"Let me tell you this right now, Donald J. Trump ain't going anywhere."
February 28, 2021 9:27 AM   Subscribe

The Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as CPAC, wraps up today with the first post-presidential speech from Donald Trump.

Other speakers included Donald Trump, Jr., Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Devin Nunes, Kristi Noem, Lauren Boebert, Madison Cawthorn, Paul Gosar, and Kevin McCarthy.

Other highlights include attendees booing when asked to wear masks, a golden statue of Donald Trump (made in Mexico), a stage that looks like a Nazi symbol, and a busy few days for fact-checkers. No Marco Rubio, though--he cancelled his appearance, while Young Pharoah was cancelled by event organizers.
posted by box (183 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Abjure
posted by Going To Maine at 9:52 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Vice: A Japanese Cult That Believes Its Leader Is an Alien From Venus Is Speaking at CPAC
posted by darkstar at 9:54 AM on February 28 [10 favorites]


i've run out of ipecac so thanks for this post
posted by lalochezia at 9:56 AM on February 28 [66 favorites]


HuffPost, via dKos: Former CPAC Chair Minces No Words Slamming What The Event, GOP Have Now Become
Mickey Edwards — who led the American Conservative Union, which organizes the event, for five years until 1983 — ripped Republicans attending this year’s CPAC in Orlando for their devotion to former President Donald Trump.

In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Edwards likened the GOP to a cult whose members are living in an alternate reality.

Edwards served as a GOP representative for Oklahoma for 16 years until 1993 but quit the GOP in January following the deadly U.S. Capitol riot. The violence was perpetrated by a violent mob of Trump supporters who’d been whipped up by the then-president’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

“The Republican party really no longer stands for any kind of principles, conservative or otherwise,” Edwards told Burnett on Friday.

“The party seems now to be completely following the lead of one man wherever he goes, which is the definition of a cult,” he continued. “Now all that matters is, ‘Trump is for this, we’re for this.’ And that includes denying truth, denying fact, denying reality. It’s such a disconnect from what’s really happened in the world.”

Edwards said Republicans speaking at this year’s CPAC “are living in an alternate reality in which facts don’t matter, the Constitution doesn’t matter.”
posted by darkstar at 9:59 AM on February 28 [46 favorites]


Fuck these nazis

Nota bene: The Nazis want to kill you. And there's not much else to it. Whenever you think "... reeeeeaaally?" the answer is, always, "Yes. Really." So, fuck these nazis
posted by From Bklyn at 10:05 AM on February 28 [114 favorites]


When that CPAC dude was running things the GOP was already well down the road of hero worship, alternate realities and idolatry (and racism, misogyny, etc.) with Reagan, so as with so many complaints of this sort the perceived offence is one of degrees, not the substance of the thing itself .
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:09 AM on February 28 [64 favorites]


A Japanese Cult That Believes Its Leader Is an Alien From Venus Is Speaking at CPAC

Ah yes, Happy Science. From what I recall, they deify Margaret Thatcher and believe that nuclear war is inherently desirable.
posted by acb at 10:10 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


I’m reminded of Eisenhower’s quote:

“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”
posted by darkstar at 10:21 AM on February 28 [196 favorites]


His recent silence made me hope he had decided to retreat from the public eye entirely. But I guess surviving a 2nd impeachment really buoys the spirits.

At least he's an old fuck with notoriously bad health habits, the clock is ticking on that ticker and the inevitable has to take hold eventually
posted by dis_integration at 10:22 AM on February 28 [22 favorites]




Not going to worry about what he says; not a great track record of matching action to speech.
posted by amtho at 10:31 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


At least he's an old fuck with notoriously bad health habits, the clock is ticking on that ticker and the inevitable has to take hold eventually

Pace Timothy Snyder, the big lie will outlive the big liar. The clock’s ticking, and I wish I could do something.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:31 AM on February 28 [10 favorites]


acb: "they deify Margaret Thatcher and believe that nuclear war is inherently desirable."

TBH, if I found myself thinking Thatcher were a deity I'd be wishing for immediate immolation too.
posted by chavenet at 10:38 AM on February 28 [28 favorites]


CPAC Organizer Vehemently Denies Stage Was Designed to Look Like Nazi Symbol

Accidental nazis are just as bad as intentional ones.
posted by chavenet at 10:41 AM on February 28 [15 favorites]




Ain't going anywhere, eh? Prison is somewhere.
posted by Splunge at 10:44 AM on February 28 [16 favorites]


At least he's an old fuck with notoriously bad health habits, the clock is ticking on that ticker and the inevitable has to take hold eventually
I would enter Dick Cheney as a cautionary example, both for the effectiveness of hoping to outlast rich men and for assuming the greater evil is at the top of the ticket: the way things go, he’d be most likely to drop dead the day after the Trump-Cawthorn inauguration in 2025.

We need more active resistance given both the damage which can be done before the inevitable and the apparent absence of any problems finding would-be successors.
posted by adamsc at 10:47 AM on February 28 [15 favorites]


AC Organizer Vehemently Denies Stage Was Designed to Look Like Nazi Symbol

Accidental nazis are just as bad as intentional ones


Twitter getting idiotically bent out of shape about a word conspiracy theory that then seeps into the media is actually bad. This story is a good example of how the left can also get high on its own supply. The GOP willingly abetted a coup attempt; getting entangled in stage design flukes is dumb.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:49 AM on February 28 [44 favorites]


Less than a month after excoriating Donald Trump in a blistering floor speech, the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said Thursday that he would “absolutely” support the former president again if he secured the Republican nomination in 2024. (The Guardian, Feb. 26, 2021) The Kentucky Republican told Fox News that there’s still “a lot to happen between now” and the next presidential election. “I’ve got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus governors and others,” McConnell said. “There’s no incumbent. Should be a wide-open race.”
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:55 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


(Among theater folk, this riff on the very real rendition of the national anthem at Friday's CPAC session is the hottest link of the weekend. Jokes about defunding the arts, Ives, and/or nepotism are welcome.)
posted by minervous at 10:59 AM on February 28 [17 favorites]


When that CPAC dude was running things the GOP was already well down the road of ...

And they've always meant "conservative" in the way national socialists mean "socialist." It's literally just branding.
posted by klanawa at 10:59 AM on February 28 [9 favorites]


CPAC Organizer Vehemently Denies Stage Was Designed to Look Like Nazi Symbol

This could be easily cleared up by full outside audit of CPAC emails regarding the stage design.
posted by srboisvert at 11:00 AM on February 28 [17 favorites]


> "wrecking baal"
posted by kliuless at 11:02 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


At least he's an old fuck with notoriously bad health habits, the clock is ticking on that ticker and the inevitable has to take hold eventually

Might not want to look up how long his dad lived...
posted by atoxyl at 11:06 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]


The double impeached shitstain and his clown base can make all the noise they want, the big money and the top political talent will stay away. The GOP has its own internal silent majority problem. They'll be voting against each other for several cycles.

That does little to solve the potential for home grown political violence, I know, but they are going to fractured at the ballot box.
posted by vrakatar at 11:14 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


At least he's an old fuck with notoriously bad health habits, the clock is ticking on that ticker and the inevitable has to take hold eventually

Considering the longevity of the Cult of Saint Ronnie, and the fact that Trump has fairly young adult children eagerly acting on his behalf, I actually think it'll get worse, not better, once he's gone himself and can be turned entirely into an icon of grievance and hate.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:17 AM on February 28 [33 favorites]


Once Trump realized that he didn't need real estate or anything tangible to be able to grift millions of people, he wasn't going to let that cash cow ever get away from him. The US will be stuck with him, his kids and grand kids for decades to come.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:21 AM on February 28 [20 favorites]


I was a bit amazed to see that whoever designed the golden Trump positioned the American Flag so that it looks more like a diaper than anything else.

Very appropriate really, but they should also make a version with the Constitution because he shit all over that too.
posted by jamjam at 11:29 AM on February 28 [8 favorites]


The stage design is going way into conspiracy-theory land. Anyway in the current media landscape it doesn't matter whether it's true or false, intentional or not; only that the accusation was made.
posted by subdee at 11:29 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


This story is a good example of how the left can also get high on its own supply.

Yeah, I guess the party of Jewish space lasers and random comments about George Soros could be trusted completely when they tweet their Nazi stage is really a sign that they are pro-Israel, and that Dems are the real anti-Semites, anyway.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:41 AM on February 28 [88 favorites]


Yeah, I guess the party of Jewish space lasers and random comments about George Soros could be trusted completely when they tweet their Nazi stage is really a sign that they are pro-Israel, and that Dems are the real anti-Semites, anyway.

