ON THE PROPERTIES OF WIND

If you've read about, or are old enough to remember living through, Watergate one of the interesting aspects of it is that even in less hyperpartisan times Republican support for Nixon was pretty firm. At least it was right up until it wasn't.

It's not surprising that Democrats were howling for blood from the moment the scandal became a radar blip. Nixon was something akin to a monster in the eyes of liberals (which is pretty amusing in hindsight). Republicans, some of whom were quite a bit more liberal than any Republican you'll find in Congress today, took a more measured approach. Most weren't exactly wild about Nixon themselves. He was not a very easy man to get along with. But they expressed measured support for him throughout the scandal. Few of them gushed into the cameras of their burning love for Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon. Most, however, took a "Let's not have this wild-eyed talk of impeachment before we even see any evidence of wrongdoing."

Then the audio tapes came out and the indictments were handed down. Tape transcripts circulated widely. The Republicans around the Capitol didn't waste time looking for the exits.

enate Republican Leader Hugh Scott said the transcripts revealed a "deplorable, disgusting, shabby, and immoral" performance on the part of the President and his former aides. The House Republican Leader John Jacob Rhodes agreed with Scott, and Rhodes recommended that if Nixon's position continued to deteriorate, he "ought to consider resigning as a possible option."

There was a sense throughout that Republicans were trying to be supportive of Nixon without really sticking their necks out for him. Lots of "Wait until all the facts are in" stuff. No doubt they would have liked to rid themselves of the scandal sooner and more emphatically, but politicians have (not surprisingly) good instincts for these things. You could sense the mental calculations taking place. A strong note of support for Nixon would have been a bet on the scandal getting better rather than worse. And Republicans in Congress at the time were pretty damn sure that getting worse was more likely. A legislator's #1 goal is reelection. They might care about helping Nixon and strengthening the Republican brand. When the chips are down, they care about protecting themselves a lot more.

Since it was assembled as opposition research we should assume that not every bit of this new dossier on Trump's Russian ties is true. But it's not all false, either. And you can bet that people in Washington with insider knowledge are feeling like an uncomfortably significant amount of it could be true. The instinct of every Congressional Republican will be to downplay this, to defend him without sticking their necks out too far. But if you're a GOP in Congress right now you're also asking yourself two pertinent questions right now.

1. How much am I willing to risk to help this guy I don't like?
2. How likely is it that this is the worst news that's going to come out about Trump and the Russians?

Your answers right now are 1. Not much, since most of them didn't want this guy winning the nomination in the first place and 2. It depends on how much of an optimist one is. They hear the whispers. They know what potential exists for this to get worse. And they also don't believe or trust Trump any farther than they can throw him. They're not quite ready to throw him under the bus, but they have to be getting a little nervous. Not heading for the exits, but at least scoping out a path should the exit become necessary.

I don't think Republicans are going to defect en masse anytime soon, but it's clear that there is more information coming out and more is probably going to continue to come out in the next weeks and months. They will make gestures of support with sweaty palms and weak praise for now. The point of the Watergate analogy is that when the end comes and they abandon him, it is likely to happen with stunning quickness. No one can say with certainty right now that more damaging information is on the way. If you had to wager your political career on it, though, how confident could you be at this moment that we've already seen the worst of it?

Yeah. Me neither.

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86 Responses to “ON THE PROPERTIES OF WIND”

  1. Andrew Laurence Says:

    I think this is wishful thinking, but I'll be delighted if I'm wrong about this.

  2. April Says:

    If Putin were smart, he'd keep all this stuff way under wraps, and control Trump in secret. But I think Putin's ego is every big as Trump's, and so he wants the world to know he's got the rump under his thumb. So he has to let all this damaging info out.

    Plus, others. The peeing hookers. The maids. The bystanders who didn't get what THEY wanted. More 13 year old girls? When this many people know shit, SOMEONE'S gonna spill, and once the spilling starts, others will get on the bandwagon.

    What we need to do is keep pressure on the repugs in congress. Let them know that all this shit is a bridge WAY too far to tolerate.

    At this rate I think (hope?) rump might be out by June. Maybe earlier.

  3. Katydid Says:

    If rump goes, his successor is 20 times worse. Mike Pence the villian right out of The Handmaid's Tale. At least Ted Cruz was honest and upfront about his religious nutjobbery–Pence is sneaky.

    As for Trump; anyone who was even moderately aware of the past 30 years has a very good idea of who Trump is. Nobody can possibly be surprised by any of the dumpter-fire snippets coming out about him now–as Maya Angelou once said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them."

    As for impeachment talk; anyone remember the Republicans chortling over how they were going to impeach Obama starting the evening before he was sworn in? Hmmm, how'd that work out? It's not like they haven't tried, but it's hard to find anymore more squeaky-clean.

