EVERYTHING IS FINE THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL

Sweet fancy moses:

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.

As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference.

The this, from a real meeting of the minds:

“I’m going to ask you, are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?” Pirro asked.

Trump did not exactly deny it although he was very clear he found the Times report insulting.

In response to Pirro, Trump said this: “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you’d see that they found absolutely nothing. But the headline of that article, it’s called ‘The failing New York Times’ for a reason, they’ve gotten me wrong for three years. They’ve actually gotten me wrong for many years before that.”

I dunno for sure if he is an agent, but were I asked the question, my answer would be “No, I am not.”

I’ve hedged my bets the last couple of years, suspecting there was Russian influence, but now I am starting to be convinced there is a real there, there. The real question for me is how deep into the ranks of the GOP does the influence go. We know Trump’s orbit, the NRA, and a number of GOP Senators and House members are bought and paid for.






215 replies
  1. 1

    I dunno for sure if he is an agent, but were I asked the question, my answer would be “No, I am not.”

    This puzzles me. He lies about everything else. So easy to say “No, I am not.”

  2. 2

    I am not a David Frum fan, but this is how meetings between US presidents and Soviet/Russian heads of state have been conducted.

  3. 3
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Not like he was under oath or anything.

  4. 4
    germy says:

    Weird that this feels like old news already.

  5. 5
    TriassicSands says:

    Trump is both stupid and corrupt in equal measure. He doesn’t need to intentionally work for Putin and the Russians — he’s the ideal dupe and he might well be of more use to Putin as a dupe than as an actual declared covert agent. Given how stupid Trump is, Putin is probably better off manipulating Trump — and no one is easier to manipulate than Trump — than he would be enlisting him as an actual accomplice. Maybe someday we’ll know the truth.

  6. 6
    Bruuuuce says:

    Bluster and counterattack are SO the actions of an innocent man. [/sarcasm]

    As usual, the shame and sorrow is that while most rational people understand this, the rabid base eats it up, thinking it shows his strength.

  7. 7

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    This puzzles me. He lies about everything else. So easy to say “No, I am not.”

    This puzzles you because you are not a narcissist. You are used to people lying strategically, as part of an attempt at rational planning. Trump doesn’t do that. Trump lies because he’s telling you what he wants to be true at that particular moment. That means anything he has trouble lying about is important. This is an issue that sticks in his heart and he emotionally does not want to deny. He operates on WANT WANT WANT, and when he has to say something he does not want to say, he evades or goes back on it afterwards. Look at the things where the useful lie is obvious and he wasn’t able to rattle it off, and you will find out what Trump truly cares about.

  8. 8
    PeakVT says:

    @TriassicSands: We should do some kind of ranked poll of motivations: dictator envy, reciprocity for past loans, trolling the libs, ongoing cash on the nightstand, stupidity, blazing ignorance, etc. I am sure there is more than one reason but I can’t decided which is the most important.

  9. 9
    dmsilev says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well, he was talking to “Judge” Pirro, so maybe he got confused on that point.

  10. 10
    Cermet says:

    There is essentially zero doubt that the orange fart cloud sold the US out to putin the murdering ex-KGB bastard; worse, the reptilian party is so desperate for control, they’ve gone along with that, no issue whats-so-ever. Ray-gun would roll over in his grave if the worms eating his putrid soul gave him room to do it. That brain dead to start reptilian president simply created the conditions that enabled the orange fart cloud inevitable betrayal – that is, ray-gun having his party join butt to mouth the the fake religious right was bound to lead to this situation.

  11. 11
    Wag says:

    The real question for me is how deep into the ranks of the GOP does the influence go.

    It’s turtles all the way down

  12. 12
    TriassicSands says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    This puzzles me. He lies about everything else. So easy to say “No, I am not.”

    Which is why a Trump denial would be meaningless. Having revealed himself to be a pathological liar, Trump’s word is utterly worthless. Nothing he says can be believed, so a denial here wouldn’t mean anything.

    An honest person, insulted by the question, might have responded, “I won’t even dignify that question with a response.”

    Any claim by Trump to be insulted is most likely a lie as well. At this point, he is probably completely inured to accusations of dishonesty, corruption, etc. He knows he’s dishonest. He knows he’s corrupt. So, any claim to being insulted is almost certainly just another lie. Would Ted Bundy have been insulted if someone accused him of being a serial killer?

  13. 13
    Mai Naem mobile says:

    I was watching Fox & Friends this AM and the Peter Hegseth character said but ofcourse its perfectly normal for POTUS to hide communications with Putin. Seriously? WTfuckity fuck? Jeezus,if Obama even Biden had done any of this shit Fox Newz would be running a countdown clock to impeachment.

  14. 14
    Adrift says:

    I am interested in what appears to be the least talked about component of this entire conspiracy. The single dedicated Trump Tower – Alfa Bank server set up. It seems to have been briefly mentioned and then dropped off the radar completely.

  15. 15
    Immanentize says:

    I don’t generally repost from dead threads, but this is right on point here — from below:

    Frank Bruni has a “we have to do better” column in the NYTimes today. It starts on the front page of the week in review section and continues on page three — the entire page! Two full columns in the dead tree version (which yes I get delivered every day) with a graphic in the middle between the two columns top to bottom. That is a metric shit ton of column inches and words. And I could say a LOT about what he wrote (complaining about false equivalencies while at the same time spouting both-siderisms, for one).

    But the really amazing thing? In this entire long, valuable real estate “thought piece” about the media’s handling of the 2016 election and what that means for 2020 — one word is the most incredible to consider by it’s complete absence:
    “Russia.” They all missed the biggest political story of our age and can’t even mention it today.
    Incroyable mais vrais

  16. 16
    Ruckus says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:
    Wouldn’t have explained it exactly this way, but THIS
    One doesn’t have a normal conversation with a narcissist. It’s a string of whatever misdirection falls out of their mouths, whatever convenient lie works in the moment. One that is actually an issue for the narcissist, such as being a russian asset is to drumpf, will never be easy to lie about for them. It’s not that they will tell the truth or anything close but the easy lie, that which rolls off the tongue like an exhale normally for them, they can’t manage, because this is actually something they think about. And it pisses them off to have to say anything about the truth because that means they have been caught.

  17. 17
    debbie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I don’t even understand the dispute about whether he is an asset or an agent. He’s not the Manchuria Candidate. He knows fucking full well what he has done and he doesn’t care.

  18. 18
    wvng says:

    @Adrift: I am hearing discussions of the Trump T —>Alpha Bank connection in recent days, mostly on MSNBC brought up by former FBI experts like Frank Figliuzzi.

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    Cole, you forgot to add ENJOY THE RIDE.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    TriassicSands says:

    @PeakVT:
    Therein lies madness. Trying to figure out the motivations of a person like Trump may be dangerous to one’s mental health. I doubt even Trump has managed to get his motivations straight. Trump lies to everyone about everything. I suspect that is just as true of himself.

    All of your suggestions make sense. The hardest to pin down might be “dictator envy,” but I expect that is important to Trump. Right now he knows that Putin could simply order a wall built without even needing the pretense of a phony national emergency. It must really gall Trump that constitutional niceties stand in the way of simply doing what he wants. He must have been warned that he may run afoul of the Constitution if he tries to pull the “national emergency” scam to get his wall built. So, he keeps threatening to do that in the hope that the Congress, always fearful of constitutional crises, will lose their nerve and give in.

  22. 22
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Denying that publicly would be akin to Judas denying Jesus, wouldn’t it?

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: His staff will have him do so. It took trump a few days to change his story about Charlottesville.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    sukabi says:

    I think we can be reasonably sure that whatever drumpf has on Graham is significantly more damaging than having taken Russian $$$ or his closet status.

    From a guy who was a JAG officer, this is quite a statement.

    Lindsey Graham rips FBI over report Trump was suspected Russian agent: ‘I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them’

  26. 26
    oldgold says:

    This is an interesting observation.

    Benjamin Wittes
    @benjaminwittes
    Here’s a question I posed on the emergency podcast yesterday which I am now posing more generally: If I were a senior FBI official and I had just opened a CI sub file on POTUS, one thing I would make damn sure of is that the Gang of Eight knew.

