Monday Morning Open Thread: If It Weren’t for Schaden, I’d Have No Freude At All

There are people who don’t pay attention to the news during weekends. Right now I don’t know whether to envy them, or to feel sorry for what they’re about to find out.

From the Washington Post, “Pressure on Senate Republicans to break shutdown impasse grows”:

Twenty-four days into the longest government shutdown in U.S. history and with the White House and House Democrats no closer to a deal, pressure is ramping up on Senate Republicans to craft an exit plan that will get federal employees back to work and pull their party out of a deepening political quagmire.

In a sign that Republicans are increasingly concerned that the standoff over President Trump’s long-promised border wall is hurting their party politically, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) suggested temporarily reopening the government while continuing negotiations. If talks don’t bear fruit, Graham said Sunday, the president could consider following through on his threat to bypass Congress and build the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border by declaring a national emergency…

Remember the old parable about the philosopher who avoided execution by convincing the king he could teach the king’s favorite horse to talk? Shorter Lindsey: Given a few weeks, I might be able to find a better talking point. Or everybody might get distracted by some new crisis. Or maybe the Oval Office Horse’s Arse will finally get a clue!

… The maneuvering by a key Trump ally highlights the difficult balancing act Senate Republicans will probably face over the next two years, trapped between a mercurial GOP president and an emboldened new House Democratic majority.

Tensions have flared inside the West Wing as negotiations have stalled. On Friday, Trump complained and used expletives about Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in front of congressional leaders, after Mulvaney urged compromise on the administration’s demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding, said two Trump advisers familiar with the exchange who were not authorized to speak publicly…


I’m sure you’re all as saddened by this break in the normal GOP comity as I am.

127 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    If McConnell’s brain wasn’t shut down, this would be resolved at warp speed. The man has thrown out any pretense and starkly revealed himself to be a boil on the ass of politics.

  2. 2
    TS (the original) says:

    @NotMax: Since President Obama was elected he has been this way (maybe before but I didn’t know a thing about him)

    McConnell: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president
    …McConnell: It is possible the president’s advisers will tell him he has to do something to get right with the public on his levels of spending and [on] lowering the national debt

    From an interview on October 23, 2010

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    @NotMax: McConnell’s pac received large donations from a russian with dual citizenship. It wasn’t just the NRA and one wonders how much influence his donors hold.

  4. 4
    Betty Cracker says:

    Prez Crazypants did his best to change the subject last night by threatening US allies and foes alike, quadrupling down on racist attacks on Elizabeth Warren, calling for a change in ownership at The Post, telling more lies about undocumented immigrant crime rates and threatening to “militarize” the border to address that made-up problem, etc. Here’s hoping it doesn’t work.

  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just another Monday Blech.

  6. 6
    Betty Cracker says:

    PS: Everyone rightly noted that Trump didn’t answer Pirro’s question about whether he works for Russia. He also didn’t answer her question about squirreling away notes from meetings with Putin. The response to that was an incoherent word salad as well.

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Blech was in the NYTimes puzzle today and I thought of you.

  8. 8
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JPL: Hmmmm… Your first thought after seeing Blech was of me? That sounds kind of insulting. ;-)

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Today in the “Timing is Everything” file:

    Thailand: biggest democracy protests in years held as military junta delays elections

    Some friends of mine left this wkend for a month in Thailand.

  10. 10
    NotMax says:


    Monday, Monday
    Can’t trust that day
    Monday, Monday
    Sometimes it just turns out that way


  11. 11
    JPL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: At least I didn’t think of you when they had ick and eew circled. That would have been really disgusting

  12. 12
    NotMax says:

    OzarkHillbilly, hope you clicked on the OTR Vic and Sade link yesterday, as it does include a mention of … the Ozarks.

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    @Betty Cracker: Twitter is informing me that the border tweets last night came from an article by Buchanan that reads as though Steve King wrote it.

  14. 14
    tybee says:

    i don’t like mondays…

  15. 15
  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NotMax: Haven’t heard that in a while.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Or that.

  19. 19
    JPL says:

    Trump’s handlers are allowing him to go to New Orleans today to speak at the farm bureau convention. If he has been listening to the coverage on CNN, he’s gonna be in a pissy mood.

  20. 20
  21. 21
  22. 22
    TS (the original) says:

    The very important people on MJ are discussing why trump was ever allowed to talk to the Russians without his advisors being present. Sane people knew this months ago. Seems the media has to get the seal of approval from the nyt before saying anything against trump – and then they attack President Obama – because he wasn’t tough on Russia!

  23. 23
    gene108 says:


    McConnell is one of the most scheming SOB’s in US history. His brain is probably thinking of all the angles of how this will turn out.

    And he landed on do nothing to upset the base, which worships Trump.

    At this point Republicans are a cult and Trump is the cult leader.

  24. 24
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JPL: Where buckets of tar and sacks of feathers await him. I really wonder what kind of reception he will get there.

