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February 12, 2017

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I think a *lot* of us are doing our best to subject Trump to psychological stress, not out of sadism or payback (or at least not only that). We want him to feel more stress so he'll behave even more erratically, so his mental health will deteriorate faster and more publically, so Pence and Congress will make their move sooner.

I understand the inclination. I really do. But I think you all should be aware that this is a seriously high risk strategy.

We're talking about a man whose reaction to stress, especially to the stress of being opposed, is to lash out. Maybe, maybe, he keeps just lashing out verbally. But he's in a position where he can lash out using the US military. Even (heaven, indeed, forfend!) with nukes.

To some degree, you are hoping to thread the needle between him going visibly off the deep end and an intervention by the cabinet to short-stop disaster. That or someone in the military deciding that what he tells them to do constitutes an illegal order -- also a narrow path to hope to walk.

I admit I don't have a safe solution. But I still worry.

Of course, we'll still need intelligence estimates of how well the various attempts are working:
http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/02/11/cartoons-ivanka-trump-and-nordstrom/

I admit to being particularly taken with #11. Perhaps because of its optimistic take on how things might play out.

Re: Kellyanne Conway going on TV to influence Trump - please recall that during the campaign, when she was his campaign manager, she was going on TV and saying things like, "If I could talk to Donald, I would say to him..."

Alexandra:

I didn't even remember that. If.

I worked for years as a psychologist, so I am well schooled in psychological diagnosis. I can tell you that Trump is indeed a Narcissistic Personality Disorder as everyone says. However, he also meets the diagnosis for Borderline Personality Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder.

Get a copy of the DSM and check it out for yourself. There really is no doubt that the man meets the criteria for all three diagnoses.

The only President of my conscious lifetime who didn't seem to be ground down by the Presidency was Ronald Reagan, and in retrospect I wonder if this was an early symptom of his Alzheimer's.

As I have mentioned at ObWi before, I was at a function in London towards the end of Reagan's presidency where he addressed the gathering, and did not know what country he was in. "It's so wonderful to be here in.......(long pause)..in..(long pause)......in...(long pause).....this great nation". As I remarked at the time, trying to be fair, a charitable interpretation would have been that he was confused between England, the UK, Great Britain etc, but the strong impression was otherwise.

However, those were more innocent times; we worried about what he might do, but on the whole he was surrounded by competent people not actually intent on bringing down the whole system. So there was that difference.

I find myself confronted with public behavioral disturbances that more closely resemble the DSM than they do politics as usual.

It may be worth noting that the psychiatrist who wrote the DSM has come out saying that this kind of diagnosis from afar is unethical "bullshit".

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/10/14551890/trump-mental-health-narcissistic-personality

But even assuming the diagnosis is right, I would second wj's note of caution. It genuinely does seem that it's possible to "get to" Trump by creating humiliating memes, but the consequences of doing so are highly unpredictable and could be very much unintended ones. I don't think it's at all clear that Trump in meltdown mode is safer for the world than Trump feeling happy and in control - much as many of us would enjoy seeing him suffer.

"I don't think it's at all clear that Trump in meltdown mode is safer for the world than Trump feeling happy and in control"

Sure, but to the extent that "meltdown" leads to "prompt removal", then it may be the safer option.

How long will it be before ISIS starts recruiting people who can do Vladimir Putin impersonations, for example? I'm pretty sure they already have people who can do international phone phreaking.

Compounding the problem is the ghouls Trump has advising him, Bannon & Miller (and now Sessions). They're like white nationalist Dick Cheneys.

And now the spies are seriously at war with the White House - amazing situation, but paradoxically unsurprising:

http://observer.com/2017/02/donald-trump-administration-mike-flynn-russian-embassy/

but to the extent that "meltdown" leads to "prompt removal", then it may be the safer option.

the question being, how fast is "prompt" and how much damage gets done which it is elapsing? It may be the safer option, but that's not to say it is safe. And it is at least possible that it isn't even a safer option.

Compounding the problem is the ghouls Trump has advising him, Bannon & Miller (and now Sessions). They're like white nationalist Dick Cheneys.

I don't think we should ever leave Kellyanne Conway off the list of the snakes and ghouls surrounding his orangeness. I can't remember a creepier public figure, although in fairness, I might find Bannon just as bad or worse if he was out in front of the public as much as Conway is.

"...but to the extent that "meltdown" leads to "prompt removal", then it may be the safer option."

To the extent that Drumpf has surrounded himself with like minded lunatics, this is true. Will the GOP "take him out"? Unlikely. Politically, they would then own the disaster lock stock and barrel.

It might be we get to the point of a totally disengaged president watching the polls and Mornin' Joe, and the GOP regulars run the show in the background. Congress still has a lot of power, ya' know.