    Remember this extraordinary photo of Grassley and Feinstein coming out of a briefing in March of 2017.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/PanamStyle/status/1084433613196849152/photo/1

  27. 27
    Immanentize says:

    @WaterGirl:
    Peter? Judas was the betrayer, Peter was the denier. But I kind of like your analogy. Trump is more loyal to Putin than Peter, the rock upon which the church is built.

  28. 28
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @sukabi: reposted from below
    I think the theme song for this clip, when it goes viral as I’m sure it will, should be the Queen/Bowie “Under Pressure”

    Jason Johnson @ DrJasonJohnson
    -LindseyGrahamSC just got fact checked by Chris Wallace on FoxNews about WHY senate rules for judicial appointees were changed. The result? Graham pulled off his mic and ended the interview in a huff
    -The fact check: LindseyGrahamSC continues the lie that Reid changed the rules for appointments to stop conservative judges. The GOP refused to even VOTE on many Obama appointees if Reid hadn’t lowered the threshold 44 would’ve had essentially not judges on the bench

    if Graham is running away from FoxNews….

  29. 29

    @debbie: I am more cautious about judging Trump’s mental state and what he “knows”.

    He’s not a Manchurian Candidate in that he hasn’t been brainwashed or had a chip implanted.

    But he is manipulable. He clearly admires Putin. There are any number of levers Putin has on him, starting with that admiration.

    Is he thinking “I can make Putin happy by shutting the government down” [or any other heinous act he wants to take]? Is he thinking, “Here is the list of things I must do to attain my and Putin’s goals”? The first is manipulation, the second is being an agent. I don’t know what he’s thinking.

    But his actions benefit Russia and Putin, over and over again. I don’t care what he’s thinking. Asset is the more general word. I’ll stick with it.

  30. 30
    Lapassionara says:

    I’m worried that we are headed to war with Iran. Trump needs a diversion, and war with Iran might just be the diversion he needs.

  31. 31

    @JPL: It will be interesting to see if that happens. I’ll bet that it doesn’t. The staff have been, more or less, asked about this in the past, and their answers have been as evasive as Trump’s.

  32. 32
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: There are any number of levers Putin has on him, starting with that admiration.

    the extent to which trump is manipulable (if that’s a word) is hard to overstate. During one of the meetings with Schumer and Pelosi, pre-shutdown, he insisted that Schumer read the letters from Kim-Jong Un as proof of what a “fantastic job” he’s doing. Apparently KJU addresses him “Your Excellency”. This is more important to him than anything actually happening on the ground with nukes on the penninsula.

  33. 33
    Ruckus says:

    @debbie:
    It isn’t that he doesn’t care. If it was he’d lie easily about all of it.
    He actually does care. Not in any way close to how a normal person would care, if he did that he wouldn’t be him. He actually does care about this, it’s important to him. Not in the way it’s important to us of course but to him this is mission critical to his survival. He finds himself cornered, because he’s lied his way into being rich, but he’s cash poor and business inept and there is only one place in the world that will loan him money. Russia. And they want things for doing that. It’s not that he has a problem doing anything as long as he gets what he wants, but in this case he can not brag about it, talk about it, even casually lie about it. That’s why it’s so difficult for him to just deny it.
    This is important to him. He’s spent his entire life lying as easily as you and I breathe. It’s automatic to him, he doesn’t really think about it, which is why he will tell two different lies about something in no time at all. There’s no thought to it. This he has to think about and that means he has to control what comes out of his mouth. As one can see, he’s not good at that. For normal people it is said, just tell the truth, it’s the easiest thing to remember. He’s not capable of that, misdirection is his life, and telling the truth works against him.

  34. 34
    TriassicSands says:

    @sukabi:

    I suspect that Graham’s former status as a JAG officer is probably far less important now than is his current status as a Trump-supporting Republican senator. (Where Republican has many synonyms. Among them are: dishonest, corrupt, anti-democratic, racist, etc.)

    Once again, trying to pin down the motivations of people as corrupt, dishonest, and hypocritical as Trump and Graham can be nearly impossible. On the other hand, the motivations of McConnell are far easier to discern. P O W E R and
    C O N T R O L through whatever means possible.

  35. 35
    sukabi says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: almost as remarkable as Chris Wallace doing his homework so he can fact check. He’s been doing more of that recently. I wonder if that’s connected to Colbert fact checking him a few weeks ago on the Late Show.

  36. 36
    joel hanes says:

    @TriassicSands:

    He knows he’s dishonest. He knows he’s corrupt.

    “That makes me smart.”

    Trump’s values were formed in the mobbed-up NY real estate scene. He admires wise guys, and imagines himself as the Capo dei Capi, the Big Don. Doing favors for the powerful and demanding obeisance from the powerless is his morality.

    He literally does not understand why the rest of us would object.

  37. 37
    sukabi says:

    @TriassicSands: Graham exudes a huge amount of fear. He looks like a cornered animal.

  38. 38
    JPL says:

    @oldgold: Which member of the gang of eight has been talking to the press.. hmm
    It could easily be a republican who is trying to save his party. haha Not a republican..

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @sukabi: I always think that if there were anything on LG’s personal life, it would have leaked by now, I think he is, to use the vocabulary of some very weird people, voluntarily celibate. I think like so many of his peers, he really fucking loves being a Senator– there’s a real cult of the Senate among it’s members– and loves being “relevant”, as he is said to have put it to people, he loves being on TV, loves being treated as a player. And playing internet psychologist for a moment: His life is empty if he’s not a Senator.

  41. 41
    clay says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Good Lord!

    Since The Sopranos is in the news lately, that story reminds me of the time the gang went to Italy. Paulie visited a prostitute, who called him “commendatori”, and he’s so taken with it that he tries to get everyone else to say it as well.

    In other words, Trump is no smarter than Paulie Walnuts.

  42. 42
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @clay: Paulie had better hair, a natural tan, and was good to this mother.

    HBO was rerunning some episodes last week, and I stumbled on to the one where Paulie goes to a psychic. Probably one of the funniest moment in the series.

  43. 43
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: Yes, I meant Peter! Thank you for the correction.

    edit: the nuns who taught me all through grade school are surely rolling in their graves. as well as my two aunts who were nuns. this is what happens when you are a “fallen away” catholic.

  44. 44
    Brachiator says:

    @Lapassionara:

    I’m worried that we are headed to war with Iran. Trump needs a diversion, and war with Iran might just be the diversion he needs.

    Apparently, Bolton tried to deliver on this.

    President Donald Trump’s National Security Council asked for military options on striking Iran in response to that country’s support of insurgents in Iraq, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

    The NSC, under national security adviser John Bolton, made the request after militants aligned with Iran fired three mortar rounds into the diplomatic section of Baghdad, which includes the U.S. embassy, according to the report. The mortars landed in a vacant lot and no one was injured.

    The Journal reported that the Pentagon developed plans for a strike on Iran in response to the NSC request, but it is unclear if those plans were shared with the White House or with Trump.

    Unnamed sources told the Journal that the request raised alarm within the Defense Department and the State Department.

    Trump talks tough, but he doesn’t seem eager to actually send troops anywhere. He also kinda campaigned on the idea that US military intervention in Iraq was a bad idea.

    I also don’t think that this kind of diversion would work for him. Some of his base might be asked why they are not volunteering for the noble war.

  45. 45
    SFAW says:

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    One or more of the legal-eagle Juicers have said that, because we are not at War with Russia, the means the Traitor-in-Chief could not be charged with Treason. But, not being a legal eagle mineself, what I want to know is: where is it defined that the term “Enemies” is limited to persons/States against whom we’ve declared War?

    Although we have not declared war against Russia, nor they us, would their (believed) hacking of our elections (the actual voting system, not things like Fakebook) qualify as an act of aggression/war? [A semi-related question would be: Iraq and Vietnam were not formally declared War(s), if my memory is correct; does that mean that a member of the US military would not have been charged with treason, if they gave “aid and Comfort” to the other side?]

    Oh, and fuck Lindsey Graham, that lying cowardly irrational piece of shit. [Re: Jim @ 28]

  46. 46
    Immanentize says:

    @WaterGirl: I am one of the lapsed myself, but sadly my memory of all that input is intact.

  47. 47
    Ruckus says:

    @WaterGirl:
    Is “fallen away” anything like running at full speed?
    Asking for a friend.

