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March 02, 2019

Comments

Collusion is a very broad term. Essentially, it refers to secret or deceitful co-operation between parties to gain or achieve something they should not be gaining or achieving.

I think "collusion" is a broad enough term to encompass overt and notorious co-operation too.

But either way "collusion" does indeed suggest something unsavory, and for many self-styled Americans it is not possible that a rich dirty old man who pushes good "(Republican) policies" could do anything unsavory. So, "No collusion! No collusion!"

By "self-styled Americans" I mean the kind of people who would vote for Vladimir Putin himself over any Democrat in 2020, if it came down to that, because an authoritarian kleptocrat is at least not a "socialist". Such people are happy to vote for Putin's Puppet as an acceptable alternative, so "collusion" is almost a good thing, as far as they're concerned.

--TP

the kind of people who would vote for Vladimir Putin himself over any Democrat in 2020, if it came down to that, because an authoritarian kleptocrat is at least not a "socialist".

I'm not sure they even need "socialism" as a bogeyman. It's about cleek's law, and owning the libs.

also Papadopolous and Lewandowski were in contact with people that they believed were from the Russian government, trying to get dirt on HRC from them. i'm not sure the people were actually Russian govt or were just stringing the two jerks along, trying to get some facetime with Trump.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/whos-who-in-the-george-papadopoulos-court-documents/2017/10/30/e131158c-bdb3-11e7-97d9-bdab5a0ab381_story.html

and, one of the things Manafort is going to jail for is lying about the fact that he was sharing campaign information with Konstantin Kilimnik, who is alleged to have ties with Russian intelligence.

also: Flynn and Kislyak.

and: Flynn and Putin.

and: Trump and the Moscow real estate thing.

and: Trump and hist history with the Russian mob.

etc.

and this is just what we know about because people keep getting sent to jail for lying about it.

it takes much much more work to invent arguments to explain this all away than it does to accept the obvious.

Of course there was collusion. Of course, Trump is violating his oath of office in numerous ways (Kushner's security clearance is nauseating example). Of course, Republicans are rallying around with lies and doubling down.

We've had our discussions about whether Trump is Hitler American-style, but when I asked the war veteran generation "How did so many people lose their humanity all at once?" surely the answer was similar to how it's happening to Republicans now. And although some Republicans seem nice to chat with at a bus stop, I can't help but feel anything but anger when I think about them.

Oddly, despite Michael Cohen's complicity and guilt, I forgive him because he publicly acknowledges the truth about himself. Maybe it's because he wants mercy from the judicial system (and I still think he needs to serve time), but we could go a long way in restoring our country's dignity if Republicans would all own up to what's happening. This is way beyond "policy". (Although it belongs on the other thread, acknowledging the truth is the first step in addressing racism as well.)

I think the question is, how bad are we going to let it get before we think of a way to make it better?

Worth a read:
https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/02/18/about-the-two-investigations-into-donald-trump/

Criminal liability for ‘collusion’ would lie under conspiracy to defraud the US (ConfraudUS).

https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/06/23/roger-stone-and-confraudus/
ConFraudUs indictments don’t need to prove intent for the underlying crimes. They just need to prove,

(1) two or more persons formed an agreement to defraud the United States;

(2) [each] defendant knowingly participated in the conspiracy with the intent to defraud the United States; and

(3) at least one overt act was committed in furtherance of the common scheme.

how bad are we going to let it get before we think of a way to make it better?

What means are available to us to make it better, that don't involve breaking the stuff we're trying to preserve?

The experiment of self-government depends on some critical mass of people in positions of responsibility doing the right thing. I don't know if we have that, right now.

What means are available to us to make it better

Persuading the electorate to vote Trump out.
And then let the courts make their judgment.

I think any attempt to impeach is going to run into serious problems of proving intent - even though intent is not a strict requirement of the ConFraudUS law.

I think any attempt to impeach is going to run into serious problems of proving intent

Impeachment is similar to an indictment. "Proving intent" is up to the Senate. But all legalese aside, impeachment and conviction is a political act based largely on political considerations, the Nixon example notwithstanding.*

*but even in this instance politics loomed large as the GOP largely stood with Nixon until the bitter end.

Constitutional originalists can prove the intent of the Founders by mere forensic preference and self-massaging of their scalps, with additional winking to close the deal.

Why can't we?

"how bad ...?

Much worse.

"What means are available to us to make it better, that don't involve breaking the stuff we're trying to preserve?"

Break the stuff we are trying to preserve as a sign to them that we don't give a shit any longer and then break all of their stuff.

