Three Things: When the Hangover Ends

I debated about writing and publishing this but after last week Republicans are too relaxed and smug.

The not-a-trial of Donald J. Trump is off their backs and they can go back to whatever slacking off they were doing last year as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to sit atop a stack of more than 400 bills the House passed, waiting for this prospective legislation to suffocate and die.

They have a couple handy whipping boys — well, a boy and a girl — in Mitt Romney and Nancy Pelosi. Morons like Kevin McCarthy can make videos on the taxpayers’ dime, poking fun at Pelosi while celebrating the failure to convict Trump.

To Congress’s GOP caucus: Get a fucking grip on yourselves. We can see your emperor has no clothes and your asses are showing, too.

~ 3 ~

Trump was a whiny wretch at the National Prayer Breakfast on Friday, complaining about how he was treated during the not-trial.

He was a jackass during a speech about impeachment during which he was equally obnoxious, admitting to obstructing justice.

Here’s the thing: in these public performances voters see a malignant narcissist with some form of undiagnosed neurological disorder — likely a form of progressive dementia. The Republicans KNOW he’s ill but they are too afraid of him calling them names to do anything about it.

You have to wonder how many elderly parents these jerks have who are not in a safe place while suffering from dementia because the way they’ve treated Trump reflects who they are elsewhere.

The public has also seen this:

They’ve also seen this:

And this, because Trump’s neurological deficit has become a joke fit for television:

The Senate Republicans couldn’t convict him for this behavior BUT his behavior the House found impeachable — abusing office and obstructing Congress — in no small part arose from his increasing instability on top of his lifelong lawlessness.

After more of his suspicious sniffing, Trump admitted to obstruction of justice on camera, then swore at 4:44 in the above video clip. He’s not glued in and in need of constant narcissistic supply — Republicans surely must be able to see this.

He’s not going to get better. Trump’s not going to remain stable. Prescribed medications clearly couldn’t do much to stop his dystonic movements during the one annual speech a substantive number of Americans watch.

GOP attacks on Speaker Pelosi don’t redirect our attention. We can see through their maliciousness to their insecurity.

Republicans must start dealing with this. They must start talking about it — clearly the public already has. There’s been a group of health professionals publishing warnings for more than two years.

The GOP will have a lot more to fear than one failing old man with neurological problems if they don’t face this issue.

They’re chickenshit, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was too nice to say in his NYT op-ed:

“…One journalist remarked to me, ‘How in the world can these senators walk around here upright when they have no backbone?’


For the stay-in-office-at-all-cost representatives and senators, fear is the motivator. They are afraid that Mr. Trump might give them a nickname like “Low Energy Jeb” and “Lyin’ Ted,” or that he might tweet about their disloyalty. Or — worst of all — that he might come to their state to campaign against them in the Republican primary. They worry:

‘Will the hosts on Fox attack me?’

‘Will the mouthpieces on talk radio go after me?’

‘Will the Twitter trolls turn their followers against me?’ …”

Except for Romney they’re pussies, letting Trump grab them by their short hairs.

They need to do the math. If more than 20 Senate Republicans had made a pact to stick together — say, all the Class II senators up for re-election in 2020, the two retiring senators and Mitt Romney — Trump and his horde would have a damned tough time overcoming that bloc slinging a few bad names at them. The public would have had a hard time accepting as legitimate the malignant narcissist’s harangue and his hideous family’s backup refrain.

Fox News would have a hard time coming up with a cohesive narrative to bat down this number. The right-wing Twitterati would likewise find themselves over their tiny heads. And Limbaugh isn’t in any condition to fight Trump’s fight, Medal of Freedom Fries or no.

If the Republican senators can’t organize a bloc they deserve what will eventually come for them — the utter dissolution of their power and authority, having already yielded both to a sick old man.

And they’d better get their shit together if he has a major meltdown and becomes incapacitated by Election Day. Or is that what they’re hoping for so they don’t have to expend any effort bucking the malignant-narcissist-in-chief?

~ 2 ~

Revenge. Retaliation. Retribution. That’s what the chickenshit GOP senate unleashed when they rolled over and voted to acquit Trump.

We knew it was coming because Trump’s fucking minions have huge mouths, no couth, and less smarts.

Ueland’s remarks suggest actions taken by the White House against witnesses and against states and federal services’ users has been premeditated. Given the number of White House staff and federal employees required to perform some of these retaliatory efforts there may be an ongoing conspiracy.

The firing of Lt. Col. Alex Vindman was bad enough, a retaliatory firing of a federal employee who testified on request before the House Intelligence Committee. But firing his brother who didn’t testify looks incredibly personal and punitive.

While I have no pity for hotelier and million-dollar Trump donor Gordon Sondland, his firing, too, was retaliatory — a reaction to his requested testimony before the House.

Donors will surely think twice about political appointments if not donations as Sondland’s business had already suffered a downturn once it became more widely known he was both a Trump supporter and a hotelier.

Four Republican senators — that’s all — tried to save Sondland’s job. They did nothing for the Vindmans, which looks utterly spineless:

But this is what looks really, really bad:

GOP senators applauding and laughing at Trump’s vengeful firing of federal employees.

They’re literally scoffing at their own laws.

The only reason why Republican senators are getting away with enabling behavior is their co-equal but separate status. Their true bosses may wish to have a word with them come November.

~ 1 ~

Trump’s unlawful solicitation of assistance from a foreign national to aid his 2020 re-election campaign may already have born fruit given Joe Biden’s flagging results in opinion polls and in the Iowa caucus.