  48. 48
    TriassicSands says:

    @sukabi:

    Graham’s behavior is puzzling. He once seemed to see his place as being the heir apparent to McCain — maverick. But, when McCain passed from the scene, there was no attempt by Graham to claim the maverick mantle for himself. Now, he is little more than a groveling sycophant. His transition from McCain acolyte to mindless Trumpist was extraordinarily quick with no transitional stage(s) in between. He seems to be a man with no independent identity of his own. Were Trump to be impeached and removed from office (yes, virtually impossible) what would Graham’s next role be? If the evidence against Trump were so compelling that conviction in the Senate was inevitable, might Graham suddenly abandon Trump and revert to the role of JAG justice warrior? Graham is not someone I would ever want to have to rely on.

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @SFAW: This is the interpretational rub. I take the position that the third clause is not tethered to the second clause. That they can be read separately. However, most political scientists and constitutional scholars, within political science and within colleges of law, do not.

  50. 50
    Lapassionara says:

    @Brachiator: I hope you are right.

  51. 51
    TriassicSands says:

    @SFAW:

    I tend to agree that Trump would not be found guilty of “treason.” However, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be judged to have betrayed his country — a moral judgment, not a legal one –, which he clearly does on a regular basis. Betraying one’s country may not be an actual crime, but that doesn’t mean that Trump couldn’t be found guilty of actual crimes arising out of his betrayal.

  52. 52
    kindness says:

    I’m surprised Trump’s previous work laundering money for Russian oligarchs(mob) by selling overpriced condos for cash back in the 80’s/90’s isn’t important. Russians gave the Trump family financing when no one else would. The Russians & money already had a linked past in Trump world. Now it’s just a different grift that we haven’t completely figured out yet. It’s so obvious. No wonder the MSM doesn’t care and treats greed treason like unworthy old news.

  53. 53
    Repatriated says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: The reason he can’t give a direct answer (truth aside, obviously) is that he knows it would have to be delivered perfectly — no stutter, no hestiation, no sniffles, and with exactly the right degree of righteous indignation. Any miscue whatsoever would be an opening for attack.

    And he knows he can’t pull it off.

  54. 54
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: @Ruckus: “Fallen away catholics” is what the nuns called the people we had to orly for. Right now, there are little children praying for us.

    In spite of having fallen away, I will take prayers any day of the week.

  55. 55
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator:

    He also kinda campaigned on the idea that US military intervention in Iraq was a bad idea.

    What he campaigned on was that everyone else is too big of a pu$$y to win wars by kicking ass and killing bad guys.

  56. 56
    Immanentize says:

    @SFAW:
    There is so much back and forth on this in the legal scholarship. I have come to my own decision that the constitutional version of “treason” like “impeachment” may be best thought of as just a political crime. It is, after all, the only crime specifically defined in the constitution.

    That said, people need to quit thinking about treason and consider other options of crimes that are pretty well understood, like espionage. Julian and Ethel were executed for conspiracy to commit espionage. Both Obama and Trump have used the espionage act to punish leakers! And we have used espionage laws to incarcerate spies for life without parole (Aldrich Ames leaps to mind). So I think spying is the way to go.

  57. 57
    WereBear says:

    The real question for me is how deep into the ranks of the GOP does the influence go.

    And my answer is, “All of them, Katie.”

  58. 58
    Brachiator says:

    @TriassicSands:

    However, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be judged to have betrayed his country — a moral judgment, not a legal one –, which he clearly does on a regular basis.

    Right now, this is not resulting in political consequences for Trump or the GOP. Maybe this will change in the future.

    Betraying one’s country may not be an actual crime, but that doesn’t mean that Trump couldn’t be found guilty of actual crimes arising out of his betrayal.

    And there’s the rub. Finding evidence of actual crimes.

  59. 59
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @WaterGirl: @Immanentize: I got heaved away.

  60. 60
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    This puzzles you because you are not a narcissist.

    Narcissist is very close but I think it’s too simple of a diagnosis to explain his entire history, from adolescence thru adulthood.

    I’d say the diagnosis here should include at least traits of antisocial personality disorder, aka, a sociopathy. And a dual diag of Bipolar II disorder added in for just the right blend of ego-centrism and incapacity for empathy, ignoring the rules that apply to other people hypomania and a persistent pattern of depraved sexual attitudes, love of gaudiness and need for self-indulgence.

  61. 61
    RAVEN says:

    @Immanentize: If they didn’t get Hanoi Jane for treason they ain’t gettin this fat fuck.

  62. 62
    MagadaInBlack says:

    @Ruckus:
    It was for me ☺️

  63. 63
    Immanentize says:

    @RAVEN: Ya think Trump will do exercise videos?

  64. 64
    TriassicSands says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I think like so many of his peers, he really fucking loves being a Senator– there’s a real cult of the Senate among it’s members– and loves being “relevant”, as he is said to have put it to people, he loves being on TV, loves being treated as a player. And playing internet psychologist for a moment: His life is empty if he’s not a Senator.

    This may be the only “identity” that Graham can muster with “relevance” being perhaps even more important than being a senator. Many felt that Graham was aggressively putting himself forward to be Trump’s next AG. To be AG, Graham would have had to give up being a senator, but he would have become even more “relevant.” The flaw there is that as long as SC will keep voting for him, he gets to be a senator. His relevance as AG would be limited to Trump’s survival in office. It’s all pretty confusing. Unless Graham felt that elevation to AG would have given him a chance to be the GOP’s next presidential nominee should Trump be removed from the picture. I can’t imagine the GOP ever nominating Graham, but the inevitability of failure never seems to prevent wannabes from deluding themselves into believing they have a genuine shot.

  65. 65
    xenos says:

    @SFAW: Not my area of law, so this is a very general answer.

    The Constitution gives a very narrow definition of treason and requires additional evidence because treason prosecutions were so consistently used for political prosecutions under the British monarchy. Here is a a case where original intent really should apply, and this intent is for it to be very difficult to prosecute for treason.

    Clearly we are outside the scope of treason because we are not at war with Russia. You could argue that an undeclared state of war applied and thus it can still be treason. Imagine Roosevelt actively helped coordinate the attack on Pearl Harbor, but bad weather caused the attack to be cancelled, and war was not declared that day (I think it was declared a few minutes late, but that is not relevant to this hypothetical). Would a court find this to be treason? I think so, but this would be expanding the scope of the the constitutional definition at bit.

    Supporting and colluding in election fuckery in the US is clearly illegal. If I were Trump´s lawyer I would argue that it can not be treason because that sort of attack is not warfare – if it were then the USA would have been conducting warfare all over the world at least since the CIA screwed around with the Italian election in 1948, and that our allies in these companies were guilty of treason against their own countries by colluding with the US. While that is certainly the case in many countries I do not see a US federal court being eager to reach that conclusion.

  66. 66
    RAVEN says:

    @Immanentize: No but he might be a movie star!

  67. 67
    WaterGirl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The church left you??

  68. 68
    TriassicSands says:

    @Immanentize:

    Oh, no. I just ate breakfast and that thought has me suddenly feeling nauseated.Trump in tights. Ugh!

  69. 69
    Catherine D. says:

    @Ruckus:

    Is “fallen away” anything like running at full speed?
    Asking for a friend.

    I always say I ran out screaming – at the age of 10!

  70. 70
    Fair Economist says:

    @TriassicSands: I have long been at the point that I don’t care what Trump says because it means nothing. It is just lying gibberish and it is a waste of anybody’s time to listen to it or read it.

    I am getting to the point that even jokes and snark about particularly stupid things he says are getting irritating. We know he’s a pathological liar; it’s been drummed into our heads for almost 4 years now. I want to talk about what we should do at this point.

    Note: talking about what evil things he has done like kidnapping children and getting TSA agents evicted are legitimate topics because they are real, unlike the gibberish spouting from his mouth.

  71. 71
    A Ghost To Most says:

    These times can take their toll sometimes
    and I know you feel the same way too
    It gets so hard to keep between the ditches
    When the roads wind the way they do

    Stay on the road.

  72. 72
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Repatriated:

    And he knows he can’t pull it off.

    My ex was a pathological liar. Lying was like breathing to her. A lie doesn’t have to be perfect, it just had to get her thru the moment. When that lie collapsed, she came up with a new one that fit the new facts. And on and on and on and on.

