada:

Tennessee Firearms Association calls for House Members to remove Glen Casada as Speaker

Nashville, Tennessee - May 9, 2019. Tennessee Firearms Association is calling for members of the Tennessee House of Representatives to vote to remove Glen Casada as Speaker of the Tennessee House based on investigations surrounding the lewd text messaging, the attempted coverup, intentionally false statements to reporters, and related concerns. z

John Harris, Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, states “The Speaker of the House is the third most powerful position in state government. That office holds unilateral control over most of the significant affairs of the House, such as appointments and removals of committee chairs. It would be an unquestioned breach of the public’s interest and trust to have a person in that office who is now proven to be willfully false in his dealings with news reporters and in responding to matters of significant public interest.”

...The public has a right, set forth in Article I, Section 23, of the state’s Constitution to demand of their elected officials that they take action now to restore the office of Speaker by purging its current holder from power and the public should be exercising that right to demand accountability and integrity in all branches of public service.


So the Tennessee Firearms Association is feelin' it. They get it. That makes for a weird juxtaposition to what's going on in DC, like a rip in spacetime.
posted by petebest at 12:18 PM on May 9 [14 favorites]




From Insee's new CCC proposal:
Ten years ago, we built on [the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from the Great Depression] when President Barack Obama signed the Serve America Act. As a Congressman, I was proud to have authored a provision of that law: the national Clean Energy Service Corps. This corps was created to provide service, green skills and job-training opportunities for disadvantaged youth in communities throughout the country as they implemented energy efficiency, waste reduction, and conservation projects. It contributed in building the Conservation Corps network - a movement that today involves some 30,000 Americans. But the Clean Energy Service Corps was never fully funded, after Republicans took control of Congress in 2010.

Now, 10 years later, it’s time for a bigger, more ambitious proposal. The Climate Corps will organize the greatest renewable resource of all - the talent and energy of the American people - to work together in cities and rural communities, in our great parks and public lands, and all around the planet. It will give young people the opportunity to serve in the domestic and global effort to secure a healthy future, and will provide Americans of all ages and backgrounds with education, skills, job-training and employment opportunities to thrive in building our new clean energy economy.
There are three components in his proposal:
  • The first of these programs, called the National Climate Service Corps, will give young Americans the opportunity to serve in creating sustainability solutions in their own communities.
  • The second component is a Global Climate Service Corps, which will give Americans the opportunity to conduct a tour of service overseas working side by side with local partners, as they build expertise in climate mitigation and resilience, clean water, and sustainable economic development.
  • The third component of this Climate Corps initiative is a Green Careers Network, which will build on national service to focus on the challenge of permanent job creation in a clean energy economy.
The article has more details, but I'll leave it at that.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:48 PM on May 9 [25 favorites]


I use Resistbot to send messages to my representatives literally every waking day. Most of the time it's simple statements like "Please support Rep. So-and-so's statement calling for X." and that's it. You don't need to do more. Of course you're welcome to do more, but you don't Have to, and sending simple notes like this takes literally seconds of your time if you use Resistbot via Facebook Messenger, or iMessage, once it knows you and who your representatives are.

You don't bother with the salutation or closing or anything. For instance, this was my most recent exchange:

Tap Messenger, tap Resistbot:

> house
> Please support the House Judiciary's call for Barr to be held in contempt.
> done
> send

That's it.
posted by odinsdream at 12:49 PM on May 9 [23 favorites]


Can I count on your support?

Isn't there a 100% chance that you're talking to a staffer or intern? Is actually talking to your Rep even a remote possibility?

(You should still call. The idea of talking to the Rep just doesn't sync with my experience.)
posted by diogenes at 12:50 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Trump: "Essentially" no obstruction (Twitter link, video)

Essentially?

Trump: No collusion, and essentially no obstruction. Of course a lot of people say, "How can you obstruct when there was no crime? When there was no collusion, how can you possibly obstruct?"

(Wonkette)
NO. Literally no legitimate legal "people" say that you can't obstruct an investigation if the underlying crime is never prosecuted. Here are 800 former federal prosecutors who say the exact opposite. But more to the point,
did Donald Trump just confess to obstruction of justice? A soupçon? A smidge? Some light treason?

... We had been led to believe that the Mueller Report was a full exoneration of the president and his family, who cooperated fully with the investigation. But in light of Mr. Trump's remarks, we just went back to give it a closer look, and HOLY HELL. It turns out Donald Trump may have essentially obstructed justice on multiple occasions. Tell us, Lawfare!

  • Trump tried to end the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn, who lied to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
  • Trump fired Comey and then confessed to both the Russian ambassador and Lester Holt that it was because of the Russia investigation.
  • Trump attempted on multiple occasions to get his staff to fire Robert Mueller or limit his investigation to prospective Russian interference.
  • Trump tried to get Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself and drop the hammer on Robert Mueller.
  • Trump dangled pardons to influence the testimony of Flynn, Cohen, and Manafort.
  • Trump tried desperately to hide the substance of the Trump Tower meeting with allll the Russians.

  • So Trump's never going to give it up, Pelosi's factored that in for sure. But how long are we going to get this press swing before it heads off to SuperBowl coverage or whatever? The iron is pretty darned hot, man.
    posted by petebest at 1:01 PM on May 9 [30 favorites]


    Des Moines Register, What's on Iowans' minds going into 2020 caucuses? A look at 300 questions they asked candidates in April. Reporters attended 46 candidate events in April and recorded the 312 questions that voters asked. And when we talk about why isn't the party doing more about Trump, this is a big part of why. Iowa town-hall questioners are not the party as a whole, but you can't say they aren't politically engaged, and they do have an outsized role in setting the conversation. And they're not largely showing up to demand impeachment:
    Health care, climate change and education were asked about most and accounted for roughly a quarter of all questions asked in April.

    Cable news staple topics, like Russia and presidential impeachment, rarely were brought up — just a couple of times.
    Philip Bump, This article has an irritating headline that people will fight about instead of looking at the graph so I'm just not going to quote it here: "That shift [within the Democratic party] isn't uniform within the party." Scroll down to the "percent of Democrats identifying as liberal" chart, and you'll see that the party is moving to the left, as based on how people self-identify, but that Black and Hispanic Democrats, on average, lag white voters in that trend significantly. Again, look to the people who will decide the primary if you want to know why candidates are prioritizing certain things.

    That said, we can help change that: Tlaib, Green to deliver petition from over 10 million calling for Trump's impeachment
    "I always tell people: 'This is your House, you tell us what to do.' This is us telling this House what to do," Tlaib said at Thursday's rally.
    posted by zachlipton at 1:03 PM on May 9 [14 favorites]


    I think that if you're sending written messages the most common thing that happens is some staffer reviews it, sends a canned response, and adds it to a total on some spreadsheet of constituent opinion. There is a slim chance that your letter/e-mail/fax/whatever ends up getting used by the congressperson in a speech or something if it happens to be something that suits their needs. "I have a letter here from one of my constituents and it reads......" And then they make some comment about whatever you wrote.

    I also think that there is some value in include a quick fact or well stated opinion. The staffers may subconsciously absorb that fact and it'll color their statements to other staffers and more generally influence their feel for the "pulse" of the congressperson's constituency. I included the fact that only 19% of voters supported impeaching Nixon when the hearings began in the fax I just sent (Thanks for the reminder about Fax Zero Doctor Zed!).

    But mostly the message is just "Put another tick-mark in the 'for' column on this issue."
    posted by VTX at 1:10 PM on May 9 [9 favorites]


    Speaking of Insee's climate conservation corps, my representative, Scott Peters, put together "The Climate Playbook," which "lays out dozens of bills authored by both Democrats and Republicans, most of which have already earned bipartisan support. They are written, they are ready, and we can pass them right now in their committees of jurisdiction and on the House floor." It is a great round-up; link heads to Medium.com.

    (Do I wish that the congressman's piece noted, perhaps in an italicized boilerplate, that he served as a staff economist for the EPA before going to law school? And how Peters was a practicing environmental lawyer before entering politics? Yes, yes I do.)
    posted by Iris Gambol at 1:19 PM on May 9 [13 favorites]


    I also think that there is some value in include a quick fact or well stated opinion. The staffers may subconsciously absorb that fact and it'll color their statements to other staffers and more generally influence their feel for the "pulse" of the congressperson's constituency.

    One tactic I use when calling congress members' offices, especially when they're unsympathetic to whatever the issue in question may be, is to ask politely for the staffer to read my message back to me and, if they don't take it down verbatim, to repeat the process until they do. This only works with succinct messages, obviously, and must be practiced as courteously as possible. Even if it's only momentary, it breaks them out of autopilot and forces them to deal with the issue on a person-to-person level.

    Of course, this requires the staff to pick up in the first place, something that, for example, PA's spineless Senator Pat Toomey's almost never does.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 1:21 PM on May 9 [11 favorites]


    Remember, those tick marks really matter. Each time someone writes or calls the Rep knows there's at least a hundred other voters who feel the same way. Just writing "impeach Barr and Trump now" makes a difference.
    posted by xammerboy at 1:35 PM on May 9 [9 favorites]


    Inslee, folks. There is no Jay Insee running for president or governing WA.
    posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 1:38 PM on May 9 [6 favorites]


    I got a personal return call from a state senator once that I called for something. I thought they were really on the ball until we both realized, right about the same time, that she had me confused with someone who shared my name but had much, much more money than I did.
    posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:40 PM on May 9 [103 favorites]


    And they're not largely showing up to demand impeachment:

    Well they wouldn't unless the candidate was an active House member, would they. I didn't see any links to the data so it's hard to know what it says other than the broad generalizations:

    Cable news staple topics, like Russia and presidential impeachment, rarely were brought up — just a couple of times.

    ... Iowans expect access

    Iowans can be a demanding bunch. They expect to see candidates face-to-face, on more than one occasion and in more than one setting. They expect candidates to address whatever topics come up.

    Sandy Madden, a Boone resident, tries to see every presidential candidate who comes to town. This cycle, she's already checked off O’Rourke, Gillibrand, Booker, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro.

    She had the chance to ask Booker a question when he visited Boone, and said his answer showed her he cared about what he was talking about — and cared about her as a voter.

    “It was like it was just him and I in that room,” she said. “... He was talking to me. I don’t think other places, other people, get that kind of connection with candidates.”

    ... Iowans care about more than just policy. Among some of the most-asked types of questions the Register compiled were ones in which Iowans tried to get to know candidates in a personal way.

    “Tell us about your immediate family. … Are you married? Do you have children?” Garry Puck of Manning asked Booker at an event in Carroll on April 16.


    It sounds like people who really care about policy getting an every-four-year chance to gander at people who potentially care about policy. In this climate, I'd bet they're starving.

    IMO It doesn't really hold as a "therefore Democratic voters don't really care about impeachment" although it's certainly a datapoint. It sounds, no offense intended, it sounds literally precious. Like, how lucky would other states be to get that?
    posted by petebest at 1:46 PM on May 9 [4 favorites]


    Trump Says Barr May Decide Whether Mueller Testifies Before Congress (NYT)
    President Trump said on Thursday that he would leave it up to Attorney General William P. Barr to decide whether Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, may testify before Congress on the Russia investigation.

    His comments were a seeming reversal, since Mr. Trump wrote over the weekend on Twitter that Mr. Mueller should not be allowed to appear before Congress. Mr. Barr has told lawmakers that he has no objection to letting Mr. Mueller talk to them.
    posted by Little Dawn at 1:53 PM on May 9 [5 favorites]


    Which means that Trump, having publicly broadcast his feelings about the matter, is now confident that Barr knows what he's supposed to do. Watch for gradual reversal/layered obstruction from Barr now.

    Incidentally, Barr spent part of this afternoon in an unusual farewell ceremony for departing AAG Rod Rosenstein. Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillerman attended the somewhat surreal gathering, which included former AG Jeff Sessions, Kellyanne Conway, Special WH Counsel Emmet Flood, and his predecessor, Don McGahn.

    Sessions really laid it on thick, calling Rosenstein one of the "most important leaders in its history", while Barr made jokes about Rosenstein having the deadpan expression at press conferences and "getting the band back together" with him and Mueller as DoJ alumni from his first tenure as AG. Rosenstein, having received standing ovation, told his audience that "this department stands apart from politics" and that he leaves "confident that justice is in good hands".

    Finally, Tillman reports, "Principal Associate DAG Ed O'Callaghan, who gained some fame as the guy with the robust beard standing behind Rosenstein and Barr at press conferences, ends the ceremony by giving Rosenstein a fake beard that he can wear."

    It's not so much a going-away event for Rosenstein as Team Trump welcoming him in preparation for his inevitable subpoenas to testify on Capitol Hill. And presumably Barr is now in possession his original draft of the Comey firing memo.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 2:14 PM on May 9 [10 favorites]


    Back in the day, it was said that if four people wrote into a TV network to complain they took it seriously. They assumed that if four people were outraged enough to write there must be a million out there who felt the same. I think some of our representatives may feel something similar. So write. One resistbot message may have a greater power than one. If more of us do it the power is increased. It takes a few minutes. I just sent my rep, Pelosi, it’s time for contempt of Congress. The canned replies I ignore. I tell myself I’m doing something. It helps.
    posted by njohnson23 at 2:18 PM on May 9 [15 favorites]


    Remember that Barr said he didn't mind Mueller personally testifying.
    posted by fluttering hellfire at 2:29 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


    a box and a stick and a string and a bear: Inslee, folks. There is no Jay Insee running for president or governing WA.

    Hah, thanks! I wrote Inslee, edited it because someone else made a typo and I didn't do my own fact-checking ;)
    posted by filthy light thief at 2:30 PM on May 9 [3 favorites]


    There was a sale a while back of Norman Rockwell themed postcards, a whole box, about 12 different type. I bought it and now whenever I want to send a message to a legislator - both positive and negative! - I write out a quick three sentence or so message and then mail it it. Considering postcards get there almost next day and design require the vetting an envelope does.

    I don’t do it to the same offices too much so it can’t be dismissed as cranberry and I figure the whole, all American images help. It’s nt as direct as a phone call, those are for bigger matters, but feedback is feedback.
    posted by The Whelk at 2:42 PM on May 9 [15 favorites]


    There's nothing more embarrassing than having your postcard design vetted and dismissed as cranberry.
    posted by perspicio at 2:54 PM on May 9 [28 favorites]


    cranberry?
    posted by SPrintF at 2:56 PM on May 9 [5 favorites]


    crankery I reckon.
    posted by orrnyereg at 2:57 PM on May 9 [4 favorites]


    Can Barr (let alone Trump) prevent Mueller from testifying. This Vox article rather gingerly gives weight to the idea that probably, while Mueller is a DOJ employee. It doesn't say what happens if Mueller resigns before his contract is up at the end of the month, nor what any mechanisms would be to stop Mueller responding to a subpoena as an ordinary citizen. I'd also think that any sanctions that could be levied against Mueller even as a DOJ employee would be limited given his tenure has just a fortnight to run.

    Trump has clearly taken on board the argument that if he tries to act to stop Mueller it really doesn't do the obstruction of justice rap sheet much good, which is why he's shifted the onus onto Barr, but does it help him much?

    Either Trump/Barr cave on delivering the report in toto plus Mueller, or it ends up with the Supremes, who get to decide whether the Constitution says what everyone thinks it says. Fun.
    posted by Devonian at 3:16 PM on May 9 [3 favorites]


    Mark Hosenball, Steve Holland, Reuters: "Donald Trump Jr. seen resisting Senate committee subpoena: sources"
    Donald Trump Jr. is unlikely to comply with a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena to testify about his contacts with Russia, two congressional sources said on Thursday as the president publicly defended his eldest son.

    The sources said Trump Jr is expected to cite his Fifth Amendment constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination, a day after reports that the Republican-led panel had issued what is the first publicly known subpoena for a member of the president’s family.
    posted by OnceUponATime at 3:25 PM on May 9 [10 favorites]


    The sources said Trump Jr is expected to cite his Fifth Amendment constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination, a day after reports that the Republican-led panel had issued what is the first publicly known subpoena for a member of the president’s family.

    You have to show up to use your Fifth Amendment right. This does not let you fail to comply with a subpoena.
    posted by srboisvert at 3:33 PM on May 9 [21 favorites]


    You have to show up to use your Fifth Amendment right. This does not let you fail to comply with a subpoena.

    That depends. Republicans control the senate committee so they alone can decide whether to issue a subpoena. The Republican chairman could simply throw up his hands and say "What's the point, he's taking the Fifth" and give him a pass.

    If Democrats were running the show, they could at least drag Donnie Jr. in and show his Fifth Amendment face on national TV.
    posted by JackFlash at 3:42 PM on May 9 [6 favorites]


    Reuters/Ipsos poll: Americans' Support For Impeaching Trump Rises
    The number of Americans who said President Donald Trump should be impeached rose 5 percentage points to 45 percent since mid-April, while more than half said multiple congressional probes of Trump interfered with important government business, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday.[…]

    In addition to the 45 percent pro-impeachment figure, the Monday poll found that 42 percent of Americans said Trump should not be impeached. The rest said they had no opinion.[…]

    It also showed that 57 percent of adults agreed that continued investigations into Trump would interfere with important government business. That included about half of all Democrats and three-quarters of all Republicans.[…]

    The poll also found that 32 percent agreed that Congress treated the Mueller report fairly, while 47 percent disagreed.

    Trump’s popularity was unchanged from a similar poll that ran last week - 39 percent of adults said they approved of Trump, while 55 percent said they disapproved.
    Team Trump is counting on stonewalling until "investigation fatigue" among the electorate convinces the Democrats to back down. It's up to the House Dem leadership to show that they can simultaneously conduct oversight of the Trump administration and pass legislation everyday issues, something that Pelosi's tried to stress in her interviews.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 3:43 PM on May 9 [32 favorites]


    NYT, Trump Says China Tariffs Will Increase as Trade Deal Hangs in the Balance
    Despite the overture, the administration official said that this round of talks had the dour feeling of heading toward a breakup. There is a growing sense of disappointment in Mr. Xi being unable to follow through on things that Mr. Trump’s trade negotiators thought had been addressed.

    Mr. Trump’s decision to impose 25 percent tariffs on nearly one-third of all Chinese products is the biggest trade action that Mr. Trump has taken so far. The higher tax would hit many consumer products that Americans rely on from Beijing, like seafood, luggage and electronics, raising prices for American companies and their customers across a large portion of sectors.
    ...
    Barring any last-minute decision to rescind the tariff increase, the new 25 percent rate will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. But the higher tariffs would hit only products that leave China as of May 10, not those already in transit. That could provide some additional time for the two sides to reach an agreement. Mr. Trump could also rescind the tariffs once a deal is reached, retroactively reversing the higher rates.
    Why is there not a "Trump is raising taxes 25% on most of what you buy" ad on every single channel?
    posted by zachlipton at 4:44 PM on May 9 [14 favorites]


    Why is there not a "Trump is raising taxes 25% on most of what you buy" ad on every single channel?

    Maybe in part because the CPI has not increased by anywhere near that much.
    posted by The World Famous at 4:47 PM on May 9


    Oh, but if we say that it’s true, we’re a salesman, so it’s not actually a lie.
    posted by Autumnheart at 5:10 PM on May 9 [26 favorites]


    I'm slightly confused by tariffs - is this how they play out?

    (a) Trump Government collects a massive amount of new revenue
    (b) American import companies now sell less of their newly expensive product and Americans have more expensive products OR
    (c) American import companies make less profit by not passing on the cost of the new tax
    (d) China exports less depending on how much the higher price effects sales in the US.

    Seems like quite a few down sides for the American public...
    posted by meech at 5:13 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


    Yes, there are many down sides for the American public to tariffs. But is not true to say that a 25% tariff on goods imported from China means a 25% increase in the price the consumer pays for those goods. The cost of the tariffs is born by different parts of the chain, which does include the consumer, but it's more complicated than that.
    posted by The World Famous at 5:24 PM on May 9 [5 favorites]


    So ask yourself, if you were Pelosi, what could possibly be the point of holding Barr in contempt at all, beyond the optics of making a brave, principled, but ultimately futile stand? In other words, what would it take to make it matter, in terms of tangible results?

    Congress has the power of inherent contempt, stemming from the constitution, not statute. It's time to revive it. And either fine Barr personally, or literally lock him up in the basement of the Capitol building. Or start impeachment against Barr.

    Pelosi and Democrats cannot keep claiming Trump and Barr are destroying our Democracy...and then doing nothing about it because they're worried about upsetting the Ohio Diner demographic. Either use the tools available, or stop pretending like you're doing anything to hold Trump accountable. You cannot do neither, that's lying to your base, and we know it.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 5:29 PM on May 9 [37 favorites]


    Tariffs aren't increasing the cost of everything, but certainly washing machines are something everyone is familiar with.
    posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:41 PM on May 9 [3 favorites]


    I work in consumer goods and have spent far too much time dealing with the tariffs.

    The 10% tariff is assessed on the cost of goods when purchased so it does not take into account all the other costs that are incurred by an importer - freight, warehousing etc. The landed cost of a large inexpensive item might change by only a few percent while a small expensive item might be nearly the whole ten percent.

    So that is part of why a 10% tariff does not equate to a 10% increase in retails.

    Some retailers refuse to accept any increases due to the tariff and may not increase retails. In those cases the vendor gets screwed.

    Another reason is that there are certain sticky retails that vendors and retailers do not want to move off of - 9.99 for instance. In that case the retailer may accept a lower margin on that item. This can work with a 10% tariff. It will not happen with a 25%.

    There will also be companies taking cost out of the product and selling it at the same price. You buy widget A for $10 just as you did before bit now there is 15% less material in it.

    Finally companies are moving production out of China. Usually not to the US but to SE Asia and other places.
    posted by nolnacs at 5:59 PM on May 9 [23 favorites]


    CNN: Judge Fast-Tracks Fight Over Congressional Subpoena of Trump Financial Records
    Judge Amit Mehta plans next week to weigh the major legal issues raised in President Donald Trump's challenge of a congressional subpoena for his accounting firm's records, according to an order issued Thursday -- putting the case on an even faster track than it previously looked to be.

    Congress has subpoenaed Trump and his business' accounting records from the firm Mazars USA, and Trump's personal legal team sued to stop the records from being turned over.

    A hearing is now scheduled for May 14.
    Elsewhere in the courts, Politico's Kyle Cheney reports, "Judge in Roger Stone case seeks to view redacted portions of Mueller report related to STONE and the "dissemination of hacked materials." Comes as Stone is claiming his case isn't related to the Russian hackers and seeking a new judge.*" (Screenshot)

    * Prosecutors said this argument, too, was flawed because the hacking case arose from "common search warrants" such as those that helped indict Stone. (Politico)
    posted by Doktor Zed at 6:12 PM on May 9 [6 favorites]


    NYT, Giuliani Plans Ukraine Trip to Push for Inquiries That Could Help Trump
    Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, is encouraging Ukraine to wade further into sensitive political issues in the United States, seeking to push the incoming government in Kiev to press ahead with investigations that he hopes will benefit Mr. Trump.

    Mr. Giuliani said he plans to travel to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in the coming days and wants to meet with the nation’s president-elect to urge him to pursue inquiries that allies of the White House contend could yield new information about two matters of intense interest to Mr. Trump.

    One is the origin of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The other is the involvement of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son in a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch.
    ...
    “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Mr. Giuliani said in an interview on Thursday when asked about the parallel to the special counsel’s inquiry.

    “There’s nothing illegal about it,” he said. “Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”
    Well if we're only meddling in an investigation and doing what some could say is improper, that's all ok then. Thanks for letting us know, Rudy.
    posted by zachlipton at 6:16 PM on May 9 [27 favorites]


    Tariffs aren't increasing the cost of everything, but certainly washing machines are something everyone is familiar with.

    We ordered a fridge that cost $300 more than the original quote that was only a couple months old. The fridge is American-made, but I imagine that costs of foreign steel have raised prices across the board for value-added products, like appliances.

    The bitter punchline is that tariffs go right into the treasury, where they pay for tax cuts given to the wealthiest one percent and to corporations.

    In addition to uselessly antagonizing neighbors, tariffs are a terribly regressive form of taxation that wholly benefits Trump's friends.
    posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:16 PM on May 9 [31 favorites]


    We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do

    In the Before Times that would've been an extraordinary statement from a former US associate attorney general and US attorney for the Southern District of New York.
    posted by kirkaracha at 6:32 PM on May 9 [19 favorites]


    I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop.

    OK, one of you needs to delve into the fever swamps and report back about what the hell he's talking about.
    posted by diogenes at 6:41 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


    WSJ's Rebecca Ballhaus: "Mitch McConnell, before declaring the Russia investigation “case closed” on Tuesday, privately conveyed his displeasure to Burr about his decision to subpoena Don Jr., per people familiar with the conversations. But on Thursday, during a lunch attended by Senate Republicans, McConnell expressed full confidence in Burr’s probe as dozens of Republican lawmakers—including members of the intelligence committee Burr leads—criticized the choice to subpoena Don Jr." (WSJ: Burr Draws GOP Scrutiny for Subpoena of Donald Trump J)

    The WaPo backs this up: Decision to Subpoena Donald Trump Jr. Sets Off a Republican Firefight "The abrupt disclosure this week of the Trump Jr. subpoena — issued at least a week ago, according to people familiar with the situation — came shortly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insisted that he considered as closed all matters investigated by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III."

    Naturally leaks spring up when there's infighting like this, but it's interesting to see McConnell back down a little, especially since Senate leadership members Roy Blunt and Richard Shelby came to Burr's defense (while Trump lickspittles Ted Cruz, Tom Tillis, and Rand Paul attacked him).
    posted by Doktor Zed at 6:54 PM on May 9 [8 favorites]


    rudy’s comments refer to the corruption investigation by ukrainian authorities which may have involved a firm on the board of which biden’s son had a seat, and which, per the fever swamps, candidate biden had bragged publicly about pressuring that government to end when he was vice president. on train just now so cannot find clarifying non-fever-swamp reporting, that was shared in megathread above or last episode. believe the gist was that western states had issues with the prosecutor, and biden voiced them, perhaps threatening to withhold certain aid.

    more interesting to me, immediately, is that this comment/plan from rudy is reported just hours after i read a more recent fever swamp story about president suggesting john kerry should be tried under the logan act for communications with iranian parties. rudy, not being a government employee but talking to ukraine government should be about as susceptible under that act as kerry.
    posted by 20 year lurk at 7:08 PM on May 9 [4 favorites]


    missed edit. petebest posted wonkette’s coverage may 3.
    posted by 20 year lurk at 7:13 PM on May 9


    Chelsea Manning was released from jail today: "Manning spent 62 days at the Alexandria Detention Center on civil contempt charges after she refused to answer questions to a federal grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. Her lawyers fear her freedom may be short-lived, though. She was released only because the grand jury’s term expired. Before she left the jail, she received another subpoena demanding her testimony on May 16 to a new grand jury." [AP]
    posted by Iris Gambol at 7:42 PM on May 9 [21 favorites]


    The Mueller Report explicitly did not exonerate the President of obstruction of justice, but let’s pretend for a moment that it did. Is the investigation now complete? No. During the course of his investigation, Special Counsel Mueller uncovered evidence of new crimes, and chose to refer the investigation of those crimes to other parts of the Department of Justice.

    Actually, it wasn’t just one referral. It was fourteen.

    Fourteen ongoing Federal criminal investigations. Not counting counter-intelligence investigations, classified investigations, or State investigations.

    Contrary to Senator McConnell, this story isn’t over. We’re partway through the first installment of a cinematic universe.
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:06 PM on May 9 [29 favorites]


    He Founded ‘Students for Trump.’ Now He Could Face Jail Time for Impersonating a Lawyer.
    Meet John Lambert, a living cautionary tale of the Trump era.
    On the eve of the last presidential election, NBC’s “Nightly News” broadcast featured two skinny college students in jackets and ties, discussing the future of American politics. They were co-founders of Students for Trump, a grassroots group that had tapped the social media power of Donald Trump’s populist movement — and of photos of bikini-clad women in MAGA hats — to become the real estate mogul’s standard-bearer on college campuses around the country.
    “I see Donald Trump as reviving the Republican Party,” one of them, John Lambert, declared confidently.
    Last month, Lambert, now 23, showed up in the news again. This time, he had been arrested in Tennessee on charges of wire fraud. According to the federal government, at the same time he was building a nationwide political network and serving as one of the most visible young faces of Trump’s populist movement, Lambert was also posing online as a high-powered New York lawyer, eventually making off with tens of thousands of dollars in fees he stole from unwitting clients seeking legal services.
    Lambert’s rise to prominence and recent indictment offer a cautionary tale of an ambitious young man caught up in Trump’s allure — a get-rich-quick fantasy of the American dream — who allegedly managed to create his own reality on the internet, only to have the real world come barging in.
    It also shines a spotlight on the chaos and confusion of Trump’s ramshackle 2016 campaign, and the cast of characters who sought fame and fortune by riding in his slipstream. Trump ran as a “law and order” candidate. But time and again, the mogul has drawn outlaws and alleged outlaws into his fold, from former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and personal fixer Michael Cohen all the way down. Though he may be the youngest, Lambert is not the first prominent Trump partisan to spend 2016 taunting Hillary Clinton about her supposed criminality, only to end up facing prison time himself instead.
    posted by scalefree at 9:43 PM on May 9 [18 favorites]


    “Cautionary tale of the Trump era” I think committing wire fraud and impersonating a lawyer is cautionary tale for any era 🤔
    posted by gucci mane at 9:45 PM on May 9 [13 favorites]


    From the April 30, NYT, Trump Wants to Block Deutsche Bank From Sharing His Financial Records

    I repost this because the author, financial editor for the NYT David Enrich, has done an interview on Australian radio about Trump's relationship to Deutsche bank, which you can listen to here.

    Here's an excerpt from the article:

    Despite the amiable history between Mr. Trump and Deutsche Bank, the lawsuit is not the first court fight between them. In fall 2008, Mr. Trump defaulted on a loan from Deutsche Bank, then sued it, claiming it had caused the financial crisis and engaged in predatory lending against him. Deutsche Bank responded by suing Mr. Trump, demanding that he immediately repay the portion of the loan, $40 million, that he had personally guaranteed.

    The litigation lasted into 2010. After the suit was settled, Deutsche Bank resumed lending to Mr. Trump, dispensing more than $300 million to him over the next several years.


    So Donald Trump's name is mud with New York financiers because he defaults on loans, stiffs his contractors and flings litigation like a monkey at a zoo. No one will give him a loan. Except Deutche Bank. Then when he treats them to the same behaviour that got him shitlisted on Wall Street, well, they can't stay angry with him. They give him another fucking loan!

    This absolutely reeks of corruption. At the very least it explodes the myth that he's a successful businessman. Most likely it's all about washing rubles.

    No one ever goes to prison for this stuff though.
    posted by adept256 at 12:26 AM on May 10 [37 favorites]


    This absolutely reeks of corruption. At the very least it explodes the myth that he's a successful businessman. Most likely it's all about washing rubles.

    Don't forget his banker at DB was Justin Kennedy, Justice Kennedy's son.
    posted by PenDevil at 12:35 AM on May 10 [53 favorites]


    "Washing Rubles" was my favorite Squeeze song from that No Collusion You're the Puppet album.
    posted by petebest at 5:13 AM on May 10 [41 favorites]


    Democrats Weigh New Impeachment Rationale (Politico (via))

    Politico: “Democrats know that impeachment is a losing proposition against President Donald Trump right now. But there’s another rationale for launching impeachment that has some Democrats reconsidering the idea — getting access to the sensitive documents and testimony that Trump’s team is withholding.”

    Judges have repeatedly ruled that Congress has a greater claim to sensitive government documents and personal information when it can point to an ongoing legal matter, instead of just a congressional investigation or legislative debate. And impeachment would give lawmakers that legal matter — the process is essentially a court procedure run by Congress where the House brings charges and the Senate holds the trial.”


    Uh, sure. Yeah. That's good too. Whatever does it for ya. *checks watch*
    posted by petebest at 5:22 AM on May 10 [13 favorites]


    Apologies, the article David Enrich talks about in the interview is this one:

    Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses

    Newly obtained tax information reveals that from 1985 to 1994, Donald J. Trump’s businesses were in far bleaker condition than was previously known.

    ...

    In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.

    Not only is he a bad businessman, he's the worst by a wide margin.

    Donald twarted a response to this article explaining that's what smart people did to dodge taxes. All out in the open, he can't stop confessing.
    posted by adept256 at 5:37 AM on May 10 [19 favorites]


    I get that Rudy is going to Kiev to dig up dirt on Biden, but why does he need to go there to research "the origin of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election"?
    posted by diogenes at 5:37 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


    why does he need to go there to research "the origin of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election"?

    That's mostly bullshit, an attempt to create a new bullshit narrative. But Manafort is still in a joint defense agreement, so who knows? House Foreign Affairs ought to subpoena him today.
    posted by holgate at 5:48 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


    I get that Rudy is going to Kiev to dig up dirt on Biden, but why does he need to go there to research "the origin of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election"?

    Because they're playing to base's conspiracism, which has given them plenty of cover so far. Either they have some nonsense that'e going to fit to things -- "Anti-Russian fascists in Ukraine funded the Steele Dossier with evil Hillary." -- or they're counting on the base to create the narrative for them.
    posted by kewb at 5:59 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


    why does he need to go there to research "the origin of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election"?

    Rudy is using his NYT contacts to spread his BS Mueller report response.

    Judd Legum: The Rudy Report, Giuliani's response to the Mueller report, laundered through the front page of the NYT today AGAIN

    More from Legum on this here.
    posted by PenDevil at 6:03 AM on May 10 [7 favorites]


    A minor point, just more proof of what we already know about the jerk, but: Vox: How golf explains Donald Trump. Seriously.

    Wherein Sean Illing interviews Rick Reilly, a sportswriter, who has just come out with an entire book (Commander in Cheat) that's apparently about Trump's NPD manifesting in his behavior on golf courses.

    Wait til you get to the story about him claiming an 11-year-old kid's ball as his own because it was in the better position . . . .
    posted by soundguy99 at 6:17 AM on May 10 [35 favorites]


    If you're passing on the Golf article because sportsball - don't. It's great.

    Trump’s cheating at golf might seem trivial compared to his political shenanigans, but there’s another way to think about it: Golf is a game built on self-governance, Reilly says, and in that way, it’s like a “Rorschach test for your morality.” And some of the stories about Trump are truly absurd. “In a weird way,” Reilly told me, they “say as much about Trump as almost anything else we know about him, because it cuts to the core of his character.”

    ... Here’s
    [a story as an example]: While Trump was meeting with Kim [Jong Un] in Singapore, a club championship was held at Trump International, a course Trump built near Mar-a-Lago in Florida for his rich people friends to join. So anyway, a month later, Trump’s there at his golf course, with the Secret Service and the SWAT team guys and all that stuff. And he sees Ted Virtue, one of the financiers behind the movie Green Book.

    Virtue — who wouldn’t speak to me directly, but the story was reported by Golf.com and I confirmed it through two other members of the club — was playing with his kid, who I think is 10 or 11 years old. He [Trump] sees Ted on the 12th hole and decides to drive his cart over there. He tells Ted: Congrats on winning the club championship, but you didn’t really win it because I was out of town.

    Ted tries to laugh it off, but Trump is dead serious. Trump says, “We’re going to play these last six holes for the championship.” And Ted’s like, “I’m playing with my son, but thanks anyway.” But Trump says, “No, your son can play too.” So they end up playing.

    They get to a hole with a big pond on it. Both Ted and his son hit the ball on the green, and Trump hits his in the water. By the time they get to the hole, Trump is lining up the kid’s ball. Only now it’s his ball and the caddie has switched it. The kid’s like, “Daddy, that’s my ball.”