Especially given the history of using Nazi dog whistles in their displays (88, 14 words, etc.) Why should we be giving them the benefit of the doubt at this point?
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:49 AM on February 28 [59 favorites]


To be fair/honest, designers are not always very cerebral. Neither are politicians.

True story: in 1995, a designer got a lot of government money here in Denmark to make an art piece heavily inspired by the work of Albert Speer and the words of Adolf Hitler. This was for the 50 year celebration of the liberation from Nazi occupation. There was quite a lot of debate about it, but it was funded by the Social Democratic government at the time, and it happened.
As I understand it, the references just all got mixed up in the designer's head. And the politicians got into that typical dilemma where they have committed themselves too deeply before the critique arrives and then they have no way out.

Obviously, CPAC is evil. But they are also dumb as shit. See here: People with extremist views less able to do complex mental tasks, research suggests
posted by mumimor at 11:55 AM on February 28 [8 favorites]


(The Trump speech is scheduled for 3:40 EST.)
posted by box at 11:55 AM on February 28


It's the party of lulz. I can very easily imagine someone gleefully designing a stage that would get the left all worked up and then say "don't be ridiculous, it's just a stage, okay?", flashing the sign that can be totally dismissed as an okay sign while simultaneously being a white supremacy symbol so insiders can giggle with glee at owning the libs yet again WHILE simultaneously telling the real Nazis to stand back and stand by.

That weird stage design is a conspiracy theory wrapper for a toxic joke.
posted by zenzenobia at 11:58 AM on February 28 [46 favorites]


Why should we be giving them the benefit of the doubt at this point?

I think we still have to be polite to the neo-Nazi cult, even when it parades Confederate flags and Nazi-symbol tattoos through the Capitol building. CPAC is the cleaned up and corporate side of this fascist movement, so we need to respect the process, I guess, despite photos of people literally bowing down to a golden statue of a twice-impeached game show host. Nothing to worry about any of this.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:58 AM on February 28 [14 favorites]


I'm not saying that the CPAC board of directors voted on "nazi stage, yea/nay?" But the person who designed that stage definitely though "nazi stage, lol" and organization is basically cool with it.
posted by ryanrs at 12:06 PM on February 28 [36 favorites]


The Trump speech is scheduled for 3:40 EST.

Sorry, I've got lacrosse practice
posted by cashman at 12:22 PM on February 28 [8 favorites]


> Obviously, CPAC is evil. But they are also dumb as shit.

I don’t know that this was ever a barrier to obtaining, holding and wielding political power, but it definitely isn’t right now. It might even be an advantage.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:22 PM on February 28 [14 favorites]


I don’t know that this was ever a barrier to obtaining, holding and wielding political power, but it definitely isn’t right now. It might even be an advantage.

You are obviously right. I was invoking Hanlons razor: "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity"
posted by mumimor at 12:28 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


What...is going on in the livestream at the moment? The stage is blacked out and there's just a bunch of, well, weird unrelated audio clips playing, something about brexit? Clips about antifa?? Seriously, what the hell is going on?!?
posted by andruwjones26 at 1:03 PM on February 28


You are obviously right. I was invoking Hanlons razor: "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity"

I used to take a lot of comfort in this concept but, the thing is, with these guys it's both.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:17 PM on February 28 [22 favorites]


The double impeached shitstain and his clown base can make all the noise they want, the big money and the top political talent will stay away.

That's your takeaway from the last six years? That Trump won't win the primary by riling up his fans then the rest of the GOP will fall in line?
posted by ryanrs at 1:18 PM on February 28 [11 favorites]


What...is going on in the livestream at the moment?

Something something CPAC something something Reno, Nevada. It’s like CPAC has gone slam poetry style.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:18 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


After Impeachment The First, I made a comparison of Trump to the golden calf built by the Israelites when Moses climbed the mountain. Rather than doing the hard work of building consensus between differing opinions, governing for all Americans, and making policy based on actual principles the modern GOP is worshipping the false idol of Trump.

They didn’t have to take me quite so literally.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:19 PM on February 28 [16 favorites]


I'm not inclined to give them a pass on the shape of the stage for two reasons:

Do you think the nazis are looking at those pictures and saying "yeah, probably not intentional"? Of course they are fucking not.

There are enough sympathizers in the GOP that someone who knows damn well what it means could easily suggest the design and have a bunch of clueless squares who don't know say "okay that looks like a nice stage design, thanks for your hard work Bob".
posted by allegedly at 1:26 PM on February 28 [34 favorites]


Caleb Hearon has a pretty funny take on the different flavors of CPAC speechifying (twitter link)
posted by recklessbrother at 1:29 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


I made a comparison of Trump to the golden calf

It has been noted that by putting the startue in shorts, they've gone one better and are worshipping golden calves.

As far as the stage shape, the Trump administrator repeatedly and intentionally used various alt-right symbols so until there's some accountability and admission as far as what's already happened, they get no benefit of the doubt from me.
posted by Candleman at 1:32 PM on February 28 [23 favorites]


Radical honesty in the musical choices for CPAC

🎵 Well, if you told me you were drowning I would not lend a hand ....🎵
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:37 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


An hour past the scheduled start time, looks like the Trump mixtape is playing now. 'Macho Man.' 'Gloria' (Laura Branigan).

(I'm getting some uncomfortable deja vu and might nope out at this point.)
posted by box at 1:40 PM on February 28


So he's doing his usual running super late thing, cause he's that important of course. Only a small crowd appears on the camera, maybe he's embarrassed to face such a small room. People are starting to mill around and look ancy- would be nice if half of them were gone or in the bathroom when and if he ever does start.
posted by andruwjones26 at 1:43 PM on February 28


I was invoking Hanlons razor

The far right has been slicing up liberals using Hanlon's Razor as cover since at least W's two terms.
posted by srboisvert at 1:46 PM on February 28 [18 favorites]


There is a woman in a black dress to the lower right of the screen who has been desperately trying to turn this into a dance party for the last 20 mins or so. Turning it into a day drinking game - consume every time she manages to get someone else to dance with her.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:46 PM on February 28


In fairness, the modern Republican Party _is_ one big dance party. Danse Macabre, specifically.
posted by delfin at 1:51 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


A LOT of planning and production goes into making a stage in a weird shape like that. It is not a coincidence it's in a shape that has a Nazi connection. Nor is it a coincidence that it's in a shape whose Nazi connection is tenuous enough for plausible deniability. CPAC is full of Nazis who aren't willing to out themselves as Nazis publicly, but want to show off that they know the secret handshake. Anyone who says otherwise is looking at an apple and calling it an orange.
posted by rikschell at 1:57 PM on February 28 [54 favorites]


Seeing this gave me fresh appreciation for how nice it is not to hear some stupid thing Trump said quoted every single day.

Obviously he's gonna go on the road looking for that sweet hit of crowds cheering for him and the media will probably quote him when he does, but even then I think not having his Twitter account will continue to make a positive difference.
posted by straight at 1:58 PM on February 28 [13 favorites]


The Republicans promised me that if Biden was elected they'd all be rounded up and sent off to re-education camps by the new socialist regime, and yet this conference is happening. I feel mildly conflicted.
posted by allegedly at 2:13 PM on February 28 [21 favorites]


OK, so Trump is straight on racist now, no dog whistles, no apologies. Not surprising at all. But disgusting
posted by mumimor at 2:13 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


a comparison of Trump to the golden calf built by the Israelites when Moses climbed the mountain

Carrying that analogy even further....they've managed to turn even Charlton Heston into an antifa fighter.
posted by gimonca at 2:13 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Tenuous enough? That variant of that runic design does not appear anywhere in history before the Third Reich used it. It has no non-Nazi connotations. In that way, it's more Nazi than the swastika.
posted by acb at 2:15 PM on February 28 [34 favorites]


yes they are actual nazis; yes they are trolling everyone on purpose; yes this is the exact reaction they want. what's starting to bug me about this recurrent pattern, besides the rising tide of fucking nazis, is that the online left (with very few exceptions) seems to have no idea what comes next. like people scream and shout "there are nazis right there!" with the goal of ...having people listen to them? agree with them? acknowledge reality?

and I understand that desire very much, but it's not sufficient. if the entire MSM were to turn around and be like, yup, you know what, those are nazis -- if even Fox News was to admit something like "well, 'nazi' is a slur, but..." -- THEN FUCKING WHAT?

what is the next response? what do you do?

then do that NOW, rather than give them the lefty tears they love so much. because they are not going to admit they're nazis until after they're rounding people up.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:21 PM on February 28 [52 favorites]


CPAC is full of Nazis who aren't willing to out themselves as Nazis publicly, but want to show off that they know the secret handshake.