  73. 73
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So, someone can’t be convicted of “giving aid and comfort” to the enemy, if the enemy hasn’t been declared? And the only way to declare an “enemy” is if we formally declare war? Am I reading that interpretation correctly?

  74. 74
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @WaterGirl: They beat me out the door.

    ETA: Literally.

  75. 75
    RAVEN says:

    @Miss Bianca: That’s why Fonda wasn’t prosecuted.

  76. 76
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Immanentize: that was going to be my next question! “Could Trump be charged with espionage” – even if he’s not technically an “agent”?

  77. 77
    TriassicSands says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    When the discussion of Trump’s mental status arose, I went back and re-read the DSM’s requirements for both narcissism and anti-social personality disorder. He seemed clear to me then, as you point out now, that Trump suffers from more than one serious personality disorder. I’m less certain of the Bipolar diagnosis but I agree that Trump suffers from multiple debilitating and (for the world) dangerous disorders.

  78. 78
    Fair Economist says:

    @xenos: The legal Constitutional definition of “treason” is not what the word means in casual use or even the legal definition in most places. In almost any country historically, somebody who conspired with a foreign government to take over the domestic government was guilty of “treason” and subject to literal execution.

    Edit : It is like saying somebody can’t be president of a homeowner’s association because they have not been selected by the Electoral College in a year divisible by 4.

  79. 79
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TriassicSands: And leg warmers!

  80. 80
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    What he campaigned on was that everyone else is too big of a pu$$y to win wars by kicking ass and killing bad guys.

    Trump has waffled and lied about when he opposed the Iraq War, but I haven’t run across him claiming that he would have been more effective in prosecuting the war. For example, Snopes references.

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/donald-trump-iraq-war/

  81. 81
    Juice Box says:

    I’m a retired doctor. I used to refuse to accept drug company sandwiches and pens on the grounds that dogs are trained with many little treats. It turns out that studies have shown that doctors are indeed influenced by cheap little gifts. It’s unrealistic to expect that Trump would not be influenced by multi-million dollar business deals in the same (albeit much more spectacular) way.

  82. 82
    RAVEN says:

    @Fair Economist: literal compared to what?

  83. 83
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @TriassicSands: I agree, at some point he figured out that joining this admin was probably a dead end. My hot take: South Carolina is/was one of the Tea Partiest states, and is probably one of the trumpiest*. In 2012 Graham, Establishmentarian sidekick to the highly suspect John McCain senses he was vulnerable to a Tea Party challenger in 2014 and started running local ads about Benghazi within IIRC a month of the attack. Now two years out, he’s sucking up to trump.

    * and checking the state-by-state polling, not even close. trump is +9 in SC, compared to double digits in WV, MS, WY and other states. But Graham is more worried about primary challenges than the general.

    ETA: link to state polling, if anyone’s interested

  84. 84
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: That has been the standard interpretation. That the commas connect all the clauses and they are all interdependent on each other. To be honest, this is all in the interpretation of the reader. A lot of the people that tell you the commas connect everything in the clause delineating treason don’t actually connect anything in the 2nd Amendment. That all of those clauses are completely independent of each other.

    Constitutional grammar is:

  85. 85
    RAVEN says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    They pretend to tie you up and whip you

    while you wear a dress with a cloth belt.

    Hell, it’s their money, I don’t care.

    I’ll swing from a shower rod

    and whistle Maytime.

  86. 86
    B.B.A. says:

    I can’t see this going on for another two years and seven days, but I can’t see this ending before then either.

  87. 87
    Leto says:

    I’ve been convinced since day 1 that Trumpov is a fucking Russian plant. This is simply more evidence to a mountain of evidence. How far does it extend to the rest of the GOP and NRA? All of them Katie. Fucking all of them. This version of the GOP will known as, yet again, traitors to their country. I can only hope that Rep. Cummings, Schiff, Waters, and the rest of them use their oversight powers and go after them till the very end. No more “looking forward, not back” bullshit. Fuck that. Expose the traitors. Purge the rot. Starting at the Fed level and going down as far as dog catcher. If you can’t tell, I’m fucking mad at this. These pieces of shit continue to drive the country into the ground, all the while trying to question my loyalty because I know my country can do/be better. Motherfuckers.

    In lighter news, I’ve been discharged from the hospital and Avalune is currently driving me home. I’m getting better but still achy. I really, really don’t want to go to the hospital again anytime soon. Like within the next twenty years. I’ll be good. Really.

  88. 88
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: We’ve almost never used the Espionage Act. Largely because its wording is a mess.

  89. 89
    trollhattan says:

    @TriassicSands:
    The “new” Graham seemed to debut during the Kavanaugh hearings with his red-faced spittle-spraying rage at the Democrats who appeared to actually want details on how li’l Brett had conducted himself during his life, rather than just relying on hosannas from the Federalist Society. At least I’d never seen that guy before.

    Road-tested he seems to have decided it’s the New Lindsay from here onward. Lucky us.

  90. 90
    m.j. says:

    OT I’m listening to some NPR show in the vehicle this morning and I’m listening to this show, maybe it was Pop culture Happy Hour. Anyway, they want to talk about the shutdown. So, I’m listening to these assholes and they trot out the bothsiderism by saying the Democrats only want a win. A win! Fuckin’ A.
    I’m yelling at the radio saying when one position is insane and the other is not, opposing insanity is clearly the better choice. These things are not the same, you fucking over-paid idiots.

  91. 91
    WaterGirl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yikes. Christianity at its best, right?

  92. 92
    TriassicSands says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    In the language of diplomacy, Russia is probably better described as an “adversary” than an “enemy.” However, when a country begins interfering with another’s elections and helps elect the legitimate loser over the legitimate winner in a presidential election, then calling that country an “enemy” seems perfectly reasonable. Right now, I don’t think we have language for being at “cyber-war” with another country that is tied to legal definitions and repercussions. Part of the problem for the US is that we can hardly condemn other countries for cyber warfare without admitting our own guilt or hypocrisy.

    Obviously, the Constitution had no conception of what cyber-war would be, so even if Congress passed laws classifying aiding and abetting such conflict as treasonable behavior, the right wing “textualists” on the SCOTUS would probably strike them down.

  93. 93

    @TriassicSands:
    I think power, control, and party loyalty are potential explanations for Graham. During the primary, Graham said something I remember very distinctly about supporting Trump. He said he thought it was important to support Trump even though he was likely to lose the election because a party could more easily recover from losing an election- they do it all the time- than from splintering over the nomination. I can easily imagine Graham continuing to follow the same logic after Trump became president, even as it resulted in him giving up on every principle other than party loyalty he ever claimed to hold.

  94. 94
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I always love it when you pull out that reference to “the code”! I’ve been finding myself using it all the time, now, and trying to nail Geoffrey Rush’s delivery!

  95. 95
    Brachiator says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    Narcissist is very close but I think it’s too simple of a diagnosis to explain his entire history, from adolescence thru adulthood.

    I agree that these armchair diagnoses don’t explain enough.

    Even describing what he has as “disorders” may not be sufficient. He is, after all, in many ways a successful narcissist. He not only lies, he has a staff whose entire purpose is to defend his lies.

    And one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen was the cabinet meeting with his people falling all over themselves to praise him, and Trump lapping it up like a dangerous, spoiled toddler.

  96. 96
    sukabi says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: for someone who, up until his golfing trip with drumpf, was always a ‘measured’, calm person, he’s undergone a dramatic personality shift since then.

  97. 97
    dopey-o says:

    @Adrift:

    I am interested in what appears to be the least talked about component of this entire conspiracy. The single dedicated Trump Tower – Alfa Bank server set up. It seems to have been briefly mentioned and then dropped off the radar completely.

    I have seen the Alfa Bank server mentioned in relation to the GOP data given to the Russians by Manafort. Somehow tied in to the Michigan-based, DeVos-connected server.

  98. 98
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @WaterGirl: Good Catholics, all of them.

  99. 99
    Parmenides says:

    It is true that the main thing to understand about Lindsey Graham is that he loves being a senator. But there is one challenge that he has to staying a senator, the republican primary in SC. He plays the moderate because he loves the attention of the press and being “an important person”. But he does this every time it gets somewhat close to his next election, though he’s never done it this extent before. He will have gobs of money to throw at the primary but I’m sure he polled the republican electorate a couple of months ago and found he was deep underwater. Thus, screaming Trump devote.

