Peter Strzok Subpoenas Trump’s Soccer Ball from Putin

On December 11, Peter Strzok served a subpoena on the Trump for President with a deadline of December 30. Trump blew it off. Yesterday, Strzok filed a motion to show cause, arguing that Trump should be held in contempt for blowing off the subpoena and asking for a preservation order.

None of that is surprising.

What I’m a bit more intrigued by is one paragraph of the subpoena.

The subpoena asks for some things closely related to Strzok’s lawsuit, which argues DOJ released his text messages to Lisa Page in violation of his First Amendment rights and the Privacy Act, which in turn led to his termination. For example, it asks for all communications about those texts. It asks for all communications pertaining to Trump’s wish to have Strzok fired. It even asks for all documents,

concerning any wishes, desires, contemplations, plans, or efforts by Donald Trump, members of the Trump administration, or You to discredit the FBI, Mr. Strzok, Ms. Page, or the Mueller investigation.

If that request is broadly interpreted (and, again, Trump blew off his opportunity to object to the scope of the request), it’ll cover Trump actions right through the last moments of his Administration, when Trump attempted to declassify sensitive documents pertaining to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

But the request I’m most interested in asks for all documents “concerning links” between Trump, Putin, Russian oligarchs or banks, as well as any fear that such links might be discovered.

All documents concerning links between (a) Donald Trump, any immediate family member of Donald Trump, The Trump Organization, Jared Kushner, or You and (b) Vladimir Putin, agents of the Moscow Kremlin, Russian oligarchs, or any Russian banks or business enterprises; or document concerning fear that such connections would be uncovered by the Mueller investigation, the FBI, or any other agency or apparatus of the United States government.

While I was being somewhat facetious in this post’s headline about the subpoena including the soccer ball Putin gave Trump on July 16, 2018 — the soccer ball is not known to be a document, even as described broadly by the subpoena, though even Lindsey Graham suggested it might be more than a soccer ball — the request could be read to include a number of other things Trump has tried to suppress. Several examples include:

  • Any documented discussion that ties Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns to Russian funding
  • Any notes held by Trump Organization (as opposed to the Office of the President) recording discussions with Putin
  • The two gifts Aras Agalarov sent during the campaign, a $100,000 triptych painting and a book, both of which purportedly arrived on the same day as stolen emails were released; the communications around these gifts emphasize Agalarov’s concern with the timing of their delivery and in the second case make policy proposals
  • A January 2017 memo from Robert Foresman adapted from one an unnamed oligarch did, laying out Russia’s plans for better relations with Trump; Trump’s White House had tried to claim Executive Privilege over this document in document productions to SSCI
  • Emails from Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Prikhodko, inviting Trump to the June 2016 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum; there’s no formal record that Trump ever declined the invite and Foresman followed up on the invitation shortly thereafter

Strzok could make ample use of earlier documentation of Trump’s efforts to withhold documents from investigators to prove Trump for President is withholding responsive documents.

When Peter Strzok appeared on Meet the Press to pitch his book, Compromised, Todd asked him an uncharacteristically pointed question.

Todd: Given what happened to you, in this episode, um, do you look at what happened and say to yourself, I put myself in a compromising position, I shouldn’t have done that. And that’s on me. Or do you believe you were unfairly singled out?

Strzok: Well, Chuck, I understand that people would ask that question. I certainly regret sending the text messages that were absolutely weaponized and used to bludgeon the work of the FBI, the work of the Special Counsel. I’ll always regret that. But at the same time, the way that those were weaponized was unprecedented. And it is certainly part of a pattern of activity where this Administration has gone to lengths that no other Administration has ever done — that anybody who dares speak the truth or speak out, whether it is in the impeachment hearings with regard to Ukraine, the whistleblower, or anybody in any number of government agencies, if somebody dares speak the truth about this Administration, this Administration has shown no boundaries in going after people in ways that, frankly, is shocking, shocking and inappropriate.