The French* blew up many of the priceless, ancient bridges around Paris in self-defense in 1914 as the Kaiser's armies advanced on the city, forcing the German army into strategic blunders.

It also led to nearly four more years of dreadful trench warfare, which will be the case now too, given the malignity of the opposition.

One likes to think that Lincoln would have ordered the burning and destruction of Washington D.C. rather than letting it fall in to the hands of the traitorous Confederacy and Jubal Early's army (this was more than a year after the Battle of Gettysburg) in 1964, but the enemy was turned back by savage violence.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/when-washington-dc-came-close-to-being-conquered-by-the-confederacy-180951994/

There will much, much more stolen and missing from our government than the letters of the computer keyboards in Washington D.C. when these lout republican and conservative vermin are driven from the face of the Earth.

*This self-dramatizing comment is modeled on radical conservative commentary absorbed from old Tacitus and Red State sites, and now The American Conservative, wherein the posters and commentariat wrap themselves in the bloody garments of Biblical prophecy and historical waterings of the tree of liberty and speak (classical Greek and Latin no less) their stentorian violent threats, lapels gripped firmly for photo op posing, toward anyone to the left of James Kilpatrick, while of course maintaining that THEY are the victims.

1864.

A Hard Day's Night premiered in 1964.

impeachment is a political act...

I know.

But any process that does not gain the votes of sufficient Republicans to convict is likely to be counterproductive. Failing the promise of that (and it’s qute clear that, for now, Republican senators are colluding with Trump....), far better, I think, to hold continuing hearings which put the facts before the public.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/03/mark-warner-trump-russia-collusion-1200571
I have never, in my lifetime, seen a presidential campaign, from a person of either party, have this much outreach to a foreign country and a foreign country that the intelligence community, and our committee has validated, intervened, massively, in our election and intervened with an attempt to help one candidate, Donald Trump, and to hurt another candidate, Hillary Clinton," he said.

Warner also said that some of the "key people" the Senate committee wants to talk to are "caught up" in the Mueller criminal investigations....

But any process that does not gain the votes of sufficient Republicans to convict is likely to be counterproductive.

That's the controversy. It seems like a moral imperative to impeach. We're always trying to look at polling to find out whether such an action is politically viable. And, sure, I'm okay with that, but I'm not sure the polling is accurate. Impeachment was unpopular for Bill Clinton, because (IMO, and I was against impeachment, or Bill Clinton resigning) Ken Starr overreached in his investigation of a made-up controversy (Whitewater, which was actually a George H.W. Bush election dirty trick involving current AG Bill Barr) to expose someone's consensual affair).

I'm not sure the majority of the country would punish the Democrats for impeaching a President that is betraying his oath of office, and his trust to the American people. Maybe they would. Should we wait until he's reelected (possibly by means of some kind of election interference or tampering) to impeach? Investigating is certainly the right first step. But endless investigations will just further inure the country to blatant, unpunished misconduct.

But there is a core issue that seems, to me, utterly unambiguous. And, it's also the issue that Trump himself and his supporters seem most intent on refuting.

As I demonstrated ad nauseam during the Kavanaugh hearings in my prolonged quarrel with bc, I insist that "refute" properly means something quite different from "contradict" or "deny". The first time I dropped out of university (I've discussed my chequered academic career before) I was studying philosophy, and when I think of the mental gymnastics brilliant and subtle philosophers had to engage in to refute the theories of other brilliant and subtle philosophers, it makes me laugh to think of how, if they only knew, they could have just said "It's not true, because I say so."

Here endeth my ridiculous pedantry for the day. The actual discussion on the collusion issue, and Trump's extraordinary performance at CPAC with the concommitant approval of (apparently) 2 out of 5 Americans, leaves me (you will be glad to know) speechless.

That has bugged me as well, GFTNC, ever since university.

I believe both meanings are now, according to disctionaries, correct. Which annoys me even more.

Which annoys me even more.

I know, me too. I do not accept what these dictionaries say, particularly since there does not appear to be a proper synonym for its true meaning. It seems to me that "disprove" does not exactly do the job, or at least not with the same implication of elegance.

The writing's on the wall for "disinterested" too, I'm afraid.

It appears that I have made an error.

I withdraw my statement that Trump is trying to refute claims of collusion. Deny is likely a more accurate term.

Tough crowd! :)

russell,
"refudiate" is also an appropriate term for describing RWNJ attempts to weasel out of accountability.

To be fair, the etymologies of refute and rebut are pretty similar.

The original sense of ‘thrust back’ is not inaccurate, since Trump invariably accuses his accusers of corruption and illegality.
The claim that Mueller’s investigation is illegal has, of course, been refuted in court judgments.