  25. 25
    gene108 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Wonder if the House can get the interpreter to testify about what was said in the meeting? Maybe a closed door session, but still worth it.

  26. 26
    Immanentize says:

    Good morning, All. Today it’s off to work, but next Monday is a holiday. Something to look forward to….

  27. 27
    poleaxedbyboatwork says:

    Twenty-four days into the longest government shutdown most transparently stupid cynical lie in U.S. history and with the White House imbecilic orange factotum for President Putin and House Democrats no closer to a deal, pressure pathetic excuse-making is ramping up on for Senate Republicans Council of the Federation (American branch) to craft an exit plan that will get federal employees hostage-pawns back to work and pull their party chamber of the Duma out of a deepening political quagmire shitstorm of their own making, which they are free to end at any moment if McConnelov chose to do so.

    In a sign that Republicans Putin’s kept men and women are increasingly concerned that the standoff self-immolatng stupidity over President Trump’s the Russian asset’s long-promised border wall campaign lie is hurting their party politically ability to steal everything in sight while aiding and abetting Putin’s puppet Trumpov, Sen. Lindsey O. B. for Blackmailed Graham (S.C.) (Cradle of American Sedtiion) suggested temporarily reopening the government while continuing negotiations temper tantrums and pissy tweets. If talks hostage-taking doesn’t bear fruit, Graham said Sunday, the president selfish unindicted criminal pretending to be president could consider following through on his threat cornered-rat impersonation to bypass Congress his repeatedly violated sworn oath of undeserved office and build the wall pretend to fulfill an already broken promise to indescribably unconquerably stupid spiteful people along the U.S.-Mexico border by declaring demagoguing a national emergency fire in the Reichstag…

    And “mercurial”. Jesus. Lemme get my MSM bullshit euphemism decoder ring out, and lessee: looks like congenital liar? (Hard to settle onna single word, must admit.)

  28. 28
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Analysis: Stagecraft won’t win shutdown battle for Trump

    Still, as Trump tries to find a way out of the shutdown impasse, Republican consultant Rick Tyler argued that some of the president’s ploys may be getting stale.

    “There’s a reason the circus comes to town for a week,” he said. “He’s worn out his act.”

  29. 29
    NotMax says:


    Tar = fossil fuel = climate change.

    Another tradition dies hard.


    (Actually, the majority of those tarred and feathered – died. Infected wounds, don’tcha know.)

  30. 30
    rikyrah says:

    Good morning, Everyone 😄 😄😄

  31. 31
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning.

  32. 32
    NotMax says:


    Punch line of an old, old joke:

    “Gladys, how long are we gonna stand here and watch the gorilla throw up?

    (Too lazy to type out the whole shmear.)

  33. 33
    Immanentize says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning!

  34. 34
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NotMax: But hot boiling tar kills all bacteria.

  35. 35
    Mezz says:

    Question for folks smarter than me, regarding Senate procedure on assignments, seniority, etc.:
    (And to spare anyone the trouble, yes I realize the utter ridiculousness of the suggestion that SOME (any) Republicans would be willing to do anything.)

    But if Mitch McConnell’s continuing dictatorial fantasy (or the kompromat somebody has on him) prevents him from doing ANYTHING about this situation, could 4/5 Republican Senators withdrawal from the Republican Caucus, choose to side with the Democratic caucus (even temporarily) long enough to make Schumer the Majority Leader, who would then, because he is sane (?), permit votes on funding legislation?

    Would this be feasible under Senate rules??

    I tell my students all the time the Constitution is an anti-democratic document. 1 Senator maintaining a partial shutdown of the government seems like exactly it.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Houseless in Alaska: why I opted for mountain views and porcupine dinners

    I am a 64-year-old navy veteran of the Vietnam era and houseless in the tundra, somewhere around 65 degrees north latitude. I have been scrambling around these parts since 2013, inhabiting a variety of iterations, from riverbank tent camps to cabins, buses and RVs and occasionally at fancy lodges when I have worked caretaking gigs. I live like this in protest of our consumer society. I find it more fulfilling, more authentic, less stress – on the planet and on my brain.

    Feckless? Maybe. Shiftless? Probably. Irresponsible? Absolutely! But homeless? I beg to differ. Homeless implies an individual moral failure, which may indeed aptly describe one part of my character. Houseless is simply lacking a permanent three-dimensional structure.
    My toilet is a hollow cottonwood stump and I bathe with a kettle of hot creek water. Some places along the highway offer showers but they cost money and contribute to ecocide, so I clean my crotch in the creek occasionally. But personal hygiene is not a priority. I have dirt under my fingernails, belly button lint, maybe some toejam. I often smell like wood smoke from my campfires. My cologne: eau de burnt alder. Instead of washing my clothing – layers come cheap from thrift shops – I air it out, hanging it on a tree branch for a snowstorm or two, then turn it inside out and put it back into rotation.

