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February 12, 2017

Comments

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/02/nyt-trump-team-had-repeated-contacts-russian-intelligence-during-presidential-cam

The thing with Flynn, from what little I know, is that he was actually a freaking kick-ass hands-on intelligence officer. But utterly lacking in either temperament or personal skill set for an executive or administrative role.

It is, IMO, in many ways a shame that he's going to end his career this way.

... a freaking kick-ass hands-on intelligence officer ...

Way back in the last millennium, when Doonesbury was in its 1st or 2nd year, it had a story line in which B.D., the star quarterback, fired by patriotism over the Vietnam war, enlists in ROTC. In one particular strip, we are at the ROTC boot camp. The company commander is talking to his subordinate; in the background, the trainees are stabbing at hanging sandbags with their bayonets.

PANEL 1: (background as above)
The commander says "Sergeant, the new recruits are about what we expected. Uninspired, but willing to do as they're told."

PANEL 2: (similar background)
Commander and sargeant silent.

PANEL 3: (similar background)
Commander says, "But sergeant, this man worries me."

PANEL 4:
B.D. is stomping on a fallen sandbag and plunging his bayonet into it, yelling "Aiee!! Kill! KILL!!"

Maybe this snippet from my dusty attic of a memory has something to do with soldiers like Flynn, and maybe it doesn't.

--TP

NYTimes:

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

GEN McAffrey was on my local radio talking about Flynn. McAffrey said Flynn was the best intel officer he ever knew, but his behavior since being fired was of someone looking for revenge. The 'lock her up' chants were unprecedented for a military officer.

He also said that now Flynn is a private citizen with no executive privilege once again, and feeling slighted, he may talk. And his 'scape goat' comment might show he is ready to defend himself.

B.D. is stomping on a fallen sandbag and plunging his bayonet into it, yelling "Aiee!! Kill! KILL!!"

Echoing Alice's Restaurant, minus the four part harmony. :-)

Oh wait, it was five-part harmony.....

Is war about to,break out between the Trump deadenders and the Republican 'establishment' ?
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/the-nationalist-right-is-coming-for-priebus/516744/

War has been going on for quite a while. It's just starting to run up the body count.

"Paul said that Republicans will "never even get started" with major policy changes like repealing Obamacare if they are focused on investigating their colleagues."

No sh*t. I think most of us got there ahead of him.

This answers McTX's challenge a few days ago regarding whether republicans are just like trump.

Yes, they are. At the very least symbiotic. Like two serial killers in one city who think it's fun to copy cat, just for the fun of it.

Sadists.

Not that McTx is either trump or a republican.

With 8x10 glossy pictures.....

Secret Service Director Clancy has decided to retire.

Over to you, Count!

Meanwhile, Russia has an intel ship trawling off the coast of DE, they're deploying cruise missiles in violation of treaty obligations, American ships in the Bosphorus report unwelcome approaches from Russian aircraft, and Putin has responded to Trump's call for the Crimea to be returned to the Ukraine with a yawn.

I guess we showed them!

A clue to world leaders, most notably our own: Putin doesn't have friends. If you think you're making a deal with him, but you can't figure out who's getting screwed, it's you.

It's about time for a candid disclosure of Trump's financial position. It'd be good for us to know who owns him, and how much. And yes, that word is "owns" not "owes", it wasn't a typo.

This could actually be as bad as it smells. Which would be a truly and profoundly bad thing, for all of us.

Nothing to see here.

Really, this isn't an issue? WTF?

russell, what did you intend your last link to be? It goes to Associated Press map of the US listing all regional papers in all states - am I missing something?

Someone on my twitter feed asked whether it is possible to be both worried about Russia but also about a government (or at least the current new cycle and thus effectively the government) dominated by vague anonymous leaks?

The GOP Congress, and Paul Ryan in particular, continues to diminish themselves. They need to go down with the ship.

I think I had a post, or at least a comment, back in the day about the corporate form, and the possibility of revoking corporate charters for company malfeasance.

From the WaPo:

A liberal advocacy group is urging New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, already a foe of President Trump, to investigate and consider revoking Trump’s business charter in New York for business practices that it argues have run afoul of state law.

