Judicial Watch Sues DOJ and Obtains Proof that Mark Meadows and His Propagandists Are Conspiracist Idiots

Just over a year ago, on August 11, 2018, the President accused the “Fake News Media” of refusing to cover “Christopher Steele’s many meetings with Deputy A.G. [sic] Bruce Ohr and his beautiful wife, Nelly [sic].” It was the first of around 26 attacks Trump launched against the Ohrs on Twitter over the year.

Trump reported that the FBI received documents from Ohr, which was true; the FBI asked for them as part of vetting the Steele dossier and understanding how it related to Fusion GPS’ other work. Trump complained that Nellie Ohr investigated members of his family for pay (true) and then fed it to her husband who gave it to the FBI; Trump didn’t reveal that FBI asked for the documents and that Steele’s efforts and Nellie’s were separate.  The President claimed that Ohr “told the FBI it (the Fake Dossier) wasn’t true, it was a lie and the FBI was determined to use it anyway,” which was an exaggeration (Ohr said he believed that Steele believed his sources were telling him the truth, but Ohr described that all sorts of conspiracy theories could be spread from the Kremlin). Trump misquoted Ohr sharing with the FBI Steele’s concern that his sources would be exposed in the wake of the Jim Comey firing as a suggestion that Ohr was worried he, personally, would be exposed, which then got further misquoted by Fox propagandists. Trump accused the Ohrs of profiting off the dossier several times, “Bruce & Nelly Ohr’s bank account is getting fatter & fatter because of the Dossier that they are both peddling.”

Over the course of that year, Trump called for Bruce Ohr to be fired at least six times. “How the hell is Bruce Ohr still employed at the Justice Department? Disgraceful! Witch Hunt!”

And yet, documents obtained under FOIA released by Judicial Watch in recent days (Ohr’s 302s, Ohr’s comms) show that virtually all the allegations made to fuel this year long campaign targeting Bruce Ohr are false. It is true that Bruce Ohr had ties to Christopher Steele going back almost a decade and was part of a network of experts combatting organized crime who compared notes (as was his wife Nellie, if the organized crime in question pertained to Ukraine or Russia). It is true that Ohr met with Steele in July 2016 and learned four things, two from the dossier (some version of Russian kompromat on Trump and allegations about Carter Page)  and two not (Oleg Deripaska’s misleading claim to be prepping a legal attack on Paul Manafort and something related to Russian doping), which he passed on to the FBI. He also met and passed on information from Glenn Simpson later that fall, though given the team he met with at DOJ, the information may not have been sourced from the dossier and may have focused on the crimes Manafort has since pled guilty to. Neither of those meetings, however, are covered by the FOIAed documents. Moreover, Judicial Watch has not yet obtained documents from after May 2017, which (based on texts between the two that have been released) could show Steele trying to grill Ohr for details about ongoing investigations into his work. Maybe some day Judicial Watch will find a document that substantiates their attacks.

What the documents released so far don’t show is that Ohr served as some kind of “back channel” to the FBI via which Steele submitted new allegations. As I noted, Ohr’s 302s suggest there were three phases of communications covered by the 302s involving Steele (and Simpson) and Ohr. During the first — November 22 to December 20 — Ohr appeared to be helping the FBI understand Simpson’s project and Steele’s data collection process. He offered critical comments about Steele’s sourcing (noting that lots of fantastic stories come out of the Kremlin), appeared to prod Simpson for what he knew about Steele’s sourcing and then shared that information with the FBI, when he didn’t know answers to FBI questions (most notably, about whether Steele was involved in a key Michael Isikoff story), Ohr asked Simpson and reported the answer back to the FBI. Ohr offered up details about who else might have been briefed by Steele and why Steele was speaking to so many people.

Ohr would have done none of this if he were aiming to serve as a back channel to ensure Steele could continue to feed information to the FBI. The fact that members of the frothy right have, in recent days, focused on previously unknown details that Ohr shared with FBI’s Bill Priestap (such as when Victoria Nuland got briefed by Steele) is a testament to the fact that Ohr was not trying to hide a network of Steele contacts, but instead was helping FBI to understand them. Ohr cannot, simultaneously, be a source for unique knowledge for the FBI and at the same time be part of a Deep State plot aiming to feed the FBI new intelligence from Steele via as many different channels as possible.

Importantly, the main incidences where Ohr gave the FBI materials originating from Fusion — the materials include a timeline on Paul Manafort’s ties to oligarchs, a table showing Trump’s ties with suspect Russians, 137 pages of narrative backup for some of the table (part of which appears at PDF 216 to 299; Judicial Watch did not release this research as an independent link, presumably because it damages their narrative), and the latest version of the dossier from Simpson — came during that vetting period. Indeed, at the meeting where Ohr obtained a copy of the dossier from Fusion — according to his congressional testimony, at least, the only time he ever handled it — was the same meeting where he tried to get Simpson to tell him who Steele’s sources were (see PDF 33), information he passed onto the FBI. What the frothy right should do, if it had a single honest journalist left, would be to admit that Mark Meadows had them chasing a hoax for a year, but now that they can see the underlying evidence, it’s clear Meadows was wrong, lying, or perhaps opposed to the FBI doing the same kind of vetting that he imagines he himself to be doing.

Similarly, the frothy right is spinning what Nellie Ohr’s research shows in utterly deceitful ways. For much of the last year, the story was that Nellie’s work was an integral part of Steele’s dossier, a story that formed a critical part of any claim that Bruce Ohr would have some incentive to prop up the credibility of the dossier (which, as noted, the record shows he didn’t do). Her research shows that, in reality, there is little overlap between her research and Steele’s. There are over 75 names listed in her table of sketchy ties with Russia. The only identifiable overlap with the dossier are the Agalarovs, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Sergei Millian (to the extent he really is one of the subsources for the dossier), and Carter Page. The Flynn and Manafort (and to some degree the Page) stuff goes beyond what is in the dossier.

In addition Nellie’s research includes others who should have been included in any solid HUMINT on what Trump was up to, starting with Felix Sater and Konstantin Kilimnik (but also including Michael Caputo and Giorgi Rtskhiladze). Chuck Ross notes these names in a piece on Nellie’s research, but doesn’t acknowledge the ways their inclusion undermines the conspiracy theories he has been peddling. I said in January 2018 that this open source research would probably have been more valuable for the election than the dossier, and I stand by that.

And look at the dates on Nellie Ohr’s research and the number of reports for each date (something else that Ross ignores the significance of):

  1. November 23, 2015 (12)
  2. December 14, 2015 (19)
  3. February 12, 2016 (8)
  4. February 13, 2016 (1)
  5. February 27, 2016 (1)
  6. March 4, 2016 (5)
  7. April 14, 2016 (2)
  8. April 22, 2016 (5)
  9. May 7, 2016 (1)
  10. May 13, 2016 (2)
  11. May 20, 2016 (1)
  12. May 27, 2016 (2)
  13. June 3, 2016 (1)
  14. June 10, 2016 (1)
  15. June 17, 2016 (4)
  16. June 24, 2016 (2)
  17. June 25, 2016 (3)
  18. July 1, 2016 (4)
  19. July 6, 2016 (3)
  20. July 9, 2016 (1)
  21. September 19, 2016 (2)
  22. September 22, 2016 (1)

Perhaps half of Nellie’s Ohr’s dated reports in this table date to before the Democrats started paying Fusion (that was sometime in April or May 2016, with Steele coming on around June 2016), and well more than half of the actual dated reports are from the primary period. That means that GOP billionaire Paul Singer, and not the Democrats, paid for much of the Nellie Ohr research in the table that the GOP is squawking about.

The GOP is squawking less about Nellie Ohr’s Manafort timeline (which is odd considering some of what Steele shared through Ohr consisted of Manafort details not reported in the dossier). But it’s worth mentioning that some of the same frothy right propagandists complaining here were instrumental in magnifying oppo research targeting John Podesta in 2016. The folks who made much of John Podesta’s stolen emails can’t complain about public source research focusing on Manafort’s corruption.

And for all the frothy right’s focus on Nellie Ohr’s interactions with Bruce’s colleague Lisa Holtyn (with whom Nellie clearly had a direct professional and personal relationship), they don’t mention this email to Holtyn, which suggests that Nellie has absolutely no clue about the connection that Fusion had with this anti-Magnitsky event that Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin were involved in.

That provides some support to Simpson’s claim to Congress that the people working on the Trump oppo research were compartmented from those working on the Baker-Hostetler project tied to the June 9 meeting (though Nellie was never the most likely overlap).

