The shitshow must go on

There is a new blog post, “Our last chance.”


Updates

  1. Originally published, July 24, 3:19 pm.
  2. July 24, 10:55 pm:
    • In the space of Donald Trump paying off porn stars to cover up his adultery with them, I thought the Stormy Daniels saga was sufficient. It appears I may have been wrong about that.[1]
  3. July 25, 8:22 am:
    • Added tweets from Adam Schiff and Michael Avenatti under Donald Trump. Schiff distills this story nicely while Avenatti is saying things no one else is saying—and I just don’t know what to make of the latter. I’ve also further developed the commentary (which now covers two angles of the Trump story).
    • Here’s another study showing that Uber and Lyft are making traffic worse.[2] This is consistent with previous reporting.[3] (Ridesharing)
  4. July 25, 1:10 pm:
    • Timothy O’Brien, the author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald, spots the name of Allen Weisselberg in the recording of Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. He apparently participated in the scheme to suppress the story of the Playboy Playmate’s affair with Trump but would know much, much more about Trump’s nefarious dealings than Cohen.[4]
    • I am not caught up.
  5. July 25, 2:21 pm:
    • I am now caught up.
  6. July 25, 8:30 pm:
    • After the Senate Foreign Relations Committee grilled Mike Pompeo about Donald Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, there remain many unanswered questions about what was agreed, with Pompeo insisting that the meeting was private.[5]
  7. July 26, 4:51 pm (corrected):
    • I’m deeply skeptical how significant this is, and Stephen Collinson more than admits there are good reasons to be so skeptical, but he thinks it’s worth noting that Donald Trump actually backed down on a couple things on July 25.[6] This would be significant if reality is somehow finally catching up with our delusional raging narcissist-in-chief. Just don’t hold your breath. Really don’t hold your breath.
    • House Republican leadership has no plan to bring an impeachment bill against Rod Rosenstein up for a vote[7] and has apparently persuaded Mark Meadows, who initiated the effort, to at least make it look like this is about subpoenaed documents,[8] rather than about getting a replacement in who would terminate Robert Mueller’s investigation. (James Comey)
    • Oh, this should be good. Speaking of Robert Mueller’s investigation, it appears Mueller is looking over Donald Trump’s tweets as part of his obstruction of justice investigation. Supposedly, “Trump’s lawyers told the Times that none of what was under review amounted to obstruction of justice, although the report said privately some of those lawyers had expressed concern about what Mueller would be able to argue when taking many efforts and messages together.”[9] And, formally or otherwise, if you don’t believe Trump is a ‘target’ of Mueller’s investigation, I still have that big beautiful bridge to sell you. (James Comey)
    • Whether or not Timothy O’Brien is right to think the surfacing of Allen Weisselberg is significant[10] remains to be seen. But Weisselberg has been subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury.[11] (Donald Trump)
    • I am not caught up.
  8. July 26, 7:00 pm:
    • It would seem that trade and the Putin invitation aren’t the only things Donald Trump caved on under pressure from congressional Republicans.[12] Add funding for the border wall, which would now be brought up after the midterm elections.[13] (Donald Trump)
    • Hundreds of children still have not been reunited with their parents despite a court-ordered deadline. In over 400 cases, the parents have been deported.[14] (Unauthorized migration)
    • I am now caught up.
  9. July 27, 7:16 am:
    • I’m mostly picking this up because it’s getting picked up widely. Michael Cohen now, apparently, claims that Donald Trump had advance knowledge of a meeting with Russians to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. What you make of this story depends largely on your pre-existing proclivities because the only new “evidence” here is Cohen’s claim and Cohen doesn’t seem particularly credible. But folks who are convinced Trump knew are jumping on this as (more?) proof of what they’ve known all along and folks who claim Trump didn’t know are impugning Cohen’s credibility.[15] Intellectually, this is garbage. Way, way too much is being made of this and I’m not buying any of it, not on this “evidence” anyway. (Golden Showers)
    • Here’s another one with low merit. See my comment on Joe Scarborough’s column under Donald Trump.
  10. July 27, 9:03 pm:
    • A judge has struck down as unconstitutional a law that Jeff Sessions relied on in suing local governments over ‘sanctuary city’ policies.[16] (Unauthorized migration)
  11. July 27, 11:11 pm:
    • There is no excuse for this. I screwed up. I should have picked up this story with the previous update: A judge is ordering an independent audit of conditions children who have been separated from their parents are being kept in.[17] (Unauthorized migration)
  12. July 28, 11:03 pm:
    • Federal government databases were never designed to facilitate the reunification of children with their parents after they were separated by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.[18] (Unauthorized migration)
  13. July 31, 12:35 am:
    • I meant to update this in the wee hours yesterday, July 30. But apparently the update never got published. Further, it appears there may have been an editing error with the last update, on July 28, at 11:03 pm, that may have obliterated text. It is all fixed or incorporated here.
    • Donald Trump is climbing back up on his hill to die for, threatening a government shutdown if he doesn’t get the money he wants for his border wall[19] and repeating this threat with, if anything, even more emphasis the following day.[20] This undoes one relatively small (it’d be huge for other folks not so far away) move toward sanity. He’d also climbed back up on Russia.[21] And as for trade and ally-bashing, he’d really just subdued his rhetoric, at least for the moment. So I think we’re safe in saying that Donald Trump remains secure in his delusion(s). (Unauthorized migration)
    • So, if Rudy Giuliani claims collusion is not a crime, does that mean he’s admitting that Donald Trump colluded with Russia?[22] (James Comey)
  14. July 31, 10:33 am:
    • It really is a shitshow. Chris Cillizza explains that largely because “Robert Mueller, who is running the investigation, doesn’t seem to believe a sitting President can be indicted,” “ultimately, this isn’t a legal fight, it’s a public relations one.” Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani understand this, Cillizza argues, and are acting accordingly. What’s worse is that Republicans are highly likely to continue to support them.[23] (James Comey)
    • “U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles ordered the Trump administration to obtain consent or a court order before administering any psychotropic medications to migrant children, except in cases of dire emergencies. She also ordered that the government move all children out of a Texas facility, Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Manvel, except for children deemed by a licensed professional to pose a ‘risk of harm’ to themselves or others.”[24] (Unauthorized migration)
  15. July 31, 11:21 am:
    • Michael Avenatti has reacted to Chris Cillizza’s analysis (see the update of July 31, 10:33 am) in a tweet, reproduced under James Comey.
  16. July 31, 1:25 pm:
    • I don’t know if Mark Perry is making too much of what happened at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City.[25] But this does seem like the sort of thing that could fracture Donald Trump’s authoritarian populist base.

Trade

Burgess Everett, “‘Like a Soviet-type economy’: GOP free traders unload on Trump,” Politico, July 24, 2018, https://www.politico.com/amp/story/2018/07/24/trump-farmers-bailout-reaction-republicans-congress-737517


Donald Trump

Read Paul Waldman’s article if you’re looking for writing that drips contempt for Donald Trump with every word. Read it even if you aren’t because this is how anybody who knows anything about anything feels when Trump treads on their area of expertise. It’s how I feel when I see Trump on unauthorized migration. It’s how pro-trade Republicans feel about Trump’s tariffs, and worse, his plan to bail out adversely affected farmers.[26] It shows up again and again and again; one can’t even wrap one’s mind all the ways that Trump is not merely incompetent but adamantly delusional.

As to the recording of Trump and Michael Cohen,[27]

Meanwhile, Michael Avenatti says of Michael Cohen,

Here, apparently, is what Avenatti wants:

The whole angle of Michael Cohen is bizarre in ways that certainly reflect poorly on Trump but are also simply bizarre in their own way. Jonathan Turley argues that Cohen repeatedly put his client (Trump) in the worst possible legal position.[28] This seems to be part of another thread that keeps coming up here where Trump often, if not reliably, hires terrible lawyers. This seems completely over the top to me even for a delusional raging narcissist, let alone delusional raging narcissist-in-chief. And umm, meanwhile, be sure to read Stephanie McCrummen’s article on a pastor wrestling with how to address the commandment against adultery for a flock that strongly supports Trump.[29]

I’ve backtracked on this now,[30] but the original reason I thought that Trump would somehow be gone by August was a life lesson I took from the dot-com crash: If it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense, and it cannot last. Trump is certainly putting that to the test and, to be honest, I’m amazed that, so far at least, that lesson seems inapplicable. I’m still left really wondering how this can be.

On that note, Joe Scarborough first builds up his own credibility by impugning the credibility of 1) those who thought Barry Goldwater’s defeat meant the end of conservatism, 2) those who thought the 21st century would be a conservative epoch, and 3) those who failed to predict Trump’s victory in 2016. That’s actually a non sequitur, but let’s move on. His next move is to pull some “laws” of politics out of his ass and to declare that Trump is finally feeling the effects of gravity. It’s certainly true that Trump has been skating by scandals that would have taken down any other politician for a while, but this looks . . . I’m tempted to call it post hoc but it hasn’t actually materialized yet. Yes, Trump has had to back down on three things,[31] but what’s really needed here is something that satisfactorily explains how Trump gets to remain president despite breathtaking corruption.

They called Ronald Reagan the “teflon president” but where you might—I certainly did—disagree with Reagan’s morality, at least you could discern that it existed. With Trump, there isn’t even the pretense of morality and, largely because social conservatives think they are already losing the culture war to Satan, many—I need to emphasize here, not all—social conservatives refuse to even blink as they continue to support a man who would, if Satan exists, be Satan’s president.[32] And morality is far from Trump’s only liability—I’ve been calling him a delusional raging narcissist, in part based on a psychological description of narcissistic rage,[33] for a while now. By any non-authoritarian populist standard, the man is almost certainly a criminal and is certainly a self-absorbed and arrogant idiot. But mainstream Democrats refuse to breathe the word impeachment and even those elected Republicans who don’t fully embrace the shitshow live in terror of his base, a base that demonstrates a determination to support him come hell (which arguably has already arrived) or high water (rising sea levels).