In the immortal words of Michael Ray Richardson, "this ship be sinkin'"

Wah, you signed up for this Mike.

last link shoulda been this

"Meanwhile, Russia has an intel ship trawling off the coast of DE, they're deploying cruise missiles in violation of treaty obligations, American ships in the Bosphorus report unwelcome approaches from Russian aircraft, and Putin has responded to Trump's call for the Crimea to be returned to the Ukraine with a yawn"

I take it those "unwelcome approaches" are only slightly akin to the variety trump doles out on a pass through a beauty pageant dressing room. Let Putin's fingers do the walking for trump through a pussy riot.

I said rightchere a few weeks ago that Putin would respond to every domestic resistance, push-back and endangerment of the regime he helped engineer/install in Washington DC via the corrupted apparatus of the republican party with threatening military moves around the globe.

Our free press, the one not aligned with the Russian/Republican junta, and the checks and balances of our governmental institutions are messing with Putin's bought and paid for assets in Washington.

Putin sits at his desk and asks the air in front of him the same question we do: "We're only 26 days in and already we're being f*cked with?"

Any attempt to impeach will be met with a mushroom-shaped, plutonium-scented Valentine's Day card from "your friend Vlad".

Any further attempt to forestall deportations and border brutality will be met with a trump/bannon-FBI-designed terror attack on American soil, followed shortly thereafter by the trump/bannon/republican howling imposition of draconian martial measures accompanied by the swift moves to toss some chunks of red meat into the corner ... eradicating Obamacare without replacement and halving taxes ... to placate the few remaining republicans who aren't just like trump but are ravenous nonetheless.

What did we think that bacio della morte smooch trump gave comey the other week was exactly?

John McCain, who just days ago was praising filth Flynn with the same voice he found to elevate Sarah Death Panel to head up the Insane Clown Posse he calls a political party a few years ago, had better be on the lookout for overcoated men on street corners bearing dipped umbrellas and the greeting "Skies are blue, but not for you, John."

Bannon holds that the Vietcong should have skipped the tiger cages and moved directly to real tigers for their prisoner of war playthings.

I'll be checking the board today to learn if the 10x discount accorded Countme's ravings by certain parties has closed the gap between bid and ask a fair bit.

The market becomes more liquid by the day.

Marty, jump in your dinghy and row out to that Russian trawler erumpent with listening electronics and report back to us that there is nothing to see there, they are just following the cod catch, such at it is, a little farther south.

Let me help. They were there in 2015 as well as a threat to the nigger in the White House. Except now the intelligence they glean is shared with trump to triangulate their mutual interests and domestic enemy movements.

Putin's back channel memo's to trump about what's cooking in the CIA deep state are limited to one page and in crayon for easy comprehension.

Thanks Russell for correcting that link. Now we know what trump meant the other day when he told China that he looked forward to "constructive" engagement with them.

Also, reflect on the revocation the other week (some wheat among the chaff) by trump of obama's order forbidding corporate bribery and payoffs to governments.

Chinese leadership found out trump's and the republican party's corrupt number and proceeeded directly to the betting window that is now America's point-of-sale to the world.

The republican Party owns all of this, like Davy Jones hugs his anchor.

Swim with the fishes while you make America full of sh*t again.


I can only imagine what certain people (*clears throat*) would be saying if this kind of sh1t were happening under Obama.

What's the frequency, Breitbart?

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-spigot-of-lies.html

Here's a little vision test for Rand Paul and company. Which one of these is worse news for his filthy ilk?

This?

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/02/uninsured-population-holding-steady-about-10

Or ... this?

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/02/nyt-trump-team-had-repeated-contacts-russian-intelligence-during-presidential-cam

Let's try it again, like the lens vision test an optometrist might give his patient seeking a little more clarity:

This?

or ... This?

Would you prefer a blindfold?

Ok, now .. This? Or .... This?

Meanwhile, Assange activates his twitter account and tweets 2 hours ago:

Amazing battle for dominance is playing out between the elected US govt & the IC who consider themselves to be the 'permanent government'.

