POKING THE REGIME CHANGE SPECIALIST BEAR

Our current President is a thoroughly impulsive and stupid man. This is recognized even among his admirers, even if they use different language to describe the same attributes. And he strikes me as the kind of person who does not fully recognize how poor some of his decisions are until they are literally blowing up in his face. He throws hand grenades for fun; as long as they land somewhere else, it's hilarious and awesome. When one bounces off a wall and comes to rest at his feet, only then does he stop to consider that maybe throwing hand grenades around is not very smart.

And then he blames someone else, right before it explodes.

No matter how slow people like this may be to learn from their mistakes, as a 70 year-old adult I have to imagine that some small part of him is second guessing that decision to launch a frontal assault on America's tangled and massive web of intelligence agencies before he even took office. You might think that a person with as much baggage and as many closet-skeletons as this guy would think twice before provoking the professionals who specialize in lurking around in the darkness, uncovering one's past, and you know, toppling elected officials. Don't let the fact that they didn't get the exploding cigar into Castro's hands fool you. They're pretty good at this.

With Tuesday's late revelations that the campaign team had extensive contact with Russian intelligence throughout 2016, it is clear that the Flynn debacle is only the tip of an iceberg that is likely to end up on top of the White House. Two quotes from Paul Manafort (the campaign staffer who raised eyebrows because of his previous work in Russia and the Ukraine and ties to people in the FSB and around Putin) suggest a key shift among people in the President's orbit from "Push the alternative facts on the cuck media!" to "Cut a deal, turn state's evidence, and stay out of prison".

Mr. Manafort, who has not been charged with any crimes, dismissed the accounts of the American officials in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “This is absurd,” he said. “I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”

When a person in the world of government and politics begins including the term "knowingly" in his or her speech, that person is already well into the process of preparing to tell this story in a courtroom.

Mr. Manafort added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”

Good luck with that line in court, kiddo! "The undercover cop didn't tell me she was a prostitute, and she really looked like a prostitute! So I'm off the hook, right?"

Maybe I'm projecting or being optimistic, but this week – Can you believe it's only week four? – has a very distinct Coming Unraveled feeling to it. The flow of leaks is turning into a tsunami. No one in the administration is swaggering around and trying to project a juvenile idea of dominant confidence. They all look and sound like they're a split second away from turning on one another, and like more than one or two hushed conversations to the effect of, "How much trouble are we in here?" have taken place. Obviously neither you nor I are in the White House to know for certain, but the tone and atmosphere around the one-two punch of the Flynn debacle and these new Russia revelations feels different. Maybe it will dissipate and we will return to Bullying Bravado normal. Or maybe the man who never thinks about the potential consequences before speaking or acting is beginning to wonder if making enemies of the people most likely to be able to reduce him to a smoldering crater in the Earth was a wise thing to do.

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84 Responses to “POKING THE REGIME CHANGE SPECIALIST BEAR”

  1. A Different Nate Says:

    Somewhere, Mike Pence watches the growing chaos with steepled fingers and utters a low chuckle. "Just as I had planned," he says.

  2. Ellis Weiner Says:

    To me the wild (or "wild-ish") card is the rest of the Republican party. They just voted NOT to demand T's tax returns. Why? Because they know it's poison and they don't want to have to deal with it? They're already getting yelled at by their constituencies over ACA and there's back-home townhalls skedded in a week or so. How many Repubs do Dems have to peel off to make a difference? When do the Repubs decide the ship is sinking and it's every man for himself? These are reasonable questions, at this point.

  3. Redleg Says:

    I love the experience of schadenfreude. It's all I got left.

  4. democommie Says:

    Schadenfreude like revenge and BORSCHT is a dish best served cold!

  5. democommie Says:

    I have a mental image of Putin, sitting in his chair like Mr. Burns in the Simpson's…

    BTW, the NEW acting NSA is a guy who worked for Paul FUCKING Bremer in Baghdad when the $9b-12b went missing–he was the guy in charge of vetting contracts, if I have it right. Could be more joy down the road.

  6. Khaled Says:

    Fuck the FBI, they had this shit before the election and sat on it while that roach Comey did his bullshit song and dance to crater Hillary.

