Open Thread: About Those Investigations into Russian Election-Tampering…


In late November, a member of Donald Trump’s transition team approached national security officials in the Obama White House with a curious request: Could the incoming team get a copy of the classified CIA profile on Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States?

Marshall Billingslea, a former Pentagon and NATO official, wanted the information for his boss, Michael Flynn, who had been tapped by Trump to serve as White House national security adviser. Billingslea knew Flynn would be speaking to Kislyak, according to two former Obama administration officials, and seemed concerned Flynn did not fully understand he was dealing with a man rumored to have ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

To the Obama White House, Billingslea’s concerns were startling: a member of Trump’s own team suggesting the incoming Trump administration might be in over its head in dealing with an adversary…

In the following weeks, the Obama White House would grow deeply distrustful of Trump’s dealing with the Kremlin and anxious about his team’s ties. The concern — compounded by surge of new intelligence, including evidence of multiple calls, texts and at least one in-person meeting between Flynn and Kislyak — would eventually grow so great Obama advisers delayed telling Trump’s team about plans to punish Russia for its election meddling. Obama officials worried the incoming administration might tip off Moscow, according to one Obama adviser…

As a number of wise folk — including commentor EFGoldman — keep pointing out, it took more than two years of ‘Watergate investigations’ before Nixon choppered out of office one step ahead of criminal indictment. There’s only so much forty years’ improvement in social media can do to speed up the timeline.

Per the NYTimes, last night:

The House’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election lurched back to life on Thursday, as a closed-door hearing with James B. Comey, director of the F.B.I., and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, cleared the way for the inquiry to move forward.

Representatives K. Michael Conaway of Texas, the newly minted Republican leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation, and Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat, said they were inviting more witnesses and requesting documents — effectively restarting the investigation that halted in recent months amid political infighting.

Those witnesses will include Sally Q. Yates, the former acting attorney general who was fired by President Trump, they said. Plans for a public hearing with Ms. Yates in March were scrapped at the last minute despite protest from committee Democrats. Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California and the committee’s chairman, argued that they first needed more time with Mr. Comey and Admiral Rogers.

“We’re working together very well,” Mr. Schiff told reporters on Thursday after the hearing, standing beside Mr. Conaway. “The whole committee is.”…

Last month, the House committee extended a new invitation to Ms. Yates; James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence; and John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director.

The panel has not scheduled that public hearing, though Ms. Yates and Mr. Clapper are expected to testify before a Senate panel on Monday…

According to PBS Newshour:

HARI SREENIVASAN: There are at least three major investigations underway into what role Russia played in the presidential election, and whether the Trump campaign colluded in that process. Today, two of the nations top national security officials held a closed-hearing with congressional investigators…

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The House Intelligence Committee is one of those investigative bodies looking into Russia’s role in the election. And today, the director of the FBI, James Comey, and the director of the NSA, Mike Rogers, briefed that committee on Capitol Hill.

Joining me now is the top Democrat on that committee, Representative Adam Schiff from California…

You heard from the head of the NSA, the head of the FBI, I know this was a confidential, closed door hearing. Can you share a little bit with us about what you heard today?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-Calif.: Certainly. While I can’t go into the contents, I can tell you the three areas of focus for us, and that is who we have this very public assessment by the intelligence committee — community, rather, that the Russians intervened. They did so to hurt Secretary Clinton, to help Donald Trump. And we are investigating to make sure that the conclusions reached in that report are an accurate reflection of the raw intelligence.

We also want to look at the U.S. government response. Did the FBI, for example, bring the necessary urgency to the task when it discovered the Russians were into computers at the Democratic National Committee and elsewhere?

And then finally, and probably most public interest, we continued to investigate the issue of whether there were U.S. persons, particularly those involved in the Trump campaign, that were somehow colluding or coordinating with this Russian hacking into our democracy…

If you click the link, Rep. Shiff’s also got “serious questions” about James Comey. So, don’t lose heart just yet.

128 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Timurid says:

    The House’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election lurched back to life…

    I just don’t see how people who voted to kill thousands are going to get all worked up over a little light treason…

  3. 3
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Timurid: Try over a hundred thousand over the decade or so of the bill’s action. Mass murder for profit: It’s the new Republican way.

    And their supporters will cheer them on all the way to the grave. I just wish they weren’t taking me and those like me with them.

  4. 4
    greennotGreen says:

    What a crappy day! I woke up this morning very uncomfortable, probably hit the dilaudid bolus too often, and left myself very drowsy, so I couldn’t really sleep or be very alert. My guts have been making outrageous noises, I have to pass gas frequently but, unfortunately, it isn’t clean gas, so that’s many trips to the bathroom in a wheelchair after disconnecting from the NG tube reservoir. And then, at my mother’s doctor’s appointment, the doctor insisted she be admitted to the hospital for possible leg amputation. We will learn more tomorrow – and I’ll try not to hit the dialudid so often.

  5. 5
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: This goes beyond that. Given what was taken, and who would have been authorized from the transition to have access to this, the immediate suspicion should be espionage.

  6. 6
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Flynn can’t possibly be that stupid. Can he?

  7. 7
    Mike J says:

    Eric Garland‏ Verified account @ericgarland 5 hours ago
    BURIED LEDE: Now that Nunes has recused himself the IC has started sharing documents again with the committee.