  100. 100
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Fair Economist: The US Constitution does this in several places. In an attempt to correct a problem the founders and framers had encountered with the government of King George and/or safeguard Americans from abuses perpetrated by that government, they created novel definitions and interpretations and stuck them in the Constitution. As a result the US is the only nation-state where a negotiated agreement between it and another state, non-state, or multi-national entity isn’t a treaty until and unless it is formally submitted to and ratified by the US Senate. Same type of dynamic as to why treason is defined the way it is. It is also important to remember that a lot of the founders and framers never expected the Constitution to stay largely intact, unamended, and unrevised, let alone scrapped and completely rewritten, every few generations to account for significant changes and advances in society and economy.

  101. 101
    sukabi says:

    @TriassicSands: the ‘bipolar’ aspect could be a result of when he’s hopped up on his preferred snort and when he’s not.

  102. 102
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @TriassicSands: Occam’s Razor should help you here. To me, it’s quite clear – Russia has kompromat on Sweet Lindsay, and now he’s toeing the company line harder than ever.

  103. 103
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Juice Box:

    It turns out that studies have shown that doctors are indeed influenced by cheap little gifts.

    And PharmaBarbies or PharmaKens giving them attention.

    Full disclosure: I dated a PharmaBarbie for several months.

  104. 104
    Wild Cat says:

    @Cermet: Reagan was a traitor, too. His Republican operatives were traitors and sadists. Many are still around and rooting for Trump.
    The ultra-rot of the modern GOP goes back to pseudo-Libertarian Barry Goldwater and Eisenhower, who elevated Nixon despite despising the crook.

  105. 105
    p.a. says:

    Oh if only now was election eve:

    https://mapsontheweb.zoom-maps.com/post/181980499675/trump-net-approval-rating-dec-2018more-by

    Can drumpf drag them any lower by 11/2020, or is he at deplorable support floor?

  106. 106
    joel hanes says:

    @Juice Box:

    studies have shown that doctors are indeed influenced by cheap little gifts.

    Dunno if it’s still the case, but the stunningly attractive young women who were the pharma sales reps to my doctor’s joint practice used to lay out a spectacular free lunch in the big conference room before doing their presentation. One time I saw them come through the lobby with about fifty pounds of excellent Mandarin cuisine; Thai another time.

  107. 107
    TriassicSands says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    But Graham is more worried about primary challenges than the general.

    Isn’t that true now of almost every Republican?

  108. 108
    Lee says:

    I want the FBI guys in the New York field office that forced Comey into that last minute announcement to be investigated to see if they are also working for the Russians

  109. 109

    @Immanentize:

    That said, people need to quit thinking about treason and consider other options of crimes that are pretty well understood, like espionage.

    I would be perfectly happy to nail him on process crimes like violating the Presidential Records Act. Yes, a conviction of violating the PRA wouldn’t be as satisfying as espionage or treason, but it’s much easier to prove.

  110. 110
    WaterGirl says:

    @trollhattan: I’m thinking the person who runs against Graham next time needs to play that clip over and over in every ad. That was not pretty.

  111. 111
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @RAVEN: I can’t whistle.

  112. 112
    Miss Bianca says:

    @TriassicSands: I am almost to the point another commenter was (Fair Economist?) the other day – that the next President (Democratic, please, little baby Jesus, kthxbai) should just go ahead and declare that we are actually at (cyber) war with Russia, and make some treason charges – with their subsequent penalties – stick.

  113. 113
    RAVEN says:

    Has anyone tried acupuncture for their pet?

  114. 114
    artem1s says:

    @TriassicSands:

    Graham’s behavior is puzzling. He once seemed to see his place as being the heir apparent to McCain — maverick. But, when McCain passed from the scene, there was no attempt by Graham to claim the maverick mantle for himself.

    I think we need to consider that there are also large swaths of the military, active and retired, who are also under Putin’s sway. Certainly military contractors. SC is home to one of the largest, if not the largest SAC base in the US. Wasn’t it Helms or some other SC congresscritter that threatened Bill Clinton should he show up a military base in that state? SC is home to some of the most racist GOPers and campaigns in history. McCain was the default connection between the military and Senate. I think Putin has something on Graham and I think the Pentagon and military benefited from the cold war and the Bush Crime family’s regime changes to the extent they prefer to keep up the old rivalries; fight wars with Russia via proxy; because it lines all their pockets. Mattis, Kelley, Powell, Cheney, Blackwater, Sugerbush, Halliburton and more have benefited immensely by keeping the cold war mentality going – as has Putin. Mattis and Kelley has been running a military coup and got away with it because letting the Trumpsters be in charge was considered worse than overturning our democracy. This national emergency crap is an attempt to get the military back involved. The investigation will likely never go that far, but there are too many connections between the old Nixon/Raygun/Bush gang of thieves for me to believe they didn’t walk Trump right up to Putin’s door and usher him in.

  115. 115

    @Wild Cat: I want someone to do a movie about Reagan that’s the equivalent of “Vice.” I want him debunked.

  116. 116
    laura says:

    @Leto: huzzah! Great news Leto. All the very best on your continued recovery and great good fortune in having an Avalune on your side.

  117. 117
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: This is from some analysis I did for someone back in the fall:

    Senator McConnell’s brazen strategy to break the Senate’s rules and traditions served him well. It helped bring the Republicans back into the majority in the 2014 midterms, prevented President Obama from filling an open Supreme Court vacancy, and, as a result, gave birth to a new Senate rule: the McConnell Rule. The McConnell Rule states that the Senate does not take up Supreme Court nominations during a presidential election year because the American electorate should have a say in the vote, regardless of the fact that the sitting President was elected to serve a four year term, not a three year one. As the contentious confirmation process for now Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh was working its way to completion, Senator McConnell clarified the McConnell Rule. Instead of being a blanket rule that prohibits the Senate from taking a Supreme Court nomination into consideration during an election year, the McConnell Rule now states that this only applies when the party in opposition to the President controls the Senate during an election year. as was the case during the final year of the Obama administration As is the case with almost every Senate rule, tradition, and norm that Senator McConnell references, the McConnell Rule is completely situational and subject to change whenever Senator McConnell feels the need to do so. To quote the fictional Captain Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean, the rules that McConnell references are “more like guidelines than actual rules”.

  118. 118
    WaterGirl says:

    @p.a.:

    In the original post of this, I put in an incumbent bonus of +3% because I wanted to see a little bit more of a competitive electoral map. I didn’t realize that I actually left it in there until after I posted it, making me look like a biased Trump supporter.

    WTF? So much for accuracy.

  119. 119
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: And were her employers saying, “no, not *that* kind of doctor! *He’s* no use to us!”? //

  120. 120
    WaterGirl says:

    @RAVEN: Not personally, but I know people who have, to good effect.

    What do you have to lose at this point?

  121. 121
    TriassicSands says:

    @Fair Economist:

    I have long been at the point that I don’t care what Trump says because it means nothing. It is just lying gibberish and it is a waste of anybody’s time to listen to it or read it.

    If only the media could learn this lesson. They don’t need to ignore everything he says — he’s the president — but they do need to stop pretending that he might be sincere or telling the truth.

    I think the worst offender I’ve come across in this regard is Steve Inskeep on NPR’s Morning Edition. He’s relentless in his treatment of Trump’s statements as though they might be sincere — like when Inskeep emphasized that the president had praised legal immigrants. To Inskeep, years of racism, xenophobia, and anti-immigrant rhetoric, as well as Trump’s overt actions as president, are all canceled out by a few words in a brief speech read off a teleprompter.

  122. 122
    Humdog says:

    @Leto: Glad you are going home, Leto. You will rest better in your own home.

  123. 123
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @TriassicSands: The fruits of the Gerrymander tree.

  124. 124
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @RAVEN: Yes. Like with humans, it will work or it won’t.

  125. 125
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator: It’s the way he talks about everything military, though. He has no aversion to using the military to blow up things and people. He thinks that non-Trump leaders are too cowardly and/or “politically correct” to do it properly. Remember his repeated citation of Pershing using pig’s blood-dipped bullets to execute Muslims. That’s the kind of thing he wants the military to do: kill more people more disrespectfully to intimidate them. I don’t recall that he ever said that *directly* about Iraq but it’s consistent with the things he *has* said about Iraq, and things that Islamophobic hawks have said about the Middle East since at least 1991 and maybe 1967.

