Three Things: There Is Really Only One Thing

My schedule is a mess today, as messy as my sleep last night. I don’t think I’ve lost as much sleep about COVID-19 in the last handful of months as I have since Friday about these Russian bounties on troops.

Because I’m out of sorts from lack of sleep I don’t have a lot organized to share here in three discrete subjects. It’s ultimately all one thing: Donald J. Trump needs to be removed from office for abuse of power and dereliction of duty.

The Washington Post’s article published Sunday evening made it very clear numerous people knew about the bounties and that nothing had been done about them:

Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.

Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed or targeted under the program. U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered a total of 10 deaths from hostile gunfire or improvised bombs in 2018, and 16 in 2019. Two have been killed this year. In each of those years, several service members were also killed by what are known as “green on blue” hostile incidents by Afghan security forces who are sometimes believed to have been infiltrated by the Taliban.

Multiple interrogations. Multiple people familiar.

Zero action taken.

And along with multiple U.S. service members dead, an unknown number of allies’ troops, contractors, and civilians killed.

If Trump genuinely believed in getting out of Afghanistan through an effective peace agreement, this is its opposite even with a partial American force draw down. It’s how a country becomes even more destabilized and how its violence will spill over and follow U.S. and coalition partners home.

Trump had no problem with Putin stabbing him in the back because it was Putin, and he never has anything negative to say about Putin.

A little after midnight The New York Times published another article, this time expanding the period of time Trump should have known about Russia’s bounties to February 2019, along with the period of time in which Trump took zero action.

Three U.S. service members were killed in a blast last April, attributed to Taliban motivated by the Russian bounties.

Trump was notified at least once in a Presidential Daily Briefing in ample time to do something.

The excuses offered by the White House have been little more than variants of “The dog ate my homework.”

All bullshit.

The response has been just as stupid and ugly — offering Congressional Republicans a briefing first, allowing them to coordinate a response to cover the White House’s wretchedness.

But here’s the rub: nothing Trump, his evil minions in the White House, his useless family, his political party can do will explain away the lack of interest in protecting national security.

Because while the intelligence about the Russian bounties lay around collecting dust, at the very same goddamned time, Trump and his minions were busy working on developing a quid pro quo aimed at Ukraine.

Trump spent more time focused on using the power of the executive office to shake down Ukraine, harassing faithful federal employees like former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, in order to get himself re-elected to the job he refuses to do.

He put more effort into a couple of phone calls to Ukraine’s president.

More effort into halting shipments of arms to Ukraine.

More effort bitching about a whistleblower.

And zero effort into addressing his buddy Putin’s bounties on U.S. troops.

Donald J. Trump is a threat to this nation because he cannot and will not do anything to protect this country unless it’s about him.

More than 130,000 Americans have now died because of this immutable truth: 3000 Puerto Rican Americans, an untold number of American troops, and at least 128,000 COVID-19 victims are dead because Trump is absolutely useless for anything but golf and grifting from taxpayers.

He is unfit for the office of the presidency.

He must be removed from office.

~ ~ ~

But Trump is not the only failure. Every GOP senator who voted not to convict him this January is responsible for this debacle. American blood is on their hands having enabled Trump’s continuing incompetence and malignance because they were worried about him tweeting mean things at them.

They should be worried about their asses meeting the wrath of the American public.

We can start by demanding better of the GOP senators who we will be forced to live with for another two to four years. Find out where they stand on Trump’s failure to protect the troops.

And if one of the following senators up for re-election is your senator, vote them out of office. Vote for a Democrat to replace the two open seats because no matter who wins the White House, we need a veto-proof majority in the Senate to fix this mess.

Senator First Name Party State
Ernst Joni R IA
Perdue David R GA
Sasse Ben R NE
Cotton Tom R AR
Daines Steve R MT
Rounds Mike R SD
Cornyn John R TX
Enzi Mike R WY
Inhofe James R OK
Cassidy Bill R LA
McConnell Mitch R KY
Risch Jim R ID
Sullivan Dan R AK
Tillis Thom R NC
Gardner Cory R CO
Graham Lindsey R SC
Capito Shelley Moore R WV
Collins Susan R ME
Hyde-Smith (1) Cindy R MS
McSally (2) Martha R AZ
Loeffler (3) Kelly Lynn R GA
Roberts (4) Pat R KS
Alexander (5) Lamar R TN

(1) Appointed to fill Thad Cochran’s seat, expected to run in 2020
(2) Appointed to fill John McCain’s seat, running in 2020
(3) Appointed to fill Johnny Isakson’s seat, running in 2020
(4) Retiring in 2020. Seat open.
(5) Retiring in 2020. Seat open.

286 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Wear a mask. You need to save your own life and that of friends and loved ones by doing so because you can’t count on Trump or the GOP to do so.

    • Duke says:

      Thanks for drilling down to what is the easiest and most direct way to deal with life in these times.

      • Mr. Chip says:

        Starting next week everyone is coming back into the office where I work. We have steady numbers that are low because nobody comes here (Nebraska) but only 10% of the people will be wearing masks. I am not a happy camper.

        • Summertime Blues says:

          Please understand you have to do more than wear a mask. Risk mitigation is they key. I suspect everyone here understands Covid-19 is primarily spread through droplet transmission which a mask will mitigate.

          The virus can also be spread by contact with contaminated surfaces such as door handles, faucet handles etc. -anything that shares touch by other individuals can be transmitted via mucous membranes such as the eyes and nose. Proper hygiene is also important. The CDC and World health organization are resources, That’s a full 20 second wash with soap and water or hand sanitizer if you’re away from home.

          Exposure is also related to the density of people per square foot. The current positive rate for the state of Texas is around 14% with around 5-7k new cases per day. This is an aggregate number. The area you live in will vary but you should consider anyone you come in contact with a source of infection and act accordingly. If you can shop during off hours, avoid crowded markets, buy in a manner that reduces the number of trips you make per month.

          I was asked in response to a post further down about the use of field hospitals. At some point they might be used for triage, but fundamentally hospitals are a nexus of personnel, medical resources such as oxygen, medicines, equipment, food, sanitation etc.and as such they pretty well dictate use of larger facilities such as convention centers that have the underlying infrastructure to cohort patients. New York had such a facility, Houston has one that may have to be used, and if public health officials in your area don’t have similar contingencies for doing the same they’re negligent. Sadly rural communities have less resources and providing care will be very difficult.

          Be smart about where you go and what you do. Living fearfully is not the answer, but rather being clear-headed and mitigating your risk factors.

          • Rayne says:

            Thank you for sharing this. Most folks here have read/heard much of the infection control advice but a reminder is necessary — especially valuable from a health care professional — when we are likely to slip into quarantine fatigue.

            When the Metro area’s hospitals were swamped, Detroit area opened a field hospital on April 10 at the height of Michigan’s first COVID-19 wave; it May 7 after treating only treated 39 patients. But the reason for the brief opening and few patients is that Michigan’s Stay Home order was observed and it worked, in spite of the jackasses who protested the order issued March 23.

            Observing the infection control protocols you cited make all the difference between needing and not needing a field hospital. Thanks again.

          • CCM says:

            Yes, yes! Mask plus hand hygiene plus social distancing. Sorry for the Captain Obvious, I sound like a broken record.

          • Yancy says:

            I live in rural Florida. Residents of areas like mine are used to serious cases, whether trauma or illness, being transferred out of the local area, usually Gainesville & UF Shands, sometimes Jacksonville & Mayo Clinic, Baptist Medical, etc.
            Both are an hour away and it’s a real hardship, especially for visitors, but we’re used to it.
            We currently have a dozen or so COVID19 patients hospitalized. None are patients in our local hospital (which says it has 3-4 ICU beds. Total. All the time.)

  2. mr.pennell says:

    I feel ya, Rayne. This has me so angry and disgusted which, piled on top of my heap of anxiety from the hellscape we find ourselves in, leaves sleep feeling like that former lover that went out for a paper and never came back.

    I’m in NC and I’ve called, written, and tweeted at Senators Burr and Tillis. I got a live voice when I called Tillis’s office but all they could tell me was that the Senator hadn’t released a comment yet (this was yesterday morning) but was working on something with his DC staff. I guess that was this weak sauce tweet:

    Burr is still lying low.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for sharing this feedback. I will put up a post later today to collect replies from GOP senator since they have control over Trump’s remaining tenure. If you hear anything new from Tillis or Burr I’d be glad to know about it.

    • Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

      Fellow 11th district North Carolinian. We write and call Tillis and Burr’s offices all the bloody time. More often than not Burr’s line goes straight to voicemail or the mailbox is full. Tillis’ office answers; the hub says Tillis’ phones are staffed by “arrogant little pricks.”

      And we have no representation in the House, now that Mark Meadows has done and gone to the White House (I almost said Big House. From my lips to God’s ears). How can it be that we have no one in the House to represent us-since his resignation 3 months ago?!

      Office of the Eleventh Congressional District of North Carolina
      Formerly the Office of Representative Mark Meadows

      The Washington, DC, office and the district office of former Representative Mark Meadows will continue to serve the people of the Eleventh Congressional District of North Carolina under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Representative Meadows resigned from the 116th Congress on March 30, 2020.

      The Interim Vacant Office Status
      By federal law and the Rules of the House of Representatives, the employees of the former Representative continue to staff the offices of the congressional district under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. This interim vacant status continues until a new Representative is elected to fill the unexpired term. Currently, the congressional district does not have voting representation. Although the scope of the vacant congressional office is limited, constituents of the district are invited to contact this interim office for information and assistance as indicated below.

      • bmaz says:

        Hi there folks in NC-11, just so you know, Mo Davis is a friend of mine and Marcy’s and is a great guy. Give him some help!

        • Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

          Yes!! WE recently read about him. He sounds like the real deal versus his beefcake GOP opponent with the improbable name of Madison Cawthorn. The hub just read the local paper’s blurb about the 24 year old’s primary win. Brah talked about the GOP’s need for “better packaging . . . better marketing.”

          We’ll reach out to Moe Davis’ office. Thank you all, you’re doing God’s work.

          • Sonso says:

            Cawthorne is a softer, tear-jerking version of Hitler youth. Don’t be fooled by ‘lack of age’; sad.

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks for sharing your experience with your senators. Have you tried contacting their in-state offices or only those in DC through the switchboard? I am wondering if the in-state staffers are as obnoxious as the DC ones.

  3. Mitch Neher says:

    You might not want to hear this, but, technically speaking, ineptitude is a permissible defense (for troops) against a charge of dereliction of duty. But I doubt that cowardice qualifies as ineptitude. And I don’t know whether the president is subject to military law, anyhow.

    But, yeah, it’s way past time for Trump to just go away and stop bothering people. If he won’t (or can’t) take himself off the stage, and if his party won’t (or can’t) take him off the stage, either, then it’s up to the people to vote Trump out along with all of his Republican accomplices.

    Putin could not have put us into this predicament without help from a fair number our fellow Americans. It’s only fair that those Americans should redeem themselves by pointing their fingers at Trump and saying, “You’re fired ™”.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      We’re talking about the most senior political, military, and intelligence figures in the United States, not some PFC. At this point, the solutions are all political, largely, vote-the-bum-out. (We should be ready, though, for the likely endless stream of litigation Trump will launch when he loses – it’s his thing.)

      As for Putin, he didn’t put the US in this predicament, we did. Mostly Trump, of course, and his direct “advisers,” but also virtually the entire GOP, which has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of TrumpWorld.