Stephanie McCrummen, “Judgment days,” Washington Post, July 21, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/national/wp/2018/07/21/feature/god-trump-and-the-meaning-of-morality/

Chris Cuomo, Kara Scannell, and Eli Watkins, “CNN obtains secret Trump-Cohen tape,” Cable News Network, July 24, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/24/politics/michael-cohen-donald-trump-tape/index.html

Jonathan Turley, “Michael Cohen’s Trump tape problem,” Hill, July 24, 2018, http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/398520-michael-cohens-trump-tape-problem

Paul Waldman, “Is this the administration’s dumbest idea yet?” Washington Post, July 24, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/07/24/is-this-the-administrations-dumbest-and-most-trumpian-idea-yet/

Burgess Everett, “McConnell, Ryan pitch Trump on plan to avoid shutdown,” Politico, July 25, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/25/mcconnell-ryan-trump-shutdown-741266

Timothy L. O’Brien, “New Cohen Tape Surfaces a Bigger Trump Fish,” Bloomberg, July 25, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-25/new-cohen-recording-surfaces-a-bigger-catch

Stephen Collinson, “Why Trump blinked,” Cable News Network, July 26, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics/donald-trump-tariffs-putin/index.html

Rebecca Davis O’Brien et al., “Trump Organization Finance Chief Called to Testify Before Federal Grand Jury,” Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-organization-finance-chief-called-to-testify-before-federal-grand-jury-1532622947

Evan Osnos, “The G.O.P. Stands By as Trump Upends American Security,” New Yorker, July 30, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/30/the-gop-stands-by-as-trump-upends-american-security

Mark Perry, “Veterans Hit a Breaking Point With Trump,” American Conservative, July 31, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/veterans-hit-a-breaking-point-with-trump/


Golden Showers

We still don’t know much about what the fuck Donald Trump agreed to with Vladimir Putin.[34] During a grilling by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,

[Mike] Pompeo said there’s an agreement to establish business-to-business exchanges between Russia and the United States that had existed in the past but had faded in recent years.

He said there was also talk about “re-establishing a counterterrorism counsel that was held at the level of the deputy secretary of many years” but eventually stopped functioning.

The leaders also agreed to see what can be done in Syria to resettle million of displaced refugees who have fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other countries, according to Pompeo. He said they decided that should be done “through the political process in Geneva.”[35]

But nothing about sanctions or any other “important verbal agreements” that Russians allege to have been made. Senators also complained about Trump’s decreasing transparency on conversations he holds with foreign leaders.[36]

I am reminded of the ascent of capitalists who insisted on breaching a wall of secrecy that royalty maintained around their foreign policies, insisting that ordinary people were not competent to comprehend what transpired. The kings did not win that conflict,[37] and I am skeptical that Trump can long prevail here.

Adam Davidson, “A Theory of Trump Kompromat,” New Yorker, July 19, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news-desk/swamp-chronicles/a-theory-of-trump-kompromat

Alexander Bolton, “GOP to White House: End summit mystery,” Hill, July 21, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/398131-gop-to-white-house-end-summit-mystery

Eugene Scott, “Trump has now walked back his walk-back on U.S. intelligence and Russia,” Washington Post, July 23, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/23/trump-has-now-walked-back-his-walk-back-on-u-s-intelligence-and-russia/

Alexander Bolton, “Pompeo spars with senators at testy hearing,” Hill, July 25, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/398916-pompeo-spars-with-senators-at-testy-hearing

Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein, and Marshall Cohen, “Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting,” Cable News Network, July 27, 2018, https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics/michael-cohen-donald-trump-june-2016-meeting-knowledge/index.html


James Comey

Referring to Chris Cillizza’s analysis,

Philip Ewing, “Rosenstein Impeachment Sputters On Capitol Hill, But Political War Likely Will Rage On,” National Public Radio, July 26, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/26/632660199/rosenstein-impeachment-sputters-on-capitol-hill-but-political-war-likely-will-ra

Eli Watkins, “NYT: Mueller looking through Trump’s tweets,” CNN, July 26, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics/trump-twitter-mueller/index.html

Aaron Blake, “Rudy Giuliani just obliterated the goal posts on Trump-Russia collusion,” Washington Post, July 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/30/rudy-giuliani-obliterates-the-goal-posts-on-trump-russia-collusion/

Chris Cillizza, “The secret Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani know about the Russia probe,” Cable News Network, July 31, 2018, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/07/31/politics/donald-trump-rudy-giuliani/index.html


Ridesharing

Faiz Siddiqui, “A new study says services like UberPool are making traffic worse,” Washington Post, July 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2018/07/25/a-new-study-says-services-like-uberpool-are-making-traffic-worse/


Unauthorized migration

Tal Kopan, “Hundreds of separated children not reunited by court-ordered deadline,” Cable News Network, July 26, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics/family-separations-deadline/index.html

Andrea Castillo, “Judge demands independent audit of conditions at detention centers for migrant children,” Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-flores-ruling-20180727-story.html

Tal Kopan, “Judge strikes down law underpinning Sessions’ anti-sanctuary city push,” Cable News Network, July 27, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/27/politics/trump-sessions-defeat-sanctuary-cities/index.html

Nick Miroff, Amy Goldstein, and Maria Sacchetti, “Nick Miroff, Amy Goldstein and Maria Sacchetti,” Washington Post, July 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/deleted-families-what-went-wrong-with-trumps-family-separation-effort/2018/07/28/54bcdcc6-90cb-11e8-8322-b5482bf5e0f5_story.html

Doina Chiacu, “Trump threatens U.S. government shutdown over border wall,” Reuters, July 29, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-trump/trump-threatens-u-s-government-shutdown-over-immigration-idUSKBN1KJ0H7

Rebecca Morin, “Trump: ‘I would have no problem doing a shutdown,’” Politico, July 30, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/30/trump-government-shutdown-2018-749760

Samantha Schmidt, “Trump administration must stop giving psychotropic drugs to migrant children without consent, judge rules,” Washington Post, July 31, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/07/31/trump-administration-must-seek-consent-before-giving-drugs-to-migrant-children-judge-rules/


