Breaking News: The President Will Not Authorize The Release of the HPSCI Democratic Minority Rebuttal Memo

This does not really surprise me. It was telegraphed earlier in the week by the Chief of Staff who stated that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Democratic minority memo was:

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told reporters on Tuesday that the White House is reviewing the memo Democrats wrote as a rebuttal to the four-page document compiled by staffers of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and he’s “not leaning toward” it being released as is.

“This is a different memo than the first one, it’s lengthier, well it’s different, so not learning toward it,” Kelly told reporters. “It will be done in a responsible way. But again, where the first one was very clean relative to sources and methods, my initial cut is this one is a lot less clean.”

I have no idea what is in the Democratic minority’s memo, so I have no real idea what the problem may be. But a blanket rejection is unlikely to settle things down in regard to the Nunes staff drafted memo, just how bad it was, and how it was overpromised and under delivered in regard to anything of significance.

In related news, it was reported yesterday that the entire, let me repeat that – the entire – Republican staff of the House Permanent Select Committee are under investigation as potential leakers.

Rooney said one reason for the tension is an erosion of trust, exacerbated by an ongoing ethics investigation into the “entire Republican staff,” including “the woman up front that answers the phone” for alleged leaks. He later added that the matter was being handled by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

I did some checking this afternoon to confirm my understanding of how Congressional staff, including committee staff, get their clearances. While the actual representatives and senators get their clearances because they’re constitutional officers; they come with the job. There is no submission of an SF-86, no clearance investigation, and no adjudication for award or denial for senators and representatives. However, Congressional staffers, including the committee staff, have to go through the process that everyone else does: fill out and submit an SF-86, go through the clearance investigation, go through a polygraph if necessary, have an adjudicator decide if one is awarded or denied the clearance, have the determination sent to the Special Security Officer for Congress, and then be indoctrinated/read on to the clearance.

Being under investigation for leaking is cause for suspension of access until the investigation is complete. If the Republican staff on the HPSCI are still accessing classified information, as was reported, something has gone very, very wrong with the Special Security Officer for the House of Representatives. They should have their access pulled/clearances suspended and either be reassigned to work that has nothing to do with classified information or sent home until the investigation is completed, a final determination is made, and any appeals made and exhausted. This is akin to the rule breaking and bending regarding clearances we’ve seen with Rob Porter and others in the Executive Office of the President on the White House staff.

Just a final, quick housekeeping note on clearances as a couple of you have asked some questions. The investigators, the FBI for executive branch appointments or the Office of Professional Management, on behalf of whichever department, agency, bureau, and/or office for a lot of the rest of the clearances issued within the Federal government, just conduct the investigations. They assign an investigator to meet with the person being considered for the clearance or undergoing a periodic review for renewal of their clearance, they meet with those the person being considered provide as contacts, they review a variety of records – criminal, financial, etc – and then prepare a report, which is forwarded to an adjudicator. The adjudicators review the report, including anything specifically flagged by the investigators, and makes a determination to grant or deny the clearance. If the clearance is granted, then the Special Security Officer is notified at the agency, department, bureau, office, or command or the Facility Security Officer if the awardee is a contractor, and an indoctrination/read on is scheduled. Interim clearances are intended to be for limited durations so that personnel can begin work while the clearance process is underway as it can take between 9 months and 2 years for a clearance award or renewal to be completed, despite regulations requiring them to be concluded in four to six months. The delays are because the entire process is underfunded, understaffed, and generally backed up. Moreover, since the Manning and Snowden leaks, and subsequent other major breaches, the Special Security Officers have gotten even less flexible in regard to authorizing clearance indoctrinations/read ons. This further slows things down and makes it hard for personnel to move from one position to another.

Finally, two last bits of breaking news (gonna be that kind of night…).

Stay frosty!

Open thread!


201 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The entire GOP contingent are criminals.

    Imprison every last one of them.

  2. 2
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    A commenter below mentioned that Democrats can read out the memo before the House floor in Congress under the Speech and Debate clause and not face charges. Is this true?

  3. 3
    Corner Stone says:

    So fucking obvious.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Baud says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: They won’t. It’d piss off the intel community and there’s no need because the Nunes memo is self-discrediting. And the mystery of the Dem memo makes it more interesting.

  6. 6
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Corner Stone:

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Well that’s a technique!

  8. 8
    Gravenstone says:

    Because of course he did. Back to Congress we go.

    And I find it deeply amusing that Rachel Brand is seeking professional refuge at fucking Walmart!

  9. 9
    BCHS Class of 1980 says:

    Sounds like she wants to protect a potential political career rather than a legal one. If she stays until the inevitable attempt to muzzle Mueller, she either has to be a hero or heel; either alternative alienates a Republican faction.

  10. 10
    debbie says:

    What is it with this administration and domestic abuse?

  11. 11
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Couldn’t they confer with the Intel community and make redactions?

  12. 12
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Correct. Provided they can get the floor and hold it. This will be subject to the ruling of the chair. The chair, because the GOP has the majority, will always be a Republican.

  13. 13
    TenguPhule says:

    – the entire – Republican staff of the House Permanent Select Committee are under investigation as potential leakers.

    What took them so long to figure this one out?