But any process that does not gain the votes of sufficient Republicans to convict is likely to be counterproductive.

Maybe. Maybe not. That is a political calculation to be made by the House Majority. Assume the Meuller report is utterly damning, and the House impeaches, but the Senate does not convict. Who wins? Who loses?

Assume the Meuller report is utterly damning, and the House impeaches, but the Senate does not convict. Who wins? Who loses?

Not sure who wins or loses. But I'm absolutely certain that, if the Senate does not convict, Trump and his fans will be yelling "Found not guilty!" from the rooftops. As if lack of a conviction was proof of innocence.

"As if lack of a conviction was proof of innocence"

Who else have I heard that about....

My apology, that could not be passed up.

He, Trump is a cult leader. His cult will never abandon Him. If He gets nailed to a cross, they will proclaim He rose on the third day.

So, fuck'em.

I'm endlessly amused by advice to be careful, to be cautious, to be moderate, for there is a contingent of Americans who, while not in the cult themselves, may be tripped over into tolerating the cult because opposition to it seems too strident.

Fuck them too.

He, Trump and his acolytes are a danger to the nation, the way a grease fire in the kitchen is a danger to a house. One way to save the house is to wreck the kitchen with water and foam and whatever else it takes to limit the danger. But hold on, caution the pragmatists: if you advocate wrecking the kitchen, grandma will decide it's better to let the fire burn, because it's not a sure thing that your proposed remedy will actually put the fire out.

So, the pragmatic advice is: let the fire spread to grandma's bedroom and then, maybe, she will agree that you should do something.

Too late, grandma. The grandkids will have to gut the house and rebuild it, after they give you a decent burial. They will be annoyed at having to go through all that fuss and bother, of course. They may even blame you for not having wrecked the kitchen with water and such despite grandma's stubborn opposition.

An alternate fable, of course, would have it that the grandkids paid attention to your warnings, looked at the goddam fire when you pointed it out to them, and told grandma to STFU and let you save the goddam house.

But that's not a pragmatic possibility, is it?

--TP

Of course, if your plan to put out the fire includes not only a kitchen remodel (arguably justified) but a complete relandscaping of the yard as well (totally unrelated to kitchen or fire)? In that case it won't be surprising if, just possibly, you get more resistance than if you could bring yourself to focus on the critical problem. Even from folks who would otherwise agree about the urgency of putting out the fire.

Not sure that's an issue, wj. If it is, please explain what you're afraid of with the libs.

wj,

I agree: job #1 is "put out the fire". In current political terms, "get rid of He, Trump and his lickspittles".

But the punditocracy begs to differ. "Democrats have to offer a positive vision", say the peddlers of conventional wisdom, "they can't just tear down Trump".

I suppose landscaping the yard counts as a "positive vision", so the sage political advice often amounts to "avoid yelling 'fire' and promise a lush green lawn to win over the grandmas in the suburbs".

Never mind that the grandmas insists we can't afford to landscape the yard either, because it might require raising taxes on "job creators". Or [shudder] let Mexican rapists do the work.

--TP

Not sure that's an issue, wj. If it is, please explain what you're afraid of with the libs.

For example (admittedly not the core issue that Tony was talking about: getting rid of Trump), we need to address climate change. Does doing that require addressing economic inequality? Not obvious that it does -- although some parts of it may help with doing so. And fights about economic inequality measures will have a negative impact on the effort to get something done about climate change.

Does that help clarify the kind of thing I'm concerned about? I'm not arguing that other things aren't worth doing. Just against trying to wrap everything one considers worth doing into one big omnibus package.

Assume the Meuller report is utterly damning, and the House impeaches, but the Senate does not convict. Who wins? Who loses

In those circumstances, the calculation changes. The Democrats cannot not impeach, and although it’s likely there would still be insufficient Republican votes to convict, there would probably be sufficient to utterly damn the rest.

It’s possible, but I think it equally possible the report isn’t damning enough about Trump himself to support the charge of high crimes and misdemeanours, or is redacted in some manner. We simply don’t know yet.

We will see, but in the meantime, I think House investigations will be more effective than some think. The prssident is a crook, and I would be very interested to see what games he has played with property valuations.
Charged with fraud and tax evasion, after he loses next year, would be a second best, but it would do.

Please do NOT try to deal with a grease fire in the kitchen by use of water or you will be very lucky, if only the kitchen will be in need of redecoration afterwards.
Put a lid on it or a fireproof blanket or sand.
Foam only after checking that it is the kind suitable for the occasion.

