Fridays with Nicole Sandler

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70 replies
  1. dopefish says:

    Great show. The normalization of political violence in the U.S. was something I didn’t really understand until hearing it described like this. I heard that threats against federal judges are up by a large factor (3x ?) in the last few years, but I didn’t make the connection between the far-right agitators on Faux News and other RWNM and this normalization, but it makes total sense.

    One of Donald Trump’s superpowers is his inability to be shamed. He just rejects the framing of any argument against him, and refuses to accept that there are any rules, norms or laws that should apply to him. He has given a huge number of Americans permission to unleash the worst parts of themselves, and the U.S. may be grappling with the consequences for a long time.

    • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

      That’s right, Dopefish. Everyone knows there are going to be long-term “consequences” for our culture, but what you are describing will have been some kind of profound shift in the mileau, or a person’s social environment. That right there get’s at the problem, because a person is just an individual. A person can’t talk about changes to the mileau just like Shaquille O’Neil can’t describe the Wheaties Box he’s on, even though he’s holding a Wheaties Box, and on that box there’s Shaqueile O’Neil on it holding a Wheaties Box, that he can look at. It’s easy to attribute someone’s sense of the mileau to whatever you want from “they’re mad they lost the election” or “they’re nuts”.

      By systems levels analogy it might shed light to journey from the person walking around in milieau to their organ systems, tissues, and cells. A single cell is an open dynamic steady state system where nothing changes without changes also occuring in chemistry or physics. Society over person over organ system cells macromolecules atoms quarks. So society is like a cell. They are both open, steady state dynamic systems with a history. I think in systems levels analogy the dismemberment of the letter of the law from the spirit, truth from fiction, and love from life in the transition to fascism is like a cell that recognizes it is corrupt, not cancer per se, but understands this like a cell whose retinoblastoma protein is telling it to self-annihilate in apoptosis or descent to a terror state which is like cellular senescence.

        • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

          milieu – a person’s social environment

          I don’t think I’ve ever spelled it right yet.


        • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

          You have given me the key to milieu. I spelled it right that time! And I believe I need to think more about transcendence over the social in cognition, where dynamics can be at hand while you are simultaneously a participant, so a society entering senescence might save itself from terror by re-historicizing, like a husband and wife who are psychologists might realize that their way of walking away from each other when they need space has conditioned them through negative reinforcement to escape and avoidance. Oh honey, that’s why we’re not talking anymore. You transcend the social system you see the dynamic I think. Thanks for “milieu” milady!

  2. missinggeorgecarlin says:

    I’m 55 yrs old and I remember listening to Rush Limbaugh on the am radio back in the mid 90s while flipping through channels (other choices besides right wing hate were sports, Christianity and Hispanic music).

    Then I saw pathological lying on Fox “news”. Decades go by and I wondered: “Who believes this crap?”
    Fox’s popularity explodes…..I thought “Where is all this BS leading?”

    I have my answer. 1,500 AM radio stations, Fox, Alex Jones, etc….it all brought us DJT, 1/6 and whatever next horrors they unleash. Roughly 25% of the US thinks Sandy Hook was fake. Political violence is being normalized.

    I didn’t speak out as much as I wish I had. Would it have made a difference? I don’t know.
    But the time to remain silent has long passed….

    Thanks for what you do, Ladies and keep up the good work!

  3. John Herbison says:

    After remand from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, District Judge Amit Mehta has ruled that the civil damages actions against Donald Trump arising out of the events of January 6 need not be stayed pending resolution of the criminal case brought against the Special Counsel. The case will now proceed to discovery to determine whether Trump’s alleged conduct “can reasonably be understood as the official actions of an office-holder rather than the unofficial actions of an office-seeker.” Blassingame v. Trump, 87 F4th 1, 30 (D.C. Cir. 2023).

    • Patrick Carty says:

      By January 6, 2021, Trump was not an Office seeker. He fully lost every legal and sensical challenge to the election results and was at that time an office denier. And sure you can argue that a violent coup attempt would fall under office holder trying to remain the holder, but a failed coup nonetheless. Here’s to hoping he becomes a cell holder.

  4. HuntaurD says:

    Just a small note about audio: I’m no audio expert but is there anything Marcy can do to help better match Nicole Sandler’s audio? Whether it’s microphone, recording space, etc. the contrast between the two gets wearisome after awhile. I love spending part of my Fridays with these two and look forward to it every week. Just hoping for some audio improvements over time.