But is Trump now using federal resources to interfere in his opponents’ campaigns, holding unnecessary rallies in states before the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary?

Rally on Thursday 30-JAN-2020 in Des Moines, IA, the largest city in the state
Caucus on Monday 03-FEB-2020 across Iowa

Rally on Monday 10-FEB-2020 in Manchester, NH, the largest city in the state
Primary on Tuesday 11-FEB-2020 across New Hampshire.

Why would Trump hold a rally in these states when he has a 94% approval rating with his own political party?

Isn’t this a waste of taxpayers’ resources?

Is he really threatening to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to pay down a deficit he created while making worse by spending more taxpayer money on his unnecessary rallies?

The kicker, though, is how bad he looks doing this:

~ 0 ~

This is an open thread. Bet you have a few things you want to get off your chest about our descent into autoritarianism — you can do it in comments.

118 replies
  1. roberts robot double says:

    Everyone around him at this point must absolutely *know* that Trump is losing his mind.

    My guess is that they’re going to wait until he’s so far gone that they’ll have him resign, Pence’s pardon well-prepared, and then claim that we can’t prosecute such a “sick, sick man.”

    The important part is that they all know and are using him to create their banana republic.

    Unfortunately, I can’t imagine there could be any law that makes it a crime to help this literally demented president continue to railroad our entire govt and country. And I’m quite sure this regime is more than ready to allow his co-conspirators to claim “but I was under orders from the President.”

    Our only hope is that we get fair elections this fall.

    • Smeelbo says:

      I am afraid that there will be obvious hacking so that the results are not reliable. What then?

      The Republicans act as if they will never have to surrender power.

  2. P J Evans says:

    I wonder if he’s getting the meds he really needs, because he’s self-medicating and pretending there’s nothing wrong with him.

  3. harpie says:

    According to Alex Jones, so take with a bushel of salt, but,
    12:27 PM – 11 Feb 2020

    New: Alex Jones says that person who was involved in Roger Stone meetings at the White House told him Trump will pardon Stone after sentencing and to relay that to Jones’ audience. [Media Matters link]

    …to which former Director of @OfficeGovEthics, Walt Shaub responds:
    12:30 PM – 11 Feb 2020


  4. roberts robot double says:

    >> They’re literally scoffing at their own laws.

    The problem is that the laws that they have sworn to uphold are not the laws (in terms of personal ethics) that in any way inform their decisions. In the words of Jesse Jackson’s SNL appearance, “The question is moot!”

    Question: Is there any kind of Constitutional Ammendment that could be constructed to guarantee open govt under very strict penalties for members of branches of government that don’t honor, e.g., each other’s subpoenas and the public’s FOI requests?

    Or course, truly open govt — meaning directly open to the people — is the real solution to all this, but , but that , but … Oh fuck, this can only end with pitchforks and bonfires, won’t it?

    On a lighter note, in case you haven’t seen the glorious interview clip with Larry David where he discusses alienating Trump supporters by wearing a MAGA hat in the first episode of his new season, it gave me the warm fuzzies: It’s five or six tweets into the twitter feed of @JimmyTraina

  5. Anvil Leucippus says:

    He is certainly old enough for dementia. I always thought he had syphilis, however; seemed about right for him.

    Do you think if/when he finally gets diagnosed, there might be some sort of sigh of relief? Like the first plane crash after 9/11 — remember that? We freaked out, then we found out that it wasn’t terrorism — the tail end of the plane had just come off mid-flight. And we were all “Thank GOD it was JUST the plane falling apart in the air!”

      • P J Evans says:

        It seems to be a common theory. I don’t know why; I’d expect that Trmp could have gotten antibiotics from whichever doctor owed him, back in the 70s and 80s.

    • Rayne says:

      First, syphilis is treatable with antibiotics. He has no other visible symptoms which accompany late-stage syphilis. Let’s put that theory to bed right the fuck now.

      Second, age only makes some form of dementia more likely. It’s not a guarantee it’s a form of frontotemporal dementia versus Alzheimer’s disease, the latter of which his father had. I don’t know Trump’s mother’s cause of death — that might be revealing.

      Third, there are a number of factors which make some form of dementia likely, including substance abuse, possible secondary effect of infections like human herpes virus 6A and 7 (not to be confused with herpes simplex 1 or 2) or P. gingivalis (bacteria which causes gingivitis), so on.

      Whatever the diagnosis, Trump is not competent and unable to discharge the Powers and Duties of his office in compliance with the law, his oath of office and the Constitution.

    • Nehoa says:

      Syphilis? Unlikely and no obvious signs that aren’t covered by other types of mental decline/dementia. From my viewpoint, Trump meets some of the signs of dementia, but certainly not all. Definitely deteriorated from where he was 10 years ago though.

  6. MB says:

    Well…since the Mueller report was successfully spun and the impeachment trial successfully rigged, hope for the use of the 25th amendment springs eternal. I don’t think he’ll resign. If Biden flames out (and it’s looking like he will, save a 1st place finish in South Carolina), are they still going to go after Hunter?? I’d love to see an impeachment inquiry into Barr gain some traction – he deserves it. Also, if by some miracle plus fortuitous timing, Trump is removed or resigns before the election, who will run against the Democratic nominee?

    Anyone hear the sound bite of Trump at the NH rally yesterday saying the wall is being paid for by “immigrant redemption at the border”? That’s a seriously nonsensical statement to be made, even by his low, low standards…

    • Geoguy says:

      I think the term Trump meant to use is remittances instead of redemption. He either doesn’t know the difference or he can’t read or both.