The wild card is the extent to which Drumpf will sign anything Ryan and McConnell put on his desk.

That is the real long term danger. I fear many of my co-conspirators on The Left (McKinney emphasis) overlook where the real danger lies.

Interesting Observer piece there, GFTNC. It's hard to know what unprecedented thing(s) about this administration will eventually blow up.

Adam Rosenthal:

Propane Jane is *not* talking about the narcissism, though. It's Trump's cognitive issues, the sort that are progressive, that worry her.

No, it's not "professional" to come out with a definitive diagnosis. But it certainly IS professional to say, this person needs a neuro/psychiatric evaluation.

A *lot* of Propane Jane's job involves situations where both patient and family are in denial about how bad things are, but at least they're not immensely wealthy & powerful & surrounded by vampires. Trump's behavior is going to have to get a LOT worse before he makes it to Walter Reed for a work-up -- which may be enough to start the 25th Amendment ball rolling, depending on what they find.

to be honest, i'm not sure i want to know what's in there

the "Marty metric"

Here's another useful indicator:
Jennifer Rubin says Trump is "incompetent", and that his Cabinet choices are "ignoramuses".

Jennifer Rubin, professional right-winger columnist, is saying that about a Republican.

After three weeks, here's what I think I see:
The Donald is functionally illiterate, unable to read even a newspaper article with comprehension. In addition to the psychological traits outlined by earlier commenters, he presents a galaxy of compensation coping strategies for his incapacity with words.

Today we learn that, not content with having the Security Briefing papers cut to one page, he likes them to have charts and maps instead of words. One page. With pictures.

Besides all this other stuff about his personality and abilities (or lack thereof), his knee-jerk reaction to so many things is just viciousness. This is only one of a number of such stories I've run across, or you could just list endless examples from the campaign.

But even more mind-boggling in a weird way is that he's so completely unsocialized that he apparently doesn't even know you're not supposed to say sh!t like that out loud. I mean, what does that say about his lack of acquaintance with consensus reality?

Then again again, I like the suggestions from Bernice King quoted at Balloon Juice tonight. I've long since quit clicking on pictures of President Clickbait, and I’m going to try to take her other suggestions to heart too.

One page. With pictures.

President of the United States of America ... yeah.

OK, so this seems a very helpful summary of some of the grassroots activism groups out there, in addition to Indivisible which we already know about.

https://www.thenation.com/article/your-guide-to-the-sprawling-new-anti-trump-resistance-movement/

I'm particularly keen on the sound of #KNOCKEVERYDOOR:

 #KnockEveryDoor co-founder Zack Malitz says that “in the 2016 election, Democrats didn’t invest enough in going door to door and talking to voters. And where they did, they didn’t reach out to people who needed to be persuaded or who were perennially discouraged from voting.” So he and some other former Bernie Sanders campaign staffers and volunteers got together and decided to organize canvassers to…knock on every door in the country.

“Talking to every voter requires a new approach to organizing,” says Malitz. “You’ll never be able to hire enough field organizers to support that kind of effort if you assume that a volunteer has to be directly in touch with a campaign staffer before they can get to work. So our approach is radical trust in volunteers—not just to knock on doors, but to organize their neighbors to knock on doors, to lead canvassing trainings, to barnstorm their communities, and even to run critical pieces of campaign infrastructure and technology. That’s the only way you can organize at a scale where it really is possible to knock on every door.”

The group launched just two weeks ago, and 2,000 people have already signed up to participate. Last weekend, they held 17 canvassing events around the country. You can join the effort at the link above or chip in a few bucks to support this work here.

Am I the only one who remembers that Ronald Reagan introduced the one-page memo to the White House more than 40 years ago?

I yield to no one in my contempt for Trump, and I thought it was a dumb idea then, as now, but let's not pretend it's unprecedented.

Or even unpresidented.

I know a lot of folks love Reagan, but I'm not seeing him as the high bar for executive competence.

I second wj's reaction to this:

I think a *lot* of us are doing our best to subject Trump to psychological stress...

I'm fine with people pushing back as hard as they can on the policies that are coming out of this administration. That said, I'm not sure that gaming Trump's psychological and mental health is a great idea.

On the related subjects of understanding what Trump is thinking, hacking, and reasons for the intelligence community to mistrust Trump:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/02/13/trump-ran-a-campaign-based-on-intelligence-security-thats-not-how-hes-governing/

Reagan

Read and memorized scripts.

Was a superb sportscaster in his youth, with an amazing ability to portray the game in words as if he were watching it live, just from reading a print description of the plays.
Was a natural orator, such that first GE and then conservatives chose him as a spokesman
(LP record decrying socialized medicine).

Had a medium-sized vocabulary even in his dotage.

