Derp State

That we have a scabrous, demented swine thrashing around the Oval Office causing untold domestic and international turmoil is on the American people, the Republican Party, and the Russian Federation (in no particular order). But assuming our little experiment in democracy survives and committees are impaneled to study what the fuck happened in the detail such a calamitous clusterfuck warrants, should the role of our national security organizations and their political apparatuses be scrutinized too?

Hell yes, they should. It’s already clear Trump is a Russian asset. The only remaining question is how long and actively he’s been in on Putin’s con. That such a destructive, incompetent, addled and compromised fool got within a country mile of the fucking White House points to national security failures as vast as those that allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen and enabled Cheney & Co. to falsely portray Saddam Hussein’s Potemkin nukes as an existential threat.

Like those monumental fuck-ups, I suspect the lapse that allowed a malignant orange clown to seize personal control of the world’s most fearsome nuclear arsenal was more a failure of imagination than a lack of dedication or skill, particularly on the part of the people doing the actual work. In other words, it was a strategic cock-up rather than a tactical one. But yeah, we’re gonna need a truth and reconciliation panel on national security too.






255 replies
  1. 1

    If T had broken so many laws as a real estate businessman long time before he became President, how come he was not in jail. Massive failure on the part of the state, federal and city level authorities in NYC.

  2. 2
    The Moar You Know says:

    It’s already clear Trump is a Russian asset. The only remaining question is how long and actively he’s been in on Putin’s con.

    It looks like his Atlantic City operation went under in 2011, and I think that’s when he started shitting out his birther bullshit. So at least since then, but my gut (truthiness) is telling me since the 1990s. Based on nothing but my own bullshit. But yeah, I feel good asserting he’s been Russia’s сука since the 2010s.

  3. 3
    Jeffro says:

    Everybody go read Clint Watts’ tweet thread…it’s amazing and horrifying and there really is no other conclusion to be had (the same one many BJers have had for almost 3 years now): the president* is a Russian asset.

  4. 4

    @The Moar You Know: He had a full expenses paid trip to the God damned Soviet Union in the 1980s IIRC.

    Was Ivana his handler? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  5. 5
    SFAW says:

    The only remaining question is how long and actively he’s been in on Putin’s con.

    That’s a tough question: did Putin run him starting in 1987, before he became tsar, but when the Traitor-in-Chief had already started his Russophilial antics? Or do we count only from when Putin first was Prime Minister (circa 1999)?

  6. 6
    khead says:

    That such a destructive, incompetent, addled and compromised fool got within a country mile of the fucking White House points to national security failures as vast as those that allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen and enabled Cheney & Co. to falsely portray Saddam Hussein’s Potemkin nukes as an existential threat.

    National security failure? Or GOP collusion? Hell, it doesn’t even need to be straight up collusion. All I know is that McConnell refused to go along with Obama when Obama asked to make the Russian interference public back in the fall of 2016.

  7. 7
    Elizabelle says:

    @Jeffro: Could you (or someone) provide a link?

  8. 8
    Yarrow says:

    @The Moar You Know: 1987 when he went to the Soviet Union, came home and took out a full page ad in the NYT criticizing US foreign policy.

  9. 9
    Yarrow says:

    @Elizabelle: Start here. It’s long.

    Regarding this NYT story from this weekend, imagine you are a FBI Agent working Russian counterintelligence in 2016 and you witness the following: https://t.co/uajSa5sfuX— Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) January 13, 2019

  10. 10
    Elizabelle says:

    Yep. Robert Mueller was FBI Director for September 11, but he was only confirmed to the position on August 2, 2001. So he ended up being the fall guy and the one who made reforms in its aftermath, I guess. I remember him being taken to task for it. I had not realized he had only been Director for 6 weeks previous.

    Makes you wonder what he makes of this debacle. And it’s the Republican party and Fox News world that birthed it.

  11. 11
    Elizabelle says:

    @Yarrow: Thank you. Checking it out now.

  12. 12
    hells littlest angel says:

    If a truth and reconciliation commission means no one goes to the gallows, I’m not interested.

  13. 13
    gVOR08 says:

    No. No truth and reconciliation. We need prosecutions.

  14. 14
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “It’s already clear Trump is a Russian asset.”

    Not to the idiots in the Republican Congress. Graham is going after the FBI as are other Republican Senators. They’re making it clear that no matter what Mueller and the FBI reveal about Trump, he will not be convicted in the Republican-controlled Senate. Democrats should still go forward with impeaching him in the House.

  15. 15

    Like those monumental fuck-ups, I suspect the lapse that allowed a malignant orange clown to seize personal control of the world’s most fearsome nuclear arsenal was more a failure of imagination than a lack of dedication or skill, particularly on the part of the people doing the actual work.

    I don’t know. I think there’s some serious rot in the FBI’s NY field office that basically forced Comey’s hand on the Weiner letter, and I want to know if it’s just their personal relationship with Trump or if some of them have been compromised.

  16. 16
    Hoodie says:

    The intel community ignored what was right in front of it’s face: “businessmen” are the new look for international subversion. Putin traded communist kitsch for tailored suits, fancy offices and international banking. The FBI should have seen this coming because, after, that’s basically how our own mob operated for years. They’ve largely ignored people like Trump because they weren’t ideological, just businessmen, and they blend in with the majority of the economic elite who are just “normally” corrupt, eg, tax cheats, beneficiaries of sweetheart deals, etc.

  17. 17
    Yarrow says:

    @Roger Moore: That’s my take too. Except it also seems clear that the Russian mob in that area has compromised the FBI’s NY field office.

  18. 18
    Kent says:

    At this point it seems the most logical end-game is some sort of last-minute Trump resignation followed by Pence granting blanket pardons to all the high level Trump family associates. That was the pattern started in Watergate and followed up by Iran Contra for the scandal-ridden Nixon and Reagan administrations. In both cases the pardoned operatives went on to subsequent high level positions. And we now have William Barr, veteran of the Iran Contra days all lined up to make the process work again.

    I’m thinking though, that there is no reason for Dems to lay over and let them get away with this sort of thing. Yes, a pardon is a pardon. But the next Dem administration could set up a high level commission (as could Congress) and put every damn one of these criminals under intense questioning in some sort of “truth and reconciliation” process. Even the former president. A pardon doesn’t excuse you from having to testify truthfully. In fact, it eliminates the option of taking the 5th. So Trump, and Jr. and Javanka, and all the rest of them can be forced to reveal every last damn detail of what they did in front of the cameras. And if they refuse or lie they can be thrown in jail for obstruction of justice or perjury.

    Of course the current crop of Dem leaders would rather just brush it all under the table I suspect (bygones) and proceed with whatever their agenda is. So I don’t expect this to happen. But I think it is legally possible. A pardon doesn’t exempt someone from answering questions under oath. In fact it makes it harder to evade questions by taking the 5th.

  19. 19
    dnfree says:

    I remember the FBI targeting Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders, and any participants in Vietnam war protests. Do I trust the FBI or the CIA? No way! It feels strange to be cheering them on in the present situation. But yes–what else did they miss or overlook, for how long, and why?

    White collar crime has been less investigated than it used to be, and that would be another good question.

  20. 20
    jimmiraybob says:

    Just a thought (after reading a column in the WP Post by Max Boot (we will never again speak of my citing this guy).

    When all compasses point north it is reasonable to conclude that the direction “north” is known. Strong circumstantial evidence is allowed in our legal system and can be the basis for conviction even in capitol cases (instructions by the judge and prosecution when I was sitting on a jury pool). And, when the fate of the nation and its people are at stake it’s probably not prudent to dilly or dally about such matters.

    And an “asset” can be witting or unwitting and in the world of “I’ll Scratch Your back if You Scratch My Back” business transactions there is no distance between the possibilities. And, for the record, same outcome.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Mike in NC says:

    I’ll go with 1987, when Fat Bastard first visited the USSR to try to wheel and deal. The KGB routinely tracked all foreigners coming into the country, and they probably were able to flatter and seduce the malignant narcissist without much effort.

  23. 23
    laura says:

    Let’s not leave out the infotainment industry. You know, what that Vilago guy is always reminding us of.

  24. 24
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Roger Moore: Definitely some rot there; I don’t know if that office is infested with ideologues or what. And that Comey was in a position to have his hand forced and the way he chose to handle it is a reflection of his shitty leadership skills, IMO.

    But I’m thinking of other big-picture questions. Not just Trump, but also how a sleazebag like Manafort was able to operate a corrupt enterprise for decades — and assume control of one of the two major party campaigns.

  25. 25
    grubert says:

    Not optimistic about the truth or the reconciliation. America feels like the King of Nations, and kings need never apologize or examine themselves.

    The boil may be excised, but the rot will likely not.. anytime soon at least. Sorry if this sounds gloomy.

  26. 26

    Part of it is the same reason we are not actively pursuing the grand-scale economic fraud that’s going on atop our financial systems. A lot of the bad practices that caused the mortgage/housing meltdown in 2007-08 are STILL HAPPENING today. Our government is simply incapable or unwilling to pursue white collar crime – much of what trump has been doing since the 1970s! – to the fullest extent. If we had been pursuing financial fraud matters, which would have covered a lot of the global money laundering that trump was a part of, we would have put trump and his ilk in prison decades ago. Instead we have to rely on these civil case fraud lawsuits that routinely get plea-agreed into little pieces where the crooks walk away without liability and continue their scams. This all needs to go into felony criminal cases. These bastards need to see jail time. Then we wouldn’t be dealing with this crook in the White House.

    And it wasn’t that the FBI didn’t completely screw up here. They were getting red flags all over the place. They just couldn’t pull it all together until it was too late.

    If the Dems wanna make sure this never happens again, prioritize fraud investigations and make it so that the fcking death penalty applies to any crooked businessman who commits fraud costing any victim over $59.95

    To hell with serial killers. Serial fraudsters deserve the electric chair.

  27. 27
    Chip Daniels says:

    Even the most innocent explanation, that Trump is not compromised but merely so admiring of Putin’s strong man ways that he eagerly wants to help him, is itself every bit as damning.

    Its total bullshit, but no less damning.

  28. 28
    MattF says:

    @Betty Cracker: My question these days is how much did Comey know about Trump’s Russian connections when he made that fatal intervention into the 2016 campaign. Did he understand that he was pushing a Russian mole into the Presidency? Comey was FBI Director, after all, not some political naif like Roger Stone…

  29. 29
    Ryan says:

    Who could have known that one of America’s two political parties would throw all commitments to democratic governance for the sake of entrenching minority rule and redistributing wealth ever upwards?

  30. 30
    Archon says:

    I think the part we have to acknowledge before we go into recriminations, is that nobody from President Obama, to the national security establishment to the media at large truly thought Trump could get elected. From that perspective I look at the failure to stop Trump also primarily as a lack of imagination caused by a misplaced faith in the intelligence and civic virtue of the American populace.

    The fact that 60 million people voted for an obvious conman and sociopath who didn’t even really try to hide he was working with Russia suggests there is something deeper that’s wrong with a large minority of the American voting public. Somebody on this site in the past mentioned that electing a black man President represented breaking the unwritten social and political compact of America for white conservatives. I believe there is a lot of truth to that which we as a country would like to avoid truly facing because we are scared to death of the implications. To that end blaming the media and our intelligence services might be a salve but it’s not the root cause of the Trump Presidency, not even close.

  31. 31
    bobbo says:

    The problem is rightwing political manipulation of our massive national security apparatus. See, e.g., Bush White House/failure to heed warnings about Bin Laden; Dick Cheney/Iraq War,

  32. 32
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kent: Posts like yours make me stabby. There will be pardons, and we can’t do anything about it.

    I don’t think you’re a troll, but that is very much what some of them say.

    Anyway, you have soured me on this thread.

  33. 33
    MattF says:

    @Archon: But after swallowing that bitter pill we can, I hope, get into recriminations? Or, at least, get the facts right. One hopes.

  34. 34
    MCA1 says:

    Sort of a related thought here. Perhaps would be better discussed in one of Adam or Cheryl’s threads, but it’s been nagging at me for awhile and bothered me over the weekend in all the discussion of how things move forward legally from here on, in a situation where both domestic criminal and counterintelligence investigations are intertwined. The heart of the matter is the same as what Betty mentions up top, though: where on the spectrum of “Expose it all, admit the system was exploited, disinfect and rebuild” down to “Just remove this leech from the body politic like it’s another Watergate and put it behind us quickly” do we end here?

    The specific issue about which I’m concerned is this: I’ve seen from a number of commentators (since the beginning, but more in the last 72 hours than ever) that at the end of the day, Mueller and everyone else will focus all the end results attention on obstruction, campaign finance, economic fraud and whatever other domestic criminal issues are needed to get the perpetrators here behind bars. They will be satisfied that putting those individuals on the sidelines resolves the national security/counterintelligence issues here, because there’s always a deep-seated and overriding concern about not burning sources, etc. on things like this. So, for instance, we’ve seen Cohen, Gates and Manafort taken down on lying to the FBI and financial shenanigans, but not the showstopping “This guy betrayed the United States and was working for Russia” or similar charges.