As to two smoking guns that Mark Meadows claimed to have found when he referred Nellie Ohr for criminal prosecution earlier this year, the first is that at Holtyn’s suggestion, Nellie met, informally, with two organized crime prosecutors,  Joe Wheatley and Ivana Nizich, presumably to give them background on certain aspects of Russian and Ukrainian organized crime. Judicial Watch has focused on the set-up of the meeting, in which Bruce noted it should not be a conflict since Nellie would not be paid. They haven’t noted that Holtyn describes (PDF 31) her colleagues’ interest in the topic to be “some things that they are working on currently” which, if it’s a specific case, she’s careful not to mention directly, but sounds more like enterprise investigation. That kind of meeting is utterly consistent with Nellie’s claim to have no knowledge of ongoing investigations, Russian or otherwise.

Moreover, the aftermath of the meeting (PDF 24) certainly reflects that informal nature.

Meadows claims that this exchange (Nizich and Wheatley continued to exchange information from Nellie afterwards, but this is the only written discussion of a meeting) proves Nellie Ohr lied in this exchange with Democratic staffers Arya Hariharan and Susanne Sachsman Grooms last October.

Q You’ve never worked for the Department of Justice, correct?

A Correct.

Q You don’t currently work for them?

A Correct.

Q So you would not have any knowledge of what is going on in an ongoing investigation?

A Correct.

Ms. Sachsman Grooms. Just to make that one crystal clear, did you, at the time, that you were working for Fusion GPS have any knowledge of the Department of Justice’s investigations on Russia?

Ms. Ohr. No.

As to Meadows’ second allegation, he says that by sharing research on Zakhariy Kalashov, a Russian mobster, with Wheatley and Nizich, Nellie proved knowledge of an ongoing investigation and (he insinuates though doesn’t say directly) shared her Fusion research with people outside of Fusion and her spouse. (Best as I can tell, Judicial Watch hasn’t released this yet, but they have a habit of sitting on documents so it’s unclear if DOJ has released it to them.) If that’s true, Meadows must know Kalashov has some tie to Trump, which is not alleged in any of Nellie’s work for Fusion.

If it were true, I’m pretty sure it would have become a campaign issue.

Meadows has, at several times in his efforts to delegitimize the information sharing by a small network of people who compare notes on Russian organized crime, gotten shockingly close to suggesting that daring to investigate Russian criminals — whether they have any tie to Donald Trump or not — should itself be criminalized. This is one such instance.

But that’s not the most remarkable piece of evidence included these latest releases Judicial Watch that demolishes the attacks on the Ohrs.

That majority of the documents involving Nellie Ohr turned over to Judicial Watch involve not — as you might expect if you read the frothy right — evidence of a Deep State plot. Rather, they are tedious discussions of Ohr’s travel plans, which he either forwarded to Nellie (perhaps because she scandalously likes to know what country her spouse is in or even likes to pick him up from the airport) or discussed the inclusion of Nellie on trips where spouses were invited. Bruce Ohr spends a lot of time figuring out what kind of per diem he’s permitted and seems to travel on a range of airlines (meaning he’s not maximizing frequent flier miles from his work travel, as most business travelers, myself included, like to do). But the most remarkable bit of tedium regarding travel — for a trip to Riga — shows that Bruce Ohr went to some effort to ensure he only claimed €105 a night reimbursement for hotel, rather than €120, because the additional €15 was a charge associated with Nellie’s inclusion (on the same trip, he also didn’t submit for reimbursement for parking at the airport).

This is a couple that has been accused, by the President of the United States — a guy who never met a grift he didn’t love — of sharing information on Russian criminals not because they want to keep the country safe, but to make their bank account “fatter & fatter.”

It turns out, instead, that they’re the kind of people who make sure taxpayers don’t pay an extra €30 for an overseas business trip.

Of course the frothy right hasn’t admitted how obscene it was for Donald Trump to accuse the Ohrs of self-dealing.

Who knows? Maybe Judicial Watch will one day discover the smoking gun that Meadows has been claiming to have found against the Ohrs. Maybe the details surrounding the 2016 communications or Steele’s efforts to undermine the investigation into his work will actually make the Ohrs into the villains they’ve been cast as for the last year.

And certainly, all that’s a different question than Simpson’s candor or the overall wisdom of Steele’s project.

But as far as the Ohrs go, what the evidence that Judicial Watch worked hard to liberate proves is that the President and Congressman Meadows owe this couple an apology — and the frothy right should stop prostrating themselves by parroting what Meadows tells them is there and begin describing all the ways these documents prove their past reporting to be a hoax.

154 replies
  1. Vicks says:

    Halfway through this post I decided to double check what I thought I knew about libel laws and government figures.
    I read the second half trying to wrap my mind around the fact that yes indeed, the president and his minions are free to say whatever they want about whomever they want with zero legal consequences.
    Unbelievable when you put that in the context of this administration.

    • Diggo says:

      That said, American voters have had many post-WW2 examples of presidential administrations which do and say whatever they want. This particular president has taken it to extremes, mostly unscathed, by seeding the administration with lifelong stinking rich grifters who operate like the Trump family.

    • Anvil Leucippus says:

      Particularly awful given this particular president is mushbrained. He imagines something to be true, inspired by something that doesn’t happen (hello, Mister Michigan Man Of The Year). And he repeats it to himself over and over to convince everyone else it is true.

      The people who follow him are left with two options: (1) acknowledge he is a mushbrain. Or (2) contort themselves to provide some semblance of “truth” to his false claim.

      You can spotcheck Trump’s claims by just an inverse-curve of the number of times he repeats the claim, plus the number of sycophants who repeat it using the same terms.

      • Vicks says:

        I think it’s a form of “grooming”
        I think he started by testing the waters with claims similar to man of the year, crowd size, etc.
        Trump quickly saw their eagerness to be part of something, to participate, some for the first time (in whatever the hell they think they are doing,) and deliberately went on to create battles for his base to fight on his behalf.
        He realized the need to keep his fans constantly engaged (and angry) and saw the loyalty being built as a result.
        As he escalated his commentary, like good little soldiers they escalated their energy and willingness to defend whatever came out of his mouth.
        He built his power by rallying these people around his enemy of the moment some real, some manufactured and it appears there really is no moral “tipping point” for Trump or these people

        • MB says:

          Absolutely agree. We can all learn something by studying cult dynamics. After all, what is the Trump presidency but a large personality cult with followers who eagerly want to be led and not be bothered with the dissonance that comes from questioning anything. One of the primary activities of cult leaders is to “groom” their followers. And you don’t have to be particularly smart to do that either, just have an unyielding lust for the power that accrues from that.

        • Vicks says:

          Oprah needs to get her butt back on the tee-vee with whoever is this century’s version of Dr. Phil is and tell parents it’s not just ok to monitor what their kids are doing online, it’s their job.
          I think parents are confused, even for those raised with the internet, it’s a whole new world and I will bet even the best of them have no clue what their kids are up to online.
          For the sake of their kids (and for some, the safety of others) they need to know how much time their kids are spending online and how they are spending it.

        • timbo says:

          This. Yeah, this is why the Congress, the House in this case, must open an impeachment inquiry into this President. The fact that they have not indicates that we have leadership in this country that may be too weak to stop an donkey like Trump from pulling our collective carts into a ditch. :(

      • Americana says:

        Trouble is, Trump voters don’t “spot check Trump’s claims.” They take everything Trump says at face value and ridicule the spot checks to which Trump is subjected by legitimate journalists/news organizations. Even if challenged, Trump voters don’t bother to attempt to produce facts to dispute opposing claims; they simply trash their opponent’s viewpoint. They are the result of ignorance in search of self-justification in aid of lies and disinformation. I agree w/Vicks. This is psychological sociopolitical “grooming.”

        Is that because Trump voters don’t subscribe to legitimate newspapers or have computers to access the legitimate journalism that’s on line? It’s more frightening than that. Whatever their reasons, they are willing to ignore all the evidence that’s been discovered about Trump being unfit for office. They also rely for their information on partisan propaganda sites like Breitbart where only the extreme RW perspective is distributed. This has been a long term propaganda battle that resulted in Trump’s election.

        Only some of those extreme RW individuals are willing to acknowledge just how damaging their propaganda and disinformation campaigns have been to this country’s politics. The Koch brothers are so terrified of how irrational and ungovernable this country has become thanks to the extreme RW propaganda over the past 40 years that they’re now willing to financially sponsor some Democrats running for offices provided those Democrats meet policy standards the Koch brothers set.