So much this. Secretive groups need symbolic ways of identifying themselves to others and, in my experience, get a real kick out of floating their symbols past normies. This is a weird and impractical stage design and it's not even visible in most of the shots. Why make a stage that takes up so much extra space and still forces presenters to cross the center line when exiting, directly behind where the cameras should be focusing? The design was important to somebody.

On the other hand, there's no reason it should be important to us, and I acknowledge that we should probably be more worried about the racism and insurrectionism.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:25 PM on February 28 [29 favorites]


The fun* thing about dogwhistles is that it operates on the same level of logical argumentation as “I’m not touching you” or more advanced logic like “I’m not touching you, the stick is touching you.” Everyone knows goddamn well what is meant here, but somehow they just continue to skate by on that preschool level of logic. If this gains any traction at all (I doubt it will get past twitter/internet, and will end up being overshadowed by golden idols and Trump being Trump in front of cameras for the first time in a month), they’ll deflect, and blame it on some intern who “was acting alone” and it will end there, rather than lead to the next proper question: “why are you hiring people with nazi imagery fetishes?” and “what the hell is wrong with your entire organization that no one thought to say no?” Because seriously, what organization is more likely to have a ton of folks in the hierarchy of approving things like this that just happen to be well versed enough in nazi imagery to know what that shape means than the GOP? At this point, would anyone be shocked if it came out that the stage was 88 feet wide and 14 feet deep?

I sincerely doubt this is an accident, or that calls to ignore it because it sounds like conspiracy are in fact useful. This is a dog whistle, and they are just becoming more and more brazen about it. Normalizing nazi imagery is pretty fucking terrifying, and I don’t doubt there are people who feel sure that they’re getting their message across, just as I feel pretty sure there are more people than I want to know receiving that message.

Obviously there are more pressing concerns, like the poison spreading out of CPAC from its speeches, which will spread like the oil from a tanker that runs aground, slowly poisoning more and more of the world. But that’s part and parcel of how deeply fucked we are, that one of the two functional political parties in the country feels like it’s no big deal to have its leaders standing on a blatant symbol of hatred, and we *all* feel like there are bigger fish to fry.

*did I say fun? Sorry, I mean bone wearying stupid. I’m so happy that they have managed to lower the level of discourse down to “you’re poopy and you look funny”
posted by Ghidorah at 2:33 PM on February 28 [38 favorites]


I guess part of why it bugs me is that the underlying assumption is still sort of in that grade school world that Ghidorah mentioned. Like if you get the teacher to see what they're doing, that will fix it, because the teacher will make them stop. In reality there is no teacher, and if there were they would just get annoyed at you for making their job harder.

I don't know what the answer is, and it's not like my chronically ill ass is out there fucking up nazis on the weekend. But I will note that the historical Nazis were very aware that they could have been stopped by organized opposition early on. And I do think that these people are mostly cowards. So maybe the appropriate response is not going on twitter (or metafilter), but organizing, including organizing shows of force.

Again, it's not like I'm walking particular IRL walks, and it's not like I have the resources to do much beyond what I'm already doing at the moment (which is admittedly not much), but I also don't have a platform or anything, so, you know. People with power could probably do much more.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:45 PM on February 28 [17 favorites]


I am hoping that Trump takes this opportunity to announce Infrastructure Week, so that the usual media suspects can declare that, at long last, this was the moment that Trump finally pivoted into Presidential stature.
posted by delfin at 2:48 PM on February 28 [8 favorites]


They may be shameless, but that doesn't mean everyone else should stop calling out shame. Go ahead and get "triggered"! Call nazis nazis, and "cancel" the megaphones of people who spew hatred. Trump's big success was getting the media to normalize the racism of millions of his followers. Those people need to feel embarrassed again.
posted by Popular Ethics at 2:54 PM on February 28 [23 favorites]


I accidentally heard a little bit of Trump, and he was talking about the failed Biden presidency, so it sounded like he was acknowledging that he is no longer president. (Or do we have to wait for March 4?)
posted by MtDewd at 2:55 PM on February 28


But I will note that the historical Nazis were very aware that they could have been stopped by organized opposition early on. And I do think that these people are mostly cowards. So maybe the appropriate response is not going on twitter (or metafilter), but organizing, including organizing shows of force.

Well, this is also why there can't be yet another "lets move forward, not look back" attitude from the Democrats, and it does seem as if they know this now. The insurgents need to be brought to court and convicted. In the best of worlds, that would include Hawley, Cruz, Rand and a whole big pile of House Republicans, though that is probably too optimistic.
Obviously, they will call it political persecution, but that is what we have the raising of eyebrows for.
posted by mumimor at 2:57 PM on February 28 [10 favorites]


in the next decade, we'll learn a lot more about whether a modern american nazi party has political legs nationally after trump. rough numbers: we know, thanks to the EC and the senate and gerrymandering, that they really only need around 40% voter support nationally to hold the prez, senate, and house (give or take, depending on the senate cycle, the EC battlegrounds most in play that year, etc)... or maybe even a bit less if you assume some local election goons will overturn the true result via lawsuits in some places. we also know that something around 20% of voters are already pretty much fully on board with nazis no matter who the figurehead is.

so, to me the question is, does a party like this need a bizarro celebrity like trump to take them from 20% to 40%? or could a generically slick fascie do it? the answer to that question is key.
posted by wibari at 3:41 PM on February 28 [15 favorites]


The future fucking sucks, bro
posted by heathkit at 3:48 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


Trump knows that it's more profitable and less risky to raise money campaigning* and criticizing than to actually be elected and be actually responsible for things.

*If Trump never announces an actual Presidential campaign, do the donations just go straight into his pocket without any oversight, like a perpetual GoFundMe?
posted by meowzilla at 3:49 PM on February 28


So now when the Republicans use that Nazi rune they can just say it's a tribute to this stage design that pissed off the liberals.

Any bets as to how long it'll be before we see this symbol on flags and uniforms?
posted by MrVisible at 4:02 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Any bets as to how long it'll be before we see this symbol on flags and uniforms?

"We're just really into buddhism lately"
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:13 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Carrying that analogy even further....they've managed to turn even Charlton Heston into an antifa fighter.

I dunno about that but I really don’t like the idea of us spending 40 years in the goddamned desert.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 5:02 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Well, Reagan was sworn in 40 years ago this year, so maybe we're right on time to finally break out of this.
posted by hippybear at 5:10 PM on February 28 [16 favorites]


Trump didn't have as much fun/absolute power as he was expecting when he was president. So, given his extraordinary laziness, I fully expect him to perpetually raise campaign funds without actually doing the hard work of running for office.
posted by monotreme at 5:49 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


The Nazi stage symbol also plays a big role in Twin Peaks (it's on a special ring that when you put it on someone you kill sends them to a special hereafter or something). Yet more plausible deniability, disguising as Twin Peaks fans.
posted by Schmucko at 6:23 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


Just gobsmacked that Happy Science has made its way into America.

I try to keep up on cults (hey, I was chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo in 1970), but this is really fucking weird.
posted by kozad at 6:24 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


so, to me the question is, does a party like this need a bizarro celebrity like trump to take them from 20% to 40%? or could a generically slick fascie do it? the answer to that question is key.

When I look back at my own failure to take Trump seriously in 2016, until it was too late, and what led to that point, I keep coming back to this: I failed to appreciate the importance of the Sarah Palin phenomenon. The sudden popularity of a charismatic (maybe not to you or me, but we were not the audience) VP candidate, slinging neo-Know Nothing right-wing populism, should have been enough to show that someone could soon make a serious run for the top job, with the same schtick, trying to activate the same kind of voters.

Even if I had gone to condition yellow or something, instead of forgetting about Joe the Plumber days, and relaxing in the Obama years, I mean, not in my wildest dreams would I have thought that Trump would be that candidate. Even when he started winning primaries because voters liked his insult-comic act at those crazy debates with 18 candidates they were having....I still didn't take him seriously . I mean, I thought they'd stop him from getting the nomination. Why not go with Jeb!....when he got the nomination after that weird, sad convention, where they could not even get someone of the stature of the Mr. Pillow guy to speak....it just seemed clear to me that they were going to lose. Freaking rookie mistake. Pauline Kael fallacy.
posted by thelonius at 6:30 PM on February 28 [23 favorites]


Metafilter: Pauline Kael fallacy.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:36 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


I fully expect him to perpetually raise campaign funds without actually doing the hard work of running for office

The thing is, he won't have to lift a finger. The right wing media cult surrounding him will do it all for him. He might do a debate here and there to prove his dominance, but other than some tepid center-right politician like Kasich, I doubt anyone is gonna run against him. Assuming he's not dead in 2024, he's got the clear shot for the presidency. And assuming Biden's dead in 2024, that gives us Trump v Harris. That is exceedingly grim.
posted by Philipschall at 6:49 PM on February 28 [9 favorites]


He's got a few court cases to get through too. I suspect that's going to be a hard slog for him. And he's got undisclosed medical issues that resulted in at least one collapse and medical emergency while in office.