  14. 14
    Uncle Omar says:

    This whole WH operation reminds me of what Dr. Hunter S. Thompson said about the Muskie campaign in 1972, paraphrasing…”They’re like a bunch of junkies building a rocket ship because somebody told them the craters of the Moon were full of smack.” I miss the good Dr., if only because he would have such a wonderful time with the entire Trump phenomenon and we all would have been massively entertained by his outrage.

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: With whom? The leaders are all Trump appointees.

  16. 16
    TenguPhule says:


    What is it with this administration and domestic abuse?

    They use the Handmaiden’s Tale as a reference guide.

  17. 17
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Trump is a domestic abuser himself and he sets the tone of the organization through his hires?

  18. 18
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    What if the chair was incapacitated?

  19. 19
    TenguPhule says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The entire GOP contingent are criminals.

    Imprison every last one of them.

    And after the trial, heads on fucking pikes.

  20. 20
    patrick II says:

    Rachel Brand’s leaving DOJ is one more reason I have respect for Rod Rosenstein . He has acted as a buffer between Trump and Mueller that others have been unable to bear.

  21. 21
    clay says:

    @Baud: Yeah, at this point the Dem memo (Demo?) is much more worthwhile, politically speaking (which is all this is about), to use as “WHAT IS TRUMP TRYING TO HIDE?!?” than for whatever info it actually contains.

  22. 22
    TenguPhule says:

    If the Republican staff on the HPSCI are still accessing classified information, as was reported, something has gone very, very wrong with the Special Security Officer for the House of Representatives.

    Has anyone checked recently if anyone is still working there?

  23. 23
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: There’s always Nancy Pelosi with whatever rule she used for the 8-hour speech this week. But I find myself wondering whether they will ever “recognize” her to speak in the House ever again, lest she resume speechifying.

    But I agree wth you, we won’t read it into the record. We follow the rules.

  24. 24
    Dmbeaster says:

    Would like to see the Minority Memo, but its a solid talking point that the GOP quashed the rebuttal cause the Nunes Memo is that bad.

    Then compare the Nunes Memo to the case for Iraqi WMD and war against Saddam in which another GOP administration ginned up a phony story and buried the actual contradictory intel.

  25. 25
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Why should the Dems follow the rules when the Republicans won’t?

  26. 26
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

    If @rihanna is dating @chrisbrown again then she has a death wish. A beater is always a beater–just watch!

    11:01 AM – 11 Oct 2012 (link)

    1,293 replies 6,576 retweets 5,515 likes

    As usual, there is a tweet for everything.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: I do not know.

  29. 29
    TenguPhule says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Why should we follow the rules when the Republicans won’t?

    Because unfortunately Republicans give the orders to the people who enforce the rules right now.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:


    It’s like an evil xkcd.

    This would imply there’s a good version of xkcd.

  32. 32
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Well, when you put it like that…

  33. 33
    JMG says:

    Just read the report into the Congressional Record on the floor. Totally protected.

  34. 34
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Take that back

  35. 35
    Baud says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Because about 10% of our potential voters are easily manipulated by the other side. See Election 2016.

  36. 36
    Waldo says:

    I’m thinking this frees the Dems on the committee to refute the Nunes memo without the added burden of having to cite classified documents. Just circle all the lies in red and label them as such. Need proof? Ask Trump. He’s supposedly read it.

  37. 37
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    That’s what Second Amendment Solutions are for silly.

    /somewhat tongue-in-cheek

  38. 38
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: The chair is a different Republican representative at different times of the day depending on what is going on. What are you proposing? Kneecapping 243 members of Congress?

  39. 39
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman: He probably is. Best not to follow up.

  40. 40
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Go to your happy place. Unless your happy place is a place with heads on pikes. If that’s the case, please go to someone else’s happy place.

  41. 41
    Matt says:

    where the first one was very clean relative to sources and methods, my initial cut is this one is a lot less clean

    Translation: “It’s a lot harder to safely release a memo that’s grounded in reality instead of a collection of deliberate lies”

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: Dememo.

  43. 43
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: My contact was unsure who is the SSO for Congress. Thought it might be the House Sergeant at Arms, but I think that doesn’t make much sense.

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: It is called a magic minute.

    Honestly, this is going to play better politically as is. It drives the question of “what are they hiding”?

  45. 45
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    LOL. No, it was just a hypothetical. I didn’t realise the chair wasn’t a permanent position that one person held.
    I thought if some freak accident happened then Dem Reps could seize the floor and start reading the memo into record.

    Although I have wished I was nigh-invulnerable and could scare them a little bit into doing their jobs properly.

  46. 46
    Baud says:

    Apparently I’m going to die if I don’t get an Apple watch.

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: Do you need us to call 911 or the Apple Store?

  48. 48
    Matt McIrvin says:


    Yeah, at this point the Dem memo (Demo?) is much more worthwhile, politically speaking (which is all this is about), to use as “WHAT IS TRUMP TRYING TO HIDE?!?” than for whatever info it actually contains.

    See, our problem is, instead of just saying these things we get all meta-analytic and give the whole game away.


