Rudy the Dripper: The Vicious Cycle of Dead-Ender Propagandists Feeding Bullshit to Tribalist Republicans

Not long after the former US Attorney of the Southern District of New York headlined a press conference where he and other lawyers presented insane conspiracy theories to claim that Donald Trump had been robbed of his victory, CNN reported that the FBI continues to investigate Rudy Giuliani for his ties to Russian Agents.

Complicating matters is that Giuliani’s post-election swirl of activity comes as federal investigators renewed their investigative interest into his work that is already the subject of a New York-based investigation.

In recent weeks, FBI agents in New York contacted witnesses and asked new questions about Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine and possible connections to Russian intelligence, according to a person briefed on the matter. The FBI investigators, who have spoken to at least one witness previously months ago, came back to ask new questions recently about possible origins of emails and documents related to Hunter Biden that appear similar to those that the New York Post reported that Giuliani and others helped provide. CNN has previously reported that the ongoing probe is examining whether Giuliani is wittingly or unwittingly part of a Russian influence operation, according to people briefed on the matter.

But questions about that probe have been out of the spotlight as Giuliani stepped into focus as the campaign’s chief post-election lawyer. One source close to the Trump campaign countered that Giuliani is an overzealous defender of the president.

Meanwhile, the same propagandists who’ve helped Trump survive in recent years — on the left and the right — are claiming that because Democrats and others backed the investigation of Russian efforts to get Trump elected in 2016 (an investigation that attempted to understand why Trump fired Jim Comey, the person most Democrats chiefly blame for Hillary’s loss), it is precedent for Trump’s efforts to disclaim Joe Biden’s resounding win.

This exemplifies the vicious cycle we’ve been on since since August 2016, when Donald Trump authorized his rat-fucker to take desperate measures to find bullshit stories to tell to try to win an election.

After WikiLeaks released the first set of files Russia had stolen as part of its plot to help Trump get elected in July 2016 and someone — it’s not clear who — released damning information about Paul Manafort’s corrupt ties with Russian-backed Ukrainian oligarchs, Donald Trump doubled down. Rat-fucker Roger Stone, desperate to save Trump’s campaign and maybe even the job of his lifetime buddy, made a Faustian bargain for advance access to fairly innocuous John Podesta emails that Stone believed would provide the smoking gun for a conspiracy his allies had been chasing since March. The Faustian deal, by itself, exposed Stone as a co-conspirator in a hack-and-leak operation led by a hostile foreign agency. But the deal also brought ongoing exposure: at least as soon as he was elected, Trump’s rat-fucker (and maybe his eldest son!) started pursuing an effort to pay off Julian Assange with a pardon or some other way out of the Ecuadorian Embassy, thereby implicating Trump in a quid pro quo. After Trump assumed the Presidency, his own exposure through Stone gave him reason to want to shut down the investigation, even the investigation into the hack-and-leak itself. As a result, from very early in his presidency, Trump had obstructed justice to hide the quid pro quo and conspiracy his rat-fucker (and possibly he and his son) had joined to help him get there.

Meanwhile, early on in the investigation, acting on advice that Paul Manafort gave after returning from a meeting with one of Oleg Deripaska’s key deputies, the Republicans defended their President by attacking the credibility of the Steele dossier — one that Deripaska himself likely ensured was filled with disinformation — as a stand-in for the larger investigation itself. Deripaska even has apparent sway at one of the outlets that most relentlessly pursued that synecdoche, the dossier as the Russian investigation. Former hawks on Russia, like Trey Gowdy, were lured into fiercely defending Trump even in the face of overwhelming proof of his compromise by the able gate-keeping of Kash Patel and the discovery of how the use of informants can implicate members of your own tribe, as it did with Carter Page. By the time Billy Barr deceived the nation with his roll-out of a very damning Mueller Report, almost every single Republican member of Congress was susceptible to ignoring damning evidence that their President treated both the pursuit of the presidency and his office as a means for self-benefit, no matter what that did to US interests.

Key to the process of co-opting virtually all Republican members of Congress was the process of villainizing the people who had tried to keep the country safe from Russian compromise, starting with Peter Strzok but also including Andy McCabe. That process easily exploited the same apparatus of Congress’ “oversight” powers — and the same susceptibility to heated rants over logic — that had been used to turn a tragic incident in Libya into a multi-year investigation of Hillary Clinton. Also key to that process were certain propagandists on Fox News, including three of the lawyers that stood with Rudy yesterday: DiGenova and Toensing and Sidney Powell.