I'm not quite sure what point ya'll are making by bringing up Reagan. That insisting on one-page memos might be a coping strategy to cover for early Alzheimer's?

The whole interaction between Trump and the intelligence community seems to be one of the unprecedented features of this administration.

I saw something the other day that the guy Trump had named to be (#2, I think?) on the NSC had been refused(!) a security clearance. And another item that suggested that Flynn's security clearance was coming under question. I can't imagine that happening in any previous administration.

On the other hand, since Trump appears basically uninterested in what the intelligence services have to tell him, I suppose it won't have that much impact if his NSC folks aren't hearing it....

NV, thanks for that link. I have no doubt that Russia and China have hacked Trump's insecure phone. Their intelligence services would be remiss if they had not tried. And, apparently, utterly incompetent if they had not succeeded.

Which leads me to wonder when someone domestically will not only hack it, but "leak" the results to the press.

I suppose there might be some safety in the possibility that all those multiple hacks might start stepping on each other. But that's a damn frail security reed.

In that vein we have to do all about #RealPresidentBannon and #RealDeciderBannon

...#2, I think?...

Don't know what the dotted-line reporting arrangements might be, but on paper Townley was at least a couple of levels below Flynn. The NSC staff has a bad case of title inflation: assistants to the President, then deputy assistants to the President, then special assistants to the President. Townley was a special assistant.

Perhaps not as bad as some other cabinet organizations, where you see god-awful things like deputy assistant secretary or principal deputy under secretary.

might be a coping strategy to cover for early Alzheimer's?

I read the good Dr.'s comment the other way 'round, as saying that The Donald's insistence on one-page briefing memos was not good evidence of illiteracy, and that my remote diagnosis is not to be taken very seriously

And in response, I glossed Reagan's lifelong (until Alzheimer's) facility with written and spoken language.

But yeah: I can't claim to _know_ that The Donald is functionally illiterate. He just looks exactly like the functional illiterates I have known, except vastly richer and more self-centered.

Germany's first post-war chancellor* was very old and had a very limited vocabulary but incompetent he was definitely not. He finally resigned when he found himself suffering from memory issues. Our second post-war president** probably had Alzheimer's or something similar resulting in some famous 'where am I' incidents in his second term. But the German president has about as much power as Her British Majesty (he has a licence to talk unsupervised about policy in general though), so him being senile is at worst funny.

*Adenauer
**Lübke

...insistence on one-page briefing memos...

It might just be what he's used to. During the stretch of my career when I occasionally prepared something for the C-suite officers, it was a standing rule that it be one side of one piece of paper. If they decided that wasn't enough, I would get a request for more information or a presentation from a non-officer who had been assigned. Decisions were made off-line by the smallest group necessary, which many times didn't involve the CEO.

I've been wondering if that's the case with Bannon. The Donald tells him, "We need to deliver on the wall promise immediately. Prepare an EO for my signature." As soon as Trump decides that he can't trust Bannon to make the decisions on that sort of assignment, Bannon will be gone.

I expect the wheels to fall off later this year when Trump discovers that he can't trust Ryan/McConnell to make decisions and he can't fire them. Probably not until fall, though.

Yeah, Trump is gonna have some fun yelling "YOU'RE FIRED!" at his Whitehouse lackies.

I just hope he doesn't do the same thing talking to NORAD over a crappy phone line.

Is Trump brain catching, or is Alito's confusion idiopathic ?
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/02/13/justice_alito_declares_carbon_dioxide_is_not_a_pollutant.html

If Regan had Alzheimer's symptoms while still president, he lived a, perhaps record breaking, long time for someone with Alzheimer's.

Alito: "Now, what is a pollutant? A pollutant is a subject that is harmful to human beings or to animals or to plants. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide is not harmful to ordinary things, to human beings, or to animals, or to plants"

Hiya Sammy. I guess you'll be okay if we put you in a chamber with 90% carbon dioxide then? Just give a holler if it gets uncomfortable after an hour or two, m'kay?

Alito is completely dishonest. He was an appellate judge in Philly, and when opining on a case about the constitutionality of "secret judicial proceedings", claimed that the courtroom in Independence Hall had doors that could be closed to make parts of trials secret. If you've ever toured Independence Hall, the courtrooom has NO doors. It's the legislative chamber that has doors.

Dishonest conservative a-hole. But I repeat myself.

If Regan had Alzheimer's symptoms while still president, he lived a, perhaps record breaking, long time for someone with Alzheimer's.

Hmmm. Am I going to believe CharlesWT or the Mayo Clinic, which says this:

The rate of progression for Alzheimer's disease varies widely. On average, people with Alzheimer's disease live eight to 10 years after diagnosis, but some survive 20 years or more.