  8. 8
    ArchTeryx says:

    Apropo of nothing, I’ve been spending the last few days at Loews Portofino Bay, a fake Italian village for the 1%, on Universal Studios property in Orlando. My fiancee won a national award for sales for her company, and she picked me as her guest when company flew her out, all expenses paid, to Orlando. So I’ve gotten a damn good look at how the 1% live. Servants everywhere, always ready to hop to your needs. Hands out everywhere, too. We’ve spent a fair bit of our own money (though Comcast gave us a cash allowance).

    I’ve made a point of learning every single person’s name and thanking them personally for their service to me. Tipped well, too. I’ve far more in common with the attendants then with the other hotel guests.

    It’s going to be brutal going back home and facing the loss of my healthcare. Talk about a comedown! And considering how they specifically defunded NY and the Essential Health Plan, this passes the Senate my loss is guaranteed.

  9. 9
    hilts says:

    There’s only so much forty years’ improvement in social media can do to speed up the timeline.

    Donald Trump is a delusional lying sack of shit. Let’s hope we can get this asshole removed from office before the mid term elections.

  10. 10
    ArchTeryx says:

    @greennotGreen: Don’t be afraid to hit the Dilaudid. It leaves you drowsy but it is an extremely efficient painkiller. If you need it, use it! Don’t suffer, even – especially! – for us pack of snarling jackals. Myself most definitely included.

    I do understand about the ‘wet farts’ though. I suffer from Crohn’s. Bowel issues and incontinence are just an ordinary day for me, and NONE of my flatulence is ‘clean’. You got my deepest sympathy if nothing else.

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Yes. He’s arrogant as hell. From all the reporting he’s always been right on the edge between genius and James Jesus Angleton after he went around the bend. And from a lot of reports he was an excellent tactical intelligence targeteer, but a sloppy, disorganized, shallow, uncritical, and not very strategic thinker. Until he got to DIA this wasn’t a problem as even his general officer duties for GEN McChrystal were intel driven tactical targeting. And McChrystal, like all his other bosses, kept him on a short leash. When he was suddenly the boss every unrestrained trait made him a toxic leader very quickly.

  12. 12
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Oh, my dear. May I just say that I love you for your willingness to share this most mysterious (and, apparently, most mundane!) of journeys with your Balloon Juice friends. Conscious dying. You are a lesson to us all.

    How worrying about your mom. I may have missed an important piece of information along the way — I’m assuming this is complications from diabetes? Anyhow, while I don’t have much, I do have love and light in abundance, so I am sending an additional supply to your mother, and of course to you.

    And Yarrow. And ArchTeryx. And everyone who’s sick, scared, or hurting.

  13. 13
    satby says:

    @greennotGreen: aw, sweetie, sorry it was a rotten day. Hoping for a less extreme solution for your mom’s leg. You guys are really getting hit hard right now. Holding you in my thoughts and hoping for a better tomorrow for you both.

  14. 14
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @ArchTeryx: McConnell and his caucus may yet compound this mess. But it won’t be easy and it won’t be quick. And it isn’t a done deal. So keep the faith.

  15. 15

    @ArchTeryx: Dilaudid is not called “deluded” for nothing. After a few days’ use the paranoia kicks in.

  16. 16
    ArchTeryx says:

    @greennotGreen: And I know it’s been said before, but your courage looking Death in the eyes is inspiration to us all. I fear when my time comes, I won’t have a tenth the grace you have had.

    It brings to mind the announcement of Terry Pratchett’s death. May our epitaphs be so graceful.


    Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.

    The End.

  17. 17
    Jeffro says:

    I recognize that whatever Flynn was up to, was damaging to the United States generally and the Clinton campaign specifically. I wish him all kinds of not-happy endings.

    I’m so, incredibly so, looking forward to all of the threads that unravel as the cover-up re: Flynn starts coming to light. There are many people who knew about what Flynn was up to…I hope that each and every one of them has the opportunity to perjure him/herself in front of the Senate, to lie to the FBI, or both. And I’m excited about where that will lead with this already way, way understaffed administration.

  18. 18
    hitchhiker says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I remember that. Never understood why he did it.

  19. 19
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Frank Wilhoit: That I didn’t know. My late friend was on it for more then a week in hospice. He was very drowsy during that time, but never got paranoid. He just faded away.

  20. 20
    dm says:

    Wow. Just wow. It sounds like someone is going to prison.

    Trump might skate — it might be limited to whichever underling was exploiting classified access. On the other hand, does not being forthcoming about this constitute a crime itself?

    Just wow.

    It’s always projection with these guys. “Lock him up”

  21. 21
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I agree that this seems to be beyond what Berger did. But there’s too much we don’t know to call it espionage yet. It does sound like this was a SCIF, and I don’t think Berger’s document was that highly classified, but it’s getting too late for me to do the research (like read the articles carefully) to confirm that.

  22. 22
    Aleta says:

    @greennotGreen: It must be hard or impossible to gauge the dilaudid amount since every day is different. Grrrr, those disconnectings every time to get to the bathroom have driven me surly, way beyond irritation, in the past. I’m sorry to hear about your mom’s complication.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    Before the East coasters trundle off to commune with Morpheus, a good essay on Thursday’s healthfear debacle (albeit not necessarilycontent we here don’t all know already).

    When the House Republican Conference gathered in Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning, it was greeted by a couple of motivational songs: “Eye of the Tiger” and “Taking Care of Business.” On Twitter, the A.P.’s Erica Werner also relayed the message that the Party’s leadership sent to the rank and file, which was equally lacking in subtlety: “It’s time to live or die by this day.”
    In short, the bill the House just passed is one of the most regressive pieces of legislation in living memory. When Republicans cut taxes on the rich and slash funding for programs aimed at the poor, they usually go to great lengths to argue that the two things are unconnected. But in this instance they have done away with the subterfuge. It’s reverse Robin Hood, in plain view. Source

  24. 24
    different-church-lady says:


  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:


    Ugh, how annoying. Tell the nice nurse to give you an extra glass of wine for your troubles.