  7. harpie says:

    “Bet you have a few things you want to get off your chest about our descent into autoritarianism” THANKS, Rayne!

    On another post, I’ve been ranting about Barr/Impeachment/OMB

    Now I have this to add to that, from Adam Schiff:
    11:50 AM – 11 Feb 2020

    At trial, we held up these redacted emails and asked Senators if they wanted to know what Trump was hiding.
    They didn’t. Now we know why:
    They confirm OMB misled Congress about DOD’s objections to the illegal hold on Ukraine aid.
    The truth will come out.

  8. S Chepaitis says:

    In addition to fair elections in November, I am hoping that the next president will not try to sweep the crimes of this administration under the rug as Mr. Obama did with the crimes of the Bush years.
    I used to think that moving on and not prosecuting political rivals was a good decision, but now I think that was a mistake. Rotten stuff swept under the rug will continue to rot and will destroy America until we bring it out for the people to see. Covering over the crimes of one corrupt administration after another since at least the 1960’s has only bred more dissonance and dysfunction. Any more and our American society will not recover. At this point, it isn’t just mirror violence and revenge to do so, but a therapeutic cleanse that America will need before moving on.
    Just wanted to add my profound thanks for this blog. Reading it has been my therapy and also my enlightenment over the past three very difficult years. I do not have the insights or inside knowledge that Marcy Wheeler and so many of the regular writers and commenters here do, but I appreciate them greatly.
    Things look pretty bad right now, but here at least I can read things that help me see the situation more clearly and from this I get some hope that my country will bounce back.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Audits and investigations of these four years need to happen with the next president, I’m afraid that they will give in to the temptation to avoid poking that hornet’s nest and just move on. Pundits have largely internalized Trump’s corruption and in their quest to both-sides us over the cliff they will no doubt cast aspersions on such a process no matter how badly needed.

      We’re only scratching the surface of the corruption and already there is a laundry list of issues to revisit with a honest government and doj.

      I still believe the 2018 election was driven by reaction to the cruelty and corruption of the administration and their GOP enablers, and I worry that a less-than-vigerious messaging strategy on corruption will cause it to drop from many peoples view after the next election.

      I really only trust one candidate to take this seriously were she to win, but it looks like she’s getting written off by cable news.

      It’s been 10 days or so since the impeachment vote and house dem leadership is indicating they are ready to move in on.

      PS: anyone know why Tom Joseph protected his Twitter feed?

  9. harpie says:

    “Bet you have a few things you want to get off your chest about our descent into autoritarianism” THANKS again, Rayne!

    I was also ranting about a speech Billy Barr gave:

    Can we talk about Billy Barr?
    My thesis: Billy Barr is the most dangerous man in America.
    Here’s a speech he gave yesterday: […]
    In this speech, the Attorney General of the United States incites law enforcement officers against *certain* elected officials and District Attorneys. [more]

    • Eureka says:

      “Perfect” timing: I wanted to link this issue (from another angle) into harpie’s thread on Bill Barr’s speech, and today the USA in Philly gave a(nother) speech with fresh fodder:

      U.S. Attorney William McSwain compares Jim Kenney, Larry Krasner to slaveholders

      U.S. Attorney William McSwain on Wednesday evoked the memory of President Abraham Lincoln to compare Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and District Attorney Larry Krasner to slaveholders who sparked the Civil War and Southern segregationists who opposed civil rights.

      His reasoning? Kenney and Krasner support a “sanctuary city” policy in immigration matters, as well as legal supervised injection sites for opioid users — in contravention of what McSwain cited as the supremacy of federal law.

      “What an amazing concept,” McSwain told about 500 people gathered for lunch at the Union League’s annual Lincoln Day celebration. “It’s one that would have elated those who opposed the desegregation of lunch counters. Or those who told Rosa Parks to go to the back of the bus. Or those who stood in the schoolhouse doorway to prevent African American children from entering. And this concept would have absolutely thrilled Southern slave owners, a sanctuary from federal law where they can continue their practice of human bondage.

      (internal links removed)

      This has been going on for almost a year; McSwain has appeared on Fox/Tucker to bash DA Krasner, etc.

      How many other Trumpian proxy battles between USAs and local DAs/ mayors like this are going on around the country?

      From the author’s thread:

      Chris Brennan: “@PhillyInquirer @PhillyMayor @JimFKenney: “And how dare Mr. McSwain, of all people, invoke the name of a true American hero like Rosa Parks and others who fought against racial injustice, when everyday he crusades for a President who personifies racism and bigotry.” [link to article]”

      “@DA_LarryKrasner spokesperson @Jane_Roh: “We do not have time to engage in slap fights with a Trump appointee whose desperate attempts to make a name for himself get more bizarre by the day.” [link]”

    • harpie says:

      In that comment thread, I link to:

      A [2/9/20] tweet from:
      The Official Twitter page for the Sergeants Benevolent Association, comprised of approx 13,000 active and retired sergeants of the NYPD; President: Ed Mullins

      Mayor DeBlasio, the members of the NYPD are declaring war on you! We do not respect you, DO NOT visit us in hospitals. You sold the NYPD to the vile creatures, the 1% who hate cops but vote for you. NYPD cops have been assassinated because of you. This isn’t over, Game on!