I'm not all that excited about the intelligence community somehow "standing up" to Trump, depending on how they do it, I guess. Denying a security clearance, if warranted, is fine, but if not warranted, is not at all fine. But either way, if Trump were to say to them "he's cleared" I think they need to clear him.

Similarly, I have also read reports that they intelligence community has withheld intelligence from the WH. Uh, no. If you think the WH is compromised, make the case and present it to POTUS. If he's unconvinced, sorry, you need to share.

If they are unwilling to go along, they are allowed to resign loudly and proudly.

Aye. Nodding and cheering at a bureaucracy that seeks to subvert elected leaders on day-to-day matters (rather than e.g. Constitutional crises) is not a good thing, unless you're really not that into civilian rule.

As someone said on my twitter feed during the transition - Trump & Co. are giving CIA-bashing a bad name.

If Regan had Alzheimer's symptoms while still president, he lived a, perhaps record breaking, long time for someone with Alzheimer's.

senility is not the same as Alzheimer's.

But I am sure you are aware of this.

To me, somebody who wants a single page memo on a complicated subject betrays either a very disappointing distaste for or fear of intellectual engagement, or is only seeking affirmation of a decision already reached.

But them I read a lot of short posts on the internets. Guilty as charged, your honor.

"If Regan had Alzheimer's symptoms while still president, he lived a, perhaps record breaking, long time for someone with Alzheimer's."

Did Don Regan suffer from senile dementia as well?

I had an aunt who died a year go at age 100 from Alzheimer's. Call it senile dementia if you like, because having cared for my mother, who lived seven or eight years after the first symptoms became noticeable to her family, it matters little which it is because they fill their diapers equally. The last time I saw aunt was at my brother's wedding in 1988 .... she was 72 .... and even then she was calling me by my Dad's name, and HE had been dead for 20-plus years at the time.

This is discounting the dirty martinis she drank at the time, but still, my uncle accompanied her around the room filling in the gaps for her.

She entered a full nursing care facility in the late 1990s.

I have other stories if that doesn't convince.

You're a little off your game there, CharlesWT.

Maybe have that looked into, ha ha.

Yes, I should have done what JanieM did instead of relying on my memory of something I read some years ago.

Here I am, confused again.

My instinct, too, is to be VERY negative about the idea of the intelligence community overruling the President about who gets security clearances, or intelligence briefings, or (worse yet) hiding things from him.

But could it be that you guys haven't heard about the Mar-a-Lago Situation Room situation? This is a complete fusion of kleptocracy and national INsecurity, where classified documents are examined in public by the light of waiters' cell phones, and the whole scene goes straight to Instagram.

And this is in addition to things like a "guest" (who pays $200K/year for the privilege of access to the POTUS) taking a photo of the guy carrying the nuclear football and posting it online. Or the fact that Trump is apparently still using his old Android, which is so insecure that if China, Russia, both Koreas, Japan, the UK, Estonia, and Chad aren't using it as a listening device they should be ashamed of themselves.

Or that the WH cybersecurity chief has supposedly been fired, except no-one else has been hired.

So in fact yes, it is reasonable and probably necessary to assume that the White House has been compromised.

This story has been covered by a wide variety of outlets, but *not* by Fox, WSJ, or NBC -- which still pays Trump as a consultant (MSNBC has covered it).

And Flynn resigns.

DocSci - no doubt Trump & Crew are a walking sh1tshow threat to national security. But not sure what the intelligence community should do if the President wants to be briefed and make decisions at a dinner with an NFL team owner. Refuse, I suppose, and resign if he orders them to do otherwise.

And it seems Trump is not beyond all reason, having accepted the denial of security clearance since (in part) the CIA head he had just appointed agreed it seems.

Actively subverting him seems to me to be a very bright line that should not be crossed, and one the CIA has come close to crossing in the past (if not having gone over it - although I think this decades ago).

If the CIA/intelligence committee thinks POTUS is an active threat to the national security of the United States, then they can go to Congress (but good luck with that) and/or the VP and Cabinet if POTUS refuses to listen, and ultimately the public I guess. But at some point they need to stand down or be fired/resign. At least when Trump fired Sally Yates it was public though. Who knows with CIA.

So let's see if Russia "retaliates" for the US sanctions now.

Also, too, whither the Congressional GOP? Still investigating children's shows?

I think the AI that runs the simulated universe we live in has decided to see just how far it can push things down the ridiculousity path before we figure it all out.

Yup:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/white-house-was-warned-flynn-was-vulnerable-to-blackmail-reports-2017-02-13?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

https://www.balloon-juice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/finger.gif

Thank you, John Cole.

It's all coming down.

I'm tired. More tomorrow.

I agree that the intelligence folks should not be refusing to give POTUS information. (Whether he is willing to listen is a different story.)