The day after Mueller closed up shop, those same propagandists joined with Rudy to pursue a revenge plot for the investigation — they started pursuing a way to frame Joe Biden in anticipation of the 2020 election. Most Democrats didn’t believe that Hillary lost because of Russia, but Trump and his conspiratorially-minded advisors believed they did. And so Rudy, relying on advice Manafort offered from prison, used the same networks of influence to try to frame Biden in a Ukrainian plot that, at the same time, might provide an alternative explanation for the Russian crimes Trump was personally implicated in.

Once again, Trump got personally involved, extorting the Ukrainian president over a series of months, “I’d like you to do us a favor, though.”

There’s no doubt that Trump’s abuse of Congress’ power of the purse in an effort to extort a campaign benefit from a foreign country merited impeachment. There’s also no doubt that it served to heighten the tribalism — and ranting illogic — of Republican members of Congress.

Things snowballed further.

That tribalism, by itself, might have gotten Trump re-elected. But it wasn’t enough for Trump. Instead, the President prepared an attack on the integrity of the vote by dissuading his own supporters from using mail-in ballots, setting up the Equal Protection hoaxes that Rudy has pushed in recent days. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger claims that, by itself, the effort to discredit mail-in voting cost Trump the state of Georgia. But partisan attacks are what got Trump where he is, and partisan attacks are what he knows.

Trump also doubled down on what had gotten him elected in 2016: overblown attacks sourced to stolen emails, Hunter Biden’s laptop, in this case rolled out by one guy at legal risk for his ties to Fraud Guarantee, and another under indictment for exploiting the tribalism of Trump’s supporters to commit fraud. According to CNN, the FBI believes these emails may have been packaged up by the Russian agents that have been buying access through Rudy and DiGenova and Toensing.

Trump’s DOJ, working with Sidney Powell, even tried to invent an attack on Joe Biden by altering exhibits in a court proceeding. In that case, the overblown attack was sourced to real notes, albeit notes that actual law enforcement officials had packaged in such a way as to tell a false story. Yet again, however, this was a false story that scapegoated those who’ve protected the interests of the country — adding Joe Biden to the targets along with McCabe and Strzok — to try to cover-up unbelievably damning evidence about Trump’s coziness with Russia. The effort to deny that Mike Flynn was secretly working for Turkey while claiming to work for Trump and to deny that Mike Flynn repeatedly called up the country that had just attacked us to try to obtain further benefits turned into an attack on those who tried to keep the country safe from sell-outs like Mike Flynn.

It’s a false story. But Republicans in Congress believe it with all their being. And so it has succeeded in convincing those Republicans they need to redouble their efforts to defend Trump.

So, yesterday, Rudy and the other propagandists gave a press conference that was, for the first time, broadly labeled as a coup attempt and roundly mocked, even by otherwise true believers. Trump, Rudy, Republicans, they’re all victims of an international plot launched by George Soros, Cuba, China, Venezuela, according to Rudy and the lawyers who spun the last several conspiracy theories on Fox News.

And this propaganda, an attempt to set aside the clear will of the voters, derives its strength not from any basis in fact. Rather, it derives its power from the fact that Republicans have gotten so tribally defensive of Trump, they will set aside the clear good of the country to back him.

Donald Trump, if he leaves office, may face legal consequences for what he did in 2016 to get elected. If Trump leaves office, Rudy may face consequences for the things he has done since to keep Trump in office.

To save themselves, they’re pursuing the same strategy they’ve pursued since 2016: telling bullshit stories by waving documents around and lying about what they say, relying on tribalism and raw power rather than reason to persuade their fellow Republicans. It just so happens that several of these stories got told with the help of Russian foreign agents (though some got told with the help of a corrupted law enforcement). It just so happens that Trump and Rudy (and Stone’s) willingness to rely on Russian help to tell these stories has greatly exacerbated their legal risk, and therefore made the spewing of bullshit stories more urgent.

But the Russian role mostly serves to magnify the desperation of this gambit.

Mostly, this is about weaponizing the tribalism of the Republican party that puts party loyalty over loyalty to the country or Constitution. And while there have been a few defectors from this dangerous tribalism in recent days, for the most part, Republicans in Congress don’t care that Trump is exploiting them like this or even — in some cases — don’t understand that this is all a shoddy set of lies.

