[Photo: Emily Morter via Unsplash]

Three Things: Odd, Odder, Oddities

[NB: Check the byline, thanks! / ~Rayne]

Just a few oddities as the White House presents its counter arguments to impeachment. This is an open thread.

Ken Starr asking how our nation entered an “age of impeachment” is just bizarre – as if some pod had taken over his brain and wiped out his role in Clinton’s impeachment for lying about a blowjob. Makes me want to yell, We’re here in no small part of you, you moron!

But this is just another entry in a string of oddities future Americans will look back upon, scratching their heads as they try to make sense of the stupidity.

~ 3 ~

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that the man who became a household name over 13 seasons on NBC’s The Apprentice by saying, “You’re fired!” couldn’t manage to say that to public servant Marie Yovanovitch who served at his pleasure?

Doesn’t it seem odd that the candidate who used the same phrase about then-President Obama and then-candidate Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail wouldn’t use that phrase about a public employee with whom he wasn’t happy?

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that this same man said instead, “Take her out!” to people who weren’t employed by the government, for whom that public servant didn’t work?

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that this same man used the phrase, “Take her out!” about removing a public servant, but paraphrased his remarks about the assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani that he’d ordered? “I will say this, we caught a total monster. We took him out. That should have happened a long time ago,” Trump said.

Doesn’t it strike you as odd GOP senators are more upset about Schiff’s repeating a threat ostensibly made by the White House to them, rather than Trump’s repeated use of mobster language?

~ 2 ~

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that least 20 GOP senators left the chamber for protracted periods of time during the House’s opening arguments last week, in defiance of the Senate’s own rules?

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that the press took note that 40% of the GOP wasn’t present, but never made a point to document and report the names of all the GOP senators who left the chamber?

There clearly was a bias at work because outlets like POLITICO made sure to name the Democrats who weren’t in their seats for the duration, but failed to name the GOP senators who left the chamber:

Even before that scheduled recess break, a half dozen Republicans had decided to stand in the back — like Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Ben Sasse of Nebraska — rather than remain in their seats.
A half-dozen Democrats, too, were in and out of the chamber. That includes Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who left the room three times — including once for more than 10 minutes. But nearly all Democrats remained in the chamber to listen to Schiff, even as some, like Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), stood near the back of the room to lean against a railing or wall.
The longer Schiff spoke, the more flagrant the rule violations on the floor. There were several whispered conversations, with several senators going in and out of the chamber every minute or so. The Senate eventually recessed around 3:30 p.m. — Sarah Ferris

Also wonder why journalists have never asked GOP members of Congress if they were ever asked to sign a Nondisclosure Agreement with the Trump White House or with Trump organization, or with the Republican Party. We know NDAs signed by public employees aren’t enforceable, but were there any other NDAs controlling the speech and other actions of the GOP caucus? Did any NDAs dictate their leaving during impeachment hearings to prevent their hearing anything against Trump?

~ 1 ~

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that the Class II GOP senators who are up for re-election this coming November don’t seem to be concerned at all about their vote for/against witnesses for the impeachment trial?

These are the GOP senators up for re-election:

Capito, Shelley Moore (R-WV)
Cassidy, Bill (R-LA)
Collins, Susan M. (R-ME)
Cornyn, John (R-TX)
Cotton, Tom (R-AR)
Daines, Steve (R-MT)
Enzi, Michael B. (R-WY)
Ernst, Joni (R-IA)
Gardner, Cory (R-CO)
Graham, Lindsey (R-SC)
Hyde-Smith, Cindy (R-MS)
Inhofe, James M. (R-OK)
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY)
Perdue, David (R-GA)
Risch, James E. (R-ID)
Rounds, Mike (R-SD)
Sasse, Ben (R-NE)
Sullivan, Dan (R-AK)
Tillis, Thom (R-NC)

Alexander, Lamar (R-TN) – retiring, seat is open.
Roberts, Pat (R-KS) – retiring, seat is open.

Doesn’t it seem odd that the last two, Alexander and Roberts, haven’t come out for witnesses since they are not beholden to the GOP or the White House having announced their retirement?

McSally, Martha (R-AZ) — is up for election; she’s an appointee who replaced a previous short-term appointee, Jon Kyl. Arizona is and has been rated a toss-up; you’d think she’d vote for witnesses since public support is running 72% to have witnesses called to testify.

~ 0 ~

This is an open thread. Bring all your oddities here for discussion.

196 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    All I can conclude is that most of the GOP-T senators are afraid of Trmp and his followers, more afraid than they are of media and the majority of voters.

    • Rayne says:

      When the media rolls over and plays dead for the GOP, of course the GOP senators aren’t afraid.

      Jesus Christ, what’s it going to take to get journalists to snap out of business as usual and realize the public needs their A-game?

    • Eureka says:

      Add to that (or part of that, re Trump’s “hold”) is that it sounds like they are confident that the fix is in, whether foreign money/media ops and or whatever Parscale’s got cooked up.

      Scary: if they are not minding any obvious feedback loops, one assumes they are minding shady ones. But Rayne’s point about the slacker press failing to hold their own line is of huge import here.

  2. Rayne says:

    By the way, if you’re represented by one of these +20 senators up for re-election or retiring, you should be contacting them to demand they vote to hear from witnesses. It’s not all on a handful of moderate GOP to vote for witnesses; these +20 GOP shouldn’t get the impression they’re off the hook and won’t have to work hard to keep their seats this year.

    Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

    • Nick says:

      Lindsey Graham’s team responds with “Thank you for your contact” and that’s it. I didn’t expect much more.

  3. BobCon says:

    This article by Peter Baker repeats the dead eyed committment of the NY Times politics desk to the least interesting Trump-friendly narrative possible:


    The question is what establishment “savvy” reporters have settled on — a reductive focus on immediate GOP solidarity and a complete disregard for anything short of the 67 vote threshold for conviction.

    It is also full of the conventional wisdom speculation that the Times editors let loose, with none of the tut-tutting about sticking to facts that they mandate with regard to any critical coverage of the GOP.

    NY Times political writers and editors are half-functional robots housed in an abandoned warehouse following routines coded in some long obsolete language, responding to intermittent inputs with scripted routines as faithfully as possible according to their hard wiring.

    • FL Resister says:

      “NY Times political writers and editors are half-functional robots housed in an abandoned warehouse following routines coded in some long obsolete language, responding to intermittent inputs with scripted routines as faithfully as possible according to their hard wiring.“
      I wonder if a spate of threatened subscription cancellations hasn’t woken them up. Have noticed a bit more live matter in NYT stories since Parnas began his rehabilitation program.

      • BobCon says:

        The Kremlin watching articles I’ve read about the Times suggests that the DC/Politics desks are not changing in any significant way. Very possibly due to Sulzberger having soaked in the family outlook.

        They’ve done another dumb article about Ohio voters, this time bylined Dayton but about conservative suburban white voters who they claim are the sole representatives of economic anxiety.


  4. Katherine M Williams says:

    “…Doesn’t it strike you as odd that the press took note that 40% of the GOP wasn’t present, but never made a point to document and report the names of all the GOP senators who left the chamber?…”

    It is way past time to break up the corporate media monopoly. It is destroying our Democracy. Deliberately. With malice.

    Who owns stock in the various media corporations? How much stock is owned by Russians, Chinese, Saudis, and by other countries inimical to the USA?

    • Rayne says:

      Tell me how you’re going to get around the First Amendment, the part where it says Congress shall make no law, especially when there isn’t a monopoly of ownership in outlets which produce newspapers.

      • arbusto says:

        Isn’t odd that the anti-propaganda law prohibiting government propaganda was repealed in 2013. Isn’t odd the FCC reversed the rule on cross ownership of newspaper/broadcast in a given market in 2017. ad nauseam.