  49. 49
    jl says:

    @Dmbeaster: You are saying that the Nunes Memo is worse than the Rumsfeld briefing with the famous ‘We know where Iraqi WMD are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat’

    That is cold.

  50. 50
    Gravenstone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Dr. Demento?

  51. 51
    jl says:


    ” Apparently I’m going to die if I don’t get an Apple watch. ”

    If you don’t even have an Apple watch, how would you even know what you were/” Sheesh.

  52. 52
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman: No, death is preferable to life without Apple.

  53. 53
    Feebog says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I agree Trumpov holding back the Dem memo may well work to The Democrats advantage. Moreover, the Democrats should not leak it. All this does is to highlight what a complete and utter piece of crap the Nunes memo is.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: I’ll update your file.

  55. 55
    TS says:


    What is it with this administration and domestic abuse?

    The person in charge. Like attracts like.

  56. 56

    The White House — and this admin — are in a state of crisis.

    This statement has been repeated pretty much every week since January 20, 2017.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    This is interesting:

  58. 58
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    You’re such an infidel. The Great and Powerful Google is the only true god.

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Is the military going shoot CIS agents?

  60. 60
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    The Eagles were so paranoid about the Patriots spying on their Super Bowl practices, they held a fake walkthrough at U.S. Bank Stadium before the game to throw off any potential espionage.

    Philly long snapper Rick Lovato told a Tampa radio station this week the Eagles were super-secretive about plays they practiced, including the legendary “Philly Special,” just in case the Patriots were watching.


    “I believe our whole walk-through was just a complete fake walk-through,” he said. “We did it at the stadium. There were certain people walking around … I believe I overheard someone say a lot of the plays we were running weren’t even in the playbook for the Super Bowl.”

    In 2008, the Boston Herald issued an apology for running a story that a Patriots staffer taped the Rams’ walkthrough a day before Super Bowl XXXVI amid Spygate hysteria.

    To this day, players on the Eagles team that lost to the Pats in the Super Bowl XXXIX three years later also claim New England spied on them. True or not, the Eagles were not about to show any prying eyes what they had in store for the big game this year. (link)

    There times during the game when the Pats lined up in the wrong places and they where caught off guard on other plays. This probably explains why.

  61. 61
    Baud says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: I’m actually an Android guy but I’ve heard that Android watches aren’t that good. Never tried any of them myself.

  62. 62
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Well, that’s nice for Dreamers who happened to join the military. Everyone else is fucked of course. So, yay-ish?

  63. 63
    lgerard says:

    It is a sad turn of events when Walmart is considered is considered a more prestigious employer then the US Justice Department.

  64. 64
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: What’re the chances we see an armed ICE/Army standoff?

  65. 65

    @Baud: Talk is cheap, let’s see what he actually does. I don’t know what happened to the veteran who was fasting unto death in immigration detention in Wisconsin?

  66. 66
  67. 67
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    Have we reached the point where

    just shoot me now

    is no longer an overreaction to the Chicken Fired Cheeto regime?

    @Baud: I guess it’s a good thing my employer will be providing me with a fruity phone next week, then?

  68. 68
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Baud: You’ll die if you get one, too.

  69. 69
    Baud says:


    I know we’re all supposed to be cynical know, and not without reason, but I’m still holding out hope. It’s not March yet.

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: What’s a CIS agent? Also, I have no idea.

  71. 71
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    I got one for Christmas a few years back. I wasn’t impressed. I prefer wearing real watches anyway. I was also afraid of scatching the face since that happens to all my watches eventually.

    As an aside, I’ll never understand people who use their phones for time. To me it’s a pain having to fish for it from my pocket rather than turning my arm over and looking at my watch.

  72. 72
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    What’s INS’s new name? I’m tired and may be messing up my acronyms.

  73. 73
    George says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Imprisoning them is too mild of a punishment, but I guess that’s the best that we legally can hope for.

    Keep in mind that not only are members of the GOP and the administration itself evil and corrupt, but many media outlets have acted to normalize the treason and debauchery. On that list are the New York Times, NPR, and an assortment of “centrist” columnists and commentators. I wouldn’t shed a tear if they, too, paid a price eventually for ruining the reputation of America–my country–across the world.

    At some point there has to be drastic repercussions for their behavior.

  74. 74
    Mike J says:

    David the wifebeater Sorensen isn’t related to Ted Sorensen, I hope.

  75. 75
    Baud says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: I use my phone nowadays. I really don’t need to check the time that often.

  76. 76
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    I don’t know about Wisconsin, But there is a man currently being held in Youngstown Ohio by ICE who is doing a hunger strike right now. I haven’t heard anything recently about him. There was a fairly large rally for him a few weeks ago.

  77. 77
  78. 78

    @Baud: INS split into USCIS and ICE. AFAIK, CIS (Center for Immigration Studies) is an anti-immigrant think tank, one of the many in the Tanton network.

  79. 79
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: It’s a start.

  80. 80
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: I would think quite low.

  81. 81
    lamh36 says:

    Kelly told staff to give false account of Porter’s departure: report

  82. 82
    chris says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    people who use their phones for time

    Warren Ellis pointed out that although we have all this tech we have actually regressed to pocket watches and communication by telegram (texts).

  83. 83
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: You have Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and you have Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).