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104 replies
    • FL Resister says:

      That she did!
      What you don’t see in this post is the years of painstaking labor that went into poring over the documents and evidence that MW has done, with footnotes. (I try to click the donate button now and then to contribute to her Herculean efforts to get at and expose the truth about this very corrupt administration.)

      Once Donald J Trump, aka Individual One, is no longer shielded by AG Barr and loses his cloak of inviolability on January 20th, the hounds are set loose. And I have confidence that they will chase Trump and his hench people down every last rabbit hole and will pull them out by the seats of their very soiled pants to finally face justice.

      Reply
    • mospeck says:

      Agree, great stuff, Marcy. depressingly great analysis.
      We have no choice but to counterattack against putin’s russia.
      IC surely gets that he and his gru cannot be allowed to merrily continue
      asymmetric warfare against liberal western democracy.
      Old Joe needs to completely disconnect putin’s russia,
      max the sanctions and let the Russian People
      end vlad and valery.

      Reply
  1. joel fisher says:

    It would be nice to see some judges mention Rule 11 sanctions. If they have, I haven’t heard about it. It would be nice to see some state Professional Responsibility boards taking a look at these amazing Rule 3 violations. Again, maybe I’m under-informed, but I haven’t heard anything about that either.

    Reply
  2. Manwen says:

    Thank you for this thorough, complete, and succinct summary. As I read about the Attorneys from Hell Press Conference yesterday, it occurred to me. Perhaps, four of the five lawyers could potentially be exposed to professional sanction, if not legal liability soon. Giuliani, Powell, Toensing and diGenova all must fear future investigations by a Congress not blocked by Trump, with a DOJ willing to enforce Congressional subpoenas, and other forms of potential exposure of their behavior. It seems as though all have been involved in violations of election law, tampering with witnesses, or at least violating ethics rules of the BAR. Even if Dems are unwilling to go there, the paranoia that bleeds from the rhetoric of these officers of the court reveals their fear of powerful, vengeful Democrats. While Trump desperately wants to cling to power, the desperation of the acolytes seems to reveal as much about their personal fears as their desire for Trump’s approval. If the future feels uncertain for the rest of us, imagine what must be going on in those minds.

    Reply
  3. John Paul Jones says:

    Brilliant summary, just brilliant. Thank you.

    Also “synecdoche”; lovely word, and worth the price of admission all by itself. Hope to see either “metonymy” or “heptad” soon (as also lovely words).

    First sentence, last para: “partly loyalty” -> “party loyalty”.

    Reply
  4. madwand says:

    Great summary! There are 10 million people in Georgia who need to read this. Mind if I send a copy to my non favorite Senators just to piss them off?

    Reply
  5. PeterS says:

    I don’t think the human brain is designed to live with two realities, it can’t manage to keep hold of the real world if it is routinely entertaining an alternate reality. The alternate reality in this case is agreeing with and positively supporting whatever garbage comes out of Trump’s mouth.

    Republicans who in 2016 recognised all of Trump’s faults, but who after the election became his ardent supporters, cannot instantly switch back to the real world now he has lost; as Marcy put it in an earlier post, their brains are “rotted”. Like people rescued from a cult, they will need a lengthy healing process – but they will have to want to be healed, and that’s seriously in doubt. 

    (against the above, I have heard of a thing called “acting”)

    Reply
    • BD Mac says:

      Re: “I don’t think the human brain is designed to live with two realities,”

      The Allegory of the Cave (see Plato) suggests otherwise OR stresses your point entirely — another one of life’s paradoxes.

      The Trump cultists are just seeing the shadows is all. They’ll need to take a walk outside [educate themselves accordingly].

      Reply
  6. sand says:

    I think we’re at the point where we’re ready to hire Leah Remini and Mike Rinder to do a series on the survivors as they exit this cult. I hope no one has been getting any DJT or MAGA brands over at Roger Stone’s house.

    Netflix?

    Reply
    • Rugger9 says:

      Don’t lawyers usually get sanctioned for stuff like this? Deliberate misrepresentation should get Bar referrals at least, but fines would do as well.

      What I also note from the various filings and hearings is that it appears exactly zero times in court have the campaign lawyers claimed fraudulent action when challenged by the judges, it’s always “No, your honor”. No wonder they’re 1-thirty-something.

      Reply
      • Fraud Guy says:

        I’m trying to find the citation (c’mon Google-fu!), but I overheard that one judge advised the defendants against one of Trump’s suits that they may look into requesting legal fees from the plaintiffs.