    But Trump’s caddie goes, “No, this is the president’s ball; your ball went in the water.” Ted and his son look at each other confused, not sure if this is really happening. And Trump’s caddie says, “This is the president’s ball. I don’t know what to tell you.”

    Trump makes that putt, wins one up, and declares himself the club champion


    Truly a fucked up dude.
    posted by petebest at 6:32 AM on May 10 [94 favorites]


    why does he need to go there to research "the origin of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election"?

    Of course it'll be easier to meet with Russian intelligence operatives there.

    And Giuliani's already been making waves there, Newsweek reports: How Rudy Giuliani’s Unfounded Claims of an Anti-Trump Conspiracy In Ukraine May Have Ousted an Ambassador
    Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who in March claimed that the U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch had given him a list of individuals who should not be prosecuted, has been meeting regularly with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Some of the meetings took place in Poland, people familiar with the matter said, including on the sidelines of a U.S.-led summit on the Middle East that took place in Poland’s capital Warsaw in February.[…]

    In the wake of these meetings, Lutsenko has been publicly criticizing ambassador Yovanovitch, who was appointed by the Obama administration. Conservative commentators like Laura Ingraham also reported that Republicans were concerned that ambassador Yovanovitch was biased against Trump. The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted in favor of the ambassador’s removal, calling her “Obama’s Ambassador to Ukraine.”

    This week, the Trump administration recalled Yovanovitch two months before her scheduled departure. Voicing what appeared to be a number of theories without evidence, Giuliani told Newsweek that the ambassador was “fired” because the embassy under her direction had conspired with George Soros to have a key anti-corruption investigation quashed.
    Pompeo gets to purge another career diplomat from the State Department while the Trumpworld axis/fringe-right claims another scalp.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 6:43 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


    All out in the open, he can't stop confessing.

    Well, given his track record of living a life of stupendous privilege and adoration by others despite his own complete incompetence and corruption—never spending a day in jail for any of it—I can't say I blame his distorted thinking entirely on him.
    posted by Rykey at 7:03 AM on May 10 [13 favorites]


    It's that, or it's the air pollution -- Researchers Now Have Even More Proof That Air Pollution Can Cause Dementia (Aaron Reuben for Mother Jones, May 2, 2019; which is a follow-up to an article from 2015).


    In other news, Alabama's senate is a fooking mess: Amid Chaos, Alabama Senate Postpones Vote On Nation's Strictest Abortion Ban (Laurel Wamsley for NPR, May 10, 2019)
    Shouting broke out on the Senate floor when the rape and incest exemption was removed without a roll call vote. Troy Public Radio's Kyle Gassiott reports from Montgomery: "Democrats loudly challenged Republicans, saying blocking the amendment violates Senate rules. ... These exceptions were added by the Senate Judiciary Committee over the objections of the bill's sponsor, who proposed it with the eventual goal of challenging Roe v. Wade in the U.S. Supreme Court."
    Alabama Republicans really want to take Roe v. Wade back to the U.S. Supreme Court, given its current conservative majority.
    posted by filthy light thief at 7:08 AM on May 10 [10 favorites]


    And Trump’s caddie says, “This is the president’s ball. I don’t know what to tell you.”

    So...a story about Trump's lack thereof involves people named Virtue. Once again, come on, writers. Come. On.

    In other news, I find myself taking great comfort from even the smallest signs of resistance nowadays. For example, a Facebook posting by one of Austin's local channels about B-52s landing in Qatar came with the line "President Donald J Trump has not offered specific details of the threat allegedly posed by Iran."

    To me, that "allegedly" is striking, and I feel like even a few months ago we wouldn't have seen something like that.
    posted by lord_wolf at 7:45 AM on May 10 [26 favorites]


    From the golf article:
    Sean Illing: What happened with his big golf venture in Puerto Rico?

    Rick Reilly: Before he was president, he went down to Puerto Rico and took a contract to help a course there called Cocoa Beach outside San Juan. He convinced these people that he was going to come down and bring all his celebrity friends and he was going to get a lot of press for them, and he was going to get their business rolling again.

    Well, it didn’t roll. In fact, they lost money. And they said, “Okay, we’re quitting. We’re going to call it bankruptcy.” Trump said, “No, you need to take out a loan from the government,” so they took out a $32 million loan. And then, again, they lost money. Trump pulled up stakes and left, and the government was stuck with a $32 million unpaid loan.

    Fast-forward to the time of his presidency, when Puerto Rico is devastated by a natural disaster, he turns his back on them again. I’m not saying these two things are linked. I’m just saying twice he’s turned his back on the same group of American citizens.


    Of course it's about golf. I didn't even think about it. There's a whole other category of finanical and political crime to be accounted for in all his golf trips.
    posted by petebest at 7:45 AM on May 10 [23 favorites]


    Pompeo gets to purge another career diplomat from the State Department while the Trumpworld axis/fringe-right claims another scalp.

    She could have been axed in 2016. Ambassadorships are pretty much a presidential prerogative and are frequently given out as rewards for campaign donation bundlers (also they are largely ceremonial wastes of money). I'd think it was weird that there was an Obama carryover in the Ukraine except with the Trump admin it was probably just simple incompetence and laziness.
    posted by srboisvert at 7:49 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


    I'm amazed that she wasn't one of the ambassadors Trump fired on Day One.

    Also, it's not "the Ukraine" -- that's a relic of Ukrainian people and territory being controlled by other forces, who consistently used the "the" to make it seem like it was just sort of a nebulous region, like "the Midwest", and therefore had no sovereignty.
    posted by Etrigan at 7:55 AM on May 10 [29 favorites]


    Ambassadorships are pretty much a presidential prerogative and are frequently given out as rewards for campaign donation bundlers (also they are largely ceremonial wastes of money).

    The Australian ambassador to Great Britain, a fellow called Alexander Downer, heard this story from a bloke down the pub, that the Russians had all this dirt on Hillary Clinton and they were going to give it to Trump. That was George Papadopoulos. He wrote a letter to ASIO (Aussie CIA), who tipped off the FBI. And that is the oranges of the FBI investigation that Trump wants to know about.

    In general I agree, it's a ceremonial waste of money. Downer is basically retired. But on this occasion it was priceless.

    The Australian ambassador became the unwitting catalyst of the investigation when he had a late-night conversation in a London wine bar in May, 2016, with young Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

    For real, we have an ambassador to thank for this.
    posted by adept256 at 8:17 AM on May 10 [24 favorites]


    They get to a hole with a big pond on it. Both Ted and his son hit the ball on the green, and Trump hits his in the water. By the time they get to the hole, Trump is lining up the kid’s ball. Only now it’s his ball and the caddie has switched it. The kid’s like, “Daddy, that’s my ball.”

    But Trump’s caddie goes, “No, this is the president’s ball; your ball went in the water.” Ted and his son look at each other confused, not sure if this is really happening. And Trump’s caddie says, “This is the president’s ball. I don’t know what to tell you.”

    Trump makes that putt, wins one up, and declares himself the club champion



    Just in case you are unfamiliar with golf and think it is easy to mix up little white balls that all look alike you should know that golf has a system for this.

    Golf balls have brand names on them and also numbers. So when you start a round of golf you are supposed to make sure your ball is different from other players to avoid this potential confusion as you may not always be able to keep your eye on your ball (hitting over trees, losing sight of it in the rough, traps or behind undulations in the ground). So if you are playing the same brand of golf ball (say Titleist for example) as another player then you make sure your ball has a different number on it.

    A caddy who wants to cheat for their boss then has to make sure he pockets matching balls so that they can miraculously find balls when the real ball is lost or throw them onto the fairway when the real ball is out of sight in the rough.

    Now it is possible that the situation with Trump was one where the players were hitting a green that was out of sight from where they swinging and only the caddy was positioned to see where they landed (caddies sometimes hand off a club and then walk ahead to a vantage point where they can see the entire trajectory for ball finding purposes) but it should have been easily resolved by simply looking at the ball but it would require calling out the caddy on his lie.

    (I caddied my way through my high school years to fund my expensive BMX parts breaking habit. I knew lots of caddies who would cheat for their guys even just in no-stakes regular weekend club play. Also as an irrelevant but important to me aside the highlight of my caddying career was caddying in the same foursome as Calvin Peete in the Canadian Open Pro Am in '82. Peete at the time was the most successful African American golfer in history and just off several big tournament wins. Our gallery of fans was never more than 10 people. Fuzzy Zoeller had hundreds despite not having won anything in ages. Peete's drives were simply mind blowingly amazing and gave me an appreciation for how large a step jump it was from being a good golfer to being a pro. Peete's caddy caddied barefoot and was a pretty cool hippie who had just made about $70K in prize shares in the months before the Pro Am. I made $50 which was 3-4X what I normally made.)
    posted by srboisvert at 8:19 AM on May 10 [29 favorites]


    This absolutely reeks of corruption. At the very least it explodes the myth that he's a successful businessman. Most likely it's all about washing rubles.

    No one ever goes to prison for this stuff though.


    There's another huge money laundering scandal in Europe, with ties to Putin, and it looks a lot like people will go to jail in that. (There's also some sort of tie to the Deutsche Bank thing, but this is all very complicated and confusing to me. I'm just happy there are consequences for being a criminal.

    About ambassadors: career diplomats are a whole other species than vanity ambassadors, and normally, a president won't send a donor to a less than charming and very complicated place like Ukraine.
    posted by mumimor at 8:30 AM on May 10 [12 favorites]


    Alexander Downer was also more than a typical ambassador. He was leader of Australia’s Liberal Party (not our definition of liberal, center-right) for two years and foreign minister for 12 years previously. Which is why Pap and Rs trying to make him into some deep state stooge to help Clinton is so ridiculous.
    posted by chris24 at 8:30 AM on May 10 [15 favorites]


    The GoFundMe campaign to build the border wall promised to start construction in April. Now they've blown through that deadline, and donors are fuming.
    posted by porn in the woods at 8:39 AM on May 10 [19 favorites]


    a Snapshot of a country

    American kids are 70 percent more likely to die before adulthood than kids in other rich countries

    More Americans have died at school in the last two years then in war zones.
    posted by The Whelk at 8:46 AM on May 10 [88 favorites]


    I promise I will try harder in the future. The real link to the David Enrich interview:

    Trump's taxes and the Deutsche Bank connection

    Sorry. I wouldn't want anyone to miss it just because I'm clumsy.
    posted by adept256 at 8:59 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


    > The GoFundMe campaign to build the border wall promised to start construction in April. Now they've blown through that deadline, and donors are fuming.

    With donors like this, why wouldn't you run repeated grifts?
    Making donors more nervous is that Kolfage has a history of participating in questionable endeavors. He was a prolific operator of hoax pages on Facebook, and money he raised in the past to help veterans’ programs in hospitals never actually went to those hospitals. [...] “I knew Brian had some previous shady GoFundMe campaigns,” Greene emailed. “I felt more confident when he brought on other big names to work with him, I haven’t seen a tweet from ANY of them.
    Like, seriously? You knew this person had run FB hoaxes and scammed money meant for vets, but this time it was going to be different? Fool me once, etc. etc.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 9:02 AM on May 10 [28 favorites]


    Ambassadorships are pretty much a presidential prerogative and are frequently given out as rewards for campaign donation bundlers (also they are largely ceremonial wastes of money).

    Marie Louise Yovanovitch isn’t some political bigwig donor like football mogul Woody Johnson, now the Ambassador of the United States to the Court of St James's (god help us); she’s a career foreign service office with over forty years of experience and expertise in this highly sensitive region, including ambassadorships to Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. Who knows, maybe Tillerson kept her around as much because of her veteran status as his inability to find a Trumpist replacement. Pompeo has no such scruples, however, and it looks like he and Giuliani are in the same page in getting rid of her as a member of the so-called Obama Deep State. And if there’s an iron law about Trump’s appointments, it’s that however bad the previous ones are, the replacements are worse.

    Foreign Policy has more on her sandbagging: U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Recalled in ‘Political Hit Job,’ Lawmakers Say—Marie Yovanovitch stepping down as ambassador follows attacks from both right-wing media figures in the United States and a senior Ukrainian official. n.b. “Yovanovitch’s early dismissal will leave the U.S. Embassy in Kiev without a top diplomat at an important juncture in Ukraine, during the transition of newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky.”
    posted by Doktor Zed at 9:25 AM on May 10 [15 favorites]


    Complicating the effort further is that it’s not that easy to find private land right on the border where a wall can be built.

    Ah, so people donated due to emotion, not based on any sound financial investment research. Got it.
    posted by Melismata at 9:27 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]




    You knew this person had run FB hoaxes and scammed money meant for vets, but this time it was going to be different?

    They're not sending their best.
    posted by banshee at 9:47 AM on May 10 [7 favorites]


    Looks like this has gone even scammier than the Arizona border fence construction fund. I mentioned this some months back in a different thread - They actually tried something like that in Arizona. A fund was established by the state legislature to take contributions to build a border wall along private property in border areas. They thought they could raise as much as $50 million. Six years later, they closed the fund after collecting... $270,000. The crowdfunding idea for a wall is laughable.
    posted by azpenguin at 10:03 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


    Biden looking for ‘middle ground’ climate policy

    "My starting position is halfway between the continuation and extinction of humanity. Now let's negotiate."
    posted by Rust Moranis at 10:24 AM on May 10 [42 favorites]


    "Donald twarted a response to this article explaining that's what smart people did to dodge taxes. All out in the open, he can't stop confessing."

    This is why his campaign people at one point took a look at his taxes and said "nope, I get it now, we're burying this." It's a catch-22 - admit you're not anywhere near as successful as you claimed or tell the country that you lied flagrantly to the taxman to save face. He's narcissistic enough to do the latter and now he has, even without the most recent tax returns.
    posted by Selena777 at 10:26 AM on May 10 [7 favorites]


    Since the 1970s, everything has gotten worse and worse,” said Ms. Piven, who is now 86. There were very clear reasons for this. “Poor people,” she said, had been “humiliated” and “shut up.” Those in power now are “crazy.”

    “But they’re also evil,” she continued. “And they will be evil because they are greedy.” Only one thing would stop them, she said. “We have to be noisy, and difficult and ungovernable.” (NYT)
    posted by The Whelk at 10:28 AM on May 10 [38 favorites]


    Miami Herald dives into the dirty details of Mar-a-Lago-gate: Feds Open Foreign-Money Investigation into Trump Donor Cindy Yang
    The FBI has opened a public corruption investigation into Republican donor and South Florida massage-parlor entrepreneur Li “Cindy” Yang, focusing on whether she illegally funneled money from China into the president’s re-election effort or committed other potential campaign-finance violations, the Miami Herald has learned.

    Investigators obtained a federal grand jury subpoena Tuesday seeking records from Bing Bing Peranio, an employee of Yang’s family’s spa business who last year contributed a maximum $5,400 to President Donald Trump’s re-election effort, according to a source familiar with the probe. Yang came to Peranio’s workplace and helped her write the check, Peranio told reporters from The New York Times, who first reported the contribution. Peranio told The Times she didn’t “say no.”

    The subpoena asked for any records related to that March 5, 2018, donation and possibly other contributions between 2014 and the present, said the source, who asked for anonymity to discuss an ongoing federal investigation.
    The eminently quotable Peranio told the Herald, “It’s not just me. I don’t know why I always get it.” But when the reporter asked her she had been paid back for her donation to the Trump campaign, she said she could not hear the question and hung up on them.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 10:37 AM on May 10 [13 favorites]




    Reuters: Pompeo to Raise 'Aggressive, Destabilizing' Russian Actions with Putin, Lavrov
    Pompeo would reiterate U.S. concerns about Russia’s roles in Venezuela and Syria and its breach of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, as well as Russian attempts to meddle in U.S. elections, the official told reporters in previewing Pompeo’s trip to Moscow and Sochi next week.

    “We have many areas of disagreement with the Russian government and the secretary will have a very candid conversation about concerns in our bilateral relationship,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
    Why on earth is this briefing being provided only anonymously? Is the State Dept. flack leaking this because it’s otherwise confidential?! Are they afraid of being associated with a hard line against Russia when Trump is having chummy 90-minute calls with Putin?

    Incidentally, Foreign Policy has an example of Mike Pompeo’s idea of confronting Russian aggression: On Eve of Russia Trip, Pompeo Squelches Criticism of Moscow—State Department quietly takes down a statement blaming Russia for coup attempt in Montenegro.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 11:20 AM on May 10 [6 favorites]


    This is old, but it's worth bringing up again: Donald Trump Used Legally Dubious Method to Avoid Paying Taxes

    In the nineties, Trump accrued over a billion dollars in debt from his failed casinos. Banks forgave him over $900 million in debt, in exchange for repayment on part of the money he owed them. The IRS considers forgiven debt to be taxable income.

    What does Trump do? He pays back the debt to the banks. At least on paper. He gives them a partnership interest (future stake in profits) in the casinos that have already failed and are ready to be dissolved. He pays them back with something everyone agrees is worthless.

    Since he's paid by his debts, he can now write those debts off in future taxes. Who said this was legal? No one. Even Trump's own tax lawyers told him it likely wasn't. No one thought this was a valid loophole. He simply made an argument that a crazy notion was legal when it clearly wasn't, and then banked on not being called on it.
    posted by xammerboy at 11:24 AM on May 10 [25 favorites]


    US Govt and DC authorities may be in the process of seizing the Venezuelan embassy in DC, amid clashes between protesters there. < WaPost
    posted by Harry Caul at 11:27 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


    Also, the $60 million in income from interest Trump claimed one year? Who gives someone that kind of money (probably around half a billion) to keep it sitting around in their bank account doing nothing but collecting interest for the account holder? Where did that money come from and what happened to it?
    posted by xammerboy at 11:36 AM on May 10 [10 favorites]


    Also, the $60 million in income from interest Trump claimed one year? Who gives someone that kind of money (probably around half a billion) to keep it sitting around in their bank account doing nothing but collecting interest for the account holder?

    posted by xammerboy at 11:36 AM on May 10 [2 favorites +] [!]


    Proceeds from some types of mutual funds (e.g., bonds) are designated as interest, so if you park a huge bunch of money in one, the proceeds are documented on a 1099-INT form.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 12:24 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


    NYT, Many Hospitals Charge Double or Even Triple What Medicare Would Pay
    Across the nation, hospitals treating patients with private health insurance were paid overall 2.4 times the Medicare rates in 2017, according to the RAND analysis. The difference was largest for outpatient care, where private prices were almost triple what Medicare would have paid.
    This is both central to the argument for why we need Medicare for All and central to the problems with enacting it: we have nothing close to an idea of what hospitals actually should be paid.
    posted by zachlipton at 12:56 PM on May 10 [18 favorites]


    And medical costs vary from town to town, state to state (NPR, April 27, 2016) -- some make sense (Alaska is expensive), some less so (Oregon: higher; Nevada: lower).


    I'm really looking forward to the day that the FCC isn't an extension of private interests: FCC says carriers failed Florida after hurricane—but lets them off the hook -- FCC finds "voluntary" commitment didn't work, proposes new... voluntary commitment. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, May 10, 2019)
    Mobile carriers' response to the hurricane was so bad that even FCC Chairman Ajit Pai—who normally avoids any criticism of the industry he's paid to regulate—called it "completely unacceptable" in October 2018 (Ars Technica). Outages left many customers without cell service for more than a week, as Verizon and others struggled to restore service.

    Pai initiated an investigation and released the FCC Public Safety Bureau's resulting report yesterday (FCC.gov). The report recommends changes that carriers can make to improve future hurricane responses, and Pai said he is "call[ing] on wireless phone companies, other communications providers, and power companies to quickly implement the recommendations contained in this report."

    But following the report's recommendations is optional for the carriers because the FCC didn't announce any plans to require them to implement the changes. The FCC investigation found that carriers failed to follow their own previous voluntary roaming commitments, unnecessarily prolonging outages, yet the FCC is still relying entirely on voluntary measures to prevent recurrences.
    Emphasis mine. Oh, and Ajit Pai killed rules that could have helped Florida recover from hurricane -- Pai blames carriers, but he repealed rules that were spurred by Hurricane Sandy. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Oct. 18, 2018).

    Back to the present: Ajit Pai refuses to investigate Frontier’s horrible telecom service -- Long outages and bad customer service mar Frontier's government-funded network. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, May 8, 2019)
    An investigation by the Minnesota Commerce Department already found that Frontier's network has "frequent and lengthy" phone and Internet outages, that Frontier has failed to provide refunds or bill credits to customers even when outages lasted for months, that Frontier is guilty of frequent billing errors that caused customers to pay for services they didn't order, and that it has failed to promptly provide telephone service to all customers who request it. When we wrote about the investigation in January, Frontier said it "strongly disagrees" with the findings but did not dispute any of the specific allegations.

    The Minnesota Attorney General's office is investigating (Star Tribune) whether Frontier violated state consumer-protection laws, and the state's two US senators asked Pai to have the FCC investigate as well. When Pai wrote back to the senators, he said that he has asked his staff to "monitor" the state investigation but made no commitment to have the FCC investigate, too. Pai's response and the senators' letter were posted on the FCC's website this week (FCC.gov).

    "For a chairman who is so concerned with rooting out waste, fraud and abuse, it's baffling that the commission tasked with overseeing billions of dollars in public money is declining to investigate the more than a thousand allegations of poor service by a company that receives that public money to provide those services," US Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) told Ars in a statement today. (The Minnesota investigation was based partly on more than 1,000 consumer complaints and statements.)
    Hear hear, Sen. Smith!
    posted by filthy light thief at 1:01 PM on May 10 [23 favorites]


    NPR has a scoop on the Butina affair: Exclusive: Documents Detail Meetings Of Russians With Treasury, Federal Reserve
    Alexander Torshin, then a Russian central banker, brought his protégée, Maria Butina, for meetings with senior officials and even sought another with the then-chair of the Fed, the documents confirm. Agency officials described what happened before and since in internal materials obtained by NPR under the Freedom of Information Act.[…]

    According to that newly revealed account, the discussion wasn't so much about banking as about denying Russia's involvement in the shoot-down of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner and amplifying Torshin's support for guns.

    "The meeting was supposed to be about economics, but the guy just went on and on about how the Russians didn't shoot down MH17 for an hour or so," the Treasury Department official wrote, referring to the Malaysia Airlines flight. "The guy was also a gun fanatic and said he was a 'life member of the NRA.' In fact I think he was even in town for personal business tied to the NRA."[…]

    Following the approval of an adviser, [Vice Chairman Stanley] Fischer took the meeting on April 8, 2015, without further investigation into Torshin's background.

    "They are in the United States to attend the NRA's annual meeting," the meeting's official notes read. Both Russians pointed out, as part of their introduction, that they were "life members" of the NRA. This meeting did turn to economic issues, including discussions about Russian credit and inflation.
    As with the Veselnitskaya Trump Tower meeting, the tradecraft angle here is not about what Torshavn and Butina accomplished from a single meeting but rather the fact that they could arrange a meeting at all. Down the road, this can be used as leverage with the attendees or with other prospectives. At least the Fed officials recorded contemporary memoranda, but at the time, Torshin's organized crime links had already been reported in the press, making him a highly questionable figure to host a meeting with in the first place.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 1:02 PM on May 10 [15 favorites]


    May your grief and anger be a catalyst to action: Proposed Rule Could Evict 55,000 Children From Subsidized Housing (Pam Fessler for NPR, May 10, 2019)
    Tens of thousands of poor children — all of them American citizens or legal residents — could lose their housing under a new rule proposed today by the Trump Administration.

    The rule is intended to prevent individuals who are in the country illegally from receiving federal housing aid, which the administration argues should only go to help legal residents or citizens.

    But the proposal targets 25,000 families that now receive such aid because they are of "mixed" status, which means that at least one member of the family is undocumented while the others are citizens or legal residents. These families now pay higher rents to account for their mixed status.

    Under the new rule, those families would lose all of their housing aid, such as vouchers and public housing.

    An impact analysis by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which proposed the rule, acknowledges that the change could have a devastating impact. It says that 108,000 people would be affected. About 70% of them are citizens or legal residents and three quarters of those — 55,000 — are children.
    Apparently Ben Carson's spin is that this would free up housing funding for other in-need Americans, but that's questionable.

    The administration is accepting public comment on the proposed rule until July 9. Not that they'll actually listen to public comments.
    posted by filthy light thief at 1:15 PM on May 10 [27 favorites]


    It's not just questionable, it's patently false.

    "Restricting those subsidies to families in which all members are legal U.S. residents would cost an additional $193 million to $227 million a year because entire families would receive higher subsidies, the analysis said.

    Given that Congress is unlikely to allocate the additional money, HUD probably would be compelled to “reduce the quantity and quality of assisted housing in response to higher costs,” the analysis found."
    posted by Selena777 at 1:19 PM on May 10 [13 favorites]


    According to that newly revealed account, the discussion wasn't so much about banking as about denying Russia's involvement in the shoot-down of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner

    This is as transparent a fig leaf as Natalia Veselnitskaya coming to Trump Tower to talk about "Russian adoptions". In immediate response to shooting down MH17 the US and EU tightened their sanctions programs on Russia. That round of sanctions covered arms, finance (including sanctions and capital market restrictions on six Russian banks), energy and energy sector technology.
    posted by peeedro at 1:45 PM on May 10 [10 favorites]


    Trump Labor Officials Are Secretly Using Forced Arbitration to Get Corporations Off the Hook (Zachary Clopton and David Noll, Slate)
    Behind closed doors, Trump’s agencies are engaged in a quieter form of deregulation that is as hard to detect as it is insidious. We call it the “arbitration shell game,” and it works like this: First, a corporation pushes its employees or customers into arbitration, limiting their ability to sue. Then, federal agencies refuse to exercise their own enforcement authority because employees or customers “agreed” to arbitrate. The result is that corporations operate free of accountability, even when their actions affect thousands of people.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 1:58 PM on May 10 [18 favorites]


    AP: US-China Talks Break Up After US Raises Tariffs
    A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, confirmed that the talks had concluded for the day but could not say when they would resume.

    Hours earlier, the Trump administration hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25% from 10%, escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington. China’s Commerce Ministry vowed to impose “necessary countermeasures” but gave no details.

    The tariff increase went ahead even after American and Chinese negotiators briefly met in Washington on Thursday and again on Friday, seeking to end a dispute that has disrupted billions of dollars in trade and shaken global financial markets.
    Trump went on Twitter to brag about his "very strong" relationship with Xi but threatened the new US tariffs "may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations!"

    And why did Trump unexpectedly disrupt the negotiations with his 25% tariff tweet last Friday? Politico's Elena Johnson reports: "On China, per sources, POTUS was given overly optimistic reports about progress of trade talks in an effort to keep him patient as talks dragged on -- so he thought U.S. was closer to a deal than it was. Helps to explain the sudden backlash."
    posted by Doktor Zed at 2:09 PM on May 10 [11 favorites]


    So...a story about Trump's lack thereof involves people named Virtue. Once again, come on, writers. Come. On.

    I just watched an episode of Veep where the president sending one embarrassing tweet causes a big scandal and the administration puts trade sanctions on China. So maybe that's the timeline we're in.
    Except with many, many more terrible tweets.
    Why can't we be stuck in a West Wing timeline?
    posted by kirkaracha at 2:10 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


    The No President Is Above the Law Act would pause the statute of limitations for any federal offense committed by a sitting president. Today, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), along with Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the No President Is Above the Law Act, which would pause the statute of limitations for any federal offense committed by a sitting president, whether it was committed before or during the president’s term of office. This legislation would ensure that presidents can be held accountable for criminal conduct just like every other American and not use the presidency to avoid legal consequences.

    While some argue there is nothing to prevent a president from being indicted while in office, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice and others take the opposing view. In fact, Special Counsel Mueller cited the OLC opinion as the reason he believed he could neither accuse President Trump of a crime nor seek his indictment. He explained that "while the [OLC] opinion concludes that a sitting President may not be prosecuted, it recognizes that a criminal investigation during the President’s term is permissible. The OLC opinion also recognizes that a President does not have immunity after he leaves office."

    ... Most federal criminal offenses carry a five-year statute of limitations. Therefore, a president who is not prosecuted while in office for a crime they may have committed—before or during the presidency—could end up escaping liability altogether if the statute of limitations runs out before their term is over, especially if elected to a second term. This would make a mockery of the rule of law. The No President Is Above the Law Act would ensure that every person—no matter his or her title or office—is held accountable under our laws.


    Yes, I know this won't be passed by the Senate but I am happy to see this nonetheless.
    posted by Bella Donna at 2:38 PM on May 10 [56 favorites]


    Who's ready for yet another scandal? How about one connected to Fugee member Pras Michel, missing fugitive Jho Low, Obama's 2012 campaign, superPACs galore, Malaysia's 1MDB fraud scandal, Donald Trump himself, Goldman Sachs, and current AG William Barr?

    1MDB’s Jho Low, Rapper Pras Michel Indicted Over Obama Donation < Bloomberg
    posted by Harry Caul at 2:54 PM on May 10 [8 favorites]


    The No President Is Above the Law Act would pause the statute of limitations for any federal offense committed by a sitting president. Today, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), along with Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the No President Is Above the Law Act, which would pause the statute of limitations for any federal offense committed by a sitting president, whether it was committed before or during the president’s term of office.

    Fuck that. If they break the law, prosecute them and remove them from office while you lock them up if they're found guilty. That's why we have an order of succession.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 2:58 PM on May 10 [28 favorites]


    From Talking Points Memo (emphasis mine): “Never tweet,” goes the popular internet age refrain. In the case of Matt Wolking, the Trump 2020 campaign’s recently appointed director for rapid response, the aphorism should be tweaked to “never blog.” From 2008-2011, beginning in college and continuing after he graduated, the Republican communications staffer ran a blog called “Wolking’s World” rife with Islamophobic content and conspiracy theories.

    In an archived version of the site accessible via the Internet Archive, Wolking said over 90 million Muslims were “murderous thugs,” voiced support for banning the construction of mosques, and compared the passage of the Affordable Care Act to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Wolking’s blog was flagged to TPM by Democratic opposition research group American Bridge. The posts are still findable via the Internet Archive, and a 2009 blog post from the college Republican student group at Patrick Henry College, the Virginia Christian private school that Wolking attended, identifies Wolking as the blog’s author.

    ... In March, the Trump campaign brought Wolking on board as deputy director of communications to lead an “aggressive rapid response team, refuting attacks and exposing the fake news media.” Asked for comment from TPM, Trump 2020 Deputy Communications Director Erin Perrine wrote: “It’s pathetic that the third-rate Democrat opposition research firm American Bridge is now spending time combing through decade-old, college-era WordPress blogs looking for things to distort, and that they finally found someone in the media willing to play along.”

    posted by Bella Donna at 3:03 PM on May 10 [10 favorites]


    WSJ, Don McGahn Rebuffed White House Request to Say Trump Didn’t Obstruct Justice
    Within a day of the release of the Mueller report last month, President Trump sought to have former White House counsel Don McGahn declare he didn’t consider the president’s 2017 directive that he seek Robert Mueller’s dismissal to be obstruction of justice, but Mr. McGahn rebuffed the request, according to people familiar with the matter.
    posted by zachlipton at 3:06 PM on May 10 [39 favorites]


    The Wrap:
    Four companies so far have pledged to boycott the state of Georgia for new film and TV productions until the new legislation that bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy is reversed.

    “The Wire” creator David Simon and his Blown Deadline Productions, Killer Films CEO Christine Vachon (“Carol,” “Vox Lux”), Mark Duplass and his Duplass Brothers Productions and “Triple Frontier” producer Neal Dodson on behalf of his CounterNarrative Films alongside J.C. Chandor, have so far publicly condemned the law that’s being called the “heartbeat bill.”
    [own links for context]
    ---

    David Simon@AoDespair, on Twitter today:

    Can only speak for my production company. Our comparative assessments of locations for upcoming development will pull Georgia off the list until we can be assured the health options and civil liberties of our female colleagues are unimpaired.

    &

    I'm sorry, but there is no conceivable way that I can, as an employer, ethically ask any of my female colleagues to work in a jurisdiction that limits their health care options and impairs their civil liberties. It isn't possible.
    posted by Iris Gambol at 3:40 PM on May 10 [84 favorites]


    Proceeds from some types of mutual funds (e.g., bonds) are designated as interest, so if you park a huge bunch of money in one, the proceeds are documented on a 1099-INT form.

    There are lots of ways of generating interest, with mutual funds being just one of them. The unanswered question is where the "huge bunch of money," more than half billion dollars of interest generating investments, came from and where it went the following year, as it suddenly materialized and then disappeared. That's not chump change for a guy who was on the brink of bankruptcy.
    posted by JackFlash at 4:29 PM on May 10 [15 favorites]


    WaPo, Trump takes over Fourth of July celebration, changing its location and inserting himself into the program
    The president has received regular briefings on the effort in the Oval Office and has gotten involved in the minutiae of the planning — and initially argued that the fireworks should be launched from a barge in the Potomac River, administration aides said. The president has shown interest in the event that he often does not exhibit for other administration priorities, the aides added.
    Trump wants to show up and give a speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial too. And while it's rather concerning that he's shown more interest in this than his intelligence briefings and that his own staff continue to talk about him like he's a child, I'm a big advocate of harm reduction, so letting him focus his efforts on the fireworks instead of the military seems like it's best for everyone.
    posted by zachlipton at 4:32 PM on May 10 [28 favorites]


    Dems and the press need to start referring to tariffs as taxes, which is exactly what they are...sales taxes, payed by Americans, to the US treasury.
    Republicans hate taxes. MAGA hatters hate taxes. Libertarians hate taxes. Make Trump explain to them why he's raising the taxes they pay every time they buy Chinese-made products at Walmart.
    posted by rocket88 at 5:11 PM on May 10 [19 favorites]


    The president has shown interest in the event that he often does not exhibit for other administration priorities, the aides added.

    Charles Leerhsen, Yahoo News: "Exclusive: Trump, the billion-dollar loser — I was his ghostwriter and saw it happen"
    Trump’s portfolio did not jibe with what I saw each day — which to a surprisingly large extent was him looking at fabric swatches. Indeed, flipping through fabric swatches seemed at times to be his main occupation. Some days he would do it for hours, then take me in what he always called his “French military helicopter” to Atlantic City — where he looked at more fabric swatches or sometimes small samples of wood paneling. It was true that the carpets and drapes at his properties needed to be refreshed frequently, and the seats on the renamed Trump Shuttle required occasional reupholstering. But the main thing about fabric swatches was that they were within his comfort zone — whereas, for example, the management of hotels and airlines clearly wasn’t.
    Emphasis mine.
    posted by OnceUponATime at 5:17 PM on May 10 [52 favorites]


    I'm a big advocate of harm reduction, so letting him focus his efforts on the fireworks instead of the military seems like it's best for everyone

    Why... yes! By all means, I think he should be encouraged to be as involved in designing and setting them off even. He does have one of the best minds ever, and I'm sure that extends to expertise in such matters. The fact that the track record of amateurs blowing themselves up playing with fireworks is so high... well, I'm sure that couldn't apply to such a Stable Genius.
    posted by bcd at 5:24 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


    Dems and the press need to start referring to tariffs as taxes, which is exactly what they are...sales taxes, payed by Americans, to the US treasury.

    "The Trump Tax" as in "Your tomatoes are so expensive because you're paying the Trump Tax". The tomato price thing has legs, I've heard a lot more people concerned about that than like, actually extremely concerning things that come out of this administration. Which makes sense, his base is largely people who are privileged enough to not feel real pain from government action or inaction, but uh oh, can't escape the grocery bill.
    posted by jason_steakums at 5:27 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


    WSJ, Don McGahn Rebuffed White House Request to Say Trump Didn’t Obstruct Justice

    The NYT confirms this story: White House Asked McGahn to Declare Trump Never Obstructed Justice
    White House officials asked at least twice in the past month for the key witness against President Trump in the Mueller report, Donald F. McGahn II, to say publicly that he never believed the president obstructed justice, according to two people briefed on the requests.