  1. [1]Chris Cuomo, Kara Scannell, and Eli Watkins, “CNN obtains secret Trump-Cohen tape,” Cable News Network, July 24, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/24/politics/michael-cohen-donald-trump-tape/index.html; Jonathan Turley, “Michael Cohen’s Trump tape problem,” Hill, July 24, 2018, http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/398520-michael-cohens-trump-tape-problem
  2. [2]Faiz Siddiqui, “A new study says services like UberPool are making traffic worse,” Washington Post, July 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2018/07/25/a-new-study-says-services-like-uberpool-are-making-traffic-worse/
  3. [3]Emily Badger, “Is Uber Helping or Hurting Mass Transit?” New York Times, October 16, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/upshot/is-uber-helping-or-hurting-mass-transit.html; Katie Dowd, “Why is San Francisco traffic so bad? Uber and Lyft are to blame, says city,” SFGate, December 13, 2016, http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/San-Francisco-traffic-Uber-Lyft-SFMTA-blame-10791265.php; Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, “SFPD: Uber, Lyft account for two-thirds of congestion-related traffic violations downtown,” San Francisco Examiner, September 25, 2017, http://www.sfexaminer.com/sfpd-uber-lyft-account-two-thirds-congestion-related-traffic-violations-downtown/; Heather Somerville, “San Francisco investigating whether Uber, Lyft are public nuisances,” Reuters, June 5, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-san-francisco-rideservices-idUSKBN18W2F3
  4. [4]Timothy L. O’Brien, “New Cohen Tape Surfaces a Bigger Trump Fish,” Bloomberg, July 25, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-25/new-cohen-recording-surfaces-a-bigger-catch
  5. [5]Alexander Bolton, “Pompeo spars with senators at testy hearing,” Hill, July 25, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/398916-pompeo-spars-with-senators-at-testy-hearing
  6. [6]Stephen Collinson, “Why Trump blinked,” Cable News Network, July 26, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics/donald-trump-tariffs-putin/index.html
  7. [7]Philip Ewing, “Rosenstein Impeachment Sputters On Capitol Hill, But Political War Likely Will Rage On,” National Public Radio, July 26, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/26/632660199/rosenstein-impeachment-sputters-on-capitol-hill-but-political-war-likely-will-ra
  8. [8]Olivia Beavers, “Meadows backs off impeaching Rosenstein after leadership talks,” Hill, July 26, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/399010-meadows-swaps-rosenstein-impeachment-efforts-for-contempt-after
  9. [9]Eli Watkins, “NYT: Mueller looking through Trump’s tweets,” CNN, July 26, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics/trump-twitter-mueller/index.html
  10. [10]Timothy L. O’Brien, “New Cohen Tape Surfaces a Bigger Trump Fish,” Bloomberg, July 25, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-25/new-cohen-recording-surfaces-a-bigger-catch
  11. [11]Rebecca Davis O’Brien et al., “Trump Organization Finance Chief Called to Testify Before Federal Grand Jury,” Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-organization-finance-chief-called-to-testify-before-federal-grand-jury-1532622947
  12. [12]Stephen Collinson, “Why Trump blinked,” Cable News Network, July 26, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics/donald-trump-tariffs-putin/index.html
  13. [13]Burgess Everett, “McConnell, Ryan pitch Trump on plan to avoid shutdown,” Politico, July 25, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/25/mcconnell-ryan-trump-shutdown-741266
  14. [14]Tal Kopan, “Hundreds of separated children not reunited by court-ordered deadline,” Cable News Network, July 26, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics/family-separations-deadline/index.html
  15. [15]Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein, and Marshall Cohen, “Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting,” Cable News Network, July 27, 2018, https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics/michael-cohen-donald-trump-june-2016-meeting-knowledge/index.html
  16. [16]Tal Kopan, “Judge strikes down law underpinning Sessions’ anti-sanctuary city push,” Cable News Network, July 27, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/27/politics/trump-sessions-defeat-sanctuary-cities/index.html
  17. [17]Andrea Castillo, “Judge demands independent audit of conditions at detention centers for migrant children,” Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-flores-ruling-20180727-story.html
  18. [18]Nick Miroff, Amy Goldstein, and Maria Sacchetti, “Nick Miroff, Amy Goldstein and Maria Sacchetti,” Washington Post, July 28, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/deleted-families-what-went-wrong-with-trumps-family-separation-effort/2018/07/28/54bcdcc6-90cb-11e8-8322-b5482bf5e0f5_story.html
  19. [19]Doina Chiacu, “Trump threatens U.S. government shutdown over border wall,” Reuters, July 29, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-trump/trump-threatens-u-s-government-shutdown-over-immigration-idUSKBN1KJ0H7
  20. [20]Rebecca Morin, “Trump: ‘I would have no problem doing a shutdown,’” Politico, July 30, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/30/trump-government-shutdown-2018-749760
  21. [21]Eugene Scott, “Trump has now walked back his walk-back on U.S. intelligence and Russia,” Washington Post, July 23, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/23/trump-has-now-walked-back-his-walk-back-on-u-s-intelligence-and-russia/
  22. [22]Aaron Blake, “Rudy Giuliani just obliterated the goal posts on Trump-Russia collusion,” Washington Post, July 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/30/rudy-giuliani-obliterates-the-goal-posts-on-trump-russia-collusion/
  23. [23]Chris Cillizza, “The secret Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani know about the Russia probe,” Cable News Network, July 31, 2018, https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2018/07/31/politics/donald-trump-rudy-giuliani/index.html
  24. [24]Samantha Schmidt, “Trump administration must stop giving psychotropic drugs to migrant children without consent, judge rules,” Washington Post, July 31, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/07/31/trump-administration-must-seek-consent-before-giving-drugs-to-migrant-children-judge-rules/
  25. [25]Mark Perry, “Veterans Hit a Breaking Point With Trump,” American Conservative, July 31, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/veterans-hit-a-breaking-point-with-trump/
  26. [26]Burgess Everett, “‘Like a Soviet-type economy’: GOP free traders unload on Trump,” Politico, July 24, 2018, https://www.politico.com/amp/story/2018/07/24/trump-farmers-bailout-reaction-republicans-congress-737517
  27. [27]Chris Cuomo, Kara Scannell, and Eli Watkins, “CNN obtains secret Trump-Cohen tape,” Cable News Network, July 24, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/24/politics/michael-cohen-donald-trump-tape/index.html; Jonathan Turley, “Michael Cohen’s Trump tape problem,” Hill, July 24, 2018, http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/398520-michael-cohens-trump-tape-problem
  28. [28]Jonathan Turley, “Michael Cohen’s Trump tape problem,” Hill, July 24, 2018, http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/398520-michael-cohens-trump-tape-problem
  29. [29]Stephanie McCrummen, “Judgment days,” Washington Post, July 21, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/national/wp/2018/07/21/feature/god-trump-and-the-meaning-of-morality/
  30. [30]David Benfell, “I, Donald,” Not Housebroken, June 6, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/06/06/i-donald/
  31. [31]Stephen Collinson, “Why Trump blinked,” Cable News Network, July 26, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/26/politics/donald-trump-tariffs-putin/index.html; Burgess Everett, “McConnell, Ryan pitch Trump on plan to avoid shutdown,” Politico, July 25, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/25/mcconnell-ryan-trump-shutdown-741266
  32. [32]Bill Berkowitz, “Are Right-Wing Evangelicals True Christians or Just Another White Identity Cult?” Truthout, March 4, 2016, http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/are-evangelicals-true-christians-or-just-another-white-identity-cult; John Fea, “Evangelical Fear Elected Trump,” Atlantic, June 24, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/06/a-history-of-evangelical-fear/563558/; David Goldstein, “Evangelicals have qualms with Trump, but see nowhere else to turn,” McClatchy, June 10, 2016, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article82901192.html?rh=1; Bethania Palma Markus, “Christian leader: Trump reveals that progressives were right about evangelicals all along,” Raw Story, March 1, 2016, http://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/christian-leader-trump-reveals-that-progressives-were-right-about-evangelicals-all-along/; Stephanie McCrummen, “Judgment days,” Washington Post, July 21, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/national/wp/2018/07/21/feature/god-trump-and-the-meaning-of-morality/; Russell Moore, “Why this election makes me hate the word ‘evangelical,’” Washington Post, February 29, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/02/29/russell-moore-why-this-election-makes-me-hate-the-word-evangelical/; Napp Nazworth, “Conservative Evangelical Author Matt Lewis on Trump, Evangelicals and Stupid Republicans (Interview),” Christian Post, January 26, 2016, http://www.christianpost.com/news/conservative-evangelical-author-matt-lewis-donald-trump-evangelicals-stupid-republicans-155688/; Ray Nothstine, “Who Are the Evangelicals Supporting Donald Trump?” Christian Post, August 30, 2015, http://www.christianpost.com/news/who-are-the-evangelicals-supporting-donald-trump-143997/
  33. [33]George Simon, “Understanding and Dealing with Narcissistic Rage,” Counseling Resource, July 24, 2017, http://counsellingresource.com/features/2017/07/24/understanding-narcissistic-rage/
  34. [34]Alexander Bolton, “GOP to White House: End summit mystery,” Hill, July 21, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/398131-gop-to-white-house-end-summit-mystery
  35. [35]Alexander Bolton, “Pompeo spars with senators at testy hearing,” Hill, July 25, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/398916-pompeo-spars-with-senators-at-testy-hearing
  36. [36]Alexander Bolton, “Pompeo spars with senators at testy hearing,” Hill, July 25, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/398916-pompeo-spars-with-senators-at-testy-hearing
  37. [37]Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans. Thomas Burger with Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991).

Interesting times

I’ll be out of pocket much of the day (actually this happened both July 19 and 20). I need to burn and/or clean some carbon out of the engine in my new Camry hybrid before next week and this weekend is looking a little busy.


Updates

  1. Originally published, July 19, 12:29 pm.
  2. July 19, 11:48 pm:
    • Okay, I’m a fool. I really thought there’d be some reaction to that New York Times story.[1] Silence can sometimes be deceptive and I’ll keep watching. But so far, crickets.
  3. July 20, 12:53 am:
    • Donald Trump invited Vladimir Putin to Washington, D.C., this fall even as the Helsinki summit continues to reverberate. Lots of other folks in Washington are pretty unhappy about this.[2] (Golden Showers)
  4. July 20, 7:19 am:
    • There’s still no reaction per se to that New York Times story.[3] But there is a tone now in which the president and would-be emperor has no clothes. There is a distinction to be drawn among falsehoods that arise from delusion, those which arise from omission and are thus classifiable as deception, and those in which falsehoods are willfully told and are thus classifiable as lying.[4] Folks aren’t always clear on those distinctions in themselves and it is often hard, even if they were, to be sure at any given point which we are hearing. But we know and now say openly that they are falsehoods, which I guess is progress of a sort. (Golden Showers)
  5. July 20, 10:48 pm:
    • There is a new blog entry entitled, “The post-truth society.” I guess this is my response to the lack of reaction to that New York Times story.[5] But it’s also a response to an essay in Atlantic by Megan Garber—probably not the right word here—marvelling at Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders privileging of victory for the Trump team over truth.[6] It sickens me, which is why I was slow to add it here, but yes, you should read it.
    • There has been fallout from the Helsinki summit I haven’t covered here (including figure 1). I’m sorry, but I guess I can only take so much of Donald Trump’s idiocy. And my god, what a fucking idiot delusional raging narcissist he is.
  6. July 21, 7:56 am:
    • It’s been a few days now, but apparently still nobody knows what the fuck Donald Trump agreed to with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.[7] (Golden Showers)
  7. July 21, 4:44 pm:
    • It appears that Julian Assange’s asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London is about to be revoked and that he will be handed over to British authorities.[8]
    • Donald Trump expressed shock that his scumbag “fixer” lawyer recorded a conversation with him about possibly buying out the rights to a Playboy Playmate’s story of her affair with him.[9]
    • Are you ready for President Paul Ryan? William Rivers Pitt wants Donald Trump to “resign, and take his band of brigands — among them Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Sarah Huckabee Sanders — with him.”[10] Paul Ryan would be next in the order of succession.

Golden Showers

 Original caption: “They’re doing another summit? I’m so sick of cash-grab sequels.” Brendan Loper, New Yorker, July 21, 2018, fair use.
Fig. 1. Original caption: “They’re doing another summit? I’m so sick of cash-grab sequels.” Brendan Loper, New Yorker, July 21, 2018, fair use.
So the previous issue was getting too long, this story hasn’t reached a breaking point, but we do seem—well, I’ve been burned saying something like this before, on the final night of that last issue, in fact—to have reached something of a pause. Maybe folks are just taking a moment to inhale.

To quote the beginning of my (now) second-to-most recent blog post (there were two written during the course of that issue),

In Donald Trump’s latest fiasco, . . . to virtually unanimous condemnation, he preferred Vladimir Putin’s claim that the Russians had not interfered in the 2016 U.S. election over claims from U.S. intelligence services that they in fact had[11] (he partly, but not really, recanted on his return to the White House[12]).[13]

It has only gotten worse for Trump since I wrote that. Senate Republicans, seeing their control of the Senate at risk emphasized that they believed that Russia had interfered.[14] But Trump nonetheless basically returned to denying that Russia was solely culpable[15] even as folks started, much more openly than before, wondering just what it is that Putin has on Trump,[16] with Senator Jeff Merkley responding to the suspected existence of a “pee tape” saying, “Something close to that. Something close to that.”[17]

And late last night, the New York Times published a story that Donald Trump had, two weeks prior to his inauguration, been briefed of an intelligence service consensus that Russia had interfered in the U.S. 2016 election and that Vladimir Putin was involved.[18] He has of course been in denial and on-again-off-again denying it to the country ever since.

