Do you wanna see me crawl across the floor?

Nothing to see here, folks:

A senior National Security Council official proposed withdrawing some U.S. military forces from Eastern Europe as an overture to Vladimir Putin during the early days of the Trump administration, according to a former administration official in the room with him.

[….]

p>According to the ex-colleague, Harrington considered it a gesture to the Kremlin that would enable the nascent Trump administration to see if its desire for a friendly relationship with Russia would be reciprocated. It was included in a strategy paper that, conspicuously to the former official, made no mention of Russia as either a competitor or adversary.



Go read a book you illiterate son of a bitch

This article about Bannon’s pseudo-intellectual nonsense that everyone’s been talking about is epic! This isn’t even the highlight:

Bannon, described by one associate as “the most well-read person in Washington,” is known for recommending books to colleagues and friends, according to multiple people who have worked alongside him. He is a voracious reader who devours works of history and political theory “in like an hour,” said a former associate whom Bannon urged to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. “He’s like the Rain Man of nationalism.”

THIS is the highlight. I knew Taleb could bring the word soup but this is next level:

“They look like the incarnation of ‘antifragile’ people,” Taleb said of the new administration. “The definition of ‘antifragile’ is having more upside than downside. For example, Obama had little upside because everyone thought he was brilliant and would solve the world’s problems, so when he didn’t it was disappointing. Trump has little downside because he’s already been so heavily criticized. He’s heavily vaccinated because of his checkered history. People have to understand: Trump did not run to be archbishop of Canterbury.”

And this this idiot who pals around with Peter Thiel is a deep thinker too:

Moldbug’s dense, discursive musings on history—“What’s so bad about the Nazis?” he asks in one 2008 post that condemns the Holocaust but questions the moral superiority of the Allies—include a belief in the utility of spreading misinformation that now looks like a template for Trump’s approach to truth. “To believe in nonsense is an unforgeable [sic] demonstration of loyalty. It serves as a political uniform. And if you have a uniform, you have an army,” he writes in a May 2008 post.

In one January 2008 post, titled “How I stopped believing in democracy,” he decries the “Georgetownist worldview” of elites like the late diplomat George Kennan. Moldbug’s writings, coming amid the failure of the U.S. state-building project in Iraq, are hard to parse clearly and are open to multiple interpretations, but the author seems aware that his views are provocative.

There was too much nonsense for me absorb the first time through so I’m going to be rereading it.



Everybody knows that the dice are loaded

I’ve always hated “when they go low, we go high”. I prefer this (from The Untouchables): “They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.”

While I don’t know if that’s exactly the right attitude for Democrats to take, there’s no doubt that Dahlia Lithwick (via rikyrah) is certainly onto something:

This isn’t a call to become tolerant of awful behavior. It is a call for understanding that Democrats honored the blue slip, and Republicans didn’t. Democrats had hearings over the Affordable Care Act; Republicans had none over the tax bill. Democrats decry predators in the media; Republicans give them their own networks. And what do Democrats have to show for it? There is something almost eerily self-regarding in the notion that the only thing that matters is what Democrats do, without considering what the systemic consequences are for everyone.

[….]

In the event that you doubt that the war is asymmetric, ask yourself how long it took for the same GOP that was disavowing Moore a month ago to embrace him, and to embrace him again in the face of new evidence. Ask how long it took from when Trump made it clear that he would wage war on Robert Mueller for Hugh Hewitt—purporting to speak on behalf of “a large swath of responsible center-right observers”—to call for an investigation into Mueller. This because a former FBI official sent pro-Hillary texts that now raise, according to Hewitt, “the possibility of shattering public confidence in a number of long-held assumptions about the criminal-justice system generally and the FBI and the Justice Department specifically.” The president just claimed the FBI is “in tatters,” but it’s the former official, who Mueller pulled off the investigation for the texts, who shatters confidence in the agency?

[….]

Unilateral disarmament is tantamount to arming the other side. That may be a trade worth making in some cases. But it’s worth at least acknowledging that this is the current calculus. It’s no longer that when they go low, we get to go high. They are permanently living underground. How long can we afford to keep living in the clouds?

