Loose lips sink ships, Donald Trump edition: Daily Bullshit, May 15-19, 2017

I have a new research journal entry up, “The problem of ‘intellectual property.’


Updates

  1. May 16, 3:46 pm:
  2. May 16, 8:17 pm:
    • It now appears that Donald Trump fired James Comey at least in part because Comey wouldn’t stop an FBI investigation into Michael Flynn.[2]
    • Israel was the source of the intelligence that Donald Trump revealed to Russian diplomats visiting the White House and Mossad is furious.[3] (Loose Lips)
  3. May 17, 4:25 am:
    • Robert Parry shares my concern about invoking a new Cold War in service to partisan (Democratic Party) resentment against Donald Trump.[4] (Golden Showers)
    • A freewheeling Donald Trump is leaving White House staffers effectively paralyzed in response to the seemingly endless scandals.[5] (James Comey)
  4. May 17, 2:22 pm:
    • Donald Trump’s actions regarding Michael Flynn and James Comey look a lot like obstruction of justice[6] and Republicans are beginning to acknowledge the possibility of impeachment.[7] (James Comey)
    • Vox has reprised its explainer (which I did not archive when it first ran) on the 25th amendment which offers a much faster and easier procedure for removing an unfit president than impeachment.[8] (Loose Lips)
    • Sure, Israeli politicians may make nice, but former and current intelligence officials are scathing about Donald Trump’s revealing highly classified material from Israel to the Russians.[9]
  5. May 19, 2:49 am:
    • The Justice Department appointed a “special counsel,” which I guess is the same thing as a “special prosecutor,” to look into Trump team contacts with Russia.[10] (Golden Showers)
    • The Hill lowers itself to clickbait-level with a headline that should read, “GOP senator: Flynn ‘not cooperating’ [yet] in Russia probe.”[11] (Golden Showers)
    • Hypatia’s Board of Directors has disavowed its associate editors’ disavowal of Rebecca Tuvel’s article.[12] (Transgenderism and Transracialism)
    • Sweden is dropping its investigation of Julian Assange,[13] who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for fear that Sweden’s proceedings were a ploy to extradite him to the U.S.[14]
  6. May 19, 1:32 pm:

Ridesharing

Greg Bensinger and Jack Nicas, “Alphabet’s Waymo, Lyft to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars,” Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/alphabets-waymo-lyft-to-collaborate-on-self-driving-cars-1494813169

Tom Krisher, “Judge tells Uber to return Waymo files taken by engineer,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 15, 2017, http://www.seattlepi.com/business/technology/article/Judge-orders-Uber-not-to-use-technology-taken-11146534.php


Loose Lips

I think we are about to witness extraordinary events. I do not know how this[15] plays out. And while I (and a lot of other folks) have certainly been wrong before about Donald Trump’s durability, it is really hard to see how he gets away with this and it will be all too easy for some folks to see how they might act against him believing they would do so with the highest motives.[16]

As of Tuesday afternoon, apart from the dysfunctional White House messaging we’re learning to expect,[17] but which seems actually to be intensifying,[18] this story appears to be going quiet as I’m seeing mostly only echoes. To me, that suggests one—and probably only one—of two things: First, people may have stopped yammering because they really haven’t any more to say, but this does not mean lack of interest or concern; further, we could be in a phase where whatever they do say publicly or even off the record should not be trusted. Or second, it could be they are whispering among themselves about what the fuck to do. I should emphasize here that this doesn’t just have to be one group of people holding one conversation—it could be many and I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if some of these conversations were occurring within the intelligence community. Whatever does or does not happen, it will, one way or another, not look good for the republic but the question here, especially for the intelligence community and for those who care about it, is how to prevent further damage to their mission.