But I don't have a problem with them withholding information on how they got the information they are giving him. In the current situation, doing so could compromise not only the technical methods that we use but the lives of people that we have recruited as sources. I would be astounded if Trump gives a damn about those folks. But as a nation I think we have an obligation not to hang them out to dry.

The way I see the latest disregard for security at Mar-a-Lago, it's incumbent on anyone involved in national security to make judgement calls about what they tell POTUS and, more important, when. Just as the constant presence of ancient cell phones which can be hacked as listening devices means that even saying something to POTUS, outside a secured (as in with a built-in Faraday cage) room is probably malfeasance.

Consider just this scenario. We get information on something happen in the world. The President discusses it in his totally insecure fashion, and then sends troops into harms way. Major harms way, because his indifference to security of communications means that they are walking into a trap. Is the answer to warn every military, intelligence, or other mission that they are likely going in with Zero surprise because their commander in chief has hung them out to dry. Or, perhaps more accurately, because he cares so little that he couldn't be bothered not to.

I think the CIA should use all means at their disposal to persuade POTUS to take the necessary security precautions. But if it comes right down to it and POTUS says "tell me now over the rubber chicken and inappropriate cabernet" then they can resign (and then run to the press/congress) or tell him - and then the people/congress can decide whether they give a sh1t.

And right now, when it comes to it, the real breakdown in our constitutional structure is the failure of congress the constitution and the prerogatives of its branch over partisanship - which has been a long time coming but is especially a problem with the GOP ISTM - the GOP wants their tax cuts, regulatory rollback, and ACA repeal, and they're happy to sacrifice aspects of national security, decades long US foreign policy objectives, and the US standing in the world to get those things.

As it is, imagine if Trump appoints Petraeus to the NSA position. Hoo boy.

Well, maybe the Congressional GOP will figure out that they can get all those things that they want from a President Pence. And without getting booted for re-election by association with a farce. If I were a dyed-in-the-wool true-believing rabid conservative, that's sure the conclusion I would be drawing. My only question would be how fast I could persuade my fellow Republicans, so as to minimize the damage.

I don't think it's reasonable to deny security access to those who are confirmed by the Senate are elected by the people, but anyone who is appointed by the president without those two things should have to meet the same standards as all other government employees. As I understand it, that is what happened here.

Also, I think the president can declassify any information he wants, but until he does so any government employee must meet the security standards that is required before disclosure. So rubber chicken discussions should require affirmative POTUS action first.

...the GOP wants their tax cuts, regulatory rollback, and ACA repeal, and they're happy to sacrifice aspects of national security, decades long US foreign policy objectives, and the US standing in the world to get those things.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/12/us/politics/trump-gop-lawmakers.html?referer=https://t.co/D1SGIHTCA6"">https://t.co/D1SGIHTCA6"">https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/12/us/politics/trump-gop-lawmakers.html?referer=https://t.co/D1SGIHTCA6"

Yep.

Employees at the NSA and CIA and DOD swear an oath to defend the Constitution, not the President.

If there is a conflict between the two, yes, they can resolve their own personal conflict by resigning. But they also have to decide if that is going to protect the Constitution from enemies foreign and DOMESTIC.

"But they also have to decide if that is going to protect the Constitution from enemies foreign and DOMESTIC."

Yes, nothing like a quick coup to protect the Constitution. This logic could have been applied to every President in my lifetime by people of honest intent.

Remember, "Mad Dog" is the sane one (everything is relative, I guess):

Last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was exploring whether the Navy could intercept and board an Iranian ship to look for contraband weapons possibly headed to Houthi fighters in Yemen.
...
But others doubt whether there was enough basis in international law, and wondered what would happen if, in the early days of an administration that has already seen one botched military action in Yemen, American forces were suddenly in a firefight with the Iranian Navy.

Whee, as they say.

another interesting take on the current state of the GOP:

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/01/why-republicans-are-impressive

Combine with Jane Mayer's Dark Money.....scary stuff.

are we sick of winning yet?

But they also have to decide if that is going to protect the Constitution from enemies foreign and DOMESTIC.

Yes, but I wouldn't call the intelligence community actively undermining POTUS in secret with the intent of causing his downfall necessarily "protecting" the Constitution. No matter how bad POTUS is. Quite the opposite in fact.

They need to go to Congress and/or the press to shine a light on all this. I don't necessarily have any confidence that, say, substantial public proof Trump was actively coordinating with Russia during the presidential campaign to beat Hillary is going to cause the GOP controlled House to draw up articles of impeachment, but it could happen. Perhaps more importantly, "the people" would know and could make their own decisions.

This is 90% of the problem with the intelligence community, the secrecy. I don't want them, on their own and in secret, deciding what President is/is not a threat to the Constitution and then acting accordingly in secret.