      • mike c says:

        We just roll back the 1996 TCA destruction of our wise media ownership regulations. That alone would go a long way to restoring real representation, accountability,and competition. When people lament the state of our media, the starting point to fix things is right there in that profoundly impactful 96 act

        Public good…It frequently outweighs personal liberty. We are free to buy a truck, but we aren’t free to drive 150 mph and ignore all traffic signs…as that would clearly be as detrimental (in a diff manner) as allowing they-with-the-mostest to control everything we read/see

        Once we have the numbers to accomplish that critical re-revision, we’ll be also be able to fix the C.U decision (whose gross assertion of corporate personhood is the only way i can see this as a first amendment issue)

    • P J Evans says:

      You’re missing the obvious: they’re owned by millionaires and billionaires who don’t want the rest of the PTB to come after them with things like loss of tax breaks. They prefer profits. And their political views are more in accord with the GOP as it was in the 1980s.

    • john in denver says:

      I keep reading about “the rule” that says Senators were required to stay in the chamber during the trial. I’ve read the standing rules on impeachment and the rules passed for this trial, and attendance isn’t mentioned. So where is the rule?

      One person answered me there and said were letters sent around by Majority and Minority leaders, stressing the need for honoring a protocol by attending. But protocol isn’t an enforceable rule.

  5. Vicks says:

    “Doesn’t it strike you as odd” that Joe Biden is on trial here?
    Is anyone else imaging Trump standing in front of the tv, rocking back and forth on his heels chanting “lock him up” under his breath?
    On a more serious note, how can there NOT be laws that protect american citizens from this type of public slander?
    I know politicians words are protected but what law protects these ass-h*les?
    How is this NOT Trump abusing his power to get elected?

    • P J Evans says:

      I keep wonderign why Trmp’s lawyers and associates are trying to impeach the Bidens, who are not in office and didn’t try to extort personal favors.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        Fighting fire with gas. The covert attempt to sink Biden’s chances was publicly exposed, so the Gaslighter-in-Chief is attempting to work the 2016 magic again.

  6. LP says:

    If Trump was concerned about ALL corruption in Urkraine, why are his lawyers only talking about the Bidens? Doesn’t their argument reinforce this was all about the Bidens???

  7. Frank Probst says:

    I know I keep being pedantic about this point, but it was multiple blow jobs, not just one. When Entertainment Weekly reviewed The Starr Report, and they had to put it into a specific genre, my recollection is that they described it as “Pornography”. If you want to know just how bad the questions were that Monica Lewinsky was asked, they actually asked her how many orgasms she had during one of her interactions with the President, and I think she said four.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      Wasn’t it Kavanaugh, working for Starr, who was particularly aggressive in going after the details of the sexual encounters? I seem to recall some reporting on this around the time of the confirmation hearings.

    • Rayne says:

      Jesus Christ, Frank, I don’t give a shit if it was one or a dozen. The point is Clinton-Lewinsky blowjob(s) were consensual, none of our goddamn business, and lying about a consensual sex act should not be impeachable.

      Trump’s abuse of office was wrong for at least a half dozen prosecutable reasons, from bribery and extortion to violation of the Impoundment Act.

      • Frank Probst says:

        I said up front that I was being pedantic, and I agree that the fact that the blow jobs were consensual means it’s not any of my business and not impeachable.

        But this is a site where precision and accuracy matter. And it DOES make a difference that there was more than one blow job.

        “Lying about blowjobs” may be the distilled core of the Clinton Impeachment, but keep in mind that that was 20 years ago, and there are probably people reading this who weren’t even born at the time. They have no recollection of just how batshit crazy the whole Starr Investigation was, and “lying about a blowjob” doesn’t really capture how different the Clinton Impeachment was from this one. “Lying about blowjobs” doesn’t really capture it, either, but it gives people an accurate and slightly better sense of what happened.

        Starr’s investigation went on for years and wandered around until it finally found something that Starr thought was impeachable. We spent months watching him walk out of his house and put the trash on the corner every morning. We spent months hearing about Linda Tripp and the semen-streaked dress. I remember watching two hours of news every night–for weeks–and hearing about the day’s “new developments”, and a rotating set of pundits would come on and tell us what it all meant. The ultimate report that came out of it was a granular and pornographic timeline of Clinton’s relationship with Lewinsky that explicitly describes every sexual encounter they had. (If you’re young and don’t believe me, just go browse a copy of the report.) If you ask a 20 year-old about the Clinton Impeachment, they’ll probably be able to tell you that Clinton lied about some sort of sexual relationship, but they’ll have no idea how absurd the whole thing was. “Lying about blow jobs” indicates that what happened was more than a one-time occurrence, so they’ll at least know that much. Singular versus plural really doesn’t make a difference for those of us who lived through it, but there are people now adults who weren’t even born at the time, and I think it’s always a good idea to be as accurate as possible when we have to explain what happened. YMMV.

        • Rayne says:

          No, your pedantic, obsessive insistence that numbers of blowjobs lied about is irrelevant. It’s the shadow twin of the hypocritical puritanism of 1990s conservatives.

          The reason Clinton should have been censured or impeached had nothing to do with the number of sexual acts between him and Lewinsky, and everything to do with the fact that even if consensual the relationship was inappropriate due to the extremes of power between them. It’s the same reason it’s inappropriate for professor/instructor to have a relationship with a student. It also placed the presidency at risk of blackmail — a national security risk. That’s what needs to be discussed now so that younger Americans like my voting age children understand false and true parallels between Clinton’s and Trump’s impeachment.

          Both men created a national security risk. The former wasn’t impeached for that reason, only for lying about consensual sex.

          The key word is hypocrisy. How many of the men in Congress at that time were engaged in similarly compromising relationships? It’s little wonder they wrote the articles of impeachment against Clinton to focus solely on his lying to Congress rather than on his abuse of power engaging in a power-imbalanced relationship while creating a national security risk.

          I’m nearly 60 years old. I remember goddamned well listening to the puerile coverage of Clinton’s sexual peccadilloes with Lewinsky. And I haven’t forgotten dirtbags like Newt “Contract with America but not my Wife” Gingrich or Denny “Love-LOVE Wrestlers” Hastert who counted among the right-wing hypocrites who sought to remove Clinton.

          You want to be pedantic? Make sure those young minds you’re so worried about recall ALL the hypocritical prurience and ALL the risks they created which went unpunished.

          • Frank Probst says:

            There’s a partial list of some of the Puritanical right-wing hypocritical assholes involved in the case who were themselves having extra-marital affairs at the time. It’s on the Clinton-Lewinsky Wikipedia page. And there are more people who have gotten their well-deserved comeuppance over the years. Denny Hastert (Speaker of the House at the time), who you mentioned, admitted in open court to being a child molester (though this was not what he actually pled guilty to). Ken Starr resigned as President of Baylor University for mishandling a number of sexual assault claims. (I would say he turned a blind eye to them.) He retained his position as a tenured law professor, but he ultimately resigned from that post, too. He made his jaw-droppingly hypocritical presentation to the Senate yesterday, which will seal his place in history as a ridiculous asshole. None of these people will be forgotten.