Todd: Well,  and are you still confident the FBI’s immune from this? That you’re not used as this, okay, we sent the message, back off.

Strzok: I think the women and men that I know in the FBI, they’re brave and they’re fearless and they’re dedicated to doing the job and getting to the bottom of whatever lies in front of them. I can’t help though, but think that under an Attorney General who is sitting there day after day saying that there was no basis to launch these investigations in 2016, which is clearly, demonstrably ludicrous. There’s no way that doesn’t have a chilling effect on, not only the FBI, but all the branches and departments of the govern–the Executive Branch of the government. I think the FBI, the people that I know and knew, are holding. I am deeply concerned though what another four years of President Trump will to destroy the traditional independence and objectivity of our government.

Todd asked Strzok whether his texts with Page had been precisely what he warned against for so many years in government, saying or doing anything to make himself and — in this case — the FBI more vulnerable to being coerced into taking actions, or not, that undermined the good of the institution.

Strzok filibustered rather than admit it. But of course the texts did. And as Strzok suggested, it was just the first of many steps Trump took that affirmatively made the US less safe against Russian aggression, which all led up to the SolarWinds hack.

While it’s unclear whether Strzok will succeed in this effort, what he appears to be doing with his lawsuit is more than just obtaining recourse for the damage to his career and his reputation done by Trump’s attention. Rather, he seems intent on unpacking how and why Trump used his texts to compromise the US government.

Update: Corrected to note that this subpoena was served on Trump for President, not Trump Organization.

DOJ submitted a filing noting that while they had no objection to the filing of this motion they,

do not endorse the arguments made in support of Plaintiff’s motion regarding alleged motivations behind Plaintiff’s removal or the disclosure of text messages, or otherwise share in Plaintiff’s theory as to the relevance of the subpoenaed materials to Plaintiff’s case.

102 replies
  1. joel fisher says:

    With all the talk about pardons it’s easy for me to forget that bloodthirsty civil lawyers –Dominion’s lawyers, say– can go forward as pardons are not an issue. Sooner or later, one of the civil suits will hit a criminal nerve and the defendant will end up invoking the 5th Amendment and pardons–“Yo, Rudy, you get a secret pardon?”–might come up, but, until then no holds barred.

    • BobCon says:

      I think Strzok has already been dragged through enough mud that the usual disincentives for pursuing a civil suit are a lot weaker.

      Pre-presidency I think Trump was usually more adept at using leverage to head off suits early than what happened here.

      • joel fisher says:

        Reference to “disincentives” reminds me of the fact that, unless Strzok has resources (The model for this is Peter Thiel’s backing of Hulk Hogan and Mrs. Love Sponge in their extermination of Gawker.) at his disposal, civil litigation is generally on a contingent basis and if a lot of money shows up on the table, the incentive is to grab it and shut up rather than take it to a verdict.

        • Peterr says:

          OTOH, there is also the incentive to be known throughout history as The Civil Litigator Who Took Down Trump.

        • BobCon says:

          I think Trump’s financial picture is a lot clearer than it was pre-2016.

          The reason he was such a penny pincher in civil settlements wasn’t some grand strategy so much as being fairly asset rich but cash poor.

          Trying to negotiate over a settlement is pointless because he will never have the cash on hand to agree to a decent one. Lawyers and clients are more likely to know what his holdings are and that he can get the money but only if you fight to make him liquidate. Negotiation is pointless.

        • J R in WV says:

          One lesson here is never piss off a counter-intelligence investigator expert resulting in subpoenas relating to all your dirty tricks, dirty back story, relationships with foreign enemies of the state, etc. Strzok knows what to ask for, just the asking of these questions shows the vulnerabilities of Trump and his minions.

          So stupid of Trump to have poked at this particular rattlesnake!!