        Reply
        • bmaz says:

          Yes, that was in the AZ case here. It is pretty unusual for a court to openly invite that. And I know this judge, and it is very notable coming from her.

          Reply
          • Ed Walker says:

            I read a thread of live tweeting you tweeted. My God. Sanctions are obviously appropriate. Also appropriate in other cases where I’ve followed the live-tweeting. The pleadings and the hearings are bar exam questions, like describe at least 3 pleading errors and 3 errors in the argument.

            Reply
    • John Mc says:

      Wouldn’t it be cute if the they’ve actually “uncovered” voter fraud in the red counties of Minnesota. Talk about hoisted on your own pitard…

      Reply
  7. BobCon says:

    In a parallel situation, yesterday Ron Johnson led a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing that touted the need for Hydroxychloroquine.

    https://twitter.com/ashishkjha/status/1329646432958156801

    Dr. Jha, the lone witness representing honest medical science, hits on the same points — the GOP is out to destroy institutions and magnify tribalism, and they don’t care what horrible damage they will inflict along the way.

    Reply
    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      I saw that and could not believe they were still yapping about HCQ this late in the game. Senators no less. Some of the motivations of their sly head in the sand behavior has to be that they want to keep attention off the necessity to pay people to stay home.

      Reply
      • Tim Cline says:

        Digby has a blog entry (https://digbysblog.net/2020/11/hydroxy-cult/) which speaks to this issue. She quotes from Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the only witness who wasn’t actively touting HCQ.

        “But you may be wondering. What is going on? Why hold a hearing on HCQ in the middle of the worst surge of the pandemic? Why talk Hydroxy when so many Americans are dying?Because it was meant to push a narrative that masks and distancing don’t matter. If you get infected – no big deal – take some HCQ.”

        We are in for a rough ride, I fear.

        TC in NC

        Reply
    • Rugger9 says:

      That is indeed amazing, since HCQ has been shown several times to have no benefit to outweigh the significant side effects. IIRC one study in the late Spring / early Summer showed worse outcomes when HCQ was used.

      There’s a reason RoJo is considered America’s Dumbest Senator by Charlie Pierce among others, and I can’t believe Feingold lost to this idiot twice.

      Reply
    • skua says:

      If the Repub Senators actually rely on HCQ themselves then, as some other poster here pointed out, they are risking giving Biden a Senate majority by their absence for illness or death. (Though Finestein was videoed walking around at work maskless. Which could easily put Biden down another Senator or so. Sheesh.)

      Reply
    • Rayne says:

      Not a reply to BobCon so much as a warning to certain persons/entities trying to push particular therapies or vaccines in this thread:

      Don’t Do It.

      Claims about any therapies or vaccines had better come with citations from reputable sources. Comments without them will be dispatched, executed, trashed forthwith.

      Reply
    • Fran of the North says:

      Color me cynical.

      The first reason that pops into my head is that there is one or more well connected HCQ manufacturer(s) who ramped up production and now have warehouses full of an unwanted niche drug.

      Cue the violins.

      Reply
      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        I thought HCQ was over. But the disinformation universe’s reach is, if anything, expanding. Friday morning at my PCP’s office the same nurse who two months ago had the courage to express unprompted her wish to “get rid of Trump” started talking like one of his converts: masks don’t work, we all have to get Covid, and hydroxychloroquine “really makes a difference.” This was prefaced by her telling me that “a lot of her family” has the virus now (in Connecticut). I study cults. I’ve been working on a book that touches on the cultification of the country capitalized on by Trump. What I’m seeing is the opposite of a diminution of its power, but rather further slippage–at the worst imaginable time.

        Reply
  8. Mitch Neher says:

    Ms. Wheeler wrote, “And this propaganda . . . [edit] . . . derives its power from the fact that Republicans have gotten so tribally defensive of Trump, they will set aside the clear good of the country . . . [edit and substitute] . . . to set aside the clear will of the voters . . .”

    I do not think that the Republicans will actually follow through on Trump’s attempted Lukashenko impersonation. Although . . . They are admittedly several steps slow in repudiating the . . . gambit, outright.

    Still. There is no coming back from that . . . precipice. It’s all over for them if they go there. Nobody will trust any Republican with nuclear weapons ever again. Nobody.

    Reply
    • Rugger9 says:

      That and the fact that much of the GOP leadership also got help from the Russians and are therefore every bit as compromised as DJT. They all need to go.