      Yesterday, Ed Mullins was at the WH with Trump; tweeted about it and posted a photo.Screenshot in this tweet:
      6:23 PM – 12 Feb 2020

      This is what Mullins wrote:

      Great meeting at the White House today. The Trump administration is very aware of the plight of police officers in NYC and is closely monitoring the situation @realDonaldTrump has our backs! [3 American flag emojis]


    • Eureka says:

      Update on that Barr speech: Marcy retweeted a Chris Geidner thread (12:26 PM · Feb 13, 2020):

      “BIG NEWS: In the midst of AG Barr’s Trump-aiding attack on DOJ, he *also* found time to attack progressive prosecutors. Today, in a rare statement, nearly 40 elected prosecutors from across the country are fighting back.[link, screenshot]”

      “”We will not go back to the fear-driven “tough on crime” era. We will not adhere to policies that failed to make our communities safe and punished poverty, mental illness or addiction ….” [link, screenshot]”

      “MORE: “This is our vision of safety and justice. And it is working. … We will not deepen the divide and distrust between law enforcement and communities of color. The voters and our communities demanded better, and so do we.” LOOK AT ALL OF THESE ELECTED OFFICIALS: [screenshots]”

        • Eureka says:

          I saw that; was wondering, too, if some others might sign-on later as happens with some of these statements. I’m also recalling some kind of state-AGs suit or statement vs ~Trump admin where ours didn’t sign on, but I was aware separately that his office supported (kind of a head shrug?).

          [I just added this over on EW’s latest post as she refers to the issue there wrt Barr and ABC’s lack of journalism in that interview.]

  10. orionATL says:

    so who is that yellow-toothed old scoundrel standing among the Republican senators and grinning a shit-eating grin? *

    why bless my ears and whiskers, I do believe that’s senator charles “snake” grassley (horses-ass, IA.). surely you recall as do i that senator snake is the patron saint of whistleblowers among Republican senators.

    * twit no. 12 – comey

  11. Molly Pitcher says:

    On today’s “Fresh Air” is an interview I HIGHLY recommend:

    The 2020 Disinformation War
    Journalist McKay Coppins is a staff writer for The Atlantic. He writes in the latest magazine about the billion dollar disinformation campaign to reelect the president. His article is “The 2020 Disinformation War: Deepfakes, Anonymous Text Messages, Potemkin Local News Sites and Opposition Research on Reporters—a Field Guide to the Year’s Election and What it Could do to the Country.”

    I do not see how we are going to combat this information weaponization without climbing down into the cesspool with Trump & Co. . There is no victory in a race to the sewer; this would be the equivalent of nuclear mutually assured destruction, but for democracy. But if we don’t start playing hardball, Trump is going to win.

    A fight against an opponent with no morals is like fighting with no arms.

    • Tom says:

      I heard that very unsettling interview as well, but didn’t Coppins say that the worst outcome would be for the Democrats to adopt Trump’s tactics and wallow in the disinformation gutter along with the GOP? In such a case, everyone would begin doubting everything they heard no matter what the source was. And in the case of Trump and his GOP, there would be no need to manufacture disinformation as the truth is damning enough on its own.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Yes, That is exactly what he said, but he also didn’t say how to combat this. And it is happening RIGHT NOW.

        I feel like the Democrats are playing by the Marquess of Queensberry rules against a bunch of thugs with tire irons and shivs made from toothbrush handles.

  12. Jenny says:

    Thank you Rayne. Thanks for opportunity to get on my musical soap box. I write this with my 3 – 5 year old yoga students in mind.

    America has a morality problem. This is like a declaration of war on humanity and the environment; however at the same time calling for new humane and environmental interests to the forefront. This is the WAKE UP call.

    Trump is the poster boy to destroy and vilify happening in plain sight. He whips up fear and his base follows. A leader can only lead if there are followers. Fearful leader – fearful followers – destructive actions. The theme from the “Godfather” comes to mind.

    When will We the People say “No more” to these injustices. Are these injustices not painful enough for We the People to do something about them? The moral compass comes from within. Here is the opportunity to rebuild. We as a society have to change. We as a global family have to change. Change starts from within. Change to create a world where there is unity for ALL. Where individuals are accepted for who they are. Where ALL are elevated living in a world of peace. John Lennon’s song “Imagine” is in stereo playing in my head.

    We need to become creators. Unfortunately, destruction comes before rebuilding. We as a society/world are being shown fear. The opposite of fear is love. What will we choose, fear or love?

    “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

    • roberts robot double says:

      Very well said. You cut to the heart of all our issues.

      >> When will We the People say “No more” to these injustices[?]

      At least we Virginians have Dems running the show now (if barely).

      But with folks such as my Trump-supporting parents, the only injustices they see are the delusional ones they imagine they are suffering. In theory, they could turn their hearts towards universal love but they really behave like they’re in a cult. It is nothing less than insane, but criminally in that their “pack” is causing so much long-term harm both here and abroad.

      Peace be with you. Even if we can’t convince the oppressors of the importance of love, at least we can have peace knowing that we understand right from wrong and are champing at the bit for real change, change based upon universal love and the oneness of humanity across all our differences. And impartial, appropriate justice for one and all.

    • Ckymonstaz says:

      The 4th and final lawyer who represented DOJ resigned from the case a bit ago as well. So the new sentencing recommendations went over with only a single signature of some Barr lackey

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Who would be keeping Trump on his meds? Who is working so hard to hide his drug regimen and the reasons for it? What laws are being complied with – or set aside on purported national security grounds?