Trump was doing his usual tease without substance. I don't think it's enough anymore. He's got the stink of loser on him. The party is all sweaty desperation now. This was just a double down by folks who can't admit failure.

Four years is a long time. Trump does not have a good track record for sticking with anything. He gets bored, he's bone idle lazy.

I think the world could be very different a year from now. There may not be a place for him in it.
posted by bonehead at 7:03 PM on February 28 [38 favorites]


Just gobsmacked that Happy Science has made its way into America.

It’s been here awhile. About 10 years ago I lived a block away from the west coast happy science headquarters in Pasadena
posted by mr_roboto at 7:19 PM on February 28


Any more takes about Trump's demeanor? I can't bear to watch or listen to him.
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:24 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


Just gobsmacked that Happy Science has made its way into America.

The Happy Science Cult Leader dude was working in New York on Wall Street just a few years before he founded it. I know the Redwood City Happy Science temple has been there since about 2007 - used to live a few blocks down from it and walked past it a couple times a week - just thought it was a random church until they handed me a brochure one day and I realized there was some batshit crazy going on.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:29 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


Yet more plausible deniability, disguising as Twin Peaks fans

To be fair, you could take most any Log Lady quote and turn it into a qanon tweet.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:36 PM on February 28 [8 favorites]


A Japanese Cult That Believes Its Leader Is an Alien From Venus Is Speaking at CPAC

Dammit, Dimple!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:41 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


Don’t you dare conflate the log lady with those wackos.
posted by das_2099 at 7:42 PM on February 28 [21 favorites]


magnificent, minervous. apparently she (someone identified the vocalist (?) as "ted cruz's dog walker," which i am taking as a joke, for now) performed it a cappella -- not offered as an excuse. and there are a bunch of satirizing (and rectifying) videos. enough that i had a hard time committing to believe any were real. (i am partial to the transcription). i am waiting with bated breath to hear adam neely and associated youtube music theory nerds explain how courageous and groundbreakingly this modal and polyrhythmic (3/4, 4/4, 5/4 and 17/z͊͛̀͌ͫ̽a̭͙̯͈̼ͭͤ͌́̂͢l̨̳̾g̖͈͈̮͈̯o̢̟̞̭͆̓̒ !) rendition builds on lada gaga's rendition in multiple time signatures at president biden's inauguration.

also, semi-accidentally, caught some of the disgraced twice-impeached former occupant of the executive office's word salad while in the car. it might have been more unhinged than his usual, though it is hard for me to tell. i can say with certainty that it was terrible and the same and shocking and the same and appalling and the same. it, and the cheering, u.s.a.-chanting crowd (assuming they weren't canned), left me feeling pretty hopeless, a not insignificant achievement, against the background of hopelessness.

remember how, after three years nominally at the helm in office, that guy complained about how unprepared the previous administration had left his malministration to address a public health crisis? well, today he asserted that biden's first month in office has been the worst first month of a u.s. president ever. so there's that. oh: also he's not gonna create a new party -- fake news -- he's gonna keep the republican party.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:44 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


"also he's not gonna create a new party -- fake news -- he's gonna keep the republican party."

You break it, you bought it, I guess.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:47 PM on February 28 [31 favorites]


I'm surprised no one has mentioned "55 percent" yet. CPAC had their annual straw poll for who attendees want for the Republican Presidential nomination. Trump received only 55%. In any other year, that would be a strong number. But operating under the assumption Trump is still the party leader (or at least figurehead), that shows considerable weakness.

There was a further show of weakness when only 68% wanted him to run again. In both cases, it's not a good omen for Trump to get numbers like that in a room with the most friendly crowd he'd ever find outside of his rallies. I don't know what these numbers mean for the long term. But if this is fuel for the continued GOP civil war, then I'm happy with it.

For the record, DeSantis was the runner-up in the straw poll with 21%, followed by SD's Kristi Noem at 4%.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 7:53 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”

Worth noting that he said this in 1956, the year after Republicans lost both houses. The Republican Party would not win control of either house of congress until 1983 and long after they gave up right and moral principles for the Southern Strategy, which basically courted the only states that didn't go Eisenhower. He might as well be a capital D Democrat as far as CPAC is concerned.
posted by pwnguin at 8:03 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Trump received only 55%

This is what happens when you have what I assume is anonymous polling. Make them stand up and say something like that, or "convict," on the record and I bet that number would change a lot.

Signs of hope?
posted by Snowishberlin at 8:11 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing "not starting a party" is mostly positioning. Sure, he'll still be a republican, but all of the people who held their noses for him and can't anymore are going to be the ones who start the new party, or leave en masse or in trickles to another.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:13 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised no one has mentioned "55 percent" yet.

Meh. Republicans can be counted on to fall in line.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:27 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


Don’t you dare conflate the log lady with those wackos.

Deepest apologies to the log lady.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:28 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Trump received only 55%
...
For the record, DeSantis was the runner-up in the straw poll with 21%, followed by SD's Kristi Noem at 4%.


So the GOP is planning to be the pro-covid death party?
posted by rdr at 9:09 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


CPAC’s straw poll found that 55 percent of respondents said they would vote for Trump in a hypothetical 2024 primary, while 95 percent said they want the Republican Party to continue with Trump’s agenda and policies.

They want Hawley, with a competent white house staff, getting press coverage for deaths at the camps like Biden gets for Syria air strikes.

They ABSOLUTELY DO NOT want a return to our shared reality. The toothpaste is not going back in the tube.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:25 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


Gov. Kristi Noem: The left wants to be our shepherds but we will not be sheep!

The link is a courtesy only. This line received a rapturous ovation. Ovation, probably means 'laying eggs' in latin, but I prefer ovis as the latin root, which would make it 'being sheep'.

Of course, if you count the republicans that are in lockstep unison with Tr - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
posted by adept256 at 10:02 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised no one has mentioned "55 percent" yet. CPAC had their annual straw poll for who attendees want for the Republican Presidential nomination. Trump received only 55%.

Which means that 55% of attendees are true believers and the other 45% are the people who will support him even if they prefer someone else would be in charge.

This is nothing to be optimistic about.
posted by mightygodking at 10:07 PM on February 28 [14 favorites]


Gov. Kristi Noem: The left wants to be our shepherds but we will not be sheep!

I can't say anything nice about this traitor. Be it as it may, liberals are not stupid for calling these people Nazis-in-waiting.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:14 PM on February 28 [8 favorites]


This is nothing to be optimistic about.

Obviously, the GOP will fall in line with whoever the nominee is. That's not a surprise. No one's expecting the 45% to reject Trump if he gets the nomination, or for the 55% to reject a non-Trump nominee. I didn't state that in my comment because that's just stating the obvious.

What is surprising is that CPAC would register only 55 percent for re-nominating Trump when CPAC should be one of the most Trump-friendly gatherings in the Republican Universe. The optimism isn't about the GOP regaining sanity. That's not going to happen. The optimism is that there are deep divisions in the GOP which will hamper their goals. Divisions present even at a hive-mind gathering like CPAC.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 11:11 PM on February 28 [18 favorites]


Apparently the GQP truck was correct.
posted by wierdo at 11:33 PM on February 28


CPAC: "Maybe the real policy was the Nazi friends we made along the way."
posted by lock robster at 11:48 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


I'm guessing "not starting a party" is mostly positioning. Sure, he'll still be a republican, but all of the people who held their noses for him and can't anymore are going to be the ones who start the new party, or leave en masse or in trickles to another.

I think the best case scenario here is he loses the primary and files a series of legal challenges. Maybe even asks qanon to go march around the RNC phone banks or something, and then has his lawyers try to file his own name with the FEC as the Republican party nominee.
posted by pwnguin at 12:06 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


For all the talk of party unity, CPAC was notable for the absence of former vice-president Mike Pence, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and other leading Republicans.
From the Guardian write-up
I understand CPAC is the wing nut fiesta, but I still find it interesting that Pence wasn't there.
posted by mumimor at 12:35 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


I wonder how big a crowd he'll draw when he has to pay for all the costs, and charge his "devoted followers" $100 apiece for a ticket.
posted by Marky at 12:45 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


This will be the tenth year in a row that Jay Aeba, the person representing Happy Science, will be at CPAC. He is not the leader of Happy Science or the guy that is an alien from Venus. Said alien is Ryuho Okawa, who has "written" so many books that you could start a twitter account and tweet a book a day for over six years. Most of them are him channeling basically anyone he fancies writing about. And they don't have to be dead at the time. Although if they are alive, he is sometimes talking to their guardian spirits. Recently, he contacted Jesus about the coronavirus.
posted by LostInUbe at 5:19 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


when he has to pay for all the costs

Ahahahahahaha. Like Trump pays for anything. It's always cheap when you stiff everyone.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:24 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


I guess part of why it bugs me is that the underlying assumption is still sort of in that grade school world that Ghidorah mentioned. Like if you get the teacher to see what they're doing, that will fix it, because the teacher will make them stop.