    Under normal circumstances, I guess, I get this balancing of interests. I understand that you can’t use your newfound key to head off the first thing that comes along after you solve the Enigma code.

    But this is THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (and some of his top deputies) IN THRALL TO RUSSIA we’re talking about here. Is this not the “break glass in case of emergency” situation the entire Western alliance’s intelligence gathering operations are premised on avoiding/fighting? It’s D Day.

    Experts on these sorts of things keep telling us things like corroboration of Steele dossier items, the specifics of Manafort’s marching orders from Kilimnick, and what Cohen was doing in Prague will never come to light. They need to come to light. If there’s a cost paid by needing to find new ways to get back up on the Kremlin’s servers or whatever, so be it. Can’t we protect human assets and still lay out exactly what happened? If there’s a recorded conversation of Putin telling Lavrov what Drumpf said in private in Helsinki, it would freak Putin right the hell out if that were released publicly, wouldn’t it? The damage from wrapping up an operation can’t be all on our side.

    I know nothing about how this stuff works, but I’ve yet to see the specifics of a policy argument on why we would still favor the “protect sources” default footing in this specific circumstance.

  35. 35
    Anonymous At Work says:

    The entire line of thinking was “Hillary’s gonna be President, but Republicans will control Congress. I better not piss off the Republicans by throwing Trump under the bus with innuendo.”

  36. 36
    Fair Economist says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    “It’s already clear Trump is a Russian asset.”

    Not to the idiots in the Republican Congress. Graham is going after the FBI as are other Republican Senators.

    Graham is an asset too. He has staffers that were working for Russian spymaster Kilimnik.

  37. 37
    WaterGirl says:

    @Elizabelle: Yeah, I reacted to his comment much the same way. It was this part that really got me to that point:

    Of course the current crop of Dem leaders would rather just brush it all under the table

    As if that were an indisputable fact. It didn’t sour me on the thread, but it did sour me on the commenter.

  38. 38
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Archon: That’s part of the “failure of imagination” I referenced above — no one thought Trump could get elected. I suspect if they had, the people who realized how compromised Trump was would have done something before it was too late. Also, no one — including the Russians, probably — thought Russian hacking and social media campaigns could actually swing the election.

    I didn’t think so either! But it’s not my job to keep tabs on adversary capabilities and game out these scenarios. Maybe it’s a case of fighting the last war and everyone was too busy looking for jihadists in their cornflakes to see this Manchurian scenario playing out under their noses. Maybe shifting the FBI’s mission from fighting crime to sniffing out terrorists set us up for this. I honestly don’t know.

    Agree that tens of millions of our fellow citizens are racist, sexist, xenophobic shitheads, but that has always been the case. We can’t do much about that except make sure elections are fair and free of foreign influence and that all eligible people are allowed to vote. The least we can do is ensure that the next wingnut demagogue is acting in the interest of American bigots rather than Russian dictators, I guess.

  39. 39
    Elizabelle says:

    @WaterGirl: Pie filter is being deployed.

    I have to go out for a while, but recall that a NY Times reader commenter made the point about law enforcement drawing a disproportionate number of conservative Republicans.

    Blinders, and selected for having them.

  40. 40
    Fair Economist says:

    @MCA1:

    “Expose it all, admit the system was exploited, disinfect and rebuild” down to “Just remove this leech from the body politic like it’s another Watergate and put it behind us quickly” do we end here?

    That one is easy, because the problem is Putin’s organization, not the particular tools used here. He’s done similar operations in the UK (Brexit) and Italy (massive infiltration of the 5 Star protest movement). He has attempted, with less success, propping up France’s Marine Le Pen. I suspect he is behind Bolsonaro in Brazil and AfD in Germany, and many similar movements across the globe. This is a systemic, worldwide attack on freedom and decency and picking off a few agents in the US will not suffice.

    IMO Mueller is fully aware of this and I see his heavy focus on Manafort, a peripheral associate of Trump but a deep associate of the Russian network, as an indication that is what he is trying to do.

  41. 41
    joel hanes says:

    @Archon:

    I comfort myself somewhat with the idea that many of those 60 million didn’t so much vote _for_ Trump as _against_ Sec. Clinton, whom twenty-five years of propaganda, the Village media, endless National Enquirer front-page lies, and a surgically-targeted last-minute social media astroturf campaign had convinced them was an irredeemably-corrupt harpy.

    So I place the poisoned media closer to the root of the problem than you do.
    Without Fox and the National Enquirer and Cambridge Analytica, Trump would have lost big.

    One of the most depressing things about 2016 for me was watching a certain contingent of “leftists” repeat all those lies about Clinton.

  42. 42
    artem1s says:

    @dnfree:

    I remember the FBI targeting Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders, and any participants in Vietnam war protests. Do I trust the FBI or the CIA? No way! It feels strange to be cheering them on in the present situation. But yes–what else did they miss or overlook, for how long, and why?

    I think there is are a number of the old guard in the FBI who came up or were just getting started at the end of the Hoover FBI. They took his lead in collecting info for bribery’s sake – moved on from DFH protesting Nam and shifted their focus onto the war on drugs and serial killers. Bread and Circuses for the masses so they wouldn’t have to look too closely at Eastern European mobsters, White Nationalists and politicians and their aids who were playing regime change and soldier of fortune in their spare time. Their little boys club got broken up a bit in the 90s when the FBI had to start hiring minorities and women and sexual harassment policies became a thing. I honestly think this is why they hate Clinton so much. Tailhook, changes in AA hiring at the FBI, etc. all happened primarily during Bill’s tenure. It’s like he broke the code of honor and got caught hound dogging and now none of them get to do it anymore. The Obama administration DOJ started in on investigating the Russian mobsters and that posed a whole lot of problems for those who had been looking the other way. Not to mention the military contractors and NRA who make a pile of money everytime the GOP decides to boosts it’s polling numbers by bombing someone back to the stone age so the Saud’s or Israelis don’t have to do it themselves.

    The old Soviet regime got taken down by getting them to blow their entire budget on an arms race. Now we have a whole economic infrastructure dependent on maintaining that spending. Not sure what percent of our total budget is related, but I’m betting a good 50% at least.

  43. 43
    Kelly says:

    @jimmiraybob:

    And an “asset” can be witting or unwitting

    or as Carl Bernstein said yesterday half-witting ;-)

  44. 44
    Sebastian says:

    Betty, I disagree. Parts of the security apparatus were actively working for him (FBI NYC Office). Racism, misogyny, and brainwashing by FOX brought us here.

    There is no fixing and healing before we remove the bullet, which is right-wing media.

  45. 45
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Ready to don my fireproof underwear, but it seems like a dude by the name of Obama was in charge of the executive branch for most of 2016 and the prior 8 years. Couldn’t he have done more? He was cleared for all the intelligence and almost certainly read it.

  46. 46
    dm says:

    Gosh, the cleanup is going to be hard.

    The Trumpeviks have been talking about persecuting their political opponents for months, and sensible people object to that obvious slide into authoritarianism.

    Then we turn around and start looking into behavior of our political opponents (for good cause), and the next time someone the Trumpeviks like get their hands on power…. A Kris Kobach, say, or a Brian Kemp…. Well, you know what pooh will be flying, and Very Serious People will talk about “both sides”.

    Makes me glad I’m just a citizen, and not in charge of making this work.

  47. 47
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Elizabelle:
    Sometimes I think the pie filter is overused and I hate how easy it is to use now that it’s embedded in the site.

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @Betty Cracker: After Whitey Bulger they tried to clean up the FBI, but it’s apparent they didn’t do enough.

  49. 49
    joel hanes says:

    @Elizabelle:

    There will be pardons

    There may well be.

    However, as it stands today, the Presidential pardon power does not extend to violations of state law.
    That’s why Mueller has farmed out parts of the work to e.g. SDNY.
    Trump is doomed, and is just beginning to figure that out.

  50. 50
    Sebastian says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Birtherism was a Russian active measure. As was Jade Helm.

  51. 51
    Kay says:

    Despite the lurid fantasies of the president’s opponents, however, this information is most likely regarding the possible entanglement of Trump’s finances in New York with the Russian mob, Russian intelligence and the Russian government — which are, functionally, the same group — over the past decades.

    This actually is my theory. It’ll be gross and small rather than a grand ideological plan, because Trump is gross and small. Some sleazy deal in a lifetime of sleazy deals.

    That’s part of what bothers me about it- that we’re all being held hostage by this idiot’s “business” deals. Just let Russia take care of him. He’s their problem.

    The only bet I would make about Trump/Russia is it will be dumb, petty and greedy.

  52. 52

    @Fair Economist: Since when is being a campaign chair being a peripheral associate?

  53. 53
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @joel hanes: SDNY is federal. The President could pardon anyone convicted there.

  54. 54
    Elizabelle says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: I tend to say it more than I actually use it. But there are commenters here whose “art” I skip.

  55. 55
    Haroldo says:

    @Fair Economist:

    This is a systemic, worldwide attack on freedom and decency and picking off a few agents in the US will not suffice.

    In the English speaking world, Rupert Murdoch is certainly one of Putin’s (and other oligarch’s) vectors. I am ignorant of media ownership in non-English countries, but would not be surprised if Rupert was at work there, also.

  56. 56
    JPL says:

    @Fair Economist: Do you have a link verifying that? If she hasn’t Rachel needs to talk about that.

  57. 57
    MCA1 says:

    @Archon: Well stated. I think there are several root causes, and you’ve certainly enumerated one of them. I’d add a fundamental breakdown in the social contract and civil society, too. Lack of understanding of government, the overwhelming presence of technology and the isolation it brings, a devolution of media and its many ill effects, and extreme inequality all contribute to that general breakdown, leading to an overwhelmingly mean, uninformed populace untethered from any traditional community (and the support and restraints it might provide), just begging to be taken in by such a conman.

  58. 58
    rikyrah says:

    Bodak Red 🥂 🥂 (@AFarray) Tweeted:
    John Kasich blames Blk mothers for high Blk infant mortality so no, I will no listen to John Kasich

    . https://t.co/TdTj0TKBx5 https://twitter.com/AFarray/status/1084880945197531137?s=17

  59. 59
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Imagine how that would have played: Obama using federal investigators to crack down on his political opponents for alleged Russian ties. The whole political mainstream would have been calling it authoritarian overreach and saying he was possessed by the ghost of Tailgunner Joe.

  60. 60
    Kent says:

    @Elizabelle:

    @Kent: Posts like yours make me stabby. There will be pardons, and we can’t do anything about it.

    I don’t think you’re a troll, but that is very much what some of them say.

    Anyway, you have soured me on this thread.

    I’m not trolling. I just think there is zero chance a sitting president gets convicted. Look at what is happening today. We can’t even get the Senate to reopen the government without Trump’s blessing over what everyone agrees is a ridiculous request for a wall. These same people within the next year are going to convict him on national TV? No chance.

    I’m just saying that even with pardons there is a potential path for some kind of justice. Haul them all out there in front of the public and make them admit to every last damn detail and prosecute them for obstrution of justice and perjury if they don’t do it. Which would be new crimes not covered by the pardons of a previous president. Make Trump sit for 2 days in front of a Senate committee chaired by Senator Harris and prosecute him for every new lie he tells. Don’t let them get away with it forever.

  61. 61
    trollhattan says:

    @Anonymous At Work:
    Sadly, I think it was as simple as that.

  62. 62
    WaterGirl says:

    LGM just now:

    JAY PATERNO IS NOW IS NOW A BLOGGER FOR THE SAUDI GOVERNMENT

    Appalling, yet not really surprising.

  63. 63
    rikyrah says:

    @Fair Economist:
    They are Traitors ALL😡😡

  64. 64
    catclub says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Robert Mueller was FBI Director for September 11, but he was only confirmed to the position on August 2, 2001. So he ended up being the fall guy and the one who made reforms in its aftermath,

    Those ‘reforms’ were along the lines of ‘drop everything and look for terrorists under your bed’

    That everything included all kinds of financial crimes investigations. What happened next? Enron, then the financial crisis, then the
    foreclosure perjury from the big banks and their agents.

  65. 65
    catclub says:

    @rikyrah:

    I will no listen to John Kasich

    good decision. Kasich is only 98% wackaloon, so that counts as centrist Republican.

  66. 66
    jimmiraybob says:

    @Kelly:

    or as Carl Bernstein said yesterday half-witting ;-)

    Check and mate.

  67. 67
    joel hanes says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    D’oh! This will teach me to opine without googling. Or thinking. Maybe.
    Mueller _has_ been working with the NY AG, though, so nusuth.