        • Stephen says:

          If memory serves, the actual statement made by President Clinton was “I did not have sex with that woman.” His claim, once it came out that they had engaged in sexual play, was that he didn’t count manual or oral contact as “having sex.” This does seem specious or at best evasive! But it is worth noting two things: (1) Monica herself, in what she thought were private conversations with her paranoid “friend,” insisted that they had not “had sex,” “just fooled around.” And (2) Data from a study of American sexual behavior & attitudes collected just before the s*** hit the fan about this case showed American college students to be evenly divided on the issue of whether oral-genital contact constituted “having sex” (actually 59% said it did not). Far fewer regarded manual-genital contact as “having sex.” So if you align with that part of the population, it wouldn’t matter at all how many times the couple reached orgasm as long as they limited their activities in this way. Once again: I’m not making a moral case for a powerful chief executive seducing an impressionable woman less than half his age. But frankly, Frank, your position is even more untenable than Rayne suggests.
          Oh, the original article (published in JAMA) can be found here:

          • Frank Probst says:

            The term used was “sexual relations”. It was defined by Deposition Exhibit #1 (in the Paula Jones civil case) as “contact with the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to gratify or arouse the sexual desire of any person…” As you note above, this is a ridiculously expansive definition of “sexual relations” that almost no regular person would use. Under that definition, Clinton said he’d never had “sexual relations” with Lewinsky. He later argued that he was telling the literal truth, and that under that definition, he believed that Lewinsky was having was having sexual relations with him, but he wasn’t have sexual relations with her. That’s how far down the rabbit hole this thing went.

            When Clinton ultimately struck a plea deal with Ken Starr’s successor, Robert Ray (who was also among Trump’s parade of lawyers yesterday), his statement said: “I tried to walk a fine line between acting lawfully and testifying falsely, but I now recognize that I did not fully accomplish that goal and that certain of my responses to questions about Ms. Lewinsky were false…”

        • cavenewt says:

          “Starr’s investigation went on for years and wandered around until it finally found something that Starr thought was impeachable.”

          You mean a *witch hunt*.

    • P J Evans says:

      And this is relevant to Trmp’s impeachment how? What Bill and Monica did together didn’t justify impeachment. (Consider previous presidents who had affairs in office, including fathering children.)

      • Frank Probst says:

        I think it’s helpful to compare how ludicrous the Clinton Impeachment was to how serious the Trump Impeachment is. Put the Starr Report next to the Mueller report. The first one describes a series of sex acts in excruciating detail. The second one recounts how the Russians interfered with the 2016 election (not to mention all of the obstructions of justice in Part 2). Or put the Starr Report next to either The House Intelligence Commitee’s report or the The House Judiciary’s report about the current impeachment. The comparison is laughable. But “blow job” versus “blow jobs” matters, as the Clinton Impeachment is becoming history rather than current events. And if you have to read the Starr Report now, one of the of the most painful aspects of it is having to read a description of Every. Single. Blow. Job.

        • cavenewt says:

          How about the context. 20 years ago, a lot of these very same Republicans were adamant that lying about [insert number of blowjobs here] rose to the level of an impeachable offense. Yet these very same people today are appalled at the very thought of any impeachment whatsoever, because it would upset the results of an election.

          An election in which, by the way, the winner did not win the popular vote. The blowjob recipient, on the other hand, handily won both the EC and the popular vote (by over 8 million).

  8. Savage Librarian says:


    ‘Tain’t what we thought it was,
    ‘Tain’t what we want,
    Taint from a blatant clause
    raises issues right up front.

    Mitch with his pitch and stain
    has shed his shame on us,
    “For amber waves of grain,”
    is not something he’ll discuss.

    America! America!
    Barr shed disgrace on thee,
    He stole thy good, misunderstood
    the vast responsibility.

    “Confirm thy soul in self-control,
    Thy liberty in law!”
    But who lives this role on the dole,
    where trickery’s no flaw?

    O pitiful for specious guys,
    For somber waves of pain,
    For Purpura mounting fantasies,
    Above the fruitless gain,

    America! America!
    This lawless graft confine,
    “Till all success be nobleness,”
    And Senators find spine.

    • Eureka says:

      “Taint”: you got my attention.

      “Purpura”: I was waiting for the purpura jokes/references today.

      However, “Barr she disgrace on thee” is exemplary.


  9. Stevebreeze says:

    Have they even alleged an illegal act by Hunter Biden? Getting paid a ridicules amount for little or no added value is not a crime.

    • MissingGeorgeCarlin says:

      I noticed skuzzy Don Jr. was paid $50K for an hour visit to University of FL to offer his musings on….get this…Entrepreneurship.

      Sure, get born to a rich jerk who was also born to a rich jerk….that’s entrepreneurial.

      And his Dad, the USA’s greatest Corruption Fighter, has never called for a single investigation of anybody except his political rival polling highest to beat him in the next election. What a coincidence!

    • e.a.f. says:

      yes, just look at all those C.E.O.s who are paid hundreds of millions of dollars for driving companies into bankruptcy.

      It doesn’t matter if Hunter Biden had done the work for free, they would have gone after him or any other Biden. One cup of free coffee would be turned into something. any thing to keep Joe Biden from winning the nomination/election. I’m sure there is more than one Democratic wanna be nominee or supporter of a person running to be a nominee who is “enjoying” this way to much

  10. Frank Probst says:

    A question for @bmaz and the other lawyers: My understanding of executive privilege is that it protects the President and his advisors from having to reveal the content of their closest conversations. The privilege exists so that everyone can answer the President’s questions and give advice freely, without concern that those conversations will be used against either the President or the advisors at a later time.

    Can you invoke executive privilege for conversations that the President has explicitly stated did NOT occur? As a non-lawyer, I don’t see how that would work. My thought is that if something didn’t happen, then it’s not covered by any sort of privilege. It seems like a fairly straightforward question that Judge Roberts should be able to make a fairly rapid ruling on.

    • Mitch Neher says:

      It does look like Trump waived executive privilege over at least that part of Bolton’s prospective testimony.

      However, I have no idea if the rule of waiver applies to executive privilege the same way that it would apply to . . . um . . . spousal privilege, let’s say.

      Wait. Make that priest-penitent privilege, instead. And let Giuliani have the “spousal privilege” with Trump. I think Rudy’s going to need it more than Bolton would.

    • pjb says:

      i wondered the same thing, as did Susan Glasser on twitter. I’d also like to know what is the mechanism for resolving such a question. Suppose Trump wanted to assert executive privilege over his direct communications with Bolton, does he have to file a Motion to Quash subpoena in federal district court? Can the lower courts be bypassed in this instance and have the presiding officer, CJ Roberts, make a ruling? Can the Senate then overrule Roberts by majority vote? How would it play out?

      • bmaz says:

        It depends on how played. But, keep in mind that Exec Privilege is NOT absolute, and it, generally, gives way in matters of impeachment. That is the history.

        • pjb says:

          Yes, I get that and often wonder why reporters, who must have heard of US v Nixon, don’t point out that a claim of executive privilege is highly unlikely to be upheld in the face of an impeachment-related subpoena. But, I still want to understand the probable mechanics of how this will play out.

        • timbo says:

          It’s not even clear that it applies to advisors who do want to assert what they told the President and what he told them, correct? “Executive privilege” must be an agreed upon assertion by the advisor (“on the advice of my lawyers” typically) for the President to even invoke it, correct? Has there ever been a case where a President has successfully sued someone to prevent them from publicly releasing non-classified advice that they’ve given a President? Or for publicly discussion a conversation they’ve had with a President?

          • pjb says:

            I think we can all stipulate on this board that an effort to silence Bolton’s testimony on executive privilege grounds cannot succeed in the law. The law is clear (as Bmaz points out) that this Court-created and limited doctrine takes a back seat to grand jury investigations and impeachment proceedings (which are, unlike EP, in the constitution!) Trump’s tweets denying the substance of his communications with Bolton would also likely waive EP, even if it were otherwise a viable consideration. Further, should the WH give Bolton’s publishers the go-ahead after their classification review (which is why they have a copy of the manuscript in the first place), that would further waive the privilege. They probably won’t give the go-ahead, Bolton’s book goes on sale March 17, and Trump will probably try to Ban it in Boston, so to speak. That will be an epic fail, see Pentagon Papers.