In contrast, look at Sally Yates at the DOJ - as far as she was concerned she was not going to defend the immigration EO in court, said so publicly, and then was fired. Bravo - and look what a sh1tshow the EO turned out to be for Trump.

I don't necessarily have any confidence that, say, substantial public proof Trump was actively coordinating with Russia during the presidential campaign to beat Hillary is going to cause the GOP controlled House to draw up articles of impeachment

if so, hard to know what it would take.

Admittedly Yates doesn't face the consequences of "going public" that someone in the intelligence community does - but that just highlights another problem with the excess secrecy.

It also shows the need for robust whistle-blower channels and protection in the intelligence communities, both within the agencies themselves and especially to Congress.

From the link Posted by: bobbyp | February 14, 2017 at 08:21 AM:

The average voter’s policy views, to the extent that these exist at all outside this context other than as artifacts of polling, are largely determined not by any particular factual information about the issues or ideological commitments concerning the role of government but by the policy positions of the major parties. If one of these parties embraces a particular position on any given issue, the 40% of American voters who consistently support that party will come to adopt that position wholesale, while most of the rest will come to believe (and be encouraged by the media’s carefully even-handed reporting to believe) that this position is at least reasonable and defensible if not correct. There are very few views so extreme and so indefensible that they can’t garner mass support if repeated frequently enough by a major US party—just think of “global warming is a hoax.”

if so, hard to know what it would take.

I think Josh Marshall is pretty well convinced that, at a minimum, Trump knew about Flynn's dealing with Russia during the campaign and likely approved of it. Whether that included coordination on hacking and release of the fruits thereof might be up in the air. Marshall's timeline from Sunday.

See also this (warning: tweetstorm):

Why Did Michael Flynn Adopt Virtually the Opposite of His Own Advice on Russia?
...
12) A truly astonishing aspect of Flynn's book: He labeled Russia an enemy & said that Russia was ALLIED w/ "Radical Islamists"
...
19) Another astonishing aspect of Flynn’s book - his policy to respond to terrorism: Ally WITH countries Trump has insulted & AGAINST Russia
...
26) Congress & media should probe this further: Why has Flynn been acting in dramatic contradiction to his own advice frm his Jul 2016 book?
27) One of the possible explanations: Flynn flipped because he’s under orders from Trump

Exciting times.

are we sick of winning yet?

Of course not!

But we are getting a pretty good sense of what "Great Again" is supposed to look like: massively incompetent. Who knew...?

Jesus people:

The White House has posted inaccurate texts of President Trump's own executive orders on the White House website, raising further questions about how thorough the Trump administration has been in drafting some of his most controversial actions.

Imagine if these guys actually had their sh1t together.

[carefully places tongue part way into cheek...]

Ugh, are you sure that isn't deliberate (to sow confusion)? Think of the maps in Russia.

ral,
Consider the saying: "Never attribute to malice what is adequately explained by incompetence." Definitely applies to the current administration -- which has incompetence in job lots.

It's a dumpster fire of a sh1t show!

Ugh, the answer to Josh Marshall of course is: or they simply told the truth. It wasn't a high quality lie because they simply don't lie, they, like every administration, would rather you not dwell on their mistake so they tell the best version of the truth possible.

Im pretty pleased the President fired a person that everyone, including me, felt was one of his two worst picks in the first place, But no, let's blow it up into some conspiracy for which Marshall offered nothing but his underlying assumption that something bigger must be wrong.

shorter Marty 'it's not a crisis, it's not a crisis, it's not a crisis'

Of course, NK having a missile test isn't a crisis, it's an opportunity to increase fees at Mar-a-Lago. Of course, Kim Jong-il is probably one of a small handful of leaders who not only understands Trump on a visceral level, he's probably one of the few whose position is shakier than Trump's.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38974682

http://38north.org/2017/02/mmadden021417/

Hey, but BENGHAZI!!!!

Marty, how does this equate to them telling the truth:

1. Spicer confirms Trump knew about Flynn's deception from January 26th (Pence made his statement on January 15th).

2. Kellyanne Conway confirms that the reason Flynn had to go yesterday is "a question of trust, because he lied to the Vice President".

How come Flynn had access til yesterday to "the full confidence of the President"? How come, after they knew that he had forfeited trust (1), it took them 18 days to decide he was untrustworthy (2)? Have I missed something? How is this not an obvious lie?

"....the answer to Josh Marshall of course is: or they simply told the truth."

Well, except for the fact that they obviously did not.

But then, it would appear this administration lies as a matter of course...even more than the evil Clintons!

One could argue that this is not the end of the world (you did, and I agree); or that it's good to see this asshole go (you did, and again I agree).

But your preface to these assertions was, shall I say, weak.