  68. 68
    dm says:

    @Kent: Pardons don’t affect state-level prosecutions, and it seems clear that an attorney general in New York, New Jersey, or many other states might be able to find a great deal of interest in Trump’s business practices.

  69. 69
    Mike G says:

    allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen and enabled Cheney & Co. to falsely portray Saddam Hussein’s Potemkin nukes as an existential threat

    All 3 are Republican crimes, what a coincidence.

  70. 70
    rikyrah says:

    @hells littlest angel:
    Nope . We need jail time😡

  71. 71
    JPL says:

    @joel hanes: Mueller can be brought up on state charges, so a pardon does little for him. Putin’s threats probably hold more sway over him.

  72. 72
    Yarrow says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    But I’m thinking of other big-picture questions. Not just Trump, but also how a sleazebag like Manafort was able to operate a corrupt enterprise for decades — and assume control of one of the two major party campaigns.

    To quote myself from last night:

    Paul Manafort was an adviser to the Dole campaign. Oleg Deripaska hired Dole to lobby the State Dept for a waiver to his visa ban. Dole introduced Manafort to Deripaska, who in turn introduced Manafort to Yanukovich, and thus he ended up working in Ukraine.

    The rot runs deep

  73. 73
    catclub says:

    @JPL:

    After Whitey Bulger they tried to clean up the FBI

    and make it whitey…er?

  74. 74
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Elizabelle:
    It’s not a super big deal. Some people deserve to be put in the pie filter. There’s at least one person on this thread that’s pied me months ago for a misunderstanding and apparently has never unpied me. It’s kind of stupid to be annoyed by stuff like that considering we’re all strangers, but I still like to have an opportunity to defend myself. But what pisses me off the most is being called a troll and then having no way to interact with my accuser. I feel like my online persona is being defamed.

  75. 75
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    You shouldn’t listen to him. The economic development councils he touts in that article were a crony-hire shitshow. No one can identify anything they did to encourage development in Ohio. Republicans put them in locally too, in the counties they control, and they’re no-show jobs for politically connected Republicans. The economic development board in my county was run by the son of a judge who was a year out of law school. They created a job. For him.

  76. 76
    PJ says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I think he made a mistake (as I’m sure he thinks now, too), but he could not bring out the evidence about Trump’s working for the Russians without burning sources and methods (because at that point there was no testimony from Trump’s colleagues/handlers), and McConnell had made plain that he (and I’m assuming all of the GOP Congressional politicians) would accuse the White House of partisan interference in the election, which Trump was already doing, and which, after Hilary won, would just feed the GOP outrage and investigations into her and Obama.

    Again, I think this was a terrible mistake on Obama’s part, but if Obama had released the info on Trump and Hilary had won, the media would have no more come around to discussing Trump as a Russian asset than they did in 2016 and 2017, and instead they would have aggressively pursued the whole “corrupt Dems stole election” story. In addition, there’s a good chance there would have been no FBI investigation of Trump and the Russians, because, in the face of Republican and media opposition, it would have fed into the whole “Dems are using Executive Branch to harass Republicans” story.

  77. 77
    trollhattan says:

    @PJ:
    Probably right–classic overthinking. They should have deployed “Hulk, smash!” and let the cowchips fall where they may.

    I will never fully recover from our November surprise. Never.

  78. 78
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Yes, all of that would have happened, and in the context of that time, it would have been an unprecedented shit-storm. But would it have been worse than our present reality, with a Russian asset in the Oval Office actively destroying this country? I bet if the people who decided “Oh, Hillary is going to win anyway, no need to inflame the flying monkeys by calling out the traitor” had that decision to make over again, they’d make a different one.

  79. 79
    Kay says:

    Ben Shapiro
    ‏Verified account
    @benshapiro
    Follow Follow @benshapiro
    More
    Replying to @EricRWeinstein
    The need for two incomes is partially the result of family breakdown, not the cause of it: decisions to choose career over family broadens the labor pool, driving down wages.

    If younger Republicans really believe this, why don’t they just live it? Have one spouse stay home. Am I somehow stopping them from doing it? I don’t give a shit who does what in Ben Shapiro’s family.

    They’re all such victims. My God, make your own decisions. I have done both- stayed home with small children and worked with small children and I don’t recall insisting the whole culture cheer me on.

    No one really gives a shit if your spouse works, Republicans. We won’t even notice. You have our permission.

  80. 80
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Kay:
    Kay, I wanted to get your opinion on this op-ed by an editor in my local rag:
    Bluster from Betras triggers blowback

    Two Republicans now represent heavily Democratic Mahoning County in the Ohio Legislature.

    In the 33rd District Senate race, Republican grocery store owner Michael Rulli defeated prominent Democratic officeholder John Boccieri. And in the 59th House District race, Republican Don Manning, who failed in several previous election attempts, beat Democrat Eric Ungaro, a Poland Township trustee.

    Betras is responsible for those Democratic losses.

    In retrospect, this writer’s call for his and Polivka’s resignation was prescient.

    Here’s what was written in a front page analysis on the day after the election:

    “Chairmen David Betras of Mahoning County and Daniel Polivka of Trumbull County were under pressure to deliver the vote for the party ticket led by Richard Cordray, who was in a tight race for governor with Republican insider Mike DeWine, currently Ohio attorney general.

    “Betras and Polivka were blamed by some in the Ohio Democratic Party for dropping the ball in 2016 that enabled Trump to carry Ohio.

    “They again failed last night, and it won’t be long before they hear the calls for their resignations.

    “Betras and Polivka can try to spin the results of the governor’s race all they want, but the fact remains that they blew it.

    “In Mahoning County, Cordray received 48,600 votes to 36,976 for DeWine. The 56.1 percent Cordray total speaks volumes.

    “In Trumbull County, which went for Trump in 2016, Cordray garnered 37,789 votes to 33,609 for DeWine. Cordray’s 51 percent is also revealing.

    “Statewide, Cordray, who served as the first director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Barack Obama, lost to DeWine by about 200,000 votes in unofficial totals.”

    The Ohio Democratic Party is on life-support given the Republican sweep – again – of all statewide races other than the U.S. Senate contest.

    Sen. Brown’s victory has ignited the passions of Democrats who believe he is better positioned than any other potential candidates to take on Republican President Trump in the battleground states in the Midwest.

    Trump won in this region of the country by appealing to blue-collar workers who traditionally vote Democratic.

    Brown, who has long been a champion of working people, would give Trump a run for his money in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and other industrial states. His legislative record speaks to his commitment to the middle class and less fortunate Americans.

    As veteran conservative columnist George Will put it, Brown would bring his “muscular progressivism” to the 2020 presidential contest.

    It’s unfortunate that Betras and Polivka, chairmen of predominantly Democratic counties, are nowhere to be found as Brown explores a run for president.

    Bolding mine.

    My opinion is that this analysis is competely idiotic and relies on the White Working Class “economic anxiety” framing as legitimate. It ignores that the state is becoming older, whiter, and more reactionary.

  81. 81
  82. 82
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    It’s not like it’s something I’ve been constantly talking about recently. Can’t you see where I’m coming from? Do you have any idea how frustrating it is when people you’ve gotten along with suddenly freeze you out and don’t even give you a chance to defend yourself? When they slander you and call you a troll?

  83. 83
  84. 84
    Aleta says:

    I absolutely believe democracy will survive. I don’t know how to say this without sounding sugary: I hope that the coming together of so many skills and brains with grit to fight the Republicans can also last. And that right now every day the damage to people, plants, animals could be stopped as much as possible and repaired as much as possible.

    ETA I wrote this right after reading Betty C’s post, her mention of democracy lasting, before reading any comments. I see something else is going on in the comments and I’m not writing in response to that; haven’t read it yet.

  85. 85
    joel hanes says:

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

    I feel like my online persona is being defamed.

    Unsolicited advice:
    If you don’t develop some detachment and a thicker skin, the internet will eat you alive.

  86. 86
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @joel hanes:
    It doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to. If anything the experiences have made me more careful about what I say. It’s not quite the anonymity of a random username anymore.

  87. 87
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Hell yes, they should. It’s already clear Trump is a Russian asset. The only remaining question is how long and actively he’s been in on Putin’s con

    a) It’s not impossible that the Russians don’t want him.

    b) Why would the Russians have to pay anything? All they need to do is send some pretty blonde and Trump will tell her what ever she wants Trump is so needy.

  88. 88
    Gin & Tonic says:

    For those who might be wondering, security at MDW was a piece of cake. Even the non-Pre lines were going briskly.

  89. 89
    PJ says:

    @Betty Cracker: I’m with you; I think Obama just couldn’t imagine Trump winning (even Trump seems to have been caught off guard by it). I think that, however big that shit-storm would have been, it would have been the right course of action to expose Trump. But the one silver lining to Trump winning is that I think that the public may finally get to see how deep (in Adam’s term) the penetration at all levels is, and on a broader level, how extensive the political and business corruption is in this country, and how the media is complicit in all of it. (Trump should have been nailed for his white collar crime by prosecutors and journalists long before he declared he was running, but certainly at that point they should have started digging.)

    I may just be dreaming that the Mueller investigation will have that kind of impact, but the opportunity is there if politicians, prosecutors, and journalists pursue it. On the other hand, right now, after all the news about how Trump has assiduously done Putin’s bidding, and how much he has done to destroy our alliances and our standing around the globe, and to weaken our economy, he still has a 40% approval rating. Imagine that – more than a third of our fellow Americans still have not been swayed by solid evidence of corruption and betrayal of the country. I think we will need at least two/thirds of the country to realize they’ve been conned before we can make any lasting change here.

  90. 90
    trollhattan says:

    @joel hanes:
    It turned me into a newt.

  91. 91
    Gravenstone says:

    @schrodingers_cat: And has held a rather pro-Soviet/Russian PoV (including several positive public statements/op-eds) since that trip. Strange how no one on the Republican side seems to have found that suspicious.

  92. 92
    MattF says:

    WaPo offers a remedial summary of the non-denial denial. Useful, I suppose, if you didn’t already know about it.

  93. 93
    Gravenstone says:

    @SFAW: Putin may well have inherited him from the previous regime. Or perhaps he simply chose to activate a somewhat dormant asset.

  94. 94
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    I don’t know how you can’t. How would you feel if commenters you liked and talked to for years pie’d you for a mistake you made in earnest and questioned your intentions?

  95. 95
    Kay says:

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

    Be more specific. Are you objecting to the idea that these two blew it or the idea that Brown is competitive nationally?

    Because I think there’s a broad consensus that the Ohio Democratic Party blew it, even among people who advocate for giving up on white working class. I think it’s two separate things. My husband went to a state party meeting this past week- the big one, and the state Democratic Party admitted they blew it.

    I would also say that Sherrod Brown rejects the idea that he’s the white working class savior. He will reject that out of hand, rightfully, I think, because that has never been his MO. He’s a liberal. On the environment, on civil rights, on women’s rights.

    Just don’t get caught up in the “white working class hero” thing. People like George Will care about it. It won’t involve a decision. It won’t be like “yeah or nay on white working class” :)

  96. 96
    The Moar You Know says:

    Ready to don my fireproof underwear, but it seems like a dude by the name of Obama was in charge of the executive branch for most of 2016 and the prior 8 years. Couldn’t he have done more? He was cleared for all the intelligence and almost certainly read it.

    @Gin & Tonic: I’m sure he read it all. I don’t know if he could have done more or not. He made some whopper mistakes in office, all of which stemmed from either getting rolled by the military (Syria, Libya) or backing down from GOP threats (2016 elections). I don’t blame him for that, his status as the first black president made it very needful that he approach things in as conservative (old meaning, not political meaning) and noncombative a manner as possible.

    He also, like many (including myself) flat-out thought Trump could not win and the problem would be self-solving. We all should have paid more attention to Nate Silver. We also should have been watching Congress with far more scrutiny, and working on taking away GOP majorities during his entire term.

  97. 97
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The 2016 GOP primary field must be held responsible for their failure to attack Trump and show him for the fraud he always has been, but they’re so afraid of their racist base they dared not do so.

    Fuck all of them. Their party must be annihilated.

  98. 98
    Kay says:

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

    Honestly, and this is harsh but true in my observation, Ohio won’t be a swing state in 2020. Democrats would be better off shoring up Pennsylvania and Michigan and then focusing on a state like Arizona, or even Georgia.

    I wonder sometimes if the Clinton campaign knew that ahead of everyone else in 2016. If we’re looking at this wrong. If they knew it was trending red before other people did.

  99. 99
    lee says:

    I’ve mentioned this before.

    I want to know if the NY FBI guys that cornered Comey into making that Oct announcement are also Russian agents.

    I mean it could just be 100% Hillary Hate, but then again the rot sure seems to run deep & wide.