    Cabin fever will kick in if you don’t get out and move around, especially in the winter. I have a 10-year-old laptop and a mile hike to the library gets me some wifi and a battery charge. That and a tinny rechargeable battery-operated radio capable of pulling in the nearest NPR signal which, like picking politicians, is the least of the worst, rounds out my engagement with the madness and spiritual corrosion of capitalism and the society it spawns.

    I also go hiking, snowshoeing, ice skating or cross-country skiing under a big moon. I can fall back into a snowbank with some home-grown and a pint o’ Schnapp’s and watch the northern lights or just get lost in the night sky.

    Poverty can be a rough row to hoe. It has forced me to seriously compromise the lifestyle and the values I was raised to expect from my perch in a lilywhite midwestern suburb. During my lifelong descent of the economic ladder, which I attribute to my “don’t care” attitude, I got a closeup view of all the unfairness, malfeasance and destructive aspects of “the system”. I was indoctrinated into it, and have gone from struggling to fit in to rejecting the game entirely and looking for alternatives.

    As a result, my carbon footprint has shrunk. My presence on this planet leaves little trace, which is how I feel it should be. While that’s pleasing to me, I also understand my withdrawal is meaningless in the grand scheme. The world needs systemic change. In my solitude and self-imposed isolation on the side of a mountain in an undisclosed location, I find it all mildly amusing.

  38. 38
    Raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: won’t somebody send her home to me…

  39. 39
    NotMax says:


    I was indoctrinated into it, and have gone from struggling to fit in to rejecting the game entirely and looking for alternatives.

    Worked satisfactorily so far for this codger for 50+ years and counting.

  40. 40
    Quinerly says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning from Poco and his tribe. How’s the ankle this AM?

  41. 41
    debbie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I wouldn’t classify Turkey as an ally, but yes, he was all about the distraction. Prior to this “threat,” he was siding with Turkey. He is dizzying.

  42. 42
    NotMax says:


    could 4/5 Republican Senators withdrawal from the Republican Caucus, choose to side with the Democratic caucus (even temporarily) long enough to make Schumer the Majority Leader

    Find a good price on a golf umbrella. A big one. Because droves of pigs will be flying overhead.

  43. 43
    NotMax says:

    @Betty Cracker

    Channeling Mortimer Snerd not a sound strategy for anyone. much less a president.

  44. 44
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NotMax: Watch out for the Fu bird, because if the Fu shits, you have to wear it.

  45. 45
    rikyrah says:

    Uh huh 😒😒

    60 Minutes (@60Minutes) Tweeted:
    During the first two years of the Trump Administration, the House Oversight Committee made 64 requests for subpoenas but Republican chairmen blocked all of them.

  46. 46
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Enough! This madness must end!

    The US government shutdown, which is soon to enter its fourth week, is affecting travel, small business loan approvals, passport administration, national park services, food inspections and tax return processing. Most Americans can live with that at least for a while.

    But there’s another consequence of the shutdown that could soon rattle American society: a disruption in the deliveries of craft beer. New beer labels must be approved in advance by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau – which is part of the US treasury department – and because of the standstill in Washington this is not happening.

    The result? Manufacturers of craft beers – many of whom are small businesses – are feeling the pinch. Thousands of applications are piling up and revenues are going, well, untapped.

    “It hasn’t gotten to a critical point yet, but it’s enough that you’re noticing,” Geoff Dale, the self-proclaimed “minister of mayhem” at Three Heads Brewing told “We don’t want something that was supposed to be out in January to come out in April. You go for a bigger, heartier beer in winter.” (Warning to all those pols in Washington DC: you probably don’t want to mess with someone who goes by the name “minister of mayhem”.)

    This is not just a growing crisis for craft brewers. Other liquor manufacturers are also having problems with the shutdown. Indiana-based Sun King Brewery, for example, has been gearing up for the production of a tequila-like drink next month and also has a new bourbon awaiting approval. Unfortunately, the standstill in Washington has halted these plans. “Oh my gosh, it’s going to impact us greatly,” one of the brewery’s founders said in a CBS4 report. “It’s not only affecting us, it’s affecting every distillery in Indiana and across the country.”

  47. 47
    NotMax says:


    Fu Manchu, but many man smoke.


    Okay, made me drag another punch line from mothballs.

    “That;s a long way to tip a Raree.”

  48. 48
    Quinerly says:

    Good piece from John Ralston on Harry Reid.

  49. 49
    NotMax says:


    That’s, not that;s.

  50. 50
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NotMax: “Yeast is yeast, nest is nest, and never the mane shall tweet.”

  51. 51
    rikyrah says:

    Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) Tweeted:
    Six months ago, @RepAdamSchiff and I tried to subpoena the interpreter from the Trump-Putin meeting. The GOP blocked us. We knew then something was fishy. We now know Trump took the notes. Lost time and more damage to our democracy is the cost of GOP obstruction.

  52. 52
    NotMax says:


    Jesus saves but the Mongol hordes.

  53. 53
    plato says:

    crunch week across the pond.