      • Pajaro says:

        I agree, we did this, largely the GOP with their win-at-all-costs mentality and the corporate wing of the Democrats. Russia, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Royals, and who knows who else just exploited opportunity when they saw it. This amplifies the tragedy. It will be hard to right this ship with the Citizens United decision. We have to get dark money out of the elections.

        • Kristin Gosney says:

          I agree. The Dems need to be already working on campaign finance reform so they can push it through in the first year of being able to push anything through. Most systemic corrupt and bad faith issues with policy and politicians will not change unless campaign financing changes.

    • Rayne says:

      You know what? Fuck ineptitude. When Trump has demonstrated a consistent pattern of ignoring the experts or pointedly doing the opposite recommended by experts, it’s not ineptitude but bad faith and malfeasance.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If I read Rayne correctly, something I’m not known to do, her take is that Trump’s is intentional conduct, not negligent or even done with reckless disregard.

        Actively not knowing something is no excuse, if you have an affirmative obligation to know and to do something about it. As C-in-C, Trump has both obligations. That’s especially true if the details are well-documented and sitting in front of you, and half a dozen staff are prepared to say they told you. Letting it go in one ear and out the other might work if you own your own bidness – six bankruptcies would suggest not – but it’s no excuse for the President of the United States.

          • vvv says:

            A/k/a, “willful and wanton” conduct.

            But, I really think there’s a lot of colorable *mens rea* at times.

        • Rayne says:

          That, exactly. The man campaigned for the job of president which includes C-in-C. When numerous members of the administration actively bring actionable intelligence to the president, he makes an active choice.

          • Savage Librarian says:

            One unintended consequence of this lack of action is that SCOTUS might now rule to release DT’s taxes, according to Neal Katyal. He thinks it might happen this week or within a couple of weeks.

            • milestogo says:

              I saw Neal’s segment as well. It seems a stretch to think that this incident would cause them to revise a decision that must be either in progress or near complete. But I have no insight into the inner negotiations of the SC. It is interesting that the decision is one of the last to be announced.

      • Raven Eye says:

        There is a point where actions change from “negligence” to “misconduct”. That’s where we are — and have been for too long.

        Woke 2020.

      • Mitch Neher says:

        I am not opposed to agreeing with you.

        Even so, I think Trump is being a coward, again, because Putin really does have some kind of kompromat on “The Lone Fixer” [as Trump infamously crowed about himself. (Is that The William Tell Overture I hear?)]

        • Tom says:

          I realize this idea sounds simple-minded, but I wonder if Putin’s hold over Trump is due to his having threatened harm to Ivanka in some way. I’m not sure how Putin would get his message across but it would be a brutally effective way of gaining influence over the President.

          • Mitch Neher says:

            I have no idea. Except that I hate feeling sorry for any of the Trumps.

            I reserve my pity for the Secret Service, instead.

          • CCM says:

            Every meeting with the Russians referenced in the Mueller Report, he has documents with all the details of what was discussed and agreed to. He can release the documents, of course by indirect means, anytime he wants. Leverage.

            • Mitch Neher says:

              Yes, but . . . the Kremlin has a history of fabricating evidence to frame people.

              So how would Putin authenticate whatever evidence he’s holding over Trump?

          • milestogo says:

            Were I president and Putin threatened my daughter, instead of capitulating, I would bring the full force of the American military and intelligence apparatus down on him including making the threat public. Whateve Putin has on him, I doubt it’s assasination related.

        • John Lehman says:

          Where does the Lone Ranger take his trash?

          To da dump, to da dump, to da dump, dump, dump
          To da dump, to da dump, to da dump, dump, dump
          Hi Ho Silver !

          Couldn’t resist.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    When an issue like the Russian bounty pops up, briefers know it needs to be covered. They don’t just put it on a list of things to be aware of or worry about. They frame it with options for what to do about it, and the pluses and minuses of each option. Like coffin and tire sales people, briefers structure that list with their preferred option looking like a reasonable compromise between extremes.

    Everyone still in Trump’s White House would have known how hypersensitive he is about issues critical of Russia and Putin. They knew Trump hates to read – except when it’s about him – so they would have talked about it, too. They would have known that Trump’s reaction would have been to deny, to denigrate evidence, to do nothing. Normally, they would let that sink in, then raise concerns that this intel was not exclusive to the Americans, it was hot and might well leak, so the WH should have a response ready, not just for the Russians, but for the UK, the press, and so on.

    Admittedly, Trump’s staff are probably all victims of Stockholm Syndrome by now. Those professional enough to do their jobs – and to insist gracefully that we should be prepared – are probably long gone or were never hired. That means that Trump’s top advisers are equally implicated in his incompetence, Russian coddling, and dereliction of duty. First and foremost, that would include the Chief of Staff, the SecDef and SecState, then any senior military involved in the briefings; the NSA; the DNI; and the CIA director. They’re all part of this shitshow.

    • BobCon says:

      I’d said before this is all a dodge based on a silly narrow reading of the meaning of being briefed, and I agree that it would have been talked about with him. What the exact method of the sidebar is unclear, for now.

      I’m curious if the Carl Bernstein article you referenced down a bit regarding foreign leader phone calls is going to intersect with this ridiculous episode. Since British troops were targeted, what are the odds Trump talked to Johnson about it while sitting in a golf cart? Or for that matter Putin or Erdogan?

      Since national security officials are aware of most of these transcripts of Trump’s calls, the odds are overwhelming that they would try to address issues from the calls in followup talks that aren’t technically briefings.

      Bernstein can be sensationalist on points sometimes, and the breathless quote about senior GOP being shocked if they knew the details seems a stretch — they have no ability to be shocked. But I have to agree that the details of many of these calls are objectively awful, and I think they may well intersect with the bounties.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        McConnell and his cronies would be about as shocked at anything Trump does as Capt. Renault, receiving his gambling winnings.

        • BobCon says:

          Yes, they’ve been seeing this kind of stuff on Trump since before the 2016 election.

          I don’t think Trump is any kind of genius, but he’s known for decades once someone is a little compromised, they can be bullied into full compromise, if they’re not already along for the ride.

        • blueedredcounty says:

          Isn’t it really bad form to surprise your co-conspirators?

          I believe he has kept them fully informed at all times. I’m also sure he has followed the long-established formulas the mob uses to divide the ill-gotten gains among the participants.

  5. Rugger9 says:

    It appears Bolton’s latest bombshell has some legs and some independent confirmation. It will kick in all of the feral instincts that DJT has in abundance, and as I noted earlier, the Ratcliffe DNI statement gives license to AG Barr to go hunting for witches, and depending upon the unrest generated by this news may be used as justification to delay or bypass the election no matter how invalid that concept is. Let’s see how the upcoming rallies go, noting that I would expect bad receptions at the military stops even though that was LBJ’s last refuge when Vietnam was collapsing his administration.

    Vidkun couldn’t have done as well for Adolf as DJT has done for Putin (and the AUMF enemy Taliban). Time for KQ, yet? The only thing missing are Brownshirts and CBP seems to fill that role.

  6. Vicks says:

    Chris Stewart who was briefed yesterday, was on CNN last night claiming that this information was also presented in the same printed format to Nancy, Schiff and other members of Congress.
    Here are several of his talking points that I would assume were rolled out in the briefing.

    “We don’t know, intel goes back a few years, level of confidence said it was a possibility,
    hundreds, maybe thousands of cases like this, we need to know if it’s true before we confront nations,
    it’s really an “executive” daily brief it’s not just for the president. Cabinet secretaries get it and many of the senior people in Congress get it, it could be 40-60 pages on a daily bases. A couple of times a week they create a few pages from that and brief the president with it.
    No one else who gets the daily briefing, including Nancy and Schiff picked it out either.
    No president has ever claimed to sit down and read the entire daily brief and it never reached the credibility to make it to the short list given to the president.”

    This seemed to shut down the topic for CNN for the rest of the evening, but they are back again this am discussing the topic.
    If it’s true the information was available to others who didn’t pick up on it either, it changes the story quite a bit.
    It should be easy enough to verify these claims, I’m not seeing anything yet

    • Rugger9 says:

      There are a couple of assumptions you’re making that do not appear to be supported by facts.

      Normally, the Gang of Eight would have been briefed from the beginning, but even yesterday the WH only discussed this with the GOP, not the Ds, and this continues a pattern from the very beginning (inauguration investigations) that the Ds are shut out of any knowledge, especially stuff that could hurt the WH and DJT’s ego. Given that we are talking about this particular WH, I would believe Pelosi when she says they were not briefed.

      Note also that if a briefing did occur it would be TS-SCI with a WH only too willing to go after any release by the Ds in a criminal manner. The administration is an ant-heap of vindictive twerps and would consider D prosecutions as a plus in DJT’s WH. The Ds understand security, which is why the leaks keep coming from the Rs.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Apparently there was a very brief briefing today (the shortness of it was worth remarking about) and the Ds said there was no question the bounties were being done.

        Only the hopeless MAGA types will ignore this, because as EoH noted below, the CinC’s first job is to protect the troops sent into harm’s way. Everyone else understands this.

    • Vicks says:

      If your comment was intended for me, I made no assumptions, these were the words of a Republican that was part of yesterday’s briefing.
      I do not know if an article describing Russian paying members of the Taliban to kill American soldiers was included in a 40-60 page daily briefing packet that was given to multiple high ranking members of Congress.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Little nugget from EW about how foreign dictators bypass Trump’s already weak staff. He takes phone calls from them while on the golf course, and delays play while he engages in lengthy small talk.

    That suits Trump’s ego – “They sought me out while I was golfing! I must be important.” But, normal heads of state tightly schedule their day’s work. Any call with the America president would be about something very important to that foreign head of state. So this example is just Erdogan gaming the system, avoiding American interpreters, issues and area experts, and political advisers – who normally listen in and record every call like that.

    Lord knows what phone Trump used, whether it was a staff member’s or some burner an aide bought a carton of at CVS. But the smallest problem this illustrates is how universally Trump violates the Presidential Records Act. The list of statutory reforms Congress will need to address grows by the press leak.

    • Pajaro says:

      Those golf course calls; likely the NSA panopticon has the recording of all of these. Just will those ever see the light of day? Abundant evidence in the vaults, but the spooks don’t like playing the public courts and informed electorate game.

      • BobCon says:

        The article referenced automatically generated transcripts of the calls.

        There is a reference to their being protected by executive privilege, but I’d be surprised if that blocked a future president from ordering an examination and even release on national security grounds if they were deemed truly dire.

        Practically speaking, I’m sure they’d have to be truly dire and not able to be summaruzed by other means — the article hints at testimony by witnesses, for example.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Whatever the NSA’s doing, it would not be the president fully and faithfully enforcing the law or complying with his own legal obligations. Nor would his attempt to hide his presidential conduct behind NDAs. Government employees, paid or unpaid, owe their duty to the Constitution and the USG, not to Trump personally. Presidential records are public documents, not his personal property. I have no doubt, though, that Trump and his estate will fight that for decades. But it’s one of a long list of suits he should lose, and one of many statutes Congress should beef up.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A normal attribute of a competent government is knowing what your own head of state says to a foreign head of state, in real time, so that a plethora of policies and actions can be coordinated. And so a president can’t be forced into a position because he can’t prove he did or didn’t promise something. Govt is an aircraft carrier in its size and complexity. Trump mishandles it like a drunk on a Jet Ski.

      • MB says:

        A drunk and his jet ski are soon parted.