  4. Katydid Says:

    Courtesy of CNN:

    Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

    The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

    The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials.

  5. wetcasements Says:

    Cheeto Von Pee-On-Me

  6. wetcasements Says:

    re: Pence, agreed that he's awful. But if the urine-scented stench of Trump is too great and he is impeached (wishful thinking I know), the GOP has a huge problem. Pence is as milquetoast establishment GOP as they come. That's why he was picked, actually, to appease "serious" Republicans.

    Pull Trump out and that coalition — Teabaggers vs. Paul Ryan types — explodes.

    Hell, there were even some GOP pundits thinking out loud that, hey, just ride Trump to the White House and then impeach him for Pence.

    That would be a decades-long disaster for the GOP. Not that my fellow Dems don't have a few disasters of their own to deal with right now, but watching a bunch of rifle-toting, MAGA-hat wearing dudes acting out against seated Republicans would be a thing of beauty. Obama is gone. HRC is done. These dudes love to be angry white dudes. They'll happily channel their anger at Congressional Republicans.

  7. Rugosa Says:

    I wouldn't be surprised if these allegations turn out to be true, but I am very skeptical about anything coming from the Russians. Is their goal to destroy Trump, or to destroy the US?

  8. sluggo Says:

    Golden showers are gateway drugs to Cleveland Steamers.

  9. Wim Says:

    It's hard to see how Pence keeps from being splattered by shit hitting the fan, but I expect the Trumpkins to simply announce that all this shit means there are a lot of ponies for everyone, so many ponies we'll all be sick of ponies.

  10. Coffeeman Says:

    As usual, the sex stuff will get all of the attention. More noteworthy is the financial allegations, that in short, the Russian banks and investors (read Putin) own Trump. I'm guessing he fears being broke more than being called a dirttbag.

    Also, given Trump's mentality, if you were Putin, how safe would you feel putting pressure on Trump when his little fingers are on the nuclear trigger?

  11. waspuppet Says:

    Nixon was something akin to a monster in the eyes of liberals (which is pretty amusing in hindsight).

    That's the one thing I disagree with. Nixon was in fact a monster. Everyone knew he sabotaged Vietnam peace in order to get elected, at the cost of thousands of US soldiers' and God knows how many Vietnamese lives. Even though the evidence didn't come out until a few years ago (and more compelling evidence just a few weeks ago).

  12. Tom Says:

    BuzzFeed.

  13. geoff Says:

    Hmm, Nixon I'm sure was never personally popular with his fellow Republicans, but at least he was (more or less) one of them. Sure Ike didn't like him, but he was Vice President for eight years and damn near won the Presidency in 1960.*

    Trump, on the other hand, famously insulted ALL of the party's presidential nominees, two of whom are still sitting Senators, and basically never has done anything for the Republicans except kick 'em in the balls. My feeling is that Congressional Republicans don't think they owe Trump dick and would be perfectly willing to shove a knife in his back at the first opportunity, constituents be damned.

    My tinfoil hat's cracklin' though. Was the Intelligence Community so convinced that Clinton would win the election that they're only now going after Trump? I personally think he's a mobbed-up pussy grabber, but it's kind of disturbing to see what looks like the CIA trying to overturn the results of a legitimate (well, as legitimate as we get in the US) election.** I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!!

    *Or maybe it was stolen from him in Illinois?
    **Electoral College, yadda yadda.

  14. Paul Says:

    I think there's another possibility that we've already seen the beginning of – discrediting one thing to discredit all of them. Trump has already built a narrative that our intelligence apparatuses cannot be trusted, therefore, anything that it reports that he does not agree with can be dismissed out of hand. As he will be appointing new intelligence chiefs, he can make the argument that anything he *does* agree with is credible because he trusts those people, while maintaining that anything he *doesn't* agree with is a fabrication by the remaining witch hunters.

    The difference in the times is that it's not even a matter of protecting the Brand anymore – they've transcended Brand and now view it as the quintessence of the country. Any attack on the Republican line is an attack on the country itself, and there's enough support behind that from the people they've managed to convince that it's become institutionalized. There could be a video of Trump swallowing Putin's hog, and the Right would insist that it's doctored.

    They'd know, they took down ACORN in the same way.

  15. Tim H. Says:

    The idea of so many fundies voting for someone who lived the Larry Flynt dream for so long is darkly amusing to me, except for the escaped Adventist bits, which are alarmed…

  16. Safety Man! Says:

    If push came to shove, I think the electorate would actually back Trump over Congress.
    Personally, I've seen enough straws grabbed over Trump's election to make a broom. Trump won, we all lost, he will be sworn in next Friday and probability serve 8 years. I'm sorry. For god's sake let's win some states and congress seats back.