    Tory rebel Dominic Grieve tells BBC News: “There’s a majority in the House of Commons that, for differing reasons, simply feel that this deal is a bad one.”

    Mr Grieve says for leavers, Mrs May’s deal “doesn’t correspond in any way with your dreams” and is “very far removed” from them.

    He says for those like him, who “believe we’ve made a mistake” and are “objectively much better off staying in”, that “this is a third-rate future for our country, if we leave on these terms”.

    Tulip Siddiq has postponed the date of her planned caesarean section by two days – so she can vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

    The MP for Hampstead & Kilburn will be taken through the Commons lobby in a wheelchair by her husband, the Evening Standard reports.

    As the Daily Mirror political editor comments, that’s commitment.

  54. 54
    danielx says:

    Maybe if Nancy SMASH! started referring to this debacle as the McConnell/Trump shutdown? Yertle has managed to (so far) escape any real criticism, although that immunity seems to be wearing a bit thin….

    In other news, got eight inches of snow over the weekend and it’s 15 degrees this morning. I was afeared winter would never arrive and now I’m sorry it’s here, much like a house guest who stays more than three days.

  55. 55
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NotMax: Jesus Saves. But Ramirez scores on the rebound!

  56. 56
    donnah says:

    Pardon me, Roy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes?

  57. 57
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @donnah: “Men who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.”

  58. 58
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    I’m gonna have to take you all in for transporting mynahs across state lions for immortal porpoises.

    “Tour all Ural, Lura? Too raw, Lura, lie!”

  59. 59
    donnah says:


    bwa ha ha, I was just going to add that one!

  60. 60
    JPL says:

    @Quinerly: Thank you for the link and I am pleased that he is still his feisty self.

  61. 61
    Ken says:


    And “mercurial”. Lemme get my MSM bullshit euphemism decoder ring out

    I thought it was meant literally, as in “exposed to high levels of mercury as a child”.

  62. 62
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:

    I’m gonna have to take you all in for transporting mynahs across state lions for immortal porpoises.

    I’d almost forgotten that one.

  63. 63
    NotMax says:

    Off to beddy-bye. Perchance to sleep, until I turn the wrong way and back pain jolts me awake.

    Y’all play nice, albeit with claws.

  64. 64
    Chris Johnson says:

    From way way downthreads (I was working and couldn’t read BJ), discussion about why on earth Trump wouldn’t lie and say he was not a Russian asset (only bluster)

    Very simple. He will not deny Putin. Putin owns him on a very creepy sadomasochistic level and he grovels before the guy and there are some areas of ‘denying’ that he absolutely cannot do. He’ll say he’s strong and very tough etc etc and leave that as an IMPLICATION that he is Putin’s master, but notice he is never saying that Putin isn’t stronger and tougher and better in every way. He’s only saying ‘I am the man, I am so tough, certainly nobody is tougher than me with Putin!’

    Apparently Putin’s requirements of him are ‘be tough, go out there and be the big man, don’t take crap from anybody’, but to say ‘Fuck you, you don’t own me’ is THE most cardinal of sins. And so Trump will bluster and say all kinds of stuff, but he will not publically say ‘I am not Putin’s’, he redirects with ‘I’m so tough’ and all that. Which of course is what Putin is telling him to be, the better to get Putin’s hooks into the US. The more aggressive Trump is about that the better Putin likes him.

    Recent signalling suggests that Putin is not at all satisfied with what Trump has done so far, and wants more. And Trump is running out of ways to please Daddy and struggling to come up with stuff that won’t immediately wreck himself, and probably very frightened that the end game IS for Trump to destroy himself in a show of loyalty for Daddy (Putin). All he wants is to be the big strong boss man under the command of his God-King, and all of a sudden everything he’s already done is not enough.

    Not nice.

    And this is why Trump hasn’t been denying he’s owned by Putin.

    When he said to Clinton, no puppet you’re the puppet, it’s because he and Putin were playing Clinton and he saw himself as Big Powerful Boss Man with his own bossiness that aligned with Daddy’s interests. Puppet would imply he was passive and not doing his own gleeful damage. At no point did he say ‘I don’t love Putin best’, he said ‘I am not the passive facade for what’s really Putin’s instructions.’ I have initiative and run around breaking stuff all on my own! Just like Daddy! I love Daddy Putin and we both go around breaking all the bad people who don’t love us!

    Pence, now that’s what Trump would call a puppet. Shut up, look determined, say nothing not authorized by the boss which mostly means lie and say nothing. Pence is the puppet. Trump is the creepy bondage sub playing out dominance games to please his true master.

  65. 65
    Steve in the ATL says:

    There are people who don’t pay attention to the news during weekends.

    College football is over. What other reason is there for checking out on weekends?

  66. 66
    plato says:

    The Farm Convention is in New Orleans. Not Nashville.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 14, 2019

  67. 67
    Emma says:

    @Chris Johnson: OK, now my breakfast wants to make a return appearance…

  68. 68
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steve in the ATL: trump.