  2. LadyLazarus says:

    It seems to me that, if fired, Ohr will have the same kind of suit as Strzok and McCabe. Ohr hardly can be seen as a public figure, even a limited purpose public figure, as he did not insert himself publicly into the limelight. In concept the immunity afforded legislators from defamation is great, but in practice it means they can lie with impunity if their constituents don’t care. And Meadows’s own constituents don’t.

    Ps. I am happy to have found you. I’ve seen empty wheel posts often on twitter but never visited the website. I am pleased to see how intelligent the posts are. I am over vicious rhetoric.

        • bmaz says:

          I did some postgraduate work there and at University of Colorado, but degrees are from ASU. I do love Tucson though.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          UC Boulder? More than a fun party school. Too bad the town is so gentrified, it rivals DC and almost SFO for housing costs. Views are still breathtaking, as are the hikes.

        • bmaz says:

          Yep, was up there for a year and a half in 79-80. Almost two if you count the summer. Lived on the Hill for the first half of that, and then in North Boulder by Wonderland Hills lake for the second half. I absolutely love it there, but, man, it is as expensive as San Franciso now. And it was not exactly cheap back then!

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Enjoyed the university district – great summer theater – and Pearl St, when a coffee shop was a coffee shop. The occasional bar. Now has the superficial feel of Vail. Estes retains a little local feel, might be because the elk outnumber the locals.

        • bmaz says:

          My brother in law lives there so am up every now and then, my wife and daughter more often. Though he is on the outskirts almost closer to Louisville. In neighborhoods that were empty fields when I lived in Boulder. But he and his family have a place in Breckenridge too, and that, for being a ski town, still has some very cool vibe and feel to it.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          So not walking distance to Pearl St. Still more to do than Sedona.

          Interesting former coal town is Louisville. Has survived the demise of local tech companies and has character the other NW suburbs never had. Same with Breckenridge for ski towns.

        • bmaz says:

          When on the Hill, I could easily walk to Pearl Street. Great bars and restaurants down there, including, notably, the Blue Note. Still one of the best blues joints ever. From Wonderland Hill, not so much. On the Hill, I lived about 3-4 blocks north of Tulagi. If you remember that joint.

  3. cynthia Kouril says:

    I added up the dated reports. There were 53 before May 2016 and only 28 from May onward. So, not half, closer to 2/3s.

  4. pseudonymous in nc says:

    They won’t, of course, but will instead move the goalposts again. It’s QAnon in suits.

    Where does Meadows even get these ideas? I’m sure partly from the frothies, partly from his own ass, but that’s not just it.

    Tangentially: watching the anti-NYT froth go in real time from Byron to Sara to Sharyl to the presitwit is… depressing. They all know what they are doing. They won’t stop and won’t let the facts get in the way. Nor will Judicial Witchhunt.

  5. Vicks says:

    I’m a little behind on my Sunday shows this am, but whoever the woman is that is filling in for Chris Wallace on Fox “news” just let Larry Kudlow do a Emmy winning* depiction of my drunk uncle.
    I just rewound and checked.
    She let him go for 10 minutes.

    *Perhaps she doesn’t understand how these awards for journalism work?
    Wallace was nominated for an Emmy not for his acting but for his interview with Putin where he asked why so many of his detractor’s end up dead.

    • e.a.f. says:

      thank you for that information. I was channel surfing and going through the list. several times there was this man carrying on like an idiot. Now I know
      I will recognize the names, but not always the faces. Did wonder why they didn’t pull the plug on the stuff.

  6. Democritus says:

    The NYT is bound and determined not to call a racist a racist.


    I’m assuming this hot load of BS by Baquet was noted as well. He and Sulz needs to stop huffing each other’s farts.


    This is just hot load of crap from Baquet from the Slate piece.

    “I used the word lie once during the presidential campaign, used it a couple times after that. And it was pretty clear it was a lie, and we were the first ones to use it. But I fear that if we used it 20 times, 10 times, first, it would lose its power. And secondly, I thought we would find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of deciding which comment by which politician fit the word lie. I feel the same way about the word racist.”

    This is hot bs, they don’t want us to call a spade a spade. They need the funhouse mirrors.

  7. Jenny says:

    Thank you Marcy.

    Is Meadows a racist stating he is not a racist?

    Meadows said at an event in 2012, “What we are going to do is take back our country. 2012 is the time that we are going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is. We’re going to do it.”

    2019 asked about the comment/video he said, “And candidly it was not the way that I should’ve answered the questions. Certainly is not something that I support from a standpoint of any racial overtones. I can tell you that anyone who knows me knows that there is not a racial bone in my body.”


      • Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

        I am sick to report that Meadows is our rep-NC 11th. He sucks out loud. He represents Asheville, ffs . . . I cannot recall the last time he held a town hall because . . . why would he? His office almost never staffs its phones with humans? I use the term loosely.

        It’s too surreal, folks-the President referred to himself as the Second Coming yesterday. My husband (and others) keep suggesting that we are living in The Upside-down. The sun isn’t up yet and I’m now having a hankering for a bourbon.

    • MB says:

      In regard to the various denials about racist (or “racial”) bones in their various bodies: since being called “racist” is a pejorative, of course they have to deny that, because to them being racist is normal behavior. To try and understand why others may find it objectionable would require self-reflection and that’s a quality that’s in rather short supply among members of the Trump cult.

    • DTR says:

      I would have thought the nauseating display he presented before a Congressional Hearing; Lynne Patton standing behind him, silently, as if she were being auctioned, would have been the definitive answer. Still trying to figure out Cummings’ embracing this bigot.

      • catherine says:

        Do you know who Lynne Patton is……before she was appointed to HUD by Trump?

        She was basically the Trump family’s ‘nanny’ who planned Eric Trump’s wedding so her resume says, it also says she went to two colleges that never heard of her…lol…just when you think you have seen it all in the parade of unqualified, shady, ethically compromised Trump appointees you find another one..

    • e.a.f. says:

      when people say they aren’t racist or “don’t have a racist bone in their bodies”, why do some of us come to the conclusion they actually are racists or say and do racist things. Its very strange.

      Its sort of like that duck thing, if it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, walks like a duck, its a duck. If it has all the elements, then it is …………. whatever.

      Mark Meadows, in my opinion, is one very strange man. His best before date was most likely 30 years ago and hasn’t noticed. looks like something out of an old movie about the south. Also reminds me of some of those white men you see in old news reels from back in the 1950s, early 60s.

      • Tom says:

        Just finished reading “Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation” by Dr. Caroline E. Janney of Purdue University. She describes how in the early 20th century the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), with the help of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, “…had succeeded in placing Confederate flags, portraits of leaders such as Lee, and pro-Confederate textbooks in nearly every southern classroom.” There was even a Children of the Confederacy organization for those ages six to sixteen. This was all part of what Dr. Janney calls the UDC’s “campaign of indoctrination” to persuade the rising generation of “the inferiority of African Americans and the benevolence of slavery.” As late as the 1930s the UDC was still trying to erect monuments to “The Loyal Slave” and “The Faithful Mammy of the Southland”. One of the central themes of Dr. Janney’s book is the important role played by southern women in perpetuating the myth of The Lost Cause.

        Of course, this was well before the time of Mark Meadows but I think it helps explain the ideas and attitudes of his parents’ and grandparents’ generation that he must have been exposed to and absorbed when he was growing up in Florida.

        • timbo says:

          Yah, I’ve met southerners transplanted to SF who still believe all that racist hooey. It’s disheartening. And don’t you accuse them of being racists! But when I do, I basically ask them if it would be okay if they were the slaves and those of us abolititionists and freedmen the slave owners… “because your slaves had it so good”.

        • Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

          Wasn’t there an email breech a while back where Meadows’ wife’s views on race were laid bare? She sounds very much like the ladies of the UDC. There is, no doubt, a virulent, persistent racism in the south (kudzu springs to mind, an apt metaphor, I think), but thank god that’s not the whole story.

  8. Savage Librarian says:

    This is why the Blue Dog Dems are just as wrong as the GOP. Somebody wake up Pelosi and tell her it’s the 21st century. Open a true impeachment inquiry now! You will be guaranteed to gain from it.