        (There’s a reality TV show called “Below Deck” – pretty atrocious show actually. I saw one episode where a rich dude rents a luxury charter boat, complete with captain and crew, so he can throw a super-expensive birthday party for his wife and her gaggle of girlfriends. One of the perks of the boat rental was the availability of jet skis for the passengers. During the birthday weekend, the aforesaid rich guy gets stinking drunk and goes out on a jet ski excursion, and the bulk of the episode was the hired captain trying to get the rich guy off the jet ski before he kills himself or someone else, not to mention insurance liabilities. Of course, being a reality TV show, it really happened and it was filmed. Nobody got killed, thank god.)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Gee, I wonder if that hour and a half golf course call between Trump and Erdogan was about the Halkbank prosecution in SDNY.

  8. Spencer Dawkins says:

    Rayne, thank you for the work you do. Remember that taking the day off because of newscycle poisoning is an option – some of us have to do that, and we’re only reading it, not trying to explain it. We’ll still be here when you recover enough to write about it, and it’s unlikely that anything that keeps you up at night will just go away within 24 hours.

    But, again, thank you for the work you do, and a “list of three” with only one topic might be all that WE can handle.

  9. Parker Dooley says:

    Not to excuse Soviet/Russian behavior ( I like their humor and literature, but not politics), but wasn’t that what we did in “Charley Wilson’s War”? Of course we paid wholesale for Russian casualties while Putin apparently pays retail for ours. And weren’t the CCCP trying to eliminate the Taliban, which appears to be our goal now (unless they are our buddies today — I just can’t keep track).

    Yes, Putin is a nasty piece of work, but this looks like payback.

    I can’t think of one good reason why we are involved in this bloody mess in the first place, but I’m old and maybe my memory isn’t what it used to be. But I don’t think that is on the Orange monster’s account.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      All well and good as a broader discussion. But the presenting issue is that when the C-in-C sends his troops into harm’s way, he has an affirmative duty to protect them. He violates that duty when he allows his foreign patron and BFF to paint targets on their backs.

    • Rayne says:

      Your memory is failing you if you didn’t grasp what Putin learned from “Charlie Wilson’s war.”

      Ronald Reagan openly supported “Afghan freedom fighters” in Afghanistan to bog the USSR down, contributing to its eventual demise by economic failure.

      Do you think the Soviets just ignored the U.S. support and treated it like it didn’t exist?

      Do you think the U.S. should ignore what the results of the USSR’s incursion into Afghanistan did to its own national security by depleting military resources?

      We’re not going to get the fuck out of Afghanistan if we are pinned down by Russian-paid Taliban. We’ll end up drained like the former USSR.

      So will the rest of the NATO coalition if they are also targeted and/or collateral damage. And that’s very much a reason why the U.S. should have responded to Russia by saying 1) Butt. The. Fuck. Out, and 2) there will be a penalty if you don’t.

      • Parker Dooley says:

        Rayne, my point was that the Russians are trying to do to us exactly what we did to them — keep us in a war we can’t win at any acceptable cost until we are drained and ultimately destroyed. So why cant we *just leave*? Multiple answers to that question proposed by other commenters — oil, opium, domestic politics, minerals,etc. Is any of those things worth it?

        • bmaz says:

          This is the false and bogus Greenwaldian argument; i.e. every sin of the US in the past means we cannot protect ourselves now. It is a crock of shit. And, yes, at some point global security and US security is worth it. Why do “you” not think it is? “Isn’t that what we once did blah, blah, blah?” Please spare me.

          • Parker Dooley says:

            Bmaz, I am curious why you put “you” in quotes. I am an actual person and am not afraid to use my actual name in my posts. Do you have any actual solution to this catastrophe other than more bombs, bribes and bluster?

        • Rayne says:

          Dude, really? You think the moral and ethical thing is to just pack your suitcase and leave after making a total fucking mess of the place you’ve visited for nearly two decades? You think you’ll escape with your ass intact if you do that?

          I don’t give a shit about the resources there. They aren’t ours. I worry that without a working government in place which can cooperate with the Taliban the chaos will spill over. That working government is key to a peaceful exit without a barrage of attacks which would kill even more troops, allies, contractors, and civilians.

          You need to ask yourself why Russia wouldn’t see the lack of a working government as a problem given their proximity. Of course they don’t exactly have a long history of working government themselves.

          • Parker Dooley says:

            Rayne, I have no idea what the least worst action would be here. But what “we” or those acting in our name have been doing for the last 20 years sure as hell isn’t working.

        • Donna says:

          The mountains in northern Afghanistan are full of rare earth minerals. So was Greenland. One F-35 requires approximately 2 tons to build. They are also used for many other military applications. So, yes, minerals that are not abundant in the US.

    • madwand says:

      Actually according to a book recommended here, “In the Land of Bones” one finds out Brezhnev thought the Russian invasion of Afghanistan would be over in 6 weeks. 10 years later and minus 118 jets and 333 helicopters, which amounts to a lot of dead Russians, the Russians, as the British had, withdrew and Brezinski was able to crow about the Afghan Trap. The book offers the theory we have to go back to Alexander to get the real feel for Afghanistan to understand the dilemmas we face today.

      Apparently even Alexander surged, just like Obama, and the result was pretty much the same. In Afghanistan you are just passing through like Chinngus Khan, Tamurlane, and Babur where wholesale slaughter was norm, but they knew better than to stay.

      Indeed the recipe for ruin in Afghanistan was
      1. Estimate the times and resources necessary to conquer and control the region.
      2. Double all estimates.
      3. Repeat as necessary.

      Then two exit strategies

      1. Withdraw after significant losses as the British and Russians did.
      2. Leave an army of occupation as Alexander did.

      One would have to ask, what strategy are we pursuing? If we are going to get upset at US service members being killed by paid proxies, then we have to ask, why are we there in the first place and what are we trying to accomplish, and why is this worth American treasure and lives. Only by articulating a grand strategy can we understand what is going on. That grand strategy remains a mystery and explains why most Americans still barely know Afghanistan exists.

      To be sure, from a military standpoint the bases in Afghanistan envelope Iran or one side and China or the other. But you will go far to find that articulated.

      • viget says:

        Why are we there? One word — opium. Think about the war on drugs and devastation the opioid crisis has caused. Then think about the massive amount of money such an operation can make… Almost as profitable as hydrocarbons… almost.

          • Rugger9 says:

            Mostly the Great Game is about where Afghanistan is than anything in particular inside of it. Lots of trade routes, access to India, China, Russia and the other ‘stans.

            • bmaz says:

              My bet is, within this game, as depressing as it is, Trump could not find Afghanistan on the latest Replogle globe if his obese ass depended on it.

              • P J Evans says:

                Pretty sure he’d have trouble finding Florida on a globe.
                (I grew up with one of the free-motion kind, where it sat in a little dish and you could turn it however you needed.)

                • Savage Librarian says:

                  I have a globe that I’ve kept in the kitchen for the past 10 years. It comes in handy from time to time. But I guess it’s outdated now. Still, it gives a general sense of things.

                  • P J Evans says:

                    The one I grew up with had shipping routes. As in actual ships. It was fine for finding cities and rivers, not so good for countries – but even good atlases can’t always keep up.

                    • Geoguy says:

                      PJ, did yours have an Analemma? I bought a globe for my kid when she was growing up. It included updates that were stickers to be pasted on as borders changed.

                    • P J Evans says:

                      ISTR that it did. Can’t remember if they stuck it in the Pacific or in the South Atlantic.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                How about one of those large spinning globes French police inspectors keep in their offices, then lean on?

        • Sonso says:

          And yet, there is a worldwide shortage of morphine. Big pHarma does not want a cheap, natural product when they’ve got millions of doses of synthetic opioids to move.

      • blueedredcounty says:

        I may not be remembering this correctly, but I thought the main reason for the current presence in Afghanistan was publicly stated to be (originally) to go after Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban. But the true reason was to focus on controlling the western portion of Afghanistan to provide stability and protection for a natural gas pipeline.

        Unsure which of Cheney’s buddies from the industry were the beneficiaries of the US-military-provided protection. I did a quick Google check just now and found references to more than just a natural gas pipeline in the region, though.

        • madwand says:

          You would be correct in that as I understand it OBL and TAPI were both referenced back then. TAPI was a project originating in the early 1990s and as of this writing is not completed though construction continues and Afghanistan stability is the main problem. Of course OBL was assassinated in 2011 and the pipeline as always is a behind the scenes motivator. So my earlier question about articulating a strategy remains. Why are we still there? What is the Grand Strategy? What are we trying to accomplish? If wars are fought as an extension of politics (Clauswitz) what politics apply here.

          Incidentally Trump articulated mineral deposits as a possible motivator a couple of years ago. It should be easy to see if Brezinski’s strategy of the Afghan Trap, essentially to give Russia its own Vietnam, was valid then why wouldn’t it be valid if Russia pursued it today against us? Remember, because of nuclear strategy, great powers avoid direct confrontation by necessity but that doesn’t prohibit confrontations by proxy or even operations at levels less than those that would require a nuclear response. A good for instance is Ukraine, Putin knew the US would not respond at a nuclear level if he took Crimea, and that NATO would not respond at that level either, and he was correct in those assumptions.

          So Parker above has a point. Other than the Pottery Barn rule, if you break it, you own it, as Rayne points out, the moral side of the equation, pouring resources and men down a rabbit hole that is not getting rid of the rabbits is in the end a failing strategy. So we have recognized that, we can’t win and so we negotiate. We are somewhere in-between withdraw completely and occupy the country, neither palatable options. That is great as far as Putin is concerned. He wins if we withdraw and if we stay and are weakened over time by the length of the conflict and the lack of results we have produced over that time. We are in the same Afghan Trap that Brezinki recognized and articulated back in 1979, only now it applies to us.

          • Rayne says:

            The message is pretty straightforward: We want the fuck out. Exit depends on working government to assure safe withdrawal.

            It’s that simple if not easy. We don’t want another fall of Saigon scenario, capisce?

            I really don’t know why this is so goddamned hard to grasp.

            P.S. Don’t put words in my mouth. It’s not the Pottery Barn Rule — it’s getting out without losing any more of your ass after losing such a huge chunk busting up the joint.

            P.P.S. Didn’t our exit from Syria abandoning the Kurds offer a more recent lesson about rushing for the door?

            • madwand says:

              The difference between you and me is I think we are already there, the fall of Saigon will occur once again only it will be Kabul this time. I think we are past that point where anything we do will keep a government friendly to us in power after we leave, assuming we do, the Taliban are going to be allowed to control large parts of the country, they are going to be allowed to survive. Do you honestly think they will honor those agreements if they are accepting bounties to kill US service members? I’m not trying to look at the issue emotionally, if history is worth looking at then the situation in Afghanistan for the US is looking more and more like Vietnam every day. You may not like that assessment, and that is your prerogative. BTW my senators have not responded.

              • Rayne says:

                I know you haven’t looked at a map outlining control of the country. The Taliban will continue to exist and control a third of the country upon our exit, another third will be under governmental control assuming the two factions can pull their testosterone-poisoned heads out of their asses, and another third is up for grabs.

                None of that is on us. The only thing on us is getting the U.S.-led coalition out safely. And as long as Russia is fucking us by paying rogue portions of the Taliban to attack the U.S.+UK, safe extraction is delayed.