  69. 69
    Kay says:

    I feel like there must have been a kind of “patient zero” on Trump/Russia. Some high-placed official(s) or former official(s) who told influential members of the media that there was nothing to the Russia collusion allegations, and they all followed that.

    I wonder if we’ll ever find out WHY they dismissed the Trump/Russia connection out of hand- why they minimized it and didn’t cover it during the election. I’m betting someone – or a group of someones- that they trust led them to believe it wasn’t credible. Because something happened- something broke down that allowed them to miss the biggest political story of my lifetime and instead pursue the emails to a ludicrous degree.

    I don’t believe it’s just animosity towards Clinton (which they have, admittedly). They were told by someone they consider credible that there were no serious questions re: Trump/Russia. They went into this NOT believing it and that’s why it has taken such an incredibly long time for them to take it seriously. That came from somewhere. It was based on something.

  70. 70
    Quinerly says:

    @JPL: I am a bit of a Harry Reid groupie. 😎 Really loved his autobiography from a few years back. (Sometimes I see it in the book area for a buck at the Dollar Tree.)

  71. 71
    Ken says:

    @plato: Sundowning 24 hours a day.

  72. 72
    Quinerly says:

    Politico has a piece about BS’s staffing up for a run. I just hate this.
    “The behind-the-scenes moves underscore one of Sanders’ key strengths: He is poised to enter the Democratic primary field with a digital operation and social media army that outpaces virtually any other candidate, at least for now. For all the attention on Beto O’Rourke’s online dominancelast year, only Sanders would start the campaign on the foundation of a full-fledged, grass-roots presidential campaign.”

  73. 73
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I HAVE forgotten that one. All I’ve got left is the punch line.

  74. 74
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @plato: And every in every way the shitstorm keeps getting bigger and bigger.

    If Dominic Grieves motion is passed the Business of the House will effectively be controlled by the backbenchers, who only agree they don’t like the current agreement.
    The EU has said they will only negotiate with a Government.

    So, impasse. As Adam might say we’ve gone past Wonderland and into uncharted space.

    Still The Times reports that if May loses by less than 100 votes she may be considered to have won, such is the low expectation of the Government actually winning.

  75. 75
    Amir Khalid says:

    I always heard that one with the names of various Liverpool FC strikers as the scorer: Ian St John, Ian Rush, and others not named Ian.

  76. 76
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Last line of story friend crafted in college in late 50s– Make Say while the Hun pines.

  77. 77
    rikyrah says:

    Morning to Poco and the tribe 🤗😻

    Ankle still throbbing 😩😢
    Got about 3 hours sleep

  78. 78
    Kay says:

    I didn’t read his book but I read that Bob Woodward said that there was nothing to the Trump/Russia connection.

    I wonder if that was the conventional wisdom- if that’s the reason it was minimized and treated as not possibly true. If there were a lot of well-placed Bob Woodwards who said “don’t pursue this”.

    That kind of groupthink seems more likely to me than any grand plan to elect/protect Trump. That a few influential people dismissed it and the rest followed.

  79. 79
    PPCLI says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oops. I see it was already posted.

  80. 80
    Ken says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: I think it appears in PDQ Bach’s Knock Knock Cantata, if you need to refresh your memory.

    ETA: Confirmed, but in the variant where it’s “young gulls” instead of “mynahs”.

  81. 81
    Quinerly says:

    @rikyrah: ugh. Hang in there. John Lennon, fearless rescue kitty, sends virtual soft kitty massages.💚

  82. 82
    rikyrah says:

    Anti -Hilary
    Plus misogyny
    Plus White Male Privilege.

    What we knew in 2016….
    If it had been 44 or Hillary….
    The Electoral College would have NEVER met.😡

  83. 83
    rikyrah says:

    Harry Reid told us in 2016. He was absolutely on point.

  84. 84
    rikyrah says:

    We are prepared and nobody is playing with him.😡

  85. 85
    MomSense says:


    I definitely think they gossip amongst themselves and repeat what they hear as if it were true but I don’t think this explains all of it. Does it make sense to you that the Russians would engage in a Years long psy ops plan, hack multiple federal agencies, campaigns, political parties, important individuals, state elections systems and Secretaries of State and not hack media outlets? If we don’t know what the Russians found then perhaps it is being used as leverage. I would have thought this idea tin foil hat territory five years ago, but that was before our world seemed like a script John Le Carre and Jackie Collins cooked up together while high on bath salts and meth.

  86. 86
    MomSense says:


    Fuck Bernie Sanders. We are not going to play nice with that asshole this time.

  87. 87
    Immanentize says:

    I can’t believe you have left off:
    “Don’t hatchet your Counts before they chicken.”

  88. 88
    rikyrah says:

    @Chris Johnson:
    He wants those sanctions lifted, and that still has not gone well. It is about the money in those sanctions, and they are still in place.