  84. 84
  85. 85
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Uncle Omar:

    I miss the good Dr., if only because he would have such a wonderful time with the entire Trump phenomenon and we all would have been massively entertained by his outrage.

    I feel the same way about Molly Ivins, and for the same reasons.

  86. 86
    mai naem mobile says:

    For the millionth time if any of this shit had happened with Obama, the GOP and Fox would have lynched him several months ago.

  87. 87
    Baud says:


    @Adam L Silverman:

    ICE. That’s what I meant.

  88. 88
    mai naem mobile says:

    @lamh36: Kelly is becoming more and more like his boss.

  89. 89
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Mike J: He should resign.

  90. 90

    @Baud: If you don’t have a fruity phone, a fruity watch is useless.

  91. 91
  92. 92

    @Baud: I don’t trust anything that comes out of the mouth of any of T’s cabinet members. They lie like most people breathe. May be Mattis is the exception to that rule, I don’t know. They have done nothing to earn my trust, especially where immigrants or their rights are concerned. So I will judge him by his actions not words.

  93. 93
    Baud says:

    @schrodingers_cat: That’s a good policy, and one I try to follow also.

  94. 94

    @Baud: I have a AndroidWear watch, I love it.

  95. 95
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike J: Dial it back about three notches.

  96. 96
    Baud says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Even if I did, it’s too pricey.

  97. 97
    Baud says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Samsung? What do you recommend?

  98. 98
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Confederation of Independent Systems. You know, the one Dooku lead? C’mon Adam, get with it.

  99. 99
    Mike J says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I did say it would be wrong.

  100. 100
    japa21 says:

    If this administration had the brains that God gave armadillos, it would release the memo so heavily redacted that nothing in it contradicts the Nunes memo and Trump would have everything else classified.

  101. 101

    @Baud: I have a Asus Zen Watch 2. Samsung’s aren’t AndroidWear, they’re Tizen.

  102. 102
    Corner Stone says:

    Rachel Brand got an offer from WalMart she could not refuse. That seems mighty convenient.

  103. 103
    MomSense says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    If you stop watches like I do, checking the time on your phone is a good thing. Most watches I end up getting rid of after they die but I have kept a few of the pretty ones.

    I did have a swatch that worked for a about six months but then it decided to give up. Replacing the batteries does not work. It’s sad because I would be Bananas Gorilla if I could. I love them so much.

  104. 104
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike J: Fine, notch and a half then please.

  105. 105
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Baud: I had the original Samsung Gear watch. It was surprisingly decent.

  106. 106
    Corner Stone says:

    @japa21: It can’t be redacted. Release it intact or hold it.

  107. 107
    Baud says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: What’s it do?

    @MomSense: I too am a killer of watches.

  108. 108

    @Baud: What is your opinion of Rachel Brand’s departure? There was some speculation about that in the last thread.

  109. 109
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @mai naem mobile: I quit playing the “Can you imagine if Obama had done this?” game last spring. My imagination dried up.

  110. 110

    @Baud: Tells time, give you notifications, counts steps, make and receive calls(via bluetooth)…

    ETA: The only problem I have with Android Wear at this point is all the new watches are round, I like square watch faces.

  111. 111

    @schrodingers_cat: She could no longer resist the allure of Walmart’s price Rollback.

  112. 112
    Baud says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Doesn’t sound to me like a high-level enough position for her to leave of everything were hunky dory at DOJ.

  113. 113
    Baud says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Aside from steps, probably not something I would find useful.

  114. 114
    MomSense says:


    Oh wow. My grandmother was too but she was the only other person I’ve known.

  115. 115
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: You can also change the watchface to the watch from GoldenEye, if that floats your boat.

    Alternately, the health readout from Fallout. I understand some discerning and classy people like that.

  116. 116
    japa21 says:

    @Corner Stone: Does anybody have any idea what had to be declassified in the Nunes memo?

  117. 117
    JPL says:

    I just heard the end of Benjamin Wittes on Rachel’s show, and he said he was sad to see Rachel go, but pleased she will not be there when the apocalypse comes.
    As I said I only caught the end, but should I buy water and other supplies? wtf

  118. 118
    Baud says:

    @MomSense: I have a very nice collection of broken watches.

  119. 119
    Chet Murthy says:

    @chris: You youngsters have, yes. We old farts still use our “phones” for “phone” calls and even video calls.

  120. 120
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @MomSense: My main watch is a digital Casio with a plastic band. Nothing particularly fancy but it does have every single time zone programmed into it, as well as day and date display, with a little world map that shows what time zone the watch is set to. I haven’t had to worry about changing the battery yet and I’ve had it for almost six years now. Apparently the battery is good for 10 years.

  121. 121
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    @Mike J: Meh. Old gop trick. Each time a Rumsfeld scandal emerged he would offer to resign. The Village eats it up. They view the mere offer as sufficient penance (atleast from republicans).

  122. 122

    @Baud: This is like Kremlinology but what does this mean for the Mueller investigation?

  123. 123

    @MisterForkbeard: I designed my own watch faces, using pictures that I’ve taken(natch).

    ETA: Right now the background is a sunset shot of DTLA.