                If the Taliban wants their pie and then some, they need to exert some discipline on their own team. In case you haven’t been reading closely enough, Russia’s bounties are also fucking with the Taliban. Like a billion dollars to Afghanistan in aid already yanked, some of which could have been lining their pockets.

                I’m done with you in this thread.

          • vvv says:

            “Of course OBL was assassinated ….”

            Definition of assassinate
            transitive verb
            1: to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons

            Did you intend that meaning?

  10. Savage Librarian says:

    Thanks, Rayne. I’m going outside to whack some weeds. Maybe I’ll find some inspiration. Looking forward to November when it looks like some of the GOP tapeworms and toxic toads might finally be expelled, as they so richly deserve. But, of course, we deserve them gone far more.

  11. Nehoa says:

    Thanks Rayne. Your bottom line is absolutely correct. Trump needs to go…now. Until McConnell steps up to do the right thing, Democrats at the federal and state level need to form a shadow government to inform people about what can be done with a responsible group in charge. Maybe persuade a few GOPers with a vestigial backbone to participate as well.

    • Hannah says:

      McConnell never does the right thing. He does what works best for him. And as usual… the people in Kentucky still vote for him. Over 322 thousand in the last primary, they are still counting the votes.

  12. gmoke says:

    Every time somebody pins their hopes on the November election to remove Trmp I remind myself that we have to make sure those votes are counted openly, honestly, and verifiably. Now I’m reminding you. Vote, yes, but do something NOW to make sure the vote in November is open, honest, and verifiable. Please. I gave some of the $$$ the Feds sent me for being a taxpayer to the Brennan Center for voting integrity and intend to do more.

    Personally, I believe there hasn’t been a legally elected Republican President since Eisenhower and have my doubts about JFK in 1960 as well. Vote but please protect your vote (and ours too) NOW. I would like to see an honest Presidential election again before I die.

  13. Hannah says:

    Let’s just believe (only for a second) that the criminal-in-chief really knew nothing and was really not briefed about anything….. (just thinking…), he only learned about that on Friday about the matter through reports in the media, let’s even call it allegations…..

    So…. what would a responsible and real President do now? Would he drop everything he was doing, calling all intel people and whoever else is needed into the office and tell them to find out what is going on and if these rumors are true?

    Or would he just go to the golf court as if nothing happend? Well, here we are.

    Now we learn that he most certainly knew about that matter more than a year ago.
    And that dumb so called Press Secretary is defending that criminal that he didn’t know anything and of course didn’t do anything so far because he still is not briefed. Hello? This is hurting our intelligence. Did they not notice yet that we are not stupid?

    You wanna know what Chuck Grassley said? “Trump should be re-elected if for no other reason than he is the first Pres to challenge China over their unfair trade practices”. That wisdom can be found on his twitter account.

    Every morning I am sure that the day will even be more horrible than the day before. And I am always right.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Chuck Grassley is long past his sell-by date. He should not be re-elected. If you wanted a test for senility, his explanation of Trump’s conduct would establish it. More cynically, it would establish that Grassley will say anything, tell any lie, to support Trump, regardless of what he does. Is that what we want in from a senior public employee?

      • Rayne says:

        Sadly, Grassley is not up for re-election in 2020. He’s in the Class III group which means he’s up for re-election in 2022.

        He’s 87 years old. Grassley needs to catch the cluestick and retire.

          • Rayne says:

            Considering the possibility of a lurch to the right in 2022 after a Democratic president is elected, and considering who Iowans picked in the primary to replace white supremacist Steve King, it’s possible Grassley could be primaried from the right within his own party.

            Play Jenga with that for a while — it’s grim. Grassley still needs to go, though.

            • Eureka says:

              Which reminds me of this Laura Ingraham tweet *and the flock’s replies* from yesterday, fairly harrowing. She’s ~Coultering Trump, telling him that his endorsements are not “conservative” (sic) enough, i.e., Murdoch’s cultivating the audience towards Qanoners in office; the influencables are prizing chaos. What nice putty for his oligarchs to work with. Perhaps we should call this Tea-replacement, the Absinthe Party:

              Laura Ingraham: “Another conservative anti-cheap foreign labor warrior defeats a Trump endorsed incumbent. Time to get the message. This one in Colorado. [link]”

              Context from sane people about the candidate Ingraham cheers:

              Charles P. Pierce: “Holy batshit, Batman. This Lauren Boebert woman out in Colorado who beat Scott Tipton in the 3d CD Republican primary is about 15 bulbs short of a chandelier. She’s a Q Anon enthusiast, and runs an open-carry cafe — which is an actual thing. Good lord.”

              Matthew Chapman:: “In case you’re wondering, this Lauren Boebert woman who just beat the GOP incumbent in the #CO03 primary is completely fucking insane. She owns a BBQ restaurant full of guns that was fined for defying COVID orders. She has also spoken admirably of QAnon and the Branch Davidians.”

  14. Molly Pitcher says:

    from the NYT:

    “American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, which was among the evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to three officials familiar with the intelligence.”

    126 days till Election Day.

  15. FL Resister says:

    Okay, so what if Trump resigns and Pence pardons him for being Individual One? I don’t see how one pardon could encompass all of Trump’s and his administration’s crimes. The thumb drives are hopefully loading as we shelter in our homes. I just don’t see how one pardon is going to do it for Trump and why else would he resign? His life has always been a hellhole. Is Mary Trump on the best seller list yet? Fascinating that a PhD psychologist has been on the inside all of these years.

    We are going through multiple simultaneous national crises.
    The Republican failure to acknowledge the problem has allowed escalation, now exponential. Perhaps sitting through the Senate impeachment hearings left an impression on Chief Justice John Roberts. And it’s likely that our military leaders see Trump for what he is. Trump’s use of Pentagon funds for his vanity projects, our troops for his frivolities, his damaging actions in Crimea, Syria, and South Korea were just warm ups to inviting Putin back into to the G7 after learning about the bounty on our troops. What will Esper do? I think we are certain McConnell stays the course. It’s delicate work. Will the intelligence community ever admit the depth of this crisis?
    Thanks Marcy and Crew for your direction. We need you.
    The Trumptanic is going down; unfortunately, we’re also on it.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, yes, it could. The pardon simply reads “as to any and all crimes against the United States”. It not only can be done it is blindingly easy.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Absolutely. A global pardon is much easier to write than one pardoning a specific set of crimes. “I pardon everything you did or could have done in violation of federal law on or before noon today.”

        I don’t think Trump’s ego could withstand even a tactical resignation of the kind you suggest, so that Pence could pardon him. For one thing, Trump would have to rely on Pence keeping his promise, something he himself rarely does. He would obsess over the potential for last-minute extortion, despite it probably being far beyond Pence’s authoritarian follower personality to engage in.

        Pence, of course, would be an idiot to do it. He would substitute his own jeopardy over an obstruction charge for Trump’s. But no one would accuse either of these clowns of being smart. Trump, though, is probably obsessing about issuing himself a pardon, creating multiple legal conundrums that would tie up the courts for years. He so loves to be the first at everything.

        • BobCon says:

          What are the odds the whole issue is set aside when a few months out of office he commits some major federal crime? — maybe forgetting he no longer has the authority to reveal top secret information on a whim.

          I could see him tweeting covert operations, names of agents, sources and methods….

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Rudy G. will defend Trump, saying, “He was just kidding. He’s a big practical joker.” Indeed, everything about him is a joke.

          • Alan Charbonneau says:

            People often point out that the pardon power doesn’t include crimes committed under state law. But I’ve often thought another problem for Trump is that it doesn’t include future crimes. He will certainly commit some of those. Criminals almost never change.

            My brother was a deputy in the LA County Sheriff’s dept. He spent many years working the jails. He told me about working a patrol car while he was working at LA County jail. I asked him about why they had a patrol car at the jail. He said the convicts would get out on bail and try to steal cars from the jail parking lot! It seems impossibly stupid, but lifelong habits are hard to break, apparently.

            • P J Evans says:

              I’ve heard of them being released and promptly doing whatever it was that put them inside in the first place. (A lot of them are, if not stupid, then not thinking well.)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That gambit would give Trump an excuse not to show up at Biden’s inauguration. He would no longer be president. But, no, he lives for reflected glory and assumes it’s his. I also suspect he thinks Pence is a chump, which is why he selected him (the same reason GHW Bush chose Dan Quayle, also from Indiana). He wouldn’t trust him to give him a glass of water with both hands.

          • Mitch Neher says:

            Yes, exactly. The Lone Fixer has already granted himself a pardon. He just hasn’t accepted it yet. Because Trump says that he hasn’t done anything wrong.

            So, until a Grand Jury subpoenas or indicts Trump, the pocket self-pardon remains a state secret unbeknownst even to Blinky Baloo Barr

            Unless that, too, was redacted from the Mueller Report along with Trump’s declaration of intent to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.

            Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today (except for standing up to Putin in defense of US troops or US IC assessments, for that matter).

      • ThomasH says:

        I’m probably donning the biggest dunce cap on EW (the usual IANAL, just a dilettante artist) but here goes: on the assumption that Trump would resign in exchange for a blanket pardon from Pence; could a hypothetical president Biden un-pardon Trump? Is a presidential pardon immutable, or is it just a norm that nobody has bothered to challenge?

      • OmAli says:

        I wonder if part of the resignation deal would be a pledge to keep Barr as AG if an R (and I am betting Pompeo-Cheney, not Pence) wins. Maybe Barr could keep a lid on any future unpleasantness that might come to light in the years after Trump’s departure.

  16. bkc says:

    Everyone with a voice – pundits, editorialists, senators, congressmen/women, citizens – should be demanding he, Pence, Defense Secretary, Secretary of State, and anyone else in high office who knew of this resign immediately. No excuse, no shifting blame.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The EU’s banning of American travelers is likely to be only a glimpse of the hate cast America’s way. Donald Trump – immersed in his loser-takes-all world view – has bought up the world’s supply for Remdesivir for the next three months. (He has learned to uses the DPA.) Presumably, if it’s effective, Trump intends to organize an arrangement that gives the US all the production and presumably, the right to license and/or resell to anyone he sees fit – or not.

    Randolph and Mortimer Duke were funny, not least because they lost and were bankrupted trying to corner the market for frozen concentrated orange juice. Trump, a congenital fugg up, is likely to do the same, while bankrupting America of the last of its international goodwill. But just imagine the graft his private sector cronies expect to engage in along the way. How many days until the election?

    • Rugger9 says:

      At $3120 for a course of treatment from Gilead, no less after the US Government fronted the development money. Always follow the money with this WH, but I wonder what DJT’s rake-off is?

    • Raven Eye says:

      Actually, Trump hasn’t really figured out how to use the DPA. It looks like he only figured out the part that is the most like a “taking”.

      The three parts of the DPA can be nuanced to do anything from carrot to stick (or stick of dynamite). Did the administration ever investigate ramping up production — including contracting additional capacity here and overseas? (My guess is that the Chinese have already taken steps to solve their problem.)

      • P J Evans says:

        They turned down a company that offered to ramp up production. The compnay owner made that public – he wasn’t happy.

        • Raven Eye says:

          The DPA offers a range of options. In a situation like this, the DPA can authorize relief from anti-trust regulations. This would allow normally competitive companies to get together and allocate resources and capabilities to meet government acquisition requirements.

          And the most simple application would be the award of large contracts. Trump doesn’t understand manufacturing and distribution. He has no idea how manufacturers plan production and therefore doesn’t grasp the importance of reducing risk when industry contemplates major changes to production capability. A higher level of certainty (in terms of product demand — typically in the form of a contract) reduces that risk.

