Cambridge Analytica Suspends CEO

London’s Channel 4 ran the last segment of their Cambridge Analytica undercover exposé today — the part about the Trump campaign. Immediately afterward, CA suspended its CEO:

An investigation by Channel 4 News has revealed how Cambridge Analytica claims it ran ‘all’ of President Trump’s digital campaign – and may have broken election law. As the report went on air, the firm announced it has suspended chief executive Alexander Nix, pending a full investigation.

An undercover investigation by Channel 4 News has revealed how Cambridge Analytica claims it ran key parts of the presidential campaign for Donald Trump.

The British data company was secretly filmed discussing coordination between Trump’s campaign and outside groups – an activity which is potentially illegal.

Executives claimed they “ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy” for President Trump.

They also claim credit for spreading the “Defeat Crooked Hillary” meme, proving once again that it’s always about projection with these lowdown creeps. Top CA execs were caught bragging about how they evaded congressional investigation and, in a crowning irony, claimed that the candidate is “always” a puppet.

Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ. You can watch the program on YouTube here.

Post Hack, Ergo Propter Hack: R. Cohen Edition

It’s no easy feat to write the worst column on an op-ed page that includes the banal burblings of Megan McArdle, but Richard Cohen manages it at The Post today. It’s not that his thesis is completely wrong — it’s that the column is marred with Cohen’s trademark conceit and moral obtuseness, reminding readers yet again that The Post should have shit-canned this worthless hack ages ago.

The column is entitled “Stormy Daniels — not Robert Mueller — might spell Trump’s doom.” That’s not an absurd supposition, and personally, I’m in favor of Trump’s political doom by whatever instrument. Al Capone, tax evasion, etc. But Cohen manages to be so self-regarding and priggish about the whole thing that I felt compelled to complain about it here.

Cohen begins by informing us that he was inspired to reread “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” because Hemingway’s protagonist, Harry, who dies from a minor scratch that becomes infected, reminds him (Cohen) of Trump, with Daniels in the role of the scratch. Having reminded us that he’s a literary guy, Cohen goes on to inform us that Daniels and Trump are a pair of self-promoting publicity hounds, which is superficially true but unfair to Daniels. He writes:

Sometimes, as with the Iran-Iraq War, it is hard to take sides. Here, too, it is difficult. Daniels, after all, is a porn actress. She directs and writes screenplays as well, but she is best known for having sex in the movies — turning what used to be called a romp in the hay into a payday. But, with the inadvertent cooperation of Trump and his band of merry incompetents, she now comes across as the victim.

Iran and Iraq? For fuck’s sake. Only someone as preening and morally obtuse as Cohen would find it difficult to choose a side in the Trump-Daniels saga, and there’s more than a whiff of entitled, misogynistic priggery in Cohen’s tone about how Daniels chooses to make a buck. She’s not a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue who has indelibly stained the honor of her country abroad while stoking divisions at home.

Daniels is not even a washed-up hack who inexplicably clings to a perch at the nation’s premier newspaper, hoovering up untold dollars that might otherwise go to younger, smarter and more diverse hires. It’s near libelous for Cohen to draw a moral equivalency between Daniels and Trump, and I apologize to Daniels for mentioning her in the same sentence as Cohen.

Anyhoo, I know many of you find rants about bad newspaper columnists pointless, and you’re probably right. But this is an open thread, so don’t feel obligated to discuss Richard Fucking Cohen. I’ll try to remember in the future that the less said about that bilious windbag, the better.

Same Shit, Different Day

Time to set the goddamned “Days Without a School Shooting” counter back to zero. This day’s shooting was at a high school in Maryland. Details are sketchy, but here’s a summary from Channel 4 Washington:

Multiple Injuries Reported in Shooting at St. Mary’s Co. High School

Multiple people were injured in a shooting at a high school in southeast Maryland Tuesday morning, the St. Mary’s County sheriff’s office confirmed.

The shooting happened Tuesday morning at Great Mills High School in Great Mills, Maryland…

Some of the injuries were critical, sheriff’s officials said. It’s not clear how many people were injured at the school about 60 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. Deputies were called to the school just before 8 a.m.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student activists expressed solidarity:

The March for Our Lives rally in DC and 800-plus affiliated events worldwide are taking place this Saturday. If you want to help but can’t make it to the DC march, you can find a local march here.