    Given the demands and pressures of the presidency – and the increasing age of its occupants – the president needs to be subject to more frequent and thorough medical and psychiatric evaluation.

    For the same reason, the president should be required to waive privacy rights regarding her or his physical and mental health (and financial status). Goes with the job, as it does for school bus drivers and commercial pilots.

    The results of routine, random examinations need to be available to a Gang of Four or similar body, with certain results made publicly and promptly available. None of this “never,” or “wait until after the election” rubbish.

    • Bunnyvelour says:

      I don’t entirely disagree with you re-being more transparent about health status and medical assessment, but…
      If publicly releasing tax returns (maybe from as far back as a decade?) were mandatory for presidential AND vice presidential candidates, we would NEVER have been in this situation in the first place.

  14. Tom says:

    Republicans remind me of the villagers in the old Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life” based on a short story of the same name by Jerome Bixby. They’re all afraid to offend Little Trumpy in the White House for fear he will send them to the cornfield.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I wonder whether, when the military refuses to act on the C-in-C’s recommendation, Trump will issue a direct order.

      Who would then resign rather than follow it? Or, will the SecDef or some four-star general lay out the reasons why the order is illegal and that it would, therefore, be illegal to follow it? What happens to morale, discipline, and good order if they cave to El Caudillo?

      • Rugger9 says:

        As a former front line Naval officer: an illegal order can be refused. No question, all it takes is someone willing to put the stars on the line. Let’s see if the Army has them.

        • Rugger9 says:

          The other option is a classic military slow-walk since the brass also knows that Individual-1 has the attention span of a goldfish. If it’s done quietly enough, it won’t get on Faux News. However, I prefer the first choice (“No, my Lord Mudd”).

        • Fran of the North says:

          My question is whether the order is unlawful? I presume it is based upon what ‘Punishment’ is. Does the UCMJ require a trial and guilty verdict before punishment? Many have been ‘punished’ with KP without a trial.

          Any JAGs out there willing to offer guidance?

          Finally, most of the senior military leadership will be beyond the minimum years of service before they can resign their commissions. I wonder if they risk their retirement pay? In an ideal world, that wouldn’t be a thing, but it might play a role, particularly with the vindictive one in charge.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Harpie has details. No flag officer’s retirement, pension, or benefits would be at risk.

            The military is probably the one institution that Congress would quail before if it had to take a stand to avoid following an illegal presidential order.

            Apart from its traditions, power, and sheer presence in and near the Beltway, it can play base closure games that would wither the chances of any congresscritter.who wants to play games over their loyalty.

          • Donna says:

            The only thing that would cause a loss of retirement is a conviction for Treason. (I looked that up last year in relation to Mike Flynn)

          • Rugger9 says:

            Essentially an illegal order is one that violates the law, the UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions. That would include for example the Abu Ghraib scandal (which should have taken out everyone up to flag rank, either for being involved or not being aware of what their troops were doing, equally culpable). However, as we saw in Iraq, not everyone is willing to stand up for what is right. and those that play ball are rewarded.

            Now the question for me is how well our LTC Vindmans (plural) are considered in the Pentagon since that would determine how much the Army will do to defend them. Individual-1 is playing a dangerous game of chicken because he really has no option to a response of “No, my lord Mudd”.

            OTOH, this kind of drama plays into Vlad’s purpose to sow discord and confusion, so even if the Russians go after Ukraine, would the military be willing to stop them on the Palace’s say-so, or would they go in anyway under NATO Article 5 if Individual-1 said to stand down? There is a long game here and I think Vlad is playing the Palace….Again.

            • bmaz says:

              Although not much of a Mattis fan, I would trust his stewardship much more than Esper here. If flag officers start barking, that would be stunning. Not sure if that would happen these days, but who in the world knows anymore.

    • harpie says:

      The President’s words about the Vindman brothers:
      2:47 PM – 11 Feb 2020

      Trump says he sent Lt Col Vindman back to Pentagon,
      “we sent him on his way to a much different location and the military can handle him any way they want. Gen. Milley has him now. I congratulate Gen. Milley. He can have ‘em and his brother, also.” […]

      @realDonaldTrump says military will decide whether Vindman should face disciplinary action.
      “That’s going to be up to the military. We’ll have to see. But if you look at what happened, I mean they’re going to certainly, I would imagine, take a look at that,”

    • harpie says:


      John Kelly Finally Lets Loose on Trump
      The former chief of staff explained, in the clearest terms yet, his misgivings about Trump’s behavior regarding North Korea, immigration, and Ukraine.

      wrt: VINDMAN and Ukraine policy:

      “He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” […] “He went and told his boss what he just heard.” […]

      Kelly made clear that Trump indeed conditioned military aid on Zelensky’s help digging up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

      That amounted to a momentous change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine—one that Vindman was right to flag, because other federal agencies needed to know about the shift, Kelly said. […]

      When Vindman heard the president tell Zelensky he wanted to see the Biden family investigated, that was tantamount to hearing “an illegal order,” Kelly said. “We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss.’” […]

  15. Deb says:

    I really miss both Mary and Scarecrow . . . .wondering what they would have to say about this insanity.

    It’s a whiskey kind of night. Essential reading—Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I had to use my copy to squish a spider and never finished it, but he nailed the Trump archetype, the Bannons and Miller’s using him, and the spite-filled brownshirts seeing an opportunity to act out on their ethno-nationalist fantasies. Prescient.

      Liked his Oil! book better though. Sorry for your and the communities losses btw.