    • Magnet48 says:

      Huntaurd I’m going deaf & my hearing aids & nerves are highly offended by the echoing on Marcy’s end. I was told Spotify had transcripts but alas, I cannot find them. I even emailed customer service. I also hope some sort of adjustment might be made.

      • bmaz says:

        Chill. They are two different people interacting on the internet from two different continents. You get what you pay for, don’t whine.

        • phenanthroline says:

          spoken (written) like a person who doesn’t personally have to deal with hearing impairment

        • HuntaurD says:

          Pot? Kettle.
          Kettle? Pot.
          Nice to meetcha.

          [Moderator’s note: These Fridays comment threads have been treated as open but engaging in tit-for-tat exchanges with other commenters denies use of this thread by other community members for cogent discussion. End it here. /~Rayne]

      • pcpablo321 says:

        EW should get a decent mic and stand and speak with it a few inches from her mouth, wear headphones, and do it from a clothes closet.

    • emptywheel says:

      I was traveling this week. So circumstances were not optimal.

      We are working, generally, on sound quality. It’s not easy given the distance (8 time zones in summer). But we are working on it.

      • Rayne says:

        We should be realistic about the limits of audio over multiple networks over that distance. Each hop between network devices adds latency; network traffic volume can cause jitter and distortion; differences in devices and software at each end also challenge sound quality. Exact match of audio output at both ends for recording without any lag or distortion is unlikely unless an asynchronous interview format was used with exactly the same equipment, recording environment, and software at each end.

        • Deirdre McGlynn says:

          There is a recording tool that bypasses the issue that Rayne mentions – Squadcast (now integrated into the Descript audio editor) will capture audio on each speaker’s local computer, then stream the audio to the cloud, without the compression loss that would occur if the transmitted audio were used. Then the recording volume of each speaker can be adjusted as needed, any echoing removed, and audio components combined back into the actual conversation. It’s a game changer.

    • RipNoLonger says:

      I don’t personally have an audio problem, but Marcy’s voice has a higher frequency than Nicole’s. Perhaps that is part of the problem.

      • Matt___B says:

        I didn’t have any problem with this week’s podcast – clear as a bell to my ears, on both sides of the podcast. In the past there have been annoying glitches with the sound apparently going through a reverb unit, that Nicole was able to clean up after the live broadcast was over.

    • Nicole Sandler says:

      We are working on Marcy’s audio. There is a new mic and headset (I believe) on their way to Marcy, courtesy of our friend Spocko. Hopefully she’ll have them there and we’ll get it all tested before we reconvene again on Friday. Just know we are working on it.

      Here’s the link for this week’s episode on Spotify. There’s a place on this page to click for the transcription:

  5. harpie says:

    [1:50] TRUMP election interference / hush money trial

    [5:00] ew: I think one of the most telling stories of the trial so far is, [TRUMP] refuses to stand in honor or the jury, and that is really unusual. […] This entire thing is about being judged by your peers, and TRUMP won’t stand for them.

    ew: [as a criminal defendant, TRUMP] “can’t control his time. Welcome to the world, Donald TRUMP.”

    [9:48] Witness tampering / jury tampering
    [ew]: We haven’t had a conversation about how normalized political violence is for anybody who comes up against Donald TRUMP. [] We really have to find a way to shame people for this kind of witness intimidation, because it’s going on everywhere, and it is one of the most toxic things in our politics right now. And we just haven’t had that conversation as a society.

    [36:20] SCOTUS case [FISCHER] re: obstruction charge 18USC 1512(c)(2)
    re: differences between #J6 and protests/riots in Portland, and at Kavanaugh confirmation hearings

    [45:00] TRUMP’s immunity argument at SCOTUS
    Civil cases against TRUMP [official/presidential acts]

    [51:00] re: BARR says he’s voting for TRUMP

    ew: […] There needs to be some accounting for that. People need to be at least asking the question. People need to be saying, whether he intended to or not, Bill BARR set up a system to protect Rudy GIULIANI while he was going to demand and solicit dirt from known Russian spies, that had the effect of framing Joe Biden. There’s no exaggeration in that statement. That’s how we need to be talking about Bill BARR as he does his little media stupid tour. […]

    [55:15] News: Jury in TRUMP trial is seated

    [ew]: “[…] probably a smarter than average jury, and that may not be something TRUMP really wanted, but we’ll see.”