  100. 100
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: You’re getting advice. Listen to it.

  101. 101
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Kay:
    I don’t closely follow state party politics, but I figured that any failure was the result of Ohio simply becoming older and whiter as well as gerrymandering/voter suppression.

    I’m sure Brown is competitive and I don’t mind him too much aside from his protectionist economic stances. I just didn’t like the author’s framing. I felt that he ignored the factors I mentioned above and was giving credence to the WWC theory of how Dems lost 2016. Many of those traditional Dem voters were motivated by racism and misogyny imo to vote for Trump.

  102. 102
    Kay says:

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

    I think “red state” becomes self-fulfilling if Democrats lose long enough. The state gets older and poorer the longer Republicans remain in power, therefore solidifying the GOP hold. Maybe we blew it in a way that can’t be remedied. You don’t always get another chance. If young people with college degrees don’t want to stay here we can’t make them. If immigrants don’t want to come here they don’t have to. We just didn’t compete.

  103. 103
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Fine, fair enough.

  104. 104
  105. 105
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    Kay:
    The thing is though, Ohio has long been a Republican-controlled state, at least for the past 30 years. It’s just that years ago, the Republicans were more moderate. That’s changed with growing polarization and the Ohio GOP has become more reactionary.

  106. 106
    SFAW says:

    @Kay:

    The need for two incomes is partially the result of family breakdown, not the cause of it: decisions to choose career over family broadens the labor pool, driving down wages.

    What a fucking moron. Maybe instead of “The Virgin Ben,” he should have been called “The Incel Ben,” because what rational, sober woman would want to give him the time of day, with idiocy like that oozing from his pores?

    Yet another refutation of natural selection. It’s enough to make one think Darwin was worng.

  107. 107
    Kay says:

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

    There were two schools of thought among the Ohio GOP after they lost in 2012. One group said they should be more progressive, less racist, try to appeal to more diverse voters. The other said they could just double down on WWC and that would provide the numbers they need. That second faction won the argument and they point to Trump as proof they were right.

    This argument isn’t really about or among Democrats. It’s a GOP argument within their party that is then applied to Democrats.

    The dumbest thing Democrats could do is get sucked into the WWC battle the GOP is conducting. It’s reactive and it’s fighting the last war. Democrats in Ohio need their own argument.

    It’s a bad time for Ohio Democrats. They’re fucking despondent. I hope we take this opportunity to come up with some coherent position that is MORE than “do what Republicans do, 4 years after Republicans win”.

  108. 108
    Bnad says:

    Not sure I want to set up a system where the national security establishment can nullify elections. To me this election was 50% Russian agitation, 50% home grown third column exploiting a previously unknown weakness borne of how perceptions of reality can get manipulated into tinfoil hat territory among self-news-fed and self-educated Facebook consumers who 20 years ago would have been watching network news.
    I’d rather get the electorate’s heads back on straight than start overruling them. That would lead to civil war which is even more of a Russian victory than what they have now.

  109. 109
    Betty Cracker says:

    @The Moar You Know: I agree with your last paragraph 100%. I certainly don’t blame President Obama; I never thought Trump could win either and would probably have done the same damn thing. That’s why we need a truth and reconciliation committee. Who knew the extent of Trump’s exposure and when? It wasn’t just people in the executive branch. I want to know who knew and why they didn’t act, not to apportion blame them but to fix the system so something like this never happens again. There are too many unanswered questions.

  110. 110
    joel hanes says:

    @SFAW:

    It’s enough to make one think Darwin was worng.

    I know you’re joking, but I’m an engineer and feel driven to make serious answers to such things.

    Darwin posits a two-step process :
    1. variation
    2. differential reproductive success

    Every generation has losers, because of the variation step. Sexual organisms don’t “breed true” without earlier severe inbreeding, and even then they eventually gain some variation via mutation.

  111. 111
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Kay:
    Do you think that was what the state party’s strategy was in 2018 or what it could be?

  112. 112
    joel hanes says:

    @Bnad:

    50% home grown third column

    Fox “News” is a foreign assault on our nation. Discuss.

  113. 113
    Kay says:

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

    The thing is though, Ohio has long been a Republican-controlled state, at least for the past 30 years. It’s just that years ago, the Republicans were more moderate. That’s changed with growing polarization and the Ohio GOP has become more reactionary.

    The state made a decision, though, about 10 years ago. They could go one of two ways. They could be an “upper midwest state”, go in the direction of Michigan or Minnesota or Wisconsin OR they could be essentially a low income state- go in the direction of lax regulation and low wages. They chose the latter.
    They’ll be more like West Virginia and Kentucky and less like Minnesota.

  114. 114
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Betty Cracker: Any hypothetical truth and reconciliation commission that does not also question Obama extensively will be pointless.

    I will be worm food, but I do not think history (if the US of A recover) will be kind to him.

  115. 115
    AnneWith says:

    Why am I seeing the “Click to Edit” & “Request Deletion” buttons on joel hanes’ comment above?

  116. 116
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @AnneWith: That’s what a full-service blog provides

    Seriously, it’s part of the ongoing site fucked-up-ness.

  117. 117
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Bnad: Agreed, but surely there are alternatives other than “give the national security establishment the power to veto elections” or “allow a foreign autocrat to install its stooge in the Oval Office.”

  118. 118
    Kay says:

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

    To me, states are either growing or they’re dying. Ohio didn’t want to invest in growing- they wanted to grow and remain a viable state without investing anything in the people who live here. That doesn’t work. They decided their best bet was investing in 60 year old white guys. They won’t get a great return from that investment.

  119. 119
    Aleta says:

    @joel hanes: Yeah.
    I believe the RW recognized from ’91-2 on what a threat HRC was, and by the time she explored running for Senate they got very serious. (In the 90s it wasn’t just about her of course; the RW had already organized in the 70s or whenever against the women who recognized they needed to change laws and police depts, and go to law school and to court, and try to pass an amendment. I think in the beginning that’s what she represented to them.)

    About poisoned media: Over the years the news branches began to out and out compete for sales —subs, clicks, viewers, ad buys– with the sensationalism of other branches. (B/c they were no longer supported by its profits.) By 2016 it seemed like they took naturally to competing with (and using) an established reality show character on a script. It’s appalling that instead of reporting on the disconnect with reality they mostly covered the character as though it was the same thing as the man, to get the ratings.

    (These are perceptions and thoughts, with holes in my understanding. I have no problem with corrections/light at the shallow end of my understanding.)

  120. 120
    Kay says:

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

    I don’t know what the strategy was. You should join the state party. You’re younger and you’re very interested and you would be good at it. Run to get on a central committee. Better (less work) – they pick interim appointments if someone resigns. That’s how most people get on. Start attending and find out who wants off and indicate interest. They’ll appoint you.

  121. 121
    SFAW says:

    @joel hanes:

    In the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka: “Lighten up, Francis.” [I guess I should feel relieved that you didn’t “correct” the word “worng.” (“Correct” is in quotation marks because otherwise one might think that I spelt it that way by mistake.)]

    Engineers don’t “feel driven to make serious answers to such things,” they feel driven to solve problems. But even engineers sometimes go with the flow.

    And, should you be so inclined to point it out: yes, I know the sentences immediately preceding were more-or-less non sequiturs.

  122. 122
    Aleta says:

    @AnneWith: Sometimes college kids drinking on the weekend move the street signs.

  123. 123
    poleaxedbyboatwork says:

    @lee:

    Comey wasn’t forced into anything. He *chose* to put his fucking oar in the water. For the second time.

    First, in July ’16, he ignores the DoJ guidelines he’s always sanctimoniously invoking by publicly bullyragging HRC (agaiinst every SOP known) after the FBI determines it will not charge her with anything. Why?

    Because he’s worried about right-wing criticism, and he apparently reckons that it’s his fucking job to publicly take her to the woodshed. Comey is a useful-fool chump and working the refs works.

    And then, in October, worried about an interdepartmental revolt (i.e. the NY field office will leak news of the reopened investigation, which suggests Comey is worried *he* will be embarrassed by his own people if he doesn’t take proactive action), Comey once again interjects himself, politicizing the email “investigation”. Again.

    For all James Comey’s droopy-dawg sad-eyed more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger rectitude, the salient point is that he is a shitty chief who didn’t have control of his portfolio or his people, and he was cravenly acting not in the best interests of the country but in his own cover-his-ass chickenshittery. The fucking guy deserved to be fired, but as usual whenever Trump does something right, he does it for the wrong reasons and to serve his own selfish interests. (It was especially galling and infuriating that Trump, in firing Comey, reckoned he could fly the ridiculous — from Trump — rationale that he did so b/c of how poorly he used HRC.)

    For the entire time HRC and Trump were heads-up, HRC hadda durable 4 to 7 point lead. The entire time. Until James “Once-More-Into-the-Breach-to-Save-My-Ass!” Comey took a duke all over the election.

    538

    KDrum

    If Comey absolutely *had* to revisit the Clinton email saga, he *could* have kept his fucking mouth shut, per DoJ guidelines, conducted his panty-raid in private, determined that, no, there ain’t no there there, and the whole sordid affair would’ve sllppt by unnoticed.

    But oh, no, not drama queen Comey. He’s like an equally oleaginous Ken Starr of the FBI. Absolutely unapologetic, and absolutely wrong.

  124. 124
    Kelly says:

    Not gonna click thru to The Daily Caller but this TPM post is a doozy. Anonymous senior administration official wants furloughed feds to quit.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/senior-trump-official-anonymous-daily-caller-op-ed-shutdown-federal-workers

  125. 125
  126. 126
    Quinerly says:

    @Kelly: I have thought that this was the root of the shutdown from the get go. I also think that this administration will use the trashing of the national parks as an excuse to try to privitize them. Normally, I’m not prone to this kind of thinking.

  127. 127
    The Moar You Know says:

    Not gonna click thru to The Daily Caller but this TPM post is a doozy. Anonymous senior administration official wants furloughed feds to quit.

    @Kelly: This was the inevitable sequel to “all Federal Employees are Democrats anyway”. They’re not going to drown the government. They’re just going to shoot it in the head and leave the corpse outside as a warning.

  128. 128
    trollhattan says:

    @Quinerly:
    Megyn Kelly’s gig? He’s gonna look awful in a skirt.

  129. 129
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kelly: Do you believe there is an “anonymous senior admin official”?

    I think this was made up. Lot of bad faith and fictionalizing going on out there, and why should we believe anything from The Daily Caller? And — how convenient, right?

  130. 130
    different-church-lady says:

    But in the end it all comes down to: What are we going to do about the VOTERS?

    Because there’s a whole hell of a lot of them who are going to do this again.

  131. 131
    Haroldo says:

    @joel hanes:

    Fox “News” is a foreign assault on our nation. Discuss.

    One of my favorite talking points, the malign influence of Rupert Murdoch.

  132. 132
    smedley the uncertain says:

    @Quinerly: This thought ran through previous shut downs… “See, the government is still working so we don’t need all those slackers.”

  133. 133
    Mandalay says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    We all should have paid more attention to Nate Silver.

    NOOOOOOOO! We need to pay far less attention to Silver and his ilk. Nate Silver’s final election forecast gave Clinton a 71.4% chance of winning, and then when she lost Silver gave himself a big pat on the back because he was less wrong than the competition! BFD – he still got it wrong.

    Silver’s crime was not that he got the result wrong, but that he even embraced the self-serving myth that polls are of much use in predicting the outcome of a very close election.

    Polls serve many valuable specific needs such as Will proposed policy P be popular with the public? or Is X’s approval going up or down over the past Y months? Polls help in prudent and cost effective decision making. For example, these poll numbers show why Pelosi and Schumer have no incentive to end the shutdown – Trump’s approval has tanked in the past 4 weeks.

    But polls are close to worthless when the difference between two candidates is within the margin of error. In those situations we shouldn’t listen to Silver, and Silver should be honest enough to admit that he has no idea who will win instead of peddling his “71.4%” nonsense. It’s poppycock, and he knows it.

  134. 134
    Fair Economist says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Manafort and Trump were only casually connected before he was hired. Manafort had been in with the Russians deep for decades.

  135. 135

    @Betty Cracker: We need an investigative committee to find the truth. Whether we reconcile with or punish depends on what we find out.
    I don’t understand this eagerness for reconciliation without even finding the extent of the perfidy.

  136. 136
    Kelly says:

    @Quinerly:

    Normally, I’m not prone to this kind of thinking.

    1999 me would laugh at 2019 me as a loony conspiracy theorist.
    @Elizabelle:

    Do you believe there is an “anonymous senior admin official”?

    Even if the top folks aren’t thinking this way it seems like there’s a lot of loony tunes freelancers in this Administration.