Wikileaks yesterday:

Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign by US spies, Democrats, press

followed 3 hours ago, presumably to cover their partiality, with this, from The Intercept:

The Leakers Who Exposed Gen. Flynn Committed Serious — and Justified — Felonies

So, the Kremlin and trump have reactivated the Assange connection?

I wonder if these hackers and alt-media agents, who have been conspicuously silent since the election (a bit of Kismet, don't we think?), will be reactivated from their safe houses in Eastern Europe, Russia, and suburban Republican basements throughout the United States and called to serve their masters again:

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a49791/russian-dnc-emails-hacked/

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a53159/trump-campaign-russia-communicate/

I guess it's about time Anthony Weiner's dick is again dangled in front of the deplorable Republican base who are experiencing a little queasiness and might require some re-mesmerizing.

When all else fails, Kelly Ann Conningtower's husband can rifle through the alleged Democratic dic pics in his sock drawer and reinvigorate the hypnotized.

they are just following the cod catch, such at it is, a little farther south.

Cod fisheries, such as they are, are actually a little further north these days. Cod like cold water, that's where the cold water is now.

The general collapse of the Grand Banks cod fishery represents the loss of a commons that sustained livelihoods throughout New England and the maritimes for centuries. Now, of course, many if not most of those folks are looking for other work. Some adapt by going after other sea species, some by finding other lines of work altogether.

Those changes are enforced by "the government", in various forms and at various levels. It sucks, for sure, for the folks that have to deal with it. But, they deal with it. Not, as seems to be popular in other parts of the country, by threatening to kill the folks who are tasked with enforcing the management of a finite common resource, but by figuring it the hell out, one way or another.

Note that the folks I'm talking about haven't been pursuing their traditional livelihoods for 100 years, or three generations, but in some cases for three or four centuries.

Adapt or die. We're Yankees, we have ingenuity. We're not going to die.

Same story with our mill towns and manufacturing base. After all of that stuff left in favor of the cheap labor in The Heartland, we found other uses for the skill sets and infrastructure.

Oh, your bosses figured out they could hire somebody cheaper somewhere else? Welcome to our world, circa 50 years ago.

In any case, we figured it out. Took a while, but we got there.

Adapt or die. No use crying about it. Even less use waving your gun around and trying to figure out who to shoot to make it stop.

Nice alliance you have there NATO, be a shame if something happened to it.

Got milk?

https://mic.com/articles/168188/milk-nazis-white-supremacists-creamy-pseudo-science-trump-shia-labeouf#.1swCdpZTl

Nicked from LGM.

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/2/15/1633990/-Jefferson-Beauregard-Sessions-III-ensures-Justice-Department-won-t-investigate-Russia-connection

See you down the trail, Rowdy Sally Yates.

Nice alliance you have there NATO, be a shame if something happened to it.

Ugh, a reference to the Piranha brothers of blessed memory? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBL3XB-PhE8

No, my mistake, it was Army Protection Racket (the relevant point starts at about 1.31):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm5mtpPtW1Q

How many tanks you got Colonel?
Things break Colonel...

From the Count's link:

several milk-based poems about white pride.

I'm a 60 year old guy. I'm not in terrible shape, I'm not in great shape.

I feel fairly comfortable saying that, if it comes down to it, even an army of old geezers like me have a pretty good shot against these guys.

These are not the Nazis that killed my uncle in France. I don't have a gun, but I have a slingshot. I think the odds are on my side.

You know all that sh*t peddled by Pat Buchanan et al over at The American Constipated regarding Putin's allegiance to the Christian traditionalists in Russia, which conservatives identify (Identity politics) with?

Well, it seems his priestly class is showing American Evangelicals how to behave against their liberal enemies:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/02/15/priests-putin-and-a-suitcase-of-cyanide.html?via=newsletter&source=DDAfternoon

Is the nationalist far right turning on the establishment for not being sufficiently loyal to the Golden Child, or is the internationalist alt-right ramping up their war against the establishment for this treacherous undermining of the interests of Christendom as articulated by the Defender of the Faith in Moscow? Deus Vult, y'all.

