The President’s Speech At CPAC 2018: Video And Full Transcript

In case you’d just rather watch it, here’s the video:

The transcript of the President’s speech at CPAC, or as Rick Wilson calls it Hillsdale Rumspringa, is from VOX:

Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, Matt, for that great introduction. And thank you for this big crowd. This is incredible. Really incredible. We have all come a long way together. We have come a long way together.

I’m thrilled to be back at CPAC, with so many of my wonderful friends and amazing supporters and proud conservatives. Remember when I first started running? Because I wasn’t a politician, fortunately, but do you remember I started running and people said, are you sure he’s a conservative? I think I proved I’m a conservative.

For more than four decades, this event has served as a forum for our nation’s top leaders, activists, writers, and thinkers.

Year after year, leaders have stood on this stage to discuss what we can do together to protect our heritage, to promote our culture, and to defend our freedom. CPAC has always been about big ideas, and it has also been about putting those ideas into action — and CPAC really has put a lot of ideas into action. We’ll talk about some of them this morning.

For the last year with your help, we have put more great conservative ideas into use than perhaps ever before in American history. What a nice picture that is. Look at that. I would love to watch that guy speak. Oh, boy. Oh, I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks. I work hard at it. Doesn’t look bad. Hey, we’re hanging in. We’re hanging in. We’re hanging in there, right? Together we’re hanging in. We have confirmed a record number, so important, of circuit court judges and we’re going to be putting in a lot more.

And they will interpret the law as written and we have confirmed an incredible new Supreme Court justice, a great man, Neil Gorsuch. Right. We have passed massive, biggest in history, tax cuts and reforms. I don’t use the word reform, there was a lot of reform too, very positive — I don’t use it. And when we were first doing it I told everybody, everybody gathered, I said, just talk about tax cuts. People don’t know what reform means. They think reform might means it is going up. And I said, do tax cuts.

Thank you. How did he get in here, Matt? Boy. Okay. Just for the media, the fake news back there, they took very good care of him. They were very gentle. He was very obnoxious. It was only one person. So we have thousands of people here. So, listen, tomorrow the headline will be protesters disturb the Trump — one person, folks. Doesn’t deserve a mention. Doesn’t deserve a headline. The headline tomorrow, disrupters of CPAC. One person. And he was very nice. We looked at him, he immediately left. Okay. Now, I’ve heard it too often.

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Exactly What Is Special Counselor Mueller Investigating?

This morning Cheryl did a post laying out what James Rosen thinks are the four tracks of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation:

THERE ARE FOUR important tracks to follow in the Trump-Russia story. First, we must determine whether there is credible evidence for the underlying premise that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win. Second, we must figure out whether Trump or people around him worked with the Russians to try to win the election. Next, we must scrutinize the evidence to understand whether Trump and his associates have sought to obstruct justice by impeding a federal investigation into whether Trump and Russia colluded. A fourth track concerns whether Republican leaders are now engaged in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice through their intense and ongoing efforts to discredit Mueller’s probe.

Cheryl provided appropriate caveats regarding Risen, his past reporting, and the editorial bias of The Intercept where he is now employed. Quite simply Risen is wrong. He is wrong because he fundamentally misunderstands what is actually going on with the Special Counsel’s oversight of a dual track counterintelligence and criminal investigation. There are actually five parts to what Special Counsel Mueller and his team are investigating. They are:

1) Russian interference in the election. This includes the hacking and phishing, the troll farms and the bots.  The Russian deployed human and signals and electronic intelligence. Basically the active measures and cyberwarfare campaign to influence the American electorate in order to prevent Hillary Clinton from being elected president and to ensure that Donald Trump was elected president. And, perhaps, suppressing enough of the vote by various means to ensure that the Democrats couldn’t flip the Senate and/or the House.

2) What, if any, connections exist between the Trump campaign, including surrogates, as well as other campaigns such as Jill Stein’s, and any other Americans and/or American organizations with the Russians to influence the American electorate in order to prevent Hillary Clinton from being elected president and to ensure that Donald Trump was elected president. And, perhaps, suppressing enough of the vote by various means to ensure that the Democrats couldn’t flip the Senate and/or the House.

3) Whether the President and/or others conspired to and/or actually tried to cover up the second item above in order to frustrate both the counterintelligence and criminal investigations.

4) The financial crimes investigation into the President’s, his children’s, his son in law’s, his son in law’s family’s, and many of the President’s associate’s (Felix Sater and Michael Cohen for instance) businesses that have been uncovered as a result of the counterintelligence and criminal investigations.

5) Any other criminality that is subsequently discovered as a result of the investigation.