  124. 124
    Baud says:


    Not much yet. Rosenstein is the key.

  125. 125

    Domestic abuse is built into the Republican ethos. Their positions on rape, sexual harassment, all marriage and parenthood issues either accommodate or encourage domestic abuse. Protecting domestic abuse is a specific, major political plank for evangelicals. The ‘I’m hurting you to help you’ logic that Republicans use in most of their arguments is the way abusers think. Like a lot of Trump’s other horrible traits, this is no accident.

  126. 126

    People with watches, where do you go to replace watch batteries?

  127. 127
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @japa21: Other than some information regarding Christopher Steele and his relationship with the FBI, I cannot figure out what in the Nunes memo needed to be classified. If you go to the link to my write up on it in the post up top, you can see my full take on it.

  128. 128

    @Chet Murthy: I hate talking on the phone.

  129. 129
    Corner Stone says:

    @JPL: Wittes is not a man to be trusted on much of anything.

  130. 130
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Where a live, there’s kiosk with a drive through in a parking lot where you can leave your watch off and they’ll change the battery for you.

  131. 131
    Corner Stone says:

    @japa21: My understanding is they hung Chris Steele out to dry and nothing else held up for any security reasons.

  132. 132
    JPL says:

    @Corner Stone: Phew Just listening to end of his interview was a tad disconcerting.

  133. 133
    danielx says:

    Republican cheerleaders during their pursuit of the Clenis….

    RULE OF LAW! RULE OF LAW! RULE OF LAW! TOTAL TRANSPARENCY! Meaning everybody in the state of Arkansas is liable to a court ordered colonoscopy!

  134. 134
    Jay S says:

    Being under investigation for leaking is cause for suspension of access until the investigation is complete. If the Republican staff on the HPSCI are still accessing classified information, as was reported, something has gone very, very wrong with the Special Security Officer for the House of Representatives.

    This presumes a formal investigation by this clown show. I would expect this to be a Nunes special “investigation” and not necessarily concerning classified info or even “leaking” in house across the aisle and part of the stimulus for the rumor of building a wall between Democratic and Republican staffers.

  135. 135

    @schrodingers_cat: A jewelry store in the mall replaces watch batteries for $11, battery included.

  136. 136
    Jay S says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Jewelry stores that sell watches usually have a service to replace batteries.
    ETA if you do it yourself most department stores have the batteries. Some watches require special tools to open and they are available online and at some specialty stores.

  137. 137
    Redshift says:

    “This is a different memo than the first one, it’s lengthier, well it’s different, so not learning toward it,” Kelly told reporters.

    Translation: it’s not Fox-baiting bullshit.

  138. 138
    frosty says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Hard to tell time on your phone when you’re in a meeting and you turn it off to avoid interruptions. So I wear a watch. With hands.

  139. 139
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @schrodingers_cat: He totally is! Thanks for the link. I’ve been kinda too busy to look at eye candy lately :(

  140. 140
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Nice! I confess that I went with the GoldenEye watch face for a long time before I went to something custom.

  141. 141
    frosty says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Jewelry store. I had it done at mall kiosk years ago and they ruined the seal and the watch. The local high-end (not chain) store charges $15.

  142. 142
    Redshift says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:

    Trump is a domestic abuser himself and he sets the tone of the organization through his hires?

    It’s not disqualifying for Trump, so they can’t take it into account for anyone else they hire. Until it becomes a PR problem.

  143. 143
    BC in Illinois says:

    When Valerie Plame published her book, the CIA redacted it front to back, even eliminating material – – such as her service in Greece – – that were already on the public record. So they published a two-part book. One part was written by Plame, with the remaining CIA redactions indicated by being blacked out. For the second part, they hired another author, forbade her from any contact with Plame, and had her write as complete a history of Valerie Plame’s life as possible. Entirely from the public record and that writers own interviews. Not submitted to the CIA for review at all; including much public material that we redacted by the CIA.

    As I have heard it described, the Democratic memo does several things:
    1) Show the “arsenal of evidence” (beyond the dossier) that went into getting a warrant to surveil Carter Page;
    2) Give an accurate, detailed timeline;
    3) Highlight the seriousness of the threat that Russia posed during the election.

    The Democratic staffers could put together a public domain imitation memo, that would . . .
    1) make all of those points;
    2) say “We could show you more, but they won’t let us”: and
    3) ask “Why are they afraid that we would give you this information?”

  144. 144
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay S: It’s a formal ethics investigation of the Republican members of the committee staff for leaking.

  145. 145
    Redshift says:

    Rep. Jim Himes is on Rachel Maddow, saying in so many words that blocking the memo proves Trump doesn’t act in the public interest or the interest of justice, only in his own interest.

    Also that the Nunes memo was so laughably false that the Dem memo isn’t actually needed to refute it, so the main result of all this is the question of why Trump won’t release it.

    Good thing to point to when the inevitable whining starts about why “the Democrats” aren’t saying this stuff.

  146. 146
    MomSense says:


    I do too- a watch graveyard.

  147. 147
    lamh36 says:

    Hmm…the North and South Korean Olympics delegation march as one “nation” heh…so this is the part where Pence stayed seated?