Your impression of grade school bullying and mine vary considerably.
posted by Gelatin at 5:37 AM on March 1 [8 favorites]


That variant of that runic design does not appear anywhere in history before the Third Reich used it.


So coincidence? I mean c'mon, a thousand monkeys .... oh, wait.
posted by thecincinnatikid at 5:38 AM on March 1


After Impeachment The First, I made a comparison of Trump to the golden calf
Interesting timing... The Torah reading of the week includes the story of the golden calf. I'm giving a talk on it today for Intersectional Torah Study at our shul. Mind you, as a talk from a queer perspective, it takes the side of the "bad guys" worshipping the calf. Ah well.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 5:39 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


The stage design was really odd and if it wasn't deliberate it was oddly coincidental. It was shaped like the characters for 'wa' (harmony) we'd probably be discussing that as well but it would be a lot less menacing.
posted by drstrangelove at 6:00 AM on March 1


C-SPAN tweeted the full straw poll results, and there are some interesting things in the long tail--Trump, Ron DeSantis, Kristi Noem and Nikki Haley are the only people who polled higher than 'Other,' and Tucker Carlson beat out both Tom Cotton and Mitt Romney.
posted by box at 6:10 AM on March 1


Trump knows that it's more profitable and less risky to raise money campaigning* and criticizing than to actually be elected and be actually responsible for things.

*If Trump never announces an actual Presidential campaign, do the donations just go straight into his pocket without any oversight, like a perpetual GoFundMe?


In practice, yup, as long as he's doing it via a Super PAC.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:14 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


That was Sarah Palin’s plan. I was relieved when it didn’t work out for her but failed to recognize she had laid further groundwork for a larger, more evil version.
posted by double bubble at 7:34 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Somewhat off topic, but I think the difference in the trajectories of Palin and Trump is an imperfect but interesting measure of American misogyny. We all took comfort in the assumption that America rejected Palin because she was an obvious idiot grifter, but it, uh, really wasn't that at all, was it?
posted by schadenfrau at 7:53 AM on March 1 [54 favorites]


"In fact, very few people on the face of the planet know that the very shape of the [stage] forms the dreaded sigil Odegra in the language of the Black Priesthood of Ancient Mu and meant “Hail the Great Beast, Devourer of Worlds”"

(with apologies to Messrs. Gaiman and Pratchett)
posted by JohnFromGR at 7:54 AM on March 1 [10 favorites]


Don’t you dare conflate the log lady with those wackos.
You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of picosgemelos. Right? They're log ladies, FBI agents, lumberjacks, serial killers, interdimensional entities that feeds on pain and sorrow – you name it.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:48 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


wonder how big a crowd he'll draw when he has to pay for all the costs, and charge his "devoted followers" $100 apiece for a ticket.

It's insane that after this POS tried to overthrow the government, not only he but all the criminal's spawn and several henchman (like Batman villain mnuchin & Meadows) are getting secret service protection.

(Also, want to take a moment for a shoutout to the folks from an early '17 thread who tsk-tsked me when I said that Agent Orange would never leave office peacefully, and said my suggestion candidates take a mental health test was equivalent to a poll tax.)
posted by NorthernLite at 9:24 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


Cross my heart/hope to die, I thought anthem grrl was Ivanka.
posted by maggieb at 9:38 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


"We need to acknowledge he let us down. He went down a path he shouldn't have, and we shouldn't have followed him, and we shouldn't have listened to him. And we can't let that ever happen again." "I don't think he's going to be in the picture. I don't think he can. He's fallen so far."--Nikki Haley, February 12

"Strong speech by President Trump about the winning policies of his administration and what the party needs to unite behind moving forward. The liberal media wants a GOP civil war. Not gonna happen."--Nikki Haley, February 28

Ben Yelin: "Whatever Nikki Haley is trying to do... is not working."
posted by box at 9:58 AM on March 1 [10 favorites]


I'm not sure I can express how angry I am that, out of all of the stupid shit that's come out of this conference, fucking Ted Cruz joked about his trip to Cancún (mentioned in the original post, video at my link). The worst part? He's actually reading the room and knows it's OK to joke about it. That the other conservatives at this thing think that it's perfectly ok for him to have abandoned his constituents, who aren't powerful and wealthy, on a whim because he was cold and bored, because fuck the people who aren't like us, right?
posted by hanov3r at 10:13 AM on March 1 [24 favorites]


CPAC: The singing of the National Anthem was perfect. You couldn't have found a better way to describe your outfit, its goals, its policy. The performer was proud and bold in all the keys she employed. Now, let's get back to defunding the arts.

It never ends.
posted by mule98J at 10:17 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


mule, I suspected all along that Cruz's gaffe would have next to no effect on his reputation with that crowd. But if he was in a contest with the Orange Game Show Host, you can bet that would be used against him and he'd go the way of Ja Rule after 50Cent gave him the what for.
posted by drstrangelove at 10:45 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


i'm no singer and can't recall the last time i might have sung the national anthem, but i can carry a tune, so, out of curiosity and a general sense of fairness, i gave it a shot a cappella here at home, thinking that it is a rangy song with some big intervals. dear reader, i stayed in tune and, having once seen peter yarrow forget the words at a baseball game, recalled the words.

these are the same jerks that insist -- under threat of violence and cancellation -- that we properly revere their flag.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:17 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


OK, having watched the anthem video, now I have two things to be mad about. They spent however much on all those other trappings and couldn't spring to buy the poor woman a metronome?
posted by hanov3r at 11:24 AM on March 1


interdimensional entities that feeds on pain and sorrow

Republican bill would force Iowa universities to hold in-person graduation
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 11:34 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


OK, having watched the anthem video, now I have two things to be mad about. They spent however much on all those other trappings and couldn't spring to buy the poor woman a metronome?

Seriously? The very first result from asking Google, "Star Spangled Banner Click Track" . They're not even pretending to care about production values.
posted by mikelieman at 2:35 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


IN answer to the title, just wish he would go straight to hell, the sooner the better. Everything about him is obscene.
posted by mermayd at 2:42 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Personally I subscribe to the theory that the stage was supposed to be reminiscent of the Judy symbol from Twin Peaks. If there's one place I'd expect to see Evil Coop in the real world it's on a stage with Donald Trump.
posted by Grangousier at 3:30 PM on March 1


thinking that it is a rangy song with some big intervals

It isn't. As originally written, it's closer to an even tempo march-style without any big range required or large intervals, at least as a professional singer would consider them. The modern ballad-style performances are all re-interpretations.
posted by mrgoat at 6:12 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


It's insane that after this POS tried to overthrow the government, not only he but all the criminal's spawn and several henchman (like Batman villain mnuchin & Meadows) are getting secret service protection.

Note however that he no longer has any executive privilege or the newly discovered presidential immunity from the law. As Secret Service Agents they will have certain enforcement obligations and their bodyguard duties will no longer entail keeping Donald Trump's secrets.
posted by srboisvert at 6:24 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


From far up there: Well, Reagan was sworn in 40 years ago this year, so maybe we're right on time to finally break out of this.
I just woke up and thought: imagine if we are at the first stage of 40 years of "Republicans in Havoc" instead of "Dem in Disarray"...
posted by mumimor at 12:08 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


The stage design might it might not have been intentionally a Nazi reference (it was), but the lighting above the stage was inarguably a confederate flag. (Sorry, can’t find a good photo link now, but it’s striking.)
posted by sjswitzer at 5:47 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Hmm. I wonder if the stage design was also meant to reflect a Confederate flag, so they added a couple of wings to disguise it, and now they can't defend themselves against the charge that the stage was a Nazi symbol without saying “Look, we were actually going for a different set of genocidal racists.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:45 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


No it's exactly what it appears. They picked the design with glee.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:08 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


The stage design might it might not have been intentionally a Nazi reference (it was), but the lighting above the stage was inarguably a confederate flag.

I have been trying to make Confederazis happen for ages
posted by schadenfrau at 6:20 AM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Ahem: "CPAC’s ‘Nazi Rune’ Stage Designed by a Liberal Company Which Has Worked for Biden, MSNBC."
[Design Foundry] worked with companies including MSNBC, Google, and the Biden Cancer Initiative.