          Even issuing quick turnaround RFIs (requests for information), which could have been done in early February, allows the government and industry to align potential demands with capabilities. RFIs lead to RFPs (requests for proposal), and RFPs lead to contracts. This goes on every day, but the DPA allows the process to be focused and accelerated.

          • P J Evans says:

            He doesn’t understand much of anything, unless it’s to his advantage. And even then, I’m not sure of his understanding.

  18. punaise says:

    Hillary Clinton hits Trump’s claims he didn’t receive intel about bounties on US troops: ‘I would have read my damn briefs’

    The only time Trump reads his briefs is when he sharts his tighty-whiteys.

    “Just skidding!” he says.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        He still has to read them to see which way is front, or remove the large post-it note that tells him so. Either way, he reads those briefs more than he does any other.

        • ducktree says:

          And they have to print “TGIF” inside his shoes to remind him: “toes go in first.” Don’t forget to tip the wait staff generously. Thank you.

  19. Sonso says:

    Mike Enzi (WY) is also retiring in 2020. Cynthia Lummis, a full-on retrograde Trumpy is running as the Republican candidate. Democrat primary is in August with two pretty decent candidates (and a couple of kooks). Unfortunately, Wyoming has shown itself to be one of the worst politically backward states.

  20. Summertime Blues says:

    I’ll be posting under this name from now on. It’s time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine in media that Reagan did away with. I’m a Respiratory Therapist is San Antonio. Thank You to all of you that wear masks. It’s grim here in Texas in most of the major cities. Any pressure you can apply to your state and local officials and well as nationally would be a help to all of us. Be smart and stay safe.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for the heads up. You have my sympathies; I don’t know how health care professionals manage to stay calm and continue working while so many people act so incredibly irresponsible about their health, jeopardizing others.

      Do your best, it’s all we can ask of you. It’s unfair of the public to demand heroics when they’re not willing to be equal to the task.

      And we’ll keep pushing masks here.

    • Eureka says:

      Hi, if you don’t mind a question, I’ve been wondering a lot — do you have field/ mobile hospitals set up or planned to handle overflow? Are they cancelling electives (in enough time) to clear space? The only way the NE made it through* this was because of the otherwise emptied hospitals (allowing for ‘extra’ ICUs and COVID wards to be set up inside), with further outside space ready to go, and I’m not understanding when the national news reports just talk about “regular ICU capacity” full (in e.g. TX cities), then they drop the story with no additional info.

      What are all of the hard hit states doing now? Anyone with input?

      *besides the shutdowns/distancing/then masks helping on the other end

    • OmAli says:

      My DiL is a NP and midwife at one of the big Houston hospitals. She has no remaining Fs to give for white male Texans who “are screaming that their balls are getting squeezed” by having to wear a mask.

      Thank you for entering that fray every shift. We are trying to do our part by always masking and distancing.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The keys to their pockets are in their hands. If they would stop wringing their briefs and boxers as if they were squeezing out the last drop of moisture from a desert bandana, I suspect they would breathe easier. But self-inflicted harm is the hardest to stop.

  21. P J Evans says:

    Alaska Airlines is going to give people who aren’t cooperating on mask-wearing a yellow card – a written warning that they’re in danger of being barred from their planes. It’s based on the cards soccer (football) refs use for players.

    They should be used elsewhere too – I see far too many people “wearing” masks that aren’t covering their noses. Or who wear one long enough to get into the store, then pull it down so they can “feel comfortable”.

    • Tom says:

      There needs to be a shift in attitudes about wearing masks in public, the same as there was for drunk driving years ago. Going about bare-faced should eventually be viewed as being about the same as going about bare-assed. We have to get the idea across that people who refuse to wear a mask and so put themselves and others at risk are about as irresponsible as those who drink and drive.

      • Rayne says:

        If we had a responsible, rational government which wasn’t trying to kill us all, they’d work on PR to promote their use. Certainly worked for the Japanese becoming part of culture since 1918 when this and other posters like it were disseminated to encourage mask use.

        • Tom says:

          Given Trump’s childish stubbornness, I wonder if it would be overly difficult to arrange a group photo of Presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush, and Obama all wearing masks, just to help get the message across to the public. Failing that, maybe a giant mask in a Stars & Stripes pattern could be put on the statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. I can see how that might be viewed as disrespectful, though it would certainly convey the message of the importance of wearing a mask.

  22. Eureka says:


    BWAHAHAHAHA, wut iz this?

    OK so since your initial assignment, I’ve done reconnaissance on Toomey (Class III) and the folks who tend to share any statements which can be extracted from that office, and nothing so far. He’s just tweeting about China and Hong Kong lately. I’ll share whatever I get, directly or indirectly (though I expect that to be zilch).

    However, with the timeline pushed back to include the April 2019 attack near Bagram, Toomey might get some pressure cascading from local news coverage which is explicitly tying the bounties story to this attack. Of the three Marines killed, one was from PA; another from DE is being featured (again) in Philly market.

    Not enough hours in the day. Spent some of mine combating a surprise *infestation* of spotted lanternfly nymphs in my evening primrose (freaking destructive assholes). Followed by neighborly discussions — they’d seen them, didn’t know what they were. This herd may have ridden in on their new plantings, but they are everywhere so who knows. Beware!

    • Eureka says:

      re Beware and BOLO for the spotted lanternfly, they’ve got life stages pix of this colorful and invasive, destructive species here:

      They are spreading fast and deeper into the Mid-Atlantic (PA NJ DE MD VA WV), lots of new inland counties added this year, including some adjacent to OH. Really they could (have already) show(n) up anywhere. They started hatching in May/June. They easily transfer by vehicles and other conveyances (firewood, misc. garden/outdoor supplies, etc.), besides possibly being introduced anew via shipped cargoes from various Asian countries of origin.

      This is an issue where you want to be a pioneer, ready to quickly spot it and report it to your cooperative extension office immediately.

      • Eureka says:

        LOL I still have to look up the right proportion for _plant-safe_ insecticidal soap, then plan on spraying in the heat of the sun when the flowers will be closed so (hopefully) it doesn’t harm or annoy the bees.

        Fuckers. So I just plopped the ones I could get to into a mayo jar of soap and water. Some escaped to battle another day…

          • Eureka says:

            Thanks so much! Yes I make it instead of buying, but haven’t in awhile and couldn’t remember what proportion of soap was safe for the plant version (as opposed to non-plant insecticidal soap). And in fact, last time I made it was for the evening primrose .. ants farming aphids on them. Cruel, cruel world we live in. As I recall, just the soap and water worked for that purpose, was able to skip the oil. These effers might be hardier, so we shall see…

          • Marinela says:

            This year in my garden, I see leaves eaten, with holes, but cannot see any offenders.

            Few Japanese beetles, picked them by hand in soapy water. So satisfying to collect them.

            Need to try this homemade solution. Thanks,

            • Vicks says:

              Japanese Beetles were spotted in my hood last week, a couple weeks late this year.
              Perhaps there is some upside to our first snow day being in October last fall and their numbers are down, they create mass destruction around here
              Geraniums (and dropping them in soapy water) are the only safe things that kills the little shits once they hatch.
              Chickens love them, anyone know why birds don’t seem to have any interest in them?

              • Marinela says:

                Are you saying that Geraniums deter the Japanese B.? Didn’t know this.
                The things I learn from this blog…

                Last year I think I’ve seen few JB on my Geraniums.

                Wanted to use the insecticide spray for the other un-identified offenders.

                If I would be a bird, would not eat them. They smell really bad after I “collect” them.

                • Vicks says:

                  Geraniums act as a short term narcotic so they the beetles eat them and fall off or under the plant.
                  Milky spore is a bacterium that You can apply to your lawn that will get them as they emerge as grubs in your lawn.
                  Be careful with insecticides, especially saying the word in front of bee lovers, “God save the Queen, and all that…

  23. milton wiltmellow says:

    I was a little concerned that when they finally decide to drag him out of the White House, he might use the military to prevent his removal.

    I won’t be so concerned about this in the future.

    ReimpeachTrump Now!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Avoid campfires, graham crackers, and chocolate squares. Nancy Pelosi is more likely to resign and hand her gavel to AOC than she is to allow a second impeachment of Donald Trump. The establishment wing even seems reluctant to campaign against him, preferring to use their impeachment strategery of letting him impeach himself.

      • milton wiltmellow says:

        Nancy Pelosi is more likely to resign and hand her gavel to AOC than she is to allow a second impeachment of Donald Trump.
        Clairvoyants impress me most when they’re able to reveal a hidden intent while observing a specific contrary behavior.

        We “normals” are sadly stuck with an unhappy reality where Trump is a president who’s not nearly as bad as his opponent Nancy Pelosi — who has even deeper and darker intentions than Trump himself. It frightens me to think about it.

        But then as Speaker of the House, a democrat, a San Francisco liberal, and a regular target of Fox News, it’s easy to attribute her success to deception. Look at how many of her colleagues she tricked into making her Speaker.

        I’m sure whatever whatever you discover while mindreading her must be so.

        If it was me, I’d ask why — if Pelosi greenlighted impeachment once — why wouldn’t Pelosi impeach Trump again?

        The answer always seems to be, as here, Pelosi is a deceptive hag. No other explanation is possible.

        Even Trump says so.

        • Rayne says:

          I mean this in the nicest possible way: Fuck. All. The. Way. Off.

          I don’t care if you think the House Speaker is ineffective. But I do draw the line at completely unfounded accusations she intends something worse than Trump’s ongoing mass murder event.

          Take your goddamned dogwhistles and shove them up your own deeper and darker intentions.

          • Sonso says:

            Thanks, Rayne. No matter how reticent the Madame Speaker is, or isn’t, trolls will always surface for another gulp of the limited political air, and try to leave the rest of us gasping. Let’s find a way to marry your righteous anger with Sarah Cooper’s inspired mimicry, and send these Balrogs back to the shadow.

          • milton wiltmellow says:

            I mean this in the nicest possible way: Fuck. All. The. Way. Off.

            Now that you’ve demonstrated that you can mean exactly the opposite of the words you use, let me introduce you to a new concept.


            I am a huge fan of Nancy Pelosi. (NOT sarcasm).

            Go back and reread what I wrote.

            • Rayne says:

              Within your short 44 comment tenure here you’ve also played with the Seth Rich conspiracy theory and posted a link to conspiracy theory news outlet, Epoch Times. I’m not buying your bullshit.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              If you think your description of Ms. Pelosi is consistent with being a huge fan, you don’t know the meaning of irony or sarcasm. Bye.

            • FL Resister says:

              Perhaps due to your false sense of being smarter than others, you gaslighters fail to see how your BS saturates your obfuscations so much that you always wind up blowing yourselves up. Pffft!

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Excluding the John Barrons of the world, everybody thinks they’re normal, including Abby Normal and Normal Bates. As for Ms. Pelosi, she’s very effective; we just don’t agree on what she should be effective at. But I see from your dark intentions that I was wrong: you should seek out new campfires, new graham crackers, and boldly melt those chocolate squares no man has melted before.

        • bmaz says:

          Dear Milton Wiltmellow, thanks for the jollies. You are completely done here. And were not particularly useful during your short stay. Buh bye.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Not one to pile on, I will do so here to call out the misogyny of the phrase “deceptive hag.” I’m sure you will plead Swiftian irony, but I know Jonathan Swift, and you, sir, are no Jonathan Swift. It’s not sarcasm if it doesn’t land. That’s why writing is hard.