  16. Fran of the North says:

    On my soapbox!

    At what point does lying while under oath become something? Each of the trials that have consumed this administration for the past 3 years have been filled with misstatements, formerly forgotten items, restated testimony and the like. And yet, the convictions are countable on one hand.

    It seems to me, just a regular citizen, that telling the truth is for chumps. Why on earth would you tell the truth when these sleaze balls continue to get away with laughing in the face of the court?

  17. skua says:

    “… If more than 20 Senate Republicans had made a pact to stick together… ”

    A factor against this is fear of their constituents.
    They get calls to their office from MAGA types. Enough to convince them that they’ll be voted out if they turn against Trump.
    Online, at sites like The Hill, the Russia trolls and hard-Trumpers label Repub dissenters as RINOs, group them with the Swamp and call for violence against them. I’m guessing that such threats of violence against their persons filters through to Repub Senators.
    The failure of any Repub Senators to group together, to support each other in protection of America and against threaten violence shows a toxic isolating culture at work amongst R Senators who saw no better option than acquittal. Divisiveness has been project of Trump. It worked well for him amongst the R Senators.

  18. BobCon says:

    Michael Bennet is finally dropping out of the race, so now his brother James is unleashed to turn the NY Times Opinion section into a free fire zone of bad takes on the presidential election.

    • orionATL says:

      woah! they’re related?

      thanks for the tip.

      I think James may be a bit of a flake, or just a showman. why he was put in charge of the editorial section is not at all clear.

      before Bennet it was never intellectually strong (save for Krugman), but limited and predictable. now it is still not strong, much expanded, and completely chaotic.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      That rasping sound you hear is Bret Stephens polishing his forceps with a preemptive look of injured outrage plastered on his face

  19. Eureka says:

    Attention Mid-Atlantic (Mid-Atlantians?) and Floridians (and passers-thru): reminder the deadline to get free credit monitoring from the Wawa data breach is the end of this month (see Wawa website).

    New today, has links out to updates since the breach was announced (such as discovery of the Wawa-breach credit and debit cards up for sale on the dark web, per cybersecurity folks like Krebs/others):

    Just because we love Wawa doesn’t mean we should let them handle our data insecurely

    Millions of cards exposed in Wawa breach are up for sale online, cybersecurity experts say

  20. orionATL says:

    it’s 11 pm.

    75% of the votes are in in n. Hampshire.

    I’m here to predict that there are no Dem winners from this primary.

    half the votes are split evenly between “Bernie” and “mayor Pete”, or ~ 25% each.

    despite what you will read or hear tomorrow, “the people” are not giving the party any strong hints about their preference.

    just in case you were curious:

    pop. estimate for New Hampshire for 2018 = 1.35 mill.

    California = 39.5 mill, Texas = 29 mill, Florida = 21.5 mill.

    Vermont state population = 625,000 total.

    • orionATL says:

      not that it matters, but:

      Q. how many states of the 50 are smaller in population than vermont?

      A. one. Wyoming.

      • bmaz says:

        Heh, my local legislative district is 1.5 times as big as Wyoming as to resident population. That is one out of nine in my state.

  21. Eureka says:

    Thanks Rayne for making the space, hopefully tomorrow will bring the energy to drag my fascism cats (topics) over to here. I do have one comment update:

    I found the PBS hover-board naked-eye astronomy guys, but sadly they no longer host the show (and it’s gone from 5 minutes to 1 minute — wiki has details for those interested).

    Weekly & past episodes at:

    Star Gazers | PBS
    “Star Gazers” is the world’s only weekly television series on naked eye astronomy. Each weekly episode features selected objects for naked eye viewing for the following week.

    One of the former hosts is on twitter:

    Dean Regas

    • orionATL says:

      thank you eureka for the astronomy cite. my wife has been practicing what you called “naked-eye” astronomy for as long as I’ve known her (which is looong), but she only has a program on her phone called “sky guide”. using that and what she knows she hauls me outside from time to time to view something that delights her when lighting permits. we are happy to have your two additions.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’m shocked, shocked that arch-conservative Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says that, “Judges should not rule by own beliefs.”

    “Each time a judge sidesteps or manipulates the law to achieve his or her desired outcome, the rule of law suffers and is undermined and eventually compromised.”

    Justice Thomas must be expecting that his clique on the Court will overrule a lot of coming lower court decisions. Because he just repeated the right’s primary philosophy, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

    • orionATL says:

      judge Thomas is the shark that smells blood.

      judge Thomas is said to be notable among his court colleagues for his contempt for stare decisis.

      judge Thomas is a hypocrite, not that it matters.

      since we’re on the topc, justice scalia’s “originalism” was nothing more than psuedo-intellectual cover for a judge interpreting the law as he damned well pleased.

      • orionATL says:

        let’s see how.

        from The Wisdom of Clarence Thomas :

        “Each time a judge sidesteps or manipulates the law to achieve (an outcome not coincident with my opinion ), the rule of law suffers and is undermined and eventually compromised.”

        there. fixed that.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The notion of “super delegates” – where a portion of state delegates are not committed to a candidate, but are free to vote as their power network sees fit that they should – seems badly outdated or was never proper.

    Super-delegates are delegates of their state party machinery. They are not pledged to vote for candidates who won the largest numbers of votes in their home state. They represent the party machinery, not their state voters, when they vote for at the nominating convention. Their function is undemocratic.

    It is a very anti-change, keep the establishment in power arrangement whose time has passed.