I think the truth would be something along the lines of "we were happy to let Flynn serve as a potentially compromised national security adviser who lies to the VP until the press and the public found out about it"

Ugh, and "if we could just stop these leaks we wouldn't have all these problems." Hmm, plumbers anyone?

And lying to the FBI is a felony, Gen. Flynn

I'm pretty sure that 18 days is a pretty short time in any historical perspective to be informed they suspect he lied, assess the legal ramifications, review what actually happened and make a decision to can a Cabinet member. Kelly Anne Conway was just the one being interviewed before the decision on timing was made.

As far as compromised, he really wasn't very much of a blackmail risk once Trump et al knew, huh? So 18 days really wasn't risky.

Step one of any investigation involving someone with a security clearance is to suspend the security clearance. Then, 18 days would seem reasonable. Flynn was apparently getting high level briefings yesterday.

Marty, I can only say that you are assuming they put a lot of thought into the decision.

Given the past 3 weeks events I see no reason to assume that.

NSA is not a cabinet position AFAIK. Not subject to Senate confirmation for certain.

Ridiculous. They didn't suspect he lied, they knew it - there was a transcript of the calls. Conway was speaking today or yesterday, not before the decision on timing was made. Your last paragraph makes no sense either, he could have been blackmailed (for info, or otherwise) anytime up until Trump's loss of confidence in.him became.public, when he still thought.he.had a.job and a.rep to.protect.

And lying to the FBI is a felony, Gen. Flynn

This may have something to do with the timing. At some point, the rest of the administration gets the following -- not all confirmed publicly -- set of stuff in a row: Flynn violated the Logan Act and said stuff to the Russian ambassador while he was still a private citizen that he should not have; the NSA recorded that; Flynn lied to Pence (not a crime); the FBI came in to ask questions and Flynn didn't lie; stuff simmered; the Senate at least indicates behind the scenes that they're not going to stand for this sh*t; Flynn either (a) bails or (b) falls on his sword to make any Senate probe a moot point, hence unlikely to proceed.

At this point, it looks a lot like Trump expects a bunch of the senior people outside of Secretaries of this-and-that to be maneuvering and backstabbing. This afternoon there are rumors that Conway wants Priebus's job, and assorted folk want Spicer's job. I hate to say it, but so far Bannon looks like the most competent person in there.

And lying to the FBI is a felony, Gen. Flynn

And being aware of a felony and concealing it is misprision of felony.

I think I've come around to the position that Miller is a bigger threat than Bannon, the latter having some actual real life experience other than being a sociopathic political operator.

This afternoon there are rumors that Conway wants Priebus's job, and assorted folk want Spicer's job.

Takes all kinds. I can't think of two worse gigs to have. I'd rather clean toilets.

I have no idea what to make of any of this stuff. The possibilities range from a handful of people being really freaking stupidly and mendaciously incompetent, to straight up treason extending directly to, and including, the POTUS.

Even in the best possible case, we have a bunch of baldly lying weirdos and a President who can't resist turning a buck off of public property that he continues to operate in violation of his lease.

Bannon seems pretty straight-up, but unfortunately he wants to go to war with the whole fucking world. Except Russia. For now.

Good times.

I apologize to the world for being such a liberal coastal elitist and bringing this mess down on all of our heads.

Of course, FBI having tapes of Flynn's phone calls confuses me. Private citizen, warrant? Investigation? I might have missed something.

To me the most puzzling thing is that Flynn had this conversation on an insecure call and presumably knew that the telephone traffic to the Russian embassy was monitored.

You're surprised that the government monitors calls between citizens and the Ambassador to Russia?

Seriously?

FISA warrant. Remember those secret court nearly never turned down warrants? Lots of talk about it a decade ago.

Personal story: In 1993 I had occasion to make contact with software developers in Russia (for my employer). I received a visit from the FBI. The agent was very friendly and professional.

Of course, FBI having tapes of Flynn's phone calls confuses me

Russian diplomat on the other end. I'm not sure a FISA warrant would even be needed.

The bigger question to me is when did the FBI begin it's investigation of Flynn.

We know they questioned him after the inauguration and it seems obvious the investigation predated it.

When, and why did the investigation start in the first place? For the purpose of security clearance perhaps?

I guess at this point I'm looking for a basic reality check. As I understand things, what seems to be pretty well established at this point is the following:

  • Russia gets confidential information on both (D)'s and (R)'s
  • They disclose bits of this that are harmful to the (D)'s but not the (R)'s
  • The motive here appears to be payback directed at Clinton, unclear if there was a specific desire to help Trump per se
  • Obama responds with sanctions
  • More or less the day the sanctions were imposed, Flynn, the nominee for NS advisor to the POTUS-elect, calls the Russian ambassador and says not to worry, when the new guy gets in we'll fix things
  • Russia very visibly does not worry
  • DOJ and probably FBI brief "the White House" about Flynn's chat
  • Flynn lies to at least Pence about the chat
  • Pence goes to bat for Flynn, ends up with egg on his face
  • Other principals at the White House "know nothing"
  • Flynn gets the axe

There's also some side action here involving Manafort, Page, and 19.5% of Rosneft, but it's not completely clear if and how that is related to the above.