  7. Mo Says:

    Dunno if the FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security are actually all that good at their jobs, or just another bunch of bureaucrats who want to keep their jobs.

    It would be great if they want to keep their jobs because they're dedicated and good at their work.

    It could happen.

  8. Mo Says:

    Virtual high five, Khaled.

  9. Jacob Says:

    Looking good for a 70 year old man, Ed!

  10. ConcernedCitizen Says:

    Is Trump's and his underlings' sociopathic behavior a result of them working almost exclusively in the private sector up to this point? Because they really don't seem to grasp that separation of powers/government oversight is actually a thing. The way they conducted their campaign, and the way their administration has continued from then on, gives the impression of a group of people that, in the words of a comedian I like, are so rich that they think of the government as a nuisance.

    But now they're actually in the game of public service. And, whatever else we may think of American democracy, the least we can say is that public officials cannot shut people up with settlement money the way private tycoons can. I don't think they're used to that. Part of me wonders if they're wide-eyed and taken aback by the level of scrutiny they're under. Hell, I almost feel sorry for them.

    Oh wait… no I don't.

  11. Noskilz Says:

    It does seem like we're in for an interesting next few weeks.

    No idea how it will play out, but I suspect the Mar-a-Lago Machiavellis' are even sloppier than their Mayberry predecessors, and those were some astonishingly sloppy rascals.

    If the goal of the hearings McConnell and Corker are inching toward is to bury they matter, they may discover not finding awkward things could be a real challenge.

  12. Aurora S Says:

    I fully admit to initiating a circle jerk here…but let us say, and why not, that people started to care about reality and facts, and it was undeniably proven that the election was a sham. What then?

  13. MolonLabia Says:

    I think you're being optimistic.

    Flynn was a sacrificial lamb; all of the Russia dirt will be sloughed off on him. The Republicans will claim there's no need to investigate the Trump campaign's Russia ties because Flynn is gone, and isn't the liberal media MEAN for harping on the issue when Trump did the right thing and told Flynn to resign?

    Claiming this is the first domino in the fall of the House of Trump is premature . Republicans are so cowed by the pro-Trump base they wouldn't vote to impeach even if Trump raped a child on the white house lawn.

  14. HoosierPoli Says:

    It's not schadenfreude to see the Republicans finally be handed all the keys to the car and promptly ram it into a bridge abutment. Frankly I'm relieved that they're spending all their political energy running around with their hair on fire. These jackoffs are only capable of doing politics as backseat driving, nagging and naysaying and dragging their feet on everything. When it comes time to actually affirmatively DO something, they can't help but fuck it up.

  15. J. Dryden Says:

    We'll know that it's time to be optimistic when Republicans in the House start to peel away from the administration. Over in the Senate, you've got your McCains and your Grahams and they're comfortably removed from re-election so they can afford to express dissent. House GOP-ers are another matter. They're so terrified of losing their seats by being perceived as 'traitors' that they will (enabled by Paul "I Still Think He Should Have Won Last Year's Lieberman Award" Ryan) huddle together in solidarity.

    For now.

    If, however, their experiences back home–sure, they're blowing off town hall meetings NOW, but the two-year-clock is counting–tell them that nah, fuck it, they'll take more heat by sticking with Trump than by overboarding him–then, THEN things will finally shift.

    I don't mean to sound bleak, though. If the past four weeks are any indication, this administration may hit that critical point REALLY quickly. Because Trump supporters–not the die-hards, just the ones who chose him over Hillary because she was "corrupt" and "more of the same" and he "could get things done"–voted for the man on the premise that he would be in control. The more he demonstrates that he is not, the more likely they are to think "You know what? I like the cut of that Pence fellow's jib." (OK, that DID sound bleak. Sorry.)

  16. doug Says:

    I am guessing like everyone, but I don't think T has ever second guessed himself….

    And yes Kahled…Why now? Why not then? Well, now they have made it clear who is in control of whom….

    A forecast: there is not enough popcorn as the 'events' continue to unfold.

  17. Mark Says:

    President Trump is not stupid. When this is the first sentence of your article you lose instantly.