  17. HoosierPoli Says:

    I really don't see why they wouldn't give Trump the ol' heave-ho the second they can. They can demonize him in the press, play the victim, and then rock and roll with affable sociopath Mike Pence for four years.

  18. Mysteries Of Life Says:

    Remember the Republicans who promised there’d be martial law and Obama would have a third term? if only it were true

  19. Skipper Says:

    @geoff — Thanks, you saved me a lot of trouble. It will come down to a case of insider vs. outsider. Nixon may have been a prick, but he was one of them. Nobody likes Trump. A lot of Republicans pretend they do, but only because they're opportunists trying to feather their own nests.

    As far as your second question — why now — I have been thinking the same thing. They've had this data for six months now, but they only decided to let him know now? Also, why and how did it get into the public domain.

    My guess is that they have a lot more on Donnie — they always do. But he has gone out of his way to shit on the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, and the rest of the intelligence community. I couldn't believe he was doing that. These are precisely the people you don't want to piss off.

    I can imagine that this was a shot across the bow. "Don't step off the path, Donnie, or you're going down and in the most humiliating way possible." And they can do it.

    Remember when, shortly after Obama was inaugurated, some screwball couple that wasn't invited somehow got past White House Security and got within inches of Obama and Michelle? Does anyone really believe that was an accident or a slip-up? That was a clear message. "We can let them get to you, if we want. Play ball."

    And for all those who are questioning the veracity of the of Russian pee story, apparently corroborating stories are starting to come in from other intelligence agencies.

    But you just have to think about it for a second. First, Trump is a sexual predator — by is own admission. He has no boundaries; he even made lecherous comments about his own daughter. He has no self control. And he has a weakness for Eastern European women. Also, at the time he was in Moscow and St. Petersburg, groveling hat in hand in front of the oligarchs, he wasn't running for president. He was just a sleazeball running the art of the deal. He had no reason for caution. So there's a high probability he did in fact engage in said behavior. There is no way he was not going to fall for two or three drop-dead gorgeous women (all intelligence assets) letting him seduce them.

    Did the Russians record it? Absolutely. That's what they do. They've been doing it for years. They even have a word for it. Even if he spent the night reading the Gideon Bible, they have it on tape. You can take that to the bank.

    So, I'm giving the veracity of the story, about a 90 percent probability. Also, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he didn't have a microchip surreptitiously implanted somewhere in his bloated orange body.

  20. Brian M Says:

    Rugosa:

    I would rephrase your question: Is Putin's goal to give a little push as the United States destroys itself?

    The craziness in the U.S. population, PROUDLY ignorant and violent, is reaching the terminal point…..

    Nope. did not win the LOTTO. I guess Uruguay or New Zealand are not on the agenda for the near future.

  21. Isaac Says:

    Nixon might have had more support, except he fucked over a /lot/ of people in his party to get re-elected.

    All this talk about the 25th amendment and impeachment, I don't think it's going to happen so easily. And even if there is unified Republican support against him, he doesn't care about the party, or the country, he cares about him. I picture the end to be more like the end of There Will Be Blood.

  22. Brian M Says:

    Nothing will happen. The Trumpalos don't care. They will support him to the end. He could have been filmed with a Russian boy and they would still support him.

  23. terraformer Says:

    Pence was always the goal for the establishment Republicans. Ride the tiger to get the office, then impeach the tiger before it bites them too much. Pence is the real deal, the camera-ready automaton with the made-on–the-radio voice that can spoon-feed all the hits from the conservative playlist as just as normal and expected as bright sunshine on a warm day. Trump is the distraction, and a good one, but Pence is the really scary one.

  24. Skipper Says:

    Possible scenario. No impeachment. Pence is a scary motherfucker. However, having Donnie in the White House as a seriously damaged president, scared shitless that the Russkies — or our own guys — will start circulating the videos, is good for everyone. He won't get too out of hand. He'll do exactly as he's told. This is probably just a plan to neuter him before he even takes the oath of office.

  25. Coffeeman Says:

    Is there any evidence of DJT EVER not doing what he wanted, consequences be damned?

  26. Totoro Says:

    @Wim: Be careful what you wish for. After Pence is Ryan. Not clear he is an improvement. As for Pence v. Trump, I would trust Pence with the nuclear codes.

  27. Skipper Says:

    Another thing to remember about Nixon vs Trump is that Nixon is the reason candidates reveal their tax returns. Nixon refused to reveal his, and we only found out during the Watergate investigation that he had taken illegal and improper deductions and paid only a few bucks in taxes on a six-figure income. Since then, candidates have released their returns. We still haven't see Donnie's. I imagine they will be more explosive than Nixon's.