Open thread.

DACA Fix in the Works?

I hear Trump is snuffling publicly about the opioid crisis today. “Something-something let’s execute drug dealers like my state visit invitee Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who also hates Obama, and let’s put a pharma exec in charge of the new war on drugs because MAGA.” Or some such shit. In other news, there might be a DACA fix in the works:

It’ll likely come to naught, but perhaps it’s a promising sign that a) the White House is making proposals even though Trump has been meeping about the Democrats not crawling to him for a deal for a month or so, and b) if the above is an accurate description of the proposed deal, it doesn’t include any renewed attacks on LEGAL immigration.

We’ll see what happens. Open thread!

PS: The stock market is tanking for some reason, but not as badly as it tanked that last time.

The Widening Gyre

Before we get to today’s unpleasantness, here’s a downy woodpecker drumming in our bamboo stand this morning:

As I mentioned on Twitter earlier, downy woodpeckers are the smallest woodpecker species in North America, and their eggs are about the size of jelly beans. Isn’t that cool?

Stop reading here if you’d like to hold onto pleasant Sunday morning thoughts. Read more

Treason Tribble Tweets

Trump might actually believe this since he’s a malignant narcissist whose sense of “right” and “wrong” is aligned precisely with “good for Trump” and “bad for Trump.”

So, Trump’s story is that Nunes & Co’s absurd clown show cleared the Russia matter up, and his next move will be to try to shut the Mueller investigation down. Yes, it would be outrageous, and it’s legally and politically dicey, but Trump definitely doesn’t give a shit about that. A couple of years ago, a president publicly and brazenly using the DOJ to punish enemies would have been unthinkable. Today, we call it “Friday.”

The question is, can he sell this steaming load of horse shit to enough people to get away with it? He doesn’t need to sell it to the deranged fart-huffers who watch Fox News all day — they already believe it. But he does need to convince a sufficient number of non-Republicans that it doesn’t much matter whether Trump is subject to the law or not.

As Kay observed this morning, the DOJ is gone now, as an institution that’s a check on Trump. With Republican majorities in both chambers, Congress never was a check on Trump, and that can’t be rectified for several months. So for now, it’s Mueller. After Mueller, it’s us. Keep this link handy. I’m afraid we’re gonna need it.

“The saint he thinks he is…”

There’s some speculation that James Comey moved up the release date of his highly anticipated memoir from May 1 to mid-April to get ahead of a possibly damning report due from the FBI inspector general about his (Comey’s) handling of the Clinton email server investigation. Via Politico:

The book could land at a complicated moment for Comey, as well. “A Higher Loyalty” was originally scheduled for release on May 1, but the publisher last month announced it was moving up the publishing date because of the “intense scrutiny” surrounding the FBI.

Comey detractors, however, have speculated that the change had more to do with spinning another major piece of Comey’s legacy: his handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email during the 2016 election, which he is also expected to detail in the memoir.

The FBI inspector general’s report reviewing allegations of misconduct by Comey in connection with the email probe is also expected to come out this spring. “It’s hard to believe it won’t be critical of how he handled things,” said [Matthew] Miller. “There is speculation that he moved up the publication date to get ahead of the report. In the book he will come off as the saint he thinks he is.”

Miller was DOJ spokesman during the Obama administration. His remark captures my ambivalence about / contempt for Comey. On the one hand, there’s credible evidence he threw the election to Trump with a grandstanding letter to Congress days before the race ended. On the other, no Comey, no Mueller investigation.

Will the book make a big splash? Miller speculates that it could drive public opinion and become a PR headache for the White House, but being up to their eyeballs in negative publicity is normal for Team Trump.

So, regardless of what Comey reveals in the book, his legacy will likely come down to this: Comey set the house on fire, but at least he notified the fire department on the way out the door. My father-in-law was an old-school fireman, and he used to joke that his department had “never lost a basement.” We’ll see if Mueller’s team is able to salvage more than that.