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  90. 90
    Immanentize says:

    Ouch on the ankle scene. Ice , heat and ibuprofin.

  91. 91
    Immanentize says:

    @MomSense: @rikyrah:
    Rough. Does he want rough? I think we can play rough.

  92. 92
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: The google is my friend:

    There’s this guy in Florida, and he finds out that his uncle died. He inherits a zoo and he gets money to run it. So he goes to the zoo and it’s so dilapidated. So he has a month to renovate, and he gets a big aviary, a big lion cage, and an aquarium. He uses all of his money on that stuff. It’s a week before opening day.

    He realizes that he has no animals. So he goes on his laptop and finds out that the state of Florida has foster lions. He calls the state and arranges a time for them to bring the lions over. They come over, they’re loading the lions into the cage, and they lions are just sitting there sleeping. The guy says “Why are they tired?” The state-workers say “Well, these are foster lions. These guys used to be the guards of Mexican drug cartel bosses. The cartel fed them cocaine and now they’re just tired.” The guy goes “Oh, alright.” The state-worker says “Right, so these are not your animals. They are the states’. You are getting $10,000 if you care for them.”

    Now the guy needs birds. He’s looking on Craigslist and he sees an ad for myna birds. Some guy has one thousand of them and he’s selling them for $10 per bird. And he says “Wow, that’s perfect!” So he drives to the place to pick up the birds. The guy selling the birds goes “Oh yeah, they’re so great, they talk, kids love them!” And the zoo owner says “Ok, I’ll take five of them.” The seller says “I’m selling all of them. You have to take all of them. All thousand.” So the guy, even though he uses all of his money, gets the birds and puts them in the aviary.

    He then realizes that he needs fish. He posts an ad on Craigslist saying that he’s looking for fish and he gets an email going “Argh, I’ve got ye fish yer lookin’ fer! Come down to the pier on West Palm Beach!” The guy, though weirded out because he’s getting an email from a guy who types like a pirate goes and meets the guy. The pirate leads the guy to a warehouse and there’s a big tank full of porpoises. The guy goes “Sweet!” and the pirate says “But these here fish are cursed. They’ll only eat the freshest of fowl.” The pirate sticks his hand out of the window grabs a few seagulls and snaps their necks. He throws them in the tank and havoc ensues. The porpoises go insane, their eyes glow red, and the water starts boiling, but the guy gets them anyway.

    So it’s a night before opening and the guy is getting ready. He hears loud noises from the aquarium. He runs around the big lion cage and breaks through the door. The porpoises are fighting each other. The guy remembers that he didn’t feed them. So, he runs back around the lion cage, grabs three of the myna birds and snaps their necks. He’s about to run back, but he realizes he can take a shortcut. It’s through the lion cage. He opens the door, he’s stepping over the sleeping lions, and he gets to the last door. In front of it is a big, scary lion sleeping and he can’t walk around it. He puts his foot over it. Then right when he does that, SWAT, police, FBI, and just about everyone shows up. There is a voice from a bullhorn saying “STOP! YOU ARE UNDER ARREST!” The guy goes “For what!?” And the voice says “YOU ARE UNDER ARREST FOR TRANSPORTING MYNAS OVER STATE LIONS FOR IMMORAL PORPOISES !”

  93. 93
    zhena gogolia says:

    @TS (the original):

    This is exactly why I still subscribe to the NYT and pay attention to it. The cable news people glean their talking points from it.

  94. 94
    Immanentize says:


    John Le Carre and Jackie Collins cooked up together while high on bath salts and meth

    That right there is primo describering.

  95. 95
    zhena gogolia says:


    The punchline to the Russian joke about the circus is “They’re all covered in shit and I’m in a white tailcoat!”

  96. 96
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @rikyrah: Ice is your friend.

  97. 97
    Kay says:


    Thanks, good point. I don’t want this to just disappear into “look forward, not back” like Iraq coverage did. We never really solve anything. It’s just added to the shit pile and we continue on.

    For two years I have wanted to know one thing- “what happened?” My big fear is we never find out and whatever allowed or created this and the shit pile of “unsolved mysteries” just continues to grow, until the next time it happens.

  98. 98
    MomSense says:


    Yup. In all seriousness, much as we may hate social media, we are all going to have to learn how to wield it against him. Many of us went silent last time because the harassment was so ugly and we assumed he would go away. That didn’t work and we can’t make that mistake this time.

  99. 99
    Quinerly says:

    @MomSense: oh, I know. I’m just keeping an eye on who he is hiring. Comic book dude has already said he isn’t going to work on any 2020 campaign.

  100. 100
    zhena gogolia says:


    I was sorry to hear he doesn’t have long to live.

  101. 101
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: I was gonna get there and then I forgot!

  102. 102
    Kay says:


    I will say I reject out of hand the excuse that they “thought he wouldn’t win”. Trump was a major political figure in the GOP since birtherism, so 2012. He would have remained a major political figure. They cover major political figures, win or lose.