  2. skua says:

    “he seems intent on unpacking how and why Trump used his texts to compromise the US government”

    What a beautiful understanding of his intent.
    Name dragged through the mud, fired.
    Then Strzok goes analytic on Trump.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Seems like a theme the DoJ should pick up: “unpacking how and why Trump used his texts to compromise the US government.” Doing so would not give up much “unity.” Moscow Mitch doesn’t understand the word, except as it applies to his own caucus. He doesn’t even believe in the same form of government the Democrats are trying to practice.

  4. Savage Librarian says:

    Yeah, maybe the only way to reinforce the importance of following risk management, safety and security measures is for all of us Americans to have Kompromat 101 as part of a standard curriculum in our education system. If pledging allegiance to the Constitution is not an effective means to ensuring that loyalty to democracy happens, then maybe a serious look at providing other tools of awareness are in order. I certainly don’t know the solution, but I do know that we have become way too casual in what our responsibilities are.

    I’d love to see something good come out of Strzok’s subpoena. So, I wish him well.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The latest oxymoron in politics: Ever Trump patrons want to establish series of Trump think tanks.

    Further evidence, as if it were needed, that there’s more money to be sucked up from the Trump base, and that insurrection is now a defining characteristic of the Republican Party. But, hey, Republicans admire unity as much as Democrats, except that their version reminds me of Unity Mitford, a prominent supporter of Adolf, and of her sister, Diana, who was happily married to Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists during WWII.

    • Chris.EL says:

      Thank you for mentioning this woman… never heard of her… unusual first name, so googled to verify.

      Even more unusual is her second name! From Wikipedia: “Unity Valkyrie Freeman-Mitford … conceived in the town of Swastika, Ontario, in Canada, where her family had gold mines.” …
      I remain stunned and saddened that humans could think up all the atrocities to inflict on fellow humans. Nazis especially — piles of shoes, bodies tossed…too atrocious to list. U.S. citizens think it is something to emulate and be proud of?

      • PeterS says:

        They either don’t really “think”, or have read somewhere on the internet that it was a hoax; or both. Disgusting people.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Unity was possibly the least famous of the Mitford sisters. Nancy, a writer and commentator, was the most well-known. Diana was married to the charismatic politician and philanderer, Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of WWII-era British fascists and friend of Hitler and Mussolini. Jessica, a socialist, emigrated to Berkeley, CA, and became a writer. Her most famous work is an expose on the financially rapacious American funeral industry, The American Way of Death, which is still well worth a read.

      • bmaz says:

        The American Way of Death “still’ sits in my mind from reading it in high school. Fantastic book, and I bet it still holds up well.

        • P J Evans says:

          My parents had it; I’ve read it, and I suspect it holds up very well. (I suspect it was part of why my father donated his body to a university and my mother signed up with the Neptune Society.)

        • Eureka says:

          Teeth, too, owing to their even higher hydroxyapatite mineralized fraction, and the more rugose versions of each [dense, compact (parts of) hand and foot bones, long bones, mandible; molars], even longer.

          But in this new process — which is distinct from the more passive ‘natural burial’ allowed in the UK and some other places — they’ve got it down to ca. thirty days. They use steel pods with an organic matter mix, ensure sustained higher temps (in the low-mid 100sF) (that’s inherent to the process, but they must also meet a threshold for a period of time to kill disease-causing microorganisms), controlled venting/airflow to allow ample available O2. I think they turn and stir or something, too.

          In short, they’ve idealized conditions for decomposition — including the hard tissue.

          [So to address Mwwa’s question: the skeleton simply becomes part of the new soil mix created as well.]

        • puzzled scottish person says:

          Nice use of the word ‘rugose’. I thought only HP Lovecraft and (more often) August Derleth ever used it.

          I read about the Body Farm years ago when I still worked in forensics.

          That’s where I want my body to go; let it do something useful :-)

        • puzzled scottish person says:

          ‘Archaeologists would argue that skeletal remains are more resistant to decay.’

          Have you checked out Mary Schweitzer’s work on dinosaur bones?

          Controversial but very interesting if she’s right.