    “Does anyone understand the 2020 race? This scholar nailed the blue wave — here’s her forecast”
    “Rachel Bitecofer predicted last year’s midterms with incredible accuracy. Her 2020 forecast is … not too bad”
    Paul Rosenberg

    “I’m also able to show that even in these districts where Democrats ran Blue Dog candidates who were as unobtrusive as possible — with, exactly as you stated, the goal of not riling up Trump voters — the turnout for Republican voters in those districts was huge.”

    “In fact, not only did Democrats not get the benefit of not stirring up the Trump base — the Trump base was stirred up and showed up in huge numbers — but by not tapping into anti-Trump sentiment in their own campaign strategy, by not intentionally activating that Trump angst, they paid a price in terms of their own base turnout. It was depressed, compared to other districts.”


  9. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    As to Meadows’ second allegation, he says that by sharing research on Zakhariy Kalashov, a Russian mobster, with Wheatley and Nizich, Nellie proved knowledge of an ongoing investigation and… shared her Fusion research with people outside of Fusion and her spouse… If that’s true, Meadows must know Kalashov has some tie to Trump, which is not alleged in any of Nellie’s work for Fusion.

    How many variations are we going to continue to see of GOP/Congress protecting the Russian mob?

    And since ‘Russian mob’ appears to be synonymous with ‘Russian government’, I could easily rephrase the question: why does Meadows appear to attempt sabotaging or discrediting an effort to investigate a branch of the Russian mob?

    • e.a.f. says:

      perhaps he is getting a deal similar to Moscow Mitch. so what do we call Mark Meadows, ‘the Marxist”? “the mad man”? we could call Mitch and Mark the “Moscow Brothers” or the Moscow M & Ms. I’ll stop now………..

      • Tom says:

        There’s an old Red Army song called “Meadowlands” so you could call him “Mark Meadowlands”, but the Russian reference would be pretty obscure to most people even though they’ve probably heard the tune at some time or other even if they don’t recognize the title of the song.

  10. Savage Librarian says:

    Some of the people listed in Ohr’s table (paragraph 7 in Marcy’s post above) are Sater, Arif, Ablyazov and the Khrapunovs. To me, Sater and Arif are particularly interesting. I can’t help but wonder if there is a connection between Arif and Epstein ( although none is mentioned in the article I cite below, nor in Ohr’s table.) But the following article is worth a read if you have the time and inclination:

    “Sater Eyed Trump Moscow Tower to Launder Cash, BTA Bank Says” – Bloomberg
    “Sater, a U.S. citizen who was born in Russia, was introduced to Khrapunov and his father, Viktor Khrapunov, the former mayor of Almaty, around 2007 by the founder of Bayrock Group LLC, of Tevfik Arif, according to the complaint. They worked together on several investments in Kazakhstan, including oil and coal exploration projects, years before their talks about U.S. real estate.”

    “BTA claims that beginning in 2011 Sater helped Ablyazov and Khrapunov launder about $40 million through a number of U.S. business transactions, and that he pocketed as much as $20 million in stolen money as part of a falling out with them. Those transactions are at the center of the lawsuit, which seeks return of the money and unspecified damages.”

    “With Sater’s help, BTA claims, Ablyazov and the Khrapunovs moved about $40 million from shell companies into U.S. deals including a Cincinnati mall, a mental-health facility in Syracuse, New York, and an allegedly fraudulent medical-testing device company that they allegedly used in an immigration fraud scheme to benefit the Kazakh family. Sater also tried to help the Kazakhs stash stolen money overseas, including in Moscow real estate, and discussed Trump’s Moscow tower, according to the suit.”


    • Vicks says:

      Good grief, “Trump Tower” “money laundering” how could I forget?
      It seemed like for the first year and a half of Trump’s reign, almost weekly, someone dug up and reported on some type of bad behavior that could potentially land a member of team Trump in jail.
      I will confess that for two years I had heady visions that these were all of “pieces of the puzzle” and the Mueller report would tie it all together.
      Am I the only fool that was shocked last week to learn that the investigation into any NRA /Russia money connections went nowhere?
      I feel as if I have forgotten more of his teams’ scandals than I remember.
      Is there a master list somewhere?
      Has ANYTHING outside of Mueller’s narrow focus been investigated and legitimately been crossed off the list?

  11. catherine says:

    I am from North Carolina….Meadow is a disgusting carpet bagger pos from Florida.
    88% of his campaign donations are from outside the state, the largest of them from Fla business. Also funded by NorPac and Bi-County Pac, both political action committee PACs for Israel.
    I am not in his district so cant vote against him but can donate to his opponent…if one appears.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Guardian lives in a bizarro world of its own. To wit, Joe Biden “is doing well,” because he “is not an exciting candidate?” Carlo Invernizzi-Accetti’s opinion does not pass the smell test. [https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/19/joe-biden-exciting-candidate]

    Mr. Biden remains high on polls because of name recognition. He’s been a DC denizen for fifty years, eight of them as sidekick to Mr. Obama. As people begin to view him through a 2020 lens, however, he is losing ground. He can thank his conservatism, Reaganesque memory lapses, Carter-like gaffes, and increasing awareness of how his decades of pro-bank and racist “tough on crime” legislation have harmed the people whose votes he thinks are his.

    • bmaz says:

      Yep. As I said on Twitter a few days ago, Biden seems like a decent chap, and an admirable man who has made it through a lot of family tragedy most of us can not even imagine. And I respect him immensely for that. But that is Joe the man.

      Joe the politician has never really been good, and on many things, many of which you hit in your last paragraph, he has been horrible. And, on the national stage, he has been a consistently poor performing political candidate. If Biden is the great Democratic hope, we may be in serious trouble.

      • Democritus says:

        Good argument bmaz :) and earl I agree entirely on Biden, but as usual you wrote it oh so much more elegantly than I ever could :)

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Yes, yes, and yes.
        And as people come to realize that Delaware may have more tax havens than it has voters, Biden’s legitimacy will continue to implode.

        It’s not agism as much as the fact that he was a shill for banking, offshoring, accounting gimmicks, and bogus economic metrics. But he was dangerous because he’s very personable, so he has done yeoman’s work putting lipstick on too damn many pigs.

        • timbo says:

          Biden did not vote for weakening in the banking firewalls in 1998. I give him that. It’s appalling though to see his opinion about bussing from back in the day…

          Bussing is the best thing that ever happened to my education I believe. We, as a country, need to learn that diversity, in a civil social environment, is okay and not something to be feared or shunned.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Diversity is not just okay, it’s *desirable*. I’d say it is practically synonymous with democracy. Diversity is what life is all about. What would be the point without it?

      • posaune says:

        It always irritated me to see Biden’s “regular guy” persona — vs the Delaware banking protectorate and connections to Wall Street.

    • harpie says:

      CNN Poll: Joe Biden regains double-digit lead over 2020 Democratic field
      6:38 AM ET, August 20, 2019

      Joe Biden has expanded his edge over the Democratic field in a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, with 29% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters saying they back the former vice president.
      That’s up 7 points compared with a late June CNN survey. No other candidate has made meaningful gains over that time.
      The shift returns Biden to a double-digit lead over his nearest competitors, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 15% and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 14%. Their support is largely unchanged since earlier this summer. […]

      If the fucking Democrats nominate Biden or Sanders, that is the END of any support for them from me, and they deserve to join the GOP in the dustbin of history.
      /end of my morning rant [but not my ANGER–that seems to be endless, these days]

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        What that poll artfully leaves out is that Elizabeth Warren “has the momentum.”


        Warren has steadily gained traction in the crowded Democratic field by introducing herself to voters one policy [and one pinky swear] at a time. She has largely stayed out of the back-and-forth between other candidates, focusing instead on an agenda rooted in tackling corruption, restructuring the economy and expanding access to education while reducing student loan debt.

        “If you want to get something done, you ought to have a plan for it,” Warren told the crowd in Minnesota. “Believe me, I plan to get something done.”

        Joe Biden is all nostalgia for a world that never was, with him at the top. Elizabeth Warren is trying to live and lead in this one.

        • P J Evans says:

          Sanders won’t do any better next year than he did in 2016. I don’t think Biden’s going to get more support than he has now.
          But I’ll vote blue.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The problem with forgetful sleepy grandpas being president – as it is with the sick, the ignorant, and the lazy – is that someone else is often acting as president. But you never know who it is and why they’re doing it.