  137. 137
    lee says:

    @poleaxedbyboatwork:

    What he did was wrong & he should have kept his mouth shut. My understanding is there were agents in the NY office that were going to go public with the new investigation and part of his rational was that he was attempting to get in front of it (yes I agree he should not have said anything and then punished those who did).

    So were those agents motivated by Hillary Hate or were they Russian agents?

  138. 138
    ruemara says:

    @lee: Probably hate, since many in that field are very conservative and listen to mostly conservative media.

  139. 139
    poleaxedbyboatwork says:

    @lee:

    Your tempered reply is kinder than I deserve. I apologize for inadvertently harshing on your point. (It’s a good one.) I launched into a point I wanted to make by springboarding offa yours, and I should have made it plain that my umbrage was not directed at you. Sorry.

    I get angry all over again whenever I hear about Comey, but that ain’t your problem and I shoulda been clearer.

  140. 140
    Sebastian says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Stabby? Watch out or the tone police will call you a bloodlusty sociopath.

  141. 141
    danielx says:

    @khead:

    National security failure? Or GOP collusion?

    Why can’t it be both? That Trump was never thoroughly vetted prior to entering the primaries was a complete failure on both parts – see here’s an opportunity to say BOTH SIDES! without sounding like David Fucking Brooks or any number of other professional Republican apologists. As to how it happened? Republicans LET it happen…although idiot Republican voters helped. I mean, his track record of poor judgment, bankruptcies, fraud, moral failings, and all around turpitude and incompetency was completely available to anyone who cared enough to look. I did care enough, although there was never a chance of his getting my vote anyway. It is still a mystery to me how so many people were stupid enough to vote for this fool. Yes, I will say stupid – those who voted for him were stupid, and they are even stupider if they are still following him. Granted that nobody likes to admit they made an error of judgment that big….

  142. 142
    Elizabelle says:

    @Sebastian: Is that you, TenguPhule, under a new ‘nym? I have really been wondering about that.

  143. 143
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Bnad:

    Not sure I want to set up a system where the national security establishment can nullify elections.

    This is precisely why a strong and broadly told narrative (or whatever you want to call it) needs to be quickly nurtured and grown, that the National Security Establishment failed. As Betty carefully noted in the OP:

    But yeah, we’re gonna need a truth and reconciliation panel on national security too.

    Because (assuming that all the apparent Russian involvement is not the product of a deep state plot/whatever, or wishful delusions on our part, or etc(long list)) they did fail institutionally at counterintelligence, or they (or a subset) were complicit. They (the majority (one hopes) loyal to the US) should be feeling the need in their agencies to roll some heads.

  144. 144
    Emma says:

    @Mandalay: Excuse me, but… Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 6 million votes. What the polls were measuring was the vote, and in that sense, people who were calling it for Hillary were right. Hillary was brought down by a combination of Russian f_ckery and Repulican vote suppression dirty tricks. No poll could have foreseen that.

  145. 145
    Redshift says:

    @schrodingers_cat: The typical model for a truth and reconciliation commission is leniency for those who have not committed serious crimes. The motivation is not “let’s forgive everyone so we can get past this,” rather it’s that if low-level people can’t be encouraged to testify though some promise of leniency, you’ll never find out and prosecute the serious stuff at the top. It’s a lot like prosecutors making deals to flip witnesses, really.

    However, they’re also generally used in situations where there have been a lot of secret bad stuff done to regular people, and while they’d like the guilty to be punished, they’re willing to give that up in return for knowing the fate of their relatives. We have have that in this situation, so maybe just “truth commission” would be better. I don’t see Trumpers who have decided the FBI is acting solely out of bias are going to be doing a lot of reconciliation…

  146. 146
    emjayay says:

    @PaulWartenberg: I’m assuming that last stuff is hyperbole. But, yes. I think Barack Obama is a very intelligent and all around great guy with the good of the country and world in mind, but this area is one of his huge shortcomings as president. I won’t bore anyone with my armchair completely unqualified psychological analysis.

  147. 147
    glory b says:

    @Kay: Once again, I’m making my assertion that something was going on in PA in 2016.
    Out of the last FIVE elections, Trump and Toomey were the only R,s to win statewide elections. This includes Dems being on the same ballot.
    How many people voted for them but then voted for Dems for Attorney General, Auditor General, judges etc.? Do we really think that many voters split tickets?

  148. 148
    Bill Arnold says:

    @joel hanes:

    Fox “News” is a foreign assault on our nation. Discuss.

    Roger Ailes was very much American. I don’t like it, but it’s the case.

  149. 149
    Quinerly says:

    @smedley the uncertain: What I am going to say is harsh. I came to the conclusion when Newt shut the government partially down when he felt slighted on AF1 by Clinton that if it were a full government shutdown… No SS checks, no mail, no nothing… Congress and/or a pres would think twice about this shit. There would be no shutdowns. Everyone should understand what our government does day to day for everyone… even if it is something so minor as going without mail. There would never be another shut down imo if it were a total shut down.

  150. 150
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat: The Mueller investigation should uncover the “how” and handle indictments. Other legal action may be necessary on that score as well. A truth and reconciliation committee could explore the “why” with the goal of preventing a future occurrence. I don’t believe truth and reconciliation committees are necessarily incompatible with punishing the guilty, though in some cases, people get immunity in exchange for cooperation.

  151. 151
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I don’t know. I think there’s some serious rot in the FBI’s NY field office that basically forced Comey’s hand on the Weiner letter, and I want to know if it’s just their personal relationship with Trump or if some of them have been compromised.

    Seconded.

  152. 152
    terry chay says:

    @Mandalay: Yes, Nate Silver was wrong. But the problem is not the polls, it’s that polls are statistical tools, so they can’t handle systematic errors like the sea change in polling not reaching voter enthusiasm, Comey’s last minute announcement (which certainly tipped the election in Trump’s favor), etc. Nate Silver is doubly wrong because he just threw in extra error bars, just because, even though the reasons for them had nothing to do with things that changed the actual outcome.

    @ruemara: It’s not an either-or. Many think they were Russian assets, via them (and Giuliani) being compromised through the Russian mob presence in New York. I think Hillary hate was a factor too, but I’d put more weight on the former and the least weight that they were actual Russian AGENTS. A huge mistake was allowing so much of our security apparatus to be run by one party (Republicans).

    In general what does Russia get out of this other than satisfaction of burning the world down with them just because they (deservedly) LOST the Cold War? At the end of the day they are still a 2nd rate economy (10th largest after Italy) and on decline, they’ve been bleeding every economic engine they have developed since the end of the Cold War, and their income and value will be entirely tired to digging up dinosaur blood from the ground which seems to have worked out so well for Venezuela and (soon to be) much Arab world.

  153. 153
    Redshift says:

    @joel hanes:

    Fox “News” is a foreign assault on our nation. Discuss.

    I worry about this a lot, and about its role in the assault on truth. We’ve gotten a lot of talk about malign influence exploiting social media as a vector, but still very little about Fox et al exploiting freedom of the press and free speech as a propaganda vector. And I don’t see anyone discussing what could be done without sacrificing valuable principles.

  154. 154

    @Betty Cracker: I don’t like the name “Truth and Reconciliation” for what it implies. Tell the truth and everything will be forgiven. YMMV.

  155. 155
    Sebastian says:

    @lee:

    Yes, if you see Russian mob as part of Putin’s circle. But definitely a huge helping of misogyny

  156. 156
    emjayay says:

    @Emma: Actually I think more like 2.9 million votes. And the proximate cause for her loss was definitely Comey announcing the emails on Weiner’s laptop, which all turned out to be absolutely nothing. At that point a lot of people were thinking that the Clinton email thing was in the distant past and of limited importance and impact, and what Comey did brought it up again into the present and also reminded everyone of how the husband of her best friend and longtime top employee was a pervert who she hadn’t dumped (Democrats = no morals, tolerance of all kinds of deviancy like homosexuality forbidden by Jesus, etc. etc.) , and suggested some sort of conspiracy or something among the whole crowd.

  157. 157
    Elizabelle says:

    @Redshift: Agreed. I think they’re a cancer on our society that is hiding behind the First Amendment. Fox News paved the way for Trump, and makes building consensus in this country very hard. It is there to misinform and polarize.

  158. 158
    Fair Economist says:

    @Kay: Ohio definitely won’t be a decision state. We will get WI before we get OH and if we get WI we will almost certainly win.

  159. 159
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Emma:

    Hillary was brought down by a combination of Russian f_ckery and Repulican vote suppression dirty tricks. No poll could have foreseen that.

    Bannon was rather confident, IIRC. (FWIW; he’s been wrong plenty.)
    That’s certainly the most parsimonious theory. There are others, more baroque. (Not talking about QAnon.)

  160. 160
    lollipopguild says:

    @Redshift: The constitution does not allow us to shut down fox or sinclair but Democrats can call them out in public for their lies and bullshite.

  161. 161
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Elizabelle: to say nothing of, “Our current crop of Democratic leaders will do nothing”, blah blah blah. Bullshit. Let me be the first to say, “bullshit”. I think once the whole sorry house of cards starts tumbling down – which it already has, finally, praise Jeebus -the last thing our “current crop of Democratic leaders” is going to feel like doing is saying, “nah, it’s all good, guys, what’s a little light treason among friends?”

  162. 162

    Reconciling with the Confederates has worked out really well for the Republic. Also we didn’t reconcile with the Nazis after WWII.

  163. 163
    poleaxedbyboatwork says:

    @Mandalay:

    My recollection, subject to correction, is that 538 took great pains to forewarn its readers that what they were tracking were probabilities only based upon an aggregation of polling data. The corrollary point being that ain’t nobody guaranteed nothing and anything’s possible if undecideds break all in one direction (which they did). A one-in-four chance of the Orange Fartcloud becoming president ain’t a lot — but it ain’t a lock for HRC either.

    Lotta rat-fuckery at play, course (Comey, Russian active measures, voter suppression, etc.), and think it’s fair to say almost no one saw it coming (including our imbecile imposter preznit, who by all accounts was as surprised as anyone).

    If your point is that poll probabilites shouldn’t hold such sway over voter expectations, would agree completely, but don’t think, in fairness to 538, that they ever even remotely pretended to be “calling” the election. Far from it.

  164. 164
    Immanentize says:

    @Redshift:
    Thank you for this. I was going to put up a comment like this at some point…. The “deal” of most truth and reconciliation efforts is prosecutorial immunity for most crimes if you agree to tell the whole truth. One never gets all the truth, but it is pretty effective in getting a bunch of hidden stuff into the open. Like where people murdered might have been buried. Who ordered what, etc.

  165. 165
    Hoodie says:

    @Kay: yeah, it’s pretty simple: if you have crappy winters, you better have a liberal public sector. People can more easily put up with Georgia’s troglodyte public sector because the sun is out most of January and daffodils sprout up in February. Ohio, Missouri, West Virginia are generally in the same boat. New Hampshire gets an exception because of proximity to Boston.

  166. 166
    Bill Arnold says:

    @emjayay:

    And the proximate cause for her loss was definitely Comey announcing the emails on Weiner’s laptop, which all turned out to be absolutely nothing.

    A fairly close election (electoral college) was being nudged towards Republicans by a million feathers in social media land. The Comey letter was a very big cause for sure. There were a bunch of significant factors, though.

  167. 167
    J R in WV says:

    @joel hanes:

    That’s why Mueller has farmed out parts of the work to e.g. SDNY.

    Joel, SDNY is the Southern District of New York, part of the Department of Justice, NOT a State of New York agency.

    Sorry, but that’s just delegating a prosecution to other parts of the DoJ so that Mueller’s prosecutors can continue their investigations. Not to say that information can’t be made available to state DAs, just that this is not an example of that.

  168. 168
    Citizen Alan says:

    @emjayay:

    It is horrifying to me that perhaps the most prominent feminist icon of my lifetime was denied the opportunity to become president in large part because of her husband and her best friend’s husband’s inability to keep their pants zipped.

  169. 169
    Redshift says:

    @Quinerly: It’s a nice thought experiment, but the government doesn’t shut down because of some “shut down the government” action. It shuts down because funding bills don’t get passed. So that would only happen if people who don’t want a shutdown were already in control of everything.

    Ms. Redshift and I were discussing whether other countries have budget-standoff shutdowns, or if they have some kind of automatic funding mechanism so this doesn’t happen. We never hear about it elsewhere, but American coverage of other countries is uniformly terrible, so that may not mean anything.

  170. 170
    Immanentize says:

    @glory b: maybe the president versus others. But rarely now a days a Senate candidate and others. Makes me wonder too

  171. 171
    Fair Economist says:

    @glory b: There was some suspicious ticket splitting in FL in 2018 too. We won the Congressional vote by several percent but lost the gov and Senate. Who would vote for a Dem congressional candidate and then vote for Voldemort and DeRacist?