    Mr. Trump asked White House officials to make the request to Mr. McGahn, who was the president’s first White House counsel, one of the people said. Mr. McGahn declined. His reluctance angered the president, who believed that Mr. McGahn showed disloyalty by telling investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, about Mr. Trump’s attempts to maintain control over the Russia investigation.

    The White House made one of the requests to Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, before the Mueller report was released publicly but after the Justice Department gave a copy to Mr. Trump’s lawyers in the preceding days. Reading the report, the president’s lawyers saw that Mr. Mueller left out that Mr. McGahn had told investigators that he believed the president never obstructed justice. Mr. Burck had told them months earlier about his client’s belief on the matter and that he had shared it with investigators.[…]

    But after the report was released, detailing the range of actions Mr. Trump took to try to impede the inquiry, Mr. McGahn decided to pass on putting out a statement supportive of the president. The report also revealed that Mr. Trump told aides he believed Mr. McGahn had leaked to the news media to make himself look good.[…]

    In the days after the report was released, White House officials asked Mr. McGahn again to put out a statement as Mr. Trump fumed about his disclosures but Mr. McGahn rebuffed the second request as well.

    White House officials believed that Mr. McGahn publicly asserting his belief would calm the president and help the administration push back on the episodes that Mr. Mueller detailed in the obstruction section of the report, said one of the people. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations involving the White House.
    Giuliani's public attacks on McGahn's credibility—he told the NYT that McGahn's testimony to the SCO “can’t be taken at face value. It could be the product of an inaccurate recollection or could be the product of something else.”—probably didn't help Team Trump's relations with their former counsel.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 5:45 PM on May 10 [9 favorites]


    This part of the NYT article is fun, in the obstruction of justice kind of way:
    The president’s lawyers are particularly concerned about two episodes that Mr. McGahn detailed to prosecutors. In one, Mr. Trump asked him to fire the special counsel but backed off after Mr. McGahn refused. After that episode was revealed, the president asked Mr. McGahn to create a White House document falsely rebutting his account. Mr. McGahn declined to go along but told Mr. Mueller about the encounters.
    posted by Little Dawn at 6:01 PM on May 10 [10 favorites]


    I mean the real lesson of the “Trump’s finances are a wreck and he’s lost billions” is “our economic system means there’s no loss or rules for rich people and it’s all just an elaborate game of loopholes and legal tax evasion.”
    posted by The Whelk at 6:07 PM on May 10 [59 favorites]


    > Dems and the press need to start referring to tariffs as taxes, which is exactly what they are...sales taxes, payed by Americans, to the US treasury.

    "The Trump Tax" as in "Your tomatoes are so expensive because you're paying the Trump Tax".

    With the stipulation that Trump himself doesn't pay the Trump Tax because he's so “smart”, it's all about him getting stuff for free and getting everyone else to pay for his fuckups.
    posted by XMLicious at 6:18 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


    This part of the NYT article is fun, in the obstruction of justice kind of way

    And that's why people call this "Stupid Watergate". If McGahn agreed to Trump's demands he publicly backtrack on his testimony to the SCO, he'd immediately leave himself open to a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 and, should he ever show up before Congress, potentially 18 U.S. Code § 1621.

    Meanwhile, Trump continues to push the boundaries of authoritarianism, telling Politico in an interview:
    When asked whether he would consider directing Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate the Bidens, as some Democrats fear, Trump said he had not spoken to Barr about the issue. But he left open the possibility, saying “certainly it would be an appropriate thing to” discuss with Barr.

    “Certainly it is a very big issue and we’ll see what happens. I have not spoken to him about it. Would I speak to him about it? I haven’t thought of that. I mean, you’re asking me a question I just haven’t thought of,” he said, noting it “could be a very big situation” for Biden.

    “Because he’s a Democrat it’s about 1/100 the size of the fact that if he were a Republican, it would be a lot bigger,” he alleged. {Shome mishtake, shurely? Ed.}
    He also discussed Giuliani's Ukrainian trip:
    Trump also said that he plans to speak to Rudy Giuliani about his personal attorney’s imminent plans to go to Ukraine to reportedly encourage the Ukrainian president to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation and Hunter Biden’s role on the board of directors of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch.

    “I will speak to him about it before he leaves. I’m just curious about that,” he said, adding that he has “not spoken to him at any great length” about it.
    Hopefully Politico will post a transcript soon so we can see just how much of this is Trump rambling.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 6:19 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


    If the IRS won't look at the taxes of the individual who has lost more money than any other individual while paying no taxes... Do we really believe they look at the taxes of any rich person at all?
    posted by xammerboy at 6:23 PM on May 10 [31 favorites]


    The ability to write off business losses is ostensibly designed to encourage entrepreneurship and growth-promoting risk. But the actual effect is that it rewards irresponsibility and incentivizes the building of personal wealth through deliberate business financial fraud.
    posted by The World Famous at 6:38 PM on May 10 [11 favorites]


    [There is still an open IRS post for tax discussions]
    posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:48 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


    Politico’s published the transcript of their interview with Trump. Here’s the full exchange about impeachment:
    POLITICO: Do you want them to try to impeach you?

    TRUMP: So, you know, it's all based on high crimes and misdemeanors. And if you look at the Mueller report, there was no collusion. There was no conspiracy. And there was no obstruction. He said that in the first half of the sentence, and then said he couldn't prove it. But there was no obstruction. And then the attorney general, based on the facts, and the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, they ruled there was no obstruction. So you have no crime. And impeachment’s based on crime. And, specifically it’s based on high crimes and misdemeanors. Not ‘plus’ or whatever -- it’s ‘and’ misdemeanors. Not separately, but together. So you need both.

    And, you know, look, I know it would be a very, very impossible thing. Plus, you know if you haven't had -- in fact, the crimes were actually committed, but they were committed by the Democrats. They were committed by the DNC, the Clinton campaign, Hillary Clinton. Those were the crimes. They weren't committed by us.

    So I must say, you know you mentioned the word [impeachment], I haven't heard that word in a while. Because since the report came out, it said no collusion, no obstruction, no conspiracy. And that was the end. I haven't heard the word mentioned, really -- essentially -- since the Mueller report came out. And it's not like it's not like they were friends of mine.
    And on asking Barr to investigate Biden:
    POLITICO: And one more. Have you asked [Attorney General] Bill Barr, or would you ask Bill Barr, to investigate Biden about his son’s -- Biden’s son’s work in Ukraine? That's become a big issue.

    TRUMP: Well, I haven't spoken to him about it. But certainly it is a very big issue and we'll see what happens. I have not spoken to him about it. Would I speak to him about it? I haven't thought of that. I mean, you're asking me a question I just haven't thought of. Certainly, it would be an appropriate thing to speak about. But I have not done that as of yet. It could be a very big -- it could be a very big situation. Of course, because he's because he’s a Democrat, it's about one 1/100 the size of the fact that if he were Republican, it would be a lot bigger.
    Chris Hayes: “The President is very obviously laying the groundwork to abuse his office in order to sic the power of the state on his political opponents. It's as corrupt as it gets.”
    posted by Doktor Zed at 6:58 PM on May 10 [39 favorites]


    Say what you will about Red Sox fans: Some Trumpies unfurled a Trump 2020 banner at Fenway Park during tonight's game. Within 20 seconds, some fans in the deck below ripped it down.
    posted by adamg at 7:08 PM on May 10 [15 favorites]


    [Impeachment] is based on high crimes and misdemeanors. Not ‘plus’ or whatever -- it’s ‘and’ misdemeanors. Not separately, but together. So you need both.

    Trump's serious... He believes every idiot thing he's ever said.
    posted by xammerboy at 7:13 PM on May 10 [31 favorites]


    [Impeachment] is based on high crimes and misdemeanors. Not ‘plus’ or whatever -- it’s ‘and’ misdemeanors. Not separately, but together. So you need both.

    The old "I committed felonies, not misdemeanors" defense.
    posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:27 PM on May 10 [27 favorites]


    Trump asked him to fire the special counsel but backed off after Mr. McGahn refused. After that episode was revealed, the president asked Mr. McGahn to create a White House document falsely rebutting his account. Mr. McGahn declined to go along but told Mr. Mueller about the encounters.

    The whole "can't say it's obstruction because his idiot henchmen never got it together to actually impede the investigation" is such outrageous bullshit. He ordered the obstruction. It's right there! It's - AAAAAARRGgh.

    Legal Definition of obstruction of justice: the crime or act of willfully interfering with the process of justice and law especially by influencing, threatening, harming, or impeding a witness, potential witness, juror, or judicial or legal officer or by furnishing false information in or otherwise impeding an investigation or legal process

    Would one say he's accelerating the process of justice? Enhancing the investigation? He's doing something to the investigation by ordering people fired and ordering people to lie, can they get that far?? G-ddamn this is SUCH BULLSHIT.
    posted by petebest at 8:31 PM on May 10 [22 favorites]


    Trump says it would be ‘appropriate’ for him to talk to Barr about launching an investigation into Biden (WaPo)
    The suggestion that Trump would contemplate directing his Justice Department to investigate Biden drew condemnation from some legal experts, who said the idea smacked of an abuse of power.

    “Does anyone doubt that this could have catastrophic consequences for democratic and electoral legitimacy?” said Susan Hennessey, executive editor of Lawfare, on Twitter. “Yet we seem to be hurtling towards this possibility with no one, certainly not congressional Republicans, drawing the line.”

    [...] Longtime Democratic adviser Ronald A. Klain warned on Twitter that, “If he can do this to @JoeBiden, he can do this to any other Democrat. If he can do this to any Democrat, he can do this to any Republican in Trump’s way. If he can do this any political rival, he can do this to any American.”

    Trump’s comments come the week after Barr appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and seemed to stumble over his answer to questions from Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) about Trump-directed investigations. Harris asked Barr whether the president or any other White House official had ever suggested that he open an investigation into someone.

    After an exchange, Barr told Harris, “I don’t know.”
    posted by Little Dawn at 9:09 PM on May 10 [11 favorites]


    CNN’s Manu Raju: “Giuliani tonight: “I’ve decided I’m not going to go to the Ukraine”, saying on Fox that “in order to remove any political suggestion, I will step back and I’ll just watch it unfold.””

    Presumably, now that the Ukrainian government has received the message about furnishing Team Trump with the pretexts need to smear Biden, Giuliani’s presence isn’t needed.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 9:28 PM on May 10 [15 favorites]


    do you think that guiliani knows that he’s dog whistling to the russians by calling it “the ukraine” or that he can no longer reliably access memories formed after the early 1990s
    posted by murphy slaw at 9:33 PM on May 10 [29 favorites]


    ¿Y por qué no los dos?
    posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 10:47 PM on May 10 [12 favorites]


    I knew the name of McGahn's attorney, William A. Burck, sounded familiar. Burck also represented former First Lady of Virginia Maureen McDonnell in her and her husband Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption trial.
    posted by emelenjr at 5:18 AM on May 11 [4 favorites]


    I knew the name of McGahn's attorney, William A. Burck, sounded familiar. Burck also represented former First Lady of Virginia Maureen McDonnell in her and her husband Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption trial.

    Speaking of de ja vu, it's a bit uncanny that this article, The Watergate Blueprint for Impeaching Donald Trump, by former NY Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, was published by the Intercept on November 15, 2018:
    Similar behavior by Nixon became one of the grounds of the first article of impeachment against him. As part of the Watergate cover-up, Nixon was charged with making “false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States.” This included Nixon’s claim that White House investigations had cleared everyone of any involvement with the break-in [...]

    An abuse of power. He has used the power of his office to remove or threaten to remove the security clearances of people who criticized him or who he believed were associated with the Russia investigation or could be possible witnesses against him. A historical equivalent is Nixon’s creation of an “Enemies List” of anti-Vietnam War activists, whom he directed to be audited by the Internal Revenue Service in retaliation for their political positions — actions that formed part of an article of impeachment.
    History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
    posted by Little Dawn at 6:37 AM on May 11 [10 favorites]


    rocket88: Make Trump explain to them why he's raising the taxes they pay every time they buy Chinese-made products at Walmart.

    But Chinese goods aren't just sold at Walmart, they're everywhere. How steeper U.S. tariffs on China could affect consumers and businesses (Rachel Layne for CBS News, May 10, 2019)
    More than half of all imported goods from China, the U.S.'s biggest trading partner last year, are now subject to tariffs imposed by the White House. Tariffs are paid by domestic companies, and when such levies increase the higher costs are often passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

    Oxford Economics estimates that Friday's tariff hike will cut U.S. economic output by $62 billion by next year, or 0.3 percent of gross domestic product. If tariffs are eventually imposed on all products the U.S. buys from China, as Mr. Trump has threatened, American and global GDP would fall 0.5 percent by 2020, according to the investment research firm. That amounts to $625 billion in lost economic activity.
    ...
    "It's official, we're freaked," the American Apparel & Footwear Association said in a statement after the U.S. hiked tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese imports.

    "As an Industry, we cannot survive a 25 percent tariff on top of the tariffs that we already pay," Rick Helfenbein, who heads the trade group, said in the statement. "Prices at retail will rise, sales will drop and jobs will be lost. From an administration that promised jobs, jobs, jobs, this is a Cinderella tale that has gone awry. It offers no glass slipper and no way out for years to come."
    ...
    The U.S. is already dispensing $12 billion in subsidies to help farmers affected by retaliatory measures last year, including lost access to China's market for agricultural products including soybeans and corn.

    China's move to shun U.S. soybean exports, and an ensuing decline in the global price of soybeans and grains like corn, is shifting demand away from the U.S., Brent Bible, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Indiana, told reporters in a call on Thursday.

    "Normally, our competitive advantage has been that we are a reliable source of product, and this has taken that that away," Bible said.

    Mr. Trump said in a tweet Friday that the U.S. would buy agricultural products "in larger amounts than China ever did and ship it to poor & starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance."
    So 1) it's definitely just impacting "Walmart shoppers" (aka people and families with low-to-moderate incomes), particularly because 2) the retaliatory tariffs are having direct impacts on the US economy, to the point that there are heavy subsidies to U.S. farmers.

    And 3) I'll applaud Trump for having an instance of being a humanitarian president with regard to sending otherwise unsold agricultural products to "poor & starving countries" (would these be the same "shithole countries," or are they different?) when I see it. Jimmy Carter he is not.

    (Also, we have a quote from Wholesome American, Brent Bible, state trooper turned soybean farmer from Lafayette, Indiana? Oh writers, go home -- you've been drunk for years now, we're worried about your health, mental and physical.)
    posted by filthy light thief at 6:40 AM on May 11 [16 favorites]


    I knew the name of McGahn's attorney, William A. Burck, sounded familiar.

    It's amusing that Trump's former White House lawyer now has a lawyer for talking to the White House. Everyone who has anything to do with Trump ends up in the muck. You would think that people would begin to realize that Trump has the reverse Midas touch.
    posted by JackFlash at 6:54 AM on May 11 [4 favorites]


    It's so simple for consumers to avoid the effects of tariffs, Trump's explained it in a single tweet this morning. The replies are as brutal as you would expect.
    posted by Rykey at 9:33 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


    A simple man will always have a simple — and wrong — solution. A product "made-in-America" will invariably be built from components and materials from vendors around the world, which now cost more. American manufacturers are not patriotic enough to eat those costs, simply passing them on to the consumer.

    But Trump's base is just as simple and as racist as he is, and they see tariffs as a way to stick it to foreigners, even as he has his hand in their (and our) pockets.
    posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:27 AM on May 11 [5 favorites]


    I think we've found the plot for The Big Lebowski 2. Just unbelievable.

    The Strange Saga Of A Militia Leader Arrested For Extorting His Own Members
    The leader of a right-wing militia known as the Stevens County Assembly will soon travel from West Virginia to Washington State — in law enforcement custody, accused of posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel and extorting his fellow militiamen, according to a colorful set of court documents obtained by TPM.
    posted by scalefree at 10:51 AM on May 11 [11 favorites]


    Also, we have a quote from Wholesome American, Brent Bible, state trooper turned soybean farmer from Lafayette, Indiana?

    they're good beans brent

    Mr. Trump said in a tweet Friday that the U.S. would buy agricultural products "in larger amounts than China ever did and ship it to poor & starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance."

    it is 1000% more likely that any government assistance program will (best case) leave the ag products to rot somewhere in silos, benefitting no one or (worst case) involve some grifting private contractor's efforts to somehow turn said ag products into the biofuels equivalent of building materials for Wall
    posted by halation at 11:02 AM on May 11 [4 favorites]




    Who really needs three branches of government anyway?

    Pence claims Trump will ask Supreme Court to bar judges from blocking his policies
    Vice president says administration hopes high court will end "nationwide injunctions" that shut down policy
    In a speech before the right-wing Federalist Society, Vice President Mike Pence complained about federal courts blocking the Trump administration’s policies from taking effect. He said President Trump would take the issue to the Supreme Court.
    Pence told the crowd that federal judges who issue nationwide injunctions against Trump’s policies “prevent the executive branch from acting, compromising our national security by obstructing the lawful ability of the president to stop threats to the homeland where he sees them.”
    Pence vowed that the administration would take their complaints to the Supreme Court.
    “The Supreme Court of the United States must clarify that district judges can decide no more than the cases before them,” Pence said. “A Supreme Court justice has to convince four of his colleagues to uphold a nationwide injunction — but a single district court judge can issue one, effectively preventing the duly-elected president of the United States from fulfilling his constitutional duties. This judicial obstruction is unprecedented. In the days ahead, our administration will seek opportunities to put this question before the Supreme Court.”
    The Trump administration previously tried to take up this issue before the Supreme Court when appealing an injunction against its travel ban. But the high court never ruled on the underlying issue because they upheld the ban in its entirety, the Associated Press reported.
    Courts will often issue injunctions while a case plays out. Nationwide injunctions apply to everyone as opposed to injunctions that only apply to people who brought the lawsuit.
    According to Pence, the Trump administration apparently wants the Supreme Court to bar lower courts from issuing nationwide injunctions — even if the administration's policies violate the law.
    posted by scalefree at 12:32 PM on May 11 [22 favorites]


    That seems to be the kind of thing that you'll hate when its the other guy in power. I'd be thinking a lot of Republicans would be wary of that kind of ruling.
    posted by Bovine Love at 1:34 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


    I'd be thinking a lot of Republicans would be wary of that kind of ruling.

    Except they act like they don't think the other guy will be in power. And who could blame them?
    posted by holgate at 1:39 PM on May 11 [41 favorites]


    Except they act like they don't think the other guy will be in power. And who could blame them?

    And we now know that the only thing not holding them accountable has done is make them more brazen (Giuliani's message to Ukraine). There's no reason for them to expect to face any consequences.
    posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:57 PM on May 11 [16 favorites]


    Trump Is Pressuring Ukraine to Smear Clinton and Biden
    [...]
    So why would Ukraine pursue baseless charges? Because its government has a strong interest in mollifying Trump. The Times reported last year that Ukraine halted its cooperation with the Mueller probe because it couldn’t risk provoking Trump. “The cases are just too sensitive for a government deeply reliant on United States financial and military aid, and keenly aware of Mr. Trump’s distaste for the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into possible collusion between Russia and his campaign, some lawmakers say.”
    Having used that leverage defensively to get Ukraine to withhold cooperation into the probe of his campaign, Trump is now using it offensively, to gin up charges against his targets. His involvement and interest in the effort is transparent. During one of Giuliani’s meetings with Ukrainian officials, he “called Mr. Trump excitedly to brief him on his findings.” Giuliani tells the Times that his work has Trump’s “full support,” and he is making the president’s interest extremely clear to Ukraine’s government. “I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop [the investigation] because that information will be very, very helpful to my client,” he says.
    Trump is already burbling excitedly about the project. “I’m hearing it’s a major scandal, major problem,” Trump said on Fox News. “I hope for [Biden] it is fake news. I don’t think it is.”
    posted by scalefree at 6:07 PM on May 11 [9 favorites]




    Trump backers applaud Warren in heart of MAGA country (Politico)
    Kermit is one of the epicenters of the opioid addiction epidemic. The toll is visible. The community center is shuttered. Fire trucks are decades old. When Warren asked people at the beginning of the event to raise their hands if they knew somebody who’s been “caught in the grips of addiction,” most hands went up. “That’s why I’m here today,” she said. [...]

    The 63-year-old fire chief, Wilburn “Tommy” Preece, warned Warren and her team beforehand that the area was “Trump country” and to not necessarily expect a friendly reception. But he also told her that the town would welcome anyone, of any party, who wanted to address the opioid crisis. Preece was the first responder to a reported overdose two years ago only to discover that the victim was his younger brother Timmy, who died.

    [...] LeeAnn Blankenship, a 38-year-old coach and supervisor at a home visitation company who grew up in Kermit and wore a sharp pink suit, said she may now support Warren in 2020 after voting for Trump in 2016. “She’s a good ol’ country girl like anyone else,” she said of Warren, who grew up in Oklahoma. “She’s earned where she is, it wasn’t given to her. I respect that.” [...]

    As Warren posed for selfies after the town hall, several people pressed notes into her hand that she read later in the car. "Help our town of Kermit, West Virginia any way you can to help us be able to reduce the drug abuse," read one letter.
    posted by Little Dawn at 7:28 PM on May 11 [55 favorites]




    [There's a current thread on the Georgia abortion law.]
    posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:35 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


    pretty good, and passionate, comprehensive recitation of this misministration's performance by maryland's raskin, just now... i noted during the committee contempt proceeding, above. well, mr. raskin had an excellent oped in wapo friday, presenting a sort of structural, originalist constitutional and historical assertion of congressional power in writing at the high end of the quality and pith spectrum for the forum in which it appears.

    i liked it; dudefoil at adjacent workstation stammered to dismiss it (upon the strength of its title) with a "four legs good, two legs better" quip but couldn't recall the slogan, before i beat him to it. it is a fair (tho by no means dispositive) rejoinder if soundbytes are enough and some sense of coëquality of branches is the touchstone, though i think that allegory illustrates the dangers of treating pat slogans as dispositive. raskin:
    Congress was never designed as, nor should it ever become, a mere “co-equal branch,” beseeching the president to share his awesome powers with us. We are the exclusive lawmaking branch of our national government and the preeminent part of it. We set the policy agenda, we write the laws, and we can impeach judges or executives who commit high crimes and misdemeanors against our institutions. As James Madison observed in the Federalist Papers, “In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates.” Congress is first among equals.

    The founders replaced the intertwined monarchical and theocratic forms of government that prevailed in the 18th century with representative democracy so the people could govern, which is why our Constitution begins with those three magic words: “We the People.” It then establishes Congress in the very next sentence, placing our representative institutions, “a Senate and House of Representatives,” right after the sovereign people and way ahead of everything else.
    worth reading in whole.
    posted by 20 year lurk at 9:22 PM on May 11 [15 favorites]


    I was going to fix the all caps but it seems appropriate.

    TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO END PROTECTIONS FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES AFTER UN REPORT WARNS OF 'MASS EXTINCTION EVENT'
    A United Nations report released this week found that one-eighth of the world’s animals and plants are at risk of extinction and that biodiversity was declining at an “unprecedented pace,” but David Bernhardt, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, said this dire portrait won’t stop the Trump administration from ending protections for endangered species in the United States.
    “We didn’t start doing them to not do them,” Bernhardt said of the Department of the Interior's policy revisions to limit protections for threatened animals and to factor the cost to corporations into protecting endangered species, in an interview with The Washington Post published Friday.
    posted by scalefree at 9:25 PM on May 11 [16 favorites]


    Trump's trade agenda on the verge of imploding (Politico)
    His new pact with Canada and Mexico is facing significant opposition in Congress even from Republicans, who are demanding that he lift steel and aluminum tariffs before they’ll vote on it. Deals with the European Union, Japan and Great Britain are also stalled by politics here and abroad.

    Trump’s failure to reach agreements with America’s trading partners could have a brutal impact on the economy and his reelection effort, even if his base likes his tough talk on China. By the time voters head to the polls in 2020, the prices of consumer goods could be skyrocketing. Farmers may be swamped with products they can’t sell abroad. And a bear market could be shrinking everyone’s retirement savings.
    ‘Who’s going to take care of these people?’ (WaPo)
    More than 100 of the country’s remote hospitals have gone broke and then closed in the past decade, turning some of the most impoverished parts of the United States into what experts now call “health-hazard zones,” and Fairfax was on the verge of becoming the latest. The emergency room was down to its final four tanks of oxygen. The nursing staff was out of basic supplies such as snakebite antivenin and strep tests. Hospital employees had not received paychecks for the past 11 weeks and counting.

    The only reason the hospital had been able to stay open at all was that about 30 employees continued showing up to work without pay, increasing their hours to fill empty shifts and essentially donating time to the hospital, understanding what was at stake.
    When It Comes to Republican Defectors, Current Crisis Is No Watergate (NYT)
    Mr. Hogan, a former F.B.I. agent who represented Washington’s Maryland suburbs, was seen as a reliable Nixon supporter and stunned his colleagues by voting for all three articles of impeachment.

    “Do we want to be the party loyalists who in ringing rhetoric condemn the wrongdoings and scandals of the Democratic Party and excuse them when they are done by Republicans?” Mr. Hogan wrote to his colleagues. He lost the Republican nomination for Maryland governor, and his position on the impeachment was considered a main cause. But in retrospect, he has been saluted for integrity.

    “Despite tremendous political pressure, he put aside partisanship and he answered the demands of his conscience to do what he thought was the right thing for the nation that he loved,” his son, Larry Hogan, the current Republican governor of Maryland, said at a recent journalism awards dinner.

    “Now that decision cost him dearly,” the governor said. “He lost friends and supporters and his party’s nomination for governor that year. But it earned him something more valuable: a quiet conscience and an honored place in history.”
    posted by Little Dawn at 9:44 PM on May 11 [16 favorites]


    Change Research Poll shows @JoeBiden with a commanding 46% lead in South Carolina

    All the debate over the policies GND and Medicare for all won't matter unless something changes. David Klion:
    For starters, it is wishful thinking that if we can just tell everyone why Biden is bad, they'll change their minds about him. No. On here the fight is "liberals" vs "leftists" but all the liberals and leftists combined are a minority of the Dem electorate. Millions of Democrats who voted for tough on crime policies in the 1990s, supported the Iraq War, and thought Clintonomics were good for the middle class are not going to get angry at Biden for having done the same at the time. For months I've been saying Bernie can win because he has the largest base in a crowded field. But right now it looks like Biden has, by far, the largest base in a crowded field. He doesn't need a majority. No one does. In other words, no one needs to be "right" about anything.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 7:22 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


    Maybe instead of fighting to convince people that any particular* candidate is wrong or bad we can try to work up maximum enthusiasm for the progressive policies we want whoever wins to put in place, so that even the centrist candidates will feel some wind at their backs and some fire at their toes. If someone like Biden wins they need to understand their popularity is due to factors other than a referendum on progressivism vs. centrism, and that progressivism is a stream they need to at least work alongside.

    *vaguely competent, non-hateful...
    posted by trig at 7:38 AM on May 12 [20 favorites]


    Biden’s in good position but has been a crap campaigner in his two previous outings. And for reference, previous national primary polling...

    @LedPast (WaPo)
    541 DAYS TO GO:
    2008 Dem: Clinton led by 12.8 points.
    2008 GOP: Giuliani led by 8.1 points.
    2012 GOP: Romney led by 8.9 points.
    2016 Dem: Clinton led by 56.8 points.
    2016 GOP: Bush led by 2.2 points.
    posted by chris24 at 8:01 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


    Biden’s in good position but has been a crap campaigner in his two previous outings.
    Yes, I have plenty of faith in Biden pulling the hat trick of presidential campaign blowouts. For that matter, it's Bernie, Biden and Beto who have the leads at number of losing campaigns among this current field.
    posted by Harry Caul at 8:05 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


    For that matter, it's Bernie, Biden and Beto who have the leads at number of losing campaigns among this current field.

    Exactly. For all the talk about electability, Harris, Klobuchar, Warren, Gillibrand have never lost an election. The men have. Usually more than once.
    posted by chris24 at 8:13 AM on May 12 [35 favorites]


    On here the fight is "liberals" vs "leftists" but all the liberals and leftists combined are a minority of the Dem electorate.

    What? Polls indicate 80%+ D support for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. The vast majority of the Dem electorate wants center-left to left policy; throwing up hands and saying "most democrats are right-wing, whattayagonnado" is a dishearteningly eager embrace of defeat. Don't confuse support of Biden among primary voters with most Democrats being so far to the right that they don't even count as liberals: ceding the entire left and declaring all future political battles as between the center-right and fascism is a cancellation of the future (at least in regard to electoralism) and certainly speaks to the nightmares of the pessimistic left.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 8:24 AM on May 12 [15 favorites]


    Politico: Nadler squeezed with calls for ‘inherent contempt’
    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is in a bind. A growing number of Democratic committee members are pushing Nadler to take more aggressive steps to force President Donald Trump and top administration officials to comply with a host of congressional subpoenas. Some lawmakers even want Congress to dust off its little-used authority to fine or even jail witnesses, something that the House hasn't done in more than 80 years and is ill prepared to execute.

    But Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team worry that such moves, while pleasing to a party base that loathes the president, would backfire and boost Trump politically.

    Will Stancil
    Pelosi two weeks ago: “We must investigate Trump aggressively, but impeaching risks too much backlash”
    Pelosi today: “Investigating Trump aggressively risks too much backlash”

    This is insane. We were told over and over that Pelosi and leadership were simply afraid of impeaching because it polled poorly, even if oversight polled much better. But now they’re backing away from oversight! There is no rational political plan under all this. They’re just guided by fear: crippling, all-consuming fear of Republican voters. Pelosi said we’re in a constitutional crisis, and she won’t even fine the people who are causing it! Because “backlash”

    At some point we need to accept that an entire generation of Democrats were psychologically broken by the 1972, 1980, and 1984 elections, and spent decades acting as if they're only allowed to govern with a permission slip from Republicans.
    posted by chris24 at 8:35 AM on May 12 [76 favorites]


    My comment disappeared but if it's not suitable please delete it again:
    This BBC article shocked me not because of the QAnon nonsense but becaused Comey bragged in his tweet about being a ""strike-replacement high school teacher". In other words, a scab?
    posted by Botanizer at 8:35 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


    What do you think is happening to Sanders' lead and the support of Warren's candidacy in comparison to her name recognition, Rust Moranis?
    posted by Selena777 at 8:36 AM on May 12


    What do you think is happening to Sanders' lead and the support of Warren's candidacy in comparison to her name recognition, Rust Moranis?

    1) traumatized people who just want things to be feel normal again plus
    2) a D electorate trained for decades to think that politics have nothing to do with the exercise of power to achieve concrete policy goals, to the point of learned helplessness plus
    3) primary voters tending to be older plus
    4) manufactured consent from the party and mass media
    posted by Rust Moranis at 9:12 AM on May 12 [16 favorites]


    Because Trump's agitatedly tweeting this morning about being "under a sick & unlawful investigation", "a total scam, a Witch Hunt", it's useful to review the past week's developments on Capitol Hill about Mueller's potential testimony.

    Politico: Surprised Advisers Downplay Trump's Tweet About Mueller Testimony
    When President Donald Trump contradicted his own attorney general and declared on Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller “should not testify” before Congress, he caught his inner circle by surprise.

    A day later, more than a dozen people from Trump’s close orbit downplayed in interviews the prospect that the president’s weekend tweet about Mueller should be taken as an official warning.
    AP: With Mueller on Justice Staff, Barr Has Sway Over Testimony
    After Barr skipped out on a congressional appearance last week, attention immediately turned to the possibility of Mueller testifying. And Trump was watching.

    The president stewed for days about the prospect of the media coverage that would be given to Mueller, a man Trump believes has been unfairly lionized across cable news and the front pages of the nation’s leading newspapers for two years, according to three White House officials and Republicans close to the White House.

    Trump feared a repeat — but bigger — of the February testimony of his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, which dominated news coverage and even overshadowed a nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam.

    Trump has long known the power of televised images and feared that Americans would be captivated by seeing — and hearing — Mueller, who has not spoken publicly since being named special counsel.
    Which brings us to today on ABC's "This Week": Robert Mueller 'Is Going to Testify': Rep. Adam Schiff

    Schiff told host George Stephanopoulos, "The American people have a right to hear what the man who did the investigation has to say and we now know we certainly can't rely on the attorney general who misrepresented his conclusions. So he is going to testify."
    posted by Doktor Zed at 9:28 AM on May 12 [13 favorites]


    I’ve been thinking about what Mueller could conceivably testify to that isn’t already in his report. I don’t imagine he would answer a question like “do you think the President obstructed justice?” He also won’t characterize his conclusions any more broadly than what was in the report. And there are too many things that could prejudice ongoing or future criminal proceedings.

    So what, if any, productive testimony could be produced? Possibly interactions with Barr, I guess?
    posted by Room 101 at 9:56 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


    Mueller’s testimony would reach people who didn’t read the report, for starters.
    posted by SakuraK at 10:08 AM on May 12 [33 favorites]


    Trump: "Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!"

    Trump certainly doesn't learn his lessons. Michael Cohen will willing to "take a bullet" for him until Trump started bad mouthing him, throwing him under the bus.

    Now he's bad mouthing McGahn who refused to perjure himself with Mueller. He refused Trump's demand to lie to Mueller about Trump's request to fire Mueller.

    First Trump gets his personal lawyer to turn on him and now Trump is goading his White House lawyer to turn on him. Not very bright.

    I don't think McGahn had too much loyalty to Trump to begin with. His one and only agenda was to get two Federalist Society approved judges on the Supreme Court. This had nothing to do with Trump except providing an opportunity. Once he accomplished that, McGahn was done with Trump. Not a good idea for Trump to be burning his bridges with the Republican establishment who cares more about right wing goals than they do about Trump.
    posted by JackFlash at 10:11 AM on May 12 [7 favorites]


    I’ve been thinking about what Mueller could conceivably testify to that isn’t already in his report.

    There are a lot of people in this country who won't read Mueller's report but will tune in to televised hearings. If he makes his case before the cameras in an extended statement, that could be even more damaging to Trump in terms of public opinion than the testimonies of James Comey or Michael Cohen. (John Dean's Watergate testimony is the historical parallel that keeps coming up, and Dean himself warns, "Do not read @tribelaw’s warning about Trump blocking Mueller’s testimony as hyperbole. To the contrary, if Trump succeeds our democracy is in peril!")

    First Trump gets his personal lawyer to turn on him and now Trump is goading his White House lawyer to turn on him.