  148. 148
    lamh36 says:

    So if the song sung was the anthem for both North & South Korea? Pence’s seating is not just an slap to North Korea, but also a insult in the face for South Korea for entertaining them?

  149. 149
    Old Dan and Little Anne says:

    @Jay S: We have a fancy jewelry store near our house. My wife and I have both dropped off her $50 dollar watch for battery replacement. The people who worked there were Assholes. I sure as Fuck wasn’t in there to buy a fancy watch and they knew it.

  150. 150
    J R in WV says:

    On this watch thing, I got to where I was looking at my wrist ALL the time, and decided to stop. The car has a clock, my computer at work had a clock AND an appointment tool that would ding however many minutes you set it for before a scheduled meeting, and the house has computers AND clocks. That meeting notifier saved my butt more times than I like to admit. I got to where I would look at it before I left my office to talk to someone.

    For being in the woods and wanting to get back out before pitch dark, I got (from my mom) an LL Bean pocket watch, which I’ve had for many years. No battery, wind it, set the hands, it tells the time privately in your pocket. I only pick it up for hiking etc. Now it’s more of a memento of my mom. Mid 1970s, so a long time ago now.

    I don’t want any fruity computer gear, strictly Linux right now.

  151. 151
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Future Drumpf tweet:

    I don’t know General Kelly. I never met him. He was a low-level volunteer. I’ve seen him a few times, but barely knew him. I wouldn’t recognize him if he were in this room.”

  152. 152
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @lamh36: One of the most important thing I learned from working on Interagency teams with senior State Department officials is a diplomatic concept about establishing a reality. The reason official statements, visits, meetings, negotiations, etc are all so meticulously choreographed is that in the realm of international affairs and diplomacy if something is said or done it becomes an established reality. This joint procession is an excellent example.

    Kim Jong Un has three primary strategic goals:
    1) The development of a functional nuclear weapons program as a deterrent. Specifically as a deterrent to the US.
    2) The reunification of the two different Koreas into one Korea on a unified peninsula. Specifically under the rule of Kim Jong Un and under the system extant within the DPRK, not the ROK.
    3) The removal of the US from the peninsula. Specifically US military personnel and bases.

    By having a single Korean delegation march to open the olympics, what Kim has been able to achieve is create the diplomatic and international affairs reality of a unified Korea. This is significant. And the follow ons and second, third, and fourth order effects of this will be felt down the road.

  153. 153
    Amir Khalid says:

    That North and South Korea see themselves as one nation, divided but seeking peaceful coexistence, certainly complicates any American belligerence towards the former.

  154. 154
    patrick II says:

    Does anyone but me suspect that such a great offer to the number three at justice might be politically motivated? Not that the Walton family -the richest in the U.S. and opponents of most taxes, especially inheritance taxes , would do such a thing to help Trump.

  155. 155
    J R in WV says:


    Can’t you just set your phone to airline mode so it won’t connect to the cell network? I di that when I fly… actually I turn my phone on when I want to use it, to look something up or make a call. Mostly it stays turned off – you wouldn’t believe the battery life I get!!

  156. 156
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    The way I understand it, the DRPK has trouble feeding and governing it’s own population. What makes it think it could govern the entire peninsula effectively?

  157. 157
    Corner Stone says:

    @Amir Khalid: I wonder if South Korea is energized to accept reunification as much as Germany was with East Germany.

  158. 158
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    I love my watches. I have Batman, Superman and Star Wars watches that were made by Fossil. I also have Disney and Swatch watches. I love watches that have a theme to them.

  159. 159
    frosty says:

    @J R in WV: Yes, I can probably do that — hadn’t thought about it. I leave it on vibrate all the time anyway, which is quiet enough. Mostly I’m the opposite of you; I like a watch and for me it’s easier to flip my wrist than to dig out the phone or find the nearest appliance with a clock.

  160. 160
    JR says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Time to call the Estates General!

  161. 161
    lamh36 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So does Chump gov’t see this “unification” as a nudge to the US from both North & South Korea, as the later having a low respect for the current US admin? Because I think I saw somone on CNN say that Chump et al, were pissed at the South Koreans for basically orchestrating the positions of Pence and the North Koreans (i.e. the sister) so that they were seated closer together than they needed to be..

  162. 162
    Amir Khalid says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷:
    Kim Jong Un doesn’t give a flying fuck about feeding or governing North Koreans, only about ruling them. And his family’s dream of unifying Korea under its rule is precisely that: a dream. North Korea is not about to conquer a country on which it is so dependent.

  163. 163
    Jay S says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The sole source I have seen for that is Rep Tom Rooney, who says it is OCE and they don’t comment on investigations. I don’t know if he has the juice to know that there is a formal investigation going or what the ethics complaint alleges. More details on the wall here: and how OCE works here: So would an OCE investigation trigger a suspension of security clearance? Would that happen just because of a complaint, or would their need to be some verification that the claims are believable? Are there some leaks that would not be a security concern, like which jerk is trying to gin up a dubious memo, that might be looked at as an ethical breach.