One thing to notice:

The pseudonymous @dick_nixon (actually a scholar who wants us to take a second look at the president whom I grew up thinking of as the ultimate in evil—boy, did I have another thing coming) gets that from this in the New York Times story:

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. [Vladimir] Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation. . . .

And ultimately, several human sources had confirmed Mr. Putin’s own role.

That included one particularly valuable source, who was considered so sensitive that Mr. Brennan had declined to refer to it in any way in the Presidential Daily Brief during the final months of the Obama administration, as the Russia investigation intensified.[19]

So there are two things here: First, Trump has been deceptive and/or delusional—based partly on this article,[20] I’ve been calling him the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief for a while now—about Russian interference. It’s going to be interesting to see how this goes down in Faux News world. But here’s an early clue (figure 2):

“Trump recognized Russian Meddling MANY TIMES”
Fig. 2. Screenshot of tweet from Donald Trump, July 19, 2018. Embedded in this tweet is a video from the Fox News show, ‘Fox and Friends.’

Second, the U.S. intelligence community is getting fed up. Referring to Trump and his—to Republican senators—infuriating performance in Helsinki, Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn was quoted saying, “He’s what, 71 years old? I don’t think it’s likely to change.”[21] Which is to say that we now see that Trump is on a collision course with folks—the same folks often and widely suspected of killing John F. Kennedy—whom no U.S. president should want to be on a collision course with.

Adding to that will be that it very much appears that Trump made some agreements with Putin that no one else on the U.S. side knows about.[22]

We most certainly do live in interesting times.

Karen DeYoung, Missy Ryan, and Anton Troianovski, “As Russians describe ‘verbal agreements’ at summit, U.S. officials scramble for clarity,” Washington Post, July 18, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/as-russians-describe-verbal-agreements-at-summit-us-officials-scramble-for-clarity/2018/07/18/8bb1e96c-8aa7-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html

Alexander Bolton, “Senate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit,” Hill, July 19, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/397976-senate-gop-attempts-to-wave-trump-off-second-putin-summit

Stephen Collinson, “Putin invite sends Washington into Russian twilight zone,” Cable News Network, July 20, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/20/politics/president-trump-putin-visit-washington-white-house/index.html

Alexander Bolton, “GOP to White House: End summit mystery,” Hill, July 21, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/398131-gop-to-white-house-end-summit-mystery


Julian Assange

Glenn Greenwald, “Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the UK. What Comes Next?” Intercept, July 21, 2018, https://static.theintercept.com/amp/ecuador-will-imminently-withdraw-asylum-for-julian-assange-and-hand-him-over-to-the-uk-what-comes-next.html


Donald Trump

Veronica Stracqualursi, Gloria Borger, and Evan Perez, “Trump says ‘inconceivable’ that Cohen recorded conversation about ex-Playmate payment,” Cable News Network, July 21, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/21/politics/donald-trump-michael-cohen-taping/index.html

William Rivers Pitt, “Here’s an Incredible Offer, Donald: Resign,” Truthout, July 21, 2018, https://truthout.org/articles/heres-an-incredible-offer-donald-resign/


  1. [1]David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg, “From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered,” New York Times, July 18, 2018,https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/europe/trump-intelligence-russian-election-meddling-.html
  2. [2]Alexander Bolton, “Senate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit,” Hill, July 19, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/397976-senate-gop-attempts-to-wave-trump-off-second-putin-summit; Stephen Collinson, “Putin invite sends Washington into Russian twilight zone,” Cable News Network, July 20, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/20/politics/president-trump-putin-visit-washington-white-house/index.html
  3. [3]David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg, “From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered,” New York Times, July 18, 2018,https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/europe/trump-intelligence-russian-election-meddling-.html
  4. [4]Sissela Bok, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life (New York: Vintage, 1999).
  5. [5]David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg, “From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered,” New York Times, July 18, 2018,https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/europe/trump-intelligence-russian-election-meddling-.html
  6. [6]Megan Garber, “The World Burns. Sarah Sanders Says This Is Fine,” Atlantic, July 19, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/07/sarah-sanders-russia-and-the-absolution-of-chaos/565610/
  7. [7]Alexander Bolton, “GOP to White House: End summit mystery,” Hill, July 21, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/398131-gop-to-white-house-end-summit-mystery
  8. [8]Glenn Greenwald, “Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the UK. What Comes Next?” Intercept, July 21, 2018, https://static.theintercept.com/amp/ecuador-will-imminently-withdraw-asylum-for-julian-assange-and-hand-him-over-to-the-uk-what-comes-next.html
  9. [9]Veronica Stracqualursi, Gloria Borger, and Evan Perez, “Trump says ‘inconceivable’ that Cohen recorded conversation about ex-Playmate payment,” Cable News Network, July 21, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/21/politics/donald-trump-michael-cohen-taping/index.html
  10. [10]William Rivers Pitt, “Here’s an Incredible Offer, Donald: Resign,” Truthout, July 21, 2018, https://truthout.org/articles/heres-an-incredible-offer-donald-resign/
  11. [11]Rebecca Ballhaus, “Trump Questions Finding of Russia’s 2016 Meddling as He Appears With Putin,” Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-blames-u-s-for-poor-relations-with-moscow-1531732220; Dan Balz, “The moment called for Trump to stand up for America. He chose to bow,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/after-a-jaw-dropping-news-conference-what-does-america-first-really-mean/2018/07/16/2b728b12-892e-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html; Rod Dreher, “Trump Capitulates To Putin,” American Conservative, July 16, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/trump-capitulates-to-putin/; David M. Herszenhorn, “Putin preens while Trump settles old scores,” Politico, July 17, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/17/putin-trump-agenda-summit-725964; Michael Scherer, “Trump’s defense of Putin finds few supporters in Congress,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-defense-of-putin-finds-few-supporters-in-congress/2018/07/16/2610b3a2-8914-11e8-8aea-86e88ae760d8_story.html; David Smith, “Trump ‘treasonous’ after siding with Putin on election meddling,” Guardian, July 16, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/16/trump-finds-putin-denial-of-election-meddling-powerful; Felicia Sonmez, “Trump’s defense of Russia prompts outrage from some Republicans,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-defense-of-russia-prompts-outrage-from-some-republicans/2018/07/16/adc9c52c-8914-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html
  12. [12]Associated Press, “Trump says he misspoke on Russia meddling,” Los Angeles Times, July 17, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-trump-says-he-misspoke-on-russia-1531853292-htmlstory.html; Jordan Fabian, “Trump says he accepts US intel on Russia — then adds it ‘could be other people also,’” Hill, July 17, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/397481-trump-says-he-accepts-us-intel-on-russia-then-adds-it-could-be-other; Vivian Salama, “Trump Reverses Course, Says Russia Meddled in 2016 Election,” Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-stands-by-his-positive-read-of-putin-summit-amid-criticism-1531847452; John Wagner and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump says he accepts U.S. intelligence on Russian interference in 2016 election but denies collusion,” Washington Post, July 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/growing-number-in-gop-call-for-trump-to-fix-the-damage-from-helsinki-news-conference/2018/07/17/7ea15178-8902-11e8-8aea-86e88ae760d8_story.html
  13. [13]David Benfell, “The binary empire strikes back,” Not Housebroken, July 18, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/07/18/the-binary-empire-strikes-back/
  14. [14]Alexander Bolton, “Helsinki summit becomes new flashpoint for GOP anger,” Hill, July 18, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/397562-helsinki-summit-becomes-new-flashpoint-for-gop-anger
  15. [15]Louis Nelson and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump again defiant after rare mea culpa on Russia,” Politico, July 18, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/18/trump-putin-tweets-729068
  16. [16]Aaron Blake, “The growing Trump-Putin kompromat question,” Washington Post, July 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/17/does-putin-have-kompromat-on-trump-suddenly-its-no-longer-such-a-taboo-question-thanks-to-trump/
  17. [17]Jeff Merkley, quoted in Aaron Blake, “The growing Trump-Putin kompromat question,” Washington Post, July 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/17/does-putin-have-kompromat-on-trump-suddenly-its-no-longer-such-a-taboo-question-thanks-to-trump/
  18. [18]David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg, “From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered,” New York Times, July 18, 2018,https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/europe/trump-intelligence-russian-election-meddling-.html
  19. [19]David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg, “From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered,” New York Times, July 18, 2018,https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/europe/trump-intelligence-russian-election-meddling-.html
  20. [20]George Simon, “Understanding and Dealing with Narcissistic Rage,” Counseling Resource, July 24, 2017, http://counsellingresource.com/features/2017/07/24/understanding-narcissistic-rage/
  21. [21]John Cornyn, quoted in Alexander Bolton, “Helsinki summit becomes new flashpoint for GOP anger,” Hill, July 18, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/397562-helsinki-summit-becomes-new-flashpoint-for-gop-anger
  22. [22]Karen DeYoung, Missy Ryan, and Anton Troianovski, “As Russians describe ‘verbal agreements’ at summit, U.S. officials scramble for clarity,” Washington Post, July 18, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/as-russians-describe-verbal-agreements-at-summit-us-officials-scramble-for-clarity/2018/07/18/8bb1e96c-8aa7-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html