    Trump can't help but lash out at McGahn when he's feeling boxed in—it's textbook narcissistic injury. Since McGahn's cooperative testimony to the SCO features heavily in Mueller's report, Congress grilling him only about that would be extremely damaging.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 10:15 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]


    @Taniel:
    O'Rourke, Hickenlooper, Bullock, and Castro, who could run for Senate against GOP incumbents (in TX/CO/MT/TX) but are running for president instead, are polling at 2%, 1%, 0%, and 0%.
    posted by chris24 at 10:31 AM on May 12 [62 favorites]


    What? Polls indicate 80%+ D support for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. The vast majority of the Dem electorate wants center-left to left policy

    And yet Biden only begrudgingly admitted to support for a Medicare buy-in, and his only comment on the GND is he wants a "middle ground" between extinction and no extinction. Democratic policy preferences have had little bearing on Biden's history in office or current campaigning.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 10:36 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


    Pompeo was just a sniveling, pathetic, evasive worm on Face the Nation in response to Margaret Brennan's probing about whether there would be any U.S. response to China rounding up millions of Uyghurs into what (evidently, according to Brennan?) the Pentagon has referred to as “concentration camps”. (open thread)

    Pompeo explicitly used the Chinese government's own characterization of these as “re-education camps” and dissembled when she pointed this out, also suggesting that the numbers are in the range of “as many as a million” people whereas the figure Brennan appeared to be citing was three million.
    posted by XMLicious at 10:38 AM on May 12 [16 favorites]


    The vast majority of the Dem electorate wants center-left to left policy; throwing up hands and saying "most democrats are right-wing, whattayagonnado" is a dishearteningly eager embrace of defeat.

    Is there any skew in where the Dem electorate is that might account for this? Like, do the majority of Democrats live in D-safe districts/states, but the majority of potentially-D-voting districts/states range from light red to purple...
    posted by wildblueyonder at 10:42 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


    Two things: people don't always identify politically in ways that align with the policies they say that they support. So a lot of people call themselves moderates, but when you ask them about policy, they answer as if they're much farther to the left than that. And the second thing is that people often vote for candidates who support different policies than they do. And again: the candidates are often farther to the right than the voters are. If you identify as a moderate, you will probably vote for a candidate who is identified as a moderate, even if you don't think that person's policies are ideal. People don't choose candidates based solely (or even primarily) on policy considerations, which can be really frustrating to people who support lefty policies.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:50 AM on May 12 [31 favorites]


    Since McGahn's cooperative testimony to the SCO features heavily in Mueller's report, Congress grilling him only about that would be extremely damaging.

    Yeah. The template here isn't investigatory, because the investigation has already been done. Read a section of the report, ask McGahn "is that true?"; read out an I-1 tweet, ask "is that true?", job done.
    posted by holgate at 11:46 AM on May 12 [9 favorites]


    Or maybe Biden actually said that he wanted a middle ground in terms of the ideological structure of our response to climate change. Some want nationalization of resources as part of the response, others prefer carbon taxes or other market based solutions.

    That kind of middle ground is OK. It may not be my preference, but it's just as valid in terms of working to address climate change as anything else that will have the necessary effect.
    posted by wierdo at 12:04 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


    When the woman who became the face of stopping the government shutdown and who wants to become head of the ALF-CIO (and organize tech workers and push the org into more grassroots funding and less donating to politicians) gives a speech at the Chicago DSA’s Debs Dinner talking about how Helen Keller and Einstein where socialist, I like a line may have been crossed
    posted by The Whelk at 12:37 PM on May 12 [15 favorites]


    Politico: Trump Campaign Refuses to Say Whether It Has a Policy On Foreign Agents—Several 2020 Democrats and the DNC have openly forsworn the use of hacked email and other information in their campaigns.
    The Trump campaign did not respond to numerous inquiries about whether it has implemented a policy about foreign interference — including the use of information stolen or hacked by a foreign power and whether aides must formally report outreach from foreigners. Several Democratic campaigns, by contrast, have announced policies on the subject.[…]

    The Trump campaign has given early signs of a casual approach to foreign contacts. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale last month delivered a paid speech to a Romanian audience that included politicians and policymakers, according to a Washington Post report, and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has insisted there is nothing wrong with accepting information from a hostile foreign nation.

    “Who says it’s even illegal?” Giuliani told CNN’s Jake Tapper just over a week after the release after the Mueller report. “There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians, it depends on where it came from.”
    Besides the whole Guccifer 2.0/GRU operation, since the Trump campaign was actively, if incompetently, searching for this information from Russian hackers, i.e. foreign nationals who were violating 18 U.S. Code § 1030, Giuliani's already answered his question. Now the media must keep pressuring the Trump campaign about why they won't refrain from doing in 2020 what they did in 2016.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 1:34 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]


    Twitter thread from author David Rothkopf@djrothkopf (and via Threadreader):
    The GOP labels as "socialist" people pushing for health care and clean environment and women's rights and tolerance and humanity at our borders and an end to economic inequality and better jobs. But that's not radical, it's basic decency. And none of these issues are really enhanced or served by "compromise."

    We can't and mustn't compromise on the environment, on basic human rights, on fighting racism, on fighting corruption. And on some issues--like inequality--the old "center" collaborated in making it worse. So don't fall for those old labels. So-called progressive positions are supported in poll after poll by the majority of Americans (on these issues, on guns, on foreign policy, etc.) That makes them mainstream. That makes them "center."

    posted by Bella Donna at 2:12 PM on May 12 [34 favorites]


    WaPo: Trump And His Allies Are Blocking More Than 20 Separate Democratic Probes In an All-Out War With Congress
    President Trump and his allies are working to block more than 20 separate investigations by Democrats into his actions as president, his personal finances and his administration’s policies, according to a Washington Post analysis, amounting to what many experts call the most expansive White House obstruction effort in decades.

    Trump’s noncooperation strategy has shifted from partial resistance to all-out war as he faces mounting inquiries from the Democratic-controlled House — a strategy that many legal and congressional experts fear could undermine the institutional power of Congress for years to come. All told, House Democrats say the Trump administration has failed to respond to or comply with at least 79 requests for documents or other information.

    The president is blocking aides from testifying, refusing entire document requests from some committees, filing lawsuits against corporations to bar them from responding to subpoenas and asserting executive privilege to keep information about the special counsel’s Russia investigation from public view.[…]

    The Post analysis of Democratic inquiries and other records identified more than 20 investigations directly connected to Trump, his family or the White House that have been met with partial or complete stonewalling by the administration.
    The article goes into detail about the requests the Trump administration is stalling, and the extent of their obstruction would be impressive in a different context.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 2:30 PM on May 12 [22 favorites]


    An ACLU update on an ongoing lawsuit from 2017 (emphasis mine): We Got U.S. Border Officials to Testify Under Oath. Here’s What We Found Out. The information we uncovered through our lawsuit shows that CBP and ICE are asserting near-unfettered authority to search and seize travelers’ devices at the border, for purposes far afield from the enforcement of immigration and customs laws. The agencies’ policies allow officers to search devices for general law enforcement purposes, such as investigating and enforcing bankruptcy, environmental, and consumer protection laws. The agencies also say that they can search and seize devices for the purpose of compiling “risk assessments” or to advance pre-existing investigations. The policies even allow officers to consider requests from other government agencies to search specific travelers’ devices.

    CBP and ICE also say they can search a traveler’s electronic devices to find information about someone else. That means they can search a U.S. citizen’s devices to probe whether that person’s family or friends may be undocumented; the devices of a journalist or scholar with foreign sources who may be of interest to the U.S. government; or the devices of a traveler who is the business partner or colleague of someone under investigation. Both agencies allow officers to retain information from travelers’ electronic devices and share it with other government entities, including state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies.

    Let’s get one thing clear: The government cannot use the pretext of the “border” to make an end run around the Constitution. The border is not a lawless place. CBP and ICE are not exempt from the Constitution. And the information on our phones and laptops is no less deserving of constitutional protections than, say, international mail or our homes. ... Crossing the U.S. border shouldn’t mean facing the prospect of turning over years of emails, photos, location data, medical and financial information, browsing history, or other personal information on our mobile devices. That’s why we’re asking a federal court to rule that border agencies must do what any other law enforcement agency would have to do in order to search electronic devices: get a warrant.


    The update includes examples of three people who were affected by these illegal searches.
    posted by Bella Donna at 3:01 PM on May 12 [46 favorites]


    That kind of middle ground is OK. It may not be my preference, but it's just as valid in terms of working to address climate change as anything else that will have the necessary effect.

    The consensus scientific view, as represented by things like the IPCC, is that no, actually, it's not okay. It's not even reasonable to call such positions centrist. They're extremist, by definition, in that they're not remotely sufficient or even helpful.
    posted by odinsdream at 3:22 PM on May 12 [23 favorites]


    What if the American public sees the changes necessary to stave off climate disaster as politically extremist?
    posted by Selena777 at 3:34 PM on May 12


    If we can stop this shit that's going on, we need to seriously revise a lot of laws. See also, government "norms".
    posted by Windopaene at 3:55 PM on May 12


    What if the American public sees the changes necessary to stave off climate disaster as politically extremist?

    If you set up a situation that leaves your kids locked in the car with the keys inside then yeah, you can end up where the only thing you can do is break a window. Whether it's “extreme” or not is immaterial at that point.

    Except in this case there aren't police or a fire department to come and tell you, “No, we really genuinely actually need to break the window.” Those are the scientists, who are already here and have been speaking out all our lives, for most of us. If “We, the People” half-asses our response out of fear of being too extreme, we'll just watch everything burn and melt and sink waiting for a greater authority figure who will never come.
    posted by XMLicious at 4:07 PM on May 12 [12 favorites]


    What if the American public sees the changes necessary to stave off climate disaster as politically extremist?

    A lot of scientists say that if that's the case there's a good chance we all die.

    The Democratic candidates that are suggesting modest changes are all that's needed to address global warming are acting immorally. They know it's not true, and they weaken the argument that global warming is possibly an existential crisis. This is an issue where advocating for incremental change is really, truly, dishonest and possibly as damaging as claiming global warming is not happening at all.
    posted by xammerboy at 4:07 PM on May 12 [17 favorites]


    Vox: Trump Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow Admits Tariffs Hurt Americans
    [Fox News's Chris] Wallace played Kudlow video of Trump making [an] incorrect statement about the tariffs Thursday at the White House, when the president claimed that tariffs are, “paid for mostly by China, by the way, not by us,” and said, “Larry, that isn’t true. It’s not China that pays tariffs. It’s the American importers, the American companies that pay what in effect is a tax increase and oftentimes passes it on to US consumers.”

    “Fair enough,” Kudlow responded. “In fact, both sides will pay. Both sides will pay in these things.”

    “But the tariffs on goods coming into the country, the Chinese aren’t paying,” Wallace said.

    “No, but the Chinese will suffer GDP losses and so forth,” Kudlow responded.

    “I understand that,” Wallace said. “But the president says that doesn’t — that China, it pays the tariffs, they may suffer consequences but it’s US businesses and US consumers who pay, correct?”

    “Yes, to some extent. Yes, I don’t disagree with that,” Kudlow conceded. “Again, both sides will suffer on this.”
    With video via Fox News Sunday.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 4:17 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]


    Part of what I think is happening with 3rd way candidates and other proposals is that people are doing a lot of second guessing as to true motives. After Obama became president, I ran into a lot of people that were disappointed that he was not pulling out of Afghanistan or putting any bankers in jail. This was surprising to me, as staying in Afghanistan and giving clemency to bankers were major policy platforms Obama ran on. The thing is, a lot of his voters didn't think he really meant it.

    Studies show that contrary to our expectations, politicians do generally try and do what they say they will. When Pelosi says she doesn't want to impeach Trump, she means just that. She doesn't mean she has a secret strategy. When Biden says he wants to simply shore up Obamacare, that's the limit of what he'll do. When he says incremental changes are all that's needed for global warming, he means it. He's not psyching out moderate Republicans, that's the limit of what he'll do.

    Another thing I think is happening is that a lot of voters simply want to avoid pain. My parents were against a vote recount in Bush versus Gore because it sounded like that would take a lot of time, energy, etc. and would divide the country. But if the country decided that needed to happen? Then they would have wanted it happen with all possible speed. Again to avoid as much pain as possible. It's the same with impeachment. It sounds like a pain and why do Democrats want to put me through pain? But once it needs to happen the narrative would immediately change to this needs to happen and why are Republicans dragging their feet? Why are they causing me pain?
    posted by xammerboy at 4:26 PM on May 12 [21 favorites]


    the worry, and I think it's a pretty reasonable one, is that the public is insufficiently informed to understand that "the end of the species" is likely to be a bigger pain than whatever pain is needed to avert it.
    posted by Archelaus at 4:33 PM on May 12 [17 favorites]


    Studies show that contrary to our expectations, politicians do generally try and do what they say they will.

    Aye, and there's the rub - so many people believe that all politicians are liars, or at least are just "pandering" when they say they will do (or won't do) something. Most people who voted for Trump did so gleefully and racistly, but there were those who thought that he couldn't possibly mean everything he said, he was just joking around, the leopards won't eat my face, etc.

    On the other hand, many people projected a whole progressive/very left-wing philosophy on Barack Obama that he wasn't really about. Now I love Obama (I'm alive, thanks to Obamacare), and think he basically did a good job - or as good a job as he was permitted to do - but while he was an enormously consequential President, and ran on the hope and change rhetoric, he was more a centrist than people wanted to believe.

    I don't think politicians are, or have to be, liars and face-eating leopards. I think most really do mean what they say, for good or for ill. I think the likes of Elizabeth Warren truly want to be President to help ordinary Americans, and Jay Inslee wants to do everything in his power to mitigate climate change.

    What I think happens, especially in the case of Democratic politicians, is that they really do mean what they say, but their ability to carry out those promises can be limited by opposition or just plain circumstance. (See: Obama, Barack, second term of) Obama wanted to appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court but was stymied. A majority-Republican Senate could prevent a President Warren from putting her excellent policies into action. Etc.

    But the idea that politicians don't mean what they say (aka "just pandering") has got to stop. It's toxic. It keeps us from electing good people. It makes the (to put it charitably) naive and politically unaware think that Trump doesn't really mean what he says.
    posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:35 PM on May 12 [26 favorites]


    > Trump backers applaud Warren in heart of MAGA country

    On Outreach, Buttigieg Scolds, While Warren Acts
    Here's Pete Buttigieg:
    Pete Buttigieg ... call[ed] out fellow Democrats on Saturday for playing “identity politics” and pitting one group’s grievances against another’s.

    In a risky speech to the Human Rights Campaign, a major LGBT rights group, Buttigieg warned of a “crisis of belonging in this country,” arguing it was exacerbated by “so-called identity politics” that emphasize how one person hasn’t walked in another’s shoes — “something that is true, but it doesn’t get us very far.” ...

    “What I worry about is not the president’s fantasy wall on the Mexican border that’s not going to get built anyway,” Buttigieg said. “What I worry about are the very real walls that we are putting up between us as we get divided and carved up.”
    Meanwhile, instead of scolding her opponents on the subject of outreach and inclusion, Elizabeth Warren is simply doing it -- and, according to Politico, doing it successfully: [...]

    Warren wants significantly more money for addiction treatment. She wants to use money from her proposed wealth tax to pay for it. She also wants to come down harder on pharmaceutical industry executives who profited from the crisis. If you have ideas for solving problems that matter to people outside your base, and you talk about them with those people, you don't have to prattle on about "identity politics." [...]

    You want to bring people together? Go outside your comfort zone and show them you have something to offer. Do the outreach instead of scolding other people. Talk is cheap.
    posted by tonycpsu at 4:48 PM on May 12 [60 favorites]


    What I think happens, especially in the case of Democratic politicians, is that they really do mean what they say, but their ability to carry out those promises can be limited by opposition or just plain circumstance.

    Great point. Obama only came through with Obamacare because he was totally invested. His advisors told him not to do it. They told him it wasn't smart or likely to pass, at which point he said "I don't care. I feel lucky. We're doing this."

    Will a politician who isn't as committed to healthcare or global warming have the nerve it takes to commit? Or is it even more likely that their legislation will be stymied or hopelessly compromised?
    posted by xammerboy at 5:12 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]


    What I think happens, especially in the case of Democratic politicians, is that they really do mean what they say, but their ability to carry out those promises can be limited by opposition or just plain circumstance.

    But there's no advantage in pre-conceding that. As Duncan Black / Atrios repeatedly says, if your policy proposals includes the phrases "refundable tax credit [based on certain qualifying factors]" or "tax-exempt savings account" then you've accepted "better things aren't really possible" before you've even begun.

    Anyway, as I've said before, there's a difference between structural radicalism and typical policy radicalism, and structural radicalism entails saying "people clearly want X, so what needs to change in order for X to happen?"
    posted by holgate at 5:36 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]


    Can Nancy Pelosi Keep the Democrats in Line?
    Ms. Pelosi remains dismissive, in that grandmotherly way of hers, of some of the bolder ideas backed by caucus rabble-rousers. This month, she oversaw the passage of environmental legislation focused on keeping the United States in the Paris agreement on climate change — a far cry from what she dismissed as the “Green Dream or whatever” championed by the freshman phenom Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. And the speaker supports shoring up Obamacare rather than starting from scratch with a single-payer plan.
    Am I wrong or does Pelosi's positioning of the party match up with one candidate and one candidate only, namely Biden? If, as the article suggests, Pelosi comes across as the only grownup in the room, what does that make the other Democratic candidates running on universal healthcare?
    posted by xammerboy at 6:24 PM on May 12 [6 favorites]


    I knew before I hovered that link that it was gonna be an NYT article. They're so aggressively anti-partisan, ugh.

    And I *like* and mainly trust Nancy Pelosi, obviously the left needs to hold any leader's feet to fire but I don't hate her or anything.
    posted by tivalasvegas at 6:34 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


    A lot of scientists say that if that's the case there's a good chance we all die.

    The Democratic candidates that are suggesting modest changes are all that's needed to address global warming are acting immorally. They know it's not true, and they weaken the argument that global warming is possibly an existential crisis.


    If they're like me, they may not know this.

    I think I roughly understand the models under which there's ecological trauma to the point where some sizable margin of humanity suffers (10-20%). I think I even roughly understand some models under which there's significant ecological collapse and the world only supports a fraction of the current human population (among other populations). I don't think I yet understand a model under which human extinction is inevitable.

    All of these possibilities are still an emergency, but I don't know how to figure out what's more likely. Maybe some political operators, even good faith ones, are confronting the same thing, on top of whatever their perspective is on what's possible.
    posted by wildblueyonder at 7:07 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]


    I don't know this is what the original poster was referring to, but the second order effects of climate change that kills off 20% of the population must not be ignored. Resources pressures lead to war and related atrocities. Seems pretty certain massive global resource pressure leads to massive global war and related atrocities.

    Oh, and happy Mother's Day.
    posted by bcd at 7:32 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


    XMLicious: If you set up a situation that leaves your kids locked in the car with the keys inside then yeah, you can end up where the only thing you can do is break a window. Whether it's “extreme” or not is immaterial at that point.

    This is correct and it definitely applies to climate change, but one place the parallel breaks is the absence of such binary failure/success outcomes. It's more as if the car was filled with people and there was no way to break entire windows, but we could work to create holes in multiple windows, and if we do that task to the absolute best of our ability, most but not all of the occupants will make it out alive (some have already died and others are medically past hope). But if we do nothing, then at least a couple of them will manage to escape on their own -- there's almost no possibility, in the real world, of "total" failure as in extinction of all human life (barring a carbon loop that manages to emulate Venus or something).

    In that sense, all proposed solutions, including everything from Bidenism to the Green New Deal to a literal overthrow of capitalism, are, unfortunately, a negotiation for the balance between survival and extinction. It's less like the action-movie depiction of the danger of radiation (our hero has only four minutes before he takes on the lethal dose, but if he escapes a second before then, he'll be just fine) and more like actual radiation. Some denialists like to deploy the fallacious, simplistic model in their arguments against serious climatology, saying "You said X was the turning point of no going back, then you said the same of Y, then Z..." Each of those turning points represented something concrete -- another person in the car -- and was indeed passed.

    For that matter, it works like a country's descent from healthy democracy to kleptocracy (no idea why that example would jump to mind). In the absence of a single date on which someone declares themself dictator, everyone saying that the process is underway can be called chicken little. As Alexandra Erin puts it:

    "Oh, don't be alarmist, the gun is in the holster. No need to shout, it's just in his hand, not even pointed at you. You're acting like he already shot you, his finger's not even on the trigger! Okay, it's on the trigger, but he hasn't pulled it. I'll be the first to oppose him if"
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:38 PM on May 12 [39 favorites]


    I think I even roughly understand some models under which there's significant ecological collapse and the world only supports a fraction of the current human population (among other populations). I don't think I yet understand a model under which human extinction is inevitable.

    Once we're down to arguing the fine points of whether we're looking at "a hundred million people fending off alligators and pythons in the Yukon and Tierra Del Fuego" or "a hundred thousand people surviving in caves and on mountaintops" or "Venus 2.0," it probably means we should be looking beyond carbon taxes and market based solutions.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 7:47 PM on May 12 [26 favorites]


    Pentagon will pull money from ballistic missile and surveillance plane programs to fund border wall
    The Pentagon will shift $1.5 billion for President Trump’s border wall from programs that include the military’s next nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile and a plane that provides surveillance and communications to fighter jets while airborne, according to a Defense Department document obtained by The Washington Post.
    The document includes more details about the administration’s plan, disclosed Friday, to build about 80 additional miles of border wall using Defense Department money. The document echoes acting defense secretary Patrick M. Shanahan in saying that there will be no negative effect on military readiness, though administration officials have previously acknowledged that reprogrammed money also could be put toward other unfunded military projects.
    “The Department carefully selected sources for the reprogramming that are excess or early to need and will not adversely affect military preparedness,” the document said.
    posted by scalefree at 7:51 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


    it probably means we should be looking beyond carbon taxes and market based solutions.

    Carbon taxes are clearly not sufficient. However, they would be a positive incentive, and there's no reason to rule them out as an element of an overall strategy.
    posted by Chrysostom at 8:04 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]




    However, they would be a positive incentive, and there's no reason to rule them out as an element of an overall strategy.

    Adults keep saying: 'We owe it to the young people to give them hope.' But I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.

    Sure, carbon taxes might be a part of the vast reorganization of our economy and society that will be necessary for survival. But "how about we do some carbon taxes in order to meet climate deniers in the middle" doesn't truly recognize the crisis. It's a gesture of giving hope when we need demonstrated rational panic.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 8:15 PM on May 12 [17 favorites]


    I don't think panic usually manifests rationally. I think it's more likely that, if you extinguish any hope, then people say, "We're fucked, not worth trying to do anything."

    But I suppose this is basically a derail.
    posted by Chrysostom at 8:29 PM on May 12 [11 favorites]


    We have to an FDR moment where he calls in private automobile manufacturers and says, guess what, you're not making cars this year because we're making tanks, and we all go, U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! Except it has to be with solar panels and wind turbines and public transportation. I would totally America Fuck Yeah that one.
    posted by angrycat at 8:47 PM on May 12 [47 favorites]


    Carbon taxes are the homeopathy of answers to global warming.
    posted by jamjam at 9:04 PM on May 12 [19 favorites]


    All I know is that the first thing we need to do is to get out of the situation where someone is in the White House actively trying to destroy the climate and the country. If that takes electing Biden, who I disagree with on just about everything, I'll gladly do it, and then we can spend four years campaigning to get him to take climate issues seriously and then primary him out of office if we have to.
    posted by mmoncur at 9:29 PM on May 12 [10 favorites]


    Biden actively campaigns against saving our climate by denigrating those who propose solutions which would be inconvenient for his “bipartisan” old boy’s club. I’ve reached the point where I don’t trust anybody older than 30 to make decisions about the future. I also think about Drake’s Equation and why we’ve never encountered intelligent life despite extremely high odds that exoplanets have evolved it.
    posted by SakuraK at 9:52 PM on May 12 [8 favorites]


    I also think about Drake’s Equation and why we’ve never encountered intelligent life despite extremely high odds that exoplanets have evolved it.

    It's a Great Filter, folks. The greatest filter. We'll explain the absence of spacefaring intelligent life like you've never seen.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 9:59 PM on May 12 [11 favorites]


    I will also be voting for voting for Biden if it comes to it, but I really have to ask how the politically engaged young people are going to feel about Biden's playing around with their future. I mean, I know we're supposed to care terribly about white men, but what about the young ones? You know, the ones who stay home if they're not all fired up and shit?
    posted by angrycat at 10:01 PM on May 12 [5 favorites]


    What if Electability Is More About Authenticity than Moderation? (David Atkins, Washington Monthly)
    One consideration is that for a certain type of voter, authenticity is more important than any particular policy concern. Authenticity is a frequently misunderstood concept, and should not be confused with honesty. Trump is a breathtakingly dishonest liar, but every time he opens his mouth it’s obvious that you’re getting the real him, unfiltered. The real Trump happens to be a racist huckster with a total disregard for facts and morals, but when he speaks it’s fairly obvious where he stands on most issues and what he intends to do–even if he never follows through or has no idea how he will get there. When Trump lied about protecting Social Security and Medicare or about creating a better healthcare system without hurting pre-existing conditions, it was less tinny and inauthentic than the bravado of a man so clueless about policy that he didn’t even know that no conservative policy could accomplish those things.

    It’s also important to note that the sort of voter who switches between Obama and Trump or Romney and Clinton is not really “moderate,” but rather something that political scientists call cross pressured. Rather than seeking status quo, generally stable corporate-friendly policy, these voters tend to be more radical than typical partisans. But they tend to be on the extremes of issues that are orthogonal to the American political party divide, and oftentimes they are confused or ignorant of basic policy facts or where the political parties stand on them. They also tend to be relegated to the outskirts of American civic life: they feel both the economic resentments that progressive populists speak to and the cultural and social resentments that conservative populists exploit. As a researcher, I’ve talked to Obama-Trump voters who matched the “Bernie Bro” stereotype of both racist and economically egalitarian, as well as ones who were stridently in favor of social and racial equality but hated any form of taxation. So how do Democrats win over these sorts of voters, and how do those voters make their decisions when neither candidate matches their ideals?
    posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:11 PM on May 12 [19 favorites]


    Ian Bassin:
    It’s telling that the very last line of the Mueller Report ends with “no person in this country is so high that he is above the law.” And then cites to U.S. v. Nixon. Then it ends. Methinks Mueller ending with that was not happenstance.
    posted by chris24 at 10:23 PM on May 12 [43 favorites]


    Re electability, here were the kooky weirdo Democratic nominees of the last 40 years: Carter, Bill Clinton, Obama. Here were the electable establishment Democratic nominees of the last 40 years: Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry. I mean, I see the logic for Biden, but the confidence the "electable" folks have in him seems rather at odds with what little historical evidence we have.
    posted by chortly at 10:24 PM on May 12 [38 favorites]


    To dovetail with Johnny Wallflower's authenticity vs moderation article: AOC talks to man hanging "Trump supporters for Ocasio-Cortez" sign outside her office.
    posted by wildblueyonder at 10:26 PM on May 12 [13 favorites]


    I will also be voting for voting for Biden if it comes to it, but I really have to ask how the politically engaged young people are going to feel about Biden's playing around with their future. I mean, I know we're supposed to care terribly about white men, but what about the young ones? You know, the ones who stay home if they're not all fired up and shit?

    You've answered your own question, I think. Bad. They're going to feel bad.

    But if you stay home unless you're fired up you lose your influence. Old people have so much influence because they show up. They show up if they are fired up. They show up if they aren't. They show up if its difficult, or boring, or annoying, or exciting, or raining, or snowing, or sunny, or...

    You get the picture.
    posted by Justinian at 10:42 PM on May 12 [7 favorites]


    but the confidence the "electable" folks have in him seems rather at odds with what little historical evidence we have.

    Speaking only for myself; I don't put any stock in theoretical arguments about electability. I do put a little stock in data showing Biden significantly up on Trump while other Democrats range from up nearly as much as Biden to barely ahead of Trump to barely behind in one case. I get the arguments that this far out that polling is of very small utility. But it's the only actual data we have so the alternative is potentially stuff with even less utility.

    So I don't blame people for taking that into account if they chose. But I also think it's completely reasonable for people to, as Chris Hayes kookily suggested on his show the other day, decide to vote for the person they actually want to be President. Since that's the easiest and most straightforward way to go and doesn't involve a lot of questionable attempts to game out various scenarios.
    posted by Justinian at 10:48 PM on May 12 [9 favorites]


    Pentagon will pull money from ballistic missile and surveillance plane programs to fund border wall

    I have no informed opinion on the US ballistic missile program &c, but I'm pretty damn certain that Putin does, and that he'd rather the US take money from missiles and spend it on Trump's stupid wall.
    posted by Joe in Australia at 11:02 PM on May 12 [28 favorites]


    adept256, the irony that these mendacious will-to-power grifters might ultimately be unseated thanks to a borderline-oblivious Australian ambassador is a never-ending source of delight to myself and all the other #auspol junkies who frequent these threads. I say 'irony' because the ambassador in question, Alexander 'Born-to-Rule' Downer, has forgotten more about working family connections and being born with a silver spoon in his mouth than anyone in TrumpWorld (with the possible exception of the DeVosses) has ever learned, with his daughter, the Empress-Presumptive Georgina, currently publicly failing to wrest control of pater-dearest's ancestral electorate of Mayo from The Pretender Rebekha Sharkie.
    posted by MarchHare at 11:29 PM on May 12 [14 favorites]


    (Sorry, that should have read "working his family connections" and not "working family connections," as 'working families' is a very specific dogwhistle left us by The Rodent.)
    posted by MarchHare at 12:04 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


    To take that electability=authenticty argument at face value for explaining obama/trump voters or trump/ocasio-cortez supporters you'd have to accept that to some folks Trump seems authentic, which considering he cant go 30 seconds without contradicting himself or lying (or contradicting a previous lie with a new one) seems like a bit of a stretch to me. Im much more convinced by the argument that electability is nothing more than a cudgel, a meaningless weapon of bad faith or those who would capitulate to it.
    posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 5:13 AM on May 13 [9 favorites]


    From Sunday: “Do we want to be the party loyalists who in ringing rhetoric condemn the wrongdoings and scandals of the Democratic Party and excuse them when they are done by Republicans?” Mr. Hogan wrote to his colleagues. He lost the Republican nomination for Maryland governor, and his position on the impeachment was considered a main cause.

    So just to be clear, the Republicans' answer to Hogan's question has been a ringing "yes" since at least the 1970s, and all too obviously since at least the 1990s. Democrats erred greatly in giving Republicans too much credit for patriotism an not working as feverishly to brand them as the closet monarchists they are -- and since their agenda is unpopular, of course they are -- as Republicans have to demonize liberals, unions, the media, teachers, lawyers, and all other instruments of popular sovereignty.
    posted by Gelatin at 5:22 AM on May 13 [13 favorites]


    "Electability" is at best a retcon, and in the context of an electoral system that discards millions of votes for "considered electable but in a state where it doesn't matter" it's mostly meaningless.
    posted by holgate at 5:43 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


    This is the best summation of the current situation I've seen in a long time:

    At some point we need to accept that an entire generation of Democrats were psychologically broken by the 1972, 1980, and 1984 elections, and spent decades acting as if they're only allowed to govern with a permission slip from Republicans.

    Speaker Pelosi, I need you to act aggressively towards the Trump administration and I need it six months ago.
    posted by petebest at 5:48 AM on May 13 [40 favorites]


    you'd have to accept that to some folks Trump seems authentic, which considering he cant go 30 seconds without contradicting himself or lying (or contradicting a previous lie with a new one) seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

    For some people, what he does is authentic -- because they do that themselves. They lie to cover up shitty and/or lazy stuff they've done, and they convince themselves that "everybody" does it. Because "no-one" can be perfect all the time. I've met plenty of those people in my life, or maybe rather a bit too many. My racist uncle would no doubt vote for Trump if he were American, not only because he mirrors his bullshit, but also because he mirrors his anger. There is so much in this world that racist uncle doesn't understand, and that makes him angry.

    A lot of people who are interested in politics, including myself, make the mistake of assuming that most people know at least a bit about policy. But they really don't. Most people know a bit about issues, but not a lot, and their takes on those issues are quite random. So they look for politicians they feel good about, and who talk about issues they care about.
    posted by mumimor at 5:52 AM on May 13 [32 favorites]


    you'd have to accept that to some folks Trump seems authentic, which considering he cant go 30 seconds without contradicting himself or lying (or contradicting a previous lie with a new one) seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

    Seconding what mumimor says above. Trump's authentically an asshole who governs like one, and that appeals to a far-too-good-sized chunk of the population. For them, his lack of truthfulness and sincerity have zero to do with anything.
    posted by Rykey at 6:27 AM on May 13 [16 favorites]


    CNBC: China is raising tariffs on $60 billion of US goods starting June 1
    China will raise tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods in retaliation for the U.S. decision to hike duties on Chinese goods, the Chinese Finance Ministry said Monday.

    Beijing will increase tariffs on more than 5,000 products to as high as 25%. Duties on some other goods will increase to 20%. Those rates will rise from either 10% or 5% previously.[…] The duties in large part target the U.S. agriculture industry, which has suffered from previous shots in the Trump administration’s trade war with China.
    The Dow Jones has reacted by dropping 415 points, while the Trump White House and Treasury have made no response.

    Naturally, @realdonaldtrump has been tweeting about China nonstop this morning, including a direct appeal: “I say openly to President Xi & all of my many friends in China that China will be hurt very badly if you don’t make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries. Too expensive to buy in China. You had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!”. Nothing, however, comes close in weirdness to his praise yesterday for “our Great Patriot Farmers (Agriculture)”, with whom he will “distribute the food to starving people in nations around the world! GREAT! #MAGA” as though he’s repurposing Maoist propaganda language for Twitter’s character limit.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 6:57 AM on May 13 [14 favorites]


    We need a complete overhaul of our entire society at a fundamental level. The time for patches on the system, like renewables or carbon taxes, was thirty years ago. By now it's far too late, and we need far more radical solutions.

    I was talking with my daughter about the upcoming elections (we have both EP and national elections within a month from now), and she said she doesn't trust anyone who thinks they can handle this with a tech-fix. Which is good and right.
    But I was also reminded that she, and her generation has no memory of the times where all of the world actually did something. In my life, I remember the energy crisis of 1973 fondly. It was a good time for being a child: there were car-free Sundays and a lot of other interesting restrictions. Strictly, it wasn't all the world because it was all the world except the OPEC countries, but it raised a global awareness of the limitations of fossile fuels and a lot of energy-saving innovation was made and implemented and people changed their wasteful habits. And even though the oil returned, the knowledge gained didn't disappear. If that hadn't happened, we would have been even worse off.
    When the greenhouse gas issue was understood during the 90's that was also dealt with as a global issue. The results weren't good enough, but again, if nothing had been done then, we'd have been worse off today. But most importantly: humans can get together and act. This time it's really serious, and it needs a lot of cooperation that will be hard. But it can be done and we should not despair.
    In Europe, the far right and the Russians want the upcoming elections to be about immigration. But at this point, it seems like climate is gaining traction. I guess there are more people like that guy upthread who is a Trump voter for AOC, I've heard quite a few of them in talk radio during the weekend.
    posted by mumimor at 7:05 AM on May 13 [11 favorites]


    [Folks, there are several existing climate change posts - please take that sidebar to one of them. Thanks. ]
    posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:08 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]


    companies will be forced to leave China for other countries. Too expensive to buy in China.

    American companies will find it more expensive in China, and thus buy from other countries, if they can (big if). But supply and demand dictates that the rest of the world will find it cheaper to buy from China.
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:18 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]


    Pentagon will pull money from ballistic missile and surveillance plane programs to fund border wall

    So now it's officially Administration policy that poor Central and South American migrants are a bigger threat to the US than Russia and DPRK.
    posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:18 AM on May 13 [28 favorites]


    Sweden is re-opening their case against Assange and asking the UK for extradition. This will bring up an interesting dilemma for the Theresa May government because arguably the crime in Sweden is more serious but May wants to curry favor with Trump and the US, with the trade war and Brexit causing concern.

    Meanwhile, before anything else happens, Assange will serve at least 6 months in jail having been convicted of the crime of bail jumping.
    posted by JackFlash at 7:19 AM on May 13 [6 favorites]


    Why do you think they're doing this, JackFlash?
    posted by Selena777 at 7:26 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


    American companies will find it more expensive in China, and thus buy from other countries, if they can (big if). But supply and demand dictates that the rest of the world will find it cheaper to buy from China.