    I’ll share an amusing shopping anecdote:

    I was at World Market and found a pack of triangular Post-It notes, but they were just in a plastic bag with no box and no price tag. I’ve actually been looking for triangular Post-Its, so I took them to the front with me anyway.

    Me: “I found this mystery thing that I would like to buy.”
    Clerk: “Wow! That is a mystery thing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen those before.”
    Me: “I was afraid you were going to say that. I’d really like to get them.”
    Clerk: “How about I charge you the same as one of the other items that does have a price on it?”
    Me: “Works for me!”

    So now I have a pack of triangular Post-It notes in 8 different colors.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I’m not saying it is, and with this crowd sheer stupidity combined with arrogance can’t be excluded – even for those with long time, high level clearances. But this is either going to be stupidity combined with arrogance or something nefarious. I doubt there will be any middle ground.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, I’ll re-post for the evening crowd a really helpful article I read today:

    How to Stay Sane if Trump is Driving You Insane

    Short version: accept that horrible shit is happening, mourn the fact that horrible shit is happening, take action to mitigate the horrible shit in your community, repeat.

  28. 28
    Ohio Mom says:

    @greennotGreen: Who knew that dying could be such a busy time? Doesn’t sound like you had a quiet moment all day.

    Here’s hoping your mom gets to keep her foot.

  29. 29

    I lost a friend very dear to me this morning. She’d gone in with a cough a couple weeks ago, they diagnosed her with pneumonia, routine scans showed advanced lung cancer, then last night she took a nasty turn and now, as she would put it, she’s tippy-over dead. She was 67.

    She was a cynical, fun-loving, unfiltered-luckies-smoking (yeah…), hard-drinking woman who during the part of her life that I knew her worked as a landscaper and gardener for fancy folks out here. Her father was a “diplomat” of some sort, her scare quotes not mine, and her childhood was spent leaving the country right before impending international disasters. She had a bunch of family heirlooms with origin stories like that. During other parts of her life she raised horses, taught, and grew… various plants.

    I first met her at one of the local dive bars back when I live in Marin. She was interesting but also completely nuts and wouldn’t stop talking about this horse she had. I took her number since she said she had need for landscaping assistance from time to time. I didn’t end up calling her, but at some later point I went into the same bar and she was talking to one of my friends, and it turns out they’d known each other for years, of course. So we really hit it off and exchanged contact info again. We thought (correctly) that we already had, but our names weren’t showing up in our phones. Well, when we punched in the numbers, she came up in my phone under “crazy horse lady” and I was in hers as “crazy man”. And a friendship was born. RIP.

  30. 30
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    But there’s too much we don’t know to call it espionage yet.

    Ah yes, I remember being young and naive….

  31. 31
    Timurid says:

    @ArchTeryx: Yesterday was an incredibly destabilizing moment, even if AHCA ultimately fails. A major political party announced its willingness to kill in pursuit of its political objectives. Not to kill terrorists or enemy soldiers on the battlefield, or even to assassinate their political rivals but to kill thousands of their own countrymen who are no threat to the state and who have committed no crime. It’s going to be hard to unring that bell. Even if the opposing sides eventually stop short of violence during the current crisis, they’ll be doing so not because they’re bound by patriotism, respect for the law, common decency or any perceived duty to their fellow Americans. They’ll pull back from the brink because the cost and benefit, the risk and reward favor that choice. And there’s no guarantee they’ll make the same choice in the crisis 10 or 20 years from now. We’re in danger of becoming a country of people who will refrain from killing each other only so long as a sufficiently compelling threat or opportunity does not present itself. We don’t need to go too far back in recent history to find examples of just how well that works out in the end.

  32. 32
    Princess Leia says:

    I went to the rural shelter an hour away from the OC and adopted a 3yo long haired GSD mix (mixed with something big). He is sweet and seemed to do fine with my girl dog. I pick him up next week -they neuter and hold for a few days. I’d appreciate any advice on what I can do to make his homecoming as smooth as possible. Crating? Separation from my other dog? Believe me, any advice will help.

  33. 33
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: In Berger’s case, it was arrogance. But yeah. There certainly are a lot of questions whose answers could be “something nefarious.”

    And now I’m going to bid everyone goodnight. Zooey started meowing at 4 this morning. I usually wake at 5, so that’s not too horrible. The reason for the upset was the appearance of a food tree and having to work for their kibble. They get other food, though, so they are not starving, whatever they may tell you. Tonight I will give them plates of kibble in addition.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: My condolences. She was your friend; the rest is commentary.

  35. 35

    @Omnes Omnibus: I thought my commentary was cool 😐

  36. 36
    MomSense says:


    Ugh. Sorry about your mom and your discomfort. Would some massage be helpful. Even just face, neck shoulders can be so relaxing. Maybe it would help.

    Hoping for the best for your mom. Big hugs gnG.

  37. 37
    dm says:

    It’s an open thread, so…

    I don’t know how many of you do podcasts, but Ezra Klein released a great interview with Cory Booker today: Here’s a link to the iTunes podcast, I can’t find any other links.