    They knew Kerry would lose to Bush in 2004. That didn’t stop them from blanket coverage of swiftboat.

  103. 103
    Immanentize says:

    @Quinerly: Brad Parscale might be available.

  104. 104
    MomSense says:


    I used to think it was just Le Carre but then all the salacious sexual stuff straight out of a read on the beach book came out.

  105. 105
    MomSense says:


    I do think a lot of them thought she would win and they are so arrogant they thought they could play chicken with the election. She would have won without Comey who also assumed she was going to win and didn’t realize he was an actor in the drama who could affect the outcome.

  106. 106
    grandpa john - Clemson "60" says:

    @Steve in the ATL: well us upstate folks can probably get one more week out of it meanwhile many are beginning to plan for next year but i am to old to be planning that far ahead.

  107. 107
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @zhena gogolia: He has a different opinion.

  108. 108
    plato says:

    Whip resigns over May’s deal

    Conservative MP Gareth Johnson has resigned from his position as a a minister in the Whips’ Office.

    In a letter to the prime minister, he said: “Over the last few weeks, I have tried to reconcile my duties as a Whip to assist the government to implement the European withdrawal agreement with my own personal objections to the agreement.

    “I have concluded that I cannot, in all conscience, support the government’s position when it is clear this deal would be detrimental to our nation’s interests.”

    This guy was supposed to corral the votes for May.

  109. 109
    poleaxedbyboatwork says:


    Maybe. Obviously I don’t know, but am disinclined to agree with the proposition, mostly b/c I don’t think there’s any one person or persons with enough stroke to pull that off, especially since Obama tried to get Yertle to make a joint statement (if memory serves) prior to the election about Russian interference and Mitch categorically refused. So those crosscurrents were swirling already.

    Think it’s more likely that the Russia-connex stories were limited and tentative during the campaign b/c newsers gotta source their stories. No one wants to look like a fool or stick their neck out. Yeah, Buzzfeed will publish the Steele Dossier, but then? The media will comment on scoops like that, but were they likely to pound that drum? (Not unless we’re talking Clinton’s emails, which is, of course, just the sort of manufactured fake-outrage both-sides ragegasm they excel at publishing.)

    The media is dispositionally disinclined, imo, to run a story, specially about a Republican presidential candidate/campaign, that *might be* (to say nothing of is) in league with a foreign power and betraying the country until it’s air-tight. Even now, that’s a huge story that ain’t been writ, and we’re purty far along now.

    During this pre-election interva, subject to welcome correction, my recollection is that the feds and spooks who were charged with investigating this Russia-connex shit-show were gobsmacked that what seemed to be happening was actually fucking happening. And if Mueller’s team is any indication, the investigative process is lengthy and circumspect, so if the people who need to make a determination on this matter were admittedly suspicious but anything short of iron-clad certain, it seems likely that the sourcing would reflect that, i.e. would be limited and tentative, which is what we saw.

    Corrollary point: Will observe that cautious judicious persons of good faith are (or have been up to now, as evidence mounts and mounts) *highly* averse to putting much credence into the Russia connections, and more often than not, have tried to shoehorn these weird seemingly inexplicable connections into plausible reasonable explanations. Why is that?

    I suspect it’s twofold. One, it’s such an enormous (and for many, unfathomable) betrayal that a good many people *assume* — even against mounting countervailing evidence — that it *cannot* (indeed, *must not*) be so. (Especially those careerists who do not wish to be labeled unserious or partisan or — the worst! — unsavvy).

    And secondly, if one *were* to countenance that such a betrayal had occurred, then one would then compelled to say and do something about it. No one wants to be (in their view) the lone crank or part of the “radical” fringe railing in the wilderness.

    And when something of this explosive magnitude looms over and overwhelms an entire populace, we are (for good or ill, imo) very much a herd animal and ain’t nothing gonna get a majority singing from the same hymnal till it’s both politically safe and expedient to do so.

    imo, fwiw

  110. 110
    Ken says:

    @MomSense: Le Carre and Collins cover the espionage and sexual weirdness, but I think you need to throw Westlake in there for the bumbling incompetence.

  111. 111
    TommoRolassi says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Hey, you learn a lot about a culture by being swept up in its protests and inconvenienced. As long as you aren’t injured, arrested, &c. Experienced Paris that way a couple times this year. May Day was reasonably mellow. December 2018 was not.

  112. 112
    plato says:

    Turkey has dismissed President Donald Trump’s threat to “devastate” its economy if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria following a planned pullout of US troops.

    “You cannot get anywhere by threatening Turkey economically,” Foreign Minister Nevlut Cavusoglu said.

    Mr Trump offered no specifics on how the US could hurt Turkey’s economy, and his announcement appeared to catch his advisers by surprise.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is currently touring the Middle East, responded to questions about Mr Trump’s threat with: “You’ll have to ask the president… We have applied economic sanctions in many places, I assume he is speaking about those kinds of things.”