    I don't even see U.S. companies leaving. They'll still want a Chinese presence, because that's the future market. Plus everyone knows the next president is going to end the tariffs. Even if that's just another 4 year wait, you're not going to pull up your factories.

    I could have gotten behind international sanctions against China for humanitarian reasons, but these tariffs are just dumb. The good news is that finally Trump seems to have shot himself in the foot.
    posted by xammerboy at 7:32 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


    ‘At least you didn’t die’ is some next level spin.

    @CBSThisMorning
    "There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I grant you that. But also that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas that are fallen heroes or laid to rest," @SenTomCotton on trade war with China
    VIDEO
    posted by chris24 at 7:34 AM on May 13 [14 favorites]


    How Donald Trump spun three years of investigations into two words: “No collusion!” (Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon)
    Employing The Double Reverse Triple Switchback Strategy, Trump now owns every side of the Russia argument

    Less than a month after he took office, he was already lying flat out about contacts with the Russians — there were none, and moreover, he had “no deals” in Russia, “no anything.” Then he pulled his double reverse misdirection, bringing up WikiLeaks, which he had not been asked about, and curiously, he absolved them of any crimes by pointing out that they had not released any “classified” information — an obvious, if oblique reference to the infamous Clinton emails, which if you’ll recall were alleged to have included classified information.

    And then executed his masterful triple switchback, turning himself from the beneficiary of the WikiLeaks releases of the Democrats’ emails, into the victim of it all. Hillary Clinton, whose campaign had been badly if not fatally damaged by the WikiLeaks releases, was the real criminal because she received answers to debate questions during the primary, and he didn’t. And if he had done what Hillary did . . . well, you get it.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 8:10 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


    And today, Brett Kavanaugh sides with the liberals on the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision against Apple. Apple had argued in the anti-trust case that consumers had no standing to complain about Apple's monopoly power in attaching a 30% commission to the sale of apps on its platform. Apple claimed that only app developers could bring the complaint, since technically, developers paid the commission, not consumers. The decision, written by Kavanaugh, said that "Apple’s line-drawing does not make a lot of sense, other than as a way to gerrymander Apple out of this and similar lawsuits."

    Yeah, Kavanaugh used the gerrymander analogy - making a liberal argument.
    posted by JackFlash at 8:12 AM on May 13 [12 favorites]


    I don't even see U.S. companies leaving. They'll still want a Chinese presence, because that's the future market. Plus everyone knows the next president is going to end the tariffs. Even if that's just another 4 year wait, you're not going to pull up your factories.

    I can't speak for every industry but they are absolutely leaving or trying to at least. Not many American companies actually own the factories they use in China so that really isn't a consideration for them.
    posted by nolnacs at 8:16 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


    There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I grant you that

    Good plan. Republican voters are famous for their willingness to sacrifice some income to support a greater good.
    posted by diogenes at 8:19 AM on May 13 [12 favorites]


    Nah, that line will still play because he pivots to fallen soldiers and there's nothing a Republican voter loves more than to "support the troops" and feel like they too are heroes.
    posted by lazaruslong at 8:23 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]


    Good plan. Republican voters are famous for their willingness to sacrifice some income to support a greater good.

    Is anything more typical of the GOP base than voting to harm their own material conditions in the hope of hurting non-white people more?
    posted by Rust Moranis at 8:36 AM on May 13 [15 favorites]


    that these mendacious will-to-power grifters might ultimately be unseated thanks to a borderline-oblivious Australian ambassador

    There's nothing borderline about Downer's obliviousness. As any politically aware Australian will tell you, he's a born-to-rule silvertail who has been professionally oblivious for his entire political career.

    Like Trump, Downer has never had any plan beyond self-aggrandizement garnished with ill-considered hot takes. He was the leader of Australia's centre-Right Liberal Party who allowed its present inexorable rightward drift to get started in earnest, essentially by being a clueless goose easily manipulated by the hard-right wing of his party.

    Not long after he assumed the leadership of the Liberal Opposition in 1994, public attention was drawn to a speech he'd given at a League of Rights meeting in 1987. He did his best to avoid answering questions about this, but when the Prime Minister of the day, Paul Keating, chose not to defend Downer against accusations of antisemitism when asked about the incident by a reporter, Downer was furious and moved a censure motion against Keating in Parliament.

    Keating's response was to move an amendment to Downer's censure motion such that all the words after the leading "That" were replaced with other words censuring Downer himself; and in the course of the subsequent debate, he gave this absolute masterclass in savaging a political opponent.

    I thought that those of you in despair over your Congressional leadership's apparent unwillingness to do something - anything! - about Trump might take a little heart from that long-ago reminder of how a centre-Left leader is supposed to behave.
    posted by flabdablet at 8:40 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


    FT: Trump Tariffs On China Intensify Pain For US Soyabean Farmers—Plan to ship surplus to ‘starving countries’ pushes further into uncharted territory
    If free trade is the goal, the White House is taking a roundabout route. As Donald Trump raised tariffs to 25 per cent on $200bn worth of Chinese imports last week, the US president declared he would use the proceeds to buy up surplus agricultural products and ship them to “starving countries” as humanitarian aid. The US agriculture department soon announced it was readying a plan*.

    The proposed state crop purchases pushed agricultural markets further into uncharted waters a year after the dispute flared between the world’s two largest economies. Soyabean futures in Chicago settled below $8 a bushel on Friday, the lowest level in more than a decade, reflecting their importance as the top US agricultural export to China.[…]

    The new US tariffs are “going to extend this trade war,” said Bill Gordon, who farms corn and soyabeans on 2,000 acres in southern Minnesota [and is also vice-president at the American Soybean Association]. “We’re already bleeding. It’s going to prolong that haemorrhage and not a lot of us are going to be able to make it.”
    * Ron Howard Narrator Voice: They do not have a plan.

    WSJ won't come out and say that Trump's sabotaging his own administration's negotiations ("The latest breakdown shows the two countries still haven’t found a way to negotiate effectively."): Frustration, Miscalculation: Inside the U.S.-China Trade Impasse "The U.S. and Chinese governments both sent signals ahead of their trade talks in Washington last week that a pact was so near they would discuss the logistics of a signing ceremony. In a matter of days, the dynamic shifted so markedly that the Chinese deliberated whether to even show up after President Trump ordered a last-minute increase in tariffs on Chinese imports because the U.S. viewed China as reneging on previous commitments."

    Bloomberg, from last Monday, before talks broke down: Yes, Trump Tariffs Are Costing Billions. No, China Isn't Paying
    “Our results imply that the tariff revenue the U.S. is now collecting is insufficient to compensate the losses being born by the consumers of imports,” a study published in March by economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Princeton University and Columbia University concluded.[…]

    A separate paper published in March by economists Pinelopi Goldberg, the World Bank’s chief economist, Pablo Fajgelbaum of UCLA, Patrick Kennedy of the University of California, Berkeley, and Amit Khandelwal of Columbia Business School also found that consumers and U.S. companies were paying most of the costs of Trump’s tariffs.

    It also went a step further: After factoring in the retaliation by other countries, it concluded the main victims of Trump’s trade wars had been farmers and blue-collar workers in areas that supported Trump in the 2016 election.

    “Workers in very Republican counties bore the brunt of the costs of the trade war, in part because retaliations disproportionately targeted agricultural sectors,” the authors wrote.
    If Cotton wants American sacrifices, they're going to come first from the red parts of the map. And the Dow Jones is now down over 600 points,
    posted by Doktor Zed at 8:42 AM on May 13 [23 favorites]


    U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement Friday that the president has ordered all remaining imports from China that aren’t yet subject to duties to face the tariffs

    Trump, after China retaliated on the new tariffs Friday, is escalating to put tariffs on all imports from China.

    Wait until Apple customers find out that their $1000 iPhones are now $1250. (Although it's unlikely Apple will pass all of the tariffs on to their customers.)
    posted by JackFlash at 8:43 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]


    Sad that our best hope of getting rid of Trump is Trump’s own stupidity wrecking the economy.
    posted by chris24 at 8:48 AM on May 13 [18 favorites]


    Is anything more typical of the GOP base than voting to harm their own material conditions in the hope of hurting non-white people more?

    For sure, but the GOP usually doesn't tell them it's going to harm their own material conditions. They usually convince them of the opposite.
    posted by diogenes at 8:49 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


    Sad that our best hope of getting rid of Trump is Trump’s own stupidity wrecking the economy.

    What really sucks is I have to wonder if it's just stupidity or if he's acting on Putin's "advice."
    posted by diogenes at 8:50 AM on May 13 [10 favorites]


    For sure, but the GOP usually doesn't tell them it's going to harm their own material conditions. They usually convince them of the opposite.

    Just one more mask coming off. Cotton's canny (2024 presidency, here he comes) and knows that if he just came out and said "we're going to starve one of your children but all of theirs" his base would at least give it a good think.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 8:55 AM on May 13 [9 favorites]


    Wait until Apple customers find out that their $1000 iPhones are now $1250. (Although it's unlikely Apple will pass all of the tariffs on to their customers.)

    Apple is sitting on $225 billion dollars so it seems like they'd have wide latitude to decide whether to eat the increased tariffs and keep their prices the same (aiding Trump) or to pass the price increase along (aiding Trump's eventual challenger.)
    posted by contraption at 8:55 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


    Gothamist: America's Guide To Bill de Blasio, NYC Mayor And Possible Presidential Candidate. They would not appear to be huge fans.

    Now, after seemingly every other Democratic leader in America has decided to run for president, de Blasio’s dithering feels adorably enraging, like the kid who just stands up on the high dive for ten minutes looking down at the water while the line below grows longer. “Cmon Bill it’s not THAT scary just do it or come down! We’re gonna go get some ice cream okay?”

    A more charitable interpretation is that the mayor is being “deliberative.” Either way, we deeply appreciate the extra time to put this blog post together.

    posted by showbiz_liz at 9:03 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


    What really sucks is I have to wonder if it's just stupidity or if he's acting on Putin's "advice."

    Occam's Razor might be that it's both stupidity and a belief that socialism-for-white-people -- more than that, a quasi-planned economy for certain white people -- has electoral benefit. Direct cash payments potentially creates a greater political bond than sales in a healthy economy, and yet the Republican trope that Democrats buy votes with handouts will somehow persist.
    posted by holgate at 9:05 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


    if he just came out and said "we're going to starve one of your children but all of theirs" his base would at least give it a good think.

    Fortunately for Cotton, it won't come to that. If there's one thing this timeline has taught us, it's that you can easily blame the Democrats for anything Republicans have caused. Republicans ruin health care? "Democrats ruined health care." Republicans collude with Russia? "It's the Democrats who have colluded with Russia." Saying "Despite all obvious, easily-accessible evidence, the Democrats starved your children, not us" is all too easy, and it's what their base wants to hear anyhow.
    posted by Rykey at 9:07 AM on May 13 [5 favorites]


    They would not appear to be huge fans.

    No one is! I think it’s rather remarkable the nation’s largest city has functioned pretty well without s mayor for years now, maybe we need to rethink the office.

    It’s like Coumo, no one likes him, no one can point to his appeal, we just accept he’s in power cause the New York State machine is more like a weather event then functioning democracry.
    posted by The Whelk at 9:11 AM on May 13 [14 favorites]


    Apple is sitting on $225 billion dollars so it seems like they'd have wide latitude

    Except most of that cash is untaxed overseas earnings. To bring it home and use it to offset tariffs would cost them a 15% repatriation tax on top of the tariffs. I expect Apple and other CEOs to start squealing soon.
    posted by JackFlash at 9:14 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]



    All of these possibilities are still an emergency, but I don't know how to figure out what's more likely. Maybe some political operators, even good faith ones, are confronting the same thing, on top of whatever their perspective is on what's possible.


    With all respect, please just read the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers for global warming of 1.5C. It is the current best consensus view of our understanding of the severity of climate crisis (which is...very severe). I agree with you that far too many people are not being made aware of this in a way that is memorable and actionable. Part of the problem is describing Biden-esque positions as "centrist" or "middle ground" when in fact they're laughably insufficient or harmful to actually responding to climate crisis. As mods have said, there are other threads to dive into this. But, I do feel like it's politically relevant and important to point people to actual information on this, rather than just argue over it and pretend like we don't actually know what's going on. We do know what's going on, with high confidence, and we know for sure that our entire system of living needs to dramatically change in order to avoid catastrophic global system failures.
    posted by odinsdream at 9:20 AM on May 13 [22 favorites]


    Remember when companies were adding an Obamacare surcharge to their bills?

    They seriously need to start adding the Trump Tariff Surcharge to all their retail advertisements.
    posted by xigxag at 9:25 AM on May 13 [13 favorites]


    I expect Apple and other CEOs to start squealing soon.

    There was one I saw, the CEO of Polaris, makers of snowmobiles and ATVs, saying the new tariffs would be "downright catastrophic" and could cut profits by a third. For the schadenfreude I googled his name and found he was a Trump tariff cheerleader just a few months ago because "Trump's goals are perfectly aligned with US manufacturers", but he said this as his company was shifting production to Poland to avoid the steel tariff.
    posted by peeedro at 9:31 AM on May 13 [27 favorites]


    FT: If free trade is the goal, the White House is taking a roundabout route

    Trump is not at all a free trader. He's very clearly a protectionist. He doesn't like international free markets at all. He wants quotas and tariffs. He would have been very comfortable in 19th or 18th century finance.

    The financial & corporate world still seems to be pussy-footing around this despite ample evidence during the USMCA renegotiation, the steel and aluminum tariffs and now the negotiations with China. They will either need to come to terms with him on this (ha) or look for new leadership in the US.
    posted by bonehead at 9:38 AM on May 13 [11 favorites]


    I would like to see some shareholder derivative suits brought against CEOs that were credulous Trump supporters or were too incompetent to understand that Trump was actually working against their interests or would inevitably turn against them.
    posted by jedicus at 9:40 AM on May 13 [21 favorites]


    Remember when companies were adding an Obamacare surcharge to their bills?

    They seriously need to start adding the Trump Tariff Surcharge to all their retail advertisements.


    They did that as a political attack on Obama and Democrats making them pay their employees more. They were pissed off about their employees gaining the slightest bit of leverage after decades of turning the screws on labor and the making the employment relationship more and more coercive from every angle. Most non-ag and non-auto companies are still EXTREMELY happy about the Trump tax cuts, and want another round of the same, they're not about to take heavy handed action against him in the same way, especially when it's consumers ultimately feeling the increased burden, not the company CEO, and the tariffs are not diminishing their stranglehold over their laborforce's choices.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 9:44 AM on May 13 [15 favorites]


    Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman: Trump Fund-Raising Is in Crisis, and Even Don Jr. Is Sounding the Alarm
    According to sources, Trump campaign officials are sounding the alarm over the president’s early fund-raising hauls. Trump’s son Don Jr. has privately warned donors that Trump only raised around $30 million in the last quarter, and pointed out that the number fell far short of the roughly $45 million Barack Obama raised in the second quarter of 2011 for his 2012 re-election bid, according to a source briefed on the conversations (A source close to Don Jr. disputed this). “They need more money, and there’s no enthusiasm. They need to amp it up,” a Trump donor told me. “Wall Street never liked Trump from the beginning. Goldman is filled with people who were Obama fund-raisers,” another Trump donor told me. In 2016, Trump raised only about $351 million. Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign took in $483 million.

    Sources say the anemic fund-raising is being driven by several factors. The biggest is Trump himself. Trump’s shambolic governing style and endless tweeting are exhausting donors. “There’s Trump fatigue,” the longtime Republican donor told me. “The 2020 bumper sticker should be: ‘Same Policies, but We Promise Less Crazy.’” Then there’s Trump’s difficult re-election pathway. According to a source, some donors aren’t stepping up because Trump’s numbers in must-win states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin continue to disappoint.

    Another problem is the dysfunction in Trump’s donor-outreach effort. Simply put, donors feel ignored. “There’s no follow-through,” said a donor who’s interacted with the campaign. “They don’t return favors,” another donor said. One former administration official said some donors are upset at the slow pace of confirming ambassadorships and political appointments. “Donors are not being taken care of,” the official said. “All these people were supposed to be ambassadors by now, but they’ve been slow-rolled. Trump is furious.”
    n.b. Forbes, from last month: Trump Has Now Shifted $1.3 Million Of Campaign-Donor Money Into His Business
    posted by Doktor Zed at 9:44 AM on May 13 [28 favorites]


    “The most powerful labor leader in the country right now is about 5’5” in sneakers, though her work uniform generally adds an extra inch or two. As the president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) and veteran flight attendant who has worked for United Airlines since 1996, Sara Nelson is no stranger to wearing heels—but after spending some time with her, one gets the distinct impression that she’d be just as comfortable in combat boots.” Sara Nelson’s Art Of War
    posted by The Whelk at 10:05 AM on May 13 [18 favorites]


    re: need to start adding the Trump Tariff Surcharge

    Electronics supplier Digi-Key does this... affected items are flagged "tariff applied" next to the part number
    posted by tinker at 10:24 AM on May 13 [23 favorites]


    From that horrible lede to the numerous references to her appearance, it’s easy to miss how important Sara Nelson was in bringing an end to the shutdown in that article, so I’m pulling it out here as otherwise you’ll get lost in hearing how “peppy” and blond Nelson is:
    It was her call for a general strike, delivered during her acceptance speech for the 2019 AFL-CIO MLK Drum Major for Justice Award on Sunday, January 20, that was widely credited for jump-starting the endgame of President Donald Trump’s brutal five-week shutdown.
    posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 10:27 AM on May 13 [28 favorites]


    I would like to see some shareholder derivative suits brought against CEOs that were credulous Trump supporters or were too incompetent to understand that Trump was actually working against their interests or would inevitably turn against them.

    Tax cuts and the dismantling of regulatory regimes (industrial and financial) have almost certainly more than compensated shareholders of the kind who could afford to bring such suits. They'll do fine. They are doing fine.
    posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:30 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


    My Congressman, Michael McCaul, just did a mini town hall here at my workplace. Despite my sever social anxiety, I actually went, planning to ask his position on medical providers being able to refuse care to people like me (trans). The first question, however, was asked by another trans woman. She asked how he felt about the trans military ban. He tried to put it off by saying that General Mattis says it's okay. I actually managed to speak up and ask "Yes, but what do you think." His response was that he thinks any qualified person who wants to serve should be able to serve. I didn't get to followup and ask if he feels that a trans person can be qualified.

    There were only a few more questions, and I didn't get to ask mine, but at least I managed to speak up a little.
    posted by Tabitha Someday at 10:35 AM on May 13 [107 favorites]


    "I can still personally remember Valerie Plame’s husband Joe Wilson literally screaming obscenities at me across a table ... that Republican opposition research on Obama would see him destroyed in a landslide against McCain. ...It may well be, in other words, that Democrats have been getting electability wrong for decades now, and that the biggest obstacle facing Democratic voters is their mistaken belief in a silent majority of voters more conservative than themselves." What If Electability Is More About Authenticity than Moderation?

    And this comment from the twitter feed it was posted in

    @moneyfamine “Having actually campaigned in rural PA, serious Trump Country, I can report that the principal driver is a complete loss of hope that things will get better and a raging fear that they will get worse. Optimists do not vote Republican.”
    posted by The Whelk at 11:39 AM on May 13 [38 favorites]




    Des Moines Register: 'It Can't Get Any Worse': Iowa Farmers Suffer As U.S. Trade War With China Escalates
    "Farmers, particularly soybean farmers, have been the tip of the spear when it comes to Chinese retaliation, and I'm not sure they can take much more," said Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association.

    Escalating tariffs "undercut any remnants of optimism," Leeds said. "That's what's most devastating about this."[…]

    Tim Bardole, a Rippey farmer, said he understands the U.S. needs a stronger trade deal with China, especially to protect intellectual property.

    "An agreement that is fair to both countries is really the light at the end of the tunnel that I'm hoping for," said Bardole, president-elect of the Iowa Soybean Association board. "But there’s no question that agriculture is suffering with the way things are. […] A lot of producers are in serious financial pain. How long we can survive and handle it, I don't know."
    CNN: Dow Plunges 700 Points After China Retaliates With Higher Tariffs "European stocks closed lower across the board. Asian markets also finished lower, with the Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) ending Monday trading down 1.2%."

    At an Oval Office presser today, Trump said that he plans to meet both Chinese President Xi and Russian President Putin at the G-20 summit coming up in Osaka, Japan, in late June. On Twitter beforehand, Trump lied that US consumers wouldn't have to pay for the tariffs, or should buy from other countries or domestically. Predicting "There will be nobody left in China to do business with. Very bad for China, very good for USA!", he warned, "China should not retaliate-will only get worse!" As usual, he appears to have learned nothing from his own mistakes and is blaming whoever else he can for them.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 12:10 PM on May 13 [14 favorites]


    From today's WH pool reports:
    POTUS said a deal with China was “95 percent” done when Secretary Mnuchin and USTR Lighthizer we’re informed in China the deal was off. That’s when he ordered the tariff move.

    On war with Iran, “we’ll see what happens,” POTUS said.

    WILL POTUS PLEDGE TO NOT USE DIRT FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY IN THE 2020 ELECTION?

    POTUS: “Well, I never did use [it]. As you probably know, that's what the Mueller report was all about. They said, ‘No collusion.’”

    “And I would certainly agree to that. I don't need it. All I need is the opponents that I'm looking at. I'm liking what I see.”
    posted by box at 12:12 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


    @moneyfamine “Having actually campaigned in rural PA, serious Trump Country, I can report that the principal driver is a complete loss of hope that things will get better and a raging fear that they will get worse. Optimists do not vote Republican.”

    On one level, on might think that voting Republican leads to things not getting better, which apparently leads to voting Republican again. Though voters seem to be getting the idea that the Democrats delivered improvements in health care and the Republicans want to take it away, so there seems to be an opportunity here for Democrats to make the long-overdue pitch that Republican policies are at fault for many Americans' economic woes.

    That said, if "things will not get better" means "the nation will get progressively less white," then yeah, it will, not that that excuses voting Republican either.
    posted by Gelatin at 12:27 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


    @CBSThisMorning
    "There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I grant you that. But also that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas that are fallen heroes or laid to rest," @SenTomCotton on trade war with China


    Perfect. Sacrifices by the wealthy for universal health care, free college education for all, housing for the homeless, better pay for teachers, improved infrastructure, making room for immigrants and refugees, reducing carbon emissions, etc., etc., are all small sacrifices compared to the sacrifices made by our brave, dead troops.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 12:57 PM on May 13 [32 favorites]




    Does either party have a solid plan to economically preserve rural areas essentially for their own sake by fostering the creation of middle class jobs for existing residents? Republicans have the military and prison industrial complexes going, but those jobs are more of a byproduct than the purpose. Rural regions would also continue to bleed young talent no matter what, because the Internet reveals that there's more ways to lead your life than the exact same way your parents did.
    posted by Selena777 at 1:10 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


    Washingtonian, Inside the Pampered and Personalized World of DC’s VIP Diners
    One DC restaurateur who has hosted polarizing insiders including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller—architect of the President’s hard line on immigration—says he prefers to seat Trump officials in a private back corner away from the sidewalk-facing windows. Secret Service like the proximity to the back door, but the restaurateur sees an added perk to hiding controversial figures who might spark a confrontation. “The only thing I wish is that nobody walks by my window and realizes she’s dining with us,” he says of DeVos.

    There was a hitch with Miller, though: He always insisted on sitting in the middle of the dining room, “so we have no choice—we do it.”
    ...
    On subsequent visits, Miller continued to greet the restaurateur like a friend. Then last summer, Miller visited around the time when family separations at the Mexican border hit the news. This time, the restaurateur decided to broach politics: “I told him that I was worried that his policy, the speech that he was writing for the President, would hurt small businesses, especially my restaurant, in the future. My restaurant wouldn’t be open if we didn’t have immigrants.”

    Miller listened politely. “He smiled and said, ‘You are entitled to your opinions.’ ” He hasn’t been back since.
    posted by zachlipton at 1:25 PM on May 13 [24 favorites]


    Here in Hampton, New Hampshire, which is fairly conservative by our state's standards, there's been a sudden crop of Tulsi Gabbard signs growing on peoples lawns on my route to work. I don't think she's come through town yet, so this is curious.

    Biden was in town today, stumping at the local brick oven pizza place (Community Oven, which I highly recommend if you're ever in town). Lots of gray heads in the crowd from the photos I saw, though I suppose it was the middle of a work day.
    posted by schoolgirl report at 1:36 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


    Today at the Oval Office, Trump hosted Hungary's authoritarian leader Viktor Orbán, telling him: "You're respected all over Europe. Probably like me a little bit controversial, but that's okay. You've done a good job and you've kept your country safe." Trump added, ""People have a lot of respect for this prime minister… He's done the right thing, according to many people, on immigration." (w/video via Aaron Rupar)

    CNN: Trump Welcomes Hungary's Far-Right Nationalist Prime Minister After Past Presidents Shunned Him
    He's rolled back democratic checks on his power, mused about creating a European ethnostate and erected a razor-wire fence to keep migrants out, angering the rest of the European Union. So why was Hungary's far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Monday?[…]

    Administration officials say the invitation to the White House for talks — the first for a Hungarian prime minister in years — is part of a concerted strategy to re-engage Central European nations as Russia and China seek to exert influence in the region. But the visit is raising questions about which leaders Trump is looking to cultivate — including a long list of global strongmen — at the expense of more traditional US allies.[…]

    Several advisers have cautioned Trump about appearing overly chummy with his counterpart, believing a warm embrace could hamper the administration's efforts to keep Orbán at arms-length. {And we can see how that warning went over with Trump.}
    The Atlantic's Franklin Foer, who recounted Viktor Orbán’s War on Intellect in their latest issue, notes: "My jaw hit the floor, when Donald Trump's ambassador to Hungary told me: "I can tell you, knowing the president for a good 25 or 30 years, that he would love to have the situation that Viktor Orbán has."
    posted by Doktor Zed at 1:41 PM on May 13 [22 favorites]


    I'm not saying that it is what we should do, I'm saying that it is what people in those areas desire from politicians. It's not realistic nor in line with long term environmental goals, but I think it's what people are despondent about - the death of their towns.
    posted by Selena777 at 1:43 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


    Most people don't want to live in rural areas. That's why they are rural.
    Oh god, can we not?
    Here in Hampton, New Hampshire, which is fairly conservative by our state's standards, there's been a sudden crop of Tulsi Gabbard signs growing on peoples lawns on my route to work.
    Yeah, that's interesting. I saw a never-Trump conservative person express support for Gabbard the other day. I'm not sure I understand that. I guess maybe being an isolationist and a social conservative is enough for them?
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:45 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


    Does either party have a solid plan to economically preserve rural areas essentially for their own sake by fostering the creation of middle class jobs for existing residents?

    Yes. This is the whole reason the Green New Deal includes jobs guarantees:
    “Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”
    Half of the entire plan is economic, specifically because transitioning to a no emissions economy will disrupt a ton of existing resident's jobs.

    Now wether those existing residents consider a government job to be "real" or not...

    Also we've had about 92,000 rounds of "but the rurals" here, search all the past threads.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 1:46 PM on May 13 [25 favorites]


    Massive investment in public works programs for parks/public lands/green energy/environmental rehabilitation would do a lot for the economic dignity of rural communities: all that's missing is the Democratic Party's will to govern.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 1:48 PM on May 13 [22 favorites]


    Here in Hampton, New Hampshire, which is fairly conservative by our state's standards, there's been a sudden crop of Tulsi Gabbard signs

    Daily Beast, Jan 2019: Why Conservative Media and the Far Right Love Tulsi Gabbard for President
    Gabbard first became an in-demand Fox News guest in 2015 after she criticized Barack Obama’s unwillingness to use the label “radical Islamic terrorism.” Her media tour explaining that position earned her positively-tilted coverage in right-wing outlets like Breitbart and The Daily Caller—a trend that continued when she later expressed skepticism of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.
    NBC, Feb 2019: "Russia's propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard"
    An NBC News analysis of the main English-language news sites employed by Russia in its 2016 election meddling shows Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is set to make her formal announcement Saturday, has become a favorite of the sites Moscow used when it interfered in 2016.
    Can confirm from personal internet anecdata -- she is the one Democrat many internet Republicans say they like. After all, Tucker Carlson likes her. Bannon loves her. Trump interviewed her for a cabinet position.

    And Gabbard says we should move on from Russian interference. She's on board with all their messaging about themselves.
    posted by OnceUponATime at 1:49 PM on May 13 [26 favorites]


    As someone who lives in a poor, rural area, you know what would help? Returning funding for local resources to the place it was 20 years ago before Rick Perry (here in Texas) started bankrupting the state funds and programs got slashed.

    I'm a few miles from a state park that was a tourist destination for weekend boating, camping, hiking, etc. It's been closed for five years after extreme flooding damaged it. There's no intention to rebuild it. Local businesses relied on the traffic from people going to the park. So we have fewer restaurants now, fewer convenience stores, fewer jobs for local folks.

    Not to mention the giant holes in the roads and other ways the Republicans running things refuse to meet basic standards needed to have a functioning economy. And we're lucky because we're within an hour's drive of pretty well-off towns where the people who are capable go get decent jobs.
    posted by threeturtles at 2:22 PM on May 13 [47 favorites]


    The thing I've been thinking about recently, with all this stuff about Trump voters for AOC and Warren doing well in Trump country is that part of the reason a lot of people voted for Trump is that he promised them things. He promised wonderful healthcare. He promised to bring back all their jobs from overseas. He promised to lower taxes and raise incomes. He promised that his fucking wall would help them get work.

    Now, obviously to us it was obvious he was lying. That what he promised was impossible, especially through the means he proposed. But that isn't a judgement that his voters were either able or willing to make. Maybe just cause they wanted to believe it.

    These same people respond well when Democrats tell them they can have better things in life. That they are willing to try and provide the things that they desperately need. Maybe it's that fucking simple. People want politicians to promise them the things they need.

    I'm pretty sure none of those folks are going to get excited about a candidate saying "well we can't actually improve anything for you because government is complicated." Like, yes, the common view of politicians is that they'll say anything to get elected and never live up to what they say. But is not promising to do anything really the solution to that? Trump bet on the fact that people don't care how likely something is, they just want to be pandered to.
    posted by threeturtles at 2:32 PM on May 13 [25 favorites]


    Not to mention the giant holes in the roads and other ways the Republicans running things refuse to meet basic standards needed to have a functioning economy.

    This type of thing is really concerning--do they really want for wide swaths of the country to be maintained so poorly and dangerously? Even if you don't live there, you may want to someday vacation nearby or pass through on your way to someplace else.

    Roads and hospitals--good lord, rural hospitals (and the lack thereof)!! It's really a serious problem.
    posted by witchen at 2:32 PM on May 13 [11 favorites]


    The thing I've been thinking about recently, with all this stuff about Trump voters for AOC and Warren doing well in Trump country is that part of the reason a lot of people voted for Trump is that he promised them things. He promised wonderful healthcare. He promised to bring back all their jobs from overseas. He promised to lower taxes and raise incomes. He promised that his fucking wall would help them get work.

    Now, obviously to us it was obvious he was lying. That what he promised was impossible, especially through the means he proposed. But that isn't a judgement that his voters were either able or willing to make. Maybe just cause they wanted to believe it.


    I mean if someone promises you something you want you're going to belive them, right? Only real die hard cranks think that's "buying votes" by trying to make people's lives better. Obviously he couldn't deliver on them or even believe in them - all that promising the end the war and rebuild schools was just Bannon's euro-style fascist talking points being filtered through his sponge brain - but it does show a Green Left Populism has a huge chance. You have to inspire these libidinal passions and desire for change and point them in the right direction.

    you have to name an enemy, and the right is better at that cause they've had more practice, but getting to "Hey your family members and neighbors and the unseen other isn't screwing you over, it;s the banks and the big businesses and the hoarders of wealth who want to turn the entire country into a slum they can look at from their climate controlled dome cities." is a good idea.

    The average person is absolutely fucked and they know this. Point to a way out and path to put the power back in their hands. Unleash those social forces already cracking open at the seams.

    It can start with eliminating bank fees but this isn't one person or one program or one campaign. This is all of us jumping up and down on the arc of history until it bends toward justice.
    posted by The Whelk at 2:50 PM on May 13 [34 favorites]


    "My jaw hit the floor, when Donald Trump's ambassador to Hungary told me: "I can tell you, knowing the president for a good 25 or 30 years, that he would love to have the situation that Viktor Orbán has."

    As Maya Angelou said, when somebody shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

    Trump has been showing us who he is for years. Definitely every. single. day. of his Presidency.

    And I find myself astounded by the number of Democrats and people in the America media who treat him like he's some kind of blip, something "the system" will correct in a short while, instead of a critical threat to all kinds of political, governmental, and cultural norms. And by "norms" I mean the practices and shared assumptions that, while imperfect, are meant to help prevent or at least mitigate that whole nasty, brutish, and short thing.

    I know there have been American politicians who have thought and felt the same things in their bilious little hearts that Trump has said out loud. I know there have been American politicians who have "sent out feelers" on moving various policies towards the positions Trump, Miller, Devos, Carson and others concoct and enact.

    Trump seems so obviously "What if that vile, but unfettered" that the lack of universal contempt and resolve to act immediately makes me think that my own antipathy and fear must be wrong and extreme, like I'm examining the things that he has objectively said and done, the things he himself has revealed about his motivations and desires, and somehow reaching an outlandish conclusion.
    posted by lord_wolf at 3:04 PM on May 13 [26 favorites]


    RE: Tulsi Gabbard & her Russian friends - I watched She The People (a presidential candidate forum put on by an org made up of women of color). Full disclosure - I skipped Gabbard because it's pretty clear she's nonsense. Scrolled down to the comments, though, and almost every single one was about how incredibly gifted and wonderful she is, and how she is absolutely each commenter's first choice candidate. It was eerie. This forum included Warren, Harris, Klobuchar, Booker, Sanders, O'Rourke, just off the top of my head. They are not even trying to be subtle - a person informed enough to watch She The People seems unlikely to also be convinced that Gabbard has a 100% approval rating in the YouTube comments.
    posted by Emmy Rae at 3:32 PM on May 13 [10 favorites]


    Gabbard = Russian interference on social media?
    posted by njohnson23 at 3:46 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]


    NBC, back in February: Russia's Propaganda Machine Discovers 2020 Democratic Candidate Tulsi Gabbard—Experts who track websites and social media linked to Russia have seen stirrings of a possible campaign of support for Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard.
    Since Gabbard announced her intention to run on Jan. 11, there have been at least 20 Gabbard stories on three major Moscow-based English-language websites affiliated with or supportive of the Russian government: RT, the Russian-owned TV outlet; Sputnik News, a radio outlet; and Russia Insider, a blog that experts say closely follows the Kremlin line. The CIA has called RT and Sputnik part of "Russia's state-run propaganda machine."[…]

    Former FBI agent Clint Watts, author of "Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News," said Gabbard has past or present positions on several issues that would be attractive to the Russian propaganda machine, and she is already popular with the U.S. "alt-left." Besides her views on Syria, she responded to reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election by saying the U.S. had interfered in foreign elections too.
    Uncoincidentally, among her supporters in the media are arch Russian interference skeptics Glenn Greenwald and Michael Tracey.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 4:01 PM on May 13 [27 favorites]


    lord_wolf: As Maya Angelou said, when somebody shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

    Trump has been showing us who he is for years. Definitely every. single. day. of his Presidency.