From Ugh's link about Pence and the Flynn mess:

Asked how the vice president could be kept in the dark about the Flynn controversy for so long, two White House officials said it was a result of the muddled and uncertain way events unfolded rather than an intentional desire to keep him out of the loop.
The thing is, it appears that the real problem, both for Pence and others, is that there is no loop to be in. Just a lot of semi-random flailing around going on.

"These are not the Nazis that killed my uncle in France."

True. These are playground Comanches in drag with a laugh track.

That said, I'm baking rocks and metal shards into my cream pies and outfitting them with fuses just to be on the safe side.

Remember, Cliven Bundy is now remaking public lands policy from his jail cell via his agents in Congress and the White House.

Violence pays.

May the loop become a noose for the loopy.

Count, how did you miss this one?
http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/02/15/cartoons-michael-flynn-resigns-amid-russian-coverup/

I contain discounted multitudes.

Those were great, wj.

Voting Rights Act? We don't need no stinking Voting Rights Act!

It's only Wednesday, and I already need a break from me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYupSHWEJxA

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/15/politics/top-senate-republicans-urge-white-house-to-withdraw-puzder-nomination/

Senate Republicans push for answers on Trump team's Russia ties

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/02/trump-israel-whatevs

In one movie or another, or maybe all of them, Joe Pesci at some point asks someone "How the f*ck should I know? Get outta here! Get the f*ck away from me!"

It reminds of this quote from George Carlin:

“You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he's a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn't fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.”

How to be a Republican administration and great for business.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2017/02/i-m-banned

Unless the business is related to tourism. (Wonder if Trump realizes it could impact his income. That will get a change made quick....)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-puzder-republicans-idUSKBN15U2EV

I am happy to see Flynn go, but not because of the Russia thing, because I am suspicious of the mainstream hyperventilating about Russia, but because he was a freaking Islamophobe pushing for war with Iran.

Whatever his own motives, I think Assange is right that there is a power struggle going on between the intelligence community ( the phrase makes me think of Barney Fife waterboarding someone while Andy and Aunt Bee sit on the porch drinking lemonade) and the Trump loonies and I want them to destroy each other. Won't happen. Someone will win. Too bad.

This post sums it up for me. I don't always agree with the stuff at Consortiumnews, but I liked this piece.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/15/progressives-pile-on-flynns-ouster/

As far as Assange and his motives go, I will point back to something Ugh said earlier: "Trump & Co. are giving CIA-bashing a bad name." Assange has plenty of reasons (regardless of whether you think they're justified) to hold a grudge against American intelligence w/o needing to be a Russian cat's paw. He may be, he may not be - but not everything in the world is about us, and it's incredibly myopic and self-absorbed to insist that actions affecting us - especially those carried out by foreign nationals - can only be motivated by supporting or opposing "our team"...

So I was just giving a close re-read to the 25th Amendment, and would appreciate any information those of you with a law background could provide about the conflict resolution procedure in Section 4.

The VP and cabinet notify Congress the President is unable to discharge duties; the President then notifies Congress there is no disability; the VP and cabinet reply within four days there is disability. Congress has 21 days to decide the issue, a 2/3 vote of each house means the VP continues as Acting President.

What is not clear to me is "the VP continues as Acting President" for how long? The section does not specify for the remainder of the term, or that the President has been removed from office as in the case of impeachment. It also doesn't specify any process after the Congressional vote for the President to regain/resume duties of office.

I know it's kind of absurd, but could the President then notify Congress of no disability, and restart this process ad infinitum? Presumably impeachment would follow as an expedient. Or in another scenario, a mid-term election is held after invocation of this provision; does the new Congress have the authority to revisit the issue? There is also no mechanism described for the VP/Acting President and cabinet to notify Congress that "(s)he's all better" and everyone reverts to their elected office.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or clarifications.

This post sums it up for me

I don't know who's supposed to be progressive and who's not, nor do I know if I get to be in that club or not.