Is that the story as of now?

Week three.

Personal story: In 1993 I had occasion to make contact with software developers in Russia (for my employer).

I held a Secret clearance for a few years as a condition of employment. Government contractor, everyone in the shop had to hold a Secret clearance.

The DIS guys were very friendly and professional, and they jumped me through quite a few hoops. Not just me, also landlady, friends, etc. Friendly, and very very thorough.

When people talk like it's some big unreasonable thing to expect Trump to release his tax information, I just say WTF.

"I might have missed something."

"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy". The Alec Guinness version.

What are you doing, Marty? The Russian Congress seems much more concerned about Flynn's removal than you do. How is that? Did they slip you a mickey?

No, Bannon is much the worse and the canny, dangerous, deadly one. Miller can be dropped with one bullet as he gorges his throat on Trump's Anthony Wiener.

I just checked one of Bannon's favorite "philosopher's" books out of the library. Thought I'd get the reading done now while the going is good.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/world/europe/bannon-vatican-julius-evola-fascism.html?_r=0

Fascists were too .... tame ... for him. Too open to compromise. Hitler's SS were more the ticket for effective governance.

Thus Trump's contempt for the methodical death-by-policy killers like Ryan and McConnell.

Russell and bobbyp seem to be the only ones here who are fully aware that all of us are beggars now between the very, bad corrupt Republican cop and the killer Trump cop who can release the Gimp at any moment.

And will.

Both cops need to be taken out now by any and every means necessary if we are anything approaching serious Americans.

Or hide somewhere safe soon.

The 2016 Presidential was stolen via Russian espionage directed by and for the benefit of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, via rogue, traitorous elements in the FBI, and with the full knowledge of Pence and every so-called traditional republican now working for him, who saw it as the only way to implement their murderous agenda. Every downmarket race the republicans "won", the stinking filth, followed directly from that massive traitorous corruption, the most monstrous in American history.

I want all of it overturned and I want vengeance.

I want the Secret Service to step up and kill Trump's private security detail before the reverse happens.

If it matters to anyone, I don't give a f*ck any longer what happens to Hillary Clinton politically or what happens to the government.

I prefer utter chaos for now, the better to do what needs to be done.

Among more trivial matters, and I'd like to know if anyone else is experiencing this as well, I've been receiving a big increase in crank cell phone calls, several per day, since just before the Inauguration, featuring taped callers asking me "Can you hear me", or taped female voices who pause and then say "Sorry, I was just getting off another call." Don't answer them; they are scams. But live callers too, misrepresenting themselves more than usual, to get me to listen to whatever scam all-American pitch they have to offer.

My theory is that these types, the pure American free-market filth, know the government won't be protecting us any longer from this sh*t, because subhuman republicans and trumps want an unregulated business environment giving free rein to unfettered lying, cheating, and stealing to get us back to making American full of sh*t again.

In closing, I want the Statue of Liberty cut off it's base, towed out to sea, and sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

Anyone who wants to stop me from doing that, bring lots of guns. You'll f*cking need them.

Count, if you receive a phone call with a mix of recorded voices spelling out a message in the NATO phonetic alphabet, let us know.

My BIL held something above Secret for a few years while he did installation of software in the command-and-control bunkers in Europe. Had to check in at a US military base or consulate every 72 hours or it was revoked. He has a really funny story about the phone call he got from his brother in the small Nebraska town where he grew up, asking "What did you do? The FBI is here asking everyone in town about you!"

I get those through my only remaining silver filling. It's a dopplerized high-frequency keening.

in other news, it now appears that Trump was aware of Flynn's convo, and apparently decided to just let Pence and the rest of his staff make asses of themselves.

Nice guy, our POTUS. If he was on the Titanic, he'd be the guy throwing the women and kids overboard to make room for his valise.

Allow me to note again that more or less on the day the duly elected POTUS was placing sanctions on Russia for fucking with our election, the president-elect's nominee for *national security advisor* was on the horn with the Russian ambassador, telling him not to sweat it.

Trump knew this, at the latest, at the end of January, and withheld that information from other members of his staff, including the VPOTUS. Who the POTUS allowed to make false statements, on matters of some consequence, in public, without so much as a heads up.

It's week three.

In closing, I want the Statue of Liberty cut off it's base, towed out to sea, and sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

No worries, Canada will take it. They'll know what to do with it.

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