      Reply
      • Norskeflamthrower says:

        “…the fact that much of the GOP leadership also got help from the Russians and are therefore every bit as compromised as DJT.”

        And THAT my friend is the lethal knot in which we are bound. The gerrymandering of the states has made this problem impossible to unwind without at least two more senators from Georgia or 5 elected Republican Senators who join a coalition to untangle this and burn the f***king rope.

        Reply
            • bmaz says:

              Yeah, that’s not going to happen. They do not have 50 votes, even if they win both seats in Georgia. Both Joe Manchin and Mark Kelly have definitively said they would NEVER vote for that. It is a good idea, but not happening anytime soon.

              Reply
              • Norskeflamthrower says:

                Yeah, but the game is gunna be to get a few Republicans to join a true coalition and there are a few high profile thugs on the Republican side that are looking at taking control of their party post Trump. Romney channeling his father comes to mind and it’s gunna be interesting because the senior senator from Utah has stated that democracy is not the game he is playing. If Romney wants a role in taming the Trumpian base it goes through getting control of his own state. And I believe he can

                Reply
                • Norskeflamthrower says:

                  …but of course he needs to get control of his state party first. The next two weeks will tell us if that’s the path Romney is gunna take. Romney is a snake but he is an intelligent and very realistic one who knows that his place in history, not to say his immediate future, rests on which way he choses to ride the wind

                  Reply
                • bmaz says:

                  Very much so! But I don’t think either one of those two will vote for that either. Manchin has been explicit in this regard, and I think I remember Kelly saying the same thing, but not positive. A good reminder, not just more Dems needed, but better ones too. One step at a time I guess….

                  Should note, this is exactly why I STRONGLY supported Ruben Gallego for Senate instead of Kelly. But the DC crowd, led by the execrable Schumer, froze Ruben out and warned him not to take on Kelly in the primary. I would love for AOC to primary the shit out of Schumer.

                  Reply
                  • dr_funguy says:

                    Get out the popcorn!
                    I guess she doesn’t qualify till 2024. Timely, since Schumer’s term is up then, but not timely re. the urgent needs for vertebrate life forms in the D caucus…

                    Reply
                    • bmaz says:

                      No, the minimum age to serve as a US Senator is 30 years. She is eligible right now. And Schumer up for reelection in 2022

                  • ducktree says:

                    My check book is open and my pen is uncapped . . .

                    Hell, I’d even move back to the Bronx to cast a ballot for the challenger!

                    Reply
              • jerryy says:

                This could happen in spite of the noted objections. Lots of folks are claiming that earmarks are coming back in the next Congress. The House could include monies for projects that the two good senators favor, or not.

                Reply
                • bmaz says:

                  Not nearly enough until the Dems have a solid majority in the Senate. And off year elections, like 2022 are notoriously bad for the party that just took the White House.
                  we’ll see.

                  Reply
                  • Ginevra diBenci says:

                    Speaking of better Dems, my fantasy is that Biden nominates Dianne Feinstein for a cabinet position and Newsome replaces her with London Breed. After putting Barbara Boxer back in Harris’s spot, for now.

                    Reply
                  • Rugger9 says:

                    I would think 2022 could be different if (big if) the Ds succeed in laying all of the obstruction and inaction at McConnell’s feet where it belongs. Every day and every week in the press, plus restarting Dean’s 50-state strategy.

                    For example, every time a WH official goes on MTP, they bring the current number of days McConnell had sat on the CARES act and the 2 T$ mini-CARES to ram through judges until McConnell stops doing that.

                    As for Kelly being too conservative, I would think once he reads the GOP Congress-critters for what they are he’ll be more open to AOC’s viewpoint.

                    Reply
      • Mitch Neher says:

        Yes I did.

        Someone recently reminded me that I’m supposed to love them.

        And that they may have been raised with a soft-cloth wrapped around a wire frame in lieu of a real surrogate mother.

        Reply
    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      If this election came down to one majority bipoc county in one state they absolutely would have stolen it while the octogenarian dem establishment leadership languished in their paralyzing torpour.

      The next election will be easier to steal because of this cycle and the precedent it set. Up and down the ballot.

      Reply
      • Mitch Neher says:

        That, too, is probably why they feel so “robbed” and “cheated.”

        They can’t send Giuliani into a federal court with evidence of Republican suppression of the black vote in order to prove that the Democrats must have stolen the election.