I'm glad Flynn's out for all of the reasons named in the piece. He's an anti-Islamic obsessive, would probably be pushing to get us into war with Iran, is a conspiracy theory nut, isn't a good administrator or executive, and talks to other countries that we are in the process of levying sanctions on to let them know they don't have to take it seriously.

All of the above.

I'm also more than concerned about the apparent contacts between people in Trump's circle and the Russians, throughout the entire campaign period. You don't have to be a war-monger to recognize that Putin's interests and ours do not align, that he is not our friend, and that any alliances or agreements we make with him should be handled as if we were dealing with a freaking scorpion.

You don't have to be a war-monger to recognize that Putin's interests and ours do not align

It shouldn't need saying, but probably does. It isn't, in principle, just Putin. Any foreign country which attempts to interfere (especially covertly) in our elections is a serious problem.

That isn't to say that they cannot have opinions. And feel entirely free to tell us what their opinion is. It's doing anything, beyond telling us what they think, that would be a problem.

I guess I don't quite get the outrage over interference in our election and I am perfectly serious. They shouldn't do it, but Americans complaining about it given what we do is just funny. It was on the cover of Time how we interfered in Russia's elections twenty years ago. Clinton in a noneikileaks released tape with a local ny paper casually said we should have made sure Hamas lost in the elections there years ago. We also have Americans interfering in Israeli politics. That of course cuts both ways, as is befitting the 51st state.

Interfering in elections. Overseas is an American pastime and it is the least of the things we do. We can try to stop interference in ours, but moral outrage is absurd.

And anyway, why is Russian interference so bad given what the Saudis get us to do without daily headlines and constant liberal denunciations? Why focus on a hypothetical terrible future when a very real terrible present started two years ago and is likely to be made worse by Trump. If you are worried about what horrible things we might see because of some unholy alliance with a repressive regime, well...

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/trump-empowering-saudi-destruction-yemen-article-1.2971292

And the other Consirtiumnews piece today. The article is a bit more evenhanded than the title.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/15/a-dangerous-hysteria-on-russia/

I guess I don't quite get the outrage over interference in our election and I am perfectly serious.

I'm not particularly outraged that they did their best to mess with the election.

I would like to know, and I believe we all deserve to know, what financial connections Trump has with Russia. Either via sovereign wealth, or via Putin personally, or via any of the kleptocrats in his circle.

I would like to know, and I believe we all deserve to know, what contacts Trump or people in circle had with Putin or anyone within several arms' reaches of Putin during the course of the campaign.

And I generally don't like Putin or Russia under Putin, and don't think we should have anything to do with them above and beyond what is necessary for basic international stability.

I'm sure other countries have tried to mess with our election, I'm sure some have had some success, and it's not completely clear to me what the Russian responsibility for hacking was or how consequential it was for the election.

I'd say Comey made a much bigger dent than revelations about the DNC and John Podesta's pizza preferences.

Putin is an anti-democratic authoritarian thug, and he is interested in expanding the sphere of his anti-democratic authoritarian thuggery.

If Trump or any of his crew are caught up in that, we deserve to be aware of it, and frankly any and everyone involved should be shown the door.

Shorter me:

It would neither surprise nor shock me to learn that Putin and the Russians sought to influence our election.

I would find it beyond unacceptable to learn that folks involved in running for public office were willing participants in that effort.

I was just going to say something along the lines of Shorter russell, but he beat me to it, and said it better to boot.

It's probably not that useful to get outraged over Russians (or anyone) trying to interfere with the integrity of our elections.

Actively pushing back against Americans who helped them, or who interfered all on their own, is far from useless. It's hard to know in all this mess where one might get the most leverage for one's daily energy and $ budget, but voter rights and fair elections seems like a top candidate to me.


I wouldn't say I'm outraged so much as irritated by Russia's (apparent) actions. I'll save my outrage for any Americans (candidates or otherwise) who were willing participants in those efforts.

I do wonder why you seem to think no American should be upset about what other countries try to do to us. It's not like most of us had any part in whatever the American government has done to others. (Or are you holding yourself personally responsible for what our government has done in Yemen, just because you are a citizen? Didn't think so.)