    [56:43] CONGRESS
    Ukraine funding

    [ew]: MARGE said something about the Hungarians in Ukraine and Carpa…, you know, MARGE said something she has no competence to say. So somebody who is mainlining Russian disinformation directly to her, got her to say something that you know could have come right out of Putin’s mouth. These people are hiding less and less that they are doing Russia’s bidding.

    Republican v. Republican:

    [ew]: as Republicans try to take out Republicans…at some point it puts Democrats in the sweet seat…all of this terrorism from the far right may end up really hurting Republicans…

    GAETZ ethics investigation leaks

    re: McCARTHY / JOHNSON [1:03:01]

  6. harpie says:

    UKRAINE funding passes in the House: [“3 minutes ago” at 2:00 PM]

    https: //www.washingtonpost. com/politics/2024/04/20/house-vote-ukraine-israel-aid-johnson/#link-3WDMXUNGMBEYJAXTA3NR6IEHIQ

    On a vote of 311-112, the House has passed the $60.8 billion aid bill to Ukraine.

    All Democrats voted in favor of the measure.

    It was nearly evenly divided among Republicans,
    with 101 in favor, 112 against and one voting present.

    Democrats as well as guests in the gallery cheered when the bill passed. House Speaker Mike Johnson warned that it is “violation of decorum” to wave flags on the floor.

    • FiestyBlueBird says:

      Watched much of it on C-SPAN. The guy presiding also dunked on the flag waving a couple of times. And the flag wavers dunked back and waved ’em again.

      All in all, a good day. I’m not normally rah, rah for war. But this one’s different; the stakes are different.

      When Johnson went to Florida to meet with Trump recently, I thought no way in hell will he help Ukraine.

      Tuned to Fox just for a few minutes after the vote. A guy was interviewing Liz Truss. She said all the right things as well, right up until nearly the end — and then said, if elected, Trump will be 100% all in for NATO.

      Fuck. Bullshit.

      • Rayne says:

        I don’t know what recreational substances Truss enjoys, but it’s not helping her grip on reality. You’d think after a tenure as PM shorter than the lifespan of a head of lettuce she’d have caught the clue train but nope.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Having failed to outlast a head of lettuce as PM, I suspect Lizzy is looking for some of that lucrative American wingnut welfare. Not that the Brits don’t have their own version, but Truss doesn’t seem able to access it like Blair, Johnson, and Cameron.

    • Badger Robert says:

      Support of the Irish independence movement might not have been a US policy, but I wonder how much the Irish Americans helped the cause when Ireland regained its independence? If Ukraine continues to get US and EU support, may the Russian empire finally join the other empires in the ash bin of history?
      The Russian empire was contiguous, but an empire nevertheless.

      • HikaakiH says:

        That yearning for the return of empire that hides in the hearts of many everyday Russians is the source of Putin’s power.
        The similar feeling in the hearts of many English men and women delivered the disaster of ‘Brexit.’
        And a similar dynamic of yearning for self-images that are thorough-going lies is at work in Trump’s MAGA mischief.
        History freed of mythologizing is difficult but important work.

    • dopefish says:

      OT: Historian Timothy Snyder gave a talk recently about how the USA is the main variable in whether Ukraine or Russia will win that war, and also summarizing how high the stakes are: quite aside from Russia’s genocidal intent towards Ukraine, this war will also affect everything from the international rules-based order, the viability of the European Union model, the deterrence value of NATO, nuclear proliferation, the morale of U.S. and its allies in this time of democratic backsliding around the world, and frankly America’s reputation as a reliable ally or a credible foe.

      He also points out that if Russia wins in Ukraine, it will control a lot more natural resources: everything from rare earths to a bigger chunk of the world’s food supply. Surviving Ukrainians would also be press-ganged into the Russian military, leaving Europe eventually facing a much bigger threat from a much more dangerous Russia.

      Here is the talk:
      The Peril of Slowness: American Mikstakes during Russia’s War of Aggression in Ukraine

  7. harpie says:

    Here are two “international relations” people seeming to agree that MARGE most likely got her “Carpathia” talking point NOT from Russia, but from ORBAN of Hungary:
    Apr 19, 2024 at 10:51 AM

    You know…the Viktor ORBAN who just visited TRUMP at M-a-L in March:

    Trump praises ‘fantastic’ Viktor Orbán while hosting Hungarian autocrat at Mar-a-Lago for meeting and concert https: //www.cnn. com/2024/03/08/politics/trump-orban-mar-a-lago/index.html

  8. RipNoLonger says:

    Getting back to the conversation between Nicole and Marcy: I really appreciate many points but what caught my attention in the discussion about stochastic terrorism is the fact that the SCOTUS gave itself federal protections while at home/not at work, but doesn’t seem to think these protections would be necessary for other participants (witnesses, juries) in these processes.