    And I find myself astounded by the number of Democrats and people in the America media who treat him like he's some kind of blip, something "the system" will correct in a short while, instead of a critical threat to all kinds of political, governmental, and cultural norms. And by "norms" I mean the practices and shared assumptions that, while imperfect, are meant to help prevent or at least mitigate that whole nasty, brutish, and short thing.


    And this is one reason why I'm now putting Elizabeth Warren as my #1 ahead of Kamala Harris (who is still my #2 and I still really like her). Warren, of all the candidates, seems to really get what we are up against. Her stock just keeps rising and rising with me.

    As for Tulsi Gabbard: now that Jill Stein is known to be both a grifter and a laughingstock, there needs to be a new stooge set up to play spoiler. Tag, Tulsi, you're it. The bot army is at your service.
    posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:06 PM on May 13 [46 favorites]


    Independent of any candidate, the Democratic Party should run election ads featuring ordinary people thriving under the adequate standard of living in other countries considered modern (or Western, or industrialized, or whatever descriptor is going to resonate with terribly insulated Americans).

    Danish retirees with state pensions, excitedly making travel plans; new French parents bonding during paid parental leave, while a nurse makes a standard, non-emergency house call to check on mother and child; a newly-disabled Norweigan worker making universal-design mods their home, which their government will help pay for; an Irish entrepreneur starting a new business, because they're not worried about health-care coverage for themselves or their kids.

    Or, man, just a scrolling, stark list of how rare things like gun deaths, childhood illnesses, personal bankruptcy, and dying from exposure are elsewhere. I've never forgotten a MetaFilter commenter pointing out that Americans don't even know what 'gold-plated' medical insurance is: beyond state coverage, you can buy additional insurance which will pay for your family's stay in a nearby hotel during your hospitalization.
    posted by Iris Gambol at 4:08 PM on May 13 [55 favorites]


    Less "Make America Great Again" and more, bring this country up to par.
    posted by Iris Gambol at 4:21 PM on May 13 [14 favorites]


    And I find myself astounded by the number of Democrats and people in the America media who treat him like he's some kind of blip, something "the system" will correct in a short while, instead of a critical threat to all kinds of political, governmental, and cultural norms.

    New today from the Nation:

    How Does Donald Trump Keep Getting Away With It? Hint: From Congress to the courts, people keep treating Trump like a “normal” president. It’s time to stop.
    posted by chris24 at 4:26 PM on May 13 [37 favorites]


    NYT, Pentagon Builds Deterrent Force Against Possible Iranian Attack
    The Pentagon will deploy a Patriot antimissile battery to the Middle East to shore up defenses against Iranian threats, part of a series of carefully calibrated deployments intended to deter attacks by Iranian forces or their proxies, Pentagon officials said on Friday.

    A single Patriot antimissile battery will return to the Persian Gulf, just a few months after four batteries were withdrawn from the region. The Pentagon also said it would replace one Navy ship in the region with a more capable vessel, the Arlington, an amphibious ship designed to carry Marines and combat helicopters.
    ...
    The new steps are meant to be measured and limited, in part because a new intelligence analysis by American and allied spy services has concluded that the Iranian government, declining in popularity amid economic woes, is trying to provoke the United States into a military overreaction to cement its hold on power, according to American and allied intelligence officials. The American intelligence community has not yet done a broader official assessment that would incorporate views from multiple agencies.

    Still, divisions within the Trump administration are growing between officials advocating sharp limits on new military deployments and a more hawkish camp that believes the United States must be prepared for a larger-scale fight with Iran.

    Military planners were ordered this week to begin preparing for the possibility of a much larger deployment to the region in the event of a military conflict with Iran, two American officials said. Such plans would go well beyond the measured steps the Pentagon took this week.
    Well it's a good thing we have a President who will calmly ignore such provoc—

    @W7VOA: If #Iran provokes, it'll be "a big mistake," warns @POTUS in Oval Office meeting with #Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban. "If they do anything, they'll suffer greatly," says @POTUS of #Iran. "You can figure it out yourself, they know what I mean by it," replies @POTUS when asked to elaborated.

    @Nick_L_Miller: This is simultaneously a terrible red line and also a very accurate description of the Trump administration's sanctions policy toward Iran thus far.
    posted by zachlipton at 5:01 PM on May 13 [13 favorites]


    How Does Donald Trump Keep Getting Away With It? Hint: From Congress to the courts, people keep treating Trump like a “normal” president. It’s time to stop.

    Trump's China grudge match may be spinning out of control (Politico)
    Donald Trump the Dow Man and Donald Trump the Tariff Man found themselves back on a collision course Monday as U.S. markets tanked and fear of a full-scale trade war between the world’s two largest economies reemerged with a vengeance.

    The Dow Jones industrial average on Monday plunged 618 points, or roughly 2.7 percent, after a flurry of belligerent tweets from President Trump — and quick retaliation from China in the form of new tariffs — threw gut punches at hopes for a deal between the two nations.

    The sell-off framed a central conflict inside the White House — and seemingly within the president’s own mind. [...]

    “Investors have always assumed that these are rational actors who will eventually realize that it’s in nobody’s best interest to escalate this any further,” said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management. “But that could turn out to be wrong.” [...]

    The back-and-forth left Wall Street investors, who have long assumed the two sides would make a deal, wondering whether Trump and Xi are now locked in a political grudge match that could blow a hole in the global economy before it is resolved.
    posted by Little Dawn at 5:15 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


    The Nation is a progressive, weekly magazine with a small-but-select readership. Political Twitter has a limited audience, too, and Politico averages 26 million unique visitors per month to the U.S. website.

    USA Today reaches over seven million readers daily, with a weekly circulation of 2.3 million, and persists in running deplorable-bait like "'They're not going to be happy.' Trump threatens Iran over reports of sabotaged oil tankers," with an embedded video clip captioned, "President Donald Trump and his wife Melania paid tribute to military mothers at the White House on Friday (May 10)."

    The closing graph: "The Trump administration has made isolating Iran a centerpiece of its foreign policy, withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement and imposing a series of crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Critics fear that hawks inside the Trump administration, including Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, are pushing the U.S. toward a military conflict with Iran." At the bottom of the page, there's a photo captioned, "President Donald Trump meets with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the Oval Office on Monday," no further context, nothing to indicate he made these statements while in a meeting with another country's leader, one whom he admires for their despotic ways.

    This article was published 3:12 p.m. ET May 13, 2019, to the site's "front page."

    Not ten minutes later, the paper dumped the still-mild "Critics deride Trump's decision to meet with 'authoritarian' prime minister of Hungary" in the 'On Politics' newsletter section.
    posted by Iris Gambol at 5:24 PM on May 13 [10 favorites]


    WaPo, Before Trump’s purge at DHS, top officials challenged plan for mass family arrests
    In the weeks before they were ousted last month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and top immigration enforcement official Ronald Vitiello challenged a secret White House plan to arrest thousands of parents and children in a blitz operation against migrants in 10 major U.S. cities.
    ...
    ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations branch had an initial target list of 2,500 adults and children, but the plan, which remains under consideration, was viewed as a first step toward arresting as many as 10,000 migrants. The vast majority of families who have crossed the border in the past 18 months seeking asylum remain in the country, awaiting a court date or in defiance of deportation orders.

    DHS officials said the objections Vitiello and Nielsen raised regarding the targeted “at large” arrests were mostly operational and logistical, and not as a result of ethical concerns about arresting families an immigration judge had ordered to be deported.
    posted by zachlipton at 5:27 PM on May 13 [15 favorites]


    NYT, Barr Assigns U.S. Attorney in Connecticut to Review Origins of Russia Inquiry
    Attorney General William P. Barr has assigned the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the Russia investigation, according to two people familiar with the matter, a move that President Trump has long called for but that could anger law enforcement officials who insist that scrutiny of the Trump campaign was lawful.
    This will now be the third known investigation into the origins of the investigation.
    posted by zachlipton at 5:37 PM on May 13 [21 favorites]


    The Nation is a progressive, weekly magazine with a small-but-select readership.

    I remember an interview with whoever was The Nation's editor when Dubya took office, talking about their booming subscription numbers. He said, "What's bad for the country is good for The Nation."
    posted by workerant at 5:57 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


    That would be Katrina vanden Heuvel, who's stepping down next month. The Nation’s circulation is currently about 132,000—down from a peak of 186,000 in 2006.
    posted by Iris Gambol at 6:07 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


    Politico: Wyden Seeks Answers In Florida Election Hacking Allegations
    The redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report indicated that in 2016 Russian hackers infiltrated a US maker of voter-registration software and installed malware on its network — information that was based on an FBI investigation.

    Furthermore, the 2017 indictment of Russian military officers for hacking Democratic computer systems that was based on the FBI investigation as well also asserted that a company fitting VR Systems’ description was hacked in 2016 and had malware installed on its network.[…]

    [Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)] wants to know whether the company ever engaged a third party to conduct a forensic examination of its computer networks and systems since the hacking assertions first came to light after the 2016 election and has asked to see a copy of a report from any such investigation, according to a letter he sent last week to VR Systems that his office shared with POLITICO.[…]

    The security of VR Systems is important because the company’s EViD software application runs on electronic poll books in at least eight states. Election workers use the poll books to determine whether voters who arrive at precincts are registered to vote and eligible to cast a ballot.

    If the company was compromised, it raises the possibility that software supplied to its customers was altered in a way that might have caused electronic poll books to either malfunction or change voter records stored in the poll books in order to make it difficult for voters to cast ballots.

    The problem isn’t theoretical. On Election Day in November 2016, some electronic poll books in Durham County, N.C., that used VR Systems software froze or crashed. Others displayed incorrect information indicating that some voters had already cast ballots when they hadn’t or the devices displayed a message telling poll workers incorrectly that voters were required to show a photo ID.
    Wyden is asking for a response by May 16—the same day as the FBI's classified briefing with Florida Congress members about suspected Russian hacking during the 2016 elections.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 6:27 PM on May 13 [23 favorites]


    Where's that violin? I keep losing it, it's so small.

    On the Eve of a Hearing, Trump Lawyers Tell Judge They Aren’t Happy About Fast-Tracked Subpoena Fight
    President Donald Trump‘s attorneys had some thoughts for the Barack Obama-appointed federal judge who decided to quicken the pace of certain proceedings in the ongoing struggle between Team Trump and House Democrats.
    If you were paying attention last Thursday afternoon, May 9, Judge Amit Mehta entered an order revealing that it was his plan to fast-track Trump’s attempt to stop finance firm Mazars USA from complying with a congressional subpoena from the House Oversight Committee. Mehta said he was “notifying the parties that the court intends to advance Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction to trial on the merits” and consolidate issues into a hearing because the court “can discern no benefit from an additional round of legal arguments.”
    Trump lawyers want no part of this streamlining and said so just before Tuesday, May 14. That’s the date the judge set for the hearing.
    posted by scalefree at 6:54 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


    There's so much bullshit that it's hard to keep up, but here's a minor example of yet another fox being nominated to run the hen house. From the data science newsletter I subscribe to:
    The Senate will consider Trump's nominee to lead NOAA, one of the premier scientific agencies in the US and the best positioned to collect and disseminate data that will help scientists understand climate change. Trump's nominee, Barry Lee Myers, has no scientific credentials. He built and ran AccuWeather, a company that has profited handsomely off the data NOAA distributes to the public for free. His main goal may be to make NOAA data private, something he lobbied for while running AccuWeather, which would have allowed him to repackage it and sell it to consumers such as farmers and local emergency responders. He obstinately refuses to divulge who he sold his controlling stock to or release the names of the people on AccuWeather's board. Three former heads of NOAA (and Michael Lewis, for whatever that's worth) have publicly voiced opposition to Mr. Myers' nomination. Oh, and AccuWeather was investigated by the Department of Labor and found to be riddled with "widespread sexual harassment" that was "severe and pervasive."
    Why not hide taxpayer-funded resources behind a paywall and have private companies make money off of selling it back to taxpayers? So much the better if it's your own private company! Yes, it's grift all the way down.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 7:48 PM on May 13 [38 favorites]


    @jbendery: Trump just sent the Senate 6 more judicial nominations (5 for district courts, 1 for a circuit court). The Senate can fly through their confirmations now that Mitch McConnell blew up the rules. Debate time for a district judge, a lifetime post, is now 2 hours vs 30.

    The Senate has confirmed 102 federal judges (+2 Supreme Court justices) since Trump took office, with 50-some-odd nominees pending.
    posted by zachlipton at 7:56 PM on May 13 [14 favorites]




    RedOrGreen: That's exactly the situation we were in until the 90s when NOAA and NWS established a web presence. The forecasts and data were notionally free, with much data even being broadcast in the clear by satellite. High equipment costs meant that basically all weather was filtered through private entities, however. That's where AccuWeather came from. They or their predecessors and competitors are the entire reason why the National Weather Service's web presence was very limited for so long and has evolved incredibly slowly since the explicit limitations were lifted.

    Even now, some radar data is only available in near real time from third parties with few exceptions. At least there is a reasonable concern about their ability to support the demand if they did distribute the data directly in that particular case. There are no such concerns with other raw data and forecast products. Cronyism is the only argument in favor of restricting the dissemination of weather and climate data and forecast products. Even if we were able to cut back government spending by doing so, we would only increase spending elsewhere in government by doing so and also impose a much greater economic cost than the private weather companies stand to gain. Even on a purely utilitarian basis, the proposal fails.
    posted by wierdo at 8:23 PM on May 13 [17 favorites]


    WaPo reports on the Secretary of State's blundering diplomatic tour today: Pompeo Crashes Brussels Meeting of E.U. Diplomats But Changes Few Minds On Iran
    Pompeo’s last-minute decision to visit the European Union capital, announced as he boarded a plane from the United States, set up a confrontation between the top U.S. diplomat and his European counterparts, who have been scrambling to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal last year. At least one, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said he feared that unintentional escalation from the United States and Iran could spark a conflict — an unusually bold statement that appeared to assign equal culpability to Washington and Tehran.[…]

    Pompeo was rebuffed on even some basic requests in Brussels. While his plane crossed the Atlantic, European diplomats haggled over how much to accommodate him. Although Mogherini managed to find time, initially she said she had a busy day and that the pair would talk “if we manage to arrange a meeting.” The top diplomats of Britain, France and Germany agreed to meet one-on-one with Pompeo but would not allow the Americans the symbolic victory of a group meeting. (The Europeans publicly blamed scheduling difficulties.)[…]

    Pompeo scrapped a day of mostly ceremonial events in Moscow on Monday in favor of the Brussels stopover. He plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday.

    Diplomats familiar with Pompeo’s conversations in Brussels said little new ground was covered, with each side repeating talking points about whether the nuclear deal is worth preserving.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 8:35 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


    Rosenstein criticizes Jim Comey as ‘partisan pundit,’ defends handling of Mueller probe
    Former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein on Monday defended his role in the firing of James B. Comey from the FBI and criticized the bureau’s former director as a “partisan pundit” — offering one of his most detailed public accounts of the hectic events that led to the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel.
    Speaking to the Greater Baltimore Committee just days after stepping down as the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, Rosenstein fired back at criticism that he acted inappropriately for President Trump and sought to present his legacy as one of an official who was thrust into a political maelstrom and did what he thought was right.
    At Trump’s request, Rosenstein wrote a memo supporting Comey’s dismissal in May 2017 and came under intense public criticism for doing so. Critics viewed the move as a way of obstructing the inquiry into Trump’s campaign.
    In prepared remarks, Rosenstein seemed to minimize the effect Comey’s firing could have had on the inquiry. He said that when a White House lawyer first told him Trump had decided to fire Comey, “Nobody said that the removal was intended to influence the course of my Russia investigation.”
    “I would never have allowed anyone to interfere with the investigation,” he asserted, though he conceded later that he “recognized that the unusual circumstances of the firing and the ensuing developments would give reasonable people cause to speculate about the credibility of the investigation.”
    posted by scalefree at 9:33 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


    An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry
    His racism and intolerance have always been in evidence; only slowly did he begin to understand how to use them to his advantage.
    The first quotation from Donald Trump ever to appear in The New York Times came on October 16, 1973. Trump was responding to charges filed by the Justice Department alleging racial bias at his family’s real-estate company. “They are absolutely ridiculous,” Trump said of the charges. “We have never discriminated, and we never would.”
    In the years since then, Trump has assembled a long record of comment on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics more broadly, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities. His statements have been reflected in his behavior—from public acts (placing ads calling for the execution of five young black and Latino men accused of rape, who were later shown to be innocent) to private preferences (“When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,” a former employee of Trump’s Castle, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, told a writer for The New Yorker). Trump emerged as a political force owing to his full-throated embrace of “birtherism,” the false charge that the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, was not born in the United States. His presidential campaign was fueled by nativist sentiment directed at nonwhite immigrants, and he proposed barring Muslims from entering the country. In 2016, Trump described himself to The Washington Post as “the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered.”
    Instances of bigotry involving Donald Trump span more than four decades. The Atlantic interviewed a range of people with knowledge of several of those episodes. Their recollections have been edited for concision and clarity.
    posted by scalefree at 9:37 PM on May 13 [30 favorites]


    The Senate has confirmed 102 federal judges (+2 Supreme Court justices) since Trump took office, with 50-some-odd nominees pending.

    Even if we win next year, there won't be very many judges left to appoint. Only whatever vacancies open during the term. Patrick Leahy helped the GOP hold open dozens of seats and prevented Obama from filling them in favor of Trump, which is why he has this huge backlog of vacancies. The next Democratic president won't have the benefit of a huge backlog created by their political opponents and aided by moronic "institutionalists" on their own side.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 4:21 AM on May 14 [26 favorites]


    Attorney General William P. Barr has assigned the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the Russia investigation

    The Attorney General is running Rudy Giuliani's playbook. That's some scary shit.

    I'm finding this historical moment particularly creepy. The Democrats won the House and started to exercise their power as an equal branch of government. The Executive branch said, nope, fuck you. And then... silence. I wasn't expecting silence.
    posted by diogenes at 5:20 AM on May 14 [61 favorites]


    White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War (NYT)

    At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East...

    The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton...

    posted by diogenes at 5:33 AM on May 14 [11 favorites]


    Trump's long trade war
    Senior administration officials tell Axios that a trade deal with China isn't close and that the U.S. could be in for a long trade war.
    [...]
    Trump’s mindset on the Chinese is simple: They only respond to shows of brute force.
    And he thinks they’ll suffer more than America will, because they buy fewer products.
    I've asked several current and former administration officials whether Trump actually believes that China pays the tariffs — rather than the reality that U.S. importers and consumers do.
    The consensus is "yes": That's what he actually believes.
    And as one former aide said: There’s little point trying to persuade Trump otherwise, because his belief in tariffs is "like theology."
    posted by scalefree at 6:57 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]


    n updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East...

    Well, I don't know anything about Iran, but I'm guessing they have fewer people than that! So this should be a nice easy war that couldn't possibly last longer than a week or so, and would have zero repercussions. And the peasants will probably be excited that we kill their dictator too. Sounds like a real no-brainer!
    posted by Greg Nog at 6:58 AM on May 14 [21 favorites]


    Trump’s mindset on the Chinese is simple: They only respond to shows of brute force.

    ...And any show of "brute force" toward China will cost the other side dearly, you orange asshole, which is why nobody except you thinks it's a good idea.
    posted by Rykey at 7:09 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


    This is the nut quote from Axios, the reason I posted it:

    And as one former aide said: There’s little point trying to persuade Trump otherwise, because his belief in tariffs is "like theology."

    He's going to drive the economy off a cliff. And nobody will stop him.
    posted by scalefree at 7:15 AM on May 14 [15 favorites]


    Remember coal and all those coal miners who were going to get their jobs back? Last month, the owner of the largest coal-fired plant in New England had its 500-foot-high cooling towers imploded, to make way for a clean-energy complex that will include facilities to handle electricity coming from off-shore wind turbines.
    posted by adamg at 7:19 AM on May 14 [46 favorites]


    Politico looks into GOP Senators' latest capitulation to Trump: Republicans Surrender To Trump’s China Tariffs—GOP senators have no plans to even try to stop a trade war they oppose. One tactic the article points to is senators claiming that it's better to go after China than allies, like Canada, Mexico, and Europe (e.g. Roy Blunt, Chuck Grassley). Another is that if Trump doesn't hear criticism from the rural voters affected hardest by the tariffs, they'll just have to work with him (Mike Rounds, John Cornyn). They also don't see any point in exercising legislative checks as long as Mitch McConnell has Trump's back, such as when he blocked a bill against Trump's "national security" tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU and Canada.

    Elsewhere in trade war news, CNBC reports: China’s New Tariffs Are Hitting US Farmers At ‘Every Single Angle,’ Economist Says

    And Bloomberg: Trump’s China Tariffs Hit America’s Poor and Working Class the Hardest—The burden of import taxes is five times as heavy for the bottom tenth of households as for the top tenth, research shows

    Meanwhile, @realDonaldTrump tweeted several threads about the Chinese negotiations earlier this morning, reiterating his lie about a trade gap of "almost 500 Billion Dollars", taking swipes at the Federal Reserve and WTO, and praising "great Patriot Farmers" again. If there's one thing he likes more than boasting, it's fighting, and this mess allows him to do both.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 7:33 AM on May 14 [17 favorites]


    #22: Steve Bullock, the Democratic governor of Montana, is running for president (Ella Nilsen, Vox)
    The perception the Senate is stuck and not getting anything done has discouraged numerous Democrats from mounting a Senate campaign in 2020. Bullock, like other Democrats who have turned down Senate campaigns, seems to object to going from the position of state executive to being one cog in a machine that is frequently spinning its wheels.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 7:34 AM on May 14 [3 favorites]


    Trump’s mindset on the Chinese is simple: They only respond to shows of brute force.

    ...And any show of "brute force" toward China will cost the other side dearly, you orange asshole, which is why nobody except you thinks it's a good idea.


    I will bet any amount of money on this: Trump has no idea that China is also 2-0 in World Wars.
    posted by Etrigan at 7:37 AM on May 14 [19 favorites]


    The perception the Senate is stuck and not getting anything done has discouraged numerous Democrats from mounting a Senate campaign in 2020. Bullock, like other Democrats who have turned down Senate campaigns, seems to object to going from the position of state executive to being one cog in a machine that is frequently spinning its wheels.

    "The senate is dumb so instead of trying to save it I will become the 30th presidential candidate?" Bullshit. You just want a book deal and MSNBC appearances, Steve.

    The scads of Democrats throwing away perfectly winnable senate candidacies in order to play this stupid game is an absolute indictment: turns out bleeding the party dry of ideology for decades fosters a culture of not giving a fuck about saving the country.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 7:50 AM on May 14 [63 favorites]


    Liz goes there.

    @ewarren Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracy theorists. I won’t ask Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate in order to see our candidates. Sign up now to join me and take a stand.

    Take a stand against an outlet that profits from racism and hate.
    posted by scalefree at 8:18 AM on May 14 [95 favorites]


    Bella Donna: The GOP labels as "socialist" people pushing for health care and clean environment and women's rights and tolerance and humanity at our borders and an end to economic inequality and better jobs. But that's not radical, it's basic decency. And none of these issues are really enhanced or served by "compromise."

    That's Seussialism! (r/ShitLiberalsSay, who don't agree with it for some good reasons, and criticize its meter ;) )

    But yeah, it's basic decency. I want to say that by turning basic decency into "socialism," it's a winning move for Republicans, until it backfires and people say "hey, I like all that stuff - maybe I am a socialist!" and things really swing hard to the left.

    At least, that's my dream.
    posted by filthy light thief at 8:23 AM on May 14 [11 favorites]


    On the Eve of a Hearing, Trump Lawyers Tell Judge They Aren’t Happy About Fast-Tracked Subpoena Fight

    Navy Seal's lawyers received emails embedded with tracking software (Guardian)
    Military prosecutors in the case of a US navy Seal charged with killing an Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017 installed tracking software in emails sent to defense lawyers and a reporter in an apparent attempt to discover who was leaking information to the media, according to lawyers who said they received the corrupted messages.

    The defense attorneys said the intrusion may have violated constitutional protections against illegal searches, guarantees to the right to a lawyer and freedom of the press. “I’ve seen some crazy stuff but for a case like this it’s complete insanity,” said attorney Timothy Parlatore. “I was absolutely stunned, especially given the fact that it’s so clear the government has been the one doing the leaking.”

    [...]

    Donald Trump has demanded the case proceed quickly.
    posted by Little Dawn at 8:29 AM on May 14 [21 favorites]


    Rotten to the core. Keep up that winning streak.

    Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly's rural voter project tied to "Medicare for All" opponents
    Last month, former Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., announced the launch of the One Country Project, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, to bring rural voters back to the Democratic Party. The group has already started working with the Democratic National Committee, according to Axios. Time Magazine reported that Heitkamp is using “leftover campaign funds” for the project. Records show the One Country Project’s website is registered to an executive at Forbes Tate Partners, a lobbying and public relations firm founded by former Clinton administration officials. The lobbying firm is leading the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PAHCF), the health industry-backed nonprofit created to crush momentum for a comprehensive universal health care system.

    Heitkamp has used the launch of the One Country Project as an opportunity to speak out against Medicare for All. “Polling indicates that most Americans are satisfied with the health care they receive and do not want their coverage options taken away and replaced with a one-size-fits-all government program,” she wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last week that echoed PAHCF talking points. Donnelly and Heitkamp both campaigned against Medicare for All during their failed re-election bids, even though polling by Data for Progress and the Kaiser Family Foundation last year found that 55 percent of Democratic voters in Indiana and 51 percent in North Dakota support Medicare for All. Heitkamp lost her 2018 race by 11 points, Donnelly by almost six.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 8:50 AM on May 14 [8 favorites]


    Tampa Bay News 9 reports on the Governor's press conference about Russian hacking: Gov. DeSantis: 2 Florida Counties Hacked in 2016 Election "Gov. Ron DeSantis says the FBI confirmed the Mueller report's assertion that Russian operatives targeted Florida in the 2016 election, but there was no manipulation of votes. […] In a news conference Tuesday, the governor said he had been briefed by the FBI and that two counties were hacked by Russian "spear-fishing" during the 2016 election."

    De Santis told reporters, "I recently met with the FBI concerning the election issues mention in the Mueller report. […] Two Florida counties experienced intrusions into supervisor of elections networks. There was no manipulation or anything, but there was voter data that was able to be get [sic]. But I think that voter data was public anyway." (w/video)

    Sounds like someone's trying to get ahead of the news story.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 8:52 AM on May 14 [9 favorites]


    Trump Tower Is Now One of NYC’s Least-Desirable Luxury Buildings (Shahien Nasiripour, Bloomberg)

    Most condo sales since 2016 have been at a loss, combined with a dramatic drop in desirability.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 8:54 AM on May 14 [15 favorites]


    Most condo sales since 2016 have been at a loss, combined with a dramatic drop in desirability.

    Did Donald Trump Lose More Than $1 Billion On Purpose? (Fortune)
    The question is, was Trump truly so bad at this business that the losses piled up sky high? Or was he engineering huge losses on paper to offset paying taxes on income?
    posted by Little Dawn at 9:02 AM on May 14 [9 favorites]


    No manipulation of the literal vote count is not the same as no tampering. Messing with the registration database and absentee list could very well have been a significant contributor to long lines, lost votes, and forced provisional ballots that were a thing in several Florida counties. Moreover, the lack of evidence showing other counties were breached is not evidence that they were not also victims. Timing or a simple fuckup in the post-election wind down of the operation could have led to evidence of intrusion being cleaned up in most cases while leaving a trail in others. Not only that, leaving evidence in a couple of counties contributes to the end goal of destabilization.
    posted by wierdo at 9:03 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]




    Joe Biden predicts that... Republicans will have “an epiphany”

    That sounds like something I would say if I knew something but couldn't reveal the actual reason. Unfortunately, it's also the kind of thing I would say if I was willfully naïve or just didn't have a plan, so "refuse to acknowledge" is my only strategy.
    posted by ctmf at 9:32 AM on May 14 [7 favorites]


    That sounds like something I would say if I knew something but couldn't reveal the actual reason.

    Like if you know you intend to govern as a right-wing president but are also so stupid that you don't remember Mitch McConnell sinking Obama's attempt to gut social security in 2011.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 9:37 AM on May 14 [16 favorites]


    Between Biden not having formed new memories since 1992 and Bezos claiming we’ll all live in space colonies soon and the current head of state swinging between word salad and active lying we really should talk abut how our entire ruling class lives inside delusional fantasies.
    posted by The Whelk at 9:40 AM on May 14 [65 favorites]


    We sure are lucky that the Russians didn't tamper with our election systems despite having the ability to do so.
    posted by diogenes at 9:43 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]


    [one deleted. folks let’s please reel it back, less “here’s what I bet would happen if-“.]
    posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:48 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


    scalefree: Senior administration officials tell Axios that a trade deal with China isn't close and that the U.S. could be in for a long trade war.

    U.S. Prepares Tariffs On Another $300 Billion Of Imported Chinese Goods (Bill Chappell for NPR, May 14, 2019)
    The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published a list of Chinese goods (USTR.gov, PDF) that would be hit with new duties, ranging from artists' brushes and paint rollers to clocks and watches. The list also includes a wide range of sporting goods, from baseballs to fishing reels. And it dedicates several pages to agricultural products, from livestock to dairy, plants and vegetables. Staples such as rice and tea are on the list.

    "The proposed product list covers essentially all products not currently covered by action in this investigation," the USTR office says. It adds, "The proposed product list excludes pharmaceuticals, certain pharmaceutical inputs, select medical goods, rare earth materials, and critical minerals."

    The U.S. proposal will enter a public comment period and could take effect sometime in late June or July.

    On Monday, China's State Council Customs Tariff Commission announced it will impose tariffs of up to 25% on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods starting in June, in retaliation for Trump's tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
    Comments will likely go to Trade Representative, Office of United States, not that the Trump administration cares about what the public thinks or says. It'll cherry-pick comments in favor of the decisions, and decry the rest as whining, or paid comments by haters.
    posted by filthy light thief at 10:06 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    Why the U.S.-China Trade War Could Be Long and Painful: No Off-Ramps (Neil Irwin, NYT)
    Add in Mr. Trump’s tendency to view every negotiation through a zero-sum prism, and it may be hard to find a pathway for both parties to go home able to proclaim victory.
    posted by Little Dawn at 10:31 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


    The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published a list of Chinese goods

    I know this is the politics thread and I shouldn't be in here blabbing about myself, but let me for a minute. I'm a Mandarin-English translator. I live in China, and I'm from the US, and I'm forced to pay attention to this shit.

    In the midst of all these goods, did y'all notice how nobody hit services? I admit I should probably not be staying in China much longer, but at the same time, wtf, am I going back to the US? When this is going on? No. My services are a thing I take with me, and I'd like to be around my clients. And nobody is tariff-ing me. Will they impact me indirectly? You bet. I'm redoing my resume today because I want a ton of new clients in countries that aren't the primes in this trade war. But let's be real here for a minute - the goods won't stop the flow of information. There is nothing left to tariff by Trump's (and Xi's, frankly) conception of stuff-trade, and the diplomats are obviously idiots, so that leaves services providers as the sole mediators. I'm not looking forward to the bonanza payday of angry press releases I'll be doing in the next year or two. I mean I am, but ffs. Given China's continued openness to foreign investment, maybe it's time I run a sideline consulting business telling Chinese companies how to pay Southeast Asian manufacturers too.

    This is silly. They're hurting farmers and factory workers and producers of important things in both countries, and they're indirectly making it easier for me to sponge rent by being someone who reads the news about it and kinda knows the roadmap.

    This is not how you Fight A War.
    posted by saysthis at 10:46 AM on May 14 [32 favorites]


    I'm somewhat curious how tariffs like these prevent outsource. Lets say you have an american manufacturer who's product is, say, 35% chinese, and the remainder American. Under most regulations, that product would qualify as "Made in the USA" and be free to sell to, say, Canada or many other trade partners. Now, raise those chinese prices. Now your selling price will have to increase (you aren't going to take a bath on it forever, or possibly you might need to just to maintain your Made in the USA category). But ... Canada could make that product for the old price, so long as the final product qualifies as Made In Canada, and it can be sold back to the US for the old, cheaper price. Not to mention, Canada can sell it to the rest of the world for that price too. Jacking the prices on your supply line when other countries haven't seems like a recipe for outsourcing.
    posted by Bovine Love at 10:50 AM on May 14 [5 favorites]


    I'm somewhat curious how tariffs like these prevent outsource.

    I'm curious too, because from everything I've read...they don't. This is going to turn into a game of "who can build the most factories in Vietnam & Mexico, oh, you, so now we're allies right".
    posted by saysthis at 10:54 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]


    Size is one issue, Bovine Love. China's manufacturing capability is huge and so Canada (to take your example) literally can't produce the volume of product they do. I'd suspect that's true for almost any country you could name.

    China's labor costs are still pretty low compared to the few countries who have a chance too (e.g., Japan).
    posted by Quindar Beep at 10:57 AM on May 14


    Size is one issue, Bovine Love.
    Nono, you're missing the point. You move the American portion to Canada, and continue to import the 35% from China, but to Canada, where there is no tariff.
    posted by Bovine Love at 10:59 AM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    Photos obtained exclusively by CNN show migrants at the McAllen, Texas, Border Patrol station over the weekend, many of whom are children, sleeping on the ground on rocks and covered by Mylar blankets.

    Because of course they are. The article includes various quotes by administration officials and some of them use the terms "humanitarian crisis" and "border security," although not in that order. The Border Patrol response is, essentially, oh yeah, this totally sucks, we have way too many people to process. And maybe that is true but how would we know for sure?

    Honestly, I don't trust the administration at all, and the provider of the photos is anonymous. Then again, the administration has done everything possible to create bottlenecks in the process, so there probably is a humanitarian crisis but how is that ever going to get fixed? Hell if I know.

    Unsurprisingly, the article also notes that Democratic officials (it is less neutral than that in the article) refuse to kick more money toward solving the problem, while failing utterly to include any quotes from Democratic officials or any non-Republican sources at all apart from the single anonymous source. GRRRR!
    posted by Bella Donna at 11:03 AM on May 14 [16 favorites]


    Judge grills Trump attorney in subpoena case (Politico)
    A federal judge raised pointed doubts Tuesday about arguments by President Donald Trump’s legal team that a Democratic effort to subpoena Trump’s financial records was an invalid exercise of congressional power.

    Amit Mehta, a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, indicated that he would have trouble ruling that Congress’ goal in accessing the president’s records was unconstitutional — as Trump’s lawyers have argued — and he underscored that he believes Congress has a significant “informing function” that doesn’t necessarily require an explicit legislative purpose to justify an investigation involving the president.

    “Does Congress have to do that — do they have to identify a bill in advance? The Supreme Court has said the opposite,” Mehta said during a round of questioning with Trump’s attorney William Consovoy during a hearing. [...]

    Despite Mehta’s apparent skepticism of the Trump team’s legal arguments, the appointee of President Barack Obama declined to issue a ruling from the bench but said he would mull over the arguments in the coming days, calling the nature of the dispute too significant to decide quickly. He gave both sides until the end of the week to submit additional filings and evidence. [...]

    The committee says it needs Trump’s financial records from Mazars as part of its efforts to corroborate Cohen’s allegations.

    During the hearing, Mehta also asked pointed questions of the House Democratic side. Mehta noted that Cummings suggested at the outset of his subpoena request that he wanted to “determine whether the president may have engaged in illegal conduct” before taking office.

    “This is not an impeachment proceeding. What’s the basis to investigate illegal conduct before his tenure in office?” Mehta wondered.

    Letter replied hypothetically that there could be significant questions about whether Trump was under the thumb of a foreign power.