If you don’t like the electoral college now, wait ’til you see this

Updates

  1. Originally published, July 14, 4:58 pm.
  2. July 15, 1:37 am:
    • Theresa May has warned that Brexit might not happen if Tory rebels don’t get on board with her plan.[1]
    • I beefed up the commentary under Democratic deficit (link and title updated, see July 15, 6:40 pm). I might develop this into a blog post.
    • Susan Glasser points out that Robert Mueller has forced an agenda onto Donald Trump for his one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin that he did not want.[2] (Golden Showers)
  3. July 15, 2:23 pm:
    • I have to admit I was so deeply skeptical of this Politico article purporting to explain Donald Trump’s refusal to cancel his upcoming meeting with Vladimir Putin[3] that I almost didn’t read it. After all, I figured, there is something deeply sick about Trump’s attitude toward Putin, in which he is venomous to nearly anyone else, but utterly obsequious to Putin. I was dreading an attempt to rationalize the irrational. But actually, the article is pretty good. If you feel as I did, sit yourself down and read it anyway. (Golden Showers)
  4. July 15, 6:40 pm:
    • As I was contemplating converting the commentary under what is now titled Democratic deficit, I searched my archive for similar articles. I found some. I have combined the resulting citations here.
  5. July 15, 11:29 pm:
  6. July 16, 5:12 am:
    • The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake analyzes an interview Donald Trump gave CBS News and detects a remarkably defensive tone: “About the most innocent explanation you can offer for Trump’s muted attitude toward Russia’s and Vladimir Putin’s 2016 actions is that he doesn’t like to talk about it — that he feels the whole thing undermines his legitimacy as president.”[4] It might be helpful to recall that Trump exhibits what looks very much like narcissistic rage,[5] which is part of why I call him the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief, but more to the point, offers a lens through which to understand his defensive reaction. (Golden Showers)
  7. July 16, 1:07 pm:
    • There were a few reasons I didn’t rely on Political psychology research in my dissertation. One thing I noticed was that it was all quantitative research[6] which, of course, all falls under the positivist paradigm and its alleged ‘objectivity.’ So guess what? It turns out all that supposed objectivity might not actually be objective.[7] Here’s a clue: It never is. But yes, conservatism is authoritarian, as I found in my preliminary work;[8] it also always substitutes some ideology, be it religion, “tradition,” a “theory” (like capitalism), for empirical research, as I discovered in my dissertation itself;[9] and, in fact, the latter supports the former. Here’s another surprise, except that it was covered in my Ph.D. coursework: Positivism does all this as well and, indeed, this is how it supports colonialism.
    • Paul Ryan is less than impressed by Donald Trump’s and Vladimir Putin’s denial of Russian interference in the 2016 election at their lovefest today. Oh, and, um, he’s not alone.[10] What remains to be seen is whether any of these extraordinarily harsh words will be followed by action. (Golden Showers)
  8. July 16, 6:50 pm:
    • Added a tweet from Dan Rather under Golden Showers. Rather doesn’t go this far, but other folks, including the New York Daily News (figure 1), are now openly accusing Donald Trump of treason following his performance with Vladimir Putin today (also see update for July 16, 8:15 pm).
    • The judge who previously ordered unauthorized migrant families reunited has ordered a temporary halt to family deportations.[11] (Unauthorized migration)
  9. July 16, 8:15 pm:
    • The Guardian has more reaction to the press conference Donald Trump held with Vladimir Putin, including accusations of treason.[12] (Golden Showers)
  10. July 17, 10:14 am:
    • More coverage of the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and ensuing criticism of the former from the Wall Street Journal,[13] Washington Post,[14] Politico,[15] and the New York Times.[16] It is still early for substantive consequences—an article in the Guardian seems skeptical that such will materialize[17]—but Trump clearly set fire to his own credibility and the smoke is spectacular. (Golden Showers)
    • I now have the original tweet from John Brennan and a few more under Golden Showers.
  11. July 17, 5:08 pm:
    • If you believe this, I have a bridge to sell you. Not that dingy bridge in Brooklyn either, but a big, beautiful bridge: Donald Trump “told reporters that he said he meant he doesn’t see why Russia ‘wouldn’t’ be responsible.”[18] (Golden Showers)
    • Greg Sargent wants us to remember two things he thinks Republicans would like us to overlook: 1) At the time, Donald Trump encouraged the Russians to interfere in the election and knew or should have known that that interference was in fact occurring; and 2) Donald Trump was the beneficiary of this interference.[19] I’m still waiting for the pee tape. And so, it would seem, are other folks.[20] (Golden Showers)
  12. July 18, 1:44 pm:
    • This issue is getting rather long. But the Golden Showers story hasn’t yet reached a breaking point.
    • If you thought—okay, I’ll admit I entertained the idea—that Donald Trump might emerge from the Helsinki summit fiasco somehow chastened, that he might be a bit more circumspect in the future, that he might finally realize that there are limits to what the support from his base might let him get away with, well, I guess it was a nice thought.[21] (Golden Showers)
    • Robert Hansen opened a discussion on what folks working in the U.S. intelligence community should do now that Donald Trump is disrespecting their efforts and taking Vladimir Putin’s side. I have participated to some degree, including a rather long response on the ethics of the situation. It’s worth at least a skim. (Golden Showers)
    • I am not caught up. I am seeking someplace near the ocean where I can continue to work.
  13. July 18, 6:40 pm:
    • I am in a place where there is fog and mobile data, but not, alas, a place to plug in. We’ll see how my batteries hold up.
    • There is a new blog post up, entitled, “The binary empire strikes back.” (Golden Showers)
    • Republicans, especially in the Senate, are unhappy with Donald Trump’s Helsinki performance, but not—it appears—to a breaking point.[22] (Golden Showers)
    • Add David Remnick of the New Yorker to the chorus of criticism of Donald Trump’s performance in Helsinki.[23] (Golden Showers)
    • California’s Supreme Court has ruled that Tim Draper’s plan to break California up into three states cannot be put on the ballot, at least temporarily.[24]
    • The battery is looking low. I am not yet caught up.
  14. July 18, 10:26 pm:
    • I am back at home and am now caught up. I’m thinking we’re finally at a breaking point on Golden Showers, but of course now that I’ve said it . . .
  15. July 18, 11:08 pm:
    • Well, gee, that didn’t take very long at all. Not even a little bit. Expect the shit to hit the fan tomorrow (the 19th) about a New York Times story that Donald Trump has known since two weeks prior to his inauguration of an intelligence service consensus that Russia had interfered in the U.S. 2016 election and that Vladimir Putin was involved.[25] (Golden Showers)

Democratic deficit

The odd thing about Philip Bump’s article is that he doesn’t mention the electoral college.[26] With conservative nominees already occasionally winning the presidency on the electoral college vote, but while losing the popular vote, and Democratic partisans wailing accordingly, it will be imperative to make fundamental changes.

[The text previously here has been incorporated into a new blog entry, “Mitigating the democratic deficit in the United States.”]

Philip Bump, “In about 20 years, half the population will live in eight states,” Washington Post, July 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/07/12/in-about-20-years-half-the-population-will-live-in-eight-states/


Donald Trump

Very much in line with my last blog post,[27] it turns out there’s a study confirming that many folks in Donald Trump’s base feel displaced.[28] I do find some fault with this author’s analysis; see the updated post for details.

Diana C. Mutz, “Status threat, not economic hardship, explains the 2016 presidential vote,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 23, 2018, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1718155115


Golden Showers

New York Daily News cover, July 17, 2018, via Judd Legum on Twitter, fair use.
Fig. 1. New York Daily News cover, July 17, 2018, via Judd Legum on Twitter, fair use.

Paul Waldman, “The Peter Strzok fiasco wrecks the GOP’s bogus conspiracy theory,” Washington Post, July 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/07/12/the-peter-strzok-fiasco-wrecks-the-gops-bogus-conspiracy-theory/

Susan B. Glasser, “Thanks to Robert Mueller, Trump and Putin Now Have a Summit Agenda,” New Yorker, July 13, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/thanks-to-robert-mueller-trump-and-putin-now-have-a-summit-agenda

Michael Crowley and Annie Karni, “Why Trump won’t cancel the Putin summit,” Politico, July 15, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/15/trump-putin-russia-summit-helsinki-722255

Rebecca Ballhaus, “Trump Questions Finding of Russia’s 2016 Meddling as He Appears With Putin,” Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-blames-u-s-for-poor-relations-with-moscow-1531732220

Dan Balz, “The moment called for Trump to stand up for America. He chose to bow,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/after-a-jaw-dropping-news-conference-what-does-america-first-really-mean/2018/07/16/2b728b12-892e-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html

Aaron Blake, “Trump’s extremely defensive interview about Russia and Putin,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/16/trumps-extremely-defensive-interview-about-russia-and-putin/

Rod Dreher, “Trump Capitulates To Putin,” American Conservative, July 16, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/trump-capitulates-to-putin/

Mark Landler, “Trump Sheds All Notions of How a President Should Conduct Himself Abroad,” New York Times, July 16, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/16/us/politics/trump-putin-summit.html

Michael Scherer, “Trump’s defense of Putin finds few supporters in Congress,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-defense-of-putin-finds-few-supporters-in-congress/2018/07/16/2610b3a2-8914-11e8-8aea-86e88ae760d8_story.html

David Smith, “Trump ‘treasonous’ after siding with Putin on election meddling,” Guardian, July 16, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/16/trump-finds-putin-denial-of-election-meddling-powerful

Felicia Sonmez, “Trump’s defense of Russia prompts outrage from some Republicans,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-defense-of-russia-prompts-outrage-from-some-republicans/2018/07/16/adc9c52c-8914-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html

Associated Press, “Trump says he misspoke on Russia meddling,” Los Angeles Times, July 17, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-trump-says-he-misspoke-on-russia-1531853292-htmlstory.html

Aaron Blake, “The growing Trump-Putin kompromat question,” Washington Post, July 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/17/does-putin-have-kompromat-on-trump-suddenly-its-no-longer-such-a-taboo-question-thanks-to-trump/