      • Peacerme says:

        I’d like to see Warren/Booker. It might work. I apologize for saying this, maybe I am crusty from the last election. I want a strong African american voice. I wish Warren had better race relations but I don’t doubt her sincerity. The banks targeted African Americans, single women and the elderly and she knows it and seeks to repair the damage that the loan sharking era has done.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          More than anything, I want a Dem POTUS elected in 2020. Hopefully, those who don’t become the nominee will find positions in the Cabinet or elsewhere in a new Dem administration. There are many who would make exceptional contributions. I’d also like to see Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum somewhere in the mix.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Meanwhile, the Guardian thinks Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn could have been the UK’s savior – from Boris Johnson and his fantasy-driven Brexiteers – were he not so tribal.

    I’m pretty sure I do not want whatever Simon Jenkins is smoking. The tribal irrationality of BoJo is astonishing. He has chosen a trifecta of cruel conservatives to lead his top ministries. He relies on bovine bovver boys to keep his mean streets. Brexiteer screamers like Jacob Rees-Mogg fill the digital press. Shadowy millionaire Aaron Banks funnels money to him and his campaigns. And Nigel Farage makes it all seem as inevitable as the arrival of the Conqueror in 1066. That motley crew defines destructive tribalism.

    Sometimes I think Rupert Murdoch has bought the world’s press. Or, like the Thing from Another World, he has convinced them that to avoid so ghastly a fate, they must all act like him anyway.


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Instead of the faux tough-guy persona sold by the cowardly Trump, Johnson sells himself as a clownish buffoon. He does it well.

      He can revert to the Eton scholar and Oxford Union President at will. But thanks to his legendary laziness, and his drinking, he doesn’t sustain it. As with Trump, the price for his being less effective is his destructiveness.

      More than that, what binds the two men is their shameless lying. Johnson eventually hid his by writing an opinion column. As with the NYT’s fatuous conservative opinion writers, fact-checking is optional.

      It made Johnson’s career and his fortune, because he lied about things his hard-right publishers and their patrons hated. And because they needed a fix after Margaret Thatcher left the scene.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Clownish buffoon is redundant, but, like Trump, Boris is in a class by himself, so doubling the effect seemed appropriate.

        I added the “bovine,” but bovver boy is East London slang for skinhead, often referring to a Nazi-ish shaved head muscled street thug.

  14. Democritus says:

    Love this Adam Serwer tweet calling out the rw bs:

    “An entire ideological cadre of rightwingers trained to invoke the history of the founding in service to their ideological goals suddenly declaring the history of the same period irrelevant if it focuses on people enslaved at the time of that founding. How deeply telling.”


  15. Savage Librarian says:

    Here is some history that the GOP would like to suppress, I’m sure:

    “How Slave Owners Dictated the Language of the 2nd Amendment”
    Nicolaus Mills

    “…James Madison, the author of the Second Amendment, wrote his amendment with his eye firmly fixed on practical politics. He introduced the amendment during Virginia’s debate over the ratification of the Constitution because Virginia Governor Patrick Henry saw danger lurking in Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, which gives Congress the power to provide for “organizing, arming, and disciplining” militias.”

    “Henry feared that without checks upon it, Congress could undermine the ability of militias in Virginia and elsewhere in the South to suppress slave uprisings and pursue runaway slaves.”

    “The militia issue was important enough for Henry to see it as grounds for opposing ratification of the Constitution.”
    “It took Madison two drafts to get the Second Amendment into the single sentence it is today. His careful wording was deliberate. In drawing a connection between militias and the right to bear arms rather than simply defending the right to bear arms, Madison, a slave holder himself, was speaking to his state’s ruling powers. Only the white men in the Virginia militia had the right to bear arms. Free African-Americans could join the militia, but they were limited to being drummers or buglers.”
    “But the link between slave control and the Second Amendment has not become a feature of today’s debate over gun control. That is good news for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump.”

    “They should not, though, breathe easy. In the end, Justice Scalia never saw his majority opinion in the District of Columbia v. Heller eliminating the government’s ability to regulate guns. “Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment,” Scalia cautioned, “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools or government buildings or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.””


    • Tom says:

      See also “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America” by Dr. Gerald Horne of the University of Houston. The general argument of Dr. Horne’s book is that the American Revolution was instigated by Virginia slave-owners who decided that declaring independence from the British Crown was the only way of preserving a bastion of slavery against the rising tide of abolitionist sentiments in the British Isles, the rest of Europe, and the Caribbean.

      • Nehoa says:

        Also, the right to bear arms was handy when you wanted to shoot Native Americans and steal their land. That aspect should be discussed along with the suppression of slaves.

    • timbo says:

      Prescient. But I’m not convinced they’re trying to suppress anything around this. Racism in this country is a scourge.

    • Vicks says:

      Yes folks we have an “Israel” problem.
      If I can explain the downside of Israel’s out of proportion influence over our country AND give a more accurate depiction of the dire straights of Palestine to a roomful of my Jewish in-laws without offending their faith I think that our elected officials should be able to do the same.
      They know the trap, yet continue to step right into it, and claim outrage when they are declared anti-semites.
      Watching the wash, rinse, and repeat we see from so many lawmakers who have no interest in actually solving a problem I can’t help but wonder if they simply need a crash course in communications or if it’s something else.
      They have the attention of the world and yet somehow there is no increased knowledge or interest in these important issues they seem to be willing to risk their lives for.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      (Here are some excerpts from an article about a very aggressive PR guy who allegedly testified in the Mueller grand jury. His name is Ronn Torossian. He claims to have connections to Stone, Cohen, Alfa Bank, Sater, Sekulow, Manafort, and many more. And he knows how to take control of a narrative.)

      “Meet the pro-Trump, pro-Israel PR Guy at the Center of the Mueller Probe — And Everything Else”

      “What do the Mueller probe, the Eric Trump Foundation, Sinclair Broadcasting, “Girls Gone Wild,” Israel, Turkey, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow all have in common?
      Ronn Torossian.”
      “Torossian, on the other hand, flaunts his association with Sater, and recently posted pictures with him on social media. Over the years, the two men have also become close friends, and Sater—a man sitting on an inordinate number of secrets—describes Torossian as a “confidant.”

      “Torossian is also friendly with Cohen.”
      “In 2014, the New York Post spotted Torossian and the Leningrad-born Freidman praying for peace in Ukraine at a wedding at a Brighton Beach steakhouse along with Alfa Bank co-founder and Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman—whose relationship with Putin figures in the largely unverified “Steele dossier”—and New York attorney Ed Mermelstein, who often represents wealthy Russians.”
      “Trump’s longest-serving political adviser, the dirty trickster Roger Stone, has done work with Torossian, too, and once delivered a speech at 5W’s offices. And before he was Stone’s protege, future Trump political adviser Sam Nunberg, while on the payroll of Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law & Justice, regularly worked out of 5W’s offices in 2009 and 2010.”


      (Dems need to up their game for controlling narratives. For example, it might be helpful if the Dems better articulate that there are extreme right wing Israelis. Just like extreme right wing Americans.)

      • Democritus says:

        Thanks for doing pulls, I have a hard time on my tablet.

        Totally agree on that last part, though I would argue it’s the GOP and Netanyahu turning Israel, to Israel’s detriment, into a partisan wedge.

        I also think Netanyahu decided he could do more with right wing American evangelicals than American left wing Jews, and in fact I think that was even articulated clearly but I’m not able today to search or type much. But I do want the Dems to be careful given how much hate the right is stirring up towards minority groups.

        I don’t want *anyone* feeding the real rising antisemitism, though I do think that’s primarily, though not only, on the right in America. I also don’t want to see more islamaphobia either though, that always gets trotted out when it’s time to deal with domestic hate groups.

        (Note I see Nation of Islam as a RW group given its conservative messages).

        Sigh, my poor arm is like stop moving.

        • Vicks says:

          I know a lot of American Jews, most are kind, compassionate and if not highly educated pretty darn smart.
          They have little or nothing in common with American evangelicals.
          Trump’s gifting of Jerusalem to Israel was a genius attempt to maintain or build the support of both groups while at the same time buying the support of Netanyahu.
          While the Jewish folks I know do seem to have an instinctive reaction to protect Israel, because of their core belief systems and god awful experience with manipulative leaders, I truly believe that the transparent attempts by the right to “play” them could make American Jews lash out against Netanyahu and the other deal making devils on the right.

        • orionATL says:

          “..I don’t want *anyone* feeding the real rising antisemitism, though I do think that’s primarily, though not only, on the right in America…”

          agreed, adding in europe also, where it is actually more open and more destructive to political discourse (especially in eastern europe) and ultimately civil society.

          there are two brands of anti-semitism in america right now:

          – one is genuine anti-semitism, that covertly stoked by our prez in his tolerance for white power groups to whom jews are a historical political scapegoat.