            My question, which i still hope someone has insight into, is: can someone spin out the mechanics of how this works. Lets say the senate lacks 51 votes to quash a motion to call Bolton. What happens next? Does Trump go to “court?” Is this issue justiciable? Can GJ Roberts make a definitive ruling?

  11. harpie says:

    State Department retaliates against NPR [and their listeners!]

    6:01 PM ET · Jan 27, 2020

    The State Department removed NPR reporter Michele Kelemen from the press pool on @SecPompeo ⁩ trip this week to Europe and Central Asia following his dustup w @NPRKelly⁩.
    Read statement by @shauntandon⁩, State Department Correspondents’ Association president: [Screenshot]

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sec’y Rapture thinks he can punish NPR without consequence. After the Kelly harangue, he’s now banned NPR’s Diplomatic Correspondent, Michele Kelemen, from the press plane accompanying him to Europe.

    Petty, think-skinned fucker. But Trump expects it, and Mikey has great radar for what a-hole bosses want done. The more cruel and less deserved the vindictiveness, the better.

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      I am absolutely loving the “Secretary Rapture” moniker. Goes so nicely with Gaslighter-in-Chief Trump. One day soon, the Boss of Gaslighter-Bosses-in-Chief will be revealed.

    • BobCon says:

      Stephanie Grisham openly slapped the entire White House press corps in the face by permanently cancelling briefings and blaming it on disrespectful journalists.

      It had essentially no impact on the tone of their coverage, and they continued to bury the authoritarian nature of Trump and his cadres, while maintaining a steady stream of bothsides reporting.

      It comes as no surprise that Pompeo expects no downside to this move. If the DC press corps won’t stand up for themselves, and more importantly the public, what are the odds they’ll stand up for NPR?

      • MissingGeorgeCarlin says:

        When I think of the DC Press Corps, I think of Stephen Colbert’s genius routine at the ’06 Correspondents Dinner.

        He called them typists and so burned W/GOP they put comedian Rich Little in that spot. I hadn’t heard of Rich Little since the early 80s. They were NOT going to let that happen again.

        His excoriation of the press was dead on and it’s only gotten worse, imho: https://youtu.be/2X93u3anTco

        • e.a.f. says:

          Thank you for the walk down memory lane. Loved it. Its interesting not much has changed and the glaciers are disappearing.

    • Frank Probst says:

      Does anyone remember Pompeo from his time as a Congressman? Did he have a reputation for being a bad liar and a vindictive little brat? I wasn’t paying much attention when Trump tapped him to head the CIA, but I thought that he was a right-winger who at least had one foot in the respectable Land of the Grown-Ups. Now he seems like a petty little schoolyard bully. I can’t tell if he thought of himself as one of the good guys and is now realizing that he’s crossed over to being a bad guy, or if he was just a bad guy all along.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think that might have been based on a superficial reading of his resume West Point, Harvard Law, young congresscritter from flyover country.

        Looking only a layer down, it seems he left the practice of law in DC to become a Koch-aholic, and sought preferment from the guys with the big bucks. “I serve and I intend to be of service.”

        Kansas would also have been an easier place to be so committed a fundamentalist. Inside the Beltway, it might have raised eyebrows and defensive antennae earlier in his career.

          • P J Evans says:

            Pompeo may have graduated first in his class at West Point, but he apparently wasn’t very good as an officer.

            • OldTulsaDude says:

              Pompe-o, Pompe-o
              Pompeo come and he wan’ to please Trump
              Pompe, me say Pompe, me say Pompe, me say Pompe
              Me say Pompe, me say Pompe-o
              Pompeo come and he wan’ please Trump
              Duck Ukraine questions from NPR reporter
              Pompeo come and he wan’ to please Trump
              Won’t protect ambassador when she’s has bad trouble
              Pompeo come and he wan’ to please Trump
              Come mister Rudy G though you’re bananas
              Pompeo come and he wan’ to please Trump
              Come mister Rudy G though you’re bananas
              Pompeo come and he wan’ to please Trump
              6 servers, 7 servers, Crowdstrike too!
              Pompeo come and he wan’ to please Trump
              Pompe, me say Pompe-o
              Pompeo come and he wan’ to please Trump
              Pompe, me say Pompe, me say Pompe, me say Pompe,
              Pompeo time now for him to go home.

              • Eureka says:

                HAHA — my eyes caught the “6 servers, 7 servers….” line and I thought you were doing Def Leppard. However starting from the top, that is NOT at all what is happening here.


          • Frank Probst says:

            Re: errant

            Thank you! That was one of the most informative articles I’ve read in quite a while, particularly in terms of Things I Should’ve Known But Didn’t. Pompeo has completely pissed away his honor during his time at State. I think the Mary Louise Kelly post-interview hissy fit makes more since now, because it sets up a side-by-side comparison of Pompeo and Esper. Esper had Vindman’s back, while Pompeo clearly did NOT have Marie Yovanovitch’s back. And when Pompeo starting “quibbling” during his interview with Mary Louise Kelly, she called him on it, and it become VERY clear that he let Yovanovitch twist in the wind and was lying about it.

            • errant aesthete says:

              Re: Frank

              Glad you enjoyed it. Of late, Pompeo has been garnering considerable notice via his behavior (past/present), his unpredictability, and what is proving to be a complete unveiling of his bottomless amorality.

              In keeping with Rayne’s theme on the oddity of the times,

              “John Bolton, Democratic Party hero and champion of patriotism,”

              I especially enjoyed Frank Bruni’s column yesterday from the NYT: ‘Bolton Gets the Last Laugh’ with a particular emphasis devoted exclusively to Pompeo:

              “Don’t be impressed by the possibility that now — and, I stress, only now — some Senate Republicans may press for witnesses, including Bolton, in the trial. This isn’t a stirring of conscience. It’s a cloaking of humiliation. If they ignore Bolton, their still-unshaken commitment to acquitting Trump becomes even more naked.

              Besides, hearing from witnesses wouldn’t erase Republican senators’ awful behavior to this point in the trial: all the ugly gloating from the likes of Lindsey Graham that Adam Schiff’s undeniable eloquence was for naught; Marsha Blackburn’s pathologically exuberant attacks on the integrity of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman; Martha McSally’s disgraceful sniping at a perfectly polite television reporter (“liberal hack,” she spewed) and then her cynical use of that Trumpian outburst to raise money for her re-election campaign. This is sycophancy at its most shameful.

              Scratch that superlative: I was forgetting Mike Pompeo. According to The Times’s scoop about Bolton’s book, he writes that Pompeo, too, was aware of the Ukraine pressure campaign — the same Pompeo who did nothing to stop the vilification of Marie Yovanovitch; the same Pompeo who promoted the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election; the same Pompeo who once warned that Trump would be “an authoritarian president who ignored our Constitution” and then, when Trump gave him a really neat job, decided that a little authoritarianism never hurt anyone.

              Of late he seems to be having a meltdown. I attribute it to his realization that his reputation and belief in his own rectitude won’t survive Trump. He’s assessing the bargain he made and understanding how completely his ambition eclipsed his integrity. It’s hell when you’re revealed to yourself.


      • mike c says:

        Grossly (and unsurprisingly), he was ‘mr. Benghazi Hearing’. He was a typical tea party hypocrite/liar.

  13. OldTulsaDude says:

    “But this is just another entry in a string of oddities future Americans will look back upon, scratching their heads….”