The organic liquid one uses for frying things in, extracted from olives or sunflower seeds or rape seeds or whatever. You guys call it grease rather than oil?

My apology, that could not be passed up.

No worries, enjoy your moment of snark. We all enjoy one now and then.

The stuff that has become normal over the last couple of years is beyond strange. It's almost surreal, and profoundly disturbing.

I don't know if we can walk it back. And I don't understand people who don't seem to recognize any reason for concern.

I think we are at an inflection point, and I don't know where things go from here. I see nothing at this point that gives me any cause for optimism.

These are not good times.

Agreed, russell - which is why the overwhelming priority is to prevent his re-election.

Otherwise the danger is you end up a more prosperous version of Putin's kleptocracy.

"As if lack of a conviction was proof of innocence"

I don't wish to get in the way of anybody's enjoyable snark, but just wanted to gently mention that when talking about e.g. HRC's guilt or innocence, the lefties and liberals on here did not talk about lack of a conviction, but lack of a charge or indictment.

Pro Bono: I think it's called a "grease fire" when the kitchen goes up because of the thin film of airborne grease left over all surfaces from frying and other normal cooking activities (e.g. opening the oven when roasting at high temperatures). In a domestic kitchen that's not such a problem (although it still happens, noticeably if you leave lots of bottles out and don't wash their outsides regularly), but in professional kitchens it's why they have to undertake such serious detergent scrubbing of all surfaces, even high up.

Pro Bono: I think it's called a "grease fire" when the kitchen goes up because of the thin film of airborne grease left over all surfaces from frying and other normal cooking activities (e.g. opening the oven when roasting at high temperatures). In a domestic kitchen that's not such a problem (although it still happens, noticeably if you leave lots of bottles out and don't wash their outsides regularly), but in professional kitchens it's why they have to undertake such serious detergent scrubbing of all surfaces, even high up.

we need to address climate change. Does doing that require addressing economic inequality?

wow. that proposed non-binding house resolution sure upset some apple carts.

the overwhelming priority is to prevent his re-election.

Trump's approval ratings are up 3 points since January. Do all those people go away if Trump loses in 2020?

Trump is smart enough to have spotted the wave, and now he's riding it. He's not the wave.

The wave disturbs me.

The wave disturbs me.

This. And the wave seems worldwide: Brexit, rise of nationalist parties in Europe, etc etc, all happening against a backdrop of a warming planet where not enough is being done to mitigate the worst effects thereof. These are truly worrying times, satisfying (perhaps) only to the novelists of dystopias which predicted them.

Trump's approval ratings are up 3 points since January.

Those 3 points are people who disapproved of the shut down.

Trump is smart enough to have spotted the wave

I disagree. Trump would have been Trump whether there was a wave or not. There's no smartness involved, how could there be? He's just a lying populist braggart at a time when forty odd percent of the population will vote for a lying populist braggart.

Wonderful statement by Eric Holder. We have good people. We just need to fight hard for them.

He's just a lying populist braggart at a time when forty odd percent of the population will vote for a lying populist braggart.

I disagree.
There are plenty of those on supply, but Trump is a particular talented lying populist braggart (though worse than useless in every other respect), which is why he won.

which is why he won.

He won because of Vladimir Putin and Rupert Murdoch.

He won for all those reasons. And in the case of those sapient mentions, because the public at large is not sufficiently informed (or educated in critical thinking) to discriminate between hostile, inaccurate propaganda and facts, and the respective reliability of the sources thereof.

And speaking of the latter, I see that in yesterday's Observer Carole Cadwalladr has a piece detailing Facebook's ongoing lobbying efforts to ensure it escapes attempts to control its use of users' data.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/mar/02/facebook-global-lobbying-campaign-against-data-privacy-laws-investment

...the danger is you end up a [temporarily] more prosperous version of Putin's kleptocracy.

Fixed that for you.

wow. that proposed non-binding house resolution sure upset some apple carts.

Actually, no. It's the name, the label, on the "Green New Deal" which is cause for concern. That and what I perceive (possibly incorrectly, but that might not just be me) as Democratic politicians talking about it like it's a climate change bundle of ToDos.

If the resolution was billed as a list of goals, that would be fine. I might not agree with some of them, but I wouldn't worry about it. It's when I see a bunch of unrelated stuff packaged together that I worry that what we will get is opposition compounded. I'd rather see measures to address climate change insulated from other stuff, in the interests of maximizing it's chances of happening.

Feel free to argue that an omnibus approach will result in support from everyone who favors even part of it. Preferably with some evidence, because I'm pretty skeptical on that.