    Booker talks about:

    a) “Don’t give me shit about the Democrats and the working class — if we’re going to have that debate, it’s about image not facts, because the facts are clearly on our side.
    b) Testifying against Jeff Sessions in the confirmation hearings
    c) Investing in children
    d) Being nice (this will irritate people here, it sounds like taking a page out of the textbook that led Obama to be far too patient with the Republicans, and sounds like it comes from the same reasoning)
    e) Reminds us that Hillary Clinton didn’t go into corporate law, she went into advocacy for children (Booker also went to Yale Law School)

    Yeah, yeah, I know the purity ponies will kvetch about Booker and prescription drugs in January, but he came back and worked with the Great Vermont Satan on a better bill in February so they can shut up.

    I find Booker to be a pretty refreshing voice for a politician. Very thoughtful. Gives me hope for the next generation of Democrats.

  38. 38
    Timurid says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Others have noted that the timing of this event and the roundup of suspected foreign agents in the Russian IC may not have been a coincidence.

  39. 39
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: :: side-eye::

  40. 40
    dm says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m jealous. Good thing the Ten Commandments say nothing about coveting your neighbor’s Post-it-notes.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I’m so sorry. It’s never easy to lose a friend, but to lose one that quickly and unexpectedly is even harder.

  42. 42
    MomSense says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    My condolences, M4. She sounds like my kind of character.

  43. 43
    Tokyokie says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Actually, I lean toward something nefarious combined with stupidity and arrogance.

  44. 44
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Timurid: I know that if I’m put to the wall, I’m taking at least one of them with me. Me, a scientist, loving critter-person, about as model a citizen as I can be. I truly hope it doesn’t come to that, but if martyrdom is my fate, I’m making it count and not going quietly.

    And I am not alone.

  45. 45
    p.a. says:

    it’s late, I’m tired, so maybe I’ll be more sanguine in the morning, but color me dubious about a Rethug-led investigation into Rethug wrongdoing that may reach the level of treason. Party over patria. There’s no Fitzmas, Army Group Steiner isn’t on the way.

  46. 46
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I’m sorry. That’s a wonderful story of how you met, and then re-met. She sounds like a hoot. I’m glad she was in your life.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Major Major Major Major: My sincerest condolences.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Hmm. I’m tempted by a food tree. I bought our cats some treat roller toys years ago and they love those. The big potential problem is having the two girls fight over it, because they have a bit of a sibling rivalry thing going on.

    Also, the bottom of the kibble plates must be completely covered at all times in our house. When they eat into the middle of the plate and can see the bottom, the plate is then empty, even if there’s still kibble around the sides, so Keaton has to come over and start nagging us to put more food on the plate. Fortunately, since they’re cats, we can usually just shake the dish to redistribute the food and the starvation crisis is averted.

  50. 50
    efgoldman says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Flynn can’t possibly be that stupid. Can he?

    Asserts facts not in evidence.
    I know nothing about him except he became rabidly anti-Muslim, but people in those kinds of positions get to thinking they are shielded and invulnerable. If pure arrogance isn’t the answer, then we have to assume that yes, yes he is that stupid. Which begs the question: How the fuck did he ever get three stars?

    ETA: Leave it to Adam to provide an answer long before I posted.

  51. 51
    PhoenixRising says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Lovely story, and condolences.

    @greennotGreen: this sounds complicated and eventful, which are not typically well matched with serve your own dose opiates. Sorry it’s all happening at once. I missed the announcement of whatever put you on the list for that drip, so I’m sorry about that too (it’s not a good list to be on, is all I know for sure).

  52. 52
    rikyrah says:

    GOP chairman tells agencies to exclude info from FOIA requests
    By Max Greenwood – 05/05/17 10:04 PM EDT

    A House GOP chairman has instructed a dozen government agencies not to turn over communications with his panel as part of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, The Associated Press reported Friday.

    House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) argued in one letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last month that the communications did not fall under “agency records.”

    “All such documents and communications constitute congressional records not ‘agency records’ for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act, and remain subject to congressional control even when in the physical possession of the Agency,” he wrote.

    The letter to Mnuchin was first reported by BuzzFeed News. The AP obtained additional letters to agencies under Hensarling’s jurisdiction: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.


    But in his letters, Hensarling argued that his committee’s communications with the agencies could contain “sensitive and confidential” information and should remain in Congress’ control, thus excluding them the open records law.

    The top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.), told the AP that Hensarling has long made “intrusive and aggressive demands of agencies.”

    “Anytime he’s called on it, he says that Congress has the right to conduct oversight,” she said. “And while Congress does have that right, it is the height of hypocrisy for him to take such extraordinary measures to shield himself from the oversight of the American public.”

  53. 53
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Reminded me all too much of the loss of my friend Manfred, who died of esophageal cancer within 2 weeks of diagnosis. After the initial diagnosis, he was hospitalized for the last time. I never got to say good-bye,

    Sudden death like that is a terrible blow. You’ve my deepest condolences.

  54. 54
    Timurid says:


    The video of the post vote kegger at the white house was beyond chilling. Watching it, I was instantly reminded of the infamous Saddam Hussein purge video. That anything even remotely comparable to that could be happening in this country is mind boggling. We may not be at the Rubicon, but we can see it from here.

  55. 55
    Steve in the ATL says:


    My guts have been making outrageous noises, I have to pass gas frequently but, unfortunately, it isn’t clean gas, so that’s many trips to the bathroom

    Hmmm…are you our English bulldog?

  56. 56
    fatefullightning says:


    the roundup of suspected foreign agents in the Russian IC

    IIRC, that would have been enough to put a potassium-chloride needle in Robert Hanssen’s arm, had he not cooperated with debriefers.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:


    Never fear — I just found them online! Mine didn’t come in a box, but that seems to be the only difference.