  126. 126
    PaulW says:

    The way trump answered Pirro is the same way Sollazo answered Michael at that dinner in the Godfather, where he deflects and self-pities while refusing to promise Michael no more attempts on Vito’s life.

    No straight answer, because a straight answer will come back and bite him on the ass and he knows it.

  127. 127
    RAVEN says:

    @Leto: Good news brah!

  128. 128
    TriassicSands says:

    @sukabi:

    …his preferred snort…

    Addled-all? [sic]

  129. 129

    @Miss Bianca:
    The President can’t decide we’re at war. The power to declare war is explicitly granted to Congress.

  130. 130
    RAVEN says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Ah, the old placebo effect!

  131. 131
    SFAW says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Thanks

    @TriassicSands:

    I tend to agree that Trump would not be found guilty of “treason.” However, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be judged to have betrayed his country

    But is “his country” the USA? Or Russia? Snark aside, I’ve referred to him as “traitor” because of its similarity (both phonetically and etymologically) to “betrayer,” but that’s not the point. To me, “treason” is a level or two worse than mere betrayal.

    @Immanentize:

    I have come to my own decision that the constitutional version of “treason” like “impeachment” may be best thought of as just a political crime. It is, after all, the only crime specifically defined in the constitution.

    Treason is hardly “just a political crime.” Impeachment might be, because of its very nature, but I’m not sure I even subscribe to that belief. But that’s me, opinions vary, etc.

  132. 132
    WaterGirl says:

    @Leto: Hey, Leto! Glad they let you out today. :-)

    Gall bladder on top of everything else? That’s just wrong. Sending you wishes for some good luck. Perhaps you used up quite a bit of yours between surviving the crash and getting to still be Leto afterwards, so I am happy to do what I can to help build up your good luck fund.

  133. 133
    WaterGirl says:

    @RAVEN: I had never tried it until a year ago when I had this thing going on with my finger and my right arm, and I was willing to try anything. We had planned on two sessions but I only had one session because shortly after that I broke my ankle. but it really did help get me on the road to recovery for the original problem.

  134. 134
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @TriassicSands:

    Part of the problem for the US is that we can hardly condemn other countries for cyber warfare without admitting our own guilt or hypocrisy.

    I don’t see any hypocrisy with condemning other nations for cyber warfare as long as we awknowledge our own role in overthrowing/influencing foreign governments. You can be against what Russia did and what America has done at the same time. The little girl and the boy who have died at the border from neglect are dead ultimately because of Putin’s interference.

  135. 135
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @RAVEN: Don’t knock it, it works. Nat Geo did an interesting article a few months back on the “power of prayer”. Long story short, it’s just a placebo but it works.

  136. 136
    SFAW says:

    @Leto:

    Thanks for the good news!

  137. 137
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Roger Moore: oops, right, good thing I wasn’t taking a civics test today! All the more reason we need solid Dem majorities in both houses!

  138. 138
  139. 139
    prostratedragon says:

    Have not seen the second Manchurian Candidate movie, but in the first one the MC was not brainwashed. The person who had been was meant to be used to facilitate, as it were, the plot to install a puppet. The puppet himself was an empty-headed oaf whose minder was his wife, played by James Gregory, who might have been born too soon. Maybe the title comes from the puppet emperor that Japan installed in “Manchu-kuo” during WWII, the last emperor of China.

  140. 140
    Immanentize says:

    @Miss Bianca: Sorry about the delay — yes he could. Or certainly with conspiracy to commit espionage with a tual spies like manafoet, Flynn, Cohen, etc. He knows what the agreements were. And the “agreement” is the actus reus (act requirement) of the crime of conspiracy.

  141. 141
    joel hanes says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    it’s just a placebo but it works.

    It only works if the sick person does the praying, or is aware of the praying.

    In double-blinds with no disclosure, the efficacy of prayer is indistinguishable from the null hypothesis.

  142. 142
    RAVEN says:

    @joel hanes: So my Lil Bit the blind and deaf cocker?

  143. 143
    Amir Khalid says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    I don’t see any hypocrisy with condemning other nations for cyber warfare as long as we awknowledge our own role in overthrowing/influencing foreign governments.

    Do you seriously think America will ever do this?

  144. 144
    Barbara says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Having watched him over the last decade I have concluded that Lindsay Graham is just a very weak person, similar to Susan Collins. Maybe they don’t have actual principles or maybe they define themselves in terms of temperament or status first, with constituents way, way, in the background, but the best analogy I can come up to describe them is wringing their hands over whether they are observing the proper etiquette for exiting a building that is burning down around them. There is no etiquette for exiting a burning building. There is only courage and common sense.

  145. 145
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @prostratedragon: Your link is busted, but wasn’t the candidate controlled by his mother? I remember because Angela Lansbury, back in the day, was often cast to play characters decades older than she actually was. Now she’s pushing a hundred and still acting. I have no plans to see the movie, but it did my heart good to see her and Dick Van Dyke were in it

    ETA: sent myself down a bit of a rabbit hole and Ms Lansbury is only 93, but Norman Lloyd is a 104 and in a current series called “the Fly” that I have never heard of, but wow. He used to turn up on the Olbmerann show to trash Bush, god bless him

  146. 146
    MomSense says:

    @debbie

    I think he’s just a really dumb agent.

  147. 147
    Immanentize says:

    @SFAW: When I see a trial for treason in the United States, I may rethink my position on treason. But until then, it’s a fools errand which will amount to naught but wasted time, energy and intellect. Because the DOJ will never resort to charging treason when they have so many other, powerful, easier to prove crimes. Money laundering, RICO, conspiracy to murder, espionage, etc.

  148. 148
    raven says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The book was awesome, the mother was a junkie.

  149. 149
    Immanentize says:

    @joel hanes:
    Actually, there have been at least two serious randomized studies that have shown prayer intervention had statistically negative correlation to recovery.

  150. 150
    Martin says:

    It’s remarkable how much information is flooding out now that there’s a branch of congress who gives a fuck.

  151. 151
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @RAVEN: Not sure it is a placebo effect. Some people, myself included, respond well to acupuncture and some don’t.

  152. 152
    dmsilev says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The son was the brainwashed assassin who was supposed to kill the original Presidential candidate, at which point the father (the Veep candidate) would give a Stirring Speech and be swept into office where his wife (Lansbury) would be his handler.

  153. 153
    Immanentize says:

    @RAVEN:
    Raven, that is both funny, and a little bit heartbreaking. I was just thinking of your tape of Bodhi and Lil Bit running around on the farm….

  154. 154
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s the way he talks about everything military, though. He has no aversion to using the military to blow up things and people. He thinks that non-Trump leaders are too cowardly and/or “politically correct” to do it properly. Remember his repeated citation of Pershing using pig’s blood-dipped bullets to execute Muslims. That’s the kind of thing he wants the military to do: kill more people more disrespectfully to intimidate them.

    Trump likes to talk tough. He loves bragging about “my generals.” But he is far more comfortable unleashing ICE on children than he is starting a war.

    And I don’t think that he is wise or judicious. He is a coward at heart. He has had opportunities to start wars. He has clumsily antagonized countries.

    But he has not started a major military conflict. I hope he continues to be all hat and no cattle.

  155. 155
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @raven: Richard Condon, IIRC? he also wrote Prizzi’s Honor and a book called IIRC Bandicoot, which I picked up in the laundry room of my apartment building one day in the early 90s. It’s about a crazed billionaire who is manipulated into the presidency, turns on his handlers and pretty much destroys the gov’t.

  156. 156
    MomSense says:

    Im🍑 the motherfucker!

  157. 157
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @TriassicSands:

    I’m less certain of the Bipolar diagnosis

    I attended a lecture recently about differentiating ADHD from Bipolar II (vs. Bipolar I) and how we may be misdiagnosing and thus not properly treating folks (which is why they fail to improve on traditional medications for ADHD).