  28. SeaTea Says:

    I worry this is just the easiest way to silence any future criticism of Trump. Put something out there that every opponent of his wants to believe. Have it be revealed to be totally false later. Then whenever something else comes out, shake your head knowingly and say "yeah, remember those supposed Russian documents?" It's what I would do.

  29. Major Kong Says:

    And here I thought "golden showers" referred to the bathroom fixtures in Trump Tower.

    The more you know…..

  30. Mo Says:

    Brian – Have been using "Trumpster" [because it rhymes with dumpster], but I like your "Trumpalos" better.

    But as to the craziness of the US population, only about 62million of us voters have prion disease – and the rest of us number about 3 million more.

    Instead of civil war, we need to work the margins. 114 votes in Florida … 80,000 in the midwest … time to stop this edge erosion.

  31. el jefe Says:

    Yes, Pence is scary. BUT, he's not an insane narcissist. He's a traditional politician who can be fought in traditional ways, and won't think about using nukes because some third world dictator insults him. That said, I have my doubts about whether Rs will be knocked out of their fever dream by any of this, even if most of it ends up being true. They think they can get everything on their dream list by praising him. We also need to be very careful about running with unsubstantiated rumors because each one that turns out to be false adds credence to Der Cheetofurhr's claim/paranoia that the press, liberals, and the intelligence community is out to get him.

  32. el jefe Says:

    … are out to get him.

  33. geoff Says:

    @Skipper– "These are precisely the people you don't want to piss off." Or piss ON, amirite?? (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

    That's pretty much what Sen. Schumer said, but hmm, I dunno. Donnie may be a loudmouth asshole, but he doesn't back down, he doubles down. "YR GODDAMN RIGHT I HAD A RUSSIAN HOOKER PISS PARTY!! YOU WOULD TOO IF YOU WEREN'T SUCH A FRIGGIN' LOSER!!"

    Strange times; JFC.

  34. MS Says:

    The problem with your scenario is that the country has gotten a lot more polarized. In Nixon's time, there was a real possibility of a nationwide sweep that swept out a bad party and swept in the other party. That no longer exists.

    Trump could literally nuke someone, for fun, and in the next election the Republicans would do fine. The public cares a lot more about partisanship than about what their party does.

    So, out of the 300 or so Republicans in Congress, probably 275 of them aren't at any risk at all of not being re-elected, no matter what Trump is shown to have done. Thus, there will be no desertion, there will be no turning on, no defection, no impeachment. No matter what.

  35. Gerald McGrew Says:

    The key part of Ed's analogy with Nixon is, "Then the audio tapes came out and the indictments were handed down".

    Unless/until actual solid evidence is produced on Trump's activities and ties to Russia, this won't go anywhere. It'll just circulate in the media for a bit until something else comes along….mass shooting, terrorist attack, celeb drama….and a lot of people will just forget all about it. Hell, a lot of people forgot that the W. Bush presidency ever existed!

  36. grendelous Says:

    @Geoff Maybe the CIA is just pissed that the FBI decided to throw the election to Trump so this is just more internecine interdepartmental warfare

  37. Townsend Harris Says:

    Richard Nixon embodied a public immorality and betrayed the Republic.
    Bill Clinton embodied a private immorality and betrayed his wife.
    Donald Trump embodies both.
    The arc of history is long, and maybe it bends toward efficient immorality.

  38. Rich S. Says:

    I agree with your assessment.
    If the Russians really do have some good dirt on him, they will use it at every chance for the next 4 years. If Putin has Trump by the balls, that alone could make life impossible for the R's as a party and as individuals, and make it easier for them to lose in 2018 and 2020. If they see that coming, they will dump him quickly to save themselves.
    If Obama was told about this, I think first in September (?), even after McConnell refused to agree to making the findings of Russian hacking public, if they knew it was possible that the Russians had that kind of leverage on Trump, didn't Obama have an obligation to go public without McConnell and take the chance that McConnell could damage Clinton?
    This reminds me of the story made public a couple years ago when the last of LBJs tapes were released. The ones that showed that Nixon did interfere with the Paris Peace talks, and that he was a traitor. LBJ told Humphrey who then declined to go public thinking that would be too disruptive and the polls said he was going to win anyway. We know how that turned out. Ds never learn and will never ever grow a spine.
    Another thing, why is everyone acting like the Nixon interference with the Peace talks is a new thing since Halderman's notes were recently released? The tapes already told this story some years ago.