          – the second is propaganda, that covertly stoked by the government of israel and its parapropaganda troops which includes american zionists, wealthy contributors to american universities, and american politicians courting votes (lots and lots of those).

          this latter brand – slander a critic of the israeli government or a professor or student who supports the Palestinian b,d,s movement ** as ‘anti-semitic’ – is profoundly intellectually dishonest as well as exploitative of the history and emotions surrounding that term. it is strategic political propaganda arising out of Israeli fear of the effectiveness of the boycott, divest, and sanction movement that was so successful in destroying racial apartheid in south africa. and fear for a hood reason, israel practices a version of religion-based apartheid and so has a strong motive to work to smash this movement in the u.s..

          “… What was new about BDS was that it took disparate campaigns to pressure Israel and united them around three clear demands, with one for each major component of the Palestinian people. First, freedom for the residents of the occupied territories; second, equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel; and third, justice for Palestinian refugees in the diaspora – the largest group – including the right to return to their homes…”



        • Vicks says:

          First off congratulations, you are one of maybe 5 percent of Americans including Jews and members of congress that have taken the time to understand that.
          All the public knows is anti-semitism is bad and so the manipulators are letting it rip and even our f’ing democratic leaders have bought in.
          It’s hard to watch them do that conditional apology thing.
          “While I don’t agree with many of the things she has said … I believe as an American she …
          Shame on all of them for their ignorance and cowardice

    • harpie says:

      Speaking of Israel, Trump said this earlier today:
      Aaron Rupar: https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1163899620209991680
      12:44 PM – 20 Aug 2019 TRUMP:

      “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” [VIDEO]

      The president accusing the majority of American Jews of being either dumb or traitorous seems like a pretty crappy campaign strategy to me

      Daniel Dale: https://twitter.com/ddale8/status/1163895030689325057
      12:26 PM – 20 Aug 2019

      1] After criticizing the Democrats at length over their stance on Israel, Trump concludes with this:
      “Any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
      2] 12:56 PM – 20 Aug 2019
      Clarifying my tweet: Trump made this “disloyalty” comment after blasting Omar as an antisemite. The Omar controversy came after she was accused of…suggesting American Jews have a dual loyalty to Israel.

      (Critics of the critics said her “allegiance” comment was misinterpreted.)

      • P J Evans says:

        My congresscritter (and the two before him) is Jewish. He has a better understanding of the US than Tr*mp does.

  16. orionATL says:

    it’s here. it’s permanent. it’s worldwide.

    the state will no longer focus solely on crushing your bones or imprisoning you. disorienting citizen minds thru Facebook and twitter is subtler, p.r.-wise less messy, and invisible to those it controls:


    all hail to facebook, brad perscale, and the internet research agency for their insight into the future.

  17. Tom says:

    OT but I’ve been thinking about Steve King’s remarks in Iowa a few days ago when he claimed that rape and incest had a vital role in the onward march of civilization. Just wondering why he left out cannibalism.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This is what candidate Joe’s spouse would say, isn’t it. No, Jill Biden, let’s not drive down the one-way Road to Electability just yet.


    It is too early and too perilous a journey. On one side are consultant-advisers so thick, they haven’t been cut since PG&E first incorporated. On the other are brambles of misogyny so deep they would bar the way to any Prince Joe seeking his sleeping beauty. And at the end? A swamp filled with fire, sand, and Rodents of Unusual Size. Shirley, we have time for another path.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      From the great Will Bunch [https://twitter.com/Will_Bunch]:

      Anyone voting for Biden b/c of “electability” (a lot of folks, apparently) must not have been a sentient human being in 2004, when rank-and-file Dems were certain only a war hero (Kerry) could beat Bush during the Iraq war. Kerry’s military record was warped by Rove in ways…

      that earnest, naive Democrats never saw coming. And that was a kinder, gentler time. Just wait until you see the s**t that will be thrown against ol’ “electable” Joe Biden in fall 2020. Please, this time just vote for the person you believe in.

      Even if all the shit Trump’s people – who make Karl Rove look like Mother Theresa – throw at Joe is legitimate, it would bury his chances with progressives and Main Street Americans. Then there’s all the shit they’ll make up, as if it were a Trump financial statement.

      Joe might feel as if he were dressed in white tie and blackface and serving drinks at a Strom Thurmond birthday party. Boy, he might then learn how the other half lives, but too late to save the Democrats and the rest of the world from the presidency-for-life of Donald J. Trump.

      Will Rogers, we need you now.

      • Tom says:

        I’m afraid a Biden vs. Trump series of Presidential debates would be full of cringeworthy moments for both candidates, but for vastly differing reasons for each of them.

      • Democritus says:

        You are on 🔥, good. Please keep directing at Biden so we don’t end up with a second Trump term.

        (unless he gets the nom in which case *yay Biden*)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          But whose hair?

          He had one of the early full implants. (They’ve held up better than his politics.)

      • orionATL says:

        personally, i think the chit-chat among Democrats about “electibility” is about a not very useful criterion to choose between candidates. i think almost any dem will beat trump in nov 2020 if trump keeps behaving like he has, and if that dem candidate keeps reminding the voters of trump’s 4 years of bungling behavior – no guarantee of that though because dems are stupid about seriously and repeatedly criticizing trump (as with g.w. Bush).

        my objections to biden are:

        – that he is stupid – scratch that – not all that sharp intellectually.

        – that in his very long public record there is not much evidence of his having initiated, sponsored, supported, or worked hard for a program that would improve the lives of americans in need of the kind of hand-up government can provide, which, practically speaking, means from the middle-middle-class on down, i.e., from gross family income of mas o menos $50k.

        if i’m wrong about this latter point, i’d like to know now.

        • bmaz says:

          No, not wrong on last point. I’d argue that not only are you right, the “legislative achievements” he is known for are most all bad.

        • orionATL says:

          let me add, i think there is one and only one reason why v-p biden is ahead of the rest of the dem pack. that reason is name recognition – a well-known key factor among pollsters.

          it astonishes me that neither the media nor biden’s competitors have made a point of this, asking what else has the guy got to offer?

          similarly, there was one and only one reason why g.w. bush became the gop-er’s candidate in 2000 – name recognition.

        • Vicks says:

          Bernie is the other name they know.
          In my opinion this means that Warren is where she is simply on merit and I think that says a lot.
          In some ways I am bummed that many of the candidates will be pulling out soon, I think that most of them were able to use their time to add value to the conversations.
          As for Biden, the guy is electable in his ads, and maybe in theory but where’s his fire? I’d be nervous putting all the eggs in that basket.
          Add one more reason to the list of why everyone has to make sure they are getting the best out of the local people they are sending to Washington.

  19. Democritus says:

    I found a thread that seems to be tracking the people who possibly have been planning attacks that LEO’s have been rounding up since El Paso in case anyone is interested.

    Im glad this is getting the media attn it deserves.


    Also, unrelated, this is gonna be my dive for today I think on Qnom, Falun Gong, and Trump supporting Epoch Times



  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Will Bunch retweets a nice observation from Avant-Guerre (Before-War, lovely handle, nice double entendre), reminding us about the 3000 Americans who fought for Republican Spain as part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. [https://twitter.com/Will_Bunch]

    Of those who served, a third were killed. Those who returned were suspect-for-life as “premature antifascists.” In the government’s eyes, being against fascism before WWII meant being “for” something else. For J. Edgar Hoover and his many compatriots, that meant being “for” communism. They were wrong, but they didn’t care. They needed their devil.

    Premature antifascists were also condemned by Wall Street. Lawyers and bankers like John Foster Dulles made millions from clients doing business with the Nazis and Fascists before formal war broke out; some made a lot of money from them afterwards. IBM’s Tom Watson comes to mind.

    It took a revolt from Dulles’s partners at Sullivan & Cromwell before he publicly changed his pro-German line. But as he ran US foreign policy for a decade after WWII, the survivors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade continued to be abused.

    Good background on the Lincoln Brigade is here. [https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2013/07/19/1224546/-Condemned-as-Premature-Anti-Fascists-Is-There-Ever-a-Bad-Time-to-Oppose-Fascism-Part-I]. See NYU’s dedicated archive, here. [http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/alba_photo_011/]

    • Democritus says:

      Ohhhh, thanks adding to my reading list for today.

      Ive found it odd how overlooked the Spanish Civil War is in America, maybe because it was overshadowed by what came after?