Zack Beauchamp, “Trump gave Russia classified intelligence: what we know so far,” Vox, May 15, 2017, https://www.vox.com/world/2017/5/15/15643720/trump-russia-classified-intelligence-post

Bryan Bender, “Ex-intelligence leaders: ‘Nightmare’ if Trump leaked to Russia,” Politico, May 15, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/trump-secrets-russia-isis-238421

Yochi Dreazen, “Donald Trump is a serious threat to American national security,” Vox, May 15, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/15/15644928/donald-trump-russia-share-intelligence-lavrov-isis-oval-office

Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe, “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador,” Washington Post, May 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html

Politico, “White House pushes back against report Trump shared classified info with Russians,” May 15, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/trump-classified-russia-pushback-238415

John T. Bennett, “Trump Appears to Confirm Report He Gave Russians Classified Info,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, May 16, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/trump-appears-to-confirm-report-he-gave-russians-classified-info/

John T. Bennett, “White House Shifts Talking Points Again on Russia Disclosure,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, May 16, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/white-house-shifts-talking-points-russia-disclosure/

John Bresnahan and Rachael Bade, “Republicans may be reaching their breaking point with Trump,” Politico, May 16, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/16/trump-comey-republicans-congress-scandals-238479

Shane Harris and Carol E. Lee, “Israel Provided Intelligence Trump Shared With Russia, Officials Say,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/intelligence-trump-shared-with-russia-was-from-israel-officials-say-1494960259

Annie Karni, “Trump’s intelligence gaffe creates tension with Israel,” Politico, May 16, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/16/trump-israel-secrets-238465

Michael Warren, “Trump’s Intelligence Problem,” Weekly Standard, May 16, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/trumps-intelligence-problem/article/2008070

Judah Ari Gross, “Former Israeli spymasters rip into Trump, say Israel must reassess intel sharing,” Times of Israel, May 17, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/former-israeli-spymasters-rip-into-trump-say-israel-must-reassess-intel-sharing/

Jacob Magid, “Israeli intelligence source: We must reassess what info we share with US – report,” Times of Israel, May 17, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-intelligence-source-we-must-reassess-what-info-we-share-with-us-report/

Andrew Prokop, “The 25th Amendment, explained: how a president can be declared unfit to serve,” Vox, May 17, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/9/14488980/25th-amendment-trump-pence


Phone polls

Ummm, yes, phone polls are dead. No matter how much pollsters may fool themselves, there is simply no way to take seriously survey research with a nine percent response rate.[19]

Steven Shepard, “Report: Phone polls aren’t dead yet,” Politico, May 15, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/pollsters-phone-polls-238409


James Comey

Heather Caygle, “Chaffetz demands Comey-Trump memos in letter to FBI,” Politico, May 16, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/16/chaffetz-demands-comey-memo-in-letter-to-fbi-238478

Michael S. Schmidt, “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation,” New York Times, May 16, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/us/politics/james-comey-trump-flynn-russia-investigation.html

Josh Dawsey and Matthew Nussbaum, “White House on edge: ‘We are kind of helpless,'” Politico, May 17, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/17/trump-white-house-on-edge-238482

Ryan Goodman, “Did Trump Obstruct Justice?” Politico, May 17, 2017, http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/17/did-trump-obstruct-justice-215147

Cristina Marcos, “First Republicans talk possibility of impeachment for Trump,” Hill, May 17, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/house/333803-first-republicans-talk-impeachment-for-trump


Golden Showers

I think one can, while still continuing to reject for want of actual evidence claims that the Russians interfered with the 2016 U.S. election,[20] reasonably ask, What the fuck is up with Donald Trump and the Russians?

Robert Parry, “Will Russiagate Hysteria Lead to an American ‘Soft Coup?’ Truthdig, May 15, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/will_russiagate_hysteria_lead_to_an_american_soft_coup_20170515

Joseph Tanfani, Noah Bierman, and Brian Bennett, “Special counsel is named to take over investigation of Russia and Trump associates,” Los Angeles Times, May 17, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-former-fbi-director-robert-mueller-1495058507-htmlstory.html

Katie Bo Williams, “GOP senator: Flynn ‘not cooperating’ in Russia probe,” Hill, May 18, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/334049-gop-senator-flynn-wont-comply-with-committees-subpoena


Transgenderism and Transracialism

Andy Thomason, “Journal’s Board of Directors Disavows Editors’ Apology for Article on ‘Transracialism,’” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 2017, http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/hypatias-board-of-directors-disavows-editors-apology-for-article-on-transracialism/118477


Julian Assange

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that right after Donald Trump burns Mossad, an allied intelligence service, leading other allies to doubt whether they can trust the U.S. to uphold its end of intelligence-sharing agreements,[21] Sweden, a U.S. ally internationally pursuing Julian Assange on rape allegations it almost certainly would have ignored in almost any other case[22] and suspected of pursuing those charges as a pretext to extradite Assange to the U.S.[23] drops the charges.[24] Just a coincidence.