        • Bobster33 says:

          I actually worked on a human composting facility in a few years back. It is supposed to be the latest trend in China and has moved to Seattle. The project kinda creeped me out. My work involved general building/fire consulting.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It reads like a comfy casual anti-trust brief, in that it’s full of monopoly pricing and practices, and consumer and age abuse. For years, the industry treated Mitford the way Roger Smith’s Detroit reacted to Ralph Nader.

          Sociologists could once predict finding at least two millionaires in every town in America: the two guys who owned the car dealership and the funeral parlor. It would be worse now, given the industry’s consolidation, but for Nader-style consumer groups and friends societies. They offer lower-cost alternatives to the expensive-costly-rapacious ones and the who-negotiates-at-a-time-like-this spiel offered by the industry.

        • scribe says:

          Most undertakers now are franchisees of large chains. They just retain the name of some now-deceased undertaker on the front door. But, if you look enough you’ll find the identity of the franchisor.
          Interestingly enough, the old-dead-name-undertaker thing still works well as it plays into the more-or-less traditional segmentation of the market along ethnic and religious lines. In a town large enough, there’ll be the Catholic undertaker, the Protestant one, the Jewish one, the Black one and the Asian one. Bigger town still, and there’ll be the Italian, the Hispanic and so on.
          My dad was buried out of the funeral home run by the kids of one of his hometown buddies; they’d grown up together in the same neighborhood and known each other their entire lives. Even wound up in the Army together, during occupation in Germany. I went to school with the kids and they went into the family business, but it was not independent any more. Just a franchise with the family name on the front.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Large law firms also engage in similar name games. The name partners are often dead, or the firm name is shortened to leave out the least catchy names (a step aided by loosened regulations). Jones Day, for example, was once known as Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, itself an expression of one of the mergers it undertook, a feature of large firm practice over the last forty years.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          I was at a hotel and there was a conference being held there. Very nice people. I asked what convention they were attending. They said it was a funeral directors convention.

          I mentioned that they were all so friendly. The guy I was talking to replied: “yeah, we’ll be the last people in the world to let you down”.

      • graham firchlis says:

        “The Loved One” 1965 film adaptation of the 1948 Evelyn Waugh satirical novel of the same name, shreds American funeral ptactices in a similar vein.

        Relentlessly shocking, featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast, highly recommended.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Written by Terry Southern and Christopher Isherwood, just after Southern did Dr. Strangelove, so it should be entertaining.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:


          I almost mentioned ‘The Loved One’ earlier…

          Rod Steiger as Mr. Joyboy?

          Jonathan Winters as the crazed Reverend Glenworthy?

          “We’ve got to get those stiffs off my property!”

          “An orbit of eternal grace…”

          Truly funny movie…

        • John Colvin says:

          Or for those of you who do not have the patience for a stylish movie or a Waugh novel, there is the Ramones’ single “Pet Sematary” (written for a film adaptation of the Steven King novel), which clocks in at about 3:30:

          On a personal note, the lyrics were written by Dee Dee Ramone, whose real name was Douglas Colvin and who may or may not be a relation of mine.

        • vvv says:

          Very cool “may or may not be”!
          I love the Ramones after initially disliking them for their minimalism (no solos!), before I realized, that’s the point.
          Totally unique concert experience, also; 4 leather-jacketed oddballs blasting out 2.5 minute nuggets of speedy rhythmic distortion and Joey’s vocals.
          Good example: ht[BREAK]tps://

      • earthworm says:

        in connection with the mitfords, another sister, deborah, was married to the duke of devonshire and was the chatelaine of blenheim palace, i believe.

    • BobCon says:

      There is some early movement by Ron Wyden to pressure the IRS to get more serious about dark money, and the measure passed last year to roll back anonymity behind shell corporations should help.

      Obviously there is a long hard battle ahead, but I think the Democrats are a bit more savvy about not rolling over the instant the GOP starts whining about conservative bias. We’ll have to see if the press is any better though. It’s a sign of how screwed up so many of the DC establishment press is that they effectively back GOP efforts to make it so hard for the press to dig up facts.