    “President Trump has conceded, I believe, that he was trying to get a hotel in Moscow. Had he not been elected he would have pursued that,” he said, noting that the president may have taken questionable steps to secure that hotel.
    posted by Little Dawn at 11:34 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]


    GOP smears Rashida Tlaib on the Holocaust — but Democrats won't take the bait (Sophia Tesfaye, Salon)
    Republicans take Tlaib's comments wildly out of context, Fox explodes — and for once Democrats are ignoring them
    Republicans are pretty good at ignoring nuance in order to distort comments and ideas.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 11:46 AM on May 14 [14 favorites]


    A little treat for those of us who hate the monster misnomer called Fox News via BuzzNews reporter Ruby Cramer on Twitter: Elizabeth Warren has turned down an offer to hold a Fox News town hall. The news channel is a "hate-for-profit racket" that provides "cover," she says, for the very thing she's campaigning against: "corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class."

    Warren's full explanation for why a Fox News town hall is a "hard pass" for her is a thing of beauty. Read and enjoy.
    posted by Bella Donna at 11:48 AM on May 14 [45 favorites]


    I will bet any amount of money on this: Trump has no idea that China is also 2-0 in World Wars.

    Not to mention they pretty much defeated the United States in Korea without even really using a fraction of their full power.
    posted by srboisvert at 12:00 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    The NYT podcast The Daily ran a great interview with Tlaib this morning.
    posted by AwkwardPause at 12:18 PM on May 14


    Bovine Love: You move the American portion to Canada, and continue to import the 35% from China, but to Canada, where there is no tariff.

    Ah. That looks like one difference between tariffs and sanctions, which usually do take such workarounds into consideration. I'm guessing that would be more difficult to implement if the program is a tax rather than a wholesale ban.
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:27 PM on May 14


    @GlennThrush:
    GOP Senators were, er, unimpressed w/ Jared, Hassett and Miller at immigration lunch today, per lawmakers, staff
    1) Jared struggled w/ basic Qs
    2) Miller kept "commandeering" podium when JK struggled, per source
    3) Hassett predicted admin plan would create $600b in econ growth
    @TalKopan:
    “I don’t think [Jared's immigration plan is] designed to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party,” Graham said. Achieving what? “Negotiating position,” Graham said. And he said “similar to the Gang of 8; a bit different.” “I sort of like what they’re doing."
    So that's all going great.
    posted by zachlipton at 12:41 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


    Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on the recent SCOTUS decision on Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt that reverses Nevada v. Hall: The Supreme Court’s Liberals Are Warning Us That Roe v. Wade Is in Mortal Danger
    On Monday, in a 5–4 ruling, the Supreme Court overturned a 40-year-old precedent for the simple reason that five conservative justices didn’t like it. The decision itself is unfortunate, allowing states to duck lawsuits filed against them in other states’ courts at the expense of wronged plaintiffs. But the most significant aspect of the ruling may be its cavalier treatment of precedent, which—as the dissenting justices noted in a not-so-veiled warning—signals how the majority seems to be laying the groundwork for the reversal of Roe v. Wade.[…]

    Overruling precedent typically requires a “special justification,” Breyer wrote [in the dissent], but “the majority does not find one.” Instead, it merely decides that Hall “was wrongly decided” and should go. “The law has not changed significantly since this Court decided Hall,” Breyer pointed out, “nor has our understanding of state sovereign immunity evolved to undermine Hall.” All that has changed is the composition of the court. He added:
    To overrule a sound decision like Hall is to encourage litigants to seek to overrule other cases; it is to make it more difficult for lawyers to refrain from challenging settled law; and it is to cause the public to become increasingly uncertain about which cases the Court will overrule and which cases are here to stay.
    It is “dangerous,” Breyer concluded, “to overrule a decision only because five Members” of the court disagree with it. “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.” And if there were any doubt which cases Breyer was alluding to in this dark denouement, he cited the portion of Planned Parenthood v. Casey that explained why Roe should be upheld. The justice has hoisted a red flag, alerting the country that the court’s conservative majority is preparing an assault on the right to abortion access.
    Something to keep in mind after all those times Trump's judicial nominees paid lip service to settled law during their confirmation hearings.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 12:57 PM on May 14 [40 favorites]


    A little treat for those of us who hate the monster misnomer called Fox News via BuzzNews reporter Ruby Cramer on Twitter: Elizabeth Warren has turned down an offer to hold a Fox News town hall. The news channel is a "hate-for-profit racket" that provides "cover," she says, for the very thing she's campaigning against: "corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class."

    Yet another in my growing list of "Reasons Why I'm Voting For Elizabeth Warren In The Primary." She knows that Tip-n-Ronnie cross-party comity is as dead as, well, Tip and Ronnie. She isn't going to conciliate the Fox News audience, she isn't going to frantically kiss Republican ass in order to give them heckler's veto, she has principles and ethics and is standing by them.

    And I think she knows that the press is likely to be...critical, to put it nicely, and isn't going to desperately try to win them over. She's refreshingly free of "If I'm just nice enough to Republicans they'll like me!"

    We need her and a thousand more like her. #Warren2020
    posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:57 PM on May 14 [95 favorites]


    @greenhousenyt: In a move that seems aimed at pushing up Uber's stock price after its disappointing IPO, Trump's business-friendly NLRB issues an advisory memo saying Uber drivers aren't employees. (The memo seems conveniently timed to help Uber.)

    The memo was dated last month but released today.
    posted by zachlipton at 1:19 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


    Joe Biden predicts that... Republicans will have “an epiphany”

    Why are people taking this at face value? Just to hate on Biden?

    It's obviously electioneering aimed at getting more votes out of moderates. Biden knows full well that won't happen. He was literally (hah! because Biden says literally all the time? i kill me) part of the last administration when the GOP went full obstructionist. Really, he knows that cooperation won't happen.

    It's like when Bernie said that of course he can get his agenda passed through Congress even though he doesn't want to end the filibuster. Because he can pass it all with reconciliation! No problemo! That's just as ridiculous as Biden saying the GOP will get on board. Bernie knows it. We know it. But you gotta get votes somehow, and saying crap that isn't a lie per se but is ridiculous is how you do it I guess.

    Only Biden gets shit on when he does it though.
    posted by Justinian at 1:24 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


    From EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation: Over the next few years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to implement an enormous biometric collection program which will endanger the rights of citizens and foreigners alike. The agency intends to collect at least seven types of biometric identifiers, including face and voice data, DNA, scars, and tattoos, often from questionable sources, and from innocent people.

    But DHS isn’t building all of the technology: Northrop Grumman, a defense contractor, won the nearly 100 million-dollar, 42-month contract to “develop increments one and two” of the project, named HART (Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology). Now, a group of concerned investors are demanding that the Board of Directors of the company explain how they will protect human rights while building the tech behind the massive, privacy-invasive database.

    posted by Bella Donna at 1:28 PM on May 14 [14 favorites]


    It's obviously electioneering aimed at getting more votes out of moderates. Biden knows full well that won't happen. He was literally (hah! because Biden says literally all the time? i kill me) part of the last administration when the GOP went full obstructionist. Really, he knows that cooperation won't happen.

    I mean - I don't know. I think that people to Biden's right probably see the writing on the wall, and know that Biden is the best hope for a 'lesser evil' for them. I could see them giving him things, if only to try to avoid the spectre of Sanders.
    posted by corb at 1:31 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    I could see people to his right voting for him or even donating to his campaign, corb, but that's a completely different kettle of fish to elected Republicans voting for his agenda once he's elected. I can't imagine that would happen. Obama offered them massive spending cuts in return for minuscule tax increases and they wouldn't give him so much as a vote.
    posted by Justinian at 1:36 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


    Only Biden gets shit on when he does it though.

    Biden is a fucking idiot, the worst of the 22 Dems running by a long shot, with a long track record of bad decisions. So I generally assume that he is precisely as pigshit stupid as he sounds when he says something completely that seems totally unmoored from reality.
    posted by Greg Nog at 1:46 PM on May 14 [40 favorites]


    Biden knows full well that won't happen. He was literally (hah! because Biden says literally all the time? i kill me) part of the last administration when the GOP went full obstructionist.

    Remember when Obama said, "I believe that If we're successful in this election, when we're successful in this election, that the fever may break, because there's a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that. My hope, my expectation, is that after the election, now that it turns out that the goal of beating Obama doesn't make much sense because I'm not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again." and then he let McConnell get away with sitting on Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination?

    Sorry, if Biden's going to run on Obama's coattails, he doesn't get the benefit of doubt here.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 1:50 PM on May 14 [30 favorites]


    Biden is a fucking idiot, the worst of the 22 Dems running by a long shot, with a long track record of bad decisions. So I generally assume that he is precisely as pigshit stupid

    I'ts good to see we've all learned the lessons of 2016!
    posted by Justinian at 1:57 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    I'ts good to see we've all learned the lessons of 2016!

    Indeed.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 1:59 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    There's a perfectly valid reason why one would shit upon Biden and not Sanders in this case.
    Sanders has been talking budget reconciliation, which has been shown to be something that has actually worked to pass stuff at times, as opposed to any sort of cooperation, which has been well proven as impossible for years now. It is of course still incredibly unlikely that he'd be able to enact any significant amount of his agenda this way, but it's a hell of a lot more likely that one could accomplish something positive via budget reconciliation vs. counting on a "republican epiphany" - Sanders is trying to sell the idea of a technicality, which is something that is actually believable, as opposed to cooperation, which is beyond laughable at this point to literally anyone who has been paying any attention whatsoever.

    It's not just misplaced faith or being overly optimistic, it's completely ignoring everything that has happened in the last 11 years, and Biden, more than literally anyone else running, is in a position of knowing better. So of course people who have been following these threads for several years now are going to shit on him for that - He DESERVES be shat upon for that. I'm pretty lukewarm on Sanders at present, but at least he is trying to sell the possibility of a procedural technicality as opposed to something that goes against all reason whatsoever.
    posted by MysticMCJ at 2:00 PM on May 14 [14 favorites]


    [Enough on this Biden/moderates thing, points made, been there done that many times.]
    posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:00 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


    Warren has tapped into the great anger that we feel here and is felt many other places. It seems like the obvious strategy and I don't really know why people haven't jumped more on it. These decisive strokes: calls for impeachment, boycotting Fox -- I guess I just wonder why people aren't doing more shit that really taps into that angry vein. Is it worrying about white men? I don't get it.
    posted by angrycat at 2:04 PM on May 14 [35 favorites]


    Warren has tapped into the great anger that we feel here and is felt many other places. It seems like the obvious strategy and I don't really know why people haven't jumped more on it.

    There are all sorts of Democrats. Trump may be an embarrassment, but from a class oppression standpoint he's preferable when the alternatives are actual progressives.
    posted by FakeFreyja at 2:09 PM on May 14 [3 favorites]


    Warren has tapped into the great anger that we feel here and is felt many other places. It seems like the obvious strategy and I don't really know why people haven't jumped more on it.

    I'm worried that the answer is that we're an outlier. Biden's polling vs Warren's would seem to confirm that.
    posted by diogenes at 2:09 PM on May 14 [17 favorites]


    Bella Donna's link about DHS's Project HART is scary and important, and tomorrow is a key vote. Please check it out!
    posted by heatvision at 2:11 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    It's not that we're outliers to people who are similar to us demographically, it's that our demographics here do not resemble the Democratic electorate as a whole. Metafilter skews white, skews upper middle class, skews educated, skews liberal, etc. And while the average age of a Metafilter user is probably not that different than the electorate the standard deviation is lower. (ie lots of 30-40 year olds, few 20 year olds and few 70 year olds).
    posted by Justinian at 2:13 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


    This is not how you Fight A War.

    It's how you might fight a war if the only tool you've ever had for dealing with the world is throwing your weight around until the other side says uncle.

    Or if your purpose is to subborn institutions and accountability to your personal pursuit of status, and you're propelled less by interest in sensibly defining and strategically advancing the national well being and more on rallying a tribe to the fight against the other.

    Watching Republican conservatives defend tariffs on FB and in newspaper comment sections, watching Tom Cotton attempt to shrug off where/how those costs are falling on consumers and businesses with "well, that kind of tax is a smaller sacrifice than most soldiers make" ... that's about as sobering a moment as any I've had the last few years. You could be forgiven for thinking that the GOP really has been first about meritocratic capitalism, but this is a clear signal we're moving into tribal-fascism instead, and there is no policy wing of the GOP anymore (which isn't a surprise, as the likes of Gingrich and Rove have shown how they treat policy as politics-first for a long time).

    So, sure. This isn't how you fight a trade war.

    This is part of how you wage a war of America against itself, and then America itself.
    posted by wildblueyonder at 2:34 PM on May 14 [12 favorites]


    The NYT's Maggie Haberman has breaking news from Don Jr.: Donald Trump Jr. Strikes Deal for ‘Limited’ Interview With Intelligence Committee
    Donald Trump Jr. and the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee reached a deal on Tuesday for the president’s eldest son to sit for a private interview with senators in the coming weeks that will be limited in time, an accord that should cool a heated intraparty standoff.[…]

    Mr. Trump’s lawyer had prepared a blistering letter to send to the committee, telling its members that Donald Trump Jr. would not submit to open-ended questions before a panel that included multiple Democrats running for president, according to people familiar with its contents. The lawyers had prepared to send the letter on Monday, facing a deadline to respond to the subpoena.

    But they received a call from committee aides, asking if there was a “reasonable” path forward, according to a person familiar with the events.

    The compromise was an appearance by Mr. Trump in the middle of June, with questions limited to about a half-dozen topics, with the time no longer than two to four hours, according to a person briefed. Another person, who would not be identified, contested that the scope was of the topics had been limited.[…]

    The move by the younger Mr. Trump’s associates was straight out of his father’s playbook — set the terms of the debate at the most extreme end of the discussion by saying he would not appear, then cut a deal and look gracious.
    (It's that last bit of extra sucking up to Team Trump that's so infuriating in its editorializing.)
    posted by Doktor Zed at 2:49 PM on May 14 [5 favorites]


    It's not that we're outliers to people who are similar to us demographically

    I wonder sometimes. I go to a church full of people who are similar to me demographically, and I'm angrier and more worried than most of them. Although I guess I'm angrier than a lot of the MegaThread population, so maybe I'm just exceptionally angry ;)
    posted by diogenes at 2:51 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    Wilmot Collins has thrown his hat into the ring for 2020 Senate in Montana:
    Wilmot Collins, the Liberian refugee who surged into national headlines in 2017 after becoming Montana's first and only black mayor is launching a bid for higher office, officially filing paperwork with the FEC to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by incumbent GOP Sen. Steve Daines.
    I'm not familiar with Collins, so maybe a Montanan can chime in here, but I'm glad we have a Democrat making a challenge for the seat. I hope Montana has two Democratic Senators in 2020. We need Democrats running in every possible election. I'm glad Mr. Collins has gotten the memo.
    posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:10 PM on May 14 [12 favorites]


    cut a deal and look gracious

    That will work for Jr. just as well as it does for his father. Which is to say, not at all.
    posted by kirkaracha at 3:11 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


    Although I guess I'm angrier than a lot of the MegaThread population

    I don't think so. I mean, sure, we're pissed off but everywhere I go IRL or otherwise it's a variation of that tempered with acute anxiety. More than that there's a really strong undercurrent of "Are you seeing this? Can we talk?" Like everyone - I mean everyone - needs to unload. Privately.

    This is what distracts me from the polls so much - polling relies on a presumption that people aren't freaking out when they tell you who they like this week. "I dunno. Biden. Sure, whatever. Aaaaaaa!"
    posted by petebest at 3:14 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


    Buttigieg is going on the podcast of somebody who signal boosts the vile, most racist microcelebrities in America, so it's safe to say his campaign is over.
    posted by Yowser at 3:29 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


    So I generally assume that he is precisely as pigshit stupid as he sounds when he says something completely that seems totally unmoored from reality.

    He's just playing pigshit dimensional chess, dude
    posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:38 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


    Buttigieg is going on the podcast of somebody who signal boosts the vile, most racist microcelebrities in America, so it's safe to say his campaign is over.

    This works better with a link and names and such.

    Buttigieg's press secretary responded to a twitter invite from Dave Rubin to appear on his podcast with simply "DM me," and a whole bunch of people reasonably responded back saying basically "don't do that" in rather strong terms.

    No, Buttigieg shouldn't go on the podcast of someone who interviewed Cernovich today, but I haven't actually said anything that says he's actually agreed to do the interview or anything other than a "DM me" from a press secretary.
    posted by zachlipton at 3:41 PM on May 14 [19 favorites]


    But on a related note, guess who else is meeting with gross people? Yahoo, Why did right-wing troll Charles C. Johnson meet with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross?
    “Hi Secretary Ross,” the markedly informal email sent by Johnson that day begins. “Great chatting with you the other day.” Johnson proceeds to say that he would be “speaking before about 30 congressmen on tech issues” in Washington and “would love to meet” with Ross as well.

    Ross responded about three hours later, in an email apparently typed from his iPhone. He explained that he had to fly to Wisconsin in order to attend the groundbreaking for a plant opened by Foxconn, the Chinese electronics manufacturer. He urged Johnson to schedule a time for them to meet with Macie Leach, a senior adviser to the commerce secretary who had overlapped with Johnson at Claremont McKenna College, a small and prestigious California liberal arts university with a reputation for a conservative student body.

    “Sounds good,” Johnson replied, copying several Commerce officials, as well as another email account belonging to Ross. The subject line of his email was “Tech discussion with Sec Ross.”

    Ross and Johnson did meet that summer, according to a person familiar with the matter, but Johnson’s request for a subsequent meeting in October was turned down.
    By summer 2018, it was well known that Johnson is a Holocaust denier who ran a website to fundraise for Nazis, among many other awful hings. So why is the Secretary of Commerce meting with him? Johnson naturally now claims that he went to discuss "a national security matter." Ah but there's one other detail about those emails:
    The back-and-forth with Johnson, therefore, had to have been conducted at least in part via an email address affiliated with Ross but not issued by the federal government.
    BUT HER EMAILS!
    posted by zachlipton at 3:46 PM on May 14 [36 favorites]


    So, here's the other cocaine-related story from last week:

    McConnell capitalizes on attack with ‘Cocaine Mitch’ shirts (AP), in which McConnell capitalizes on Don Blankenship's attack ad with a Narcos-themed shirt (apparently very popular (NBC)), and Trump adviser slams McConnell campaign's 'Cocaine Mitch' T-shirts (Louisville Courier-Journal), in which Trump-appointed HUD administrator (and Eric Trump wedding planner) Lynne Patton says "as somebody who has personally struggled with cocaine addiction, I don’t think that that is funny or appropriate."
    posted by box at 4:05 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


    Warren has tapped into the great anger that we feel here and is felt many other places. It seems like the obvious strategy and I don't really know why people haven't jumped more on it.

    Warren is also directly attacking Republicans' and Trump's "economically distressed" portion of their base by going right to them and having policies aimed at the economics and distress in a way that other candidates are not.

    I could see her peeling off some voters who aren't tied up by their racism and misogyny.

    (If the NY Times can get over their misogyny)
    posted by srboisvert at 4:32 PM on May 14 [24 favorites]


    Ron DeSantis ‘not allowed’ to disclose which two Florida counties were hacked by Russians
    Gov. Ron DeSantis said two counties had their elections information accessed, but the hackers weren’t able to change or “manipulate” any data.
    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis met with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security last Friday to discuss the revelation in Robert Mueller’s report that “at least one” Florida county had its election information accessed by Russian hackers in 2016.
    DeSantis told reporters Tuesday that he had been briefed on that breach — which he said actually happened in two counties in Florida — but that he couldn’t share which counties had been the target.
    “I’m not allowed to name the counties. I signed a (non)disclosure agreement,” DeSantis said, emphasizing that he “would be willing to name it” but “they asked me to sign it so I’m going to respect their wishes.”
    posted by scalefree at 5:01 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


    I'm not familiar with Collins, so maybe a Montanan can chime in here, but I'm glad we have a Democrat making a challenge for the seat.

    Not a Montanan, but I remember hearing about Collins back in 2017. In fact, I posted this article to Metafilter:
    When Wilmot Collins and his wife Maddie arrived in Ghana after escaping the Liberian civil war in September 1990, he weighed just 90 pounds. Maddie was about 87 pounds. They were starving, dehydrated and sick. Both had to be rushed to the hospital.

    Four years later, they arrived in Helena, Montana, where they were resettled as refugees. Now Wilmot Collins, 52, works for the Department of Health and Human Services. Maddie Collins is a registered nurse. They own their own home. Their 24-year-old daughter is in the Navy while their 20-year-old son, formerly a high school football star, is a sophomore at the University of Montana.

    Collins wants people to hear his story because he wants them to know that new refugees have something to offer.

    [...]

    “I think the people of Montana are very accepting and welcoming,” Collins says, reflecting on the incident. “But the problems we have is that without information, we tend to stick to what we hear. That is, if we do not educate the public on what refugees are about, they will stick to whatever bigotry they hear.”

    “That’s why they tried burning my car,” he says. “That’s why the marked my home ‘KKK,’ ‘Go back to Africa’ — because they didn’t know me. Today, I don’t think they can say that. I know in my own small way, I’ve enriched the community. Talk to my students, talk to my former students, talk to my military mates, talk to my co-workers.”
    posted by galaxy rise at 5:07 PM on May 14 [20 favorites]


    I'm not familiar with Collins, so maybe a Montanan can chime in here

    I don't know how he'll play in the rest of the state, but he's quite popular in Helena, partly because he got the snow plows to run on time. A cynic might add that having one of the six or seven black people in the state as mayor makes people feel good, but he does seem to be a really nice guy.
    posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:08 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


    Who would have a US State's Govenor sign an NDA? That seems insane.
    posted by Windopaene at 5:15 PM on May 14 [19 favorites]


    Fourth-largest coal producer in the US files for bankruptcy
    The company staved off bankruptcy for years but continued to face lean markets.
    Cloud Peak Energy, the US' fourth-largest coal mining company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last week as the company missed an extension deadline to make a $1.8 million loan payment.

    [...]

    But thinning margins have strained the mining company as customers for thermal coal continue to dry up. Coal-fired electricity is expected to fall this summer, even though summer months are usually boom times for coal plants as air conditioning bolsters electricity demand. That's because cheap natural gas and a boost in renewable capacity have displaced dirtier, more expensive coal.
    posted by XMLicious at 5:25 PM on May 14 [10 favorites]


    CNN: Farmers Get Impatient With Trump's Trade War: 'This Can't Go On'
    "The President of the United States owes farmers like myself some type of plan of action," John Wesley Boyd Jr., a soybean farmer in Baskerville, Virginia, told CNN's Brianna Keilar on Monday.

    "Farmers were his base. They helped elect this president ... and now he's turning his back on America's farmers when we need him the most," he added.[…]

    John Heisdorffer, an Iowa farmer and chairman of the American Soybean Association, decided to plant about the same amount of corn and soybean this year, figuring a trade deal was near.

    "We kept hearing that talks were going well, it sure looked like this was all going to be taken care of soon," he said. Now, he added, "there's a lot of uncertainty and a lot of emotions right now for farmers."

    In the Midwest, they're also battling wet and cold weather that delays their planting season -- and could result in a lower yield for the year. Grant Kimberley in Iowa is still putting his corn crop in the ground, which he usually finishes planting by May 10. He hasn't started planting his soybeans yet.

    "This can't go on for an extended period of time. We need a trade deal done soon, and in the meantime farmers are probably going to need another round of aid payments," said Kimberley, who is also the director of market development at the Iowa Soybean Association.
    Start your clocks for another agriculture bailout.

    The view from Wall Street is similarly restive, the New Yorker reports: The Stock Market Intrudes on the Alternate Reality of Trump’s Trade War (The Dow has lost about 400 points since its close last Friday after Trump tweeted about new tariffs.)
    posted by Doktor Zed at 5:25 PM on May 14 [14 favorites]


    NBC News, Ship sabotage mystery raises fears of accidental conflict with Iran: The Trump administration is "playing with fire, and all it takes is for one thing to go wrong because the Middle East is a tinderbox," one expert said.
    The rising temperature has prompted some politicians and experts in Europe to urge calm — particularly when so much seems unclear about who carried out the attack.

    "We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident," British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said at a summit in Brussels with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    Hunt said he was concerned about "an escalation that is unintended really on either side but ends with some kind of conflict." He called for "a period of calm to make sure that everyone understands what the other side is thinking."
    New Yorker, Robin Wright, Is Trump Yet Another U.S. President Provoking a War?: The United States has a long history of provoking, instigating, or launching wars based on dubious, flimsy, or manufactured threats.
    posted by zachlipton at 5:29 PM on May 14 [14 favorites]


    The WaPo's Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey: ‘I Don’t See Him Crying Uncle’: Trump Believes China Tariffs Will Help Him Win Reelection
    President Trump is telling advisers and close allies that he has no intention of pulling back on his escalating trade war with China, arguing that clashing with Beijing is highly popular with his political base and will help him win reelection in 2020 regardless of any immediate economic pain.

    Administration officials and outside Trump advisers said Tuesday that they do not expect him to shift his position significantly in coming days, saying he is determined to endure an intensifying showdown with Chinese President Xi Jinping despite turbulence in global markets and frustration within his own party.[…]

    But as Trump expresses confidence, there have been tensions inside the White House, with some advisers uneasy with Trump’s strident nationalism and firm belief in tariffs as economic weapons. The disagreements reflect broader distress within Republican circles about the president’s sharp rhetoric and refusal to budge.[…]

    Trump has worked to contain his current advisers as the negotiations have unfolded and present a united front to the Chinese, who he believes are looking for weakness, according to multiple officials, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to share private discussions. With [advisors] who are alarmed now gone from the White House, Trump has found it easier to navigate his own administration and govern by his own instincts.
    And here's PA's spineless GOP senator, Pat Toomey:
    “The fact is it’s Americans who are paying the price of these tariffs,” Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) told reporters on Tuesday, citing economic data showing the levies have not had the intended effect of closing the trade gap with China or measurably hurting Chinese exports.

    Asked if Trump understands this view, Toomey said, “I assume the president understands how this works. But you’d have to ask him why he comes to the conclusions he comes to.” When pressed for further explanation, he declined and said he would “leave it at that.”
    AP asks this, too: Does Trump Understand Tariffs? (Yes, the video is an example of Betteridge's Law.)
    posted by Doktor Zed at 5:42 PM on May 14 [8 favorites]


    Ship sabotage mystery raises fears of accidental conflict with Iran

    "Accidental."

    Make no mistake, whatever pretext the administration feeds to the eager and slavering media will be engineered.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 5:46 PM on May 14 [17 favorites]


    Speaking of accidental conflicts with Iran: Iran Air Flight 655, a commercial passenger airliner which in 1988 was shot down by the U.S. Navy cruiser Vincennes after the ship moved into Iranian waters, killing all 290 people onboard. No broader conflict broke out but the U.S. eventually paid a settlement of $61.8 million without admitting liability or formally apologizing to Iran, according to the Wikipedia article.

    So whether another incident were accidental or “accidental” there is precedent.
    posted by XMLicious at 5:50 PM on May 14 [12 favorites]


    Ship sabotage mystery raises fears of accidental conflict with Iran

    US always stumbling into war
    posted by rhizome at 5:53 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    It's rare you see this kind of frank headline on NBC news: Israel, Saudi Arabia and Trump aides want confrontation with Iran. Will Trump listen?
    posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:02 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]


    A conflict with Iran would be devastating. To Iran most of all, of course, but to us too. Do these idiots not remember the 80s? We lost 250 Marines (and 60 French soldiers) in one incident in 1983; Iran is widely believed to have had a hand in that. Do these morons think they'd be less inclined to go all out on those kinds of bombings if we directly attacked them?

    Iran isn't Iraq. And that was terrible enough. Iran would be an order of magnitude worse.
    posted by Justinian at 6:12 PM on May 14 [16 favorites]


    having attempted to make sense of international court proceedings between usa and iran, and of payments of amounts awarded in connection with such cases, from time to time in the past, i am surprised to learn that $61 mil. settlement of the international court of justice case concerning iran air 655 was paid by president bill clinton pretty promptly upon reaching the settlement agreement! (per business insider; sorry). but not as surprised as i would be should parties of the present misministration ever willingly submit to the jurisdiction of such a tribunal.
    posted by 20 year lurk at 6:19 PM on May 14 [4 favorites]


    Slate's Mark Joseph Stern on the recent SCOTUS decision on Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt that reverses Nevada v. Hall: The Supreme Court’s Liberals Are Warning Us That Roe v. Wade Is in Mortal Danger

    No, they're really not. That hyberbolic and catastrophizing title is from Slate, which has already been called out by the Washington Post for publishing dangerous clickbait about abortion rights that has made women think abortion is currently illegal, just like the anti-abortion movement wants them to believe, so they don't seek abortions, even though it is currently legal. Roe v. Wade is a very different case than Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, including because Roe is about fundamental rights that stands on a lot of other precedent, e.g.
    The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. In varying contexts, the Court or individual Justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right in the First Amendment, Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 564 (1969); in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 8 -9 (1968), Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 350 (1967), Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616 (1886), see Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 478 (1928) (Brandeis, J., dissenting); in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S., at 484 -485; in the Ninth Amendment, id., at 486 (Goldberg, J., concurring); or in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, see Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399 (1923). These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed "fundamental" or "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty," Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325 (1937), are included in this guarantee of personal privacy. They also make it clear that the right has some extension to activities relating to marriage, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967); procreation, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 -542 (1942); contraception, Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S., at 453 -454; id., at 460, 463-465 [410 U.S. 113, 153] (WHITE, J., concurring in result); family relationships, Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944); and child rearing and education, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925), Meyer v. Nebraska, supra.

    This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.
    And according to the New York Times, discussing Hyatt,
    Overruling a 40-year-old precedent, the Supreme Court said on Monday that states may not be sued in the courts of other states. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative members in the majority. The ruling itself will probably not be particularly consequential, as most states already grant sovereign immunity to other states, shielding them from lawsuits.
    And contrary to Slate's fantasy:
    Justice Breyer did not address the fate of Roe v. Wade directly. But he sounded a general note of caution, saying it was “dangerous to overrule a decision only because five members of a later court come to agree with earlier dissenters on a difficult legal question.”
    There is no need for Slate to be making the anti-abortion movement's case for them, depsite how many clicks that the resulting fear and panic will gain them.
    posted by Little Dawn at 6:20 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


    Maybe we should finish up in Iran's neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq before starting another quagmire in the Middle East. Nearly 16 years after the United States invaded Iraq, there remain about 5,200 U.S. troops stationed there. Eighteen years after the US invaded Afghanistan there are 14,000 American troops there.
    posted by kirkaracha at 6:30 PM on May 14 [15 favorites]


    Iran is 4 times the size of Iraq and has twice the people. It has a bigger and better military. It would be a disaster.
    posted by chris24 at 6:53 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


    i didn't like the "warning" spin either in that piece, which i found otherwise unobjectionable (haven't read the opinion; did note with approval stern included that link in the story). to see the court's conservatives embrace things penumbral is less refreshing than i'd have expected . but i believe justice breyer is not warning me, or anybody, about what his colleagues might do given the opportunity -- justice breyer knows, i presume, that there's fuckall i or, short of significant civil unrest, anybody else can do about it ... except for those other eight justices and maybe their clerks, clergy, families, the appellate counsel who present cases to them and the lower courts' judges who prepare those cases. he's doing his best as a dissenting justice: noting and objecting to the radical deviation from reliable norms that the majority has embraced in accordance with his institutional role and responsibility. i know i know i know i can write my congresspersons (i did recently resistbot for the first time thanks to y'all's encouragement & info) but my congresspersons are ok ('cept: a bit heavy on the y chromosome) and don't control senate agenda or majority party anyway.
    posted by 20 year lurk at 6:58 PM on May 14


    A conflict with Iran would not be like the Iraq War. It would be worse.
    If nothing else, Iran is simply a bigger country than Iraq was before the 2003 invasion. At the time, Iraq’s population was about 25 million. Iran’s population is estimated to be more than 82 million. Iran spans 591,000 square miles of land, compared with Iraq’s 168,000 square miles.

    One estimate from 2005 suggested the Iraqi army had fewer than 450,000 personnel when the invasion began. Recent estimates suggest that Iran has 523,000 active military personnel, as well as 250,000 reserve personnel.

    Just as important, however, is Iran’s location. Unlike Iraq, Iran is a maritime power bordered by the Caspian sea to the north and the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south. It shares land borders with several troubled U.S. allies, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Iraq.

    Its location in the center of Eurasia is particularly important for trade. About a third of the world’s oil tanker traffic passes through the Strait of Hormuz, which is bordered by Iran and Oman. At its narrowest point, this shipping route is just under two miles wide. Blocking it could lead shipments of daily global oil exports to drop by an estimated 30 percent.
    US opponents in Afghanistan and Iraq have been conducting a clinic in how to use asymmetric warfare to tie down the United States.
    posted by kirkaracha at 7:05 PM on May 14 [12 favorites]


    Millennium Challenge 2002 "was a major war game exercise conducted by the United States Armed Forces in mid-2002" between the US "Blue" forces and the "Red" forces of an unknown Middle East adversary. The Red forces "sank" half of the US fleet in the exercise using small boats and planes and employed "motorcycle couriers, messages hidden in prayers, and even coded lighting systems on his airfields — tactics employed during World War II." Instead of learning some lessons from unexpected weapons and tactics, the military "refloated" the fleet and insisted that the Red team follow the exercise playbook.

    Somehow I'm skeptical that Iran would follow our rules, and I'm pretty sure there won't be any do-overs.
    posted by kirkaracha at 7:14 PM on May 14 [47 favorites]


    Millennium Challenge 2002

    20,000 US sailors at the bottom of the Hormuz Strait in a matter of hours. Whenever you see Iran-related sabre-rattling and war-drumming, that's what you should be thinking about. That, and our likely civilization-ending response.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 7:23 PM on May 14 [25 favorites]


    There is no need for Slate to be making the anti-abortion movement's case for them, depsite how many clicks that the resulting fear and panic will gain them.

    The forced birthers make their case, and pointing out the rhetoric they use and laws passed is not 'fear and panic' it's knowing ones enemy. Yes, the Georgia law might get struck down- but with more and more right wing judges- it might not be. It's like with climate change, no we shouldn't be running around like headless chickens, but if you aren't worried, you aren't paying attention. Frankly you coming in and telling us to calm down makes me think that if they were fitting us for our red gowns and white cowls you'd be telling us "don't worry! There's no legal precedence for being a handmaiden, so we shouldn't worry." That you dismiss our fears as "clicks" is incredibly insulting.
    posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:27 PM on May 14 [17 favorites]




    Tonkin Gulf and bullshit wars, for the youngsters.
    posted by j_curiouser at 7:29 PM on May 14 [7 favorites]


    If your punishment for terminating a rape-inflicted pregnancy is greater than the punishment for the rapist who caused it, it's time to step back and rethink just how the FUCK you reached this point as a society and a species.
    posted by delfin at 7:50 PM on May 14 [105 favorites]


    GOP Senators were, er, unimpressed w/ Jared, Hassett and Miller at immigration lunch today, per lawmakers, staff

    The WaPo has more: Kushner Skirts GOP Senators’ Key Questions On His Immigration Plan
    President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, faced pointed questions about his plan to overhaul the immigration system in a closed-door meeting with Republican senators Tuesday — and failed to offer solutions to some key concerns, according to GOP officials who cast doubt on the viability of the proposal.

    Publicly, senators emerged from their weekly Capitol Hill luncheon applauding the White House senior adviser’s pitch to move U.S. immigration toward a merit-based system that prioritizes highly skilled workers, a task he undertook at Trump’s behest.