  39. geoff Says:

    But seriously, folks: "…cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality." (Glenn Greenwald/ The Intercept)

    https://theintercept.com/2017/01/11/the-deep-state-goes-to-war-with-president-elect-using-unverified-claims-as-dems-cheer/

  40. Dr.BDH Says:

    The former ethics lawyers Eisen and Painter opine that Trump's tax returns contain information about his foreign government and banking connections. They also would clarify his real net worth. He refuses to release them (will that "audit" ever be done?), but what are the chances they will be leaked?

  41. Skepticalist Says:

    Watching the circus at TT today was a thing of beauty in a Monty Python sort of way. I do know that it's likely a prelude to a Constitutional law education for everybody but the nine-year old. Also, genius that he is; going after the spooks at Langley and the FBI should create more deep throaters than can be handled.

    Maybe our current GOP masters are happy to let their latest cartoon continue chewing out the media as a whole. It's one fairly cheap way to stick us with the horror of Pence to keep track of the veto pen.

  42. April Says:

    @Skipper – I have long believed that the powers-that-be (whoever they are) take each president aside and say something like this…"Ok, we're going to let you do some things, but understand if you get too far out of line we will kill your entire family."

    I mean, honestly, why wouldn't they?

    (Adjusting tinfoil hat…)

  43. UKJim Says:

    One thing to note is that if everyone already know about the things you're trying to blackmail someone for, then your blackmail threat is useless. So now we know about Drumpf's golden showers they're no longer valuable as blackmail material.
    Of course that doesn't affect the impact of the Kremlin owning him financially…

    p.s. What *is* the effect of piss on hair? Can it explain his appearance?

  44. JustRuss Says:

    Seems like there's enough here for a congressional investigation of Trump's tax returns to seek out ties to Russia. Assuming they want him out, of course. Interesting times.

  45. mago Says:

    @April. Why wouldn't they? Because anyone who fights that high and that hard already knows the truth of it, and nothing need be said. Present case a possible exception.

  46. Wim Says:

    @Totoro. I didn't make a wish.

  47. mothra Says:

    Geoff: Thanks so much for Glenn Greenwald's musings. Quite rich, coming from him.

    I am going with MS, and others here on the idea that none of this or anything else matters. Republicans know they have gerrymandered their states so thoroughly that there is no way they'll lose their districts as long as an "R" is by their name–and Trump could really have an orgy with underage girls and zoo animals on the front lawn of the White House, all while shooting off an automatic weapon and killing hundreds and his supporters would still claim it was false news or the media trying to destroy him.

    We're so fucked.

  48. schmitt trigger Says:

    I'm with you Mothra,
    He can be shown having sex with underage Muslim girls, and his fanboys would still defend his acions.

  49. Isaac Says:

    @Mothra. Yup. He won't even have to go to confession, because he's “born again” now, so he just gets the benefit of the doubt.

    Two things happening, one, the great man-baby distracts us from all the bad shit the Republicans are doing, which distracts us from the bad shit the Democrats are leaving to them (Gitmo, drones, Flint, unprosecuted Wall Street fucks, NSA surveillance) and at the same time, great bigly man-baby is soon going to get whatever the fuck he wants. Anybody who thinks the secret service or the government establishment or the courts or Congress or anything is going to hold him back is living in a dream. It's okay, the few of us still alive in 20 years may be able to watch re-enactment documentaries on the History channel.

  50. wetcasements Says:

    Jesus, fuck Glenn Greenwald

  51. Timurid Says:

    … preferably with a live rattlesnake.

  52. NickT Says:

    Bear in mind that Trump is coming into office immensely unpopular for the get-go. He's got an approval rating of 37%. Presidents have usually been at around 65% at this point. It's very clear that a solid number of GOP Senators find Trump with the nuclear codes to be a terrifying prospect, and a good number of GOP congresscritters clearly don't like his calls to break from GOP orthodoxy. The GOP will tolerate Trump just as long as they think they can get something out of him. Once they give up on that relationship, or it becomes excessively costly, which I suspect will be much sooner than anyone imagines, they have an abundance of reasons and materials to either destroy him publicly or else persuade him to develop health problems and resign in favor of the equally vicious and unprincipled Pence, who has the supreme advantage of being the sort of good old bigoted boy they can do business with while avoiding the numerous lurid embarrassments of Donnie Putinobitch.

  53. geoff Says:

    Wow, lotta Greenwald hate! That aside, what I find really interesting about this whole situation is that we ('Muricans) seem to be reduced to Kremlinologists (ha) in our own country. Like WHAT THE FUCK IS REALLY HAPPENING?? Was the FBI trying to sabotage the Clinton campaign? Where did Wikileaks get the Podesta emails? (Seth Rich? The NSA?? Putin himself???) Is RT singlehandedly responsible for throwing the election to the GEB? Are Rush Limbaugh and Roger Ailes deep cover Russian moles? Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON??