    • rosalind says:

      ah, the Mitford girls. Jessica “Decca” Mitford was a friend of my history professor at UCSC, and one of my favorite days ever is when she came to guest lecture. what a woman, what a life, what a bunch of fucked up sisters she had.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yes to all three, although Nancy had her moments and Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, wasn’t too bad, as long as you paid for your ticket to Chatsworth House.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          My mom used to refer to the Mitford sisters as if they were kin. I thought she had grown up with them. I understood that “the princesses” (Elizabeth and Margaret) lived their satin-swathed and tiara’d lives in various English castles, but “the Mitfords” I pictured alongside my mother in south Chicago. The confusion lasted longer than it should have, and in spite of the various Mitford books on our shelves.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Tragically, Stella Tennant,the Duchess of Devonshire’s Super Model Grand Daughter committed suicide December 22. A remarkable but unorthodox family by any measure.

    • skua says:

      “series of Trump think tanks”

      If their aim is a more Trumpist world then a series of drama improvisation schools for fascists/narcicists/sociopaths is really what they’re after.
      As is obvious to all who saw the Trump Administration without Murdoch-supplied glasses on. Dog and pony/Performing fleas/Bait and switch.

        • vvv says:

          “will try to keep cultural issues that animated Trump’s presidency on the public agenda”

          So sexual assault, misogyny, racism, fraud, dishonesty, authoritarianism, and insurrection – got it.

        • Eureka says:

          How are they using this to launder money (into Trump’s hands)? New nonprofits? Spawn on the Board(s) of Directors?

          ETA: this prospect = ribald laughter. Don Jr. *might* have to take his _role_ on The Apprentice out of his bio so people know where to send money (nope, never. Apprentice Forevah). And Eric? The strong wan, silent monosyllabic type? (I guess that’s why Parscale’s PAC had to pay his wife in stead.)

  6. Rugger9 says:

    The problem of having the policy of abusing people and discarding them is that there will be a lot of loose ends comprising pissed off people wanting the opportunity for payback. Adding to that is the problem that many of these entities (such as the Scottish Government with the prospective UWO) are well beyond his control or ability to pardon his way out (assuming he has his secret stash).

    Since DJT no longer has the reins of power to protect him and pay his bills for him, he will begin a life of looking over his shoulder. It will be interesting to see what banks will loan money to him and TrumpOrg to prop up the empire, cascaded down through his spawn and in-laws, and the terms they will impose given the track record of multiple BKs to dodge debts.

    His “brand” is now radioactive, so marketing deals are probably out in most of the world, and the dictators who would consider them will demand concessions. I think the fall will be spectacular and Kaiser Quisling will be in exile by the end of the year, or in custody.

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      I sure hope you’re right about everything you just said…

      The abrupt silence, on his part, now that he’s out of office (boy, isn’t it wonderful writing that?) and banned from social media, is delightful…

      I was looking at some video footage of him making his incitement speech (hyperbole on my part… I know… I know…) on the 6th, and immediately that knot came back in my stomach…

      I sure hope you’re right…

      • vicks says:

        Donald Trump built an army that flies his flag.
        It started with good little soldiers volunteering their time and fighting for Trump on the twitter and ended with people dressed like actual soldiers, carrying actual weapons who had done actual training and organizing, showing up at our capitol (some on the Trump campaign’s dime) and actually beating and killing fellow citizens in thier “fight for Trump”
        Our desire to hold on to the belief that decent people would come around, is a big part of what got us where we are now; sorting out wtf happened on Jan 6, while at the same time discovering that an ever-growing part of the population has been so well groomed, it looks as if they are just shaking the event off as it off as if it were some sort of senior year prank.
        No one should sleep well at night until Trump is taken out of the game with the legal or political equivalent of a stake through the heart.

        • Stacey says:

          Hard to agree MORE heartily!