      I assume no one here missed KellyAnne Cons-the-day-away attempt to say anti-fa stood for anti-first amendment?

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump now refuses to meet with the Danish PM, Mette Frederiksen, because she said Greenland is not for sale. Will Trump next refuse to meet with Boris Johnson because he tells him London is not for sale?

    This brouhaha is entirely invented. Trump wants distractions, the more absurd the better. It makes him the victim, and hides what he is doing and not doing. Besides, as Tom Jones would say, she’s a lady. Trump would look like a wimp if he did not abuse her.

    Unless the base in Thule suddenly has more bombers than it can handle, this is good for Denmark. Trump knows nothing about it or Greenland. And he cannot manage small talk or big where the topic is not his Greatness. This lets him play hooky and frees up time for more tweeting and television.

    BTW, Greenland is not “owned” by Denmark any more than the US owns Alaska. it is part of Denmark, albeit an autonomous part.


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Denmark’s prime minister has Donald Trump’s number, and is not afraid to call it out. But a former foreign minister beat her to it: Trump’s cancellation confirms he “is a narcissistic fool.”

      It was almost charming to read a Danish newspaper’s summation of Trump in the White House:

      Trump’s decision showed he was unaware of the basic rules of diplomacy. “If he had been a clown in a circus, you could probably say that there is considerable entertainment value. The problem is that he is the president of the most powerful nation in the world.”


      • bmaz says:

        Dammit Earl! Please stop putting brackets on perfectly safe links so that they are useless. If it is a trustworthy major media source, leave a usable link.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Dammit drag-n-copy, you’ve failed me again!

          [At home, I still use a pen with a nib, which you fill from a bottle, preferably with Platinum Carbon Black Ink.]

        • bmaz says:

          Heh. Somewhere, I have some very old, and very nice, fountain pens that my father left me from the 1950’s. They are beautiful things. A few of them even have a little lever you actuate with you thumbnail or whatever to pump in the ink. Very cool. I never got the hang of them very well though. So they are in a box somewhere.

          I tend to lose pens, so I quit buying Mont Blancs after losing two in 2-3 years. Now I use these UniBall Vision Elite gel pens. They are reasonable, and write beautifully without blotting or goobering up.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          For work, yea, utilitarian pens are best. A Waterman makes you look fussy. I use blue ink, in a vain attempt to make it look original rather than a copy.

          Not blotting your copybook requires good ink, a good nib, and frequent cleaning, arts that are going the way of the local newspaper, flightless birds, and bracketed links.

          A fountain pen that fills using a lever to compress the bladder is generally older and well-made. I’d hold onto it. (My son, a graphic artist, tells me he knows all about these things.)

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah. These UniBall models are seriously decent. Have a real cap, not a click thing on top. I mostly use blue, and it is a very nice, slightly darker, blue. I am anal and old school about signing originals in blue ink. Even if the thing is going to be scanned into a black and white pdf. But I also just like the blue better for regular note taking and whatnot.

          But also have them in black too. And if you lose one, it doesn’t matter, just get another one out of the file/supply room.

      • orionATL says:

        calling it like it is, most particularly the quoted part.

        a round of applause for the minister!

        this is one of the most serious grounds for impeaching this president – his obliviousness to the most basic rules [involving formal courtesy] of diplomacy, and similarly, of domestic politics. our president is an oaf in a very serious way, a way that damages his capacity to lead.

        have you watched this oaf interact in public with leaders of other countries? clumsy as a teenager.

        it’s embarrassing!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Naturally, in his tweet storm, Trump blindsided his ambassador to Denmark. One of the best of the best, she is a tall blond former The Bold and the Beautiful actor and a chiropractor, who inherited $150 million from her real estate mogul hubby.

      Carla Sands also served on Trump’s Transition Finance Committee and Economic Advisory Council, neither of which apparently had much to do.

      Ms. Sands should consider resigning. Her boss has made her present work untenable, and she doesn’t need this shit.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As Joyce Vance observes, disrupting US – Danish relations disrupts US relations with the EU and NATO, especially when they are under pressure owing to Brexit. Nobody wins at that except Putin’s Russia.

      That is especially true when the dispute is over a LOL attempt by Trump – imitating Belgium’s Leopold II – to buy Greenland under the obviously false promise that he won’t put up a Trump Tower to rival the local volcanoes. Like Leopold, Trump draws no distinction between what is his and what belongs to his country.

      The scenario would have been mad even in the original Russian, which is presumably why Trump is doing it.


      • Democritus says:

        Putin also *does* want Greenland. I think this is both a distraction, but also a way for Putin to poke at his foes again. A win win for Putin.

        Trump and Putin just spoke a week or so ago I believe but may be a bit of on the date.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          A Russian Greenland would make the soon-to-be-ice-free Arctic channel a Russian canal.

          Not gonna happen, but the pressure for it is there, and Trump is all-in with whatever Vlad wants.

  22. Tom S. says:

    Replying to readerOfTeaLeaves @ August 18, 2019 at 7:14 pm:

    RE: Rep. Meadows and republicans generally seeming to protect Russian mob.
    My anecdotal knowledge of Meadow’s district (Buncombe County, NC) results in a reasonably supported theory that it has something to do with “the air up thar…”. Before TB was managed via medical science as it is today, the Asheville area was well known as a place to go to seek “the cure”. The local voters also breath that air and send these characters to DC.
    I took notice from many visits with late in-laws who retired there. They had no home internet and the cell signal was spotty so I regularly read the Asheville Citizen. Before Meadow’s blue dog predecessor, (Heath Schuler) Charles H Taylor (R-NC) held the seat from 1991 to mid 2000s. While still “serving,” Taylor and his wife partnered with a former KGB colonel in a small Russian bank, sanctioned for money laundering in 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_H._Taylor#Russian_investments From 1933 to 1945, Asheville son, Sen. Robert “Buncombe Bob” aka “Our Bob” S. Reynolds (D-NC) served in the U.S. Senate. After shepherding the passage of the Lend-Lease act, the Texas chairman of the Senate Military Affairs committee died suddenly in April, 1941. Sen. Reynolds, a Nazi apologist who opposed Lend-Lease and a military draft, became the committee chairman. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Rice_Reynolds Four months later, the then 57 year old Reynolds admitted to news reporters that the rumors were true; he was planning to marry (his fifth marriage) the 19 year old daughter of the late WaPo publisher Edward McLean, which he did in October. Young Evalyn McLean was a heiress with annual income of $80,000 at a time when school teachers earned $1,200. Two months later, in reaction to the Pearl Harbor attack, Sen. Reynolds blamed “London”. Ten months after that, the newlyweds greeted a new daughter, Mamie. Her 2014 obit states that J. Edgar Hoover was her godfather. She inherited at least $10 million. Her mother Evalyn died in 1946 at age 24, of an “accidental” barbituate overdose. 21 years later, Evalyn’s 25 year old niece, also named Evalyn McLean, age 25, was found dead in bed on her Texas horse farm, of an accidental drug overdose (Dec. 12, 1967). Both deaths are linked to the alleged $180,000, 1912 purchase of the Hope Diamond by the wife of Edward McLean, Evalyn Walsh McLean. Sen. Buncombe Bob Reynolds died in 1963.

        • harpie says:

          Here’s an informative thread about this:
          5:39 AM – 21 Aug 2019

          So, for those waking up, Donald Trump is embracing the idea that he’s considered a messiah. It’s a phenomenon inside apocalyptic Christianity that began within the evangelical community and the New World Order fad of the 1990’s.

          As someone who grew up in apocalyptic evangelicalism, it’s a familiar concept and sadly the logical conclusion of a narrative that’s been fermenting since the 1970’s. […]

          The Christian Right embraced these ideas as a means to profit and get involved in the political sphere. It worked better than blatant segregation, this hinting at minorities as being agents of Satan, a lesson Jerry Falwell learned [read the rest]

        • Democritus says:

          Thank you Harpie! I learned about this from an ex decades ago, but far too many don’t understand what’s been going on. This looks like a great reference.

      • Democritus says:

        I’ve known this type of attempt at division was coming since I saw Sheldons big donations and thought about it, but I didn’t think they’d be this heavy handed about it.

        Bibi decided to side with RW evangelical who want Israel there for their endtimes rapture bs over Left Wing American Jews(8 in 10 American Jews vote Democrat a long time ago. American Jews have long been involved in American civil right struggles.

        Just Fuck Trump sideways with a rabid porcupine.