To my mind, the money quote from Holder that sapient links to is this:

For too long, Democrats have lost sight of the state and local races that shape the day-to-day lives of the people we serve.
With a census and redistricting coming up, a focus on state legislative races might even be more important, in the long run, than Trump. Only consider how different Obama's tenure might have been if he hadn't faced an implacabley opposed Congress for his whole second term. When you set yourself up for gerrymandering, that's what you get.

wj: Feel free to argue that an omnibus approach will result in support from everyone who favors even part of it. Preferably with some evidence, because I'm pretty skeptical on that.

The GOP omnibus:
Untax wealth
Criminalize abortion
Liberate guns
Privatize everything
Bash immigrants

It's a grab-bag, not a philosophy. For instance, why is abolishing the "death tax" logically connected to outlawing abortion?

And yet, the GOP has made great hay out of garnering "support from everyone who favors even part of it" for decades now.

The unspoken and possibly sub-conscious premise of conventional political wisdom seems to be that so-called independents are basically people who will vote Republican given the slightest excuse.

--TP

The GOP omnibus:
Untax wealth
Criminalize abortion
Liberate guns
Privatize everything
Bash immigrants

Yes, but do they put out "sense of Congress" resolutions wrapping all of them together in one package? They campaign on those together, but they don't come close to legislating on them all together.

Like I said, I wouldn't have a problem with an omnibus statement which was explicitly a wishlist. But in something which purports to address a single problem (climate change)? That I see as a problem.

the money quote from Holder that sapient links to

In 2005, Howard Dean became head of the DNC and set about doing exactly what you describe. Build local party organization and infrastructure in all 50 states, and let success bubble up.

It was more or less abandoned after his tenure in favor of a focus on swing districts.

A missed opportunity.

Yes, but do they put out "sense of Congress" resolutions wrapping all of them together in one package?

Contract With America, 1994. Worked pretty well for them.

Yeah, well, the Achilles heel of that GOP omnibus is the "liberating guns" bullet point.

Doing all of those f*cking things AND then arming everyone, even the half of the population they were done to, will be the strategically fatal mistake of the malign conservative movement.

Bash an immigrant armed with an AR-15. Please.

Cause the death of a woman because she is denied an abortion and then deny the fetus, should it survive the mother's death, health insurance coverage. Please.

Untax wealth and cause the destruction of government and the safety net. Please.

Privatize my federal lands. Please.

Place gag orders and prevent research on global climate change. Please.

Prevent even one American from voting. Please.

Give me military-grade weaponry and let me carry it anywhere.

Thank you, assholes.

Contract With America

Fair point. Though I must point out that it also brought them to the point where their party is a serious minority (albeit in power in various places**), and which has won a majority in a Presidential election only once since. So, an electoral success, but....

** Which even they know is only possible with careful gerrymandering, vote suppression, etc.

wj: Like I said, I wouldn't have a problem with an omnibus statement which was explicitly a wishlist.

Until Mitch McConnell gets busted down to Minority Leader without power to filibuster, and He, Trump gets busted down to mere white collar criminal instead of Putin's agent in the White House, any Democratic initiative, "omnibus" or not, is nothing but a "wishlist".

I suppose that "campaign" vs "legislate" is a decent excuse for a distinction, if we're really looking for one.

--TP

I should also point out that the Contract With America was a document, but not a Congressional resolution. If memory serves....

Since this seems open threadish here now--

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/3/4/18246381/democrats-clinton-sanders-left-brad-delong

Needless to say, I agree.

Funny, I was just reading this morning about how the so-called democratic socialists are really social democrats. I don't know the history of how they started calling themselves democratic socialists, given that they aren't proposing to nationalize industries and put the workers in charge. Not to mention that it gives the GOP a convenient boogeyman. Those socialists want to take away your freedumbs!

Hickenlooper officially announced his candidacy this morning.

While he was Denver mayor and Colorado governor, he always struck me as being much more pragmatic than this. This is not a good election cycle to be a white, male, pragmatic Dem. If I were to bet, he's rubbing elbows for the next few/several months with the actual candidate, whoever it turns out to be. And putting himself in their mind as head of either Interior or Energy.

Hickenlooper, Gillibrand, Buttigieg, Klobuchar - it's a good year for last names.

"Funny, I was just reading this morning about how the so-called democratic socialists are really social democrats."

Must be one of those Rupert Sheldrake morphic field thingies going on, because literally just a few minutes ago I was thinking I would call myself a social democrat rather than an outright socialist. (Not really wedded to any ideology that much, except we shouldn't be committing so much genocide overseas, or at least keep it down, and people shouldn't go broke because they have a medical problem. If the Free Market can take care of the latter, fine.)