Specifically, it provided similar services for the 2018 Biden Cancer Summit, which featured President Biden as a speaker, and the 70th anniversary of MSNBC’s Meet the Press in 2017, a 2017 summit for New America – an organization led by Obama administration alumni.

And of the $7,766.50 spent by Design Foundry workers on federal elections, just $140 – or 1.8 percent – went to Republican candidates.
posted by PhineasGage at 9:27 AM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Here's a bit of levity that I absolutely read as true until I got to the end.

Josh Hawley Seeks to Overturn Results of CPAC Straw Poll. New Yorker, so subscription or whatever. But I was able to read it on my phone for free. Archive.org link.
posted by Snowishberlin at 9:50 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]




‘Nazi Rune’ Stage Designed by a Liberal Company

I've often suspected that Trump's hair and makeup are designed by liberals too.

The Right doesn't have a monopoly on trolling, and leftist trolls are obviously going to be more likely to punch up.
posted by flabdablet at 4:59 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


PhineasGage, that link to The National Pulse was fascinating. From the poll at the bottom of the article asking if I believe in the "official" story about the events of January 6th (and no, really, they used the scare quotes, not me) to the amazing front page article about how Dr. Fauci's daughter works at Twitter, and Twitter deletes tweets that are critical of Fauci so...

And a membership signup. Members are called Nationalists.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:40 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Alt right media is super unsettling and creepy.
posted by ichomp at 8:28 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]




As a sometimes prepper, I have read a fair bit (okay, an awful lot) of post-apocalyptic fiction. I can tell you that there is definitely a dark thread that ties together rapture theology fiction and fanatical survivalist fiction. Both groups are convinced that civilization is doomed, and in different ways are giddily hoping for it to come to pass so that they can be validated and exalted while the rest of the world burns, along with the people they don't like.
posted by darkstar at 9:27 AM on March 4 [11 favorites]


It makes me sad that people take the post-apocalyptic and rapture/end-of-days and male wish fulfillment fiction too fucking seriously. That kind of stuff makes for great escapism for some of us. You just can't take it seriously. That way lies madness.

Ironically, at least among the films in those categories, a large fraction of the works give at least a wink and nod to the implausibility, inviting the audience to take it no more seriously than a superhero movie. I think most get it, but far too many people think that if they can just have enough guns, they too can live out their power fantasy.
posted by wierdo at 2:40 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Every time I've seen an actual disaster strike, the response of the affected community has been to band together in mutual support, not turn on each other with all guns blazing.

If preppers really think they can store so much stuff in heavily fortified hidey holes as to ride out the kind of apocalyptic circumstances that make doing so look like an attractive option, they're just fooling themselves. A genuine apocalypse bad enough to break the tendency of human beings toward mutual support in the face of disaster is pretty much guaranteed to last way longer than any prepper's stash of supplies ever could.
posted by flabdablet at 4:01 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]


I wasn't sure where to put this, the insurrection thread is getting a bit old?
State Department aide appointed by Trump stormed the Capitol, beat police with a riot shield, FBI says
Klein was still employed at the State Department as a staff assistant on Jan. 6 when he joined a mob in a tunnel leading into the U.S. Capitol, the FBI said. Then he allegedly “physically and verbally engaged with the officers holding the line” at the building’s entrance, according to the complaint. After ignoring officers’ orders to move back, he assaulted officers with a riot shield that had been stolen from police, the complaint said, and then used the shield to wedge open a door into the Capitol.
IMO, the DoJ needs to make sure these guys get 20-year sentences. It is far beyond unacceptable.
posted by mumimor at 5:35 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]


zoe lofgren social media report: "i asked my staff to take a quick look at social media posts of members who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election." it "includes public social media posts relevant to assessing the potention of congress' constitutional prerogatives and responsibilities, including actions pursuant to the 14th amendment and/or house rules." n.b. seems to be of enough interest that google drive cannot serve me a "full download."
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:49 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


About that Trump appointee, now-former State Dept. official Federico Guillermo Klein [age 42; 2002 George Mason U grad]? The Washington Post quotes from a Politico article, but elides some interesting things. WaPo (via Seattle Times): Klein had a top-secret security clearance that was renewed in 2019, the FBI said. A LinkedIn profile the FBI identified as Klein’s also lists a top-secret security clearance and shows that Klein has been politically active in the Republican Party since at least 2008, when he began volunteering for political campaigns. Before joining the State Department in 2017, Klein worked for the Trump campaign [...] After the insurrection, Klein continued working in the State Department until Jan. 19, when he resigned the day before President Biden’s inauguration, per the complaint. [*]

From Politico: According to a former colleague who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Klein worked for a time in the State Department’s Office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs before being transferred to the office that handles Freedom of Information Act requests. [...] An individual by the same name also worked briefly on Capitol Hill about two decades ago, for the House Small Business Committee and as an intern for Sen. George Allen (R-Va.).[...]

Federico Klein served as a Marine in Iraq, his mother said. He held a top-secret clearance from 2014 to 2019, issued by the Defense Department, according to his LinkedIn page. The FBI affidavit, published Friday by the New York Times, says that clearance was renewed in 2019 and still in effect on the day of the riot.

Both WaPo and Politico have Klein's arrest as marking the first arrest of a Trump administration official in connection with the insurrection.

[* - Federico G. Klein, "Staff Assistant, Office Of The Secretary / Special Assistant, Bureau Of Western Hemisphere Affairs," paid $66,510 (ProPublica).]
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:46 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


zoe lofgren social media report

I visited the page linked by 20 year lurk above, and found my browser spontaneously downloading all the per-state reports one by one without my having clicked on any of them. If you, like me, find that kind of web page behaviour rather obnoxious, here's that page's direct link to the all-inclusive 1939-page version: https://housedocs.house.gov/lofgren/SocialMediaReview8.pdf (224MB PDF)

If for some reason you experience difficulty downloading that via your web browser, you might prefer instead to paste the BitTorrent info hash value a23e202cc3970d0e9752d566afc826b2f9282b52 into a reliable BitTorrent client.
posted by flabdablet at 7:03 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


The performer was proud and bold in all the keys she employed.

All keys matter.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:37 PM on March 6


Trump sends legal notice to GOP to stop using his name, Politico, Rachael Bade & Tara Palmieri, 03/06/2021:
... Lawyers for former President DONALD TRUMP sent out cease-and-desist letters Friday to the three largest fundraising entities for the Republican Party — the RNC, NRCC and NRSC — for using his name and likeness on fundraising emails and merchandise, a Trump adviser tells Playbook.

We reported yesterday that Trump was furious that his name has been bandied about by organizations that help Republicans who voted to impeach him — without his permission. Trump, who made his fortune in licensing, has always been sensitive to how his name has been used to fundraise and support members, even while in office.
...
None of the committees returned a request for comment. But privately GOP campaign types say it’s impossible not to use Trump’s name, as his policies are so popular with the base. If Trump really wants to help flip Congress, they argue he should be more generous. His team, however, sees this differently.

“President Trump remains committed to the Republican Party and electing America First conservatives, but that doesn’t give anyone - friend or foe - permission to use his likeness without explicit approval,” said a Trump adviser.
Perhaps the Former President Donald is not being paid his customary licensing fees?
posted by cenoxo at 6:50 PM on March 6 [6 favorites]


Perhaps the Former President Donald is not being paid his customary licensing fees?

100% this.
posted by bcd at 7:02 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]


POLITICO > ...We reported yesterday that Trump was furious that his name has been bandied about by organizations that help Republicans who voted to impeach him — without his permission. Trump, who made his fortune in licensing, has always been sensitive to how his name has been used to fundraise and support members, even while in office...

McCarthy struggles to manage Trump, POLITICO Playbook; Tara Palmieri, Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza; 03/05/2021:
... Trump and his new campaign team are also cracking down on the use of the president’s name for fundraising — a huge draw attracting small-dollar donors. Three sources told us that Trump, who made his fortune licensing his name, has felt burned and “abused” by the GOP bandying about his name to haul in money.

His team has conveyed that any Republican or GOP committee seeking to use it needs explicit approval, according to five sources familiar with the situation. One Trump adviser said they’ve been sending out cease-and-desists to faux PACs using Trump’s name to fundraise, among other demands to knock it off.