          I get that Biden’s agenda has to succeed so that voters feel that their life improved and that they voted for something that matched at least the direction things moved in, so they’ll even consider doing it again. I get all of that. And I get why McConnell’s aim is to chop that bridge down anyway he can, so that people do NOT think they’re voting for him/Dems got them anywhere. I get all of that.

          And also, the psychosocial virus that is spreading around the internet faster than the C-virus is spreading around the real world, sucking people into the Qanon world, anti-vaxx world, conspiracies of all kinds, distrust of anything we used to call sane normalcy, is something we had better find a vaccine for as well, or the C-virus will be the least of our problems! If the consequences for all that the Rs and Trump’s trained minions have done are not sufficient to ween them off of the IV-drip of hate that they’re on now, we all know where this goes, and it ain’t good!

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Disqualifying Trump from office is the very least that needs to be done.

          But it really, really, truly, truly needs to be done–for real.

          Make Trump run for president in 2024 as a write-in candidate, only.

        • vicks says:

          I feel like I must be missing something, because at face value the 14th amendment seems a straightforward way to disqualify Trump from holding office again.
          Even though too many republicans are trying to play the insurrection off as a senior prank, almost all of them have admitted Trump had a hand in it, and while it’s not clear to me that our founders felt any legal process was required before throwing down the gauntlet and disqualifying a candidate, it seems Trump being impeached for inciting a riot at our capitol should be more than enough to get the (disqualification) ball rolling for political purposes.
          Section 3
          “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

  7. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Swastika, Ontario…

    Did such a hard take when I read that, I almost pulled a muscle…

    Still feeling a bit disoriented, trying to wrap my head around that one…

    ‘The American Way of Death’…

    Never read it but have heard in the past that it’s quite good…

    What did Hunter Thompson say about that?

    “Old elephants limp off to the hills to die; old Americans go out to the highway and drive themselves to death with huge cars.”

    OMG… this a real story…

    “The elder Stokes (first name Flukey) had his son buried in a Cadillac-style coffin with $100 bills stuffed between his diamond ring-laden fingers.”

    And then, there’s this one…

    “A woman was buried Friday in the back of her beloved red 1976 Cadillac convertible–in 14 plots at Riverview Cemetery, funeral home officials said.”

    The American way of death… indeed.

    • Fran of the North says:

      Indeed. Flukey Stokes was a gang leader in Chicago. His son was Flukey Jr. was known as Willie the Wimp and was gunned down in 1984.

      His ‘Cadillac’ was less a car than a coffin with a Seville badge, Caddy grill and styrofoam accoutrements, but certainly provides the notoriety that has us talking about it 36 years on.

      Bill Carter wrote an eponymous song that Stevie Ray Vaughn made famous.

      An interesting 5 minutes on the origins and disposition from PBS Austin here Add a lowercase “L” to the end to view. <>

      For your LISTENING pleasure, track down SRV’s version at Midtfyns 1988.

      Spin ’em at 33.33 if ya got ’em.

      • Chris.EL says:

        Hate to cite “The Da Vinci Code” as a source, but in the beginning scenes Tom Hanks’ character describes the symbol as originating far from Nazism; indeed the photographic evidence is a depiction of the Buddha. Swastika ancient symbol for good luck. Nazis may have tilted the vertical alignment…
        Did not know until I read on Twitter, today is Holocaust Remembrance Day — anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz.

        Evil authoritarian “leaders” must be stopped; for the sake of all.

        • P J Evans says:

          IIRC, the Nazis flipped it so it rotated counter-clockwise. (Sunwise is almost always good, the other tends to be considered bad.)

      • J R in WV says:

        Actually, the swastika also emerged as a symbol in ancient Native American societies independent of its use in South-Asian Indian symbology. We see it in pottery, weaving, and rock petroglyphs, chipped into native stone hundreds of years ago.

        Some of the pottery is also quite ancient, weaving somewhat less so, but in the southwest desert country it is surprising how long organics can last in a rock shelter far up a tiny canyon.