    But privately, Republican officials said Kushner did not have clear answers to some questions from the friendly audience, prompting Trump’s other senior adviser, Stephen Miller, to interrupt at times and take over the conversation.[…]

    At one point, Kushner told Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) that his plan would not address Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program that shields some young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation. This left several senators confused because dealing with the “dreamers,” as the group of immigrants is often called, is crucial for securing any Democratic support.[…]

    But some GOP senators left the meeting wondering whether Kushner understood the issue, the GOP officials said. Though some appreciated his efforts, they did not think his plan would advance anytime soon. No senator has stepped forward yet to turn Kushner’s plan into legislation.

    “He’s in his own little world,” said one individual familiar with the discussion in the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely describe the session. “He didn’t give many details about what was in [his plan]. . . . And there were a number of instances where people had to step in and answer questions because he couldn’t. […] Miller interrupted him a lot,” the individual said.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 8:00 PM on May 14 [9 favorites]


    That you dismiss our fears as "clicks" is incredibly insulting.

    I'm arguing with the evidence, not you. I am personally terrified about what is happening, and I keep reminding myself that the Constitution is on our side, and I am grateful for all of the protesting and donations that are being made to organizations that are working hard to defend our rights. I feel like Slate is essentially preying on our fears, and I am tired of the fear, and I want us to fight with clear heads, and not get knocked off guard by scare tactics that are actually hurting women right now. Slate does us no favors by misrepresenting the law and what US Supreme Court justices actually said, and what the cases are actually about.

    It is already bad enough. This is a round up of current restrictions, but they have all been struck down by lower courts: Which states are blocking abortion — and which are enacting protections? (WaPo)
    posted by Little Dawn at 8:09 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    You are assuming our institutions will save us and nothing in the past 2+ years has shown us that- only the opposite.
    posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:12 PM on May 14 [24 favorites]


    [Y’all please let the abortion back and forth drop pronto.]
    posted by cortex (staff) at 8:32 PM on May 14 [6 favorites]


    A thread on the topic would not go wrong if someone (more levelheaded than I) wanted to do that.

    I am not feeling too hyped about SCOTUSBOWL 2020.
    posted by snuffleupagus at 9:21 PM on May 14


    A thread on the topic would not go wrong if someone (more levelheaded than I) wanted to do that.

    I had a thread. Guess how it went?
    posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:22 PM on May 14 [13 favorites]


    Ah. Oh well. Appreciate the effort.
    posted by snuffleupagus at 9:23 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


    Millennium Challenge 2002
    Hey, remember back in the halcyon days of early 2017, when Steve Bannon was on the National Security Council and all keen on shipyards and shipbuilding?

    How Bannon’s Navy service during the Iran hostage crisis shaped his views (WaPo, February 10, 2017)
    As Bannon has told it, the failed hostage rescue is one of the defining moments of his life, providing a searing example of failed military and presidential leadership — one that he carries with him as he serves as President Trump’s chief strategist. [...] Bannon is remembered as much for his skill at sports as for his work on the ship’s deck. When the Foster docked at ports around the world, the ship’s basketball team often lined up games against local competition. Bannon’s nickname was “Coast,” short for coast-to-coast, because on the basketball court he’d never pass the ball [...] Two years before Bannon left the military in 1983 and headed to Harvard Business School, he told McKim that he had a vision of his future. “He mentioned that he’d go to Harvard and come back and be secretary of defense,” McKim recalled.
    Trump and Bannon: Busting Up the World (The American Prospect, May 1, 2019) Each in his own way, the president and his former White House strategist continue their global realignment project, tilting toward Putin.

    Bannon's far right conspiracy doesn't need a mountain retreat – it's hiding in plain sight throughout Europe (The Independent, May 13, 2019) It reads like the outline of a Dan Brown novel. A secretive training school for far-right “culture warriors” set up by the eminence grisly of the alt-right Steve Bannon, Trump’s ideological Svengali. “The Academy for the Judeo-Christian West”, housed in a remote medieval Italian former monastery has the stated aim of becoming a “gladiator school” to train the “next generation of nationalist and populist leaders”. The idea is for them to link up and spread their hate-filled, nativist nationalist ideology across the world.

    Trump handed out walking papers little less than two years ago, but Bannon didn't wander very far: "I happen to think today was the most important day of Donald Trump's presidency," Bannon said Monday on Fox Business Network's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," in response to Dobbs' praise of Trump for "standing up" to Chinese President Xi Jinping. (USA Today, May 7, 2019)
    posted by Iris Gambol at 11:03 PM on May 14 [11 favorites]


    Not 'born to be in it': Beto O’Rourke strikes more humble tone as buzz fades (The Guardian)

    Can't he just run for Senator again?
    posted by mumimor at 11:04 PM on May 14 [40 favorites]


    AP: The Latest: US Non-essential Embassy Staff to Leave Iraq

    NYT: Skeptical U.S. Allies Resist Trump’s New Claims of Threats From Iran
    “One American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential internal planning, said the new intelligence of an increased Iranian threat was “small stuff” and did not merit the military planning being driven by Mr. Bolton. The official also said the ultimate goal of the yearlong economic sanctions campaign by the Trump administration was to draw Iran into an armed conflict with the United States.”
    posted by Doktor Zed at 1:49 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]


    So I guess if they can't get a war in Venezuela, they'll gin one up with Iran? Why is nobody asking why they're so desperate for a war?
    posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:30 AM on May 15 [10 favorites]


    Wars provide unparalleled opportunities for graft, and it would be a good time to accomplish things by Executive fiat without any of that pesky oversight. IIRC there's a Supreme Court dictum to the effect of the President's joint position as Chief Executive and Commander in Chief means that their power is maximised during war time. Consequently, more war drums = more government by Twitter.
    posted by Joe in Australia at 3:18 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


    Goddamnit, the threat of foreign war is yet another reason to supervise this president. The legislative branch needs to do its job before lots of people die.
    posted by angrycat at 4:38 AM on May 15 [21 favorites]


    The threat of a war against Iran is terrifying, but the US waging a war on the other side of the world with only KSA and Israel as allies is also really crazy. Would the military accept such a suicide proposition?

    Trump is deliberately isolating the USA from all allies and partners -- if it isn't at the behest of Putin it is amazingly stupid, and it is really wild to realize that the Republicans are letting this happen just so they can remain in power and suppress women for another generation. However, there may be a limit to how far the donors will go with this charade.

    Trump’s Tariffs, Once Seen as Leverage, May Be Here to Stay
    At a briefing last week, Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, praised the president’s trade policies for helping economic growth thus far and said the administration supports “free and fair reciprocal trade.”

    But if the goal really is freer trade, the administration has never been further from achieving that goal than it is today, said Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

    “They’re heading in the opposite direction,” Mr. Bown said.

    Beyond an update to the United States agreement with South Korea, no other free trade deals have been finalized. Mr. Trump’s revisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico still await passage in Congress, while trade talks with the European Union and Japan have been troubled from the start, with governments squabbling over the scope of the agreement.
    The easier explanation, said Michael Strain, the director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is to take the president at his word that he is a protectionist.
    “Those are the words they’re using, and those are the actions they’re taking,” he said.

    In remarks this week, Mr. Trump said companies that did not want to pay the tariffs could shift production out of China and into the United States or another country that has not been hit with tariffs. While there are signs that this shift is happening, it seems to be benefiting countries like Mexico and Vietnam more than the United States.
    posted by mumimor at 4:51 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]


    Congress needs to be 100% crystal clear that it and only it has the power to declare and wage war. If Trump wants war with Iran, he has to convince the House of Representatives first.
    posted by vibrotronica at 7:11 AM on May 15 [33 favorites]


    About a third of the world’s oil tanker traffic passes through the Strait of Hormuz, which is bordered by Iran and Oman. At its narrowest point, this shipping route is just under two miles wide.

    This is a tiny passageway for an international shipping lane. For comparison, the Mississippi River:
    The widest navigable section in the shipping channel of the Mississippi is Lake Pepin, where the channel is approximately 2 miles wide.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 7:51 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]




    I mean, he's not necessarily wrong, if we assume that at least one of those is a (likely pre-emptive) nuclear attack that would kill millions of Iranians.
    posted by zombieflanders at 8:24 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


    At the risk of comment deletion, I'm posting this previously unposted nugget from Lawyers, Guns, and Money about the Alabama abortion bill, because it lays bare the true thinking behind its promoters. A comment on that page yields this:
    Chambliss, responding to the IVF argument from Smitherman, cites a part of the bill that says it applies to a pregnant woman. "The egg in the lab doesn’t apply. It’s not in a woman. She’s not pregnant."
    So, it never was about the fertilized egg.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 8:31 AM on May 15 [81 favorites]


    Jeff Sessions’s Grave Conflict of Interest, Murray Waas, New York Review of Books.
    Last year, in March 2018, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions enlisted his subordinates to lie on his behalf that he did not know he was under federal investigation when he fired then Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe—an investigation initiated by McCabe and overseen by him until it was taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
    posted by AwkwardPause at 8:35 AM on May 15 [13 favorites]


    Chris Baynes, The Independent: "US-Iran tensions: Trump administration orders government staff to flee neighbouring Iraq"
    The US State Department has ordered all non-emergency government staff to leave Iraq urgently amid escalating tensions with neighbouring Iran.

    An alert published on the website of the US embassy in Iraq said employees nationwide should depart “as soon as possible” and avoid American facilities in the country.

    Washington said last week said it had detected new and urgent threats from Iran and its proxy forces targeting Americans and US interests in the region.

    On Sunday, the embassy advised Americans to avoid travel to Iraq, citing “heightened tensions”.

    Wednesday’s alert said the State Department had ordered the departure of non-emergency government employees posted at both the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil.
    posted by OnceUponATime at 8:49 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


    The US State Department has ordered all non-emergency government staff to leave Iraq urgently

    Feel free to explain to me how this isn't as ominous as it sounds...
    posted by diogenes at 8:57 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


    Congress needs to be 100% crystal clear that it and only it has the power to declare and wage war. If Trump wants war with Iran, he has to convince the House of Representatives first.
    Congress has already been clear since 2001, with the AUMF the President can do whatever he wants by citing the magical word 'terrorism'. Wars don't exist anymore.
    posted by Harry Caul at 8:59 AM on May 15 [18 favorites]


    In the "couldn't happen to nicer guys" department, David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell for the Washington Post: Trump’s prized Doral resort is in steep decline, company documents show
    “They are severely underperforming” other resorts in the area ... “There is some negative connotation that is associated with the brand.”

    [...] Eric Trump — the president’s son who runs the business day-to-day — rejected the idea that the Trump brand is damaged. “This story is completely senseless,” he said in a statement. [...]

    But the statistics provided by the company’s consultants to Miami-Dade County — which are legally required to be accurate — showed competing resorts in the same region of Florida still outperformed the Trump resort in the key metrics of room occupancy and average room rate.
    Likewise at the Trump hotel in Chicago. But alas, it's not declining fast enough to help the country out.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 9:02 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]


    at the Trump hotel in Chicago

    FYI The DuSable bridge is the best place to directly give this place the finger
    posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:29 AM on May 15 [25 favorites]


    > The US State Department has ordered all non-emergency government staff to leave Iraq urgently

    Feel free to explain to me how this isn't as ominous as it sounds...


    Because the Independent* is hyping up what is already a worrying development. The actual State Dept. bulletin does not imply this panicked level of urgency. "Depart Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible" is not "Trump administration orders government staff to flee" as far as evacuation goes. What's happening here is Pompeo ratcheting up the level of anxiety, building on his surprise visit to Iraq last week.

    CNN has better coverage: State Department Orders Non-Emergency Employees to Leave Iraq Amid Iran Tensions
    The State Department ordered Wednesday the departure of non-emergency US government employees from Iraq amid increasing tensions with Iran and warned US citizens not to travel to the country, citing a "high risk for violence and kidnapping."

    The announcement comes on the heels of an unannounced trip to Iraq by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo where he said he spoke to officials about he country's ability to protect Americans. The action also represents the latest maneuvering by the Trump administration in the Middle East, where the Pentagon has recently positioned a carrier strike group and a bomber task force.[…]

    The department said the sudden changes were because the US government's "ability to provide routine and emergency services to US citizens in Iraq is extremely limited" and that as a result, the threat of "terrorism, kidnapping, and armed conflict" aimed at Americans in the country was too great a risk.
    Note that although US officials are talking about "specific and credible" intelligence that Iranian forces and their surrogates are planning to target American forces in the region, their warnings are as vague as those leading up to the Iraq invasion—and the State Dept. memo about leaving does not even mention this. For what it's worth, the BBC reports, “Iraq's Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, said on Tuesday that its security forces had not observed "movements that constitute a threat to any side".”

    Pompeo's throwing his weight around by irresponsibly increasing the tensions in the already tense region.

    * The larger problem is that the Independent's journalistic quality slumped ages ago when it was sold off. It used to be a solid competitor to the Times and the Guardian, but now it's more clickbait-as-news.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 9:37 AM on May 15 [13 favorites]


    "Depart Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible" is not "Trump administration orders government staff to flee" as far as evacuation goes.

    It's bad enough, isn't it?
    posted by litlnemo at 9:55 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


    Definitely bad enough, but not last-helicopter-out-of-Saigon bad, the way the Independent was reporting it.

    "As soon as possible" is CYA language from Pompeo, not an indication of imminent danger (except, of course, what Team Trump seems set on provoking).

    The Guardian notes more dissent about the regional situation from US allies: No Increased Iran Threat In Syria or Iraq, Top British Officer Says, Contradicting US—Deputy commander of anti-Isis coalition rebuts White House justification for sending troops
    Maj Gen Christopher Ghika, who is a deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the coalition conducting counter-terrorist operations against Isis in Iraq and Syria, was repeatedly questioned by reporters about the threat from Shia militias in Syria and Iraq, cited by US officials over the past week as justification for speeding up the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group in the Gulf and for sending B-52 Stratofortress bombers and an anti-aircraft battery to the region.

    “No – there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” Ghika said in a videolink briefing from Baghdad to the Pentagon. “We’re aware of that presence, clearly. And we monitor them along with a whole range of others because that’s the environment we’re in. We are monitoring the Shia militia groups. I think you’re referring to carefully and if the threat level seems to go up then we’ll raise our force protection measures accordingly.”
    US Central Command then put out a statement objecting to that assessment—because the game plan is escalation, not de-escalation, in this wag-the-dog scenario.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 10:06 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


    Cotton: US could win war with Iran in 'two strikes'

    Over by Christmas.

    I mean, he's not necessarily wrong, if we assume that at least one of those is a (likely pre-emptive) nuclear attack that would kill millions of Iranians.


    Second Lieutenant Tom Cotton deployed to Baghdad 37 months after the Mission Accomplished photo op. One would think that he could tell the difference between breaking a country and winning a war.

    Senator Tom Cotton is the most evil asshole in a party that is currently led by Donald Trump.
    posted by Etrigan at 10:11 AM on May 15 [36 favorites]


    The USA unquestionably has the world's best military and it's unquestionably capable of utterly annihilating any other military force in a stand up fight.

    But, as Vietnam should have taught the Republicans and yet somehow failed to, and as Iraq should have taught the Republicans and yet seems to have failed to, all that means is that people opposing the US won't try to do so via military vs. military stand up fights that the US is guaranteed to win.

    So far, other than genocide, there has not yet been a technique developed that can actually stop an insurrection or guerrilla movement that has enough popular support. The guerrillas can't actually win (if you define winning as evicting the US by force of arms), but they can make the occupation ongoing, costly, and bloody. The old Napoleonic idea that if you beat the military in a region you get to have that region with no other contest was never really true, and today it's less true than ever.

    Which is to say that, yeah, the Trump cronies are technically correct, the US can easily demolish the Iranian military. But so what? All that will do is make Iran a bitter enemy who will use asymmetric war against America in retaliation.
    posted by sotonohito at 10:20 AM on May 15 [22 favorites]


    as Vietnam should have taught the Republicans and yet somehow failed to

    What the Republicans learned from Vietnam was not to let the hippies and peaceniks fuck things up. Keep 'em occupied with abortion controversies and racists...even more, and the grift can go on forever.

    There are barely any caskets to worry about in this day and age, too, so the optics are magnitudes easier to control. Sure, the internet blows that control up a little bit more than they'd prefer, but I think the calculus is that if they generate enough light, they won't have to worry about the heat.
    posted by rhizome at 10:26 AM on May 15 [11 favorites]


    Note that although US officials are talking about "specific and credible" intelligence

    In all the time he has been president, Trump has never let up on the intelligence department and its fake news and lack of credibility. Are you telling me now they believe them and consider their data credible?

    O RLY??
    posted by hugbucket at 10:28 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


    After the Alabama/Georgia/Ohio dystopian events, CDC weighs in with more signs we actually are living in Atwood's Handmaid's Tale.
    posted by Harry Caul at 10:58 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


    Corey Robin, from a decade ago are you kidding me? early 2017: The Politics Trump Makes - "But there are signs of a possible disjunction, which we would be foolish to ignore. As was true of Carter, the tensions within Trump’s party may prove to be a challenge beyond his talents."

    now: The Disjunction That Was Promised - "But because the foundation of disjunctive presidencies—the regime they were elected to manage rather than maul—is so tenuous, disjunctive presidents often rush back to safe havens, placating the party and its interests with goodies like a new Department of Education. The combination of that push and pull, toward and away from the party, antagonizes everyone, provoking a potent challenge not from the forces of the new (such as Reagan’s bid to supplant Ford in 1976) but from defenders of the faith. To wit: Teddy Kennedy’s primary challenge to Carter in 1980.
    We haven’t seen that sort of challenge yet under Trump. Bill Weld notwithstanding, it seems likely we won’t. Nor have we seen the splintering of the party similar to the crackup of the New Deal coalition in the 1970s. The question is: why?"
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:04 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


    The question is: why?"

    Because the factions of the GOP know that if they splinter, they're all collectively fucked.
    posted by NoxAeternum at 11:23 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


    Quinnipiac has polled Pennsylvania for the 2020 general election matchups. (538 rating A-, so one of the top 10 pollsters). Results:
    1. Biden +11
    2. Sanders +7
    3. Warren +3
    4. Harris: tie
    5. Buttigieg -1
    6. Beto -2
    They also polled the primary and Biden walked away with it with 39% to Sanders 13%, all others in single digits.

    Early, etc etc, but you'd rather be +11 early than -2. I'm surprised PA voters seem to dislike Beto, though unless its controlled for name recognition it's tough to do apples-to-apples. Biden and Sanders have to be liking that +11/+7 in PA. Hell, +3 for Warren in PA is better than I feared. If you had a crystal ball and saw that Warren carried PA in the general I'd feel very, very confident in her chances overall.
    posted by Justinian at 11:26 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


    Speaking of disjunction, Politico Playbook reports on what could have been a GOP come-to-Jesus meeting: What George W. Bush’s Economist Said About Trump Behind Closed Doors
    Larry Lindsey, President George W. Bush’s National Economic Council director, spoke Tuesday separately to both the elected House GOP leadership and top committee Republicans, and his presentation about China and trade turned a lot of heads, according to multiple people who were in both meetings.

    Lindsey, who has an economic consultancy, was a guest of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Lindsey said he enlisted two psychiatrists to analyze the president from afar. China views President Donald Trump as a “total narcissist”* -- “a 10-out-of-10 narcissist,” he said. Lindsey attributed this to the president’s upbringing and said his mother didn’t pay him adequate attention in childhood.

    Lindsey said Trump has no long-term plans or ability to think ahead. He said the president has the long-term decision-making ability of an “empty chair.”
    But then he reverts to type and hopes against hope that somehow Trump will work out despite his better judgment and all public evidence to the contrary:
    All that aside, Lindsey did say he was in favor of the president’s China policy, and postulated that, because of some of his traits, he might be able to get a deal with Xi. He said that Trump’s position vis-a-vis China is strong, that the U.S. is in a better position than China and that it’s important that America not back down. Lindsey declined to comment.
    * That's only half the story, though. Trump's not simply a narcissist—he's a malignant narcissist. Properly speaking, he's an first-rate example of narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Talking about Trump in terms of only the former misses the big picture.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 11:32 AM on May 15 [19 favorites]


    Is it a constitutional crisis yet?

    No ‘do-over’ on Mueller probe, White House lawyer tells House panel, saying demands for records, staff testimony will be refused (WaPo)
    The White House’s top lawyer told the House Judiciary Committee chairman Wednesday that Congress has no right to a “do-over” of the special counsel’s investigation of President Trump and refused a broad demand for records and testimony from dozens of current and former White House staff.

    White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s letter to committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) constitutes a sweeping rejection — not just of Nadler’s request for White House records, but of Congress’s standing to investigate Trump for possible obstruction of justice. In his letter, Cipollone repeated a claim the White House and Trump’s business have begun making: that Congress is not a law enforcement body and does not have a legitimate purpose to investigate the questions it is pursuing.
    posted by Nerd of the North at 12:00 PM on May 15 [19 favorites]


    @kylegriffin1: A.G. Barr shook hands with Nancy Pelosi at the Peace Officers Memorial Day service event and asked, "Did you bring your handcuffs?" She smiled and indicated that the Sergeant at Arms was present should arrest be necessary. NBC has confirmed this report.

    I'm glad Barr is finding this all amusing.
    posted by zachlipton at 12:06 PM on May 15 [30 favorites]


    Some ..interesting results from landline polling

    From new Emerson poll, top 3 candidates in the landline primary vs the non-landline primary-

    Landline:
    Biden 43%
    Sanders 16%
    Harris 15%

    Non-Landline:
    Sanders 37%
    Biden 19%
    Warren 12%

    Data
    posted by The Whelk at 12:07 PM on May 15 [25 favorites]


    (Warren not getting a fraction of the news coverage that nonentities like Beto get is ...something else.)
    posted by The Whelk at 12:15 PM on May 15 [33 favorites]


    That Emerson data on landlines/nonlandlines is essentially a proxy for age, isn't it?
    posted by Justinian at 12:17 PM on May 15 [13 favorites]




    Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that people with landlines vote at about twice the rate as those without them.
    posted by octothorpe at 12:32 PM on May 15 [6 favorites]


    After the Alabama/Georgia/Ohio dystopian events, CDC weighs in with more signs we actually are living in Atwood's Handmaid's Tale.


    Birth rate in U.S. falls to lowest level in 32 years, CDC says

    So what exactly was the apocalypse 32 years ago? Good lord that is a terrible article jumping from one measure to another without ever giving enough information for you to actually numerically understand what is happening. Also a steady decades long decline is not really a fall.
    posted by srboisvert at 12:35 PM on May 15 [6 favorites]


    If late-second-term Ronald Reagan made you feel aroused about the world that you lived in 32 years ago, I don't know what to tell you.
    posted by delfin at 12:44 PM on May 15 [9 favorites]


    angrycat: The legislative branch needs to do its job before lots of people die.

    I think you mean "a lot more people die." People have died because of Trump's hate-filled rhetoric stoked and supported violence by white supremacists. People have died because of the ramped up, self-created "migrant crisis." And that's just off the top of my head.

    Not attacking anyone here, just bringing up those who have already died.


    Huffy Puffy: Warren’s getting more TV news coverage than Beto.

    Warren is saying more than Beto these days, right? And reaching out to at-risk (white, rural) communities in Trump-territory, with positive feedback from voters.
    posted by filthy light thief at 12:46 PM on May 15 [12 favorites]


    *shovels four instances of the day's crap into one comment*

    It's worth taking a moment to read the White House Counsel's latest letter to Rep. Nadler, especially this bit:
    Third, it appears that the Committee's inquiry is designed, not to further a legitimate legislative purpose, but rather to conduct a pseudo law enforcement investigation on matters that were already the subject of the Special Counsel's long-running investigation and are outside the constitutional authority of the legislative branch. The only purpose for this duplication seems to be harassing and seeking to embarrass political opponents after an exhaustive two-year investigation by the Department of Justice did not reach the conclusion that some members of the Committee apparently would have preferred. That, of course, is not a permissible purpose for demanding confidential information from the Executive.
    @bradheath: Where this argument leaves us: The Justice Department says it can't charge a sitting president lest it interfere with his constitutional powers. And the White House says Congress can't investigate him because it doesn't have the power to conduct 'law enforcement' inquiries.

    ----

    Daily Beast, Trump Administration to LGBT Couples: Your ‘Out of Wedlock’ Kids Aren’t Citizens
    one little-noticed State Department policy has now resulted in a reverse version of Trump’s “anchor baby” scenario, where the children of U.S. citizens born abroad are effectively being stopped at the border.

    Last summer, the State Department issued new rules unilaterally changing the department’s interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a 1952 law that, along with the 14th Amendment, codifies eligibility for U.S. birthright citizenship.

    “The U.S. Department of State interprets the INA to mean that a child born abroad must be biologically related to a U.S. citizen parent,” the State Department’s website says. “Even if local law recognizes a surrogacy agreement and finds that U.S. parents are the legal parents of a child conceived and born abroad… if the child does not have a biological connection to a U.S. citizen parent, the child will not be a U.S. citizen at birth.”

    The Kivitis are each biologically related to their children. Under the policy, however, children born via gestational surrogacy and other forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART) are considered to be born “out of wedlock,” in the State Department’s words—even if their parents, like Roee and Adiel, are legally married.
    ...
    That “assumption of parentage,” as the State Department calls it, now seems to LGBT parents to be reserved solely for heterosexual married couples. Only same-sex couples, whose non-traditional family structure sticks out like a sore thumb, end up facing scrutiny over how their children came into the world, parents told The Daily Beast—and as a result, whether they are eligible for birthright citizenship.
    ...
    “You see a gay man running for president on the cover of Time magazine with his husband, and then you get a call from the State Department essentially saying that your ‘out-of-wedlock’ daughter is not entitled to a passport,” Roee said. “You’re thinking, what is this parallel universe that we’re living in?”
    ----

    @kylegriffin1 [video attached]:
    Fire from Bob Menendez when he asks Undersecretary of State for Arms Control Andrea Thompson about Russian nuclear plans without New START.

    Thompson: "It's a good question for Russia, senator."
    ...
    Menendez: "I’m not asking Russia about our national defense. I'm asking you."
    New START expires in February 2021. The Trump administration is seemingly nowhere on even thinking about a replacement.

    ----

    McClatchy, Immigrant soldiers now denied US citizenship at higher rate than civilians: "According to the most recent USCIS data available, the agency denied 16.6 percent of military applications for citizenship, compared to an 11.2 percent civilian denial rate in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, a period that covers October to December 2018." The number of military applications has also plummeted as the Pentagon has implemented new rules that make it harder for immigrants to enlist and harder for service members to apply for citizenship.

    ----

    Bloomberg, CFPB Official in Racist Blog Post Controversy to Depart in which the Trump-apointee responsible for the part of the CFPB that oversees anti-discrimination laws will depart. He wrote a variety of blog posts in 2004 questioning, among other things, why using the n-word is racist. The posts were uncovered last year, but he remained at the agency.
    posted by zachlipton at 12:55 PM on May 15 [32 favorites]


    That State Department position is not only horrible for queer couples, but it's heteronormative and strongly trying to support the patriarchy. This absurd notion of "pure good blood from our own nation" is disturbingly white supremacist nationalist, as well.
    posted by odinsdream at 1:03 PM on May 15 [19 favorites]


    <I don’t understand the State rule at all. So, if I were still of breeding age, and I had a fling in Rome, and gave birth, but didn’t marry the Italian father, when I came back to the states, my child wouldn’t be an American citizen? What about military babies who may or may not be born in wedlock, but are born on a foreign base? This rule seems not only cruel, but illogical.
    posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 1:16 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


    SecretAgentSockpuppet:
    “State says children born through ART require extra paperwork for proof of citizenship, but there are no boxes on any citizenship forms which indicate ART is used,” one woman, a former U.S. military intelligence officer who is married to a senior U.S. military officer, told The Daily Beast. When their son was born on an American military base abroad last fall, it took months for their application for his U.S. passport to be processed—and only after they submitted reams of paperwork proving that one of the two women was the gestational mother, confirming whether or not the former officer had a “genetic relationship” with her son, and “physical evidence” that they had used an anonymous sperm donor.

    “If we did [in-vitro fertilization] and were hetero, we could have a different egg and sperm that were not genetically related to us, but due to… the ‘assumption of parentage’ which exists for married couples, they would not question the birth,” said the former officer, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of her wife’s position in the military.

    “It was so dumb, regardless—we were both American citizens, so it should have been a non-issue,” the former officer added, noting that many LGBT service members having children overseas are facing similar pushback from the State Department, but the random nature of the problems, and their resolution, makes her believe that “it all depends on the individual who is handling your case and their personal feelings.”
    posted by Cheerwell Maker at 1:25 PM on May 15 [6 favorites]


    White House declines to back Christchurch call to stamp out online extremism amid free speech concerns (Tony Romm and Drew Harwell, Washington Post)

    White House refuses to sign international statement on online extremism (Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica)
    "The United States stands with the international community in condemning terrorist and violent extremist content online in the strongest terms," the White House said in an emailed statement Wednesday. The US government says it will "continue to support the overall goals reflected in the Call," however, it is "not currently in a position to join the endorsement."
    posted by ZeusHumms at 1:31 PM on May 15 [12 favorites]


    In response to today's letter from the White House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said that he is seriously considering imposing fines. (TPM)
    posted by diogenes at 1:34 PM on May 15 [11 favorites]


    WaPo, Trump signs order to protect U.S. networks from foreign espionage, a move that appears to target China
    Trump declared the emergency in the form of an executive order that says foreign adversaries are exploiting vulnerabilities in U.S. telecom technology and services. It singles out economic and industrial espionage as areas of particular concern.

    The order authorizes the commerce secretary to block transactions involving communications technologies built by firms controlled by a foreign adversary that puts U.S. security at “unacceptable” risk — or poses a threat of espionage or sabotage to networks that underpin the day-to-day running of vital public services.

    Wednesday’s announcement was expected nearly a year ago, and comes as neither Washington nor Beijing appears willing to back down in their ongoing economic dispute. The National Economic Council, which had blocked the move for months, dropped its objection as trade talks hit an impasse, said one official.
    Meanwhile, Russia accessed election information in two Florida counties, and Trump still takes Putin's word that nothing happened.
    posted by zachlipton at 1:42 PM on May 15 [11 favorites]


    I feel like the easy answer to the White House's nonsense about needing a legislative purpose for cooperation is just to begin impeachment proceedings against Barr over his handling of the Mueller Report.

    But probably they should run it up to the Supreme Court because leaving bullshit tactics like this unchallenged is a bad idea - which is why Obama should have tried seating Garland.
    posted by jason_steakums at 1:52 PM on May 15 [19 favorites]


    "Investigating the investigators": Republicans roll out a dangerous new gambit (Heather Digby Parton, Salon)
    Republicans probably won't put Comey and Mueller in prison. The goal is to blow smoke and bewilder the voters
    Same pattern they've followed for decades. Some of the same people are involved too.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 2:02 PM on May 15 [16 favorites]


    NBC, U.S. military to build 6 tent cities near border for migrants
    The U.S. military is going to provide and build tents to house 7,500 migrants at six locations near the border.

    A Defense Department spokesperson confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security made the request and a Defense official said Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan is expected to sign the request.

    The tents will probably not be on military bases, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, not the military, will be responsible for migrant detention and custodial support.
    This Reuters photo of migrants being held in horrible-looking conditions in McAllen.

    NYT, Trump Immigration Plan Emphasizes Immigrants’ Skills Over Family Ties. I won't even bother to quote anything about what the plan actually is—Trump will give some kind of speech tomorrow about it—, because it's only a speech and not an actual plan:
    The president will reveal some details about the proposal, which was developed by Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, during a Rose Garden ceremony on Thursday afternoon. But officials conceded that the plan is a long way from becoming a legislative reality, with one saying on Wednesday that it represents a “first step toward having that discussion.”

    In fact, the broad outlines of the plan are certain to be unpopular with lawmakers in Congress.
    ...
    Officials who briefed reporters on the plan on Wednesday said the White House has begun to convert the idea into a bill that could be introduced in Congress, but declined to say whether the president intends to pursue legislation in the weeks or months ahead.
    Dreamers aren't addressed at all, deeply unpopular with Democrats and Republicans, nobody will even say whether they intend to attempt to turn it into legislation... This is Playmobil governing: Jared is pushing little bits around and making noises, but anybody can see that it bears no relationship to the actual grown-up activity.

    @TalKopan: As Republican lawmakers coming out of the briefing from Kushner made clear yesterday -- this is not a plan designed to pass Congress. It's designed to give Republicans some talking points to advocate for.
    posted by zachlipton at 2:17 PM on May 15 [10 favorites]


    @sarafischer: The White House just launched a tool for people to report if they feel they were censored by social platforms. “No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.”

    Naturally, it's a mailing list scam: they'd like your email address and phone number to "keep you posted on President Trump's fight for free speech."
    posted by zachlipton at 2:29 PM on May 15 [17 favorites]


    Thompson: "It's a good question for Russia, senator."
    ...
    Menendez: "I’m not asking Russia about our national defense. I'm asking you."


    It will never stop annoying me that members of Congress are so consistently both terrible at examining witnesses and eager to turn questioning into grandstanding opportunities instead of soliciting meaningful (or damning) testimony. Sheesh.
    posted by The World Famous at 2:30 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]




    That Emerson data on landlines/nonlandlines is essentially a proxy for age, isn't it?
    posted by Justinian at 12:17 PM on May 15 [10 favorites +] [!]


    Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that people with landlines vote at about twice the rate as those without them.
    posted by octothorpe at 12:32 PM on May 15 [3 favorites +] [!]


    I assume that the results are adjusted for age distribution and accompanying historical voting patterns, but who knows? If they are, then the discrepancy is driven by more subtle differences that drive the choice of having a landline. Landlines are an extra expense for most people, all else being equal, so having one indicates a higher income. It also may belie a certain level of technophobia, especially in older people. If those things are driving the discrepancy, then they have a much larger impact than I would have guessed.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 2:40 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


    Going back to that story linked above by Nerd of the North, about White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s letter, which "... constitutes a sweeping rejection — not just of Nadler’s request for White House records, but of Congress’s standing to investigate Trump for possible obstruction of justice" - it's a breathtaking claim, and I guess I hadn't come to terms with how they think they can get away with it. Sure, they could just "Says who?" it for a while, but eventually there would be a reckoning, no?

    So this post by Kevin Drum at Mother Jones felt like a bit of a light bulb moment for me:
    Donald Trump’s usual MO is to make breathtakingly sweeping arguments and then dare anyone to disagree. ... As I’ve said before, this is all a delaying action. It’s going to end up in court and Trump will appeal it all the way to the top. It doesn’t matter all that much whether he wins or loses, only that the final decision happens after November 3, 2020. After that, he’ll either continue stonewalling and provoke a constitutional crisis, or else he’ll be out of office and assumes that President Biden or President Harris will decide that “healing” is the order of the day, not further investigations. That’s how it usually works when Democrats win the White House, after all.
    (This is partly why I'm rooting for President Warren, who is so far - so far - the only person I can believe won't just say "Bygones".)

    And yeah, wouldn't Justice Merrick Garland have been nice to have for this upcoming crisis? Instead, we have Bart O'Kavanaugh, hand-picked for his views on Executive power and immunity.
    posted by RedOrGreen at 2:53 PM on May 15 [25 favorites]


    Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 13 News, writing in Axios: Netanyahu Wary of Being Dragged Into U.S.-Iran Escalation
    At a special meeting on U.S.-Iran tensions with Israel's intelligence chiefs and top military brass, Prime Minister Benjamin Netan