And it really might just be a coincidence. Or it might be that now that the U.S. thinks it has figured out how to charge Assange,[25] Sweden is no longer needed to hold Assange for extradition—the British can do it directly.[26] In this scenario, Sweden would merely have waited a decent interval before dropping an investigation that was sufficiently seriously viewed as a pretext that Ecuador granted Assange asylum at its London embassy,[27] which Assange remains unlikely to walk out of as a free man for the foreseeable future.[28]

Laura Smith-Spark, “Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation,” CNN, May 19, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/europe/julian-assange-sweden-charges-dropped/index.html


  1. [1]John T. Bennett, “Trump Appears to Confirm Report He Gave Russians Classified Info,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, May 16, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/trump-appears-to-confirm-report-he-gave-russians-classified-info/; John T. Bennett, “White House Shifts Talking Points Again on Russia Disclosure,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, May 16, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/white-house-shifts-talking-points-russia-disclosure/; Shane Harris and Carol E. Lee, “Israel Provided Intelligence Trump Shared With Russia, Officials Say,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/intelligence-trump-shared-with-russia-was-from-israel-officials-say-1494960259; Michael Warren, “Trump’s Intelligence Problem,” Weekly Standard, May 16, 2017, http://www.weeklystandard.com/trumps-intelligence-problem/article/2008070
  2. [2]John Bresnahan and Rachael Bade, “Republicans may be reaching their breaking point with Trump,” Politico, May 16, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/16/trump-comey-republicans-congress-scandals-238479; Heather Caygle, “Chaffetz demands Comey-Trump memos in letter to FBI,” Politico, May 16, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/16/chaffetz-demands-comey-memo-in-letter-to-fbi-238478; Michael S. Schmidt, “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation,” New York Times, May 16, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/us/politics/james-comey-trump-flynn-russia-investigation.html
  3. [3]Annie Karni, “Trump’s intelligence gaffe creates tension with Israel,” Politico, May 16, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/16/trump-israel-secrets-238465
  4. [4]Robert Parry, “Will Russiagate Hysteria Lead to an American ‘Soft Coup?’ Truthdig, May 15, 2017, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/will_russiagate_hysteria_lead_to_an_american_soft_coup_20170515
  5. [5]Josh Dawsey and Matthew Nussbaum, “White House on edge: ‘We are kind of helpless,'” Politico, May 17, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/17/trump-white-house-on-edge-238482
  6. [6]Ryan Goodman, “Did Trump Obstruct Justice?” Politico, May 17, 2017, http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/17/did-trump-obstruct-justice-215147
  7. [7]Cristina Marcos, “First Republicans talk possibility of impeachment for Trump,” Hill, May 17, 2017, http://thehill.com/homenews/house/333803-first-republicans-talk-impeachment-for-trump
  8. [8]Andrew Prokop, “The 25th Amendment, explained: how a president can be declared unfit to serve,” Vox, May 17, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/9/14488980/25th-amendment-trump-pence
  9. [9]Judah Ari Gross, “Former Israeli spymasters rip into Trump, say Israel must reassess intel sharing,” Times of Israel, May 17, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/former-israeli-spymasters-rip-into-trump-say-israel-must-reassess-intel-sharing/; Jacob Magid, “Israeli intelligence source: We must reassess what info we share with US – report,” Times of Israel, May 17, 2017, http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-intelligence-source-we-must-reassess-what-info-we-share-with-us-report/
  10. [10]Joseph Tanfani, Noah Bierman, and Brian Bennett, “Special counsel is named to take over investigation of Russia and Trump associates,” Los Angeles Times, May 17, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-former-fbi-director-robert-mueller-1495058507-htmlstory.html
  11. [11]Katie Bo Williams, “GOP senator: Flynn ‘not cooperating’ in Russia probe,” Hill, May 18, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/334049-gop-senator-flynn-wont-comply-with-committees-subpoena
  12. [12]Andy Thomason, “Journal’s Board of Directors Disavows Editors’ Apology for Article on ‘Transracialism,’” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 2017, http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/hypatias-board-of-directors-disavows-editors-apology-for-article-on-transracialism/118477