    Fascinating traits leaning to a Bipolar II dx vs. ADHD include hypomania/less need for sleep, chronic hypersexuality/arousal and even predation, irritability and temper outbursts, and impulsive/indulgent spending/life changing ideas/behaviors, all of which don’t rise to a level of loss of functioning or reality testing, which the psychosis of Bipolar I does.

    Then it struck me that these traits fit Trumps young adult lifestyle stories to a T. All the overconfidence, impulsive business decisions, the sexual fixation, the nasty temper. But he never quite loses his marbles completely, e.g., gets found running around a park naked mumbling unintelligible psychotic rantings.

    But because he’s rich, everyone (especially Daddy) protects and bails him out. Unlike all the poor saps who sit in prison as we speak whose diagnosis was exactly the same, but what they did with it lead to completely different outcomes.

    FWIW, I think it explains a lot of Bill Clinton’s history, too, but with less sociopathy and narcissism. ;-)

  158. 158
    joel hanes says:

    @Immanentize:

    Thanks. I learn.
    I wonder if I can find them.

    Ah. Here’s one.
    Benson H, Dusek JA, Sherwood JB, Lam P, Bethea CF, Carpenter W, et al. Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: A multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer. Am Heart J. 2006;151:934–42.

  159. 159
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @joel hanes:

    It only works if the sick person does the praying, or is aware of the praying.

    The placebo effect by definition is a belief on the part of the ill person that they are being treated and that the treatment will be effective. Whether it’s prayer or a sugar pill for cancer.

  160. 160
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Martin: This. Oh, and I think some IC members missing sone paychecks from the shutdown may have helped loosen some tongues, as well…Donnie and McConnell better watch out.

  161. 161
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    If we ever want to be taken seriously again after this Trump clusterfuck, not to mention actually live up to our ideals, then yes we should. Do I think it will ever happen? I’m a little pessimistic, but nothing will change until enough people try to change the culture in Washington. Ultimately, as Jello Biafra said, we have to change ourselves first from the inside out.

  162. 162
    RAVEN says:

    @Immanentize: Yea, they are both in their golden years. We’re doing our best to keep them going and it’s actually pretty good. Bodhi is 15 and still jumps into his chair and into the van. Lil Bit doesn’t want to walk much, the hind leg issue is probably related to the Lar Par so we’re exploring options there. There doesn’t seem to be much pain involved right now, she just digs in when we try to walk her and we drag her by her harness.

  163. 163
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @RAVEN: Maybe some kind of massage therapy? (just throwing darts at the wall)

  164. 164
    Fair Economist says:

    @TriassicSands:

    They don’t need to ignore everything he says — he’s the president — but they do need to stop pretending that he might be sincere or telling the truth.

    The line to paying attention to Trump was made clear in the recent twit of his that he was going to cut off FEMA aid to California unless California starts raking leaves in the fireprone areas – leaves that don’t actually even exist because the areas are mostly grassland, chapparal, and savanna. FEMA stated later that Trump tweets aren’t policy. The tweet shouldn’t have even been reported on or discussed. Had Trump issued an official declaration, *then* it should have been discussed.

  165. 165
    RAVEN says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: So this disagrees with the notion that ADHD is not a deficit or a disorder but, rather, a way of being. I’m a hunter in a farmers world.

  166. 166
    dww44 says:

    @JPL: What staff? Are there any capable ones left? Patriots, even?

  167. 167
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’ve been doing that a lot and I think making her walk is important.

  168. 168
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: OK. A buddy of mine did a sort of acupressure massage, (haven’t seen him in years so I forget the exact term for it) Everyone he treated swore by it and came back for more the next time he showed up, I never let him work on me because I don’t trust anyone near my back, too many issues there.

  169. 169
    Hob says:

    While I have no doubt that Trump is guilty as shit and dirty in any way you can think of, I’m inclined not to read anything special into his failure to say “No, I am not.” I don’t think it means he has a hard time telling a flat-out lie about any particular subject (and I certainly don’t think, as PaulW says, that he’s being crafty so his lie doesn’t get quoted later; that’s never, ever stopped him before). I think it means he has a hard time, in general, answering the actual questions people ask. He doesn’t like to have to think through what someone said and understand what kind of answer, in what syntax, they might expect. Instead he gets briefed on various subjects and memorizes an assortment of things to say about them, and then he either selects what he thinks is the one for this occasion, or he just free-associates from one to the next.

    In other words, I think when Pirro asked “are you now or have you ever worked for Russia”, what Trump heard was “Sir, this is the part about that Failing New York Times article that says you work for Russia.” So he proceeded accordingly.

  170. 170
    Amir Khalid says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:
    The US admitting to this would indeed be noble, but it would also be an act of unilateral disarmament in the ongoing contest for power and influence that nations have engaged in since the beginning.

  171. 171
    RAVEN says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yea, like me and chiro’s. Ain’t no motherfucker “realigning” my spine that has bolts on it.

  172. 172
  173. 173
    Jinchi says:

    @Brachiator:

    I haven’t run across him claiming that he would have been more effective in prosecuting the war.

    Whether he’s on tape specifically about Iraq or not, Trump has repeatedly claimed to be smarter than the generals. He campaigned on a “secret plan” that would defeat ISIS quickly on the battlefield and he clearly thought that he could start a war with North Korea and win it easily, unlike Obama and all other presidents of the last 70 years.

    May 2015: Trump tells Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren that the US has “totally messed up the balance in the Middle East.” When Van Susteren asks him what he would do, Trump replies, “I don’t want the enemy to know what I’m doing. Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to tell at some point, but there is a method of defeating them quickly and effectively and having total victory.”

    https://www.vox.com/world/2017/7/3/15904646/trump-syria-assad-russia-iran-secret-generals-military-isis-terrorism

  174. 174
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Repatriated: I suspect ypu are right. A more astute politician – or agent, come to that – would have given a more in sorrow than in anger speech proclaiming his innocence. I hsve no doubt that Trump has been urged not to attempt it as it would most likely go badly.

  175. 175
    SFAW says:

    @Immanentize:

    When I see a trial for treason in the United States, I may rethink my position on treason. But until then, it’s a fools errand which will amount to naught but wasted time, energy and intellect.

    I don’t really disagree with you. I’ve been thinking more along the lines of LBJ’s “make him deny it” anecdote. Of course, if they really DO find something prosecutable there, it’s a win-win-win situation.

  176. 176
    satby says:

    @sukabi: at this point I think what they have on Graham might be as serious as pedophilia. No one cares about someone being gay, and if he was and came out of the closet I doubt it would matter that much. Seems like money wouldn’t be enough to turn Graham so completely around, so it’s something worse. But whatever it is, he’s deathly afraid of it getting out.

  177. 177
    TriassicSands says:

    @Hob:

    That strikes me as a fair explanation.

  178. 178
    sukabi says:

    So, a mob lawyer is now the IRS Commissioner.

    Read the thread in the top tweet. 😵😵😵😵

  179. 179
    TriassicSands says:

    @Fair Economist:

    On the other hand, don’t we want Mueller (and in the future the courts) to take everything Trump tweets seriously and reflective of his intentions and policies as president?

  180. 180
  181. 181
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    I’m not saying we have to go into the specifics of classified information such sources and methods for example; just acknowledge that the acts took place and that we regret them.

  182. 182
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @sukabi:
    A reply to that thread:

    Rider_10
    Rider_10
    @Rider1024045494
    ·
    14m
    Replying to
    @patrickLSimpson
    and
    @TheHelenChapel
    Retting represented many tax clients (his job) and is highly regarded as respecting the IRS and it’s job. Your characterization (mob lawyer) is seemingly untrue & salacious.

  183. 183
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @RAVEN: I broke my 3rd and 4th lumbars (the spurs off one side) in HS (didn’t find out that was my problem until I had xrays following an accident when I was 30). For years the damn things would move around and press on a nerve and I’d end up crippled for weeks and then it would let up. Haven’t had an episode in decades and I’d like to keep it that way.

  184. 184
    Elizabelle says:

    @satby: I wonder if it’s an improper romantic affair while he was in the service or reserves? Recall, he served during DADT. It could also be an affair or relationship with someone a military officer should not have been associating with.

    Could be accepting tainted money. Could be he and McCain were caught up in something, and Graham neither wants the truth to come out nor smear his beloved best friend’s memory. Maybe it’s a bribe or influence peddling or private legislation.