In his CPAC speech last weekend, Trump reinforced the point by directing all fundraising to his own campaign entities. He told attendees “there’s only one way” to donate to Trump Republicans: through his own Save America PAC....
And, like loyalty, money only flows one way (towards the Poor Donald). More in Trump Fundraising Drive Could Give Him Stranglehold on the GOP, Daily Beast, Mar. 03, 2021.
posted by cenoxo at 11:54 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


That's an interesting development! Can we now expect Trump to suck all the money out of the Republican Party before he leaves it to die in a puddle? Because that seems like something they deserve.
posted by mumimor at 1:33 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


No. Expecting anything resembling justice to emerge spontaneously from that particular sucking vortex is unrealistic.
posted by flabdablet at 2:57 AM on March 7 [5 favorites]


Every time I've seen an actual disaster strike, the response of the affected community has been to band together in mutual support, not turn on each other with all guns blazing.


At the risk of continuing a derail, I will say that in my most preppery moments, my major concern is actually other, more militant, preppers. The kind that are working on their Close Quarter Combat skills with their buds, and have sniper rifles and a worldview that permits them to take what they want from others "as a matter of survival", etc. The folks who are, not coincidentally, White Supremacist-adjacent, if not actual White Supremacists.

Because in a serious grid-down situation, most of us will be trying to work together to lift each other up and rebuild and help get back to some sense of normalcy. Dig wells, rebuild electric power capacity, establish sustainable agriculture, promote health and hygiene, child care and education. And my personal pet topic for LARPocalysing: develop lab capacity to provide the basic chemical products needed by a society, like disinfectants, fertilizers, medicines, fuel, etc.

When the pandemic first hit last March and the store shelves emptied out, I gave away boxes and boxes of my stored toilet paper, bleach, baker's yeast, flour, Minute rice, and isopropyl alcohol to work colleagues and friends, because you couldn't find those things. Because that's the whole point of being a prepper, for me.

But some of the more militant preppers instead will be viewing the crisis as an opportunity to use their military gear and tactics to gain advantage. They'll be the ones activating their cells and scoping out neighborhoods and houses. Those are the guys that make me concerned for a seriously society-rattling crisis.

There's not much that a mild, homesteadery-type, social prepper like me could do to prevent getting sniped from 800 yards by a guy who just wants to raid my home, and whose social group rationalizes it cleverly away. Ironic, that perhaps the greatest ongoing threat in the post-apocalypse might be other preppers.

To bring this back to the topic of this thread, it's exactly the kind of vibe I get from listening to the speakers at CPAC and watching the Capitol insurrectionists. They don't care about the truth, or about living in a pluralistic society, or social justice for people outside of their tribe. Every means is legitimate to achieve their ends, to ultimately aggrandize themselves and oppress people they don't like. And they are extraordinarily adroit at rationalizing downright evil behavior. Those are the kind of people that scare me most.
posted by darkstar at 11:34 AM on March 7 [15 favorites]


Graham deals with Trump "dark side" to "harness the magic" (Axios article about the Axios on HBO Graham interview, March 7, 2021): "What I'm tryin' to do is just harness the magic," Graham told Axios' Jonathan Swan. "To me, Donald Trump is sort of a cross between Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan and P.T. Barnum.

"He could make the Republican Party something that nobody else I know can make it. He can make it bigger. He can make it stronger. He can make it more diverse. And he also could destroy it," Graham said.
[...] When Swan noted Trump is not showing remorse for his election challenge and still arguing he won in a landslide, Graham invoked McCain.

"I tell (Trump) every day that he wants to listen that I think the main reason he probably lost in Arizona is beatin' on the dead guy called John McCain," the senator said.

posted by Iris Gambol at 10:28 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


i tell him that every day he wants to listen, too.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:32 AM on March 8 [5 favorites]


"To me, Donald Trump is sort of a cross between Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan and P.T. Barnum."
When even your most devoted sycophants describe you as a cross between a man famous for his racism, a dementia patient, and one of the most flamboyant con artists in the nation's history..
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:21 PM on March 8 [9 favorites]


a man famous for his racism, a dementia patient, and one of the most flamboyant con artists in the nation's history

So basically the most American thing ever?
posted by pwnguin at 4:35 PM on March 8 [8 favorites]


Tattoo artist linked to Trump friend Roger Stone arrested on Capitol riot charges — New York resident Roberto Minuta, who reportedly provided security to Stone in Washington in the hours before the pro-Trump invasion of the Capitol, was arrested Saturday., CNBC, Dan Mangan, Mar 8 2021.

More details, photos, ABC News video, and links about Stone and his Jan. 6, 2021 OathKeepers security in: ‘Fetish for Freedom’: Roger Stone’s Oath Keeper Bodyguard Charged in Capitol Riots, Daily Beast, Justin Rohrlich & Pilar Melendez, Mar. 08, 2021.

See also: First They Guarded Roger Stone. Then They Joined the Capitol Attack., New York Times Visual Investigations; Christiaan Triebert, Ben Decker, Derek Watkins, Arielle Ray, Stella Cooper; Feb. 14, 2021.
posted by cenoxo at 11:26 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Yesterday: RNC Brushes Back Trump Team on Cease-and-Desist Demand, Politico, in which an RNC lawyer writes that the committee “has every right to refer to public figures as it engages in core, First Amendment-protected political speech, and it will continue to do so in pursuit of these common goals.”

Today: R.N.C. says it ‘has every right’ to use Trump’s name to raise money but won’t do so without his OK. New York Times, reporting on the same letter, which also says “President Trump and Chairwoman McDaniel enjoy a close relationship and we understand that President Trump reaffirmed to her over the weekend that he approves of the R.N.C.’s current use of his name in fund-raising and other materials.”
posted by box at 11:26 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


It's pretty obvious that Trump cannot simultaneously claim to be a political candidate and that no one can use his name in political speech. But it is amusing to see the grifter con men at each others throats exposing that it's all a scam.
posted by JackFlash at 11:48 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


From yesterday's Letters from An American: Today, the RNC rejected Trump’s attempt to protect his brand. A letter from the chief counsel of the RNC said the Republican Party ““has every right to refer to public figures as it engages in core, First Amendment-protected political speech, and it will continue to do so in pursuit of these common goals.”

Also today, the RNC moved part of its spring donor retreat, held in early April, to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, paying the former president for the use of his club and for meals. While most of the event will take place at a different hotel, Trump will address the organization at Mar-a-Lago.

posted by Iris Gambol at 11:57 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


Also today, the RNC moved part of its spring donor retreat, held in early April, to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, paying the former president for the use of his club and for meals.

The Republicans had the opportunity to pivot away from Trump, and a few of them initially appeared to be doing so, but it's clear that they've comprehensively rejected that. Good!

Trump isn't interested in politics per se, or even leaving a legacy: he's entirely focused on his immediate personal advantage. Every dollar that goes to Trump is a dollar less for campaigning; every time they're forced to genuflect to him is a missed opportunity for their leaders to demonstrate leadership. It's not that likely Trump will be able to run for President in 2024, but that's still going to be another three years of him humiliating his supporters and sucking up all the oxygen from Republican events. And, if the past fifty days are any example, Americans will be able to compare and contrast actual government from whatever you call Trump's operation at the White House.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:00 PM on March 9 [3 favorites]


It's a pity they convinced him not to split the party; maybe we can amplify a meme that he's too much of a coward to make his own party.
posted by Marticus at 2:08 PM on March 9


...maybe we can amplify a meme that he's too much of a coward to make his own party.

Amplify and endlessly repeat the story that the Great Leader Coward Donald Trump publicly lied to his militant MAGA followers on January 6th. He promised to go with them on their march to the Capitol, but turned his back, returned to the White House (in an armored SUV, surrounded by Secret Service and other security personnel) to safely watch what happened. He failed to lead his 'troops', they failed to stop the electoral vote confirmation, Biden won, and Trump lost both the popular and electoral vote.
posted by cenoxo at 8:59 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


Amplify and endlessly repeat the story that the Great Leader Coward Donald Trump publicly lied to his militant MAGA followers on January 6th.

Also that he cheated on his taxes and did a racism.

Seriously, he's consciously playing the part of a heel in wrestling. Betraying people is what he does; he literally said (about not paying tax) “that makes me smart”. Also, it would look weird to criticise him for not participating in a crime; political hypocrisy on the part of Democrats, at least, is still considered wrong.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:20 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


FULL AUDIO: Call between Trump, Georgia Secretary of State investigator over signature match audit, WSB-TV2 Atlanta News Staff, Mar 11, 2021:
RAW VIDEO [embedded in article]: President Trump's call to Georgia Secretary of State investigator about signature audit.

Channel 2 Action News investigative reporter Mark Winne has obtained the recording of a phone call between former President Donald Trump and a Georgia Secretary of State’s Office chief investigator.

Frances Watson, the investigator heard in the call, spoke exclusively to Winne about her conversation with Trump about the signature match audit in Cobb County that her team handled with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

In the call recording, Trump mentions other states in the South where he defeated President Joe Biden, including Florida and Alabama and questions how he didn’t win Georgia. He urges investigators to check signatures on ballots going back several years to verify their accuracy.
“If you go back two years or four years, you’ll see it’s a totally different signature. But, but hopefully, you know, I will, when the right answer comes down, you’ll be praised,” Trump said.