        Interesting how a complex symbol like that could evolve independently on opposite sides of the globe. A shame it is now so tightly associated with such a despicable history, and amazing that modern people wish to be associated with that despicable “philosophy”…

    • PeterS says:

      And in other news: dog bites man. Looking back, you have to admire (kind of) CNN for having her as a contributor. And Jason Miller FFS.

    • vvv says:

      “McEnany reported receiving nearly $200,000 in salary and bonus from the Trump campaign”

      Seems a little high to pay for her corrupt soul.

  8. Chetnolian says:

    Perhaps OT, except for the Mitford sisters being British, but the UK just passed 100,000 Covid 19 deaths today, more per capita than even the USA. A dreadful indictment of the economically based pressures which made Boris keep trying to end the various lockdowns early, particularly over Christmas, where he dressed up a brazen attempt to placate the hospitality industry by talking about families getting together. He realised before the time he had got it wrong, but by then the message was out, people mixed as they had planned to do, and the stupendous third wave started, helped along by a new more virulent variant which was already out there by Christmas. And it would be much worse except for the immense efforts of the SOCIALIST National Health Service, which even the economic right, which systematically starved it before the pandemic, has now no choice but to say it loves and cherishes.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      English or British?

      Happy Talk Boris is claiming, Trumplike, that his government did everything imaginable to combat the pandemic. That’s about as accurate a claim as that it did everything imaginable to prepare for Brexit. (Small businesses are only now discovering the plethora of rules required to export to a foreign country, like longtime partner, the Netherlands. Surprisingly, they seem not to know who to blame for that.)

      The Tories concern for the well-being of the NHS will disappear, I reckon, when its members no longer need a vaccination jab. But their concern wasn’t enough to give health care workers and first responders top priority to be vaccinated.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        Nope, granny gets inoculated first because she might vote Tory, or her progeny might so vote out of gratitude; that seems to have been the calculation. What a poopster. Maybe Labour can do better than put up another ageing Bennite next time, and stand a chance of winning.

        • Peters says:

          “granny gets inoculated first because she might vote Tory”.

          Really? Nothing to do with her age then.

          My 93 year old father has been vaccinated (much to our relief) and so has my 26 year old daughter who works in healthcare.

          I am no Johnson supporter.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          I was speaking to what I saw as BoJo’s motivations, which seem to me most often to be short-term, foolish, or corrupt (or all three). My own locality is also using an age-based system for inoculations, but they are doing so only after having inoculated front-line health-care workers. Personally, I think that workers vital to the functioning of society – grocery store workers, bus drivers, and so on – should be next in line after health-care workers, and then shift to using age classifications. But our public health officials have nixed that suggestion.

          So far as public reporting goes, my understanding is that Johnson rejected other alternatives, particularly the inoculation of health-care workers, in favour of using age alone as the criteria.

          My mum got her needle about 10 days ago; she’s 92.

        • Franktoo says:

          FWIW, The elderly are much more likely to be hospitalized and remain hospitalized longer than younger “essential workers” in frequent contact with the public. Vaccinating the elderly first frees up about 10-fold more hospital beds than vaccinating “essential workers” first.

          One can also calculate the relative number of years saved by vaccinating someone over 65 than a younger “essential worker”. A 30-year-old essential worker has a 50 year life expectancy and someone 85 has a 5-year life expectancy, but the latter has a 160-fold greater chance of dying of COVID. Vaccinating the elderly first saves about 10-fold more person-years than vaccinating essential workers.

          Younger essential workers are more likely to be infected than elderly who are sheltering in place, and therefore as more important to transmission. Vaccinating essential workers first will bring the pandemic to a halt sooner, but it is also true that “essential workers” are also much more likely to already be immune (and not need vaccination).

      • coriolis says:

        The Tories’ concern for the NHS disappeared about ten days after the weekly applause stopped. They are deliberately not following the science and being obtuse with health precautions as a way to overwhelm the system (and insert private contractors).