  18. Townsend Harris Says:

    Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015.
    Lots of folks have predicted The Donald's demise in the last 20 months.

    The Donald can more than rape a child on the White House lawn and not lose any votes from his base. Don't underestimate the cuckoldry fantasies of white conservatives:
    If Putin releases a videotape of eight or more inches of New York Prime in action,
    white conservatives will work hard to re-elect The Donald.

  19. democommie Says:

    "Because Trump supporters–not the die-hards, just the ones who chose him over Hillary because she was "corrupt" and "more of the same" and he "could get things done"–voted for the man on the premise that he would be in control."

    It was said, on the "Dangers of Faction" thread that abortion was not being mentioned/talked about enoughand here we are talking about those people who wanted a guywho would get things done–with absolutely no evidence that he is even capable of running a for profit enterprise, much less a government.

    Yeah, some of this, a little of that. Racism is what drives a fuckton of fuckwaddery; unstated, misunderstood, misperceived and uninspected. We DON'T like the OTHER–that's in our DNA, we're not close to evolving out of that hindbrain shit. Otoh, some of us–many here–realize that the bias is ingrained and we use the rest of our brain to do emotional and logical workarounds. The Trumpliguturds do not examine their fears and prejudices, they simply live them.

    I am sick to fucking death of pretending that MY people aren't, all too frequently, guilty of horrific acts against those whom they consider lesser humans or simply non-human. Racism is the result of fear, ignorance and greed. It's got no logical basis, that ground has been worked to death.

    I've heard it said, on several talk shows, that Trumpligula's ascendancy is a referendum on Obama's presidency. From where I sit, it seems more like a referendum on race relations, first, last, always. And, it has the added feature of being a plebiscite of sorts (one that was voted on by less than the full electorate–fuck those who did not participate as a result of disinterest) splitting the country along the lines of racism, fundamentalism and good old fashioned mean spiritedness.

    I don't have anything to go by but 60+ yearts of knowing that we, as a society, are content to let a significant fraction of our populace be treated badly, simply because we can easily identify them as NOT US.

    Fuck the dancing around, I'm tired of it.

  20. Robin Says:

    Maybe it's a trap. If the republicans pseudo investigate the thing with Flynn and it goes no where, how much worse are they going to look when the next big reveal…er leak comes to the forefront and they've done nothing. Incompetent much?

    KAC husband was talked about for Solicitor General. It would be nice if he turned it down so he could spend his time defending his wife when she comes up on charges.

    Someone should whisper in Chaffets, Graham and McCain's ears, that this is only the start and maybe getting out in front of it will save their party.

  21. geoff Says:

    @DC, re: Mr. Burns, "excellent".

    As for racism, yes, yes, and yes.

  22. geoff Says:

    Reporting back from the foilier fringes of the internets, the speculation is that the neoconservative faction of the Deep State wanted Flynn gone and engineered his downfall in order to put the brakes on Trump's stated wishes to thaw relations with Russia. I don't like the guy, but I'm actually surprised the president* caved on this.

  23. geoff Says:

    For the less foily, here's a good article from Bloomberg:

    "Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told me Monday that he saw the leaks about Flynn's conversations with Kislyak as part of a pattern. "There does appear to be a well orchestrated effort to attack Flynn and others in the administration," he said. "From the leaking of phone calls between the president and foreign leaders to what appears to be high-level FISA Court information, to the leaking of American citizens being denied security clearances, it looks like a pattern.""

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-14/the-political-assassination-of-michael-flynn

  24. Gerald McGrew Says:

    With the Flynn ties and communications with Russia, the regular contacts between Russian intelligence and Trump's campaign, and the blatant appointment of Tillerson as SoS, I'm wondering if Putin has managed to pull off the unthinkable…..installing a puppet government in the US.

    As as a child of the cold war era, can I just express my amazement and befuddlement at the spectacle of the Republican Party deliberately turning a blind eye to all of it? I mean….the party of McCarthy and Reagan is now looking at the White House having direct ties to Russia, and their response is….."Meh, not worth bothering over"?