    • orionATL says:

      the superdelegates issue again? where did that come from?

      Bernie must be whining about losing again. he’s good at that.

      • bmaz says:

        In fairness, post 2016 reforms were made in the DNC, and superdelegates, while they still exist, are not part of the initial delegate tabulation. They can come into play in secondary ballots though.

        • orionATL says:

          that’s true. they also make up about 15% of the delegates, hardly a grand number.

          and most of them have been elected or involved in public politics:

          Superdelegates fall into four categories … consisting of:

          1. Elected members of the Democratic National Committee: “the chairs and vice chairs of each state and territorial Democratic Party; 212 national committeemen and committeewomen elected to represent their states; top officials of the DNC itself and several of its auxiliary groups (such as the Democratic Attorneys General Association, the National Federation of Democratic Women and the Young Democrats of America); and 75 at-large members who are nominated by the party chairman and chosen by the full DNC.”[3] Most of the at-large members “are local party leaders, officeholders and donors or representatives of important Democratic constituencies, such as organized labor.”[3] There were 437 DNC members (with 433 votes) who were superdelegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention [3].

          2. Democratic Governors (including territorial governors and the Mayor of the District of Columbia). There were 21 Democratic Governors who were superdelegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[3]

          3. Democratic Members of Congress. There were 191 U.S. Representatives (including non-voting delegates from Washington, D.C. and territories) and 47 U.S. Senators (including Washington, D.C. shadow senators) who were superdelegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[3]

          4. Distinguished party leaders (consisting of current and former Presidents, Vice Presidents, congressional leaders, and DNC chairs). There were 20 of these who were superdelegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[3]

          what’s the big deal?

          is the party solely the property of the currently hyperactive? for a lesson in sham electoral democracy compare the 2016 Washington state caucus vote with the washington state primary vote in may 2016.

          given the follies of party leadership in the last 4 years (whose idea was it to have two dozen candidates tediously holding forth at psuedo-debates for months on end?) a little seasoned advice might have been helpful.

          • bmaz says:

            I think the whole superdelegate thing is a bit pernicious, but it has not changed any equation yet. Bernie lost in 2016 because he did not get enough votes. And it has not done anything yet this year either.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Well, the delegates haven’t had to act as delegates yet, so we’ve seen no effect.

            You seem to think that “party leadership” is different from the list of people from whom you would accept sage advice.

            Formally and practically, the party is an association of private corporations, which set their own rules..The party is not the property of the “currently hyperactive/” It is currently the property of its establishment, made up largely of people on your list.

            My point regarding primaries is that delegates be allocated based on the votes for candidates. Arcane weighting of votes and apportioning of delegates seems anti-democratic. She who wins the most votes should get all or the most delegates.

            • orionATL says:

              the term “corporation” is a loaded term here as I’m sure a lawyer like you understands, as is the term “machinery” in your original comment. in the u.s. all political parties are private corporations by custom if not by law.

              in no way is the party I am familiar with seriously different from party members who work and vote (but then I don’t live in Chicago or nycity) – no party member/voters, no party.

              as for “party officials” someone has to make rules, set schedules, collect fees, arrange for poll watchers and count votes. the party does that necessary work. it would be one hell of a messy election if it did not. most of us do not want to do these jobs, so we are glad we have the party to do them. where I live the party is not some distant, powerful force impelling decisions. allied groups (indivisible marching buddies, etc.), elected officials, candidates, and party officials mingle all the time and all over the place in election season. I would guess it takes some arm twisting or at least pleading to get someone to serve as a party official. this ain’t boss tweed territory.

            • orionATL says:

              “… The party is not the property of the “currently hyperactive/” It is currently the property of its establishment, made up largely of people on your list….”

              where a caucus system is involved the party system is precisely under the control of the politically hyperactive. what this means practically is that hundreds of thousands may be excluded from participating in a voting decision about candidates.

              I have made this point more than once: check out the results of the 2016 Washington state caucus compared to the may 2016 Washington state primary. the results were diametrically opposed. that later party primary revealed how the great majority of Washington State voters felt about a democratic candidate and allowed several hundred thousand more voters to participate.

  24. Willis Warren says:

    This 2016 piece from Masha Gessen looks like prophecy right now

    The national press is likely to be among the first institutional victims of Trumpism. There is no law that requires the presidential administration to hold daily briefings, none that guarantees media access to the White House. Many journalists may soon face a dilemma long familiar to those of us who have worked under autocracies: fall in line or forfeit access. There is no good solution (even if there is a right answer), for journalism is difficult and sometimes impossible without access to information.

    • orionATL says:


      a good reminder of I what I will never do again unless it is warranted. accepting in good faith as we are taught to do where there is evidently no good faith in return is a fool’s bargain.

  25. Jenny says:

    “All four of Roger Stone’s prosecutors have resigned. That’s right they all walked. It must not have been easy for them to find the exit since Bill Barr has relocated the DoJ up Trump’s ass.” Stephen Colbert 2/11/2020

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Having erased Elizabeth Warren from their coverage, the MSM now seems determined to write her campaign’s epitaph, before the end of the second nationally unrepresentative state primary.

    Something foul is afoot. But I suspect that rumors of her demise are greatly exaggerated.