  13. [13]Laura Smith-Spark, “Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation,” CNN, May 19, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/europe/julian-assange-sweden-charges-dropped/index.html
  14. [14]Paul Lewis, “Ecuador seeks to stop ‘evil’ of Julian Assange US extradition,” Guardian, July 26, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jul/26/ecuador-julian-assange-extradition-us
  15. [15]Zack Beauchamp, “Trump gave Russia classified intelligence: what we know so far,” Vox, May 15, 2017, https://www.vox.com/world/2017/5/15/15643720/trump-russia-classified-intelligence-post; Bryan Bender, “Ex-intelligence leaders: ‘Nightmare’ if Trump leaked to Russia,” Politico, May 15, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/trump-secrets-russia-isis-238421; Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe, “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador,” Washington Post, May 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html
  16. [16]Yochi Dreazen, “Donald Trump is a serious threat to American national security,” Vox, May 15, 2017, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/15/15644928/donald-trump-russia-share-intelligence-lavrov-isis-oval-office
  17. [17]John T. Bennett, “Trump Appears to Confirm Report He Gave Russians Classified Info,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, May 16, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/trump-appears-to-confirm-report-he-gave-russians-classified-info/; John T. Bennett, “White House Shifts Talking Points Again on Russia Disclosure,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, May 16, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/white-house-shifts-talking-points-russia-disclosure/
  18. [18]Josh Dawsey and Matthew Nussbaum, “White House on edge: ‘We are kind of helpless,'” Politico, May 17, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/17/trump-white-house-on-edge-238482
  19. [19]Steven Shepard, “Report: Phone polls aren’t dead yet,” Politico, May 15, 2017, http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/pollsters-phone-polls-238409
  20. [20]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin’s motives,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9162; David Benfell, “Blaming the Russians,” Not Housebroken, December 17, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9151
  21. [21]John T. Bennett, “Trump Appears to Confirm Report He Gave Russians Classified Info,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, May 16, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/trump-appears-to-confirm-report-he-gave-russians-classified-info/; Shane Harris and Carol E. Lee, “Israel Provided Intelligence Trump Shared With Russia, Officials Say,” Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/intelligence-trump-shared-with-russia-was-from-israel-officials-say-1494960259; Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe, “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador,” Washington Post, May 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html
  22. [22]Guy Rundle, “Rape case against the WikiLeaks chief ‘weak’,” Telegraph, February 5, 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/sweden/8306348/Rape-case-against-the-WikiLeaks-chief-weak.html; Naomi Wolf, “J’Accuse: Sweden, Britain, and Interpol Insult Rape Victims Worldwide,” Huffington Post, December 13, 2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/jaccuse-sweden-britain-an_b_795899.html
  23. [23]Paul Lewis, “Ecuador seeks to stop ‘evil’ of Julian Assange US extradition,” Guardian, July 26, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jul/26/ecuador-julian-assange-extradition-us
  24. [24]Laura Smith-Spark, “Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation,” CNN, May 19, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/europe/julian-assange-sweden-charges-dropped/index.html
  25. [25]Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, Shimon Prokupecz, and Eric Bradner, “Sources: US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange,” CNN, April 20, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/20/politics/julian-assange-wikileaks-us-charges/index.html
  26. [26]Laura Smith-Spark, “Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation,” CNN, May 19, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/europe/julian-assange-sweden-charges-dropped/index.html
  27. [27]Paul Lewis, “Ecuador seeks to stop ‘evil’ of Julian Assange US extradition,” Guardian, July 26, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jul/26/ecuador-julian-assange-extradition-us
  28. [28]Laura Smith-Spark, “Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation,” CNN, May 19, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/europe/julian-assange-sweden-charges-dropped/index.html

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