    Fortunately for all of us, the Fred and Friends sticker was still on the package, so I was able to look for them on their website.

  58. 58
    dm says:

    @Major Major Major Major: My condolences. And your commentary was cool.

    greennotGreen: We’ve not met, but I give you great respect.

  59. 59
    NotMax says:


    That Flynn has a history of swallowing whole and parroting so many patently outlandish conspiracy theories attests to his dimbulbery.

  60. 60
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Major Major Major Major: How fun to read about your “crazy horse lady” friend. What great memories she’s left you with. I hope those memories are a continuing comfort to you.

    And now, a request to the universe: can you give the members of this community a break for a while? Every few comments is another sharing of heartbreak. Isn’t Trump and Congress enough for us to deal with?

    And now I’m going to sleep. Sweet dreams to all.

  61. 61
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Timurid: That deserves more then just nasty campaign ads. They declared war on us and celebrated our impending deaths. They deserve exactly what they voted on the rest of us, even if I’m not the one to personally deliver it.

    I were those assholes, I’d be hiring food tasters.

  62. 62
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Thank you so much for that link. It’s an honest, insightful, and helpful article. I’ll be sharing it with friends.

  63. 63
    efgoldman says:


    And there’s no guarantee they’ll make the same choice in the crisis 10 or 20 years from now. We’re in danger of becoming a country of people who will refrain from killing each other only so long as a sufficiently compelling threat or opportunity does not present itself.

    You a sock puppet for TenguPhule now? Or just channeling him.

  64. 64
    rikyrah says:

    I think Caroline Kennedy’s son was just on MSNBC…

    1. He really does resemble JFK,Jr.
    2. Those Kennedy genes are powerful

  65. 65
    fatefullightning says:


    “The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.”

  66. 66
    ArchTeryx says:

    @efgoldman: TenguPhule got banned?

    I certainly understand the sentiment, though I already was radicalized by the horrors of the Bush years, this managed to radicalize me even further. It’s been a war within my own head, not just in politics.

    The shoulder devil is talking awfully loudly into my ear these days, even if (for now) the shoulder angel still has the most convincing argument.

  67. 67
    Timurid says:

    @efgoldman: I’m not building a guillotine in my basement, so no. I have absolutely no interest in taking up arms. I’m just reiterating that what the GOP did yesterday was extraordinarily dangerous, and not just for the obvious consequences involving loss of healthcare.

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Timurid: Coincidence takes a lot of planning. Such as the same day that Director of National Intelligence and Director NSA release an official statement that Russia is behind the DNC, DCCC, DSCC, and Podesta email hacks and releases. Just as the HRC campaign is preparing to hit all the news shows going into the weekend someone sends Farenthold at WaPo the Access Hollywood tape that NBC is trying to figure out if it should air it as part of its news coverage. By that evening, Farenthold after validating the tape, reports it. which was the right thing to do. All of the news coverage is no longer about Russian hacking of the HRC team, DNC, DSCC, DCCC and interfering in the election, it is right back on Trump. And the news coverage never really went back to the Russian hacking and interference. Here’s the question: who leaked the tape and why?

  69. 69
    NotMax says:


    Hit a late-in-thread lob your way on the Leopards, Faces thread, just hanging there awaiting a snappy riposte.

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:


  71. 71
    rikyrah says:

    Black Aziz Ansari
    👏‏ @Freeyourmindkid

    1. So have y’all ever noticed how Trump voters would refuse to refer to Obama as, “President Obama” yet they are all too willing to refer to

    Black Aziz Ansari 👏‏ @Freeyourmindkid 3h3 hours ago
    Replying to @Freeyourmindkid

    2. Trump as President Trump or Mr. Trump like he is their fucking boss? But let’s not pussy foot around the issue because we all know that

    Black Aziz Ansari 👏‏ @Freeyourmindkid 3h3 hours ago

    3. This language in regards to how they chose to refer to a white male President vs. a black President is indicative of their racism.

    Black Aziz Ansari 👏‏ @Freeyourmindkid 3h3 hours ago

    4. It simply blows my mind how many folks in this country will give a person respect or deference simply for being a white person,
    9 replies 29 retweets 242 likes

    Black Aziz Ansari 👏‏ @Freeyourmindkid 3h3 hours ago

    5. Especially a white person who happens to be male and wealthy. Like…a lot of white folks have literally said that they couldn’t relate

    Black Aziz Ansari 👏‏ @Freeyourmindkid 3h3 hours ago

    6. To President Obama but feel like they can relate to Trump…HOW?!? THE MAN LITERALLY LIVES IN A GOLDEN TOWER THAT RESEMBLES AN EVIL LAIR

    Black Aziz Ansari 👏‏ @Freeyourmindkid 3h3 hours ago


    Black Aziz Ansari 👏‏ @Freeyourmindkid 3h3 hours ago

    8. The fact of the matter is they do not relate to Trump, his lifestyle or even political views, the only thing that they relate to is his

    Black Aziz Ansari 👏‏ @Freeyourmindkid 3h3 hours ago

    9. Whiteness and after seeing 8 years of a black ass family in the White House and happy ass black people walking the streets, they decided

    Black Aziz Ansari 👏‏ @Freeyourmindkid 3h3 hours ago

    10. To go full post civil war Era racism and “take their country back.” I’m sure there will be some folks who will scream economic anxiety

  72. 72
    ArchTeryx says:

    @fatefullightning Wasn’t that the Brit that ordered the firebombing of Dresden?

    The Nazis reaped the whirlwind, but so did a helluva lot of civilians. War is a slavering beast, and once it’s loosed from its chains, it cares little who it devours.