" and people shouldn't go broke because they have a medical problem. If the Free Market can take care of the latter, fine.

To be clear, I doubt it can.

Thank goodness for the Democratic Congress.

Investigation is important, whether or not impeachment follows. Although I agree that impeachment is a political decision, it's also a mandate for those who believe in enforcement of the Constitution under circumstances as blatant as this. Not sure how it will poll, but I'm skeptical that the decision to impeach, by itself, is going to move the needle one way or the other. I'll try to trust smarter people than me to make that decision, but I'm not sure I won't complain if impeachment doesn't go forward.

the Contract With America was a document, but not a Congressional resolution

It was a book, a document outlining policy objectives, a list of 8 operational reforms to be voted on on the first day of the new congress, and a punch list of 10 bills to be brought to the floor, covering a smorgasbord of conservative desiderata.

A conservative new deal.

A conservative new deal.

Translation: a scam.

Not even properly proofread. they Spelled 'on' as 'with' in the title. And afaik 'Gangrene' also has no 'ch' at the end (or is GoingRich a pseudonym?).

I see AOC more or less agrees with me that impeachment is a strategy call...

:-)

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/432498-ocasio-cortez-on-impeachment-of-trump-i-defer-to-the-party-leadership

There are some tiny cracks in the Republican facade:

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/03/national-emergency-republicans-resolution-mitch-mcconnell.html
The Senate Republicans who have already come out against the national emergency have not done so quietly. Paul, who announced his decision in a Fox News editorial, wrote that he “would literally lose my political soul if I decided to treat President Trump different than President Obama,” and that “the only way to be an honest officeholder is to stand up for the same principles no matter who is in power.” If you’re Mitch McConnell reading this, all you’re seeing is one of your senators calling most of your other senators dishonest officeholders.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, who is moving toward the center ahead of his re-election campaign, similarly wrote that he was just standing by the same principles against executive overreach that he stood by under Obama. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who joined with Democrats to introduce the Senate version of the disapproval resolution, cited James Madison in the Federalist Papers to justify this position. When a Republican is reading James Madison in the Federalist Papers to explain her problem with what other Republicans are doing, Mitch McConnell’s agenda has been derailed...

How substantive they might become is debatable.

Nothing to see here, at all...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/t-mobile-acknowledges-its-patronage-of-trumps-washington-hotel-increased-sharply-after-announcement-of-merger-with-sprint/2019/03/05/d123be66-3ecb-11e9-922c-64d6b7840b82_story.html

T-Mobile’s patronage of President Trump’s Washington hotel increased sharply after the announcement of its merger with its Sprint last April, with executives spending about $195,000 at the property since then, the company told congressional Democrats in a letter last month.

Before news of the megadeal between rival companies broke on April 29, 2018, the company said, only two top officials from T-Mobile had ever stayed at Trump’s hotel, with one overnight stay each in August 2017.

this is what "running government like a business" looks like.

We were talking about jury trials recently.
This is a compelling read.
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/03/juror-revisits-murder-trial-20-years-later.html

Also, a compelling read.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/qanon-book-claiming-democrats-eat-children-is-climbing-the-amazon-charts-2019-03-05?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

When accused by conservatives of eating children, belch and ask for seconds.

And then, turn this anti-Semitic slur, now wielded against everyone who is not a conservative republican p shithead, back on the accusers and physically beat the crap out of them.

impeachment is a strategy call...

My sense would be to do the hearings, to get the information out. But by that time, it's close enough to election day to let him get voted out.

A very good argument in favour of the Green Deal:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/good-climate-science-is-all-about-nuance-good-politics-is-not/
And this is why the political rhetoric of climate change is such a pickle. The very nature of the science means it’s easy for opponents to rebut it with doubt. You can see that at work in the “sound science” movement my colleague Christie Aschwanden wrote about in 2017. Gathering scientific evidence is always a nuanced and complex process. So it’s easy for someone with an agenda to highlight that complexity and make the conclusions seem less trustworthy than they really are. Currently, President Trump’s critics are worried that’s exactly what the Trump administration plans to do with climate science by putting together a panel overseen by an official whose climate denialist organization has distributed misleading data in the past. “A simple sound bite is going to stick really well, and a nuanced, complicated story that is perfectly true but has caveats is much harder to sell. People just don’t remember that,” Lewandowsky said.