        “How else could they have overcome our suppression of the black vote?”

        c/o “I’ve been treated very unfairly.”

        Reply
  9. Chris.EL says:

    would you believe, of all people, Edward Norton – the actor – twittered a treatise on Trump; flavored with poker observations. Norton’s federal prosecutor father taught him well!

    Portion of Edward Norton’s twitter screed on Trump:

    …”I’m no political pundit but I grew up w a dad who was a federal prosecutor & he taught me a lot & I’ve also sat a fair amount of poker w serious players & l’ll say this: I do not think Trump is trying to ‘make his base happy’ or ‘laying the groundwork for his own network’…”

    plus this:

    …”I will allow that he’s also a whiny, sulky, petulant, Grinchy, vindictive little 10-ply-super-soft bitch who no doubt is just throwing a wicked pout fest & trying to give a tiny-hand middle finger to the whole country for pure spite, without a single thought for the dead & dying” …

    WOW!

    Reply
    • harpie says:

      Yeah, that was something!
      https://twitter.com/EdwardNorton/status/1329728889296355328

      […] We’re seeing 1) a tactical delay of the transition to buy time for coverup & evidence suppression 2) above all, a desperate endgame ..which is to create enough chaos & anxiety about peaceful transfer of power, & fear of irreparable damage to the system, that he can cut a Nixon-style deal in exchange for finally conceding. But he doesn’t have the cards. […]

      CALL. HIS. BLUFF. -Edward Norton

      Well worth a read! And Thanks to Marcy for retweeting it this morning!

      Reply
    • Savage Librarian says:

      Yeah, kudos to Edward Norton. I loved him as Lionel in Motherless Brooklyn.
      And I agree. Call. Trump’s. Bluff.

      But, especially, kudos to Marcy!

      Reply
  10. x174 says:

    mt–thanks for all the bad memories! speaking of bad memories, i’ve been re-considering mccabe’s hair-raising statements made just last week on the extremely damaging intel trump wanted to irresponsibly (and mccabe says inexplicably) release that would expose trump and members and methods of the intel community and their agents and assets:

    “Mr McCabe replied: “There is some very, very serious, very specific, undeniable intelligence that has not come out, that if it were released, would risk compromising our access to that sort of information in the future.

    “I think it would also risk casting the president in a very negative light – so, would he have a motivation to release those things? It’s almost incomprehensible to me that he would want that information out, I don’t see how he spins it into his advantage, because quite frankly, I don’t believe it’s flattering.

    [snip]

    The original version of that report was classified at the absolute highest level I have ever seen. We’re talking about top secret, compartmentalised code word stuff, and it would be tragic to American intelligence collection for those sources to be put at risk.” (url: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-fbi-secret-intelligence-russia-b1722964.html)

    one simple explanation for why trump has been pursuing such self-destructive and nationally destructive actions may be that he relies upon advice from his russian handlers (which may be in fact what makes up the intel that mccabe alludes).

    certainly would put the recent report (https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-admits-absurd-election-lawsuits-are-revenge-for-russia-probe-says-report) that trump’s lawsuits are revenge for russia probe in a whole new light.

    Reply
  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Marcy notes that the NYT is expanding the “diversity” of its Op-Ed page by hiring a middle-aged centrist white male commentator – Ezra Klein.

    The jokes write themselves. Rick Perlstein I could see, or a host of others. But Klein will repeat back to them what Baquet and his bosses already think. I assume that’s the point, because it’s hard unintentionally to be this obtuse.

    https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1329854536241074178

    Reply
    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If Baquet and his bosses needed a middle-aged white male, they could have asked Chris Hedges or Henry Giroux to join the OpEd page. That would have added spice. In choosing Ezra Klein, they’ve opted to dilute the broth with cold tap water.

      Reply
    • GKJames says:

      Hard to beat Baquet, Mr. “Sophisticated Objectivity,” for obtuseness. Yet the NYT remains for many the national “newspaper of record” rather than just one more media company scrapping for business … and access.