  164. 164
    mai naem mobile says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I had a nice perpetual date Seiko watch which i loved and I used to take it to a Sears closest to my house because they had an old school watch repair guy who knew what he was doing . They closed the Sears and I went to one of those kiosks at a mall and the guy luckily knew what he was doing. Fast forward, the kiosk wasn’t around for the next time, I went to three places who told me they didn’t do that(I hadn’t realized this watch was such a big deal.) Took it to a strip center jewelry place. The girl had no idea what she was doing. Ruined the watch. I have a Victorinox watch now. I take it to a watch repair only brick and mortar place. He charges $5 plus the battery. If you love the watch go to a watch place not some kiosk or generic jewelry store.

  165. 165
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Do not let facts and reality get in the way of how Kim and his enablers see the world.

  166. 166
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @lamh36: I don’t know. Give how the current administration is staffed, I’m not sure there’s anyone who understands this in any position of authority. And the people at State that do still understand this are most likely not being listened to.

  167. 167
    patrick II says:

    I just saw a TV ad for an Easter Sunday special presentation of Jesus Christ Superstar starring John Legend in the title role . I imagine the people who object to a black Santa Claus really won’t be happy with a black Jesus Christ Superstar on Easter Sunday.

  168. 168
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay S: Any investigation, especially one involving leaking information, should do so.

  169. 169
    lamh36 says:

    So North and South Korea will join as one nation for Ice Hockey…and two team mates from that team carrying the torch to the last person who wil llight the torch…Olympic figure skating champion from South Korea… her name escapes me…

  170. 170
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Remember that the states of the DRD (East Germany) were absorbed into the BRD (West Germany). The North is in no position to take the South by conquest, and I can’t imagine the South peacefully acquiescing to being ruled from the fucked-up North. The only way I can see Korean reunification happening is through some process like Germany’s (approval by plebiscite on both sides, followed by extensive diplomatic lobbying to secure international approval, etc.) but obviously all this is not going to happen while the Kim dynasty remain the kings of the North.

  171. 171
    patrick II says:

    @mai naem mobile:
    I have a Citizen Eco watch. The battery is charged by light. I have had it for 5 years , no new batteries and it keeps time to the second.

  172. 172
    mad citizen says:

    From waaay back at towards the top of this thread, that pic of Mattis: those are some HUGE bags under the eyes! Maybe if one is honorable that’s what happens in you find yourself in this administration.

  173. 173
    Jay S says:

    @Old Dan and Little Anne: Obviously they are signaling that they don’t value your business, for this or anything else you might want in the future. I might take the hint, or go back with small stuff just to annoy them. Depends on my mood. I’ve never really had that experience, but I don’t frequent jewelry stores much. The ones that I have gone to have been helpful even in small transactions probably under the premiss that they may get a bigger sale later. I definitely wouldn’t spend much money or time there if I were treated badly.

  174. 174
    Jay S says:

    @patrick II: I have a Casio solar rechargeable. The batteries are supposed to be good for ten years or so and mine is close to end of life, Given newer batteries for new watches that claim a ten year life, a solar rechargeable may less sense these days.

  175. 175
    Mnemosyne says:

    @patrick II:

    Traditionally, that particular show casts a white Jesus and a black Judas. I wonder if they’ve reversed the casting entirely or if both leads will be black.

    As with 99 percent of Jesus-based stories, Judas actually has the meatier part.

  176. 176
    Wag says:

    xkcd is the best!

  177. 177
    randy khan says:


    Same as most people, a jewelry store. Most watches you probably could buy the batteries and the tool to open the back online if you wanted, but it’s just as easy to go to a random jewelry store.

    One of my watches, unbeknownst to me at the time I bought it, actually has a battery that’s hard to replace, so I have to take it to a fairly fancy jewelry store to replace the battery, and they send it out. But it’s a very nice watch, so it’s worth it.

  178. 178
    Old Dan and Little Anne says:

    @Jay S: Going back just to be annoying is something I find funny. But that ain’t happening. They were robbed several years ago. That was also funny.

  179. 179
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jay S: I have an aunt who loves jewelry and dresses like a homeless person. Her husband customarily wears jeans and a flannel shirt. Their local jeweler sends chocolates on my aunt’s birthday. Some jewelers are smart.

    On the watches thing, take it to a good jeweler. I have three an LL Bean field watch that I have had for maybe 25 years, a decent Seiko, and a fancy Maurice LaCroix. The Bean gets the most wear.

  180. 180
    Poptartacus says:

    That cock

  181. 181
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    NK may imagine they’ll run the show of a unified Korea, but the reality is they’ll be swallowed whole, just as the DDR was by the BRD. Kim has no realistic hope of a unified Korea under his rule. His best option is to perpetuate the status quo, with nuclear deterrence of the US and detente with the ROK.

  182. 182
    randy khan says:


    The recent production of Jesus Christ Superstar by Signature Theatre here in D.C. cast a black Jesus and a white Judas. (Also a woman as Herod, which was kind of interesting.) Signature is a pretty big deal as regional theater companies go – they won the regional theater Tony a while back and the artistic director directs on Broadway and for national tours on occasion (and was in charge of the Kennedy Center’s Sondheim festival a while back). I wonder if that had some influence.

    Also, John Legend as Jesus should be pretty good.