    As far as how this will play out, remember it was 2 years between the Watergate break in and Nixon's resignation. The way things are going, I suspect the only thing that's going to move this forward along those lines is a Democrat sweep of the House and Senate in 2018. Either that or flat-out bombshell proof of collusion between Trump and Putin that even the most loyalist of Republicans can't wave away.

    Unbelievable.

  25. Aurora S Says:

    @MolonLabia–It's also my first instinct that this is all kabuki theater and some type of calculated chess move. However, Trump is impulsive and has no concept of the greater game, only what tarnishes his image. He has been thoroughly insulated from the results of his actions his entire life and appears to think that consequences are things that other people have to experience. He's certainly a mercenary that will throw anyone under the bus to preserve his image, but I can't see this as being a set-up of any sort, just a reaction.

    @HoosierPoli–The first thing that clued me into the fact that Republicans are thoroughly in over their heads with this one was the apparent confusion surrounding the "repeal and replace" of the ACA. I don't think they thought they'd ever have to confront a situation in which they'd actually have to do anything more than constantly bitch about how awful it is, and were put on the spot. They were totally content to treat Congress like a high school lunch room and collect a paycheck, only being prepared for "more of the same" for at least four more years.

    The public doesn't seem to have a memory of more that 6 months and the Republican approach has always been to deny, deny, deny, but keep up an appearance of total solidarity. The Republicans are self-preservationist as fuck, but I can't think of the last time they essentially gnawed off their own leg to save themselves. I'm not convinced it's ever going to happen; that would imply that they have a conscience. Going down with the ship is more their style. They have had scandal after scandal after scandal and have given absolutely zero fucks, blamed the Dems, and it's worked ever since I can remember.

  26. Aurora S Says:

    *Aside from Nixon. Ish. It should be noted that the Republicans of 50 years ago are not the Republicans of today. We live in a post-Gingrich/Hate Radio/Faux News world.

  27. democommie Says:

    @geoff–directly above.

    And Nunes will be releasing infomation on the Obama dastards who did this as soon as they are dead?

    "Political assassination of Michael Flynn" could be shortened to:

    "Political ass, Michael Flynn."

    More succinct and more accurate.

    Of course the guy who's currently, the "acting" is at least as much of a shitbag as Flynn and has direct ties to Cubic Corp. and a couple of other defense related outfits. Doesn't mean he's a thief. Working with Bremer, otoh, is seriously worrisome as Bremer made Bernie Madoff look like a guy running a game of 3 carde monte on a steet corner.

    FWIW, $9-12b (the amount that is unaccounted for in the Provisional Authorities mis-managed/criminal operations in Iraq) in nice, crisp Benjamins would weigh from 90 to 120 tons. It's sorta hard to imagine that was dropped behind Bremer's sofa cushions. There is NO FUCKING WAY that there wasn't a lot of pokery-jiggery going on and if Kellogg was unaware of it, he's completely unqualified for the job he just had handed to him.

  28. mothra Says:

    Mark, Trump demonstrates every day he draws a breath that he is staggeringly stupid. Sorry.

    I have to agree with J. Dryden. While it is highly entertaining to watch the Trump and the Republicans accomplish nearly nothing (let's not forget ICE deporting people left and right, rolling back regulations on poisoning streams and groundwater, etc.) while they are putting out fires, they still won't be bothered to do anything about Trump. This will all die down once the stories dry up and the investigations are stalled in Republican-run committees. But I think we can count on this administration to provide us with non-stop fires to put out, so we might as well stock up on popcorn.

  29. Kaleberg Says:

    This is happening too soon. We want this kind of chaos for early 2018, so it has an effect on the mid-terms. I'm hoping this round blows over and festers for another six months to a year, so the next round of orchestrated chaos will be more useful.

    One thing to remember is that the CIA and FBI hate each other. They really loathe each other. I had friends in the CIA, and as far as they are concerned, the FBI is a bunch of Mormon missionary goons, just tight assed thugs. They'd drop by your house in pairs to harass your spouse while you were at work, and that was the stuff they could talk about. Of course, FBI people consider CIA people to be vicious cosmopolites who suborn every American virtue. Ross Thomas, only exaggerated this hatred slightly in his thrillers.