But he, and other experts, also offered some reason to be optimistic that politicians are starting to figure out ways around the rhetorical divide. For instance, Newman said, consensus is one of the tools that people use to decide, on a gut level, if something is true. We’re generally more confident in our beliefs if others share them and trust our own memories more if they’re corroborated by others. That probably goes a long way toward explaining why politicians who don’t believe in climate change spend so much time trying to undermine the idea of scientific consensus. But it also means that, when governmental organizations and politicians focus on consensus, they’re making headway. In fact, research has shown that telling people there’s a scientific consensus on climate change makes them more likely to believe in it.

What’s more, lessons from psychology offer some hope of making political headway on climate change in a world where a person’s ideological affiliation seems to determine whether they believe in climate change (rather than the other way around) and where action on climate might need to come from the top down (rather than bottom up). Our gut instinct is more likely to believe a person we know, who shares our identities and ideologies. And that means political leadership matters. So when psychologists see bills like the New Green Deal changing the arguments we’re having about climate change policy or Republican politicians coming out as believing in climate change and opposing denialism — those things look like viable paths forward....

shorter 538.com.....GO BIG.

To answer Russell's question: The Trump campaign took the meeting but failed to reach an agreement. So the meeting did not result in “cooperation between parties to gain or achieve something they should not be gaining or achieving.”

My guess is that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, didn't want to come out and explicitly offer a bribe. So she sends a message to the Trump campaign indicating that she has dirt on Hillary Clinton, and then shows up at the meeting talking about the Magnitsky Act. That's the cue for Eric Trump to say, “I'm sure nothing would please my father more than to allow Russian orphans to come to the United States. But before he can advance the cause you have so eloquently advocated for just now, he has to get elected. I've heard you might be able to help out in that regard.” And everyone in the room could, if they wanted, pretend that the Trump campaign hadn't just agreed to accept a bribe in exchange for lifting sanctions on Russia. But Eric Trump is too dumb to figure this out, so he just sits there and the meeting falls through.

GO BIG

Which interestingly seems to be Blooomberg’s strategy, too (having decided not to run for president):
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-05/our-highest-office-my-deepest-obligation

A very, very well funded campaign supporting the idea of a zero carbon economy, run from a business perspective, isn’t going to do the Democrats any harm.

The court of public opinion holds Trump to be a crook, but most do not (yet) want impeachment:
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/05/poll-trump-crime-before-presidency-1204145

The most appalling number in the poll: that 2/3 of Republicans think he's a good role model for children.

I would be fascinated to hear just what about him they would like to see in their children. Especially those who think so while believing he is not honest, committed crimes before taking office, etc. Which of those things would they wish for in their children? Sad.

I guess they admire the spirit of winning at all cost (to someone else) and rubbing the opponents's faces in it.

What would interest me: do they think differently regarding male and female kids? And is there a difference between male and female Republicans?

'opponentsesses faceses' of course.

This perhaps goes some of the way to explaining it:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-cpac-speech-was-full-of-love-its-been-a-successful-formula-for-him/2019/03/05/6047df16-3f7e-11e9-9361-301ffb5bd5e6_story.html

Being, of course, the precise inverse of the ‘deplorables’ comment.

"that 2/3 of Republicans think he's a good role model for children."

Perhaps a role model for a Khmer Rouge infant with a pantload demanding a supersized Happy Meal .. or else.

He's the Red Queen of Hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Let's make Liberty Valance the Mayor of Simple Town.

Look children, there walks a sociopath.

Become him, you malignant little dupes, and you will go far.

On the assumption this is an open thread, more of Brad Delong in his own words—

https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/03/on-msnbc-right-now-as-always-much-more-to-say-than-i-could.html

Never thought I’d be citing him favorably

The Trump State Broadcasting Network:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/03/11/the-making-of-the-fox-news-white-house
...For two years, the network has been priming its viewers to respond with extraordinary anger should the country’s law-enforcement authorities close in on the President. According to Media Matters, in the first year after Mueller was appointed Hannity alone aired four hundred and eighty-six segments attacking the federal criminal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election; thirty-eight per cent of those segments claimed that law-enforcement officials had broken the law. In recent weeks, Hannity has spoken of “a coup,” and a guest on Laura Ingraham’s program, the lawyer Joseph diGenova, declared, “It’s going to be total war. And, as I say to my friends, I do two things—I vote and I buy guns.”

Jerry Taylor, the co-founder of the Niskanen Center, a think tank in Washington for moderates, says, “In a hypothetical world without Fox News, if President Trump were to be hit hard by the Mueller report, it would be the end of him. But, with Fox News covering his back with the Republican base, he has a fighting chance, because he has something no other President in American history has ever had at his disposal—a servile propaganda operation.”

more of Brad Delong ...

Is his blog title "Brad Delong's Grasping Reality" deliberately ambiguous ?