Jordan Fabian, “Trump says he accepts US intel on Russia — then adds it ‘could be other people also,’” Hill, July 17, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/397481-trump-says-he-accepts-us-intel-on-russia-then-adds-it-could-be-other

Lauren Gambino, “Will Republicans punish Trump for his performance with Putin?” Guardian, July 17, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/17/donald-trump-putin-russia-summit-how-will-republicans-react

David M. Herszenhorn, “Putin preens while Trump settles old scores,” Politico, July 17, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/17/putin-trump-agenda-summit-725964

David Remnick, “The Unwinding of Donald Trump,” New Yorker, July 17, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-unwinding-of-donald-trump

Vivian Salama, “Trump Reverses Course, Says Russia Meddled in 2016 Election,” Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-stands-by-his-positive-read-of-putin-summit-amid-criticism-1531847452

Greg Sargent, “The truth about Trump and Russia that Republicans cannot say out loud,” Washington Post, July 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/07/17/the-truth-about-trump-and-russia-that-republicans-cannot-say-out-loud/

John Wagner and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump says he accepts U.S. intelligence on Russian interference in 2016 election but denies collusion,” Washington Post, July 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/growing-number-in-gop-call-for-trump-to-fix-the-damage-from-helsinki-news-conference/2018/07/17/7ea15178-8902-11e8-8aea-86e88ae760d8_story.html

Alexander Bolton, “Helsinki summit becomes new flashpoint for GOP anger,” Hill, July 18, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/397562-helsinki-summit-becomes-new-flashpoint-for-gop-anger

Louis Nelson and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump again defiant after rare mea culpa on Russia,” Politico, July 18, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/18/trump-putin-tweets-729068

David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg, “From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered,” New York Times, July 18, 2018,https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/europe/trump-intelligence-russian-election-meddling-.html


James Comey

Rachel Weiner, “Paul Manafort to be moved from jail where prosecutors say he has ‘VIP’ treatment,” Washington Post, July 11, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/paul-manafort-has-phone-email-vip-treatment-in-jail-prosecutors-say/2018/07/11/2b7201b6-851d-11e8-8f6c-46cb43e3f306_story.html

Autumn Brewington et al., “The Russia Connection,” Lawfare, July 13, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/russia-indictment-20-what-make-muellers-hacking-indictment


Hillary Clinton

The Lawfare article archived under James Comey offers a detailed legal and technical analysis[29] of Robert Mueller’s indictment of Russians for breaking into Democratic National Committee computers.[30]

Philip Ewing and Carrie Johnson, “Justice Department Charges Russian Cyberspies With Attack On 2016 Election,” National Public Radio, July 13, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/13/628773789/deputy-attorney-general-rod-rosenstein-unveils-new-hacking-charges-in-dnc-case


Nancy Pelosi

Katherine Timpf, “It Is Actually Not Sexist to Want Pelosi to Step Down,” National Review, July 12, 2018, https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/nancy-pelosi-resignation-calls-not-sexist/


Unauthorized migration

It is rather eye-catching—and, to me, suspect—that so many children were found ineligible for reunion.[31]

Brittny Mejia, “Trump administration reunites just over half of migrant children under 5 with parents, says others are ‘ineligible,’” Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-eligible-children-reunited-20180712-story.html


Brexit

John Cassidy’s article[32] did not make it into my last newsletter. Not mentioned here is the difficulty of the Irish border.[33]

John Cassidy, “Boris Johnson’s Resignation Can’t Disguise the Harsh Reality of Brexit,” New Yorker, July 9, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/boris-johnsons-resignation-cant-disguise-the-harsh-reality-of-brexit

Gavin Cordon, “Brexit: Theresa May warns EU exit may not happen ‘at all’ if rebel Tories don’t play ball,” Independent, July 15, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-brexit-tory-rebels-trade-chequers-donald-trump-a8447776.html


Political psychology

Jesse Singal, “How Social Science Might Be Misunderstanding Conservatives,” New York, July 15, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/how-social-science-might-be-misunderstanding-conservatives.html


California

Taryn Luna, “Remove three Californias plan from the ballot, Supreme Court says,” Sacramento Bee, July 18, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article214600215.html


  1. [1]Gavin Cordon, “Brexit: Theresa May warns EU exit may not happen ‘at all’ if rebel Tories don’t play ball,” Independent, July 15, 2018, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-brexit-tory-rebels-trade-chequers-donald-trump-a8447776.html
  2. [2]Susan B. Glasser, “Thanks to Robert Mueller, Trump and Putin Now Have a Summit Agenda,” New Yorker, July 13, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/thanks-to-robert-mueller-trump-and-putin-now-have-a-summit-agenda
  3. [3]Michael Crowley and Annie Karni, “Why Trump won’t cancel the Putin summit,” Politico, July 15, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/15/trump-putin-russia-summit-helsinki-722255
  4. [4]Aaron Blake, “Trump’s extremely defensive interview about Russia and Putin,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/16/trumps-extremely-defensive-interview-about-russia-and-putin/
  5. [5]George Simon, “Understanding and Dealing with Narcissistic Rage,” Counseling Resource, July 24, 2017, http://counsellingresource.com/features/2017/07/24/understanding-narcissistic-rage/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  7. [7]Jesse Singal, “How Social Science Might Be Misunderstanding Conservatives,” New York, July 15, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/how-social-science-might-be-misunderstanding-conservatives.html
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Defining conservatism,” April 12, 2013, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2013/04/12/defining-conservatism
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  10. [10]Rod Dreher, “Trump Capitulates To Putin,” American Conservative, July 16, 2018, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/trump-capitulates-to-putin/; Felicia Sonmez, “Trump’s defense of Russia prompts outrage from some Republicans,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-defense-of-russia-prompts-outrage-from-some-republicans/2018/07/16/adc9c52c-8914-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html
  11. [11]Joel Rose, “Judge Halts Family Deportations For Now,” National Public Radio, July 16, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/16/629568352/judge-halts-family-deportations-for-now
  12. [12]David Smith, “Trump ‘treasonous’ after siding with Putin on election meddling,” Guardian, July 16, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/16/trump-finds-putin-denial-of-election-meddling-powerful
  13. [13]Rebecca Ballhaus, “Trump Questions Finding of Russia’s 2016 Meddling as He Appears With Putin,” Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-blames-u-s-for-poor-relations-with-moscow-1531732220
  14. [14]Dan Balz, “The moment called for Trump to stand up for America. He chose to bow,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/after-a-jaw-dropping-news-conference-what-does-america-first-really-mean/2018/07/16/2b728b12-892e-11e8-a345-a1bf7847b375_story.html; Michael Scherer, “Trump’s defense of Putin finds few supporters in Congress,” Washington Post, July 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-defense-of-putin-finds-few-supporters-in-congress/2018/07/16/2610b3a2-8914-11e8-8aea-86e88ae760d8_story.html
  15. [15]David M. Herszenhorn, “Putin preens while Trump settles old scores,” Politico, July 17, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/17/putin-trump-agenda-summit-725964
  16. [16]Mark Landler, “Trump Sheds All Notions of How a President Should Conduct Himself Abroad,” New York Times, July 16, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/16/us/politics/trump-putin-summit.html
  17. [17]Lauren Gambino, “Will Republicans punish Trump for his performance with Putin?” Guardian, July 17, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/17/donald-trump-putin-russia-summit-how-will-republicans-react
  18. [18]Associated Press, “Trump says he misspoke on Russia meddling,” Los Angeles Times, July 17, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-trump-says-he-misspoke-on-russia-1531853292-htmlstory.html; see also Jordan Fabian, “Trump says he accepts US intel on Russia — then adds it ‘could be other people also,’” Hill, July 17, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/397481-trump-says-he-accepts-us-intel-on-russia-then-adds-it-could-be-other; Vivian Salama, “Trump Reverses Course, Says Russia Meddled in 2016 Election,” Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-stands-by-his-positive-read-of-putin-summit-amid-criticism-1531847452; John Wagner and Felicia Sonmez, “Trump says he accepts U.S. intelligence on Russian interference in 2016 election but denies collusion,” Washington Post, July 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/growing-number-in-gop-call-for-trump-to-fix-the-damage-from-helsinki-news-conference/2018/07/17/7ea15178-8902-11e8-8aea-86e88ae760d8_story.html
  19. [19]Greg Sargent, “The truth about Trump and Russia that Republicans cannot say out loud,” Washington Post, July 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/07/17/the-truth-about-trump-and-russia-that-republicans-cannot-say-out-loud/
  20. [20]Aaron Blake, “The growing Trump-Putin kompromat question,” Washington Post, July 17, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/17/does-putin-have-kompromat-on-trump-suddenly-its-no-longer-such-a-taboo-question-thanks-to-trump/
  21. [21]Louis Nelson and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump again defiant after rare mea culpa on Russia,” Politico, July 18, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/18/trump-putin-tweets-729068
  22. [22]Alexander Bolton, “Helsinki summit becomes new flashpoint for GOP anger,” Hill, July 18, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/397562-helsinki-summit-becomes-new-flashpoint-for-gop-anger
  23. [23]David Remnick, “The Unwinding of Donald Trump,” New Yorker, July 17, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-unwinding-of-donald-trump
  24. [24]Taryn Luna, “Remove three Californias plan from the ballot, Supreme Court says,” Sacramento Bee, July 18, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article214600215.html
  25. [25]David E. Sanger and Matthew Rosenberg, “From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered,” New York Times, July 18, 2018,https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/europe/trump-intelligence-russian-election-meddling-.html
  26. [26]Philip Bump, “In about 20 years, half the population will live in eight states,” Washington Post, July 12, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/07/12/in-about-20-years-half-the-population-will-live-in-eight-states/
  27. [27]David Benfell, “How Donald Trump captured the Republican Party,” Not Housebroken, July 12, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/07/01/how-donald-trump-captured-the-republican-party/
  28. [28]Diana C. Mutz, “Status threat, not economic hardship, explains the 2016 presidential vote,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 23, 2018, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1718155115
  29. [29]Autumn Brewington et al., “The Russia Connection,” Lawfare, July 13, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/russia-indictment-20-what-make-muellers-hacking-indictment
  30. [30]Philip Ewing and Carrie Johnson, “Justice Department Charges Russian Cyberspies With Attack On 2016 Election,” National Public Radio, July 13, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/13/628773789/deputy-attorney-general-rod-rosenstein-unveils-new-hacking-charges-in-dnc-case
  31. [31]Brittny Mejia, “Trump administration reunites just over half of migrant children under 5 with parents, says others are ‘ineligible,’” Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-eligible-children-reunited-20180712-story.html
  32. [32]John Cassidy, “Boris Johnson’s Resignation Can’t Disguise the Harsh Reality of Brexit,” New Yorker, July 9, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/boris-johnsons-resignation-cant-disguise-the-harsh-reality-of-brexit
  33. [33]Conor Humphries and Amanda Ferguson, “How Brexit has suddenly made the prospect of a united Ireland thinkable,” Independent, July 3, 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-what-it-means-forthern-ireland-united-eu-referendum-result-irish-passport-a7117166.html; Philip Jenkins, “How Brexit is Turning into a Disaster for Ireland,” American Conservative, December 13, 2017, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-brexit-is-turning-into-a-disaster-for-ireland/