    There is something. He has acted ridiculously, on several occasions. It’s a shame, because for a Republican, he has some decent person impulses. He came from a small town and a tough background. But then he pulls all the whack job stuff.

  185. 185
    prostratedragon says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: (The one time I link without rechecking … Let me try another link. You’ll be glad you watched it.)

    The son in the original movie, Raymond Shaw played by Laurence Harvey, was a brainwashed operative who was supposed to be used to put his stepfather Johnny Iselin in place as a puppet presidential candidate. Raymond’s mother/ Johnny’s wife, memorably played by Angela Lansbury, ran both of them.

  186. 186
    Elizabelle says:

    @Leto: Agreed. Don’t let them win the Reconstruction again, as it were. Clean house, hard.

    And glad that you’re home. Hope your health continues to improve.

  187. 187
    sukabi says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: name one person that drumpf or his admin has installed in their job that isn’t dirty. I’ll wait.

  188. 188
    gene108 says:

    @satby:

    Homosexuality is still a big issue for Republicans. They mostly lost the battle oo public opinion, but still try to derail equality, when they can like the Hobby Lobby case.

    I doubt an openly gay Republican, in South Carolina, would last long.

  189. 189
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @gene108: seems unlikely, but the other senator is a black guy so who the hell knows

  190. 190
    Amir Khalid says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:
    Openly admitting it does such things is only going to invite other nations to regard the US more suspiciously than they do already, and will inhibit room for manoeuvre in its internationsl dealings.

  191. 191
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @RAVEN: Not for a pet but I have tried it for me. Worked rematkably well. A friend did use it for her pup’s arthritis and was pleased with the result. Not a cure but a lot of relief.

  192. 192
    Redshift says:

    @Barbara:

    Having watched him over the last decade I have concluded that Lindsay Graham is just a very weak person, similar to Susan Collins.

    Hmm, to test that theory, it would be interesting to see how closely his change in behavior tracks with McCain being out of the picture, and a switch in his chosen “forceful figure” to follow from McCain to Trump.

  193. 193
    gene108 says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    I think, if the US government is apologizing for stuff, start with slavery and the wars against Native Americans. Then move on from there.

  194. 194
    Aleta says:

    @Leto: Feel better soon. 🍊
    Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Very sorry you and Avalune have to go through this.

  195. 195
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @gene108: CNN did an interview with the “three amigos” (I’ll pause typing to make a gagging noise) when Lieberman left the Senate. At one point, Graham gave an impassioned defense of “traditional marriage” that seemed to leave McCain and Holy Joe a bit non-plussed. Their facial expressions of seemed to convey, “Reel it in, Linds, we get it, you’re totally hetero”

  196. 196
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Leto: Welcome back. Here’s hoping you can avoid needing the medical profession for a bit.

  197. 197
    gene108 says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    They will support minorities, who tow the party line. They elected an Indian-American woman as governor, on the recommendation of another woman, Sarah Palin, they admire.

    But I think homosexuality is different.

    The religious right has not given up on its crusade against homosexuality, unlike with integration.

  198. 198
    rikyrah says:

    I never did understand why folks

    ” Hedged their bets.”

    Dolt45 and the GOP being TRAITORS is the only thing that made EVERYTHING make sense.
    😒😒😒

    I will say it again…
    This is the ultimate in White Male Privilege.

    If this had been 44 or Hillary…back with what we had in 2016…..
    The Electoral College would have never taken a vote.🤨🤨

  199. 199
    Juice Box says:

    @RAVEN: I tried pet acupuncture a long time ago. I had myself convinced it was working for a while, but it wasn’t really. The placebo effect worked on me for a few weeks. The current dog gets Rimadyl with a Zantac chaser for her old joints and I can easily tell when I have forgotten to give it to her.

  200. 200
    Ruckus says:

    @MagadaInBlack:
    @Catherine D.:
    My main exposure to the Catholic church was attending an all boys technical HS for freshman year. I’d already run away from church/religion in general, and not being catholic, this just sealed the deal. Two things stand out, a cardinal visited one day, we had to gather outside, he rolled up in a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce limo, stepped out in silk robes and enough jewelry on his fingers to pay off the debts of a small third world nation. Poverty indeed. Next was being forced one day to actually go inside the chapel/auditorium for confession. I read a couple of the books. Almost asked the priest “Are you fucking kidding me?” I just walked outside.

  201. 201
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Leto:
    Welcome back to the world. Everything sucks, etc.

    If you believe what you see, and not see what you believe, it’s glaringly obvious.

  202. 202
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:
    I think a group gallows would send an appropriate message.

    Go Hemp!

  203. 203
    Ruckus says:

    @Barbara:

    There is only courage and common sense.

    It really doesn’t take a lot of courage to run from a burning building. Jumping out of the upper floors of a 1300 ft tall burning building – that takes courage. And no where else left to go.
    As for common sense, if it was all that common, more people would have some of it.

  204. 204
    sgrAstar says:

    @Leto: great news, Leto. So glad you’re on the mend.

  205. 205
    Ruckus says:

    @Hob:
    I’ve known professional athletes who describe their methodology as learning little bits of a skill and putting into a cubby hole in their brain. Like mail used to be sorted. They felt they would arrange all the like skills into rows or columns and could then cross reference them, to pull out the right skill(s) reflexively upon the need of the moment. These were not easy or risk free skills to learn and this was a way to advance under many types of conditions.

  206. 206
    sgrAstar says:

    @Fair Economist: totally disagree that trump’s tweets shouldn’t be covered. Coverage of his irrationality and lying has exposed him as the incompetent, malevolent moron that he is.

  207. 207
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Wild Cat: Saw Ken Burns Vietnam documentary and tells of Nixon talking to Hanoi about delaying peace talks with the US. And LBJ not able to stop him knowing he would be screwed for exposing him.

  208. 208
    rikyrah says:

    @Leto:

    Glad to hear that you are on the mend 😊👏🙏

  209. 209
    WaterGirl says:

    @Juice Box: @RAVEN: The comment about Rimadyl reminded me…

    My dog Bailey couldn’t tolerate Rimadyl so for his arthritis we got him shots of adequan. At the time, the course of treatment was 8 shots (2 a week for 4 weeks). I kept a little chart, week 1 -8. Long walk, short walk, whether it seemed to be helping or not. At shot 5, there was a night and day difference in Bailey. Truly impressive. Lasted a long time, and then at some point you can get boosters where you don’t repeat the whole thing.

    If it’s anything related to pain or arthritis, ask your vet about adequan.

  210. 210
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @gene108: IMHO the reason Evangelicals so strongly ‘love’ Putin is his viscious anti-homosexuality. They contend he is standing up for Christian values, a role the US abandoned until God made sure Trump became president.

    The fight vs integration may be in the past but the blatant racism lives on. US racists see Russia as the bulwark of white civilization.

    IMHO it’s no accident Putin has become the ‘defender of both Christianity and white civilization.’

  211. 211
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @artem1s:

    I think we need to consider that there are also large swaths of the military, active and retired, who are also under Putin’s sway.

    Citation? Also, North and South Carolina are different places.

  212. 212
    Denali says:

    @Leto,

    Great to hear that you are out of the hospital. Hope you continue to heal.

  213. 213
    seaboogie says:

    I believe that most Americans (including MSM) will be astonished at how easy it was to manipulate and play this country and install T as his coup de grace. All he needed to do was co-opt the GOP, fund them (often via the formerly sacrosanct NRA), and play the long game. God, guns and greed were the levers that he was able to use, with cyber warfare via social media being the the last straw to break our camel’s back. I’m hoping that our intelligence communities and the judiciary prove strong enough to take Mueller’s investigation and correct this corruption of our democracy. And Nancy and the house.

  214. 214
    J R in WV says:

    @Leto:

    Glad you’re home again… Best of luck recuperating!

    You and Avalume keep us posted on how you’re doing, please!

  215. 215
    VOR says:

    @Jinchi: The Woodward book has Trump and circle asking for plans to do a surprise strike on North Korea to take out their leadership. IIRC Lindsey Graham is credited as a voice of reason, pointing out the vast amount of NK conventional artillery which would devastate Seoul as a response. Someone also talked Trump out of ordering all US dependents out of South Korea, a step the North Koreans would likely interpret as preparatory to a war.

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