  172. 172
    Haroldo says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Fox “News” is a foreign assault on our nation. Discuss.

    Roger Ailes was very much American. I don’t like it, but it’s the case.

    Ailes’ boss, Rupert Murdoch, in spite of Murdoch’s arrived-at-late-in-life American citizenship, is very much not. (And he had alot of practice subverting free press in both Australia and the UK. He’s a pro.)

  173. 173
    Sebastian says:

    @Elizabelle:

    No, I am not Tengu. I know his/her name but don’t recall style or habits.

  174. 174
    joel hanes says:

    @lollipopguild:

    The constitution does not allow us to shut down fox or sinclair

    The constitution does not allow any government to attempt it.
    But nothing prevents citizens from doing so.

    Spocko has shown us one path to that end.
    There are others.

  175. 175
    lee says:

    @poleaxedbyboatwork:

    Thanks for that. I completely understand as I have a lot of anger at Comey as well. I am just curious if I should ‘be hatin’ a bit more at the NY FBI guys.

  176. 176
    Sebastian says:

    @joel hanes:

    Not shut down, but FARA goes FAR. Pun intended.

  177. 177
    joel hanes says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Was specifically hired by Rupert Murdoch with a particular purpose in mind.
    Are you going to pretend that Murdoch exercises no influence at Fox ?

  178. 178
    Elizabelle says:

    @Miss Bianca: I think we have some fake friends here. I really do.

    What does constantly assuring us that nothing will be done and that Trump et al will get away with everything they do? It is demoralizing, yes, but it can also destabilize and radicalize.

  179. 179
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Sebastian:
    I was going to say that you’re not him. I do remember your nym from like two years or so ago

  180. 180
    Kent says:

    @WaterGirl:

    @Elizabelle: Yeah, I reacted to his comment much the same way. It was this part that really got me to that point:

    Of course the current crop of Dem leaders would rather just brush it all under the table

    As if that were an indisputable fact. It didn’t sour me on the thread, but it did sour me on the commenter.

    Sorry guys. I’m not trying to sour you on anything. I just have my doubts that if/when Trump is gone we will ever have much in the way of continued investigation/prosecution from the Dem side. The last time we had a really deep and introspective look into government misbehavior was the Church Committee in 1975. We didn’t do it after Iran-Contra. We didn’t do it after 9-11 (the 9-11 commission was the whitewash as it protected Saudi Arabia and the administration). We didn’t do it after the Iraq war. We didn’t do it after the financial crisis in 2008. We didn’t do it after the 2000 elections. When is the last time Dems have taken power and used that power to investigate misdeeds and illegal acts by the other party? Republicans do it all the time (every Obama pseudo-scandal). I just don’t see the Dems doing it. Yes, now while he is still in power. Of course. Investigate everything. That’s their job. Impeach him even. But once the Trumps are out of power? Not so much.

    Unless I miss my guess, I think the calculation, rightly or wrongly in 2020, is that Dems in leadership will believe that undertaking what they know will be portrayed (rightly or wrongly) as a backward-looking partisan witchhunt will hamstring their other priorities. Revisionist history is really difficult, but I’m guessing that Dems in 2008 made the calculation that going after Bush Administration misdeeds during the Iraq war would have undermined their legislative agenda which was mostly healthcare. So the tradeoff for passing Obamacare was sweeping the Bush era under the rug. I’m not saying that was necessarily true, but I suspect a lot of Obama Administration folks believed it, as did the leadership in Congress.

    If we reach 2020 with a new Dem president and Congress I’m betting there will be many many Dems in leadership making the same political calculation. They will be thinking “Do we want to spend our political capital and momentum going after the Trump Administration or do we want to turn the corner and advance our own agenda.” Tell me I’m wrong.

  181. 181
    Redshift says:

    One of the TVs in the gym was on Fox with closed captioning, so I caught a mercifully few minutes of their attempt to whitewash Trump’s keeping his meetings with Putin secret. (They were actually covering it because he was talking about it.)

    The gist seemed to be:

    Trump saying “I met with a lot of world leaders, how could there be anything wrong with that?”

    GOPers saying “look, here’s a meeting where Tillerson was in the room, he couldn’t have kept that secret from him!”

    There may have been more I didn’t see, but it seemed like pretty weak sauce.

  182. 182
    Elizabelle says:

    @Sebastian: That’s cool.

  183. 183
    Sebastian says:

    @Fair Economist:

    My understanding is that it was due to moronic ballot design. The Dem Senator was all the way on the bottom of column 1 and the rest in column 2. Column 1 was mostly legalese which people’s eyes glazed over.

  184. 184
    Mandalay says:

    @Emma: You are wrong on so many levels…

    Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 6 million votes.

    No, she won by ~2.9 million votes.

    What the polls were measuring was the vote, and in that sense, people who were calling it for Hillary were right.

    Completely irrelevant. Silver was explicitly predicting the likelihood of Clinton winning the presidency.

    Hillary was brought down by a combination of Russian f_ckery and Repulican vote suppression dirty tricks. No poll could have foreseen that.

    Again, completely irrelevant. My post was nothing to do with the popular vote or Russian fuckery or Republican dirty tricks. My point was the folks like Silver should just STFU and openly admit that they don’t know who is going to win when the polling numbers for two politicians are very close.

    Silver loves to bask in the glory when he boldly predicts that the Democrat will win in Hawaii, and the Republican will win in Wyoming. But when he gets it wrong he’s suddenly full of excuses. And Silver knows that when he spews his “70.4%” nonsense the media are going to pounce. He shouldn’t be feeding that beast in the first place, and he damn well knows it, but he does it because it makes him money.

  185. 185
    joel hanes says:

    @J R in WV:

    SDNY

    Thanks, acknowledged.
    The estimable McIrvin already caught me out on that blunder.

    I meant the New York AG, which has been Schneiderman/Underwood/James during the course of this nightmare. I am anecdotally informed that former US attorney Preet Bharara may be advising that effort, which is undoubted how SDNY crept into my neurons and took root.

  186. 186
    poleaxedbyboatwork says:

    @lee:

    Well, I got no way a knowing, course, but seems like either explanation will more than suffice for the purpose.

  187. 187
    Yarrow says:

    @Elizabelle: I’m still wondering what’s up with the Fox News Twitter account last tweeting on November 8, 2018, just after Rupert Murdoch visited McConnell in his Congressional office. There has to be some kind of legal thing going on.

  188. 188
    Yarrow says:

    @schrodingers_cat: We need our version of Nuremberg trials before we get to any truth and reconciliation panel.

  189. 189
    Elizabelle says:

    @Yarrow: I agree. This is a complete threat to the stability of our democracy. This isn’t posturing around and playing it out politically. Horse race!

  190. 190
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kent: You’ve got so many assumptions underlying your conclusion that I am not going down that rabbit hole.

  191. 191
    Miss Bianca says:

    @poleaxedbyboatwork: I must say that I agree with this assessment in its entirety.

  192. 192
  193. 193
    Redshift says:

    @lollipopguild:

    The constitution does not allow us to shut down fox or sinclair but Democrats can call them out in public for their lies and bullshite.

    That’s why I say it’s a hard problem. Sure, Dems can call them out, but how much can that accomplish when a third of the country is under the sway of a propaganda channel that tells them anyone who deviates from the party line is their enemy and cannot be trusted, and furthermore, that there is no source of facts and truth, only competing opinions?

    I don’t have any solutions. There’s discussion about regulating social media companies to curb the worst abuses and foreign influences. Maybe there’s something in that vein that could apply to cable “news”; I don’t know.

  194. 194
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Yeah, it’s good.

  195. 195
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Elizabelle: Me, too. Except TenguPhule actually made some funny, salient points on occasion, If it is them, then they’ve suffered a serious decline of some sort.

  196. 196
    Elizabelle says:

    @Redshift: I think recognizing it as a problem and being on the lookout for solutions is a big help. I get the sense a lot of people — especially journalists — are in denial about it. You get all these “what happened” rehashes without ever touching on the role of Fox News and other rightwing propaganda sources. They paved the way for Trump.

    And they had a very real and destabilizing effect, and it is dishonest to just pretend them away.

    Maybe gonna be like the fight against smoking.

  197. 197
    cmorenc says:

    @Sebastian:

    My understanding is that it was due to moronic ballot design. The Dem Senator was all the way on the bottom of column 1 and the rest in column 2. Column 1 was mostly legalese which people’s eyes glazed over.

    Was the ballot design for state & federal-level offices in Florida a uniform statewide thing in 2018, or else is each county elections board free to create its own variations/format, within broad specifications? If the latter, then local Florida boards of elections in counties controlled by Ds have shot D candidates in the foot in at least two critical elections – 2000 (Presidential) and 2018 (Senate). Geez, you’d think it would have been in the national / state democratic party’s interests to do some supervision and preemptive intervention to head off instances of such foreseeable self-inflicted damage.

  198. 198
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Yarrow: Well, maybe Canada or some other liberating force will invade and conquer America, try and hang the traitors, and conduct a “detrumpification” or derepublicanization” campaign. That seems unlikely to me. I’m hoping we Americans will sort it out ourselves. If we do, there’s an existing model for societies that are attempting to publicly air civic trauma and find a path forward. It is commonly called “truth and reconciliation,” and it doesn’t mean absolving the guilty.

  199. 199
    Kent says:

    @Elizabelle:

    @Kent: You’ve got so many assumptions underlying your conclusion that I am not going down that rabbit hole.

    Fine. It just boils down to: (1) I think Trump’s unbelievable legacy of criminal acts and treason will either bring him down or make him a 1-term president, and (2) When Dems retake the White House I expect there to be a massive effort to close the door on the Trump years, turn the corner, and move on. I don’t see how any reading of history can lead to any other conclusion. It’s not what I would want to happen. I’d rather see the entire lot of them spend the rest of their lives behind bars. But it is what I cynicallly expect to happen. Feel free to sketch out an alternate scenario where Dems spend all of 2021 setting aside their domestic agenda to investigate and prosecute the Trumps, especially if there is a resignation and pardons. And especially give there is a 5-4 Supreme Court ready to shut anything down.

  200. 200
    WaterGirl says:

    @joel hanes:

    I meant the New York AG, which has been Schneiderman/Underwood/James during the course of this nightmare. I am anecdotally informed that former US attorney Preet Bharara may be advising that effort

    I am curious to know more about what you have heard.

  201. 201
    catclub says:

    @MattF: Comey clearly has tunnel vision regarding the reputation of the FBI and James Comey. Nothing else matters to him. So he spoke up in October in order to protect the FBI (and himself) from GOP congress, in 2017 when Hillary would be Pres and the GOP congress would have their sights set on him for not being hard enough on her. That was his entire calculation.

  202. 202
    Brachiator says:

    @Kent:

    Tell me I’m wrong.

    You’re wrong.

  203. 203
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kent: I think Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time.

    And you absolutely have to do a full postmortem on 2016, and the oddities in the years before. Because next up is dialing back or eliminating the Electoral College. We can’t have a democracy where livestock and acreage get more political voice than humans in more urban states.

    Let the Mueller report play out.

  204. 204
    joel hanes says:

    @Elizabelle:

    the role of Fox News and other rightwing propaganda sources.

    I’ve come to believe that The National Enquirer, under Trump’s friend Pecker, is an underrated influence on the people who primarily voted against Sec. Clinton rather than for Trump, and in suppressing the Dem vote. There were many months of scurrilous NE front-page lies about made-up Clinton “scandals”, visible in every grocery-checkout line. The low-info didn’t even need to be able to read to get the idea that something about HRC must be very dodgy, if not evil.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/tabloid-newspapers-trump-media-propaganda-214627

    I will not be surprised to learn that Pecker received some quid from The Donald for this pro quo.

  205. 205
    Elizabelle says:

    @Brachiator: Thank you! I was so tempted to come back with that, too.

  206. 206
    Sebastian says:

    @cmorenc:

    I think it was specific to Boward county. Let me see if I can find it but I am at work and have to pretend I am working now.

  207. 207
    Elizabelle says:

    @joel hanes: It’s the sheer repetition of rightwing themes and talking points. You get them constantly on CNN and MSNBC and here, too. You may recognize with your active mind that they are bullshit, but they are still there, they’re constant, and they get through.

  208. 208
    joel hanes says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Can’t find the original story; it was over a year ago.
    This is one step removed: Schneiderman hiring one of Bharara’s principals.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-attorney-general-steps-up-scrutiny-of-white-house-1489964489

  209. 209
    Emma says:

    @emjayay: In other words, political dirty tricks –though I will say that I find the voter suppression tricks to be the clear and most obvious reasons for her loss. It threw four states into the Republican camp that would not have been there.

  210. 210
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Kent:

    Feel free to sketch out an alternate scenario where Dems spend all of 2021 setting aside their domestic agenda to investigate and prosecute the Trumps, especially if there is a resignation and pardons. And especially give there is a 5-4 Supreme Court ready to shut anything down.