Judges just don’t like Donald Trump’s policies on unauthorized migration

Unauthorized migration

Avery Anapol, “Judge does not give Trump admin more time to reunite all separated families,” Hill, July 7, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/395916-judge-will-not-give-trump-admin-more-time-to-reunite-all-separated

Victoria Kim, “Judge rejects Trump administration’s effort to change rules for detaining immigrant children,” Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-flores-ruling-20180709-story.html

Taryn Luna, “Federal judge rejects Trump lawsuit against California’s sanctuary state law,” Sacramento Bee, July 9, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article214595375.html


Brexit

William Booth and Karla Adam, “Boris Johnson and ‘Brexit minister’ resign, leaving Theresa May’s government in disarray,” Washington Post, July 9, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/theresa-mays-government-in-disarray-after-shock-resignation-by-brexit-minister/2018/07/09/b86533da-8357-11e8-8f6c-46cb43e3f306_story.html

Heather Stewart, “Brexit secretary David Davis resigns plunging government into crisis,” Guardian, July 9, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/08/david-davis-resigns-as-brexit-secretary-reports-say


Donald Trump

What makes this all so galling, and perhaps not only to Michigan graduates like me, is that Trump has presided over a comprehensive assault on intellectual standards in public life. Trump is a stupid man surrounded by other stupid people, who appeals to the dumbest instincts in the polity with a vocabulary of relentless idiocy. His administration systematically disregards science and expertise; its officials statements frequently contain misspellings; his entire persona is based on insulting the intelligence of the American public in the belief that even the crudest lies will go undetected by his infinitely credulous tribal fan base.[1]

Jonathan Chait, “‘Populist’ Trump Turns Up Nose at Public University Graduates,” New York, July 9, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/amp/2018/07/trumps-supreme-court-pick-cant-be-public-school-graduate.html


North Korea

Jessica Donati and Andrew Jeong, “North Korean Nuclear Talks Are Thrown Off Balance as Accounts by U.S. and Pyongyang Clash,” Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pompeo-cites-progress-inth-korea-nuclear-talks-1530967772

John Hudson and Carol Morello, “North Korea calls U.S. attitude toward talks ‘gangster-like’ and ‘cancerous,’ rejecting Pompeo’s assessment,” Washington Post, July 7, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korean-negotiator-teases-and-flatters-as-pompeo-enters-second-day-of-talks/2018/07/07/d2a06324-8175-4589-bf08-def6e56aa962_story.html

John Hudson and Adam Taylor, “Pompeo pushes back against North Korea’s ‘gangster-like’ criticism,” Washington Post, July 8, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pompeo-pushes-back-againstth-koreas-gangster-like-criticism/2018/07/08/a6261b3e-825e-11e8-9200-b4dee4fb4e28_story.html


Andy Lopez

The civil suit for the shooting of Andy Lopez has gotten much further than I ever would have thought.[2]

David G. Savage, “Supreme Court clears the way for Sonoma County deputy to be tried in shooting of boy holding a pellet gun,” Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-court-police-pelletgun-20180625-story.html


  1. [1]Jonathan Chait, “‘Populist’ Trump Turns Up Nose at Public University Graduates,” New York, July 9, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/amp/2018/07/trumps-supreme-court-pick-cant-be-public-school-graduate.html
  2. [2]David G. Savage, “Supreme Court clears the way for Sonoma County deputy to be tried in shooting of boy holding a pellet gun,” Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-court-police-pelletgun-20180625-story.html

Scott Pruitt finally resigns

James Comey

Chris Strohm, “Mueller Taps More Prosecutors to Help With Growing Trump Probe,” Bloomberg, July 5, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-05/mueller-said-to-tap-more-career-prosecutors-as-trump-probe-grows


Nonviolence

I will grant David Greenburg one point. Neoconservatism arose in response to the tumult of the 1960s and early 1970s, as a rejection of every liberation movement, and as an embrace of so-called “law and order” (whose law? whose order?). The success of a backlash to these movements doomed what may have been our last chance as a species to save ourselves.

However, there is much, much more to be said about the fetishization of nonviolence, including in a passage imprecisely cited by Martin Luther King, Jr., “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”[1] Remember to consider that latter quotation as we hear ever more about family separations:

These are little kids we are talking about. Some younger than 5. As the father of two kids under age 10, I can’t even imagine the terror these kids — and their parents — must be feeling. One time when my older son was 4, I couldn’t find him in an outdoor mall for 10 minutes. I was absolutely panicked. So was he. That was 10 minutes. We are talking about days and week in some cases here.[2]

Incrementalism, which Greenburg thinks we should settle for,[3] simply may not be fast enough in a situation that the powers that be (functionalist conservatives), being wed to the status quo as a means of protecting their own positions, refuse to treat as an emergency, even when, as with climate change or nuclear weapons, the threat is existential for all of humanity. It certainly isn’t fast enough when people are right now being killed or seriously injured.[4]

David Greenburg, “Here’s What Happened the Last Time the Left Got Nasty,” Politico, July 5, 2018, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/05/democrats-civility-1960s-violence-218948


Polarization

E. J. Dionne, Jr., relies heavily on survey data,[5] which I have substantial reason to distrust,[6] but also, when he emphasizes that “Republicans have moved significantly further to the right than Democrats have moved to the left,”[7] I’m not sure what he means, at least by ‘right.’ He seems to assume that left-right polarization is on a single axis, where I see seven different tendencies of conservatism.[8] So I’m left guessing which of those tendencies he refers to.

E. J. Dionne, Jr., “The centrist heavenly chorus is off-key,” Washington Post, July 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-centrist-heavenly-chorus-is-way-off-key/2018/07/04/a656f13a-7ed7-11e8-b660-4d0f9f0351f1_story.html


Unauthorized migration

Chris Cillizza, “Donald Trump has no answers for the border crisis. And things are about to get worse,” Cable News Network, July 5, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/05/politics/immigration-separation-border-trump/index.html

Taryn Luna, “California beats Trump in sanctuary state battle’s first round,” Sacramento Bee, July 5, 2018, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article214374659.html


Scott Pruitt

Timothy Cama and Miranda Green, “Embattled EPA head Pruitt resigns,” Hill, July 5, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/395667-embattled-epa-head-pruitt-resigns


  1. [1]Martin Luther King, Jr., attributes this passage only to “one of our distinguished jurists” in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” University of Pennsylvania, April 16, 1963, http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html. Under the circumstances—the man was in jail—it’s hard to fault the lack of a precise citation.
  2. [2]Chris Cillizza, “Donald Trump has no answers for the border crisis. And things are about to get worse,” Cable News Network, July 5, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/05/politics/immigration-separation-border-trump/index.html
  3. [3]David Greenburg, “Here’s What Happened the Last Time the Left Got Nasty,” Politico, July 5, 2018, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/07/05/democrats-civility-1960s-violence-218948
  4. [4]Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Nonviolence as Compliance,” Atlantic, April 27, 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/nonviolence-as-compliance/391640/; David Edwards, “Activist smacks down Wolf Blitzer: ‘You are suggesting broken windows are worse than broken spines’,” Raw Story, April 28, 2015, http://www.rawstory.com/2015/04/activist-smacks-down-wolf-blitzer-you-are-suggesting-broken-windows-are-worse-than-broken-spines/; Benji Hart, “Baltimore’s violent protesters are right: Smashing police cars is a legitimate political strategy,” Salon, April 28, 2015, http://www.salon.com/2015/04/28/baltimores_violent_protesters_are_right_smashing_police_cars_is_a_legitimate_political_strategy/;
  5. [5]E. J. Dionne, Jr., “The centrist heavenly chorus is off-key,” Washington Post, July 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-centrist-heavenly-chorus-is-way-off-key/2018/07/04/a656f13a-7ed7-11e8-b660-4d0f9f0351f1_story.html
  6. [6]David Benfell, “On a nine percent response rate,” May 28, 2017, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/journal/2017/05/28/nine-percent-response-rate
  7. [7]E. J. Dionne, Jr., “The centrist heavenly chorus is off-key,” Washington Post, July 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-centrist-heavenly-chorus-is-way-off-key/2018/07/04/a656f13a-7ed7-11e8-b660-4d0f9f0351f1_story.html
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).

Donald Trump is an idiot, North Korea edition

There is a new blog post, “How Donald Trump captured the Republican Party.” See also in particular an update below published on July 3 at 9:04 am.