        A prior decade of austerity measures had already left the NHS unable to cope with mental health and cancer services (just two examples I can personally give) even prior to covid.

        With government now ignoring advice from Pfizer on how to effectively use the vaccine, after being told it will actually worsen the situation if not used correctly. It is hard to believe their intention is not to keep Covid going for as long as possible, as a way to fully privatise the NHS.
        Sorry for the rant.

        • Eureka says:

          Yeah their screwing with the vaccine dosing would seem likely to create problems for the whole world (as whatever reservoiring, resistant variants invariably spread). I can’t believe they kept on that after the fact-storm from UK virology twitter/experts. Then (at least) one of Biden’s advisors, Jha, was trying to push delayed second dosing as a policy for the US — which, after some vacillating, got shut down. As we’re low on supply here, I remain afraid that Jha and others might again try to pursue that dangerous path. (Last I heard, Slaoui of Operation Warp Speed said that it would be safer and more supported by science to spare vaccine by halving the Moderna dose in younger individuals, but still giving both doses on schedule. But this was before UK approved it, and I haven’t heard anything more on them wanting to try this other approach in the US.)

        • Chetnolian says:

          Not as you all know a Government supporter, but the public health science community is adamant that the UK has made the correct decision on how to handle vaccines. There is no evidence that it worsens the situation, only absence of evidence that it doesn’t. I have had my first Pfizer vaccine and am due my next after twelve weeks so it is personal but I am content it is a reasonable decision.

        • PeterS says:

          So the theory is that the Tories are using the covid crisis as an excuse to fully privatise the NHS?

          Firstly, there are other ideological explanations for the woeful response to the pandemic, which loosely mirror views in red states here; and there’s the usually reliable “cock up” theory. 

          Secondly, retaining power is generally important to these people and letting people die and dismantling the NHS doesn’t sound like a good election strategy to me; the NHS is way more popular in the UK than the EU was.

          Again, I am no Johnson supporter, and of course they could do more to support nationalised healthcare.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Brexit is the primary excuse to privatize anything that moves in the UK, on its own or otherwise. Brexit itself stems from the long-held Tory and neoliberal view that gubmint should do nothing to interfere with private profit-taking. Covid is an additional excuse. Laziness and mismanagement are character traits that Johnson, like Trump, pretends to be an advantage.

          While both parties share blame for not adequately funding the NHS for decades, undoing it has been an unspoken aim of the Tories since Winston Churchill called Clement Attlee a sheep in sheep’s clothing.

        • PeterS says:

          Even if you are right, I don’t buy that the UK Government is deliberately keeping Covid going as a way to privatise the NHS.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          They don’t have to “keep it going.” The bug and their general incompetence are sufficient. Then there’s the basic issue, per Mirowski and Klein, that Neoliberals never let a serious crisis go to waste.

  9. punaise says:

    The soccer ball is an apt symbol of trump’s “own goal” of misadministration, malfeasance, and malevolence that just barely cost him re-election (by hook or by crook in the end, but sans Covid I fear he would have coasted to victory)… and has exposed him to ruin.

  10. vvv says:

    FWIW, this really pissed me off:

    Spent some time today emailing all the red circle companies or going thru their customer service complaint pages the following:

    RE: Your failure to support democracy
    To you who are unconcerned for our democracy:
    Be advised that based upon your continued monetary support of insurrectionists and acceptance of the damage they have done and will do, I shall not be a customer, and further, shall advise others not to do business with you.

  11. vvv says:

    Also wanted to mention that on 1-7-21 I had emailed my congress persons (Durbin, Duckworth) that impeachment is necessary.

    I received a lengthy response from each of them today – eh, yesterday – each strongly agreeing.

    • Fran of the North says:

      Just watched it, and it’s a tour-de-force review of the Trump phenomenon from pre-nomination to the insurrection.

      It’s amazing to see the slime mold that surrounds him early on that only has been widely known recently – e.g. a signing ceremony early on where Kristi Noem is in the immediate background.

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