      Reply
  12. x174 says:

    ghouliani and his “legal smeagols” (h/t hunter at kos) are now quarantining after the dripper’s son (and adviser) tested positive for covid

    Reply
  13. 90's Country says:

    I remember when the word “tribal” really entered into my consciousness: First we invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq, and I read about the different tribes that made governing either country an all but impossible task.Soon there were marauding rival tribal bands in pick-up trucks, armed for war right there on our tv’s. I have to assume that Marcy uses the word on purpose, and can see how tribal the Republican Party has become, harvesting the fruits of Newt Gingrich’s introduction of “them vs. us” vocabulary in the House, and the introduction off Fox News, both in the 90’s. The Democrats are now the “enemy,” are communists and socialists, are not to be trusted. I spent the second decade of my life in Orange County, CA, in the 60’s, when the John Birch Society was a ruling tribe, headquartered in the next town. Yesterday’s news conference took me back immediately. I’d been hoping we could leave that shit behind, but it’s not to be. We’ve become a country that is difficult to govern.

    Reply
  14. Christopher Blanchard says:

    I do wonder.

    I noticed today that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has set out to cut down some of the loan facilities which US people have been using, and often relying on. That provokes a nasty thought. I do wonder if part of Trump’s tactics, and of his allies, is to try to provoke rioting or other kinds of drastic disruption. I haven’t been able to make sense of his flurry of legal proceedings because they don’t really seem to amount to much, but if one combines the two – confusion inside the system and promoting (or formenting) despair and anger outside it, then you would have the classic facistic bite – as with Mussolini up to the march on Rome, where he combined disruptive politics inside the Italian parliament with violent subversion in, eg. Turin, or (and I remember less about this, but I think it was similar in Munich and Berlin) Hitler in 1929.

    I would hope to be wrong, but some of your Trumpist opponents are very intelligent, energetic and historically very well informed (as, I think, was Mussolini), so even if they are not deliberately following that path, they will know that monstrous behaviour of that sort is amongst the available options.

    I would think, because of that, that people who oppose Trump , or to be precise, people who oppose anti-democratic Trumpism, should look at law and politics and ‘the street’ – all of them simultaneously, because that is what your opponents may be doing.

    For optimism, Mussolini himself said (or wrote – I’m not searching references) that he could have been stopped at any time until 1925.

    The position of your Supreme Court might be analogous to that of the Italian King in the the 1920s. What I think he did (and historians may shout at me) is to apply an honest right wing bias to events and given that, try his best to aim for the least bad outcome. He was horribly wrong, but I fear some of Trump’s enablers are repeating the same mistake, and your Supreme Court, if Trump gets near it, might do the same.

    Reply
  15. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Trump was a known quantity with respect to his longtime and recent ethics, with the Trump University grift settled right after the 2016 election. Scroll ahead four years and the USA is today two different ‘cognitive’ countries. Sadly, I shake my head.

    Thank for the above summary, aces!

    Reply
  16. Eureka says:

    With everything going on, don’t miss Jupiter and Saturn by the crescent moon. Lots of other planets visible lately. I can also see Mars a bit to the east of the aforementioned triad. (Very cloudy; those objects are all I can see, not even any of Musk’s satellites.)

    ETA: you can get some info here:

    https://www.pbs.org/show/star-gazers/

    Reply
    • Eureka says:

      Also cool:

      CSIRO: “It’s cloudy with a chance of *checks notes* meteors? ☄️ A bright green meteor went over Tasmania this morning. And our #RVInvestigator was able to capture it on our live stream! 🚢 The ship was near south coast of Tasmania where it’s currently doing work for @Parks_Australia. [Green meteor flies over ocean 100km off the south coast of Tasmania]”
      8:59 PM · Nov 18, 2020
      https://twitter.com/CSIRO/status/1329242744238338049

      Reply
        • Eureka says:

          LOL, nope, and you are probably SOL, then (after a similar announcement some years back, a student living in CC asked if I had any ideas where they could view [anything]. I got nuthin but learned powerless vs. city light). But for this triad you do have to catch it early after dark, like 530p ish [by the next dog walk all I had was the clouds and (likely fewer) copters, too, and couldn’t see it earlier this week at any time]. Maybe you’ll get lucky one of these nights.

          Oh but hey, looks like we’ve got an NBA championship on the horizon! If you are freshly exiled, thus spared the Brett Brown era of almost-not-quite, these are exciting signs.


          ETA: Whoopsie Rayne & bmaz, can you fix my bungled name when you fish me out of the troll closet, thanks!