    Provided his Imminence the High Lowball allows head scratching in the future as it is known to negatively affect birth rates and is known as a natural contraceptive, which is against all natural laws of God as the Highly Highest Reverence proclaimed in his historic White House Speech outlawing all religions other than….

    • Mitch Neher says:

      But, but . . . How else does hair grow on one’s palms, if not by means of such “head scratching”??

      Has anyone checked Trump’s palms for razor stubble?

  14. Badger Robert says:

    It only took 25 years for Newt Gingrich and the southerners to take over the Republican Party and make into a facsimile of the 1930s Dixiecrats. Odd that it took that long.
    Makes you wonder if JFK had not been assassinated, would LBJ have ever been President and would most of Jim Crow still be functioning?

    • mike c says:

      JFK…MLK…RFK… ME..all the activists killed or imprisoned (or reputationally/otherwise destroyed) by the FBI and assorted LEO’s… Many on the good side were taken off the board, one way or another. We would be living in a different world had we been able to progress naturally, without our leaders being ‘taken out’ (though of course one could make the argument that murder etc by TPTB IS a part of societal evolution). One also wonders how many potential leaders looked at those deaths/etc and decided to sell insurance or become artists instead.

      I was just thinking about the first part of your comment last night… We have to remember the impact of 911. Had it not been for that, the removal of the republican/white nationalist mask would have happened at least 5 years sooner than it did.

  15. Ten Bears says:

    I think it odd otherwise sensible observers are so easily lulled by 1) what may well be a white house leak of a draft manuscript that has been in the white house’s possession for weeks and 2) Russian wiseguys with thoroughly documentable damning evidence. Perhaps too thoroughly damning evidence. Really need to start treating this as reality TV, Our Tea Pot Dictator does.

    Meanwhile, back on the farm, Israel has just pretty much put an end to Palestine, Nixon’s environmental protection agency is gasping its last breath, we’re about to gut the flimsiest safety-net in the world and I’m sure there’s some dozen somethings else lost to the commando crotch-shots of cable-news.

    What if drumpf uck is playing this thing for ratings?

  16. punaise says:

    1. Why would the WH leak it?

    2. There’s ample evidence in these parts at least that Parnas & Co are not being seen as saviors. Rachel Maddow, not so much.

    • BobCon says:

      I think it was probably Bolton’s side, since the timing benefits them the most. But it’s possible it was a preemptive move by team Trump after suspecting team Bolton was going to leak. They may have thought Haberman was the best they could hope for, or may have offered her the scoop as a quid pro quo for something else.

      It’s also possible someone on the inside was just mad about something, or was a Bolton sympathizer, and decided to be a right wing pale reflection of Ellsberg.

      Or it could have just been sloppy security at a place where top advisors click on phishing links from Saudis. Maybe Andrew Giuliani forgot his copy in a bathroom the press has access to.

  17. harpie says:

    Somehow, NYT has more info from the Bolton book:

    southpaw Retweeted
    8:35 PM ET · Jan 27, 2020

    EXCLUSIVE: Bolton privately told Barr last year that he had concerns Trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocrats of Turkey and China. Barr said he was concerned Trump created appearance he had undue influence on inquiries w/@maggieNYT [link]

    • Vicks says:

      I don’t understand this journalist-sources arrangement.
      Would Bolton choose Ms Haberman to gift this too?
      Why or why not?
      If not Bolton, who or what department would be next best guess considering she was this person’s choice?
      Are there agreements involved?
      Do career assists like this come with a price that might make some people uncomfortable?

    • Vicks says:

      What kind of f’ing American see’s this shit first hand.
      Does nothing, and then writes a book?
      Screw Bolton and screw anyone who buys his book.

      • P J Evans says:

        One who’s in it for money.

        I haven’t bought any of the tell-part books that have come out. Maybe when the e-books are on sale for $2.99… (I did buy a dead-tree copy of Mueller’s report, so I could mark it up.)

        • Eureka says:

          I printed parts, to mark up and read in public spaces/transit (Oh, what are you reading?), and gave my Mr. a cow (YOU ARE NOT PRINTING THE WHOLE MUELLER REPORT, ARE YOU?!?!). [I weighed it out, and the cost of toner/paper was about the same as buying one of the cheap printouts. If there was book I knew to be page-accurate to the report — faithful to original pagination– and sold by a legit seller, I’d have gotten/get one.]

        • Vicks says:

          Considering the amount of people that refuse to work for this administration regardless of what riches they are promised makes me think this country may have a chance after all.

          • Mooser says:

            There are, given the Trump crowd’s inability to conceal anything, about oh, several hundred, maybe more, unblown whistles out there.

        • PieIsDamnGood says:

          Sometimes taking to the high seas for content is the correct course of action. Many publicly available books can be found at libgen dot is

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Breaking News – Washington, D.C., Tuesday, January 28. American Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has been appointed to replace the outgoing delegate for North America to the International Press Freedom Association.

    More commonly known by its nickname, the Open Window Foundation, it is funded and overseen by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In addition to its main headquarters in Lubyanka Square, OWF has recently opened branch offices in Budapest, Manila, Rio de Janeiro, and Warsaw. Congratulations to Secretary Pompeo.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      You are a very clever guy. I have always thought that you would be one of the top of the list of whom, from this site, I would want to have a drink with. I just googled both of those .

      How pathetic is it that things have gotten so warped with this adminsitratin that I could actually believe that this could happen.

      I think a cocktail sounds medicinal right now.

  19. Eureka says:

    Sounds like a (keep) call(ing) your (GOP) Senators moment: Costa of WaPo was just on MSNBC reviving his “witness trade: Bolton for Biden” story from the other day. However this time (in the snippet I caught), he says *Pat Toomey* (R, PA) is the one asking for it ‘in private.’ (Last week, this was being attributed to Dems, and Coons swiftly disabused that notion.)

    Uh, nope on any “trade.” But — if true — this indicates a shade of pressure is working. Unless it’s all a big scheme-scam, also possible.

    ETA: Toomey’s not up until ’22

  20. may says:

    maybe those who ringfence the”image”have been informed that being slaughtered in the polls is the least of their worries.
    and they are otherwise in the crosshairs.

    maybe they are not worried about their fortune or position but their life.
    “god wills it” and all that.

    all the oddity.
    but crikey.

  21. Bay State Librul says:

    The ship has sailed.
    Charlie Pierce: “This was a day of covering stuff that’s far beyond journalism’s poor gifts to describe.”

  22. Tom Marney says:

    I’m just gonna throw this out there: What happens if someone hacks the 2020 election to reelect Trump? Not just 2016-style ratfuckery, which is a given, but actual changing or negation of votes. The answer is that nothing will happen. They’ll get away with it because the Trump administration and the Republican Party will let them, and there’s nothing that the Democrats or the “deep state” (those who still take seriously the oath they swore to protect and defend the Constitution, not Donald J. Trump) can do about it. We have to act as though democracy isn’t a walking dead man, but maybe it is.

  23. Jenny says:

    LOL!!! Full Frontal (Samantha Bee) on Twitter:

    It’s smart of John Bolton to hide evidence in a place where the president will never be able to find it – a book.

    9:38 AM – 27 Jan 2020

  24. harpie says:

    I am loving Senator Chris Murphy’s [D-CT] daily Impeachment Trial Thoughts! Here’s the thread from yesterday:
    8:09 PM – 27 Jan 2020

    Day 2 of the President’s impeachment case. My nightly behind-the-scenes report: 1/ Last night, I’m doing the grocery shopping and my phone starts lighting up. @brianschatz is the first to text me about the Bolton story. I read it, mouth agape, in the middle of the cereal aisle. […]

    • P J Evans says:

      That’s an interesting thread. (I’m trying to imagine senators doing grocery shopping. I can see a lot of the Dems doing it, but the Rs sound like the kind who’d set up a regular order with someplace like Instacart.)