These five investigatory parts are divided between the counterintelligence and criminal tracks to the investigation. And in the case of much of the counterintelligence portions, the fine line that Special Counsel Mueller and his team are walking is how to build criminal cases out of the counterintelligence investigation. Basically, they have to come up with appropriate evidence that can be used for a criminal prosecution that does not compromise American, allied, and partner nation sources and methods. What Special Counsel Mueller knows as a result of having full access to and oversight of the counterintelligence investigation versus what he thinks he can prove in a court of law are things we all have to wait to find out.

Finally, it is amazing just how well this has held up.

Open thread!

Rex Tillerson Knows All The Languages And Has A Photographic Memory

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Turkey’s president and foreign minister today.

He was the only American present, according to this Bloomberg News reporter.

He has done this before. It’s diplomatic malpractice not to have one’s own interpreter. The other guy’s interpreter can tell you what you want to hear, and the other guy’s note-taker can write it up so it looks like you agreed with what they want to hear. It’s stupid beyond belief.

And interpreting (which is the correct term for working with speech in real time) is a full-time job. Nobody’s foreign minister should be interpreting. They are participating in the meeting.

Not having his own interpreter and note-taker tells the world that Tillerson can be rolled.


Open thread. What kind of stupidity have you encountered today?

But it must have been the wrong time

Great that very serious people like Jon Rauch and Ben Wittes are seeing the light, but this is something we unserious partisans figured out 15 or 20 years ago:

We have both spent our professional careers strenuously avoiding partisanship in our writing and thinking. We have both done work that is, in different ways, ideologically eclectic, and that has—over a long period of time—cast us as not merely nonpartisans but antipartisans. Temperamentally, we agree with the late Christopher Hitchens: Partisanship makes you stupid. We are the kind of voters who political scientists say barely exist—true independents who scour candidates’ records in order to base our votes on individual merit, not party brand.


We’re suggesting that in today’s situation, people should vote a straight Democratic ticket even if they are not partisan, and despite their policy views. They should vote against Republicans in a spirit that is, if you will, prepartisan and prepolitical. Their attitude should be: The rule of law is a threshold value in American politics, and a party that endangers this value disqualifies itself, period. In other words, under certain peculiar and deeply regrettable circumstances, sophisticated, independent-minded voters need to act as if they were dumb-ass partisans.

I guess the proper attitude is “welcome aboard” but how was all of this not obvious years ago? Even if you gloss over the Gingrich bullshit in the 90s, the Bush tax cuts, the lead-up to the Iraq War….how could you not see this when McCain chose Palin as his running mate?

As you know, I’m fueled creatively by my massive hatred of Christopher Hitchens. But leaving aside the misogyny, the slurred speech, the Oxbridge mumbling…the fucker was always wrong. When you’ve managed to be a commie and a neocon in one lifetime, well…..

A Brief (Additional) Note On The Potential Shutdown

I’m not sure there’s really much more that can be said about the potential government shutdown, but I promised I’d do a post on it. I’m going to make this short and sweet because today was leg day at the gym and I presently feel like this:

(Friends don’t let friends skip leg day!)

Every time we approach a potential government shutdown every government agency, department, bureau, and office runs through the same drill: preparing for the shutdown. This includes checking and reverifying that the civilian servants and contractors identified as essential or emergency essential still need to be classified that way or if others do. All hiring actions get placed on hold – from scoring of applications all the way through to on-boarding and in-processing. Hiring actions for contractors and awards of new contracts get put on hold by contracting officers (CORs). This is all tremendously expensive in terms of resources – personnel hours and the money to pay for them that are diverted every time we approach a potential shutdown. Everyone one of these short term CR/potential shutdown fights is basically Congressionally created waste, fraud, and abuse.

By the way, one of the dirty little secrets of government contracting is that a lot of these contracts, at least in the Defense and Intel sectors, are written so that the company is still going to get paid even if all of the contractors are furloughed and regardless of whether backpay is ever ultimately authorized for the specific contractors deemed essential. The companies just pocket the money. Hence contracting officers unwillingness to move hiring actions or move forward on new contract awards when facing a potential shutdown. They don’t want to have their organizations on the hook for paying for work that isn’t going to get done. So here too contracting isn’t really saving anyone any money. Finally, in regards to the contractors, if they pass another short term contract the contracting officers will still not authorize hires and on-boarding in case the government shuts down when the short term CR expires. This has wreaked havoc on a lot of people’s careers, especially those at the top of the pay scale. I’ve personally lost two full time equivalent opportunities in the past three years because of contracting officers refusing to authorize hires as a result of short term CRs.