    Meanwhile, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described Mr Trump’s tweet as a “domestic policy message” to critics.

    Mr Cavusoglu has rejected Mr Trump’s threats, saying: “We have said multiple times that we will not fear or be deterred by any threat.”

    He also criticised Mr Trump’s methods, saying: “Strategic alliances should not be discussed over Twitter or social media.”

  113. 113
    Quinerly says:

    @Immanentize: 😈
    He actually has the look of a secret Bernie Bro.

  114. 114
    TS (the original) says:

    @zhena gogolia: I subscribe to the WaPo – NYT is a day late and a $ short in my book.

  115. 115
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @TommoRolassi: In my experience, innocent bystanders are the first to die. ;-(

  116. 116
    zhena gogolia says:

    @TS (the original):

    I get both, and I only read WaPo for politics (but I read Krugman and Leonhardt and Michelle G.).

  117. 117
    zhena gogolia says:


    Oh, that’s good. I was going by the guy who wrote about him in the NYT magazine.

  118. 118
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Excellent, thank you. And by setting the story in Florida, I completely believe this place and those animals (and pirate guy) exist.

  119. 119

    @MomSense: The hinky sexual stuff in Le Carre’s is implied and not in your face, but it is there.

  120. 120

    @Kay: If Russia could infiltrate NRA and evangelicals why not highly placed media people? Its not the first time that has happened is it?

  121. 121
    JGabriel says:


    I tell my students all the time the Constitution is an anti-democratic document. 1 Senator maintaining a partial shutdown of the government seems like exactly it.

    Doesn’t that have to do with Senate rules rather than Constitutional mandate though?

  122. 122
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @zhena gogolia: He seems to have taken exception to the word “soon”. I’m not sure why. At 89 it’s a pretty safe bet he will die in the next decade or so. (not to mention pancreatic cancer is nasty shit)

  123. 123
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JGabriel: It is the Constitution that allows the Senate to set it’s own undemocratic rules.

  124. 124
    Yarrow says:


    I wonder if we’ll ever find out WHY they dismissed the Trump/Russia connection out of hand- why they minimized it and didn’t cover it during the election. I’m betting someone – or a group of someones- that they trust led them to believe it wasn’t credible. Because something happened- something broke down that allowed them to miss the biggest political story of my lifetime and instead pursue the emails to a ludicrous degree.

    Kay, think of Adam’s “penetration at all levels” framing. Enough members of the media are compromised, especially at higher levels–owners, managers, executive editors, etc.–to frame stories in a way that ignored Trump’s questionable relationship with Russia. Couple that with the habit of Clinton bashing that has permeated our media for 25 years or so, and it was easy for them.

  125. 125
    joel hanes says:

    Silly rabbi, kicks are for trids.

    Watt’s course for Ragusa’s a course for Uganda.

  126. 126
    J R in WV says:

    As a person who grew up in a newsroom, watched it for decades, observes the media closely, the media reporters are a herd of cats, and without strong leadership they can’t describe the sunrise.

    Yet, if leadership, editors and managers, select reporters who are inclined to do what they are told (and why wouldn’t they choose people who will follow orders?) and then those owners, managers and editors are owned by Russian security organizations, then we will get the news coverage Russian leadership (Putin) wants.

    Even if a reporter digs out a big shiny part of the Russian ownership of Trump story, editors decide how it is finished, the headlines, when it runs, how it is polished, even assigning another reporter to complete the story the way Dean wants it to look, sharing the byline. Regardless of how the reporter who dug up the story feels about it, their only recourse would be to withhold their byline from their own story, which happens, but not often.

    I suspect that will account for the disbelief in Russian ownership of the Trump Org, when it is now stone obvious that Trump and all his minions are owned and operated remotely by Russians. Yet reporters still will not cover that story, acting instead to report around the tiny edges that don’t really matter. Like Maggie H and her recent reporting on huge breaking news stories about convictions and guilty pleas in the SCO investigations. Not mentioning it at all, mostly, is her chosen tack in this storm of real news.

    I almost feel sorry for Maggie (not really!) as her book can’t be finished in the current changing state of affairs, and her connections in the White House become less valuable with every change in personnel up there.

    If she publishes that book, and before it hits the street, but after it is printed, a giant huge story about Russian ownership of Trump breaks, she will look like the fool she is, and will go down in history as the reporter who couldn’t see the Russian Bear in the Oval Office, blind and deaf to the storm around us all. Yet if she publishes the real story of Russian ownership of Trump too early, her mother loses her high paying PR job for Trump Org and Maggie will have made the Sultzbergers unhappy, very unhappy.

    So sad for Maggie H… hahaha.

  127. 127
    Chris Johnson says:

    @schrodingers_cat: No SHIT they did. The newspaper industry has been absolutely desperate for money ever since the Internet happened. Of course they’re being paid for by Russia, it’s a marriage made in hell.

    Especially the New York Times. The Washington Post is of course being paid for by Jeff Bezos.

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