      • harpie says:

        I know you can probably find the first 5, but here are two…read them as well!
        1] https://twitter.com/ChrisMurphyCT/status/1220210961413476352
        9:05 PM – 22 Jan 2020

        1a/ You cannot use the massive powers of the Oval Office to destroy your political rivals. FYI. 1b/ Time for tonight’s behind the scenes rundown of today’s impeachment proceedings. […]

        2] https://twitter.com/ChrisMurphyCT/status/1220557542738341889
        8:02 PM – 23 Jan 2020

        1/ THREAD: My wife picked a hell of a week to travel for work. It’s 11pm and we just finished today’s trial. Our babysitter needs to get some sleep, so tonight’s behind-the-scenes account of the trial will be quick! […]

      • Vicks says:

        I just assumed that these great white dinosaurs would have female staff members tending to their needs?
        Nothing loaded or dirty in there, just pointing out the importance of roles to keeping their way of life intact.

  25. Pete T says:

    This goes against anything an attorney would tell their client to do much less the presidential brain trust running their campaign, but…wonder why Joe doesn’t just come out and volunteer to testify at the Senate “trial” in exchange for Bolton. Call the Rs on their “game”… From what I have read and is fact documentation, Shokin’s ouster had extremely broad international support including from Rs at the time. He was the appointed messenger of US Foreign Policy representing others as well not part of some backdoor underground weaseling like – Trump-Giuliani. Now, Hunter’s gig was not well thought out and probably just plain dumb to be kind, but Hunter is not a hook Trump can hang a corruption hat on.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      For one thing, a Senate impeachment trial is not a US-Soviet prisoner exchange. Witnesses are called to give factual evidence, preferably first-hand knowledge relating to the charges, not to balance out a PR program.

      But McConnell isn’t running a trial. He is sacrificing his players [electability] in a rear-guard action designed to protect the president from a mere handful of his worst excesses. Because power.

    • Vicks says:

      Yes I was looking for public acknowledge of support from R’s at the time but all I could find was generalities.
      I’m sure someone with more resources has been digging deep for soundbites?
      I’m sure the Biden campaign knows the right words out of the right republican could blow this thing up quickly.

  26. Former AFPD says:

    So I wonder how it feels to be a lawyer making factual misrepresentations to the Senate while the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court looks on?

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so community members get to know you. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  27. harpie says:

    Marcy linked to this Erin Banco piece this morning:
    Top Ukraine Official: I Trusted Bolton More Than Anyone
    Oleksandr Danylyuk says the requests to investigate the Bidens “rattled” Zelensky’s team and the one person in the administration he trusted was Bolton. https://www.thedailybeast.com/oleksandr-danylyuk-former-top-ukraine-official-says-he-trusted-john-bolton-more-than-anyone
    Erin Banco Jan. 28, 2020 9:39AM

    They’re doing a series of interviews with a former top Ukrainian official. We can get a look at part of the Ukraine timeline from their perspective.

    • holdingsteady says:

      Yes, that was a fascinating look into the Ukrainian perspective and seems like big news since Danylyuk clearly states that pressure was felt and what was at stake. He quit not long after Bolton so I guess he’s no longer afraid to speak out. He must be so disillusioned with the US.

      This article was in the beast today also, quoting Ukrainian journalists. It’s great to finally hear their perspective. I’m prone to understatements, but it feels sooooo awful to be ‘represented’ by Trump, Pompeo, etc.


    • Vicks says:

      Ukraine if your listening…
      Perhaps you can help us with a bet?
      The party of Trump says you were clueless that any aid was being withheld until the Politico article came out on or around August 28
      Danylyuk seems to say in this interview that thanks to Sonland, he and others were made aware on July 10th…..

  28. harpie says:

    5:29 AM – 28 Jan 2020

    A hard-charging conservative lawyer little known to the public is responsible for executing some of the White House’s most divisive and legally aggressive moves, including the hold on Ukrainian aid now central to President Trump’s impeachment trial

    Links to : Hard-charging White House budget lawyer in middle of Ukraine decision has pushed legal limits for Trump.

    Kate Brannen does a thread about the article, here:
    6:35 AM – 28 Jan 2020

    Wow. What a detail in this @washingtonpost report about Mark Paoletta, the general counsel at OMB: “Paoletta reviewed the email redactions, the administration official said.” […]

  29. Dave Karson says:

    Rayne, interesting post. On your list of 20 Senators, most are from Red States, so maybe not that odd. But I agree with you that Lamar and Roberts, might be, since they are retiring, and CO is a blue state, so what about Gardner? Does Chief Justice get to break a tie if it is 50-50? Okay, here is the dumbest question of the day, but IANAL, and I am curious, so at what point does blatant and obvious “cover-up” of Trump’s crimes (not wanting Bolton to testify) makes the Senators co-conspirators in obstruction of congress? I am 99% sure the answer is never, but if anyone has a more educated, legal answer for me, I would appreciate it. Best, Dave

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Never mind expletives, they’re a dime a dozen. Gallagher’s “coward” language is as harsh as it gets. Publishing details is reckless and might well violate the law or regulations.

      This is what comes from Trump pardoning and empowering other criminals. It makes them feel omnipotent. It can happen here.

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It would be absurd to have Bolton’s manuscript disclosed to Senators behind closed doors. It’s a book about to be published. If Senators have questions they think need answers – they should – call him as a witness and ask them until they’re done. Same with the other likely witnesses. Or admit and call this a sham trial.

    • Tom says:

      I’ve heard (I forget where) that Bolton’s book is to be published on March 17th. So why not have the former National Security Advisor appear in the Senate that day with a St. Patrick’s Day themed book launch ceremony where all the Senators and other interested parties could buy their personally signed copies of the book and then, over coffee and snacks, Bolton could be sworn in and answer questions.

  31. harpie says:

    Quinta “Pro Quo” Jurecic Retweeted https://twitter.com/ToddRuger/status/1222205810941579269
    9:12 AM – 28 Jan 2020

    New: House Judiciary Committee tells judge in grand jury materials case that DOJ–because of what Trump’s lawyers told the Senate–might want to withdraw it’s argument that an impeachment trial is not a judicial proceeding. [screenshot]

    Ruger doesn’t link to the document, and I can’t find it yet, but this is from the screenshot:
    <blockquote[…] DOJ’s principal argument in this case is that a Senate impeachment trial is not a “judicial proceeding” under Rule 6(e) because the Rule refers to proceedings in court. […]
    That argument has now been contradicted by the President’s counsel’s statements to the Senate, which confirm that the Senate sits as a “court” rather that a “legislative chamber” during an impeachment trial. Because DOJ’s position in this case cannot be reconciled with President’s position in the impeachment, DOJ may wish to […]
    [That’s where the screenshot ends…arrrrgh!]

  32. P J Evans says:

    For those who refuse to pay full price for political tell-part books, Comey’s is $2.99 at Kobo (and probably the outer Usual Suspects Sources).

  33. harpie says:

    Continuing the [what I’ll call] Pompeo/NPR sub-thread from above…

    Trump praises Pompeo over handling of NPR reporter: ‘You did a good job on her’
    MORGAN CHALFANT – 01/28/20 12:52 PM

    […] “That’s impressive. That was very impressive,” Trump said, commenting on the applause that Pompeo received from the crowd when he said his name. “That reporter couldn’t have done too good a job yesterday. I think you did a good job on her, actually.”