"I'll save my outrage for any Americans (candidates or otherwise) who were willing participants in those efforts."

I completely agree with wj on this.

Other countries will do what they do. Candidates in the US that conspire with other countries to get elected, including felonious hacking of their opposition, is unacceptable in the extreme.

Yes, someone please hack Trump's brain. But (pro tip) make sure the ax is sharp.

And wear gloves. (If not a hazmat suit.)

If some Trump campaign person or Trump himself broke the law with respect to Russia or in any other way then we should know about it. We should know about it even if there wa some sort of legal contact, though at that point I also want to know all about all the interference from every country. I also want all the hyperventilating people who worry about the threat to our democracy if they feel our actions are a threat to other people in ways that go beyond stealing embarrassing material and leaking it. We seem awfully damn fragile if the wikileaks posts are a threat to our democracy.

But why the outrage over Trump's friendliness with Russia as opposed to any other regime with a bad human rights record, especially when people say they are concerned it will involve us in some sort of horrible behavior with our new best bud Putin? Quite possibly it will, as it has already happened with other countries. Right now it is the Saudis and Trump seems likely to make a horrible situation even worse. But that's a hard case for Democrats to argue.

The NYT editors got all sniffy because Trump defended Russia by saying we have killers too. I don't for one second think Trump is a Chomskyite-- he says random contradictory things in response to criticism and only God knows what any of it means. But the NYT response was funny in a bitter not at all funny sort of way. We only get into wars because of our love of freedom. Close your eyes and you might wonder who the rightwing fanatic was.

But why the outrage over Trump's friendliness with Russia as opposed to any other regime with a bad human rights record...?

If you are asking for a reason why there should be a difference, the short answer is that there probably isn't a good one.

But if you are asking why there is a difference, the answer is pretty simple: history. We have a history of (not, thank God, shooting) conflict with Russia (and the USSR, which is the same for this purpose). We do not have a similar history of conflicts with the various other bad actors. History, and habits, matter in determining how people will react in the present.

Not good:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/spies-keep-intelligence-from-donald-trump-1487209351

We have a history of supporting bad actors and sometimes of being a bad actor. Trump was accidentally right about that.

He is now bringing his uniquely clarifying gifts to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The 2ss has been comatose for years and the peace process has been nothing more than a fig leaf so people could pretend we could support Israel and not be responsible for their human rights violations because our hearts were pure and we couldn't make them accept a peace they didn't want. All horse feces, particularly the part about our good intentions.

The only good thing about having this narcisstic dimwit running the country is that some of the usual fecal matter people spout is irrelevant. Trump doesn't realize you are supposed to talk about two states for two people's and Jewish democracy and demographic threats to that ( though demographic threats to democracy does sound like a Trumpian concept). Trump has no idea how to bring about a mutually acceptable 1ss but Netanyahu thinks he is getting a free hand. Israel is exactly the sort of ally Trump America should have. They already have a big beautiful wall.

But why the outrage over Trump's friendliness with Russia as opposed to any other regime with a bad human rights record

I set out to make a reply to this, and found myself almost immediately mired in a quagmire of western bias.

Well played, you have given me something to ponder.

A somewhat recent case:

Reagan Doctor Says 25th Amendment Should Have Been Used in '81

Donald is correct: some things are true even if He, Trump says them.

Since gorging itself on stolen Indian lands and stolen African lives, the US has grown fat and happy on a steady diet of meddling in foreign countries and allying itself with some very despicable governments. In pursuit of the material comfort (or at least the surly contentment) of its citizenry (or at least its electorate) the US government has allied itself with foreign suppliers of cheap bananas, petroleum, tube socks, and so forth, while turning a blind eye to their crimes and abuses. Presidents of both parties, in pursuit of election and re-election, have (selfishly, you might say) hewn to this general policy.

He, Trump is outrageously different because of the well-founded (or at least not plausibly refuted) suspicion that his selfishness is of a completely different sort. Keeping Arab theocrats happy for the sake of keeping gas prices low for American drivers is the bog-standard form of (political) selfishness. Making a Russian autocrat happy for the sake of keeping your personal business enterprises solvent is emphatically not.