  73. 73
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @ArchTeryx: How about we all just ease up a bit. You want to plan the glorious revolution? Do it on twitter like everyone else.


  74. 74
    rikyrah says:

    in moderation…help

  75. 75
    rikyrah says:

    FiveThirtyEight‏Verified account @FiveThirtyEight

    Trump’s 2018 budget would give the Census $1.5 billion, keeping spending flat in a year when it should go up by 60%.

  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: Freed.

  77. 77
    Lyrebird says:

    @Mnemosyne: Thank you… other commenters might enjoy their Taco Truck product. Why just for kids? Though the tacos in the picture look nothing like taco-truck tacos.

    @efgoldman: BTW the Fred folks are actually a design house in Rhode Island!

  78. 78
    fatefullightning says:

    @ArchTeryx: Yep that’s the guy.

  79. 79
    randy khan says:


    That deserves more then just nasty campaign ads. They declared war on us and celebrated our impending deaths. They deserve exactly what they voted on the rest of us, even if I’m not the one to personally deliver it.

    If it’s okay, I’d like to start with the nasty campaign ads and then have them lose re-election. After that, well, I won’t mind whatever else happens to them.

    But what your comment really brought to mind is how many of the Republican members of Congress purport to be Christians (with that special emphasis that implies that they’re real Christians in a way that mainline church members are not), and how surprised they might be about where they end up if they’re right about the afterlife, since what they did yesterday is pretty much the exact opposite of what the Gospels say you should do. (I actually think that most of the Republican “Christians” in Congress don’t believe – they’ve just adopted the pose because it’s politically useful – but you get the idea.)

  80. 80
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Oh, revolution, nothing! I long ago realized I had a lot more to lose then my chains. The “Glorious Revolution” brought us Trump.

    But I ain’t dead yet.

    Point taken, however. “Lighten up, Francis” is probably what I need to hear right now.

  81. 81
    efgoldman says:


    just hanging there awaiting a snappy riposte.

    I’d have been glad to if someone offered to pay me

  82. 82
    stinger says:

    @Princess Leia: Sleep in the same t-shirt for a few nights and then take it, unwashed, to put in his kennel. He’ll be very used to your scent by the time he joins your family.

    Also, if you can manage to be at home for the first few days, that will allow you to observe and just be with him and your other dog–they both might be feeling insecure/territorial at first. See what the shelter has to say about his sense of security, ability to get along with other dogs, etc. Routine is good, so establish feeding, pooping, exercise, and where-he’ll-sleep routines as soon as possible. Dogs are very adaptable, and you can change his name if you want to–he’ll soon get used to the new one.

    Enjoy your time with him, and thanks for getting a shelter pet!

  83. 83
    NotMax says:

    Adam,. you following at all how the awful awful coal mine disaster in Iran is affecting the presidential election campaign (election on May 19). Rouhani taking a LOT of flak.

  84. 84
    Aleta says:

    @Princess Leia: We had good results by ‘babying’ him to an extreme when it came to (normal) stress of adjustment. We let his nervous system go back to neutral, so to speak, and rest for quite awhile, after each time he’d been introduced to some new place or exposure. We decided to be overcautious about keeping him from ever being overwhelmed for too long.

    In his case almost everything was new, and he was sensitive and scared. So in the earliest days, one short trip outside the neighborhood (up to campus or to the dog store, or one car ride), would be followed by at least two days of 100% down time at home. It worked out great for ending up with a calm dog who almost never gets overexcited.

    Also used the trick of teaching him to ‘do nothing’ (to relax instead of reacting to everything) by rewarding him whenever he settled down. Raining a few little treats down on him from above when he was being quiet and settled, like it was coming from the heavens. Instead of saying ‘stop doing that,’ we just rewarded him when he was lying quietly on his own. Worked great.

  85. 85
    rikyrah says:

    Obamacare repeal is based on racial resentment
    MAY 05, 2017

    House Republicans are taking health services away from disabled children, women who give birth, and survivors of rape and sexual assault. They are consigning thousands of people with serious illnesses to death by making them uninsurable in an era of unaffordable treatment. Virtually every reputable medical organization in the country condemns the health care bill that passed the House Thursday, but the GOP clings to two reasons for passing it.

    First, Republicans claim that the new legislation provides economic benefits. These benefits are unclear, though reports suggest that they entail a transfer of resources from vulnerable people to rich people. The bill passed the House without a score from the Congressional Budget Office, so we can dismiss any economic justification for it without further discussion. Passing the bill without a score from the CBO is a signal that Republican legislators are not taking the economic dimensions of this issue seriously, so we can follow their lead and move on to the heart of the matter.

    The other explanation given by House Republicans for passing the bill is political. These congressmen felt they had to repeal the Affordable Care Act because they promised to do so. Most Americans have no quibble with Obamacare itself, but for Republicans, repealing it is and always has always been a way to repudiate former president Barack Obama. Since taking office, President Trump has done several things that he previously chastised Obama for, but these contradictions have had little impact on his party or their supporters. This is largely because GOP voters’ disdain for Obama and support for Trump cannot be separated from findings about racism. Studies conducted after the election confirm that racial resentment directed toward people of color predicted both overall support for Trump and voters’ propensity to switch from Obama to Trump.

    GOP voters know they don’t like Obama, but they do not know Obama’s legislative record, whether it pertains to the economic recovery or health care legislation. A December 2016 poll showed that 67 percent of Trump voters believed that unemployment had risen during Obama’s tenure, even though it dramatically declined. A February 2017 poll found that one third of all Americans did not even know that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were the same thing. Over half of the Republicans in that poll did not know whether Medicaid would be impacted by repealing Obamacare. Medicaid will be gutted by the new bill.