    Putin and djt have really brought out the worst in the equal applicability – purposefully – to drive us apart. (For bmaz, djt is an abbreviation of smelvis.)

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        Well since you guys brought it up, one question that wafted through my brain after that Meidas Touch tweet was whether some of the seated jurors who subsequently asked to be relieved of duty were actually worried about their ability to handle the job olifactorily?

        • Benji-am-Groot says:

          Late to the party, but could he be held in continent of court?

          *showing myself out now…*

  9. harpie says:

    More about MARGE, by Sarah Posner:
    Apr 19, 2024 at 8:43 AM

    My latest:

    The Christian right is waging a quiet but very pointed war against Marjorie Taylor Greene [link to:
    Marjorie Taylor Greene is gaining enemies where she least expected it] […]

    From their vantage point, it makes a lot of sense: would they get another speaker who would be as in their camp as Johnson? And would the GOP—and hence the Christian right’s agenda—benefit from chaos? No.

    • Badger Robert says:

      Voters are not known to make precise distinctions between House members. The party of Greene, like the party of Nixon, may get punished for insulting the electorate.

      • xyxyxyxy says:

        I am not sure I’ve got the question phrased right, buy why do you compare the party of MTG and Tricky?

    • BobBobCon says:

      Despite being personally an outsider, Posner is very well sourced and has a level of understanding of that sphere better than anyone I can think of at the big print outlets right now.

      She’s a great example along with MW of how news execs keep tripping on rakes by thinking that hiring insiders from the right wing will give better intel than hiring well informed outsiders.

      • David Brooks says:

        She was just on my son’s podcast for an hour, quite a “get”. She has an impressive deep view of the origins and journey of the religion/nationalism nexus.

    • Twaspawarednot says:

      I’m wondering if the vote for Ukraine aid is an indication of a turning point away from TFG and the likes of Margarine Green. Maybe the combination of a long list of issues going against TFG has finally broken the dam. This week has been a disaster for Sleepy Don. How more chaotic and disorganized can the GOP get.

      • Rayne says:

        A widely-publicized criminal trial at which the defendant has been openly disrespectful of the judge, jury, court rules, endangered jurors and juror candidates, tampered with witnesses and the jury, has a way of cracking open the GOP’s Trumpian omertà.

        • Badger Robert says:

          He’s the star of the show. But the more he’s on TV the weaker and more mentally disorganized he appears. Without careful digital editing his chronic decline is obvious.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          But whatever weakness may sneak through, Fox, Newsmax, etc., his cult blames and will blame the Deep State, Biden, deSantis, Haley, AI, his lousy lawyers, House Speaker Johnson or whatever they can think of.

  10. -mamake- says:

    Thank you to Nicole and Marcy for the gift of these Friday conversations, overcoming the time zone & technical issues and each of your busy lives (especially Marcy, from what I observe here). And Rayne for posting it too (think you said you’d catch it if one of them did not).
    And to Harpie for always providing details and links and herstorical record etc.
    And EOH and others for excellent food for thought.
    I appreciate this bonus post each week on top of all the other excellent work.

  11. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Tomorrow, Justice Engoron in Manhattan has scheduled a hearing at which Donny Trump will be required to justify the sufficiency of his $175 million appeals bond. The NYAG filed her response memo to Trump on Friday. It nicely skewers the sufficiency of Trump’s bond.

    Given the amount of the bond, Knight Specialty Insurance Company is undercapitalized. Its reinsurance arrangements with a captive affiliated insurer in an offshore tax haven may overstate its already severely inadequate surplus capital. The way in which Trump, through his eponymous trust, has secured the bond is vague about what assets are covered, and allows him leeway to substitute assets and lower the market value of the collateral, exposing the judgment creditor to unnecessary risk. Managers for KSIC and its affiliated companies have not demonstrated necessary and sufficient “trustworthiness” and “competence,” terms of art defined under NY insurance practice.

    The appeals bond’s failure to include an express promise to pay the NYAG is cured by the context and NY state precedent, albeit inelegantly and with outdated language that was not used in the $83 million bond Trump obtained to appeal the E. Jean Carroll award. Coincidentally, Trump obtained that bond from a qualified NY state appeals bond issuer.

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