Every agency, department, bureau, and office will have some personnel still working during the shutdown. despite the vast majority of civil servants and contractors being furloughed and put on the equivalent of unpaid leave if the government does shut down. What we don’t know, as this would be the first shutdown under the current administration is just how much proper shutdown planning has been done. Almost every Federal agency, department, bureau, and office is still missing significant numbers of senior political appointees, not to mention almost the entire tranche of the middle and low level political appointees that would and should be making a lot of these budgetary decisions at the departmental level and then pushing guidance down. Given the dearth of political appointments – both made by the administration at the one year mark and/or confirmed by the Senate – we are once again in uncharted waters. Things might go okay, especially if the shutdown is relatively short, say between 3 and 5 days. Or they could go really badly when the senior executives and senior civil servants in far too many acting leadership positions are unwilling to assume a lot of risk in making decisions regarding how to manage the Federal workforce through a shutdown and, as a result, decisions that should be made and guidance that should be given by political appointees weren’t made and wasn’t given because they haven’t been appointed for whatever reason.

I can say that it is my understanding that the VA will remain open because their funding was secured through to Fiscal Year 19 as a result of legislation signed in 2017.

Stay frosty! Or, given the weather in much of the US, stay warm.

Open thread!

This Is Precisely What Needs To Happen

Building on what Adam and Betty have posted this today, let me state without equivocation that this is exactly what needs to happen. Senate Dems need to just fucking YOLO and release documents like Feinstein did. House Democrats on the Nunes cover-up committee need to do the same. And we don’t need to make any deals to get DACA through- 83% of the country want it done. Republicans run the House and Senate. They have their guy in the White House. If the government shuts down, it is on them.

What Democrats ALSO need to do, and this is very, very, important, because our media is a fucking colossal waste of space, is every single time they are questioned about a government shutdown, they need to stop and state loudly and clearly- “The Democrats do not have control of the House, Senate, or White House. If there is a government shutdown, for whatever reason, that is the fault of the Republicans.”

The other day, I was watch Rep. Joaquin Castro being interviewed by Kasie Hunt (who I believe was at one point Ron Fournier’s protege), and she asked the following question:

Hunt: “Is there any circumstance in which democrats could accept a wall on the Mexican border to pay for that wall in exchange for help these kids or do you think the government should shut down over that.”

Rep. Castro then went on to offer a “reasonable” answer. BZZZZZTTTT. Wrong. This should have been his response:

“I don’t support shutting down the government, nor do any Democrats, but we are not in charge of the House, Senate, or White House. If the government shuts down, this is because the Republicans chose to shut it down.”

And you say that over and over and over again, and even challenge the reporter to state that this is in fact correct. Because it is! The Republicans are terrified of being blamed for the inevitable shutdown when their caucus shits the bed, so they are already setting the stage to blame Democrats. If you need evidence, here is a clip of Sen. Tom Cotton doing just that:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are we going to have a government shutdown at the end of January?

COTTON: I don’t expect to have one. I certainly don’t want to have one, but if the Democrats want to shut down the government because they can’t get amnesty for illegal immigrants, then they’re going to have to defend those actions to the American people. They didn’t do that last month, and I suspect they didn’t do it because they know that amnesty for illegal immigrants without any real reform is not popular, and that it would be unhelpful to their cause.

You will not be surprised to learn that Stephanopoulos did not challenge him on this assertion. The time for niceties is long gone. It’s time for some scorched earth, and it’s time to stop letting the media and Republicans get away with this.

Let’s Do Something For The Real Forgotten Men and Women of the US: Toys For Puerto Rico

Despite the President’s and the White House’s Spokeswoman’s Office constantly harping on the forgotten men and women of America (aka the same cranky white conservatives that everyone has been pandering to for over 200 years), there are actually real forgotten Americans. They live in Puerto Rico. Many (most?) still don’t have reliable power and won’t for several more months. And since the GOP controlled Congress is happy to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit for corporate and affluent tax relief and to further screw Puerto Ricans over by treating it as not part of the US for import purposes, but not to actually properly provide for the general welfare of US citizens that live in Puerto Rico, let alone any other US citizens that aren’t wealthy, the rest of us have to step up.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, an example of someone who is doing an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice, has taken the initiative to make sure the children of Puerto Rico have as merry a Christmas as possible. Puerto Ricans traditionally give gifts on the Feast Day of the Three Kings/Dia de los Tres Reyes, which is on 6 January. So he’s been pushing Toys for Puerto Rico, as well as Unidos: Disaster Relief and Recovery Program to Support Puerto Rico.

Chef Jose Andres and his colleagues are still going above and beyond trying to feed all the Puerto Ricans in need.

Here’s the link to World Central Kitchen’s page.

I know someone here is always asking you all for money. Usually it is Doug! using ActBlue to actually pay for his new kid’s college fund er, um, fund Democratic candidates. And that is very important. But too many of our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico have lost almost everything and with all the other meshugas going on they’ve largely dropped off the news media and political radar. So if you can afford to help make sure a girl or boy in Puerto Rico has something to brighten their holiday or to help make sure they and their family get a hot meal or necessary disaster relief, please pitch in.

And for those in the path of the bomb cyclone – stay warm, stay safe!

Open thread!