--TP

But why the outrage over Trump's friendliness with Russia as opposed to any other regime with a bad human rights record...

Well from a selfishly European perspective, a real concern about getting bits of Europe salami sliced away by the nationalist kleptocrat in charge there.

When did Saudia Arabia get nuclear-tipped ICBMs?

Nobody tells me anything. Sheesh.

But why the outrage over Trump's friendliness with Russia as opposed to any other regime with a bad human rights record...

Perhaps because there seems to be more than a bit of racism built into it, suggesting that in his heart of hearts, Trump shares the intellectual heritage of David Duke and the KKK.

I should note that I'm just guessing, Trump's friendliness with Russia is not in my top 5.

But why the outrage over Trump's friendliness with Russia as opposed to any other regime with a bad human rights record...

I will chime in, although this is only a sort of gut feeling.

The shorter me says that "a bad human rights record" isn't the only parameter people might care about, it's a complicated world. The longer me says...

I think the Russia thing is extra upsetting for a lot of people because Russia is (and has been for most of the lives of older people) arguably a true rival of the US, and that adds a whole other layer of issues to the notion that they are infiltrating the highest reaches of the government. Countries like Saudi Arabia are not potential/true global rivals in that way.

I was born in 1950 and one of my earliest reading memories is of a Civil Defense pamphlet that was lying around the house. It described what would happen if an "atom bomb" hit...peeling skin, burns, mass destruction and death, on and on. I was terrified -- for years -- and "Russia" was at the center of that terror.

I'm not saying it's laudable to feel this way (safer because my country is the bully at the top of the heap), I'm just saying that it's much, much more complicated than just a hypocrisy about race or human rights.

The short version - Because it's fncking RUSSIA!!! (Duh...)

I'm being sort of cute with that, but I think it's a pretty good distillation of what others have written.

I think Nigel does make a good point. Russia has a much longer history of invading and taking over its neighbors. (Or at least trying to.) Including in the last couple of decades. The neighbors remember. And many of those neighbors are folks rather likely to be reflexively seen by most Americans as "people like us" -- which may be narrow-minded and/or ethnocentric and/or racist, but doesn't change the reality.

Saudi Arabia (for one example) does not have tht history. The Arabs boiling out of the peninsula to spread Islam was a thousand years ago. And in our lifetimes, Yemen is pretty much a new departure for them. They've certainly meddled, and not just by funding mosques peddling their own (previously obscure) version of Islam. But a large and military incursion is new.

One can argue about whether various other human rights abusers that we deal with are less threatening to those outside their borders, or just lack the means to undertake foreign military adventures. But the fact is that they generally don't.

I think it's easier to turn a blind eye to a country's internal bad deeds than to their foreign ones.

"When did Saudia Arabia get nuclear-tipped ICBMs?"

The implied argument behind the snark doesn't actually work. If Trump is the Manchurian candidate working for Russia, the Russians are unlikely to nuke us. Some of the people criticizing Trump (Michael Morell, for example) seem much more likely to push us into war with Russia if they have the chance. If you want to worry about nuclear war because of Trump, or any war because of Trump, you want to look at Iran or China or North Korea. Some of the Trumpies are itching for a war with Iran. Iran doesn't have nukes, but the long term incentive changes in favor of getting them (or buying them) if we push them. I think Trump has backed down from getting out of the treaty, but he is Trump, so who knows? I think he has also backed down from picking a fight with China, but again, who knows? North Korea and Trump are equally hard to figure out, which could make things exciting there.

But as far as planned wars are concerned, as opposed to stumbling into one with China, I think the place to worry about is Iran, and the Saudis and Israelis are the ones who want us to take care of their problems there and btw, they seem to have an enormous amount of influence with Congress, which drives me freaking nuts when people focus on Russia like foreign influence is something new. What have we been up to in the Mideast and central Asia for the past few decades? War after war after war, some with ground troops, some with air power only and some by proxy and most of them involved the Saudis directly or indirectly. Israel is in there too, pushing for us to fight their enemies.