“Is his blog title "Brad Delong's Grasping Reality" deliberately ambiguous ?”

No idea. It’s been maybe ten years since I read him ( and even then it was sporadic).

More on Brad.

The most appalling number in the poll: that 2/3 of Republicans think he's a good role model for children.

it's a cult. as such, children are raised to respect The Leader

Reading the Delong links has me wondering what would have happened if Obama just told the GOP to f*ck itself and did what he wanted without regard to any sort of appeasement.

(It's weird using that word - appeasement - given how often people on the right used it against Obama. But I doubt they ever thought of it in the sense that he was trying to appease them.)

From the Brad Delong article:

It is a very different world in the world I thought years ago that I lived in.

First Greenspan, now Delong.

Regarding the inverse of the deplorables: based on the Trumpsters I know, that all sounds about right. Or it at least aligns with one aspect of how folks seem to feel about the guy.

People feel neglected, disrespected, put upon, put down, mocked and denigrated. Trump makes them feel good, so they vote for him. Just like Reagan made them feel good, and W made them feel good.

I suppose that more than few liberals vote for folks like Obama or Clinton because those folks make them feel good, for one reason or another.

It's human nature.

The problem at hand is that Trump is, fundamentally, a crook. A grifter. A dishonorable, corrupt, vain, bullying man-child. So while he's making his followers feel good, he's fucking up the world.

He's also addressing the whole issue of a polarized American polity by pouring gasoline on the fire. Which might just get him elected in 2020, but he'll be the POTUS of a broken nation.

I am really and truly weary of hearing about the poor put-upons. Not because I don't think they actually are put upon, nor because I think that People Like Me aren't prone to actually looking down on them, perhaps while making sympathetic noises.

I'm weary of it because (a) they seem to resent People Like Me with at least equal force, which tends to lessen my empathy for good or ill, and (b) their solution to their plight is voting for people like Reagan, W, and Trump.

I also think the population who generally get lumped under "Those Worthy Put-Upon Folks In The Heartland" are far more various then what is portrayed in articles by all of the peripatetic NYT and WaPo columnists who have been haunting the short-order joints of the nation for the last 3 or 4 or 40 years. People are smarter than a freaking sound bite at the Waffle House.

In any case, Trump is going to do fuck-all for those folks, except perhaps by accident in the process of enriching himself and his pals. If folks want a POTUS who is going to agree with them about all of the snotty elitists who are looking down at them, and make them feel justified in their festering resentment, then Trump is their guy. If they actually want to do something about their situation, they should look elsewhere.

And they should also consider that the rest of the world is dealing with a lot of the same shit that they are, and get the hell over themselves. They aren't the only folks struggling. Job security, shitty gig economy employment opportunities when they do exist, health care, cost of housing, booze and drug addiction, living paycheck to paycheck - who the hell isn't dealing with that crap? At least cops aren't shooting their kids at traffic stops, or grabbing them from their homes or places of work and deporting them.

Maybe they can find some common ground with all of the people they resent if they care to look for it. There really aren't that many bankers and pointy-headed college professors and coastal elitist journos around, most folks are living the same freaking grind they are.

If you don't want to be treated like a cartoon, maybe start by not treating other folks like cartoons. And maybe start by not voting for people because they make you feel like your sense of resentment is justified and worthwhile.

It's fucking poison. Find better things to embrace.

And hell yeah, the world is not what Brad Delong thought it was.

And hell yeah, the world is not what Brad Delong thought it was.

this should be the full curriculum of Economics 101.

what would have happened if Obama just told the GOP to f*ck itself

The world is not what Barack Obama thought he was living in, either.

More is the pity.

Some commentary arising from the New Yorker piece on Fox/Trump News.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-has-fox-news-changed-in-the-trump-era/

I have huge sympathy for your 10:26, russell... but the reality is that in a democracy, emotion trumps reason more often than not.

The problem at hand is that Trump is, fundamentally, a crook.

Actually, I don't think he is. I think he is fundamentally a con man. It's about winning by putting on over on the other guy. And having others know he won.

Just stealing stuff, like a thief in the night, wouldn't appeal to Trump nearly as much. If he couldn't brag about it, somehow or other, that would take a lot of the joy out of it for him.

A good leader directs emotion toward constructive ends.

Actually, I don't think he is.

The distinction between crook and con man escapes me.

But yes, he does appear to revel in putting one over on other folks.

Crook is such a vulgar and harsh sounding word unlike con man. The con man is an artist who does his thing at least in part for the thrill and the skill needed. A crook does not care about the means, just the manifest results in his favor.

All con men are crooks. Not all crooks are con men.

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