The investigation found there were only two mismatched signatures among the more than 15,000 votes in the audit. Watson told Winne that she found nothing to change the fact that Trump lost Georgia....
posted by cenoxo at 10:40 AM on March 11 [6 favorites]


Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. confirmed today that he will not seek re-election.

Jane Mayer for The New Yorker, 10 hours ago: Can Cyrus Vance, Jr. Nail Trump? Insiders say that the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation has dramatically intensified since the former President left office. “It’s like night and day,” says one. According to another, “They mean business.”

Vance, in a wide-ranging interview with me about his tenure as Manhattan D.A., said, of appearing before the Supreme Court, “Truly, it was like Mt. Olympus.” He declined to discuss the Trump case, as legal ethics require, but he did disclose that he will not seek a fourth term, and that he plans to retire from the D.A.’s office on December 31st. Eight Democratic candidates are campaigning for the job ["Manhattan District Attorney Candidates Are Running On Big Promises Of Reform" primer, Gothamist, Feb. 1], and, given the city’s liberal leanings, the victor of the Democratic primary, in June, is all but guaranteed to win in November.

Even before the Trump case crossed his desk, Vance had largely decided not to run for reëlection. He and his wife, Peggy McDonnell, felt that he had done much of what he set out to do—among other successes, he and his federal partners had secured judgments in a dozen major bank cases, producing more than fourteen billion dollars in fines and forfeitures. This inflow covers the D.A.’s annual budget many times over, and also pays for a two-hundred-and-fifty-million-dollar fund for community-justice programs. But Vance is sixty-six, and the pressure of managing one of the highest-profile prosecutorial offices in the country has been wearying. “It turned out to be tougher than I thought it would be,” he conceded. He told me that, although his larger-than-life predecessor, Robert Morgenthau, held the office for thirty-five years—retiring at age ninety—he himself was ready to give the next generation a shot. “There’s nothing worse than a politician who doesn’t know when to leave,” he said.

The Independent, three hours ago: Cy Vance says he will not seek re-election – so what’s next for the Trump fraud case? Mr Vance, whose investigation into Donald Trump’s finances and business dealings is one of the highest-profile cases against the former president, said in a letter to staff announcing his departure that he considered the job “a privilege of a lifetime”.

“I never imagined myself as District Attorney for decades like my predecessors,” he wrote. “I never thought of this as my last job, even though it’s the best job and biggest honour I’ll ever have. I said 12 years ago that change is fundamentally good and necessary for any institution.”


The office having the budget to continue the investigation at an appropriate scale is a comfort, as is that community-justice funding to support progressive initiatives.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:27 PM on March 12


Trump’s Incomplete Border Wall Is in Pieces That Could Linger for Decades — A last-minute rush to build lasted through Donald J. Trump’s last day in office. The effort left odd, partially completed sections of a barrier whose fate President Biden must now determine., New York Times, Simon Romero & Zolan Kanno-Youngs, March 16, 2021:
PHOTO: The unfinished border wall at the Coronado National Memorial. The border wall is already one of the costliest megaprojects in United States history, with an estimated eventual price tag of more than $15 billion. Credit: Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times.

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. — The sweeping view of undefiled wilderness on the border with Mexico long rewarded hikers who completed the Arizona Trail, an 800-mile route winding through deserts, canyons and forests.

Then something else came into focus a few weeks ago at the forbidding site in the Huachuca Mountains: a lonely segment of border wall, connected to nothing at all, in an area where migrants rarely even try to cross into the United States.

“There it was, this unfinished piece of completely pointless wall, right in this magical place,” said Julia Sheehan, 31, a nurse and former Air Force mechanic who trekked to the site with three other military veterans who are hiking the Arizona Trail. “It’s one of the most senseless things I’ve ever seen.”

The quarter-mile fragment of wall is part of an array of new barrier segments along the border, some of them bizarre in appearance and of no apparent utility, that contractors rushed to build in the waning days of the Trump administration — well after President Biden made it clear that he would halt border wall construction.

Now the incomplete border wall, already one of the costliest megaprojects in United States history, with an estimated eventual price tag of more than $15 billion, is igniting tensions again as critics urge Mr. Biden to tear down parts of the wall and Republican leaders call on him to finish it....
Another example of Trump’s legacy modus operandi of breaking up government, taking credit for it, and letting someone else pick up the pieces.
posted by cenoxo at 7:06 PM on March 16 [2 favorites]


Newly Released Intel Report Calls Out Russia For Interference In 2020 Election, Talking Points Memo, Josh Kovensky, March 16, 2021:
The group of foreign officials who aided former President Trump and his circle in their search for dirt on President Biden were acting in line with an influence campaign overseen by Russian intelligence, according to new report from the intelligence community. The effort to damage Biden’s campaign through smears included associates of the former president, the report [PDF] says.

The report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence offers a declassified assessment of foreign threats to the 2020 election, noting that Russia played the largest role in interfering in the process by boosting Trump while trying to diminish Biden.

The report also said that conspiracy theories put forth by Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani that the results of the 2020 election were, in fact, the result of an international communist conspiracy run by deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez were bogus.

Trump and other top administration officials first received the report on Jan. 7, one day after the president used the false claims about the election being stolen to egg on a crowd of his supporters into attacking Congress....
Details in the article and PDF.
posted by cenoxo at 4:29 AM on March 17 [4 favorites]


Mr. Biden, tear down this wall!
posted by flabdablet at 4:40 AM on March 17 [1 favorite]


But, but, but, but... Glenn Greenwald said Russia is innocent!
posted by PhineasGage at 5:43 AM on March 17


Trump’s taxes in hand, Manhattan DA’s probe heats up (AP News, March 17, 2021) They're talking to Michael Cohen, again; still looking into the Seven Springs estate tax assessment (CBS, Feb. 16, 2021); have a new source in Jennifer Weisselberg (the former daughter-in-law of Allen "Trump Org. CFO" Weisselberg); and: Vance recently hired former mafia prosecutor Mark Pomerantz — who, as a federal prosecutor, oversaw the prosecution of Gambino crime boss John Gotti — as a special assistant district attorney to assist in the wide-ranging probe of Trump’s finances.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:30 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


Trump Hotels Were Quietly Removed From The Travel Industry’s Most Important Luxury Network, Forbes, Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Mar 19, 2021:
Virtuoso, the world’s largest luxury travel network, whose motto is “the best of the best,” has quietly removed all 10 Trump-branded hotels and resorts from its list of preferred partners. Pages on Virtuoso’s website that once showcased Trump properties now lead to 404 “page not found” errors.

A spokesperson for Virtuoso confirmed that Trump Hotels ceased being a preferred partner earlier this month, but declined to elaborate. “As a rule, we don't talk about why we engage in non-renewals with partners,” said Misty Belles, managing director of global public relations for the company. “And we don’t talk about why they exit just as a courtesy for them and everyone involved.”

Regardless of how Trump Hotels left Virtuoso, the departure could hurt Trump’s hotel management and licensing business, which Forbes reported [*] to be down $24 million since 2019, as well as his golf resorts in Miami and Europe, which are down another $120 million....
*Trump’s Net Worth Drops $600 Million In A Year To $2.5 Billion, The Forbes 400, Dan Alexander, Sep 8, 2020.

POW! Right in the pocketbook! Also keep in mind that the Poor Donald always exaggerates his net worth.
posted by cenoxo at 9:09 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Glory days of Trump's gold-plated 757 seem far away as plane sits idle at a sleepy airport, CNN, Kate Bennett & Pete Muntean, CNN, March 19, 2021.

The Poor Donald -- I hear he's accepting donations.
posted by cenoxo at 8:10 AM on March 20


Unsurprising that he overpaid for it in the first place. I'm mildly surprised there isn't some Russian billionaire willing to overpay a bit to take it off his hands, though. They're nice airplanes, at least when you don't turn them into a caricature of what wealth looks like.
posted by wierdo at 9:19 AM on March 20




Trump now has his website. It doesn't look like the 'new social media platform' he promised his fans. Rather it's a homepage-type site hosted on a platform built by Brad Parscale.

(I'm not going to link to it; it's fairly easy to find through the usual channels.)
posted by Cardinal Fang at 8:06 AM on March 30


I'll link to it, in the hopes that the number of hits it receives on launch day is never reached again.

It looks like it was put together in an hour. Parscale had hundreds if not thousands of photos to choose from, and he picked this dollar-store Power Rangers shit?
posted by box at 8:54 AM on March 30


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