    As for the "this pee stuff will be proven false and nothing will ever stick to Trump again" theory, I think that's giving Steve Bannon a little too much credit. (Hey, what's that guy doing anyway?) We voted* for a tabloid/reality tv star, but this is a little more drama than I'd counted on. We've seen Trump cut through the GOP, the Dems, and the media; right now he seems to be holding his own against the Intelligence Community. What's next, a military coup?

  54. geoff Says:

    My favorite TPTB explain to new Presidents who's REALLY in charge story is Bill Hicks'. (Paraphrasing) they take the Pres. into a smoke filled room where they show him (or her!) a remarkably professional-looking film of the Kennedy assassination from a previously unseen angle. "Any questions?"

  55. Major Kong Says:

    @geoff

    Bill Hicks was a treasure. He left us much too early.

  56. Mo Says:

    [adds "Donnie Putinobitch" to list]

  57. geoff Says:

    @MK, yes. "I support the war, but not the troops."

  58. sluggo Says:

    I feel like we are living thru a Vonnegut novel:
    TV character with tiny hands and weird hair hires extras because no one will show up for his Presidential announcement, rants, raves acts up like a toddler, loses the election by 3 million votes but is installed as President on a technicality.

  59. mothra Says:

    Geoff, while Glenn Greenwald may have some valid points, he is really, really impressed with himself and lets that get in the way of some badly needed reflection into some of his positions. He lives in Brazil and is not at all affected by the fact that we have a vulgar talking yam as president and a Republican-controlled Congress, so he can smugly talk about how Hillary was worse and Julian Assange and Vladimir Putin are fucking heros for making sure she didn't get elected. Sorry, Glenn. I have to live here. So no, Hillary was not worse. She wasn't the best, no, but we just didn't have that goddamned choice, did we? And Glenn cheering Julian Assange's one-way (and I would argue misogynistic) campaign of leaking documents that would hurt Hillary is really, really poor judgment, in my book.

  60. Anonymous Prof Says:

    @geoff:

    The confusion is the entire point. Vladislav Surkov is an avant-garde dramatist that works for Putin. He keeps Putin in power by deliberately muddying the waters so much that nobody can figure out what the fuck is going on- he openly admits that he funds pro-Putin political parties, anti-Putin groups, Neo-Nazis, human rights protesters, etc. so that nobody can know what real anymore.

    When the news broke about the pee dossier, I immediately thought of Surkov. A lot of the dossier has already been debunked, and easily so- The Atlantic had a story on it. But the entire point is that now, nobody knows what to believe anymore. This is why we have so much "fake news" coming out of Russia- Surkov is trying to scramble America's civic culture so we can't function.

  61. anotherbozo Says:

    Rarely am I less optimistic than Ed, but I think it's too early, and maybe wishful thinking, to speculate on a Republican desertion of Mango Mussolini. He's malevolent and internationally dangerous, yes, but also such a doofus and so much a fish out of water that all kinds of crooks will relish using him in the coming years, with Ryan and McConnell just the beginning. Corporate giveaways of public land, privatizations galore, punitive state I.D. requirements that go unchallenged, all this and more! As long as the hothead doesn't unleash nuclear catastrophe, he'll continue to be useful.

  62. jcdenton Says:

    @Anonymous Prof

    This could fit a certain pattern of derailing the attention of the US media. Stories about Congress making complicated (and boring) maneuvers to strip people of their health care take a back seat to a sensationalist story of Trump behaving like Trump. These kinds of "revelations" may just be shiny baubles, thrown at the idiot fourth estate to keep their eyes firmly fixed on the ratings.

  63. Aurora S Says:

    Hey, honestly it doesn't matter if it's true. We live in a post-fact society. We have birthers that are STILL squealing about Obama supposedly being a secret Kenyan Muslim and Trump denies saying and doing shit that's been *caught on fucking camera*. Remember that Pizzagate was a thing last month, people believed in it and some armed psycho even went into a restaurant to do his own vigilante "investigating" and fired shots over it. It doesn't matter in the least. There is literally nothing you can do that will dissuade his most ardent supporters.

    All we have to do is keep repeating it, beat the dead horse and people will eventually believe it. Accusations are all it takes to convict in the court of public opinion. The Republicans who are only reluctantly on board with him (because marching in lockstep and party loyalty is How They Do) are not likely to stick their necks out for him if it compromises their own chances of reelection, but shit, this election has been full of surprises.

    Hell, we could get a special prosecutor and investigate the shit out of it, and even if nothing turned up, we could investigate the shit out of it again. Make a Russian Pissgate Commission. Impeach him over it. It would be nice if this thing was completely factual so liberals can feel more comfortable that there would be solid ground to stand on, truth-wise. But if the roles were switched right now and the PEOTUS was a Dem, the GOP would have had their knives sharpened long ago and working on a proper wine pairing and side dishes with which to serve the guy's roasted carcass–truthfulness notwithstanding.

