After the High

The euphoria of reading the Trump/Cohen/Manafort documents is starting to wear off, as the realization that the Republicans in the Senate won’t do anything about it.

Also, Hillary warned us about all of this before the election.

Calling Cheryl and Adam, Impending Nuclear Holocaust Edition

Somehow I missed this kinda important story this weekend:

Donald Trump has confirmed the US will leave an arms control treaty with Russia dating from the cold war that has kept nuclear missiles out of Europe for three decades.

“We’ll have to develop those weapons,” the president told reporters in Nevada after a rally. “We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out.”

Trump was referring to the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), which banned ground-launch nuclear missiles with ranges from 500km to 5,500km. Signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, it led to nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles being eliminated, and an end to a dangerous standoff between US Pershing and cruise missiles and Soviet SS-20 missiles in Europe.

No prizes for guessing whose fingerprints are all over this measured, well thought out decision:

The Guardian reported on Friday that Trump’s third national security adviser, John Bolton, a longstanding opponent of arms control treaties, was pushing for US withdrawal.

There are arguments! There always are.  In this case, it’s an allegation that Russia is violating the agreement w. a cruise missile development program, and that China is looming, outside the treaty.  I’m way out of the zone of what passes for my expertise here, so I’ll leave it to Cheryl and/or Adam to weigh in on these claims. Here I’ll just note both claims have the look of assertions that are drummed into service to fill in the gaps marked “pretextual verbiage needed here” on the form providing cover for what one wants to do anyway.

That view is strengthened, I think, by the fact that there isn’t a single arms control treaty these bloody incompetents have ever liked.

Bolton and the top arms control adviser in the National Security Council (NSC), Tim Morrison, are also opposed to the extension of another major pillar of arms control, the 2010 New Start agreement with Russia, which limited the number of deployed strategic warheads on either side to 1,550. That agreement, signed by Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, then president of Russia, is due to expire in 2021.

The early reviews for this buried, weekend news dump are what you’d expect:

Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said: “This is a colossal mistake. Russia gets to violate the treaty and Trump takes the blame.

“I doubt very much that the US will deploy much that would have been prohibited by the treaty. Russia, though, will go gangbusters.”

Old friend Mikhail Gorbachev adds:

Gorbachev, 87, wondered aloud: “Is it really that hard to understand that rejecting these agreements is, as the people say, not the work of a great mind.”


Gorbachev called Trump’s decision “a mistake” and “very strange.”

“Do they really not understand in Washington what this can lead to?” he asked.


And doubly, trebly concur with this:

“All agreements aimed at nuclear disarmament and limiting nuclear weapons must be preserved, for the sake of preserving life on earth,” he added, per the Times.

This is the true measure of the GOP betrayal of America.  They knew who Donald Trump was long before he became President. They knew — hell the candidates, Cruz and Graham and the rest said so out loud — that he was the last person you’d want near the nuclear button.  And yet when the choice came down to tax cuts and an anti-abortion SC vs the safety and security of the United States…

They all got in line.  We, and the world, are in ever deeper peril as a result.

Oh — and one more thing? How is this not a huge story? Republican maladministration wants Europe back on a hair trigger?  I’m looking at the New York Times home page and it isn’t there.  Our media iz not lerning.

Image: Simone del Tintore (attr.), Still Life with Mushrooms, Fruit, a Basket of Flowers and a Catbefore 1708.

So You Want To Vouch For Kavanaugh’s Character

How about this. If the press (or anyone) is going to delve into every aspect of Dr. Ford’s story and life, how about they also interview every one of the women who signed that letter of support for Brett Kavanaugh? Ask them to answer these questions with as much detail as is expected from Dr. Ford:

  1. When did you first meet Kavanaugh?
  2. How many interactions have you had with him over the years?
  3. Explain the extent of these interactions.
  4. When was the last time you had an interaction with BK?

Instead of expecting us to just take their signature as a statement of facts.

I mean, if I were calling a job candidate’s personal reference for a job, I’d ask a minimum of these questions.  And isn’t that what the GOP is saying these women are?

Otherwise, if you’re going to take them at their word (which in reality is just a signature at this point) you should also take Dr. Ford at her word. Period.


Manafort’s Information

The Special Counsel’s Office has filed a superseding criminal information on Paul Manafort.  

It is a 78 page document outlining all of the various ways that Manafort and Gates worked under the direction of pro-Russian oligarchs in the Ukraine and then attempted to hide their tracks and their money.

He will be pleading guilty to two charges: Conspiracy to Defraud the US and Obstruction of Justice.

Open Thread as more information comes in:

update 1: Manafort is flipping



Manafort pleading

As Josh Marshall notes, a plea right now is a favor to Trump as it keeps the FARA for the Pro-Russian plutocrats out of the October news cycle.

Open thread.

Geriatric Greatest Hits Rally Tour: Failing King of A Fading Clan

Another “reelection 2020” rally, this time in Montana. And the Oval Office Occupant is visibly coming apart under the lights. Question about this clip — if he thinks the Notorious Op-Ed Writer is a “she”, who could he possibly have in mind? KellyAnne Conway? Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Maggie Haberman? HRC? Melania?

Excerpts from Daniel Dale’s live-tweet-stream:

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Sad, Low Energy Late-Night Open Thread: Rallying the Deplorables, Disappointing the Rest of Us

From early reports, looks like the biggest news from the rally is that it was a bog-standard Trump rally — no epic meltdowns, no mention of the day’s earlier events. SAD!

Biggest takeaway that I can see: Trump *is* still capable of pulling himself together to get through another one of his Greatest Hits Arena Shows, like any other professional performer on auto-pilot. Bad news for the rest of the Repub criminals… it’s gonna be that much harder to convince anyone outside The Base that “we” need to take away Granpa’s car keys & checkbook if the old man can fumble convincingly through a competency performance in front of a sympathetic judge.

Ah, well, we all live with our little disappointments…

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