The wikileaks documents only seems to interest people now because of who probably stole them, but there were some interesting foreign policy tidbits in there, which for the most part got less attention than people talking about the meaningless office gossip and backbiting in the Clinton campaign. The political conversations in this country are mindnumbingly stupid. In a bad mood, which I am in right now, I'd say a President Trump is long overdue. Not in a good way, but because any country this shallow deserves to be ruled by a contemptible self absorbed moron. I don't really mean that, because lots of innocent people are going to be hurt by this jackass. But there is a certain level of frustration with what I see in the press and in many blogs.

With Russia, the odd thing is that some of Trump's picks are not as crazy about Putin as he is, but it doesn't make much sense to say that Trump is Putin's abject admirer and therefore we have to worry about nuclear war with Russia.

...but it doesn't make much sense to say that Trump is Putin's abject admirer and therefore we have to worry about nuclear war with Russia.

Maybe not with us ... for now. And I'm not too confident in Trump's ability to detect and prevent being manipulated by the likes of Putin.

But as far as planned wars are concerned, as opposed to stumbling into one with China, I think the place to worry about is Iran

I actually think North Korea is more likely to see military action. We might be more likely to be the ones initiating action against Iran. But the Iranians seem unlikely to launch an attack, against Israel or anybody else. They, even the religious fanatics among their leaders, are a little too grounded in reality to commit suicide that way.

Kim, in contrast, seems to assume he can get away with pretty much anything he likes. What constrains him is mostly that he doesn't, yet, have the resources required to act. Once he thinks he is in a position to threaten to hit the US with a nuke, I can see him believing that the US would just stand by while he invades South Korea.

And assuming that he could take the South, at least if the US et al. don't act, is not totally crazy. Seoul is close under a huge number of well dug in northern guns, and could get pretty well leveled in a day. The North probably couldn't win a protracted war, but Kim might figure they could win fast.

Would the US just stand aside (at least if the North was careful not to directly attack US bases)? I suspect not -- although I can see where the current administration might. But if Kim thinks we would....

This says not a single State Department person was included in WH meetings with Netanyahu earlier this week.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/02/17/daily-202-the-price-of-loyalty-to-trump-is-high-and-rising/58a64784e9b69b1406c75cbb/?postshare=7171487344692539&tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.8a95d9b61bda

"Would the US just stand aside (at least if the North was careful not to directly attack US bases)?"

No and, not very likely that they could get from point a to point b without putting US troops in harms way, so no.

Aye, that was always put forth as the practical reason for heavy Army concentrations in ROK - in the most concrete, indisputable manner possible, they represent a promise that the US absolutely will not stand by in the event of an invasion. Even if Trump wanted to stand by, he'd only be able to if he redeployed the 2ID et al before the invasion occurred - if we were still there when the DMZ was compromised, the ensuing casualties would raise the domestic cost of withdrawal to an entirely politically infeasible level.

Marty, NV,
Why would Trump worry about Fake News concerning what was happening in Korea? Seriously, it's not at all clear that politically inconvenient facts penetrate his fantasy world ("this administration is running like a fine-tuned machine").

Because there would be open revolt among the nationalist portion of his base. He's not living in a bubble even if it may seem like it at times, and even to the degree that he tries to be, there are too many people with a foot inside that bubble who wouldn't let him ignore it. If he were really living in a fantasy world, he would never have been elected. His world is spin, not fantasy.

I don't usually stay up late enough to watch Colbert. So I don't know if what's standard, and what's novel. But tonight I was up (to see Julie Andrews; some things are important).

The show led off with "self-reflections" -- quotes from Trump (in his own voice) running down Obama . . . over images of Trump. Brutal.

Happiness is reading a nice long thread replete with lefty snowflake meltdowns over the childish hallucinations that keep them awake at night. Irony is reading that they think Trump is insane.

You guys are pathetic losers and it is more apparent than ever. Take your meds before it's too late. better yet, double the dose. You need it.

Hey, gang, we've found ourselves a troll!
Is that you, Milo?

--TP

It's blackhawk. Say bye bye blackhawk.

And not a particularly adept troll either.

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