          Reply
  17. punaise says:

    Clang, clang, clang went the troller
    Drip, drip, drip straight to hell
    Zing, zing, zing went my sharpies
    As we started for Four Seasons, well

    Chug, chug, chug went the voters
    High, high, high were the stakes
    Trump, trump, trump went beserker
    As if he had stepped on a rake

    Buzz, buzz, buzz went the buzzer
    Time for all to certify the vote
    Time to fall on swords, hopeless losers
    As we don our inaugural coats

    Reply
  18. pseudonymous in nc says:

    [whistles]

    This is a concentrated, dehydrated, all-out-of-fucks to give summary of the past four-plus years.

    Sidney Powell started believing the replies to her Twitter posts and has gone into the abyss. Mike Flynn started to believe the QAnon narrative in which he’s the protagonist of an ARG. Giuliani is there and he also has a big alimony settlement to deal with.

    Perhaps “believe” is the wrong word. There is a narrative where they are in deep legal shit, and a narrative in which they are heroes, and they choose to belong to the latter, even if it’s a fabrication, because accepting the former would stop them sleeping at night.

    Reply
  19. Stew says:

    Kayleigh is an amazing propagandist.
    She is exhibiting purpura in her nose and chin. She recently tested positive for Covid.
    Dawn of the Living Dead?
    more like
    Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things

    Reply
  20. sagittarian says:

    Having watched Queen’s Gambit, could the end-game for Loser #1 look like this: January 20th rolls around with no concession and a no-show at the inauguration. Loser #1 refuses to leave the White House, baiting the new government to evict him. The Constitutional Crisis from Hell and made for TV moment designed to make his followers love him even more.

    Reply
  21. morganism says:

    Don’t forget that there was sources that said the GOP server was hacked for emails also, just weren’t released.
    This could be a pretty simple blackmail threat against all the GOP and RNC leaders…. back Trump, or be outed for, well everything you can blackmail for. The GOP has never been tech savvy at all, prob pushed fone, email adds, contact lists, pics, birthdays, online orders and pets names etc.
    And if GRU had that, they could prob hack all their private fones and messages, and get hookups, mil specs, stock trade tips from committees, private discuss on bills, you name it.

    Reply
    • P J Evans says:

      Those who are leaving office, or already out, *could* speak out without fear of retaliation from Trmp or Mitch. They don’t, though. (Those who are retiring at the end of the year *could* vote against whatever Mitch is doing, but they aren’t doing that, either.)

      Reply
      • Marinela says:

        This is why I think the blackmail is still the only explanation. They don’t want the dirt to expose them, it is a personal exposure, and maybe they want to keep their own family members available to the swamp GOP opportunities.

        Reply
  22. BD Mac says:

    Re: “Trump had obstructed justice to hide the quid pro quo and conspiracy his rat-fucker (and possibly he and his son) had joined to help him get there.”

    So there’s no doubt: Not “possibly”.

    He and Don Jr. were in on it. To what extent IDK – you and law enforcement know best. The commutation of Stone’s sentence before a single day of incarceration was served of the sentence decreed by the courts was proof of this FACT.

    I can digress on Stone’s tells reaffirming my conviction to the truth, but I’ll truncate the comment for brevity’s sake.

    Re: “if he leaves office”

    So there’s no doubt: WHEN HE LEAVES OFFICE! Jan 20th is coming. Have no fear.

    [Note: Neither are corrections; just reinforcements of what the truth is or will be respectively.]

    Reply
  23. skua says:

    Trump has been “staying in the game”.
    And there is no know way that he can remain POTUS past 20th Jan 2021 in the USA as it is currently constituted.
    Even if he invokes the Presidential Emergency powers.
    Which has Trump having to either face up to cease being POTUS or attempt to re-constitute the USA.
    There seems little doubt that Trump would attempt a coup if he thought it would succeed.
    Trump seems to have always avoided significant proportionate consequences in his adult life. Which leaves me wondering why he wouldn’t (or isn’t) attempting a coup.

    If others want to imagine that they’re Trump and tell me why Trump isn’t attempting a coup then I’d like to hear.

    Reply
  24. Mulder says:

    Marcy, with a bit of editing towards a PG-13 rating, this could be in the Opinions Essay section of the Sunday WaPo. Dare I say, it should be.

    Reply
    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Agreed. This is brilliant, the best summary I’ve read of these critical events, an astonishing triumph of detail and concision.

      Reply
  25. Rivka says:

    Consider not using that word “tribalists.” I’m a member of a tribe and generally speaking, it isn’t tribes who are going around the world doing genocides and wiping peoples off the planet; it’s the universalists who appropriated my tribe’s culture and scriptures. Just saying!

    Reply

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