    Is Comey is yet another FBI guy working for the Russians? It wouldn't be the first time. Look at Robert Hanssen who doubled for 15 years. Does the CIA have more on Trump and his people than they've released already? Almost certainly.

    Richard Nixon slashed CIA funding in '73, so presidents do have ways to fight back. Then again, Richard Nixon wasn't president for all that long after that, and institutions have long memories.

  30. Gerald McGrew Says:

    Kaleberg,

    RE: Comey

    When I saw the pattern of Comey's actions…..sending the "we're re-opening the Hillary email investigation" note on a Friday afternoon, but sending the "Um, never mind" one on Sunday, I thought at that time "Is he in on the whole Russia thing?" And that was BEFORE I was aware of him suppressing the info about the Russia-Trump contacts.

    At this point, I'm wondering just how deep this goes.

  31. Scout Says:

    What HoosierPoli said. Times one millllllllion.

  32. Matt Says:

    I think it's disgraceful that an unelected bureaucracy filled with butt hurt neocons and shills is trying to deep six the president because he doesn't speak with nuance and doesn't read from a TelePrompTer. Its disgusting, these people act holier than thou trying to sabotage the president because they don't like his personality. You can't throw a temper tantrum because crooked Hillary lost the election, deliberately subvert the administration and act like you are morally superior. Donald trump is the only president to survive a stone cold stunner, it's going to take a lot more than a few butt hurt shills in the deep state foreign policy establishment to take him down. And if they do.. which they won't because Donald's support is so strong, what does it say that a regime change engine is at work to overthrow our own government? I know you'll find some way to say he deserves it for whatever fake news bs you come up with but what it was the other way around

  33. Bitter Scribe Says:

    “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”

    Can you image the howls of derision that would have greeted such a statement from an Obama (or Clinton) official?

  34. democommie Says:

    Matt:

    Seek help, you deluded fuck.

  35. Ellis Weiner Says:

    What if what was the other way around? You mean what if Hillary had, over and over, defended Russia and Putin in the face of clear evidence that they'd hacked a fucking US election? You mean, what if Hillary's Nat. Sec. chief had been found to be in contact with Russians throughout the campaign? You mean what if Hillary had named, as Sec. of State, a corporate CEO with a huge involvement with Putin and Russian oil? Is that what you mean, bunky?

  36. Emerson Dameron Says:

    @HoosierPoli @Scout

    "Never underestimate the ability of a dedicated martyr to handwave away the inconvenience of being on the winning side." – someone on reddit

  37. Brian M Says:

    Matt: After you wrote this herp-worshipping screed, did you put on an SS Officer uniform from Costumes R Us and salute an image of Hair Fuehrer you've hung on the wall above your bed?

  38. Brian M Says:

    hero….I meant. Although "herp" as in "snake" is also very appropriate.

  39. Grendel Says:

    This past month has thrown into stark contrast the "No Drama" Obama years of nearly no meaningful scandals.

  40. Gerald McGrew Says:

    Matt's post is a good example of why I had to get off facebook. It wasn't that I was rapidly losing respect for my friends and family simply because they were supporting Trump, it was the WAY in which they were doing it.

    I mean, Matt apparently truly thinks those in the intelligence community are leaking this info for no other reason than that Trump doesn't read off a teleprompter? The words "stupid", "idiotic", or "moronic" simply don't do justice to that sort of thinking.

    And it's not like that's unique to Matt. It seems to be a unifying trait among Trump supporters.

  41. Wim Says:

    @Gerald McGrew–

    I fear it is because "uh-uh!" and "does not!" and "is too!" are about the only arrows left in the quiver for Trump supporters.

  42. Gerald McGrew Says:

    @Wim,

    I guess so. Notice how Matt's "defense" is all about those doing the leaking and their motivations, rather than the material that's being leaked…..material which shows that the administration is, and has been, directly connected to the Putin regime.

    I'm shaking my head at conservatives right now, baffled at how unconcerned they are over this.

    It supports a narrative that I've seen several times since the 2016 campaign and election…..conservatives aren't really about principles and policies, as much as they are about simply getting power. And once they get it, they will try and keep it at all costs.