  86. 86
    amk says:

    Ironic that the western democracy is being killed by the very tools they invented, guns, bombs, … internet.

  87. 87
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @efgoldman: I have never figuredout how Michael Sinclair, now LTC (ret) ever got a single star. The story of his brigade hail and farewell totally knocked my socks off; his junior officers openly mocked him.

  88. 88
    stinger says:

    @Major Major Major Major: You’ll miss her, but sounds like you have great memories.

  89. 89
    rikyrah says:

    David Frum‏Verified account @davidfrum

    Just looked it up: there have been only three White House chief ushers since the mid-1980s. It was not a political job, until now

  90. 90
    stinger says:

    @Mnemosyne: Same at my house, although I’d call it a bowl rather than a plate. There can be a cup of food still in the dish, but Gina eats straight down, and when she sees silver, she lets me know.

  91. 91
    ArchTeryx says:

    Good God, I completely missed that Yarrow had gone suicidal.

    I’m contemplating homicide and another BJer got openly suicidal. These are pretty evil times we live in. Maybe it’s time to figure out a more constructive way to channel my rage…like maybe offering a shoulder to Yarrow if he needs it.

  92. 92
    Princess Leia says:

    @stinger: Thank you! Great suggestions.

  93. 93
    LurkerNoLonger says:

    @randy khan: I don’t want to hate anyone. But, my God, I hate these people so much it’s not healthy. I can’t see one redeeming quality in any of them. They’re the worst of humanity. This country and the entire planet will be better off when they are swept into the dustbin of history.

  94. 94
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @ArchTeryx: I have pre-existing conditions too, largely because I’ve been alive for 46 years… I am concerned as well. But as I’ve written before: this isn’t a done deal. It has a long way to go. And both NY AG Schneiderman and MA AG Healy have already stated they will fight anything that these folks pass in court. Again, things seems grim right now, but other than scaring the crap out of a lot of people and giving those on the extremes the feeling that they have permission to act like they’re the mainstream, right now the President, his team, and the GOP majorities in Congress have made a lot of noise, but been very ineffective.

    Being angry and upset and concerned is all legit, and being aware is a definite must, but don’t borrow trouble.

  95. 95
    Lizzy L says:

    @amk: The Chinese invented and first used bombs in warfare about 800 years ago.

  96. 96
    Princess Leia says:

    @Aleta: I love that- teaching to relax. We do have a long drive home from the shelter, so he will probably be way unsettled. I will take your advice to give him a lot of quiet time. Thanks!

  97. 97
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:


    I always read your comments closely. They’re insightful and engaging and not just we’re fucked….

    That Adam appears to anticipate further collapse and repercussions for these jokers pleases me greatly.

    The day may come when the age of Trump comes crashing down… let it be soon.

  98. 98
    tobie says:



    We all want to shout this from the rafters. The only thing the GOP is good for is unadulterated hypocrisy.

  99. 99
    rikyrah says:

    Pete Souza‏ @PeteSouza
    Philip Rucker‏Verified account @PhilipRucker

    Wow — Trump WH fires chief usher Angella Reid, 1st woman & 2nd African American to hold post, @AshleyRParker

    Pete Souza Retweeted Philip Rucker

    Very unusual. Chief usher is not a political position. Which is why there’s only been 9 in our history.

  100. 100
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: I’m presidential campaigned out! Who in any Deity’s name decided it was a good idea to have all these presidential elections within a year of each other?

    I’d heard about the mine explosion and collapse, but have not seen anything on the effect on the election.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @randy khan:

    But what your comment really brought to mind is how many of the Republican members of Congress purport to be Christians (with that special emphasis that implies that they’re real Christians in a way that mainline church members are not), and how surprised they might be about where they end up if they’re right about the afterlife, since what they did yesterday is pretty much the exact opposite of what the Gospels say you should do.

    I don’t know many fundies IRL — my family is Catholic or agnostic/atheist — but people who were raised in that tradition have commented many times that fundamentalist Christians are absolutely terrified of death. Let’s face it, the entire “Rapture” thing is a fantasy designed to deny that all of us will die at some point.

    Since they’ve constructed a scary, vengeful God who’s going to punish even the smallest sins with terrifying harshness, it’s no wonder fundies are afraid of death and the afterlife but, as humans are wont to do, they project that fear onto everyone else and push it away to the backs of their minds. They think that by punishing others in this life, they will somehow lessen their punishment in the afterlife. Or they just imitate the God they’ve created for themselves.

  102. 102
    efgoldman says:


    Trump WH fires chief usher Angella Reid, 1st woman & 2nd African American to hold post

    Gee, WHAT could be the reason why?
    We’ll have to get the country’s best presidential historians and analysts right on it.
    We’ll start with Jason Miller and David Duke.

  103. 103
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @amk: Creators always get killed by their monsters.

  104. 104
    Mnemosyne says:


    A Black woman had a position of power and authority in the White House. Can’t have her bossing white men around.

    It’s so sad that this asshole is making W look enlightened by comparison.

  105. 105
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Lizzy L: The Baghdadi’s were using bombs during the Abbasid civil war in 865. Basically Greek Fire/distillate of naptha based incendiaries. These were also used by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

  106. 106
    Bess says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    And we read that story where?

  107. 107
    efgoldman says:


    fundamentalist Christians are absolutely terrified of death.