  24. e.a.f. says:

    When I was a kid, following a provincial election, my Mom being unhappy with the election of a local representative said, the people of our town had sold their souls for a dollar a week and explained why. Never forgot that talk. What I have seen over the decades is a repeat of that. When you discuss Trump and what he has done, its the same thing. the Republicans sold their souls for the “dollar a week”. They knew who and what he was. He was clear in his campaign and yet the party chose him. Once elected it was clear what he was up to and again, the party was too interested in appointing who they wanted to judgeships, eliminating choice and the ACA–it all boils down to selling your soul for a dollar a week.

    None of what trump has done surprises me, because he didn’t have a soul to sell and yes I’ve seen politicians like that also. Having an unnecessary increase in the number of deaths of soldiers, etc. worked for Trump. For whatever reason he wanted out of Afghanistan and fast. How do you achieve that? Insure more people are killed and those back home get fed up. They want the dying to stop. this really worked for Trump. Now it maybe it worked for Putin also, but it worked for both of them. We do not know what Putin has or doesn’t have on Trump, but it doesn’t matter. Its the results.

    Will any of the Republicans care? No. They all have what they want, which is their judges where they want them, elimination of choice, less LGBTQ members of the armed forces, less ACA, etc. They also have their jobs which in the U.S.A., from what I can conclude is fairly lucrative. They have their salaries, perks, life styles, “after care jobs”, health care, flying here and there, being left with the idea they’re important. They will not change. The only one to date who has said anything is Romney. Who would have thought.

    Nothing about this bounty on Americans, etc. is a surprise to me at all. I’m just surprised it took so long for it to become public.

    As to your comment regarding almost everyone’s lack of interest in national security. Its real easy. They did not care, have never cared, and never will care. All they care about is themselves and what they can get out of it.

    Putin could have 6 thousand American, etc. soldiers killed tomorrow morning in Afghanistan and nothing would be done by the American leadership, unless the Generals staged a revolt and I’m not sure that would happen.

    This has always been about grinding the U.S.A. into a second world country and the plan is working very well, thank you very much. Trump and his are happy. They have their money and are under the wrong impression they’ll come on top in this. We know what Putin does to those who no longer needs. Its simple as a little poison here or there.

  25. Vicks says:

    Serious question, what if Trump decides/is convinced not to run in 2020?
    Leaving the politics aside, if it happens before the nomination, what are the rules and logistics to get a new Republican candidate on the ticket?

    • Rugger9 says:

      The rules are whatever the GOP says they are. They’ll have problems getting a non-crazy-or-bootlicking candidate because they purged everyone else, and the choice to not hold several of the presidential primaries means no one has an organization ready to go.


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump is more likely to win the Nobel Peace Prize or join a monastery than not continue to run in 2020. “Leaving politics aside,” would seem impossible in the context of a political campaign for president, where he controls the GOP as if it were a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Trump Organization.

      When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.

      • 200Toros says:

        Tangentially related – the psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee has stated that she could easily get Trump to resign in one meeting with him. Because she understands his pathology and how his extremely sick mind works. This fascinates me, I would love to know what she would say to get that result. Unfortunately she also just announced a break from twitter, “for personal reasons” which makes me wonder if someone has gotten to her…

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Dr. Lee’s statement, if she said it, might be true, but she’s doing her cause no favors. It has the appearance of manipulation, not getting Trump to see the truth.

      • Vicks says:

        I’d leave the process of getting Trump “out” to the puppet masters in the RNC.
        I was asking if there is any existing laws or guidelines to replace a candidate that drops out after the primaries, it seems like things like health (or going to jail) would have been considered when establishing a process.
        As for getting him out, keeping in mind that DJT has an ego, but no capacity for shame and is driven solely by what is best for Trump, I’m I agreeing with Ms Lee mentioned below, getting Trump to drop out may not be as hard as it seems.
        The magic words would go along the lines of “if you lose, you get nothing, and you are going to lose”
        How hard is it to imagine the most self-serving, greediest man in the world asking “how much?”
        Maybe it’s a stretch but I can imagine with a bit of set up, they could plant the seeds and get Trump himself to start the conversation

        • bmaz says:

          Replying to OmAli too – I not only don’t think Trump won’t resign, I do not thing the Democrats want him to. Pelosi’s entire electoral strategy is to do nothing and run against Trump. That is literally all she’s got.

          • vicks says:

            I was working my way around to that.
            Replace Trump with a white male vessel that will ease fears over the virus, and give a wink rather than this shit show to white male supremacy and Biden could/would be screwed.
            It’s impossible for me to believe that as Trump’s polling numbers head downward republican party leaders haven’t at least spit-balled the idea and speculated the actual (personal and party) cost vs four years of democratic sunshine.
            If they decide Trump is going to lose, perhaps the biggest leverage they have, would be to promise Trump the new candidate will win?

            • Rugger9 says:

              While DJT is well known as a quitter in court cases he can’t run out the clock on, even he realizes (and will be reminded by his minions as well as Vlad and Tayyip) that quitting will not work to get him out of trouble.

              Therefore, he can’t quit IMHO.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The “rules” are whatever the GOP says they are, and Donald Trump controls the GOP. (If they wait too long, though, they’ll have a ballot printing problem. But if they wait that long, they’re toast anyway, which I think they are already.)

          As for “how much,” as president, Trump can keep himself out of jail and allow his family even freer rein to grift on the American taxpayer. I don’t think the GOP has that much money. You’re also assuming it has a level of spine that it lost quite some time ago.

          Absent control of the Senate, and I think not even then, I doubt that this Democratic Party would have the spine to attempt another impeachment. That might change when more of its members are progressives.

        • BobCon says:

          This is a very unlikely scenario, but the easiest way to do it would be through the convention. I believe standing rules vary initially to some extent by state as to whether delegates could be released right off the bat, but the convention could adopt a new rule at the start that released delegates and let them vote for a new candidate.

          Trump would have to somehow agree to it, or be too incapacitated to object.

          I don’t know the parliamentary ins and outs as to how proposed rule changes make it to the floor, but I believe that involves some fairly stacked committee process.

          I agree with others that this is highly unlikely, but if it did, I think Pence would be the overwhelming favorite. There might be sop to an alternative like Romney or Cruz to get on the ballot if Trump pulled out as a way of speeding up the process and avoid other fights, but I doubt it. Maybe if Trump has an unexpected complete breakdown on live TV close enough to the convention that it catches Pence unprepared to rig the vote.

          • Sonso says:

            And now Jacksonville will be requiring masks indoors, so the coup would be Anonymous. DJT would make hay from that, and the Foxies would dive down the hole with him.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Also, the statute of limitations would still be in effect for many things done prior to becoming POTUS. DJT really needs that second term to fully bury the bones, so to speak.

  26. darms says:

    Rayne – Thanks for writing.
    jokes – 25th amendment, ‘impeachment’, ‘oversight’, electoral college…
    the ‘travelgate’ investigation started 5/1993 soon after inauguration, ended 10/2000 w/net scalp score zero.
    41 r’s in the senate come 2021 mean all this shit all over again meanwhile (obviously) It (i.e. anything) Is Okay If You Are Republican…
    My bet is that Biden will be yet another third-way dem in the mold of Clinton & Obama who will line us up for a president Tom Cotton in 2024 who may prove to be a ‘competent’ authoritarian. I will vote every time I can vote, same as always, same as I have done since 1972. But can any of you tell me why I should give a fuck about politics? We seem to be fighting the same battles over & over & over & over & over & over & over & eventually lose, same as always. Maybe we are missing the point, but then again I will always be nonviolent… Me & mine got no kids & we’re olds so we are soon off the wheel. But what about them that are not?

    • BobCon says:

      I see this kind of defeatist viewpoint over and over, and I don’t see how it squares with the biggest protest movement in 50 years.

      I am also struck by how the polling on the BLM movement is much better than the polling on civil rights protests and anti-Vietnam War protests. In 1967, 9% of Americans expressed support for taking part in an antiwar march, and in 1968 56% approved of the police brutality in Chicago. MLK Jr.’s approval rating in early 1968 was only 25%.

      That doesn’t mean the public shift in attitudes towards change today will last. But we are looking at opportunities and potential today that did not exist 50 years ago, or even eight.

        • BobCon says:

          Realistically, change is brutally hard and requires movement on many fronts. But failing to seize opportunities and put the bad guys on the defensive only makes things even harder.

      • Marinela says:

        Good points. But the helplessness we all feel is real and fair.

        Not minimizing the changes are happening now, but the push backs and power consolidations are also happening behind the scenes, not in the open. Trump administration, GOP, the enablers, RWM, are not going out quietly. They are already saying things out loud that were unimaginable few years back, without fear of losing re-election. This frightens me because they want the power, so what makes them think they are going to keep it? Unless they plan to cheat already.

        • BobCon says:

          They were saying all of these things out loud for years and years. They won in 2000 due to division, a worthless media, and a crooked majority on the Supreme Court, used that to engineer a disastrous war, and then followed up with a win in 2004 that resulted from an even more miserable media and gross anti-gay bigotry.

          I do not want to minimize the looming threats that are real and dangerous. But at a minimum there are serious cracks in the GOP and establishment which can be expoited, and what is more, there is a growth in positive, practical opposition that is significantly stronger than in 2008.

          None of this guarantees change on the scale we need. And realistically, the window for change will not be wide open for long, if it opens at all. But I see spooky similarities in the defeatism of some on the left and the Democratic congressional leadership, which would minimize major structual changes in their own institutions rather than allow good faith challenges from within their own party. It’s fear based, short sighted, and ahistorical. And if left unchallenged, it becomes self-reinforcing.

        • klynn says:

          Learned helplessness is the game plan. We need to change the game plan.

          Empowerment breaks down power-powerless dynamics.

      • darms says:

        IMHO I’m not being defeatist, I’m being realistic. After the last two ‘bait & switch’ Dem presidents (NAFTA? Wall Street Bailout? et al…) I see no reason Mr. Biden won’t be yet another ‘deficit slashing 3rd-way republican wannabe suckup’ and there is nothing whatsoever I can do personally to ensure that he will not be that. Maybe the best I can hope for is Ms. Warren for VP but today that seems like a real long shot. Yeah I am gonna vote & it sure won’t be for the Donald but it seems like we, the people, are so deep in the sh*t we won’t ever be able to get ourselves out. Make me wrong. Please!
        & no, 6 months ago I had no idea that today would look like it does so I won’t hazard a guess as to where we will be next November, only ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, SHAME on ME’…

    • Marinela says:

      The discussion now is that some GOPs wants Trump to loose, so that they can came back in 2024.
      The idea is that Trump base is not going away, as small as it may be, so Tom C for example can pick it up.

      Yes, also worried of a competent GOP authoritarian president, like Tom C, especially after Barr is done with his changes.

      The other calculations, from GOP, they want Trump to cause a lot of havoc, so to make it impossible for the next democratic administration to govern, in case Biden wins.

      It may be easier for Biden to win 2020 but not re-election in 2024. I want to be wrong about this.

      • Tom says:

        If someone had predicted a year ago that four months out from the 2020 election President Trump would be trailing the Democratic Presidential candidate by 14 points or so, that the economy would have cratered on his watch, that one of his major campaign rallies would be two-thirds empty seats, that Trump would be on videotape advising the injection of household disinfectant as a treatment for a coronavirus, that he would be demonstrably derelict in his duty to defend U.S. troops against Russian-backed bounty hunters, plus any number of other outrages that could have been included here, it would have seemed absolutely too good to be true. But that’s the situation the Democrats have been given and I wish they would exploit it for all it’s worth.