    • harpie says:

      Prof. David Carroll has a hypothesis about that:
      11:10 PM – 11 Feb 2020

      Warren is the only candidate hammering Trump’s criminality and that’s why the media can’t deal with her because running her speeches involves confronting how we have all allowed organized crime to swallow us all alive, we were so naïve to think we were immune to the mafia. […]

      I don’t know if that hypothesis is correct, but I heard Warren last night confront the Trump/Barr axis wrt the Tuesday Afternoon Exodus, and it made me feel like she will never stop FIGHTING BACK!

      That’s what I want in a President, and what I think we desperately need…desperately!

      Video of that part of her speech is here:
      My transcription:

      Warren: On a day when career prosecutors showed more backbone than almost every Republican Senator standing up to this President, Americans of all political stripes are gravely concerned about the corruption of a Trump Justice Department that abandons the rule of law to give sweetheart deals to criminals who commit their crimes on behalf of Donald Trump.

      And, yes, Roger Stone, I’m looking at you.

    • orionATL says:

      let’s hope so, but Warren is said to be low on cash having put a lot into representation in iowa and money is the mother’s milk …

      my advice to senator Warren:

      – start talking out loud, real loud, about what Trump said he would do but didn’t, about promises he broke, especially involving medical insurance and social security protection.

      – start talking out loud, real loud, about Trump’s ignorance and failure in trade matters and the TARIFF consequences for this economy, especially involving that midwestern manufacturing slump and that grain/soybean belt farm disaster that has been unfolding for two years.

      – start talking out loud about Trump’s bragadaccio re negotiating, and his questionable decisions regarding national security and defense, including nuclear missles and, especially, examples of repeatedly giving in to Russia.

      – start talking out loud about Trump’s behavior compared to how we expect our presidents to behave.

      – mix in your own various “plans”, but don’t fall for the advice that voters only want to hear what you will do. there is a reason negative advertising works in politics; we humans always have an ear out for what to be careful about.

  27. harpie says:

    via Laura Rozen, Georgetown School of Foreign Service:
    1:12 PM – 12 Feb 2020

    THREAD: This evening in Gaston Hall, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch will receive this year’s J. Raymond “Jit” Trainor Award for Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy. Amb. Yovanovitch joined @GUDiplomacy as a @StateDept Fellow in 2019 after serving as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. / […]

  28. harpie says:

    [I have a comment in moderation about this above]

    Here’s a live thread of the ceremony at Georgetown School of Foreign Service where Marie Yovanovitch is receiving an award for excellence in diplomacy:
    1:12 PM – 12 Feb 2020

    8. Dean of the SFS @joelhellman_SFS thanked Amb. Yovanovitch for her contributions to SFS and to international affairs, remarking that “though she did not seek the role, she has become the face of the very ethos of public service.”

    • P J Evans says:

      “Kitchen pepper” is a seasoning mix, and it’s deliciously fragrant.
      I’ve had pepper pot soup – it used to be available from Campbell’s – but I hadn’t met that version, which looks like a green version of menudo.

      • Eureka says:

        I had forgotten all about the Campbell’s version (and even “pepper pot” itself) until I read the article- blast from the past! They give a few different recipes for a pepper pot soup/stew/gumbo (without the okra) (also much discussion of broth color/consistency variants). I’d prob try the recipe sans tripe for starters.

        Investigating, it looks like “kitchen pepper” is (was) basically ~pumpkin pie spice with pepper (some of the recipes are a little fancier: + salt, + lemon peel…cayenne).

        • P J Evans says:

          Tripe is part of the recipe – it wouldn’t be the same at all. That’s why I said it was something like menudo.

          • Eureka says:

            Right, but they (the food historian and her cousin) made a beef recipe* without it, and that’s what I’d prob try first. Unless I come into some tripe, in which case I’ll let historical accuracy reign.

            And if I did come into some tripe someday, it’d most likely be from deer, so … (and so would the rest of the parts).

            [*They posted three recipes: one with tripe, another beef one sans tripe but with bacon, and a smoked-turkey and fish one.]

  29. harpie says:

    Hey bmaz:
    I saw on you on twitter discussing The Federalist Society and how they are embedded everywhere in government like termites…[or something like that]…anyway, here’s one place they are chewing away that you may not have thought of looking:

    The other day, we were discussing “The White House May Impose Classical Style on Federal Buildings”, here:
    February 7, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    In my reading, I came across this:
    Trump’s Bizarre Plan to Make Architecture Classical Again
    A fringe group of traditionalists persuades the White House to take its side.
    2/8/20 7:30 AM ET

    […] The American Institute of Architects issued a statement saying it “strongly opposes” the move. Most architects today support using a range of styles for new buildings, as Moynihan did. But the AIA doesn’t speak for the cadre of die-hard classicists with whom the document [proposed executive order] originated.
    The National Civic Art Society (NCAS), a small Washington nonprofit, prioritizes the classical tradition in design and argues that contemporary architecture “has created a built environment that is degraded and dehumanizing.” […]

    Once a fringe group, the NCAS has moved closer to Washington’s center of architectural power (such as it is) under the Trump administration. The White House recently appointed two of the group’s board members to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, [link] a panel that vets the designs for all governmental and some private buildings in the District of Columbia. The commission is an expert panel, but one of the new appointees, Justin Shubow, is not an architect. Shubow, who used to work for the conservative Federalist Society, made his name campaigning against Frank Gehry’s design for the new Eisenhower Memorial. The NCAS has received funding from the philanthropist Richard Driehaus, who also funds an annual $200,000 classical architecture award through the University of Notre Dame. […]

    added: If this executive order is implemented, there would be quite a LOT of money to be made by people who are into designing and building neo-classical buildings.

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