    More likely than not, there is at least some truth to this. I know the narcissist's game; he wouldn't do anything to risk damaging his image, even for potential gain down the road. He doesn't have the foresight, and frankly, he's intellectually lazy and probably not smart enough to think of it on his own. He would never dive on the grenade if his ego were on the line, even for himself. He IS an excellently adept manipulator and gaslighter, so you can bet he's twisting the shit out of this to turn it around to his benefit. He'll use it as more "evidence" that everyone's out to get him, that you can't trust The Media and that he is the guardian of the Real Truth that They (and you know who They are) don't want you to know.

  64. Aurora S Says:

    If you're ever curious about What Trump Will Do Next, just think of what the Kardashians or Kanye would do in front of the cameras. He's a reality teevee star, that's how he'll run the show.

    PS: I'm still SUPER disappointed that Snooki is not his running mate.

  65. seniorscrub Says:

    @sluggo
    And so it goes

  66. democommie Says:

    Fuck Glenn Greenwald.

    If you want to criticize someone–as if you're a citizen who's being affected by Trumpligula's insanity–at least have the balls to be in the same country while you do it.

    Greenwald likes to chuck bricks at others, but is deeply afraid that he might be arrested (or worse) if he spends time in the U.S.

    Fuck him.

    The Refucklicans will use Trumpligula and he will use them, the result of both being to fuck everyone who's not in their tribe–which will shrink, dramatically, over time.

  67. Townsend Harris Says:

    Aurora S wrote "the narcissist … wouldn't do anything to risk damaging his image"

    If Putin has videotapes of Trump's penis in action,
    If Trump's penis is anything less than eight inches of New York Prime,
    Then the Russians own Trump.

  68. geoff Says:

    @Democommie/ Mothra, don't want to defend Greenwald overmuch as he can be kinda self-righteous, BUT. Given his work with Edward Snowden on the NSA story and the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers, and the way they've gone after James Risen (a New York Times reporter ffs), Chelsea Manning (sentenced to 35 yrs.), and John Kiriakou (served two years in jail), I can't blame the guy too much for bugging the fuck out. I don't think there's a statute of limitations on espionage, or hell, treason.

  69. Brian M Says:

    I can't blame Glenn for relocating. And EVERYONE is at least somewhat affected when we do crazy things.

    At least Brazilians march in the street against their corrupt plutocrats. Our red state warriors march in support of the corrupt.

  70. geoff Says:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-russia-story-reaches-a-crisis-point-w460806

    Matt Taibbi (who spent many years in Yeltsin's Russia) takes on the "ZOMG RUSSIA HAS TRUMP BY THE BALLS!!" story, and comes to the (to me) entirely reasonable conclusion that, if this is true, somebody needs to produce some proof like NOW.

  71. Townsend Harris Says:

    If the tape exists:
    If Trump's erection is small, the Russians have valuable blackmail and a crucial state secret to guard.
    If Trump's erection is large, he'll want the Russians to publish the video and further cement his relations with his followers.

    Taibbi's right when he says "We're either learning the outlines of the most extraordinary compromise to date of an incoming American president by a foreign power, or we're watching an unparalleled libel and media overreach."

  72. democommie Says:

    I stand by what I said.

    Plenty of journalists have died in the last 50 years,as a result of being caught up in combat, blown the fuck up by distant launches or just for telling the truth in places like Russia, Iraq, Syria, Egypt Chile, The Philipines, Indonesia and other countries where there are totalitatarian dickwads in power.

    Those people STILL speak truth to power.

    What is truly amazing to me is that everything said about Hilary Clinton is true–even AFTER it is proven to be a lie. Otoh, everything said about the Pricksident-elect is an ATTACK ON AMERICAAAAAAAAAAA!

  73. Bitter Scribe Says:

    I wonder how many people have noticed that in eight years, the Obama administration has never been through a scandal worthy of the name, while Trump hasn't even taken office yet and he's already embroiled in one of the most sordid scandals imaginable, with one of America's biggest adversaries?

  74. democommie Says:

    @ Bitter Scribe:

    IOIYAR–or whatever variation sez only demoncrats are doing bad stuff, ever, it takes to soothe the hurt fee-fees of the Trumpligula dumbentariat.

    The liebral hooligant RIOT at UC Davis, yesterday, will be getting more airplay than a KKKlan church burning in downtown Detroit, you betcha!