        I’d like to see a remake of Hillary’s campaign ad from 2008, the one where we’re asked who do we want taking the call when the White House phone rings at 3:00 am. Except in this version, we see the phone ringing in the foreground while Trump, out of focus a little, is in the background fiddling with his phone. Trump doesn’t answer the phone and lets the caller go to voicemail. We hear a tense voice breathlessly describing some catastrophe or national emergency. Then we see Trump’s hand reach over and press a button as the messaging system announces, “Message deleted”. Then we see Trump go back to fiddling with his phone. The Democrats have so much material to work with and I’d like to see some real hard-hitting ads along the lines of the ones produced by the Lincoln Project and other organizations.

        And as for Little Tommy Cottontail, “Stumpy” Barr and their like, they can be politically entombed in their own thick, reeking, oozing, putrescent cesspit of the Trump record of which they have partaken so greedily over the past four years, so that they’ll be lucky ever to be considered for the post of vermin control officer in Jerkwater, USA.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Biden will be 78 when he takes the oath of office next January. As a unity candidate, he has virtually promised not to run for a second term. (I know, promises, promises, but 82 at the start of his second term, after the non-stop marathon of being president and repairing Trump’s destruction?) That puts more than the usual pressure on his choice for Vice President, because she becomes heir presumptive.

  27. Dopey-o says:

    IANAL, but i seem to think that accepting a pardon requires the admission of guilt for the crimes pardoned. I recall that nixon never publicly accepted responsibility, but would widespread adoption of the meme “Pardon = Guilt” be enough to keep fat nixon accountable?
    shorter Preznit Pence “i could pardon trump but that would be wrong.”

      • milestogo says:

        I’ve been fighting this myth in other corners as well ever since seeing it discussed here. Furthermore, a simple google search yielded a wealth of information debunking the “pardon is an admission of guilt” myth.

  28. Jonathan says:

    Can we get back to the issue of the bounties and the absolute failure of the administration to do anything other than lie and dissemble about them? As a Navy corpsman vet (who served with Marines) I am livid about this. This should not be a partisan issue. This goes straight to the heart of the role of the commander in chief to support and defend the fighting force of the United States. If you are a veteran or A/D military, please, please call your senators and congresspersons. We need answers, not evasions and equivocations.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, Jonathan. We need to keep the heat on this issue.

      It’s also not just Afghanistan; in what other places around the world have our service members been undermined? I can’t help think of the folks who had to leave Syria in a rush, and our sailors whose risk of COVID-19 wasn’t handled appropriately.

      And all of them, no matter their origin or politics, serve our nation.

      Do let me know what you hear from your own senators and representative.

    • 200Toros says:

      Totally agree, Jonathon. I think this is the single most impeachable thing he’s ever done, and that’s saying something, as the list is long (Rayne can cite chapter and verse!) The Dems are so bad at this. At the very least, they should be calling for his immediate resignation, 24/7. Better yet, impeach him again. If the intel was deemed good enough to warn our allies, as they have confirmed, then there is no acceptable defense for not protecting our own military.

    • madwand says:

      And from that article the Taliban

      “We know they are committing crimes for now because they need to survive. But after victory, we will make them stop again like we did in the 1990s.”

      One they sanction the crimes and two they expect victory, sounds pretty simple.

  29. madwand says:

    Yep and from that article comes this statement which sort of gives away their intentions.

    “We know they are committing crimes for now because they need to survive. But after victory, we will make them stop again like we did in the 1990s.”

    So they sanction the crimes and victory is the goal. That sounds pretty simple to me.

    • P J Evans says:

      They’re betting that they can control the Afghans. It hasn’t worked out that way in the last 2000 years. (Alexander only got off at all because he allowed his army to associate with the locals.)

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    LOL. Trump seems to think he can boost his electoral chances by portraying Joe Biden as “a stooge for the far left.” Pick me up off the aisle. Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee because he’s Not associated with his party’s left. But that sort of false framing is what the GOP has been known for since Lee Atwater. It’s a tell that the GOP image makers are unusually bankrupt this go round. It doesn’t mean Trump won’t pull out unheard of contrivances to avoid losing, just that there’s not much left in the mental piggy-bank.

    Trump might make a little headway with that lie because his base, and because Trump is giving Genghis Khan a run for his money as the candidate from the far right. That Trump is famously racist is ironic, given that the 12th century Great Khan was somewhat famously Mongolian. But Biden has been a public figure for fifty years. Not many Trumpies are gonna buy that he’s a flower child or biker Eric Von Zipper in those shades.

    • Rayne says:

      I am sooooo tired of the white-centric analysis of why Biden, putting side Team Trump’s ratfucking assessment of the opposition.

      The man served the first Black president without ever trying to usurp him. That’s why he’s the presumptive nominee to the people of color in this country. He fucking earned their respect and faith by respecting the office of the presidency regardless of the color of the person holding that office.

      He is already much further to the left than white-centric analysis pegs him because he respected a person of color who was his boss for eight years. A helluva lot of Democrats aren’t that liberal when it comes to race.

      And it will be this respect for persons of color which may be the point Team Trump tries to use in indirect influence ops because they know race is still problematic even within the Democratic Party. Expect it if Biden picks any woman of color; he’s already tipped his hand this week with his overtly racist “Pocahontas” dig at Warren.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Not usurping one’s boss – who happens to be president and made you vice president – would seem to be a minimal expectation. It does not explain Obama’s calculus in picking him or deal with Biden’s traditionally conservative positions on economics and social programs.

      He has moved left from his war on crime and drugs, his anti-busing and Anita Hill days. I hope he’s moved left since his so-called bankruptcy reform days, along with much of the Democratic party and the people who vote for it. That seems likely. It will be important in how and how well America recovers from the devastation that has been the Trump presidency. The left will need to keep working on that, because the Democrats’ establishment wing, of which Biden has traditionally been a part, will mount a considerable defense.

      • Rayne says:

        Not usurping one’s boss – who happens to be president and made you vice president – would seem to be a minimal expectation.

        You think it’s a minimum expectation because the system is built for white cis-het men; to you it seems obvious, natural, normal that the second in command wouldn’t denigrate or undermine the top man. But people of color (edit: and women) rarely make it to the top because they are constantly undermined and usurped by the system which is built to oppose them. That Biden didn’t shiv Obama was a huge thing; your inability to see that is a measure of your privilege.

        It does not explain Obama’s calculus in picking him or deal with Biden’s traditionally conservative positions on economics and social programs.

        1) Biden’s a white dude respected by moderates in both parties who would lend credibility to the first Black president; 2) Jesus, do I need to repeat this? Biden respected the presidency and wouldn’t undermine Obama because he was Black. Super easy math, doesn’t rise to calculus.

        The biggest mistake progressives made after the 2008 election: they thought because the first Black president had been elected their work was done. They went and put their feet up and slacked off. They simply didn’t think the pendulum would swing back — and yeah, it does, was already working up speed as Trump attacked Obama with birtherism. The pendulum continued, impelling the Tea Party, catching Democrats flat-footed and progressives off in a torpor. And there was no organized response for the duration of Obama’s term in office while the right-wing continued to inveigh against the first Black president, building up power and focus behind racial enmity boosted by foreign influence.

        The people who knew what was coming were the people who have been most marginalized all along. Analysis continues to err toward white cis-het men as default, in spite of its massive blindspots and misogyny during 2016. I can only hope the Democratic Party learned something from 2016 and listens to a more inclusive constituency about the battle ahead.

        And that battle includes building a veto-proof Democratic majority in the Senate which is further to the left than Biden. This country will go left so long as there’s a Senate which moves him that way. Because he respects the presidency, he’ll sign the bills a more left, more progressive Senate passes.

        • P J Evans says:

          The people who thought that they didn’t need the 50-states program, and made it so much harder to win in so many places, by effectively ceding them to the GOP-T. I think those people need to be locked out of leadership.

          • Rayne says:

            That’s Tim Kaine, who became DNC chair after Obama’s inauguration. Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy slipped off the DNC’s website without any comment.

            And OFA also just plain dried up, disappeared when it should have been used to muster public response to the right-wing attacks on the Affordable Care Act debates, including the Tea Party. OFA was large and well organized, could have squelched Tea Party’s stink in August 2009 but no. It had become vapor.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It doesn’t require a deep study of Machiavelli, the mob, Henry Ford, the CIA, or Faulkner to know that the system is built on competition, in which dirty tricks and backstabbing predominate more than loyalty and team building. The latter stand out because they are the exception.

          Joe Biden was not the only choice capable of being effective and loyal to Obama. But who knew the calculus about choosing him included that he was an older white guy with decades of conservative social and economic credentials behind him? That his did not much differ from Obama’s apparent priorities was less important than the appearance that they might have. That appearance was created by actual and manipulated fear of Obama’s race and his overt electoral strategies, the progressive portions of which he abandoned early (under Emanuel), before the left had time to put its feet up.

          I think we agree that the Dems did not sufficiently support Obama, and that we need a solid Senate majority behind Biden, to enable any post-Trump recovery. The list of projects is as long as Trump’s list of lies. I think we also agree that the misogyny painfully evident during Hilary Clinton’s campaign has not left the Democrats, and remains as fundamental a part of Trump’s base as racism.

          The Democrats would do well to take that head on, to tackle it indirectly, by forcefully selling what they want to do, and by staffing in a way that says they mean it. Americans are more ready to hear and support that than ever.

        • Vicks says:

          What am I missing?
          “Biden didn’t undermine the president because he was black” hardly describes what I saw going on in that White House.
          IMHO Biden looked up to Obama. He admired and respected him as a man and a leader.
          Obama has a strong presence and Biden does not appear to be a complicated man with layers of baggage that get poked and threatened around strong men.
          The relationship between the number one and number two shows me that “all men are created equal” would be a no-brainer if people were allowed to evolve instead of being deliberately dragged back into the dark ages by those seeking power.
          Not being black I don’t know how the Obama-Biden example fits into their stories or how it will influence their vote in November.
          Best to ask rather than speculate or assume

          • Rayne says:

            Biden looked up to Obama. He admired and respected him as a man and a leader.

            This is an example of privilege, Vicks, if you don’t realize how rare this is at top levels of organizations within public and private sector alike.

            That’s what you’re missing. Like EoH you take it for granted.

            EDIT: What it looks like in the private sector —,Fortune%20500%20lists%20since%201999.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              You’ve never seen Rashomon, and your comments take for granted an exclusive awareness of corporate and political life that may not be warranted.

              • Rayne says:

                Yeah. I’ve seen Rashomon, I own a copy.

                A Japanese film by a Japanese director starring Japanese actors, retelling a Japanese story which has parallels to George Eliot’s Silas Marner but with a bandit and samurai.

                A copy owned by a part-Asian woman.

                Maybe you didn’t get that part.

                • Ginevra diBenci says:

                  Rashomon shaped my sensibility from an early age, thanks to my dad making sure I saw it. Still one of my favorites. Earl, whom were you addressing? I’ve never seen Rayne write anything suggesting ignorance of this masterpiece. Or anything else by Kirasawa. Or, really, anything else at all.