    Jesus Chicken-Fried Christ – you seem to be leaping to the conclusion that a Democratic-controlled Congress will somehow manage to be just as ineffective and incompetent as a Republican-controlled one. You appear to have determined that they will prove completely unable and/or unwilling to prosecute investigative hearings AND deal with an actual legislative agenda. Here’s a wild, crazy thought, better expressed by others: Por que no los dos?

    I think what gets Elizabelle and others down around here sometimes is listening to a litany of moaning and groaning, “it will never WORK!” variations. I am the farthest fucking thing from Pollyanna myself, but I can certainly understand and sympathize with the notion that it does us all no good to just leap to the conclusion that we’re all frelled no matter what, oh noes!!

    Not only no good, but active, demotivational harm. That’s where the suspicion of trolling comes in.

    Here’s another crazy thought: how about, instead of theorizing ahead of your evidence that the Democrats just *can’t* or *won’t* do anything about the Trump Crime Family and attendant Augean Stable of their maladministration, you start letting your representatives know NOW that you EXPECT them to be both able and willing to do all that it takes to clean up the mess?

  211. 211
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Kay: A common argument vs women working–they damage men’s incomes. Frequent argument during women’s liberation era.

    As I remember it, there was a frequent argument during Reagan’s reign that the economy and the failure of wages to keep up literally demanded that families have 2 incomes. It was not that so many married women wanted to work even if they had small children–they were forced to work because the husband could not earn enuff to support a family.

    It’s wrong to blame women wanting a career. Family breakdown is the result of many forces. One is the fact that many jobs do not pay enuff to support a family. But it’s an age-old RW ploy to blame women for everything that is going wrong in society rather than looking at the economic realities in which the majority of Americans live.

  212. 212
    Immanentize says:

    @Miss Bianca:
    I’ve noticed/wondered something similar about two people in particular. There is a specific tell of non-engagement these nyms use.

  213. 213

    @terry chay:

    In general what does Russia get out of this other than satisfaction of burning the world down with them just because they (deservedly) LOST the Cold War?

    Did Gorbachev’s USSR really deserve to lose the way they did? Seems to me—and I followed the Sovs with fascination from the time I saw Khrushchev passing through the Los Angeles suburbs in 1959 (I also saw Gorbachev in San Francisco thirty years later)—that at the end they were backing away from it, and just wanted to be let down gently. Suppose they had been? An only slightly chastened Soviet Union, shorn of its imperial ambitions and perhaps with the bone of the Baltics dislodged from its throat—might that have made for a more compatible international partner than the rump, resentful Russian Federation, burning with grievances and bent on payback?

    And you know, however imperfect(!) the implementation, the USSR represented a powerful countervailing social and economic ethos that served slightly to brake the worst impulses of capitalism red in tooth and claw. This alternative having perished, we have seen to our cost how a now-fearless plutocracy conducts itself here in the Home of the Craven.

  214. 214
    Elizabelle says:

    @Miss Bianca: Yea! You tell him/her/it!

    Another thing that occurs to me: all the heavy lifting need not fall to Democrats currently in office. We have a huge and talented bench of folks who have served and are still patriots, in the very real sense. Why not some commissions of experienced folks to investigate, under Congress’s watch?

    If you want to include some non-tainted Republicans and can find them, go for it. But not suggesting parity here; if one party has been undermined to the extent the current GOP has been, they do not get an equal seat at the table.

    The objective is truth, accountability; I would not mind if some of it was punishment, if it comes to that, and cleaning the stables.

  215. 215
    SFAW says:

    @poleaxedbyboatwork:

    He’s like an equally oleaginous Ken Starr of the FBI. Absolutely unapologetic, and absolutely wrong.

    Except that Starr had an overarching goal/agenda to “get” Bill Clinton, because Starr was and is a RWMF. Comey has all the backbone of a bed of kelp, but I don’t think “getting” Hillary was his primary motivation. It may have been mixed in there, but I don’t think it was the main goal.

    ETA: Outside of that minor quibble, I agree with your comment.

  216. 216
    Jay says:

    @Redshift:

    In the Parlimentary system, major bills such as Budgets, are “confidence bills”. If they don’t pass, the Government is done and new elections are held.

  217. 217
    JPL says:

    @Elizabelle: I tend to be an eeyore, but it’s only to protect myself. Since Lucy McBath won, and the icing on the cake was Tom Price’s wife lost her state house seat, I’m coming out of the shadows. I think we got him.

  218. 218
    WaterGirl says:

    In case anyone here has been thinking about joining the Preet Insider ~ $5 a month podcast and more thing, the topic of today’s podcast is:

    CAFE Insider: Is Trump a Russian Asset?

    In case you’re not aware:
    The Insider podcasts are in addition to his regular free podcast. The extra podcast is on Monday nights, and I have found it to be worth it. It’s always Preet and Anne Milgram, who has been on the regular pod a few times. I think she’s great and they are good together on the show.

  219. 219
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    @Betty Cracker: Hindsight is literally 20/20 in this case. I think that no one–Obama and Comey included– in a position of high authority truly had any idea of what we know and can provide evidence for today.Bits and pieces, strange associations and interlopers, tons of circumstantial red flags and yet nothing compared to now. Multiple parts of the government had some idea, but not the cohesive, comprehensive, complex story we are now being treated to. That mattered.

    The complexity and the level of deceit in this story is incredible. Even knowing what we all know now, Mueller is still carefully working to methodically dot the i’s and cross every single t to close the legal case against these bastards to a level of certainty that will lead to not only Trump’s removal but multiple criminal prosecutions and subsequent natsec reforms we’ll need to fix this damage.

    The intersection between things we not only have never seen and like you perfectly stated, couldn’t imagine lead to this. What happened to us was literally our political 9-11. I don’t see going down a rabbit hole that the good guys just rolled over and let this happen to us is productive at all.

  220. 220
    Elizabelle says:

    @JPL: That is wonderful to hear.

  221. 221
    Brachiator says:

    @Ladyraxterinok:

    A common argument vs women working–they damage men’s incomes. Frequent argument during women’s liberation era.

    This kind of thing drives me nuts. As an aside, I wonder how dopes who sling this hash explain the the when child labor was common?

    It was before my adulthood, but I remember reading social histories nothing how men got raises when they married, and how societies still underpay women, or expect them to quit when they marry.

    There are all kinds of social adjustments made to accommodate marriage and other customs. It’s not just about women entering the work force.

    And I’m not sure how economists could prove that there was some clear point in time when a certain wage could support a family.

  222. 222
    Yutsano says:

    @Kelly: Already calling bullpuckey. Heer’s the shot:

    the author claims to be “one of the senior officials working without a paycheck”

    If he’s Senior Executive Service and he’s saying this s/he is going to be found out and fired. It’s actually illegal for us to look for work during a shutdown, and any SES encouraging us to so is in huge legal trouble. Like jail time legal trouble. So I’m calling it now: the columnist isn’t a federal employee. And it’s not above the Daily Caller to make this shit up.

  223. 223
    Elizabelle says:

    @Yutsano: Yeah. I had my doubts about that one too.

  224. 224
    John Fremont says:

    @The Moar You Know: Did Trump’s real estate holdings get a haircut during the Crash of 2008?

  225. 225
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @PJ: Never forget–most of these people listen to Fox, Limbaugh, etc or get their news and its interpretation from televangelists like JimBakker and guests (eg Mark Taylor, the ‘fireman prophet’; the editor of Charisma magazine; ‘Rabbi’ Jonathan Cahn, with his equating T with Cyrus and HRC with Jezebel). Jack van Impe, Hal Lindsey and preachers like SoBapt Robert Jeffress and Rodney Howard Brown, the South African with the ‘holy laughter ministry’ who did the ‘laying on of hands’ on Trump. Many probably get their news from both. Jack’s wife Rexalla often quotes from World Net Daily.

  226. 226

    @Miss Bianca: Elizabelle is one of the reasons I stay. The whine club refrain of heads Ds lose, tails Rs win,gets to be too much sometimes.

  227. 227

    @Yutsano: Daily Caller is not that different from Brietbart, it has no credibility.

  228. 228
    Quinerly says:

    @Redshift: I realize it’s about funding (BS Political Science’82, although I don’t ever recall any shutdowns until Clinton). Basically, what I was saying if they knew NOTHING was going to be funded and the consequences that went with that, I doubt we would ever have this hostage taking again. Just thinking off the top of my head.

  229. 229
    poleaxedbyboatwork says:

    @Kent:

    Will say this:

    If the Dems fail to aggressively and intelligently go on the offensive before the 2020 election cycle, I regret to say I agree with you. I don’t like it any better’n you do, but you have (I believe) correctly identified the pressure points of political exigencies (especially as practiced by Dems inna hostile media environmet), and if history is a guide, it further reiforces your point.

    But: Ain’t nothing normal about these “interesting times” we live in. My ardent hope is that Dems will pursue every fucking rotten canker in the body politic (because, I believe, it is both good politics *and* good policy), and by virtue of doing so, will have earned the respect and goodwill of the majority of Americans.

    The reward for making a principled stand: Dems can (ideally win all three in 2020) and pursue their political agenda while *simultaneously* exposing alla the rot and corruption and perfidy, punish the worst malefactors, and reveal the truth about what actually happened in our benighted age — not (well, solely) for vengeance but rather to heal and proceed stronger. As Twain once said: “Always tell the truth. It will gratify the few and astonish the rest.”

    In this vein, I have always viewed impeachment hearings and a truth commission as revivifying and restorative.

    B/c: This. Shit. Must. Not. Stand.

    It must be exposed and repudiated. So if Dems fail to do their civic fucking duty and simply seek to “move on”, they will have aided and abetted this travesty.

    Will it work out? No one knows, but ain’t nothing gonna change if they don’t.

    imo, fwiw

  230. 230
    Kent says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Jesus Chicken-Fried Christ – you seem to be leaping to the conclusion that a Democratic-controlled Congress will somehow manage to be just as ineffective and incompetent as a Republican-controlled one. You appear to have determined that they will prove completely unable and/or unwilling to prosecute investigative hearings AND deal with an actual legislative agenda. Here’s a wild, crazy thought, better expressed by others: Por que no los dos?

    I think what gets Elizabelle and others down around here sometimes is listening to a litany of moaning and groaning, “it will never WORK!” variations. I am the farthest fucking thing from Pollyanna myself, but I can certainly understand and sympathize with the notion that it does us all no good to just leap to the conclusion that we’re all frelled no matter what, oh noes!!

    Not only no good, but active, demotivational harm. That’s where the suspicion of trolling comes in.

    Here’s another crazy thought: how about, instead of theorizing ahead of your evidence that the Democrats just *can’t* or *won’t* do anything about the Trump Crime Family and attendant Augean Stable of their maladministration, you start letting your representatives know NOW that you EXPECT them to be both able and willing to do all that it takes to clean up the mess?

    What I want to see is Dems take over for a generation. I want to see electoral reforms, the green new deal, medicare for all, free or affordable college education for all, heightened enforcement of environmental and economic regulations across the board, better urban planning and mass transit, better K-12 education, and a whole bunch of other things. And I’d also like to see a complete reckoning for all the major crimes of the Trumps and Trump administration, and investigations to the extent they are necessary beyond what is in the Mueller report which none of us have seen yet. Who knows, Mueller may already have most of it figured out.

    How much can we get done before the pendulum swings back the other way? What does history tell you? Very best case scenario is that someone like Joe Manchin is the 60th swing vote in the Senate. More likely the 60th vote will be someone like Collins. Everyone is going to have a somewhat different order of priorities. For me it is climate change first and electoral reforms second because without free and fair elections nothing else will follow. So to the extent that I’m going to be letting my (hopefully democratic) representatives know what I want in 2021 it is going to be those things first. If you don’t think the Dem leadership in Congress will be setting out their priorities and tackling major legislative issues more or less one at a time then you have no idea how politics works.

    As for “cleaning up the mess” What I hope and expect a new administration to do is focus every bit of their legal brain trust to rooting out every retrograde regulation and executive order made by the Trump Administration and figuring out ways to erase and pull them back for every bureaucratic reason they can come up with.

  231. 231
    Fair Economist says:

    @Kent: If the Democrats win the trifecta in 2020, they will do whatever they think makes it most likely to retain it in 2022 and 2024, which, I think, will be the correct goal. The Dem leadership isn’t stupid or blinkered – they make mistakes like everybody, but they have brains. Very good ones, judging by how well Pelosi has been doing the last few months.

    If you think a potential Democratic trifecta should or should not do certain things in 2021, you should say what those things are and give reasons for it. This blog is part of the Democratic memespace and good ideas here do get heard by people that count.

    If you really think Democrats will be stupid and useless if elected then quit wasting your time at a basically pro-Democratic blog.