  183. 183
    randy khan says:

    @Jay S:

    I’ve never really had that experience, but I don’t frequent jewelry stores much. The ones that I have gone to have been helpful even in small transactions probably under the premiss that they may get a bigger sale later.

    My wife and I have a friend who works in Tiffany’s executive offices. She told us once that the salespeople specifically are trained to treat people in ratty jeans and t-shirts the same as people in expensive clothes because some of those people in ratty jeans have a lot of money.

  184. 184
    Captain C says:

    What happens if South Korea (and Japan) announce that they will not permit their territory or airspace to be used in any Trumpist bloody nose attack?

  185. 185
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @randy khan: See above. My uncle has dropped $25k on a ring – in central WI.

    Also, the big auction houses have given similar advice. Someone in ratty clothes may be coming in to action off the family Degas.

  186. 186
    burnspbesq says:

    Read how the Committee minority can, should, and must respond.

  187. 187
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    We old farts still use our “phones” for “phone” calls and even video calls.

    You’re a regular Dick Tracey!

  188. 188
    Jay S says:

    @randy khan: Yes, I rarely dress up but am usually well treated most places. I was only dissed once that I recall at a lunch in a high end restaurant. The waiter was definitely not impressed, but neither was I when I crossed my legs and hit the underside of the table with my jeans and found fresh gum stuck to them.

  189. 189
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Captain C: That is a very complicated and tricky question. They’d be abrogating treaties, for one thing, long standing treaties they rely on for their own security. The thing is, they may decide that a US led by Trump is just not in their own security interest any more…he’s just too unstable.

  190. 190
    Procopius says:

    Well, Rob Porter, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the White House, who just resigned because he beat the shit out of his wives, did not have a security clearance because of the accusations in his divorce proceedings (it was not denied, just still under review). This did not seem to prevent him from attending classified briefings or reading classified documents, apparently of the highest level. This kind of supports my belief that 90% of classified documents should not be classified at all and the remaining 10% should mostly be downgraded to Confidential and all of them should be stamped in red, “***WARNING** Just because this information is classified does not mean it is true or accurate ***WARNING ***” If you don’t remember it, look up what Daniel Ellsburg tried to tell Henry Kissinger.

  191. 191
    Another Scott says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The ROK has its reasons for wanting the team to be united, too, of course.

    There’s history of Germany having a united Olympic team for several Olympiads.

    Cyprus competes under a united flag, too (but that situation is admittedly different.)

    The “good guys” don’t necessarily lose in having a united national team with the “bad guys”. I don’t see a problem with it, and in fact it can and has reduced tensions so it’s a good thing in my view.

    My $0.02.


  192. 192
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @lamh36: Kim Yuna. (Or Yuna Kim, Western-style.) I remember it because there was a girl on my block who had the same name when I was a kid.

  193. 193
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Another Scott: There was also a post-Soviet “Unified Team” competing under the Olympic flag in the first Olympics after the USSR broke up.

  194. 194
    Another Scott says:

    @Amir Khalid: I think that’s right.

    China would have to be on board, too, and maybe even Russia (since Russia shares a small border with the DPRK). China made it clear 70 some odd years ago that they would not tolerate US troops on their border, so any sort of reunification would likely also entail eventual withdrawal of US troops. I’m sure most/all Koreans would be happy with that (the north, obviously), and the south too if there were no longer a threat from the Kim cult in the DPRK.

    It’s a generations-long challenge, most likely. But the speed of German reunification wasn’t predicted, so who knows?

    Is there a Helmut Kohl in the ROK that could make it happen if the time came?


  195. 195
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Another Scott: German reunification probably happened too quickly.

  196. 196
    Another Scott says:

    @randy khan: There’s a similar story that rural banks won’t lend to new farmers who show up in a suit and tie for a loan because the bank figures they’re new and don’t know what they’re doing. Yet old Farmer Orval shows up in his torn overalls and muddy boots has no trouble getting the $1M loan for a new combine and the year’s seed and chemicals…

    (“Who heard stories about his high school friend being shadowed by the guards in Tiffany’s when he went in to look around…”)

  197. 197
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Another Scott: No, they have no Helmut Kohl that I can think of. The South has more people, and a much larger economy, than the North. The South will dominate. No way the North will unless it’s at gunpoint in the rubble.

  198. 198
    Jay S says:

    (“Who heard stories about his high school friend being shadowed by the guards in Tiffany’s when he went in to look around…”)

    He should have asked about watch batteries.

  199. 199
    Aleta says:

    @lamh36: Like you say, Pence refusing to stand is such an insult to the host, So. Korea. It’s embarrassing to see him think and act this way toward the athletes, in front of South Koreans and Asians.

    To me, the marching together seems a gesture with good meaning to start the Olympics, which is important in Asia.

    @Adam L Silverman: South Korea is the one who’s in charge of its meaning. They’re more conscious than anyone of the balance. It would be paternalistic (or worse) to assume they don’t understand their choice.

  200. 200
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    “well it’s different, so not learning toward it,” Kelly told reporters.

    The Week have quietly redacted their page to read “not leaning” rather than “not learning”, though both would have been correct.

  201. 201
    GeoWHayduke says:

    @Uncle Omar:

    George Carlin too.

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