                  • Rayne says:

                    Thanks for the vote of confidence but don’t ask me about Fiat/Chrysler vehicles. I am definitely ignorant of them and willfully so because I refuse to drive the one in my garage and I further refuse to get involved in anything related to repairs on same. Am I biased about them? Yeah, but it’s hard earned. LOL

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                You addressed the literalness of my comment, but not the theme of wildly varying subjective experience. That relates to my second point, that many of us join you in having extensive experience of the cost and ruthlessness of competition in business, academia, or politics, both here and abroad.

            • Vicks says:

              I think you need to give people a bit more credit for their understanding of privilege.
              I didn’t think I needed to spell out that i understand the relationship between Obama and Biden is uncommon.
              What I DON’T know and am curious about, is how the (uncommon) relationship between the number one and the number two shapes the average black voter’s opinion of Joe Biden.

              • Rayne says:

                I don’t need to do anything of the sort. I walk with a foot in both worlds, white and as a person of color, and I can see exactly when the privilege of whiteness blinds people. Like now — you’re going to invalidate what I see and experience as a multiracial person instead of just listening?

                And the fact you haven’t noticed how damned rare a Black leader is in this country let alone one who’s survived in their role eight years with the same white cis-het male subordinate who never rocked the pecking order says something, too.

                • Vicks says:

                  I don’t mean any of this disrespectfully.
                  This is an important topic and I am concerned that misunderstandings and miscommunications could hijack the momentum.
                  You don’t actually believe that people, including myself have (among other things) not “noticed how dammed rare a black leader is in this country?”
                  If so I’m not sure how to respond except to say that perhaps it’s not me that isn’t listening?
                  Most of Americans are pretty damn aware of the inequality in our country.
                  The death of Mr. Floyd is what caused millions of people (and corporations) to admit their shame in knowing but doing nothing about it because hey didn’t believe it affected them.
                  Admitting complicity and wanting to right generations of wrongs is what is behind the surge in White support for the blm movement..
                  Regardless of how much still needs to be learned the unification process has begun.
                  With your particular skill set I believe you could be a powerful teacher.
                  But first we have to get on the same page.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Russian language attack ad. Don’s patron appreciates democracy as much as he does.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It would be effective if they played it again and again and again, the closer to election day the better.

    • Tom says:

      Yes, the new “Fellow Traveler” ad may be the best one yet from The Lincoln Project. It summarizes the main findings of the first part of the Mueller Report in about 90 seconds. It’s in Russian but with English subtitles, naturally.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        I don’t do twitter. I went to the url for Lincoln Project but couldn’t find the ad. Thus the default to rawstory. I always try to find the original but sometimes I just don’t have the ability to succeed at the time. Doing the best I can…

          • Savage Librarian says:

            OK, thanks, Rayne. I appreciate the help. My brain definitely does not work as well as it used to. I’ll try to file this where I can remember.

    • RLHall says:

      Watching this, I hardly know whether to laugh or cry. The Russian media has regarded Trump as their man from the beginning, reflecting their government’s attitude.
      And yet, I know quite a number of people – some of whom are close family, whom I love – who are completely blind to this. Where is the tipping point?

  31. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    Trump’s brigands reinstated the poll tax in FL, apparently skipping a draw they didn’t like.

    In a sane world this would be struck down asap but Roberts never saw a BIPOC vote he didn’t want to suppress.

    Can’t even tell people how much of a poll tax they have to pay. There should be universal disgust over the gop’s full throated embrace of racist voter suppression.

    A reminder – many of the Lincoln project folks tweet quite a bit, but skip topics surrounding the degredation of voting rights, erosions of liberties in favor of right wing Christianity. They aren’t our allies, or are suffering from cognitive dissonance.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The 11th Circuit reinstated an obviously discriminatory Florida law, pending a full hearing en banc, as you say, curiously skipping the usual three-judge panel. The question is what’s their schedule for doing that and issuing an opinion?

      A non-Trumpie court might inquire about the fact that Florida claims not to want felons to vote – despite a new constitutional amendment that says they can – until they’ve paid their cash debt to the courts. (A newly-made-up hurdle from the state’s GOP-run legislature.) But being part of the Jim Crow 2.0 movement, Florida has explicitly chosen Not to have in place a system that actually calculates what that debt is – which prevents anyone from paying it and, hence, prohibits them from regaining the right to vote.

      That’s not just a poll tax or an irrational burden that promotes no legitimate state interest. It is voter disenfranchisement. Of the sort that must make Kris Kobach maddeningly jealous.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The fact the state doesn’t even have a prayer of figuring how much is “owed” much less applying the means test should have stopped this GOP play dead in its tracks. However, the local circuit is a packed Trumpian court so expect bad news there.

      Fundamentally, however, at what point is the “debt to society” paid, and why doesn’t prison time with its “sweat equity” count?

      • P J Evans says:

        That was why the first court stopped it. The state couldn’t even come up with numbers when given three weeks to do so.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Yes, indeed but the 11th Circuit overruled and kept the restrictions in place until the en banc decision is reached.

          • milestogo says:

            Do we have any indication which way this will go? I vote in Florida and want every vote to count.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      More silence from the Lincoln project boosters on Robert’s 5-4 to kill easing of voting restrictions in Alabama given the pandemic.

      Gtconway, rick Wilson etc may be entertaining to read for their dragging of Trump, but they seem to have a hole in their brain when examining the underlying conditions allowing him to win in 2016.

      • soothsayer says:

        I think, and my perspective is as a centrist who has never voted, that there is an expectation that conservatives against Trump, are somehow for this election cycle pro Democrats and all their causes to help Dems win. I think it is likely more that they are only messaging against Trump to help Biden win, but that they won’t touch any historical Republican strategy, so as to be able to rebuild the GOP after Trump. It makes sense that this is an alignment of “their enemy’s enemy is their friend”, which is of course a momentary thing.

        But, I am aware of groups looking for more Third Way centrist policies. I am uncertain if the LP leans towards that in any way or for any specific areas. But any group with centrist or Third Way leanings, would want to build more consensus for implementing bipartisan policy solutions, that ultimately move the country forward. This would also help over time, to heal bipartisan divides – and I agree with these groups core mandate – that any group that bridges the divides of this country, is a good thing. This is something I pray happens more. Though, all of which I assume is post Trump, as this concept seems foreign to him and his team, or truly against his teams strategy to have an ongoing culture war that rips this country apart for their extremist beliefs ( I have a strong belief they in fact meant to harm Americans of different political persuasions, with some of their policies but that is another topic), and irresponsibly also aligns with our adversaries goals of division as well, which is a sad testament to any and all groups that went down the path of division for whatever ends, anytime in US history.

        In the end, I hope and pray our better angels amongst us continue to step up and bring us together, towards a less divisive party system and country, that in fact sharpens each other through thoughtful, well intentioned debate and policy, for the betterment of all Americans, its allies, and the democratic norms it so holds dear to its independence.

    • klynn says:

      Yep. Saw I used the wrong link. Did an edit. After the edit to correct the link, that’s when it disappeared.

      Figured I messed with the mod system making the correction!

      • klynn says:

        Maxwell sealed indictment, per PACER, filed on June 29th.

        The SDNY timeline is one to watch.

  32. klynn says:

    Heard back from one of my congressional emails:

    “Thank you for contacting me regarding reports about Taliban militants killing American troops in exchange for payments from the Russian Government.

    Recent reports indicate that the U.S. intelligence community can demonstrate that Russian military intelligence offered bounties to the Taliban in exchange for killing American servicemembers. If these reports are accurate, this is deeply disturbing. I am extremely troubled whenever our brave men and women overseas are targeted by foreign adversaries while defending our interests – a coordinated attack between foes would particularly unacceptable.

    There are many questions yet to be answered about the potential mishandling of this intelligence and what could be done to hold those who are responsible for this accountable. These are questions to which Congress and the American people deserve answers. Our brave and dedicated servicemembers make unthinkable sacrifices to protect our freedoms. We owe it to them – as well as the many families awaiting their lived ones’ safe return – to get to the bottom of this. I look forward to receiving a thorough briefing on this matter from the intelligence community.

    Again, thank you for contacting me. Please visit my website at to reach me regarding any issue that concerns you or your family, or if I may be of assistance in the future.
    Representative’s Signature
    Troy Balderson
    Representative to Congress”

  33. Wm. Boyce says:

    November 3 will be the earliest date on which the creature can be removed from office. We the people will have to do it, because the cowardly and venal Republican politicians will not.
    The NY Times had an article in which someone put it best, paraphrasing: “This has been a ten-year Tea Party detour from the nation achieving its real status.” Meaning of course, real representation, one woman, one vote.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Don’t forget the lame duck period, through January 20th. Lots of shenanigans can take place in two months. Another fifty or more FedSoc judges, for example. (Unlike S.Ct. nominees, lower court judges are sometimes approved as part of large groups.)

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Let’s hope it is only until January 3, 2020 when the new Congress takes office.

      • drouse says:

        Think about how ugly the transition could be if he put his mind to it and he will. Intelligence briefings? Dream on. Destruction of evidence? You betcha.

  34. Savage Librarian says:

    OT: I was going to add this to my comment on the Assange post, but it is now closed.

    I’m thinking George Nader may have played a bigger role than has been noticed. I suspect he had interactions with Sergei Millian and with Erik Prince, as well as with others. I’m wondering, too, if he could be the “mystery name ending in R” in reference to Roger Stone. Time will tell, I guess.

    “Mueller Witness Gets Minimum 10-Years on Child Sex Charges” | Time, 6/26/20, Matthew Barajas

    • Vicks says:

      Wasn’t he also indicted for routing a couple million in illegal contributions to Hillary’s campaign?
      I’m surprised QAnon isn’t all over this one.

  35. biff murphy says:

    Wow, great response from the Wheelies on this one Emptywheel!

    I live in Mass and have donated to Warren, Biden and McGrath, yet when I saw this story I sent a little $$$ to the Lincoln Project. They have been out with ads almost immediately after all of Spanky’s screw-ups, I hope he is seething. As a vet I certainly am.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, biff. I’m working on a fresh post on same subject, should be up within the hour. Need to keep hammering on this.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Be wary of the Lincoln project considering who runs it and what they keep their silence on. Without the blatant corruption and buffoonery they would be quite content with a Trump admin.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Arm’s length is not a bad policy for the LP, but so far they haven’t cut Trump or McConnell any breaks in their ads. The DNC needs to add their 2 cents as well, but for me the LP ads cut directly to things the RWNJs allegedly value and for that reason might peel off more support (as in staying home and not voting) than anything the Ds would say.

        It’s razor thin for the current WH to stay there by re-election, and the fact that DJT is spending his time campaigning in FL, OK and IA speaks volumes.

  36. Rugger9 says:

    OT, but recently posted over at DKos, the indictment is on pdf there:

    What I find interesting is that Epstein’s victims want her to live, so the whole story comes out. Audrey Strauss did the filing, and so it appears we have our answer regarding why Berman was ejected when he was. Nothing happens by accident with this WH.

    Also OT, but standard issue for DJT:

  37. Terrence says:

    It’s my understand that an ex-president has a right to something like the presidential daily briefing. I can only imagine what he’d do with that kind of information.

  38. Rugger9 says:

    Former SDNY USA Berman testifies next week in a closed HJC hearing, according to NBC, et al.

  39. P J Evans says:

    Who had “Kimberly Guilfoyle” in the WH Covid-19 pool? She’s tested positive, and everyone in the WH is pretending she hasn’t been spreading it for the last few days.

Comments are closed.