  75. geoff Says:

    @democommie, point taken on Greenwald. You didn't see Risen running away, for example. And frankly, I'm foily enough to think nowhere's really safe if THEY want to get you ; )

    As for Mrs. Clinton, I haven't seen any serious claims that the Podesta e-mails are not authentic. And dang, I don't want to turn into Carrstone or anything, but the "scandal-free Obama administration" thing bugs me. Justified or not, having the former Sec. of State investigated by the FBI counts as a scandal, right? A former President meeting with the Atty. General while his wife was under investigation by that very AG's Justice Dept.?? Much more importantly, I personally find it "scandalous" (though our press evidently does not) that the Obama administration has killed an unknown number of "folks" (including at least two US citizens) with Flying Death Robots, using only the flimsiest of legal justifications.

  76. Rich S. Says:

    None of those things are scandals, geoff.

  77. NickT Says:

    @geoff

    "having the former Sec. of State investigated by the FBI counts as a scandal, right?"

    Only if you believe she was guilty of something more than incompetence.

    "I personally find it "scandalous""

    Pretty thin gruel, when one's personal feelings become the measure of what is a legitimate scandal. The brutal fact is that the country as a whole is fine with drone strikes and they simply don't register as a scandal even for the craziest teabaggers who have just destroyed their own healthcare in the name of escaping Obamacare.

  78. Katydid Says:

    What do I consider scandalous? Ignoring warnings of an upcoming terror attack (following a partially-successful terror attack) and saying "You've covered your asses, now shut up." Going to war with a country that had nothing to do with the ensuing terror attack to enrich the coffers of the VP who was also on the board of a company profiting heavily from the war. Running the economy into a depression. Removing the only available option many people have to get healthcare.

  79. geoff Says:

    Yikes, y'all! @Katydid, agreed on all that stuff. My personal favorite is having your little brother hijack a Presidential election in plain sight and then having a Supreme Court in part picked by your goddamn DAD put you in office. THAT'S a scandal.

    OK, Nick, if you want to define "scandal" as having to do with sex, graft, corruption, stuff like that, gotcha. I'm just mad that O "normalized" and extended a lot of plainly unconstitutional stuff like pervasive electronic surveillance and extrajudicial assassination started (OK, ramped up) by our boy W. And EVERYBODY seemed OK with it. Well, now a Giant Evil Baby is less than a week from inauguration, and he can read our e-mails and I dunno, blog comments, and listen to our phone calls and read our texts and fucking kill us if he wants to and it's "LEGAL". And people are blaming Russia?

  80. Katydid Says:

    @geoff; yes, I stayed up in 2000 to watch the election results, and I remember very clearly that Florida was called for Gore first. Then I thought it was interesting that Kathleen Sibelius, a longtime Bush donor, called for a recount. Then I thought, "how conVEEEENient that through massive misdirection and chaos, Bush ends up happening to win a state his brother is governor of".

  81. greatlaurel Says:

    @Katydid, I don't think it was Kathleen Sibelius, she is a Democrat and was governor of Kansas. Her dad, John Gilligan, was one of the best governors Ohio ever had, by the way.

    Are you thinking of the Florida Secretary of State at the time?

    Otherwise, exactly right. When the GOP thugs rioted and stopped the Florida recount, it was absolutely clear that the GOP was completely taken over by fascists.

  82. geoff Says:

    Katherine Harris was co-chair of the GWB campaign in FL, AND Florida's Secretary of State, whose responsibilities include supervising the state's elections. (Guess who appointed her? JEB!!) One stop shoppin'!!

  83. Katydid Says:

    Katherine Harris! Yes, that was her name! It escaped my memory this morning.

    Let's not forget that by attacking Iraq in retaliation for 9/11 (remember, 15 of the 19 bombers were Saudis), Bushco destabilizes the entire Middle East. Hussein kept Al Quaeda controlled, the power running, and Iraq a functioning country.

  84. NickT Says:

    Sibelius was a rather good Finnish composer. Kathleen Sebelius is the former governor (amazing to relate in the Age of Brownback's Brownshirts!).

  85. Katydid Says:

    Completely off-topic for this thread, but wanted to share: as an antidote to the general level of terrible out there, the movie Hidden Figures is a delight. It was a pleasure to see a movie where nothing blew up. It was a pleasure to see a movie where people used their brains. It was a pleasure to see women working together instead of pitted against each other. Ed might like it because all the characters view education as a way to get ahead and (minor spoiler): one of the characters fights to get the advanced education she needs to move up.

  86. Brian M Says:

    Katydid:

    I might point out that many of the abuses that led to the Great Recession were at least partially enabled by The Great Empath, including serious reduction of banking regulations. And that another Great Hope and change blithely dismissed the various crimes and misdemeanors with a "What's past is past".

    And here we are today. Will there be anyone to bail us out when the Even Bigger Too Big To Fail Banks collapse the economy again?

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