  232. 232
    J R in WV says:

    @lollipopguild:

    Pretty sure the Constitution talks about freedom of the PRESS, which prints on paper.

    Faux and Sinclair broadcast over the public airwaves, use cable networks which use public rights-of-way to place poles and wires, use satellite uplink and downlink which are also via public airwaves and licenses. I think all that use of public facilities give us, the public, the right to require them to adhere to standards of truth.

    They don’t do that — they lie with every sentence, distort actual facts to reverse their meaning. That should allow people to sue them for their public lying as a policy. The FCC should be in a position to shut the liars down, revoke Murdoch’s citizenship for lying on his documents, revoke his ownership of all licenses, revoke his purchases of existing facilities.

    I’m really done with lying as journalism — it goes against everything journalism ever stood for. And it (lying) isn’t protected by the First Amendment at all~!!~

  233. 233
    Jay says:

    BTW, Cambridge Analetica.

    The so called “experts” take at the time was “you can’t get there from here”.

    Then, as actual experts combined what they knew, as more and more info came out about the breadth and depth of the “hack” of social media, about the actual “power” of infometrics came out,

    The concensus now is not only yes, you can get there from here, but there’s maps, loaded into your car’s GPS.

    A tool that had been developed and honed for Corporate manipulation of consumption habits and PR management was adapted and adopted for political purposes as a shiv, and driven deep into the Internet.

    While the US IC was “chasing” Russian spies and other “traditional” ratfucking, a whole “new” method of ratfucking was being deployed, and a lot of the “calls” were coming from inside the house.

    Keep in mind, while the Russians had deployed smaller ops before in the past, they were generally ruled as “ineffective” until Brexit.

    Don’t be too harsh on the IC for not seeing the perfect storm coming,

    Even now, the only “effective” tool we have to deal with these sorts of attacks and manipulation, is the intelligence of the audience.

    Until we have cross border means to “criminalize” lies on the internet, we are screwed.

  234. 234
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @different-church-lady: Agree. And agree. And agree again.

  235. 235
    J R in WV says:

    @Hoodie:

    Just one word: Wrong!

    To compare weather in Ohio, Missouri and WV with weather in Georgia is just wrong, inaccurate, you haven’t been there. We do have warm spells in WV and OH, but we also have blizzards and temps far below zero, unlike GA. I’ve worked outdoors at -25 degrees around here, fixing a well, covered with ice like medieval armor plate.

  236. 236
    Elizabelle says:

    @schrodingers_cat: You are too kind. I always look for you. And mnemo. And a bunch of REAL people whose insights I value.

    We have to stand up for ourselves, and protect what is important to us. You can see the cloud and still search for the silver lining or the way you can turn events to your advantage. But not if you’re sitting around whingeing that everyone is a dipshit.

  237. 237
    Elizabelle says:

    @J R in WV: I am down with your comment! Well said.

    I think work like that is going to be my next effort. Because succeeding would help level the playing field.

  238. 238
    J R in WV says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    And another thing:

    Congress doesn’t indict and prosecute criminals, the DoJ does that, and will have plenty of data to work with if Mueller’s team hasn’t been playing solitaire and bridge all this time.

    Congress works on an administration’s legislative agenda, if they can trust the DoJ to do the criminal work. This means shedding FBI agents who don’t keep secret investigations secret, for one example. If the FBI director can’t trust his NYC office, all those guys should be let go, with credit for their pensions, perhaps, but gone.

    The ones not eligible for retirement can take management jobs with the FAA, with no criminal investigations to distract their tiny minds. Or be assigned to work for the FBI in Montana, Idaho, etc.

  239. 239
    Jay says:

    BTW, Senator Warren has added Statehood for DC to her platform.

    That’s 2 more Senators, EC votes and ??? House Seats.

  240. 240
    Kent says:

    @Fair Economist:

    @Kent: If the Democrats win the trifecta in 2020, they will do whatever they think makes it most likely to retain it in 2022 and 2024, which, I think, will be the correct goal. The Dem leadership isn’t stupid or blinkered – they make mistakes like everybody, but they have brains. Very good ones, judging by how well Pelosi has been doing the last few months.

    If you think a potential Democratic trifecta should or should not do certain things in 2021, you should say what those things are and give reasons for it. This blog is part of the Democratic memespace and good ideas here do get heard by people that count.

    If you really think Democrats will be stupid and useless if elected then quit wasting your time at a basically pro-Democratic blog.

    I’ve neither said nor think anything of the sort. I’ve just said that I think addressing climate change (green new deal and beyond) is the most important national and international task of our lifetime and that electoral reforms such as a new voting rights act, and strict Federal standards for elections (voter ID, absentee ballots, mail in ballots, registration purges etc.) are the most important domestic agenda from which everything else will follow. That is on the legislative side.

    On the executive side, the Trump administration has undertaken an unbelievable re-write of regulations and standards up and down the Federal government from environmental regulations to oversight of for-profit colleges. As a former Federal employee, and knowing how incompetent and in a hurry the Trump people have been, I’m willing to bet that they cut procedural corners implementing pretty much all of their agenda. Democrats today should be looking deep into every Trump administration action for every procedural shortcut and every illegal action so that Day #1 they are ready to go with a long list of regulatory repeals in every department. Sometimes they will have to go the long way through a year or two of notice and comment rulemaking and challenges in the courts. But for those Trump Administration actions that were not legally done, I’m betting there are shortcuts that would allow a new Dem administration to simply erase much of the Trump legacy. For example, Trump administration regulations could be challenged for procedural reasons in friendly courts and the new Dem administration could simply say “you are right, the process was fatally flawed, we are withdrawing the regulation until a better environmental or economic analysis is done. And poof, it is gone. For example, the Trump Administration is trying to re-open oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I’m absolutely willing to bet they have cut all kinds of corners in terms of environmental analysis and that there are good scientists with the department of interior who know exactly what corners were cut and what evidence was ignored. A new administration should be able to wipe that all off the books if they can prove the Trump administration actions were sufficiently improper. But that will take a serious serious effort to accomplish up and down the executive branch.

  241. 241
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Sebastian: What’s with FL and moronic ballot design?!?! See FL ballots in 2000.

  242. 242
    MCA1 says:

    @Betty Cracker: I think the biggest problem here is that we’ve still got a significant portion of the populace that doesn’t think there’s any reason for any reconciliation, and/or thinks it’s getting all the truth it wants. Often from Fox News. I don’t think it’s 38% or whatever the f dismaying percentage of people are giving Trump a thumbs up in polling. It might not even reach the magic 27%. But there’s some not insignificant portion of the country that’s loving this still, all the angst it provokes in the rest of us. And there are more who believe Cheetolini is doing fine even if they do admit that he’s a disgusting excuse for a human being. And more still who are ready to be immediately triggered into a belief that Democrats are overreaching blah blah blah the minute someone even suggests such a thing. Either they’re propagandized or they don’t pay enough attention or they’re hopelessly drunk on Bothsides from 25 years of mainlining it.

    I also think that Trust and Reconciliation commissions only really come about when some significant portion of those who were complicit in whatever atrocity was occurring are ready to admit to their guilt and shame. I don’t think the conditions exist in this country right now for that to ever happen w/r/t “I supported Dotard.” I’m all for advancing long-running public Congressional hearings to try and bring as much to light as possible. That indirectly continues to tarnish the GOP brand because of its behavior. And I’m all for a generation long (or longer) Democratic campaign of rubbing Rep. noses in the dump they took on the carpet and turning their complicity into a rhetorical flamethrower, to crown Dems the party of patriots and responsibility and tar Republicans as traitors and weaklings, etc., etc. But we’re not going to get an admission of widespread guilt out of the complicit. They’re incapable of understanding what’s wrong in the first place.

  243. 243
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Rand Careaga: I think there was a fair amount of talk about how US could/should help Russia transition . As I recall, there was really no interest. In hindsight I now think that was because Western corporations were chomping at the bit to make tremendous amounts of money plundering Russia’s assets. Working with whoever on the ground was grabbing everything in sight. See HW Bush admin and GOP plutocrats.

  244. 244
    dopey-o says:

    @terry chay:

    In general what does Russia get out of this other than satisfaction of burning the world down

    Putin thinks Russians will be the ones under the highway bridges with curtain rods to roast sparrows on.

    an side: Facebook delenda est!

  245. 245
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Haroldo:

    Ailes’ boss, Rupert Murdoch, in spite of Murdoch’s arrived-at-late-in-life American citizenship, is very much not. (And he had alot of practice subverting free press in both Australia and the UK. He’s a pro.)

    To be clear, I loath R. Murdoch. The point was merely that Roger Ailes (probably/reportedly IIRC) pitched Fox News as a Republican propaganda outlet, and then guided it that way until his ouster. Its agenda has been reinforcing the Republican party. (And making money, one presumes.)
    This agenda was fine with Murdoch.
    @Haroldo:

    In the English speaking world, Rupert Murdoch is certainly one of Putin’s (and other oligarch’s) vectors.

    Evidence? He’s certainly dabbled in Russia, but is he controlled by them or even aligned with them?

  246. 246
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: Even if Bill had a different view, HW left him with a mess in Somalia and at Waco that pulled press attn away from Russia.

    It’s always angered me that Bill and the dems were blamed for what happened in Somalia and at Waco after they took office, while ignoring the fact that HW left them (deliberstely??) 2 gigantic ticking time bombs.

  247. 247
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: Hell, Bill and Janet Reno are routinely to this day blamed for the Ruby Ridge incident, which happened entirely during the GHW Bush administration.

  248. 248
    PJ says:

    @Jay: I lived in DC for a long time and am all for full representation of the District in Congress. But statehood, I am pretty sure, will require amending the Constitution, which will be hard to do, since the rest of the country has never given much of a rat’s ass about taxation without representation when it doesn’t apply to them. A compromise which might work is either for Maryland to wholly re-annex DC, or to include Washington in its mother-state for Congressional voting purposes, so that Washington residents would vote for Maryland’s senators, and would get at least one voting representative in Congress, and shrinking the actual District of Columbia to a patchwork of federal property without residents. That wouldn’t alleviate the problem of untaxed federal property, which has always handicapped DC fiscally, but at least would give DC residents a voice in the government which has a habit of screwing them over and prevent Congress from routinely over-riding DC legislation and otherwise treating it like a red-headed stepchild.

  249. 249
    Kent says:

    @dopey-o:

    In general what does Russia get out of this other than satisfaction of burning the world down

    Dismantling of NATO and the western alliance opens the door to Russian adventurism and Russian economic and military dominance throughout the former Soviet states like Ukraine and the Baltic states as well as former Warsaw Pact countries. The promotion of right-wing nationalist and Russian-friendly autocratic regimes in places like Poland and Hungary is all part of the same package.

    There are many Russians (Putin included) who look at the map of the world circa 1955 and who think that Russian influence should return to those days.

  250. 250
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Jay: And what do we do with all those who in today’s world find no commonly agreed upon truth?. Reading a full on RW source wraps the reader in a totally different ‘reality’ from the one found at this blog.

  251. 251
    Chris Johnson says:

    @Jay: NICE. I like that. There absolutely should be statehood for DC.

  252. 252
    sgrAstar says:

    @Archon: beautifully put. Couldn’t agree more. Even if we can remove some of the rot from the WH and Congress, those 60+m voters will remain. How to deal with that dangerous, dangerous problem, I have no idea.

  253. 253
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Kent: I think much of the federal government is just going to be gone once Trump’s people are done with it. They clearly intend for the current shutdown to be permanent. All the departments currently furloughed–they just want that to be the end of them.

    The Democrats get to rebuild it all from nothing, probably in a state where the US economy is in shambles, so they’ll likely have a lot of people to hire. But some skills are just going to flee the country.

  254. 254
    joel hanes says:

    @J R in WV:

    Pretty sure the Constitution talks about freedom of the PRESS, which prints on paper.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Unless libelous, the Fox lies are protected as “freedom of speech”, even if not protected as freedom of the “press”.
    In the US, “public persons” have a very difficult time proving libel.

  255. 255
    Jay says:

    @Ladyraxterinok:

    In Canada, eh, we don’t have Free Peaches.

    Unfortunately, the Internet crosses borders so the old laws we have to hold morons accountable are easily bypassed by servers outside Canada.

    We need new laws that take into account the modern world, not printing presses.

    On the bright side, Social Media isn’t covered by the First Amendment, being a “service” provided by Corporations for profit.

    Unfortunately, like regulating the collection and use of data by Cambridge Analetica, or Facebook, or Amazon, very few lawmakers understand the need for 21st Century Laws to regulate against abuses.

    On the bright side, RWNJ’s that, like Pizzagaters, Birthers, QAnonamice, that infest an unregulated web, would/could be choked to death by a regulated web.

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