    Trump’s remarks, which did not name NPR or the reporter specifically, prompted some laughter from the East Room, where the event was being held Tuesday afternoon. […]

    • harpie says:

      Pompeo boils over as Ukraine pressure increases
      10:24 PM ET, Mon January 27, 2020

      […] State officials — who call him Mt Mike & are accustomed to his angry outbursts — weren’t surprised that he finally erupted. […]

      Pompeo has had to grapple with damaging Ukraine-related headlines that raise questions about his temperament and flatly contradict his public claims about administration policy toward the country. Conservative allies have called him a “baby,” senior diplomats have publicly chastised him and State Department staff — pointing to the secretary’s emphasis on respect and professionalism — privately say they’re “incensed” about what they see as his hypocrisy and embarrassed by his leadership. […]

      At the State Department there was little surprise about the secretary’s eruption with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly.
      Pompeo is known to get angry and yell at those who work for him. For those staffers, the NPR outburst was simply a public example his private behavior.

      “And there we have it. A Mount Mike eruption on the record,” one State official told CNN. […]

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        A personality like Rapture’s doesn’t “finally” erupt, after a long series of lit fuses. It’s how he manages his ego on a daily basis, especially when his status, misogyny, and racism give him so many targets at work.

        Trump’s example also but temporarily gives him a pass for what might otherwise be career-limiting behavior. But that behavior might be a reason why he’s not running for Senator in Kansas. Those who share his views are expected normally to conceal them.

    • Jenny says:

      Thanks Harpie.
      Another mob boss statement. Cue the theme from “The Godfather.”
      “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Don Vito Corleone

      • Jenny says:

        “A Warning” by Anonymous on page 80, discusses Trump’s comments about women while working in the WH:

        “As president, the inappropriate comments about women haven’t abated. I’ve sat and listened in uncomfortable silence as he talks about a woman’s appearance or performance. He comments on makeup. He makes jokes about weight. He critiques clothing. He questions the toughness of women in and around his orbit. He uses words like “sweetie” and “honey” to address accomplished professionals. This is precisely the way a boss shouldn’t act in the work environment. Trump’s commentary on specific women in his administration sometimes will happen right in front of them. After one such instance, an official came to me, exasperated, to commiserate. “He is a total misogynist,” she complained. “This is not a healthy workplace.”

        Yet, people stay, say nothing – complicit.

  34. Jenny says:

    Harpie, appreciate the open thread. Thank you.

    With Virginia’s Final Ratification, ERA Fight Advances

    “Virginia officially became the critical 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment on Monday, clearing the way for likely court fights over whether the measure can be added to the U.S. Constitution.”

  35. loon says:

    John Ullyot, the NSC spokesperson, said that “Ambassador Bolton’s manuscript was submitted to the NSC for per-publication review and has been under initial review by the NSC,” Ullyot said in a statement on Jan. 27, referring to the National Security Council. “No White House personnel outside NSC have reviewed the manuscript.”

    Two things of note: 1. The narrow use of the word “reviewed” seems like deliberate mis-information. Couldn’t NSC members have verbally passed the information on to other White House staff or submitted their own summary to others in the White House? That way people like Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow can say they never “reviewed” the manuscript and yet been aware of its contents? If so, would the whole point of not sharing that knowledge be to wrap up the trial and vote before the NSC officially completes their review and the book comes out? And 2) John Ullyot resigned as spokesperson at the VA last March after e-mails surfaced under a FOIA request that showed him pressuring the VA diversity head to tone down her e-mails condemning white supremacists after Charlottesville. Then in October 2019 he became the spokesperson at NSC.

    I’m not very familiar with the NSC records office and how they operate, so I could be very off-base here, but it just doesn’t smell right.

  36. campion says:

    If there is anyone out there who was in the chambers during the proceedings and noted the comings and goings, please post the name of all senators who left, etc. I find it heard to believe that ONLY those who favor a double standard against Dems were making a tally….

  37. Savage Librarian says:

    I just came across this sentence in a book I had squirreled away on a shelf, for safe keeping:

    “Many a venal pettifogger had wheedled his way to the top.”

    Imagine that. Obviously, it reminded me of Justice Roberts’ comment early on during the current Senate impeachment hearings for DT. But that’s not the source in this book. No, I found it highlighted in yellow (something librarians usually disdain) in chapter 15, which is entitled, “Arguing at the Workplace: Engaging the Corporate Cyclops, Surviving the Governmental Leviathan.”

    I bought this book in 1995 or 1996. It was useful, both in a practical sense and in a psychological/emotional sense. From the looks of it, I personally found chapter 15 and 16 (“Arguing for Justice: Understanding the Responsibility of Being”) particularly helpful.

    Now, I am drawn to it again and find this starting on p.289:

    “…No corporation, no government, no bureaucracy, indeed, no employer can provide security.
    …Let us, by acknowledging our insecurity, by facing it, embracing it, affirm the courage to be.
    The ultimate security in this life is the product of courage. The self is the source of all security….
    …I say it again. The self is the source of all security….It is the self that must be satisfied, not the foreman, not the superintendent, not the plant manager.”
    …”My purpose is not to promote unrest, but to promote a thought-garden in which justice may be planted and bloom. My purpose is not to condemn the system, but to unveil the myths that permit our system to exploit the weak, myths that will be its undoing. I wish us, all of us, to see clearly so that we may argue with power—our power— with authority—our authority—out of the place where truth abides—our truth. That is how we win…”

    You will find these words and more in:

    How To Argue And Win Every Time: at home, at work, in court, everywhere, every day – by Gerry Spence

    • cavenewt says:

      Ack! Gerry! I’ve read that book, and I did not remember it being so…empathetic. Mostly I remember him advising, possibly in a different book, that a lawyer can bill for toilet time as long as he thinks about the client’s case while he’s sitting there.

  38. harpie says:

    Juxtaposition of the words “reporter” and “pen” in 2020:


    12:10 PM – 28 Jan 2020 Senate Republicans all heading in the direction of Mitch McConnell’s office. Probably most important moment of the trial so far happening now behind closed doors.

    12:11 PM – 28 Jan 2020 Our reporters remain penned and unable to follow senators down the hall to ask them questions even though the trial is over for the day.

    12:32 PM – 28 Jan 2020 Update: Reporters have been let out of their pens.

  39. e.a.f. says:

    We know now Politico isn’t as advertised. Its become much to big to really report the news accurately. just another msm group, who is more interested in remaining on the side of the tyrants (republicans)

    It isn’t always about what is reported, its more frequently about what is not reported. Living in British Columbia, Canada, our MSM didn’t report on money laundering, casino corruption, kidnappings, sex slaves paying off gambling debts, while it was happening. they didn’t start reporting on it until much, much later and the government of the previous time had left office. Then they would use the words, government, in their reporting leading many to believe it was the current “government” who was responsible for the corruption. That is how the MSM media works. Its why I frequently prefer certain blogs for my news.

    If you wait for the MSM to report the truth, you’ll be old and/or dead.

    As the other post tells us, the people who did great things in the U.S.A. did them while they were young and in some cases very young.

    Its not odd, its the way the world works.

    • P J Evans says:

      Politico was never about fairly reporting. It’s about reporting the views they approve of, just like every other news site.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        lolol… Robert Albritton is the son of Joe Albritton, who managed to run DC’s Riggs Bank, founded in 1836 by William Wilson Corcoran, into the ground by: a. hiding Augusto Pinochet’s ill-gotten fortune with the bank; b. engaging in embezzlement from Equitorial Guinea oil money deposits; c. establishing accounts directly connected to two of the K. S.A. 9/11 attackers; and d. various money laundering activity. More entitled thugs.

  40. Eureka says:

    Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp system.