        • harpie says:

          This is from the end of the Sexton thread:

          […] This death cult mentality has driven US politics for years. They don’t want peace in the Middle East. They don’t want a drawdown of the military as they think it’s necessary for the literal Battle of Armageddon. Why invest in infrastructure and programs if we’re going to die?

          […could make a similar argument about working to avert/reverse global warming.]
          Cheryl Rofer responds to Sexton:
          6:28 AM – 21 Aug 2019

          This is why I keep asking about Pompeo’s (and others’) [me: PENCE! PENCE! PENCE!] belief in the Rapture.

          We have the means to accomplish Armageddon.

          Trump has bragged several times that he could destroy Afghanistan in this way. People want to say that religion is private, but this isn’t.

    • harpie says:

      From the article:

      […] Republicans aggressively promote judicial nominees who have worked at right-wing advocacy organizations or who have advanced conservative causes, while Democrats unilaterally eschew the political fights that come with such picks. The next Democratic president must break this mold. […]

      In the coming weeks, Demand Justice will propose a list of potential judicial selections whom the next Democratic president should consider. We are confident that the exercise will prove there is no shortage of qualified picks who have chosen paths in public-interest work, labor law, academia, or other fields that deserve to be represented on the federal bench. […]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Agree, x2.

      There is ample precedent for nominating public interest, labor, and other lawyers to the Supreme Court, even if it is the exception.

      Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thurgood Marshall, and Louis Brandeis are prominent examples. Conservatives hated them, which is just fine. It would require taking the Senate and unseating Moscow Mitch.

      I would add a consumer oriented privacy and technology lawyer – there are several at top law schools. And someone with a consumer finance background like Elizabeth Warren’s. I imagine she has a list already in hand.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Fallon and Kang make powerful arguments. The next Democratic president should heed them. I have no doubt Elizabeth Warren would.

      Our point…is that the federal bench is already filled with enough corporate lawyers, and that the law is being skewed in favor of corporations, giving them astonishing power. And for all the examples of progressive judges who spent time in Big Law, there are many more brilliant legal minds whose backgrounds too often, perversely, prevented their consideration for the bench. There are plenty enough highly qualified individuals with other backgrounds—civil-rights litigators, public defenders, and legal-aid lawyers—that the next president can afford to make identifying new types of candidates a priority.

      Emphasis added. Their advice is practical, too. Their “no corporate lawyers rule” would exclude those who made partner and a career out of Big Law. They would not exclude those who worked as associates, working, say, long enough to make a dent in their student loans, but not long enough to become part of the Borg.

      The priority Fallon and Kang advocate should apply not just to the federal bench. It should include federal agencies. DHS, for example, could use a raft of lawyers who’ve represented immigration clients seeking asylum. The Social Security Administration could use lawyers who’ve represented clients seeking to maneuver its arcane and irrational rules. The VA likewise, and so on. Moving away from one dollar-one vote takes persistent programmatic change.

      Dick Cheney would be the first to argue that personnel is policy. Experience is personnel because it determines priorities.

      • P J Evans says:

        They could hire disabled lawyers. My niece passed the CA bar years ago, but because she’s deaf, she can’t get a job as a lawyer. So she teaches ASL and does legal interpreting.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Marcy notes that Michael Flynn has changed his lawyers. He’s given up white shoe DC law firm, Covington & Burling – which has local and federal courts in Metro DC wired. He has hired a general practice lawyer who passed the California bar in 2013. Covington has paralegals with vastly more experience.

    In her less than six years of practice, Lindsay R. McKasson has apparently worked at two addresses in the Bay Area, one on Fulton St. in SFO and one in Oakland. She appears to be associated with a firm based in Alexandria, VA, but her records indicate she is admitted only in California.

    Either McKasson has juice derived from connections not in her resume, Mikey has gone cheap, or he’s not relying on his lawyer to protect his future. As the cereal advert used to say, give it to Mikey, he’ll eat anything.


    • Savage Librarian says:

      Maybe Flynn just likes a familiar name like Lindsay because it reminds him of friends in high places. Or maybe it is the Lindsay McKasson married to Alon Farahan and it has something to do with his background. He has a BA in International Affairs from GWU (2013) and an MA in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from Hebrew U. (2015)

  24. harpie says:

    Today in Tweets:
    1] https://twitter.com/Yamiche/status/1164205717085184002 [PBS]
    9:00 AM – 21 Aug 2019

    What a moment.
    President Trump on the WH lawn just looked up to the sky and said,
    “I am the chosen one.”
    He was talking about the trade war with China and repeated his claim that he needs to take on China for unfair trading practice.

    2] https://twitter.com/davidmackau/status/1164208115748876288 [BuzzFeed]
    9:10 AM – 21 Aug 2019

    “should we just wrap this into our other story today on the president comparing himself to jesus?”
    is something i just said out loud in the newsroom

    • Democritus says:

      Also THIS fucking BS

      “Trump, who got draft deferments to avoid Vietnam service, on the Medal of Honor, with a smile: “I wanted one but they told me I don’t qualify. I said could I give it to myself anyway? They said I don’t think that’s a good idea.”


      Seriously such an asshole. I lived with my father flashbacks an have a relative who never made it home from that war. Fuck him sideways with a rabid porcupine.

      I am so glad I still have my sense of humor or I’d be 🤯 by now. We need to impeach this fucking loon.

    • P J Evans says:

      He needs to be in a nice safe locked-door suite somewhere, where the management can ignore his demands and his whims.

  25. harpie says:

    Trump doubles down on the loyalty trope from yesterday [above comment at 6pm]
    8:54 AM – 21 Aug 2019

    JUST NOW: I asked @realDonaldTrump who American Jews are being disloyal to by voting for Democrats, he said they’re being “disloyal to Israel.”

    9:54 AM – 21 Aug 2019

    TRUMP: “In my opinion, if you vote for a Democrat, you are being very disloyal to Jewish people and you are being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other than that.” [VIDEO]

    • harpie says:

      Israeli President Rivlin phones Rep. Nancy Pelosi:
      9:35 AM – 21 Aug 2019

      I spoke today with @SpeakerPelosi about the importance of strong US-Israel relations and I thanked her for her commitment. The link between us is between peoples, based on historical ties, deep, strong friendships and shared values, not dependent on the links with either party

      12:40 PM – 21 Aug 2019

      President Rivlin’s phone call with Pelosi directly contradicts Trump’s claim that Omar and Tlaib speak for the entire Democratic party on Israel. Other senior Israeli officials agree with Rivlin but are afraid (politicians) or unable (diplomats) to say so. [Haaretz]

      • harpie says:

        But the whole “argument” against what Rep. Omar and Tlaib said is bogus:
        hend amry https://twitter.com/LibyaLiberty/status/1164235589945892865
        10:59 AM – 21 Aug 2019

        They never questioned US Jews loyalty. They questioned U.S. policy & funding in light of ongoing Palestinian human rights abuses. For that they were deemed antisemites because any criticism is labeled bigotry. Trump makes a literal loyalty charge and you work overtime to deflect. […]

        • harpie says:

          Thank you! Yes, this piece by Paul Waldman was/is the perfect answer to the bogus claims. He also wrote a good twitter thread about it:
          https://twitter.com/paulwaldman1/status/1103016020673990656 11:34 AM – 5 Mar 2019

          […] 4. The idea that Israel supporters=Jews hasn’t been true since the 1980s, and it’s less true now than ever. Most importantly, what AIPAC and Israel’s advocates in Congress demand is PRECISELY “dual loyalty.”
          5. They say you shouldn’t question Israeli policy, that U.S. policy must be unflinchingly supportive of Israel, and even that people in many states should be forced to sign written oaths promising not to support boycotts of Israel before they can do business with the state. […]

        • Vicks says:

          It just another example of how people are eager to allow politicians to “translate” just about any issue because they are too busy or too lazy to educate themselves.
          The situation with Israel is so simplistic in our country because Americans knowledge is limited to knowing that being called an anti-Semite is bad. You know things are nuts when both sides use the same club.
          The lobbying being done on behalf of Israel must be looked at with the same skepticism as the NRA or any other group seeking benefits from hooking politicians.

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The once informative Ari Melber has become unwatchable. His choice of guests is as inappropriate as his attempts at humor or being hip. In assessing one of today’s Trump outrages, his aim was not to inform, but to calm his viewers, something he attempted by way of a feeble interview with a mumbling guest.

    Ari, I hear Dr. Phil is looking for a summer replacement so he can take a break.

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