I think some of the nasty shit Republicans are doing is short-sighted and will bite them in the ass. Democrats are now winning the 18-29 age group by 30 points in elections. It could be that in ten years, the national Republican party will be in the kind of shape the California Republican party is now, and that Democratic supermajorities are commonplace at many levels of government.

But, even if that’s true, will our country still be here after Republicans are through with it?

I’ll tell you this: when Democrats get control of states in 2018 and 2020 — and they will — they need to gerrymander back, not turn things over to a panel. And I’d like to see some measures taken to make it so that older people are less likely to vote. Maybe schedule a Matlock marathon on A&E on election days.



I just got to get a message to you

Another nothingburger:

Candidate Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and others in the Trump Organization received an email in September 2016 offering a decryption key and website address for hacked WikiLeaks documents, according to an email provided to congressional investigators.

I love this description:



Looks like we made it

There is no greater honor than being retweeted by Bowles and Simpson themselves. Both of them.



I’m here to get my baby out of jail

I have a question for you…First off, it’s clear that if/when Trump fires Mueller and pardons people, conservative media and elected Republicans will stand by him. Bobo telegraphed that a few months ago:

But even if you took a paragon of modern presidents — a contemporary Abraham Lincoln — and you directed a democratically unsupervised, infinitely financed team of prosecutors at him and gave them power to subpoena his staff and look under any related or unrelated rock in an attempt to bring him down, there’s a pretty good chance you could spur even this modern paragon to want to fight back.

You and I know that David Brooks is just Steve Bannon after a shit, shave, and shower, but I tend to think his reaction — to think it’s ok for Trump to terminate the investigation — will be typical of conservative and centrist pundits. Don’t get me wrong, I think Trump will take a bit of a hit politically, but not a big one. He’s already very unpopular anyway. And I think that after he does this, Dems will take the House.

So here’s my question: if the New York Attorney General or Manhattan DA (who’s already investigating Manafort) indict Eric or Don Jr. or Jared, what happens? Do they refuse to go to trial? How crazy could the conflict get? Legally, there’s nothing Trump an do about it. But how big a constitutional crisis could we get into here?

I hope I don’t sound like Louise Mensch here. It doesn’t seem that unlikely that something like this will happen at some point.

Update. I don’t know why some of you think this post and others like it are negative. I think that if the Russia probe implodes in this way, Democrats will make gains in midterm elections. The best case scenario for the next three years is that Republicans stand by Trump while Democrats rack up victories in the House, Senate, state houses, and ultimately presidency.



There Is More Than One Way To Masturbate In Public…

…and our BoBo is a past master of such self-and-other-abuse.

His column yesterday is sufficiently egregious, I’m going to indulge in way too many words to say that Brooks has written a piece of disengenous crap that ultimately adds up to yet another distraction from the wreck his heroes are making of the nation.

There — just saved you a 3,000 word or so excursion into BoBo-bashing.  That said, let’s set off, shall we?…

The TL:DR of Brooks’ piece, titled “America: The Redeemer Nation” (sic!), is that the US used to have a national narrative that could unify us all: that of an escape from oppression to a new state of grace in a new land.  We’ve lost that story now, Brooks says, but we can solve that  if only we recalled America’s unique role as a place of “redemptions, of injury, suffering and healing fresh starts” — we would reclaim a history that could, if embraced, once again act as a light among the nations.

Yeah, he really writes that.

You’ll be shocked, I’m sure, that to construct this argument, Brooks has to ignore almost all the relevant history.  So, for a few paragraphs I’ll fisk out some of that nonsense, before looking at what he’s really trying to do in this wholly craptastic attempt at myth-making.

Let’s start at the top.  He writes:

We once had a unifying national story, celebrated each Thanksgiving. It was an Exodus story. Americans are the people who escaped oppression, crossed a wilderness and are building a promised land. The Puritans brought this story with them. Each wave of immigrants saw themselves in this story.

No.

Read more