About fireworks in Graton

I expect to be home on July 4th. Graton residents should know that while I have never liked the noise and object to the celebration of war that they entail, in the wake of the Sonoma County wildfires, I will no longer be tolerating the fireworks that are routinely set off to commemorate the holiday. This is not a negotiation. I will call 911. All fireworks—including allegedly “safe and sane” fireworks—are illegal in unincorporated Sonoma County and the risk is unacceptable. Period.


Updates

  1. Originally published, July 1, 9:00 am.
  2. July 2, 5:35 pm:
    • North Korea is also expanding a missile plant.[1]
    • Michael Cohen sounds like he’s ‘flipping’ and will cooperate with state, as well as federal, prosecutors, meaning Donald Trump can’t pardon his way out of this one.[2]
    • Republicans may be ducking, but they can’t hide from the Unauthorized migration issue.[3]
    • Philip Zimbardo has defended his Stanford Prison Experiment findings in an interview. The interviewer is unconvinced, but, this being Vox, places excessive faith in scientific method and, through aggressive—even hostile—questioning, doesn’t allow Zimbardo to express himself well. It might be better to do what I have not done, which is to read Zimbardo’s full written response.[4] (Replication)
  3. July 3, 9:04 am:
    • A federal judge has ordered an end to detention for asylum seekers who have passed a “credible fear” test.[5] (Unauthorized migration)
    • It is, apparently by design, all but impossible to reunify separated families.[6] (Unauthorized migration)
    • Somewhat related to the new blog post mentioned above, when presented with the opportunity to offer soothing words to unify the country, Donald Trump instead praised his base.[7] Which is to say that when he looks at the country, he sees only his base and that he is president not for the entire country as it actually is but only that base. This should not be a surprise.
    • Added the notice about fireworks in Graton above.
  4. July 3, 4:49 pm:
    • In a bipartisan report, the Senate Intelligence Committee accepts the deep state’s conclusions that Russia meddled in the U.S. 2016 election and did so at Vladimir Putin’s direction.[8] (Golden showers)
  5. July 3, 8:40 pm:
    • A judge suspects the Trump administration of bad faith in adding a citizenship question to the U.S. census questionnaire and has ordered the administration to explain itself.[9] (Alleged voter fraud)
    • Added a tweet from Laurence Tribe under Golden showers. Tribe seems convinced there was collusion.[10] I don’t have the impression the Senate report goes that far.[11]
  6. July 4, 1:05 am:
    • Functionalist conservatives—specifically, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and so-called ‘free’ traders in Congress are trying to limit Donald Trump’s ability to wage a trade war.[12] (So-called ‘free’ trade)
  7. July 4, 11:51 am:
    • I think Jonathan Chait maybe goes a little too far here, but he thinks that the reason Scott Pruitt hasn’t been fired is that Donald Trump is keeping him on tap to replace Jeff Sessions in a plan to fire Robert Mueller.[13] I guess I’m more interested in why, when he so readily castigates nearly anyone else on Twitter, Trump is relatively silent about or even obsequious toward 1) Russia and Vladimir Putin, 2) Stormy Daniels, and 3) Pruitt. Chait seems close to a common thread here as Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ attorney, did seek to intervene in the case involving Mueller’s raid on Michael Cohen, Trump’s “fixer.” But, for me, the pieces aren’t quite in place.
  8. July 4, 1:45 pm:
    • Added tweet from Michael Avenatti floating the possibility of a run for president against Donald Trump in 2020.

North Korea

So much for Donald Trump’s summit.

Ellen Mitchell, “Satellite images raise alarms about North Korean nukes,” Hill, June 30, 2018, http://thehill.com/policy/defense/394896-satellite-images-raise-alarms-aboutth-korean-nukes

Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick, “North Korea working to conceal key aspects of its nuclear program, U.S. officials say,” Washington Post, June 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-working-to-conceal-key-aspects-of-its-nuclear-program-us-officials-say/2018/06/30/deba64fa-7c82-11e8-93cc-6d3beccdd7a3_story.html


So-called ‘free’ trade

David J. Lynch and Philip Rucker, “To Trump, Harley’s tariff decision is a personal — and unexpected — betrayal,” Washington Post, June 26, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/to-trump-harleys-tariff-decision-is-a-personal–and-unexpected–betrayal/2018/06/26/a662c718-796d-11e8-aeee-4d04c8ac6158_story.html

Patti Waldmeir, “Harley-Davidson workers back Trump despite jobs shift,” CNBC, June 27, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/27/harley-davidson-workers-back-trump-despite-jobs-shift.html

Jordain Carney, “Appeals court nominees languish in Senate as Flake demands tariff vote,” Hill, June 30, 2018, http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/394921-appeals-courtinees-languish-in-senate-as-flake-demands-tariff-vote


Unauthorized migration

Reuters, “Migrant children and families now face indefinite detention by US,” Guardian, June 29, 2018, https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/30/migrant-children-and-families-now-face-indefinite-detention-by-us

Rachael Bade, “Immigration storm bears down on Republicans,” Politico, July 2, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/02/immigration-republicans-border-fallout-687895

Isaac Chotiner, “‘This Entire System Is Designed to Make Things Impossible for Immigrants,'” Slate, July 2, 2018, https://amp.slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/07/child-separation-now-why-its-still-so-difficult-for-immigrant-families-to-be-reunited.html

Richard Gonzales, “Federal Judge Orders Administration To End Arbitrary Detention Of Asylum-Seekers,” National Public Radio, July 2, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/02/625504723/federal-judge-orders-administration-to-end-arbitrary-detention-of-asylum-seekers


Donald Trump

Jonathan Chait, “Interviewer Asks Trump to Bring Country Together. He Praises His Base,” New York, July 2, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/asked-to-bring-country-together-trump-praises-my-base.html

Jonathan Chait, “Michael Cohen Apparently Flipping Is Extremely Bad News for Trump,” New York, July 2, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/michael-cohen-apparent-flip-is-extremely-bad-news-for-trump.html


Replication

Brian Resnick, “Philip Zimbardo defends the Stanford Prison Experiment, his most famous work,” Vox, June 28, 2018, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/6/28/17509470/stanford-prison-experiment-zimbardo-interview


Golden showers

Chris Megerian, “Senate panel backs up intelligence agencies, says Russia aimed to help Trump in election,” Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-senate-russia-intel-20180703-story.html


Alleged voter fraud

Avery Anapol, “Judge orders Trump admin to explain how it decided to add citizenship question to census,” Hill, July 3, 2018, http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/395400-federal-judge-says-trump-admin-acted-in-bad-faith-with-citizenship


So-called ‘free’ trade

Zeeshan Aleem, “Big business and the GOP are declaring war on Trump’s trade agenda,” Vox, July 3, 2018, https://www.vox.com/world/2018/7/3/17530516/chamber-commerce-trump-tariffs-trade-war-china


Scott Pruitt

Jonathan Chait, “Why Hasn’t Trump Fired Scott Pruitt? Because Pruitt Can Fire Robert Mueller,” New York, July 3, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/trump-scott-pruitt-scandals-attorney-general-can-fire-mueller.html


  1. [1]Jonathan Cheng, “North Korea Expands Key Missile-Manufacturing Plant,” Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2018, https://www.wsj.com/articles/north-korea-expands-key-missile-manufacturing-plant-1530486907
  2. [2]Jonathan Chait, “Michael Cohen Apparently Flipping Is Extremely Bad News for Trump,” New York, July 2, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/michael-cohen-apparent-flip-is-extremely-bad-news-for-trump.html
  3. [3]Rachael Bade, “Immigration storm bears down on Republicans,” Politico, July 2, 2018, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/02/immigration-republicans-border-fallout-687895
  4. [4]Brian Resnick, “Philip Zimbardo defends the Stanford Prison Experiment, his most famous work,” Vox, June 28, 2018, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/6/28/17509470/stanford-prison-experiment-zimbardo-interview
  5. [5]Richard Gonzales, “Federal Judge Orders Administration To End Arbitrary Detention Of Asylum-Seekers,” National Public Radio, July 2, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/02/625504723/federal-judge-orders-administration-to-end-arbitrary-detention-of-asylum-seekers
  6. [6]Isaac Chotiner, “‘This Entire System Is Designed to Make Things Impossible for Immigrants,'” Slate, July 2, 2018, https://amp.slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/07/child-separation-now-why-its-still-so-difficult-for-immigrant-families-to-be-reunited.html
  7. [7]Jonathan Chait, “Interviewer Asks Trump to Bring Country Together. He Praises His Base,” New York, July 2, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/asked-to-bring-country-together-trump-praises-my-base.html
  8. [8]Chris Megerian, “Senate panel backs up intelligence agencies, says Russia aimed to help Trump in election,” Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-senate-russia-intel-20180703-story.html
  9. [9]Avery Anapol, “Judge orders Trump admin to explain how it decided to add citizenship question to census,” Hill, July 3, 2018, http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/395400-federal-judge-says-trump-admin-acted-in-bad-faith-with-citizenship
  10. [10]Laurence Tribe, [microblog post], Twitter, July 3, 2018, https://twitter.com/tribelaw/status/1014296363453026305?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
  11. [11]Chris Megerian, “Senate panel backs up intelligence agencies, says Russia aimed to help Trump in election,” Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2018, http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-senate-russia-intel-20180703-story.html
  12. [12]Zeeshan Aleem, “Big business and the GOP are declaring war on Trump’s trade agenda,” Vox, July 3, 2018, https://www.vox.com/world/2018/7/3/17530516/chamber-commerce-trump-tariffs-trade-war-china
  13. [13]Jonathan Chait, “Why Hasn’t Trump Fired Scott Pruitt? Because Pruitt Can Fire Robert Mueller,” New York, July 3, 2018, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/trump-scott-pruitt-scandals-attorney-general-can-fire-mueller.html