    What they’re really afraid of is that Hieronymus Bosch and the hellfire preachers are right

  108. 108
    amk says:

    @Adam L Silverman: like gopee and teanutz?

  109. 109
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:


    It was not a political job, until now…

    I suggest you keep this phrase in a handy place… you’ll probably end up using it quite a bit over the next couple of years… just sayin’…

  110. 110
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Bess: Here’s a good link that will give you some of the detail.

  111. 111
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Point well taken, Adam. Thank you for being the calm voice of reason. I badly needed to hear it.

    You aren’t the only one either. My fiancee’s spent the night talking me down from the ledge, too. God bless that woman…I don’t deserve her, but I love her.

  112. 112
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @amk: sure

  113. 113
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @ArchTeryx: No worries. Though it has been remarked in the past that we are in a lot of trouble if I’m the voice of reason…

  114. 114
    Aleta says:

    I think that no matter what was done (and it’ll be a long time, if ever, before the whole story is out), what charges might be brought and (hopefully) what judicial decisions might result are impossible to say with this administration, this kind of politics, at this level. With Nixon–North–Bush the 1st–Cheney–Rumsfeld, the charges that seemed likely to us instead got bargained and reduced. Another reason to not get over-excited so soon and cry treason/espionage. We already believe it likely, but that’s not new. What will actually come from this isn’t certain.

  115. 115
    Lizzy L says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I was thinking of gunpowder. I knew about “Greek fire” i.e. naphtha, but I always thought it was projected through tubes and a nozzle — perhaps that’s fictional?

  116. 116
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Lizzy L: It was deployed that way too. But it could also be put in a sealed vessel with a wick as what we now think of as detonation cord. Basically early Molotov cocktail.

  117. 117
    Lizzy L says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Ah. Didn’t know that. How was the vessel projected? Catapult?

  118. 118
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Lizzy L: Depends. During the Abbasid civil war, the accounts I remembered were hand thrown. Hence the couple of accidental suicide bombings. If I’m recalling correctly larger shells, for lack of a better term, could also be launched using various devices.

  119. 119
    J R in WV says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I’m sorry you lost your Crazy Horse Lady – esp so suddenly. At least she went fast, which can be a blessing, compared to lingering with all possible medical intervention.

    Both my parents died after long periods of medical support, Mom from COPD caused by PallMalls, Dad from aggressive treatment to enable him to participate in a (successful) clinical trial of treatment for a rare and strange Leukemia he got, probably from exposure to solvents in his youth, when common shop solvents included benzene and Carbon Tet. He beat the cancer, but eventually fell to the COPD the first aggressive chemo caused by scarring his lungs.

    Pet your cat, try to accept that which we cannot change. I’m going to go pet a cat as I lay in bed.

    I’m on a odd medication which has a huge list of side effects and interactions, pages of them. One is hearing problems in elderly patients. I’m supposed to go back on it next week, and today I have had the worst tinnitus in my left ear I have ever had. It seriously interferes with my ability to hear, well anything on that side.

    Maybe I should embrace it and stop wearing those hearing protection earmuffs, just shoot and chain saw bare earred…. naw, that would be extra stupid, like voting for a Republican.

    G;night. best wishes.

  120. 120
    Ruckus says:

    @Major Major Major Major:
    Always hard to lose a fellow traveler who shares a road with you.
    What dive bars in Marin? Lived in Novato for 6 yrs and didn’t notice many dive bars. Of course I’d stopped drinking so I wasn’t looking either.

  121. 121
    Ruckus says:

    My roommates cat will whine like crazy with food still in the bowl. I pick it up, set it on the counter for 3-4 minutes and then put it back down, she comes over and scarfs it up.

  122. 122
    westyny says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Condolences, MMMM. It’s been a tough week. My 89 year old uncle passed after a brief, but intense cardio-pulminary breakdown. A good guy. Family from both coasts, including my 90 year dad, his older Irish twin, are converging on poor little Texas on Monday for the Tuesday funeral. My parents live in Marin, too! Though they’re dive bar days are largely over. As are mine, for the sake of public order as well as my own. I’m hosting a mental toast to your friend, in any event. She sounds like my kind. Oh, and I hope the entire GOP crime cartel is hauled off to prison.

  123. 123
    ruemara says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I’m sorry, Majorx4. It sounds like you were blessed with a good friend. I’m sorry she had to go.

  124. 124
    ruemara says:

    @Princess Leia: Read this. The good doctor who wrote this is a bit of a dip, but her methodology is sound and Dr. Sophia Yin approved.

  125. 125
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s only one day, but they are eating significantly less with the food tree. It also is a way for food to be available to them all day without their pigging out. At the moment, Zooey is fine with it. So far he’s learned to put a paw in and get food. Not sure he sees the connection between pushing the food through the holes – there’s usually enough kibble so that putting a paw in pushes some out. Ric knows how to do that but seems to feel it’s beneath his dignity. But I’ll be gone for a part of today and will feel better that they have a slow-release food mechanism.

  126. 126
    Betty says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Condolences for the loss of your friend. She sounds wonderful. I lost my Mom, brother-in-law and a best friend to lung cancer that wasn’t diagnosed until the end. I don’t quite understand why it is so hard to identify. With my friend, she passed just a few days after the diagnosis.

  127. 127
    Gretchen says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Thanks for sharing the story about your friend. I loved the detail that each of you put the other in their phone as the crazy person. I’m glad you were in each other’s lives, and am sorry for you loss.

  128. 128
    No One You Know says:

    I’m grateful for this post. I got a little short on patience this week, but it’s getting better.

Comments are closed.