    This piece:

    Auschwitz survivors from Philly area return to death camp, 75 years after Red Army liberated them

    Links to an older story published in 1985, where a son-and-journalist traveled back with his father:

    >> READ MORE: In 1984, while Auschwitz-Birkenau was still under control of Communist Poland, The Inquirer sent reporter David Lee Preston and his father to the camp and to other places of his father’s past.

    Also links to WaPo (which appears to be originally from Bloomberg), and this is a timely editorial:

    The Distortions of Holocaust History by Russia and Poland Are a Disgrace

    There is quite a troll-war going on between Russia and Poland over respective roles in WWII (you can’t come across anything on twitter having to do with WWII and Poland without seeing hardcore troll ops; I can’t speak to whether or how Poland is out there trolling, but have seen plenty of Putin-trolls revising WWII history, as a general matter, and pouncing on this topic). It’s a mirror to how the troll ops work with, e.g., US political topics. Lots of busy bees out there.

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      Have you read about the Katyn Massacre? It explains some of the hostility.
      “On 13 April 1990, the forty-seventh anniversary of the discovery of the mass graves, the USSR formally expressed “profound regret” and admitted Soviet secret police responsibility.[88][a] The day was declared a worldwide Katyn Memorial Day (Polish: Światowy Dzień Pamięci Ofiar Katynia).[89]”

      • Eureka says:

        Yes, thank you for adding the link.

        I had also commented some months ago in a different context — loosely comparing some of Ukraine’s pickle now, with that of countries like Poland ahead of WWII — about (while not naming it) the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact*, which also helps to explain some of the problem (well, moreso the secret agreements of the pact which were revealed after the war). To put it plainly, while Germany first attacked Poland (the event which formally began WWII), the Soviets were not in some Polish-friendly stance.

        * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov%E2%80%93Ribbentrop_Pact

        A quick scan of the wiki shows some discussion of secret protocols remains (there is a subsection); these wikis are always subject to revisionism and hostile takeover in the information wars.


    • Geoguy says:

      I work with a young woman from Poland and her family is still there. She said it’s pretty much a full-on Putin-troll assault to revise WWII history including insinuating that somehow Poland was responsible for starting the war in Europe.

      • P J Evans says:

        Polish spies were a major source of information for the Western allies. (They even smuggled out an Enigma machine!)

      • Eureka says:

        I’m glad you added that information, Geoguy (and PJ, your comment, too). All I know for sure is that Putin is in some Stalinist nostalgia-fest and his trolls push the propaganda at every opportunity.

        That Bloomberg-via-WaPo editorial I’d linked has a smidge of “both sides” to it, and while I’ve witnessed the Putin side (and on many other topics), I really can’t assess whether Poland’s hard-liners (e.g. as in the article) are actually “guilty” on this subject, or it’s just more lazy trope-ing (“both sides!”).

    • orionATL says:

      in this nytimes report on the survivors’ gathering at auschwitz (fourth picture down beginning with the cynical “arbeit mach frei” pic, front row farthest right) there sits an old man wearing a black cap and humble clothing whose sorrowful face and distant look signals the terror and loss his memory will not bury. so should it be with us, too young or fortunate not to have been there:


      • Eureka says:

        orion, your beautiful comment brought tears. It is on us to keep bearing witness. I had a couple of links to add but that will have to wait, the weight has gotten to me, especially given current ~worldwide events, and the cruelties and despotism in and emanating from our capital/Capitol.

        Meantime, there are always survivor and liberator oral histories at places like http://www.ushmm.org, and the hashtags #75liberation and #Liberation75.


  41. harpie says:

    Related to Robert Hyde’s stalking of Marie Yovanovitch [via Quinta Jurecic]:

    4:58 AM – 29 Jan 2020

    A Dutch Trump fan who claimed to have Marie Yovanovitch under surveillance has been masquerading as a U.S. federal law enforcement officer and told people he was starting a tech company that could track movements electronically

    Links to:
    Dutch Trump superfan who claimed he surveilled Ambassador Yovanovitch told people he was DEA

    Interviews with a half-dozen people who know Anthony de Caluwe and documents obtained by NBC News show that the Trump superfan has a shadowy past.
    Josh Lederman and Anna Schecter
    Jan. 29, 2020, 5:00 AM EST

  42. Jenny says:

    Lacks diplomacy. Kushner insults the Palestinians who are not even involved in the “peace plan.” Note: six minutes of the long interview.

    CNN 1:17 PM – 28 Jan 2020
    Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the President, says the White House’s Middle East plan is “a great deal” and if Palestinians reject it, “they’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”

  43. cavenewt says:

    Isn’t it odd that of 53 Republican senators, *not a single one* has the gumption to stand up on their hind legs and put country over party? Members of Congress are blasé enough about taking actions that end the jobs of millions of ordinary Americans, yet they value their own job (it’s just a job!) so much that they are afraid to do anything that would endanger it. Odd that *not a single senator* is willing to sacrifice their own just-a-job, yet are willing to put the lives of thousands of young people on the line in war zones? Not even as a symbolic gesture that, while maybe fruitless in terms of immediate effect, might still serve to inspire others, both in Congress and among the citizenry, to do the right thing?

    All 53! Even my own senator Mitt Romney is tentative and squeamish, and don’t even start with Collins, who is all-show-no-go most of the time.

  44. foggycoast says:

    looks to like dershowitz just agreed that trump’s actions were to affect the election. of course one difference with his lincoln example is that there was no foreign power involved in affecting the election. guilty.

  45. Sonso says:

    Back to the original posting: Mike Enzi is retiring. Wyoming will be stuck with either Cynthia Lummis or Foster Friess.

  46. Mulder says:

    Apologies if this is a repeat but what if the Dems just pounded the other side with question after question?

    They don’t have plausible answers for much. Each side got about 45 questions last night. Imagine if the President’s counsel had to respond to 30 more well crafted questions like, “Nixon said if the President does it it isn’t illegal. Was he right?”

    Start with this approach right at 1:00PM to get the news cycle spinning up.

  47. stew says:

    E. Jean Carroll’s legal team seeking DNA sample from Trump.
    Guessing the lab sample collected from her Donna Karan black wool coat is of the 23 chromosome [haploid] variety???

  48. orionATL says:

    hizzonor mayor blumberg just started running this ad against our president. the ad addresses a problem that has bothered me a lot – why in the world did the best of the dem presidential candidates abandon this very direct and strong attack on trump, and turn instead to a “pie in the sky” debate about medicare for all. that seemed nuts to me then, and seems nuts to me now:


    people are very nervous about health insurance coverage under trump, and with good reason. why not point out his and the republican party’s treachery and mendacity on this critical family issue. get yourself elected, fix the affordable care act, and then begin a national discussion a medical care.

    but somehow the most forward looking of the dem candidates walked themselves into the “medicare for all” bramble thicket.

    in fact in general, i cannot understand the dem reluctance to attack trump, beginning as always with his profound dishonesty and moving on from there to medical insurance, clean air and water (that’s climate, folks), trade wars/tariffs, destruction of nato and general deference to russian government foreign policy, immigration brutality, etc.

  49. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    “Good gawd, not sure how I have never seen this before tonight.
    But Heart playing Stairway To Heaven for Page, Plant and the Obamas is beyond incredible:
    Heart – Stairway to Heaven (Live at Kennedy Center Honors)”

    Shoutout to @bmaz: Apologies, bmaz! There just hasn’t been a good/relevant opportunity to slip it into my comments. The Kennedy Center Honors has become a pretty special event over the years. The performers/performances of the honorees’ work is always a surprise until the night of the Honors. The 2012 Heart performance for Led Zep is legendary. Check out 2015 Aretha Franklin tribute to Carole King. Made Obama cry.

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