  43. Katydid Says:

    @Wim, I've been hearing all day lots of claims of "thousands" of Trump supporters who are being beaten in the streets by Godless Libruls. I even was accosted by someone at work today who "knows people who were beaten up". I asked for names, so I could report it to the police. You can guess where that went.

  44. Katydid Says:

    @Grendel, you seem to forget that for 8 years Obama willfully and maliciously remained black while in the White House, just to spite the Teatard "morans". That was quite a scandal and they still haven't recovered. He also deliberately raised two daughters in the White House who were never busted for drinking underage, never got pregnant, and never caused any problems for the Secret Service. Outrageous behavior from the President. Oh, and he also acquired not one, but two family dogs.

  45. Wim Says:

    @Katydid–

    All the more surprising given that they're supposed to be the tough guys with all the guns.

  46. Bill Says:

    Did Matt actually point out that Trump is the only president to survive a stone cold stunner? This is a wrestling thing, yes? This was done to be humorous, wasn't it? Please reassure me that someone is not arguing Trump's virtue or fitness for office based on something that happened in professional fucking wrestling? I am aghast, moreso than I have ever been, and believe me I know from aghast.

  47. democommie Says:

    Isn't a stone cold stunner something to do with Stone Cold Steve Austin? I doubt, very much, that if Mr. Austin laid one of those on Trumpligula he'd recover. It would prolly cause brain death–admittedly that would be difficult to be certain about.

  48. Bill Says:

    I think I've just been given a remarkable insight in to the 'mentality', as it were, of a (very likely significant) percentage of Trump voters. I was having trouble with people, who outwardly appear to be functional and reasonably intelligent, well, not drooling on themselves anyway, being enthusiastic about voting for Trump. Are they racists, or just horrible people? Maybe a little bit of both, but c'mon, Donald Effing Trump? Seriously?

    And now I get it. They're wrestling fans. They like wrestling, and they think it's real. Simple, really. Makes sense, if you don't think about it.

    Now I can move on to other vexing thought problems. Like: Gin or Whiskey?

  49. Leading Edge Boomer Says:

    Donnie has forgotten the maxim his mother tried to teach him as a child: "Son, don't fuck with the intelligence agencies."

    Oh, and nice satire, Matt.

  50. Davis X. Machina Says:

    You keep spelling "Stone cold Sturmer" wrong.

  51. mago Says:

    Russia again? zzzzz

    Popcorn needs a bottle of single malt, a carafe of purified water and a nice cut tumbler to go with.

  52. democommie Says:

    @mago:

    Single malt, otoh, needs nothing but a gleass and a touch of good water–if that.

  53. jcdenton Says:

    Fucking Poe's law. Can't tell if Matt is satirizing a typical Trump defender, trolling us good or is an actual Trump defender. I mean, it got a laugh out of me one way or another.

  54. NickT Says:

    @Matt

    "I think it's disgraceful that an unelected bureaucracy filled with butt hurt neocons and shills deep sixed a presidential candidate because she had ovaries."

    See, we can agree wholeheartedly. Or, in your case, assholeheartedly.

  55. define and redefine Says:

    "I guess so. Notice how Matt's "defense" is all about those doing the leaking and their motivations, rather than the material that's being leaked…"

    To be fair, I seem to remember a lot of democrats were behaving this way with every leak from the DNC emails. They never really addressed the party colluding to shut down Bernie, or other revelations from said emails, but man were they upset about the leaks.

    From the Hill:

    "The Clinton campaign has refused to confirm the authenticity of the emails and has sought to cast doubt on them at every turn, noting that the exchanges were stolen by Russian hackers and could have been doctored.
    They have sought to deflect attention from the contents of the emails by describing the hacks as an unprecedented interference in the U.S. election by foreign adversaries that threatens the nation’s sovereignty.

    And they have lashed out at the media for covering what they describe as trivial political minutia rather than the national security implications of the hacked emails."

    (http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/303180-clinton-fails-to-contain-the-damage-from-email-leaks)

    …which isn't to excuse or downplay the potential connections between the Trump administration and the Russians; it's just to point out that they aren't the only ones to try this particular kind of play.

    The whole country seems to be rife with tribalism and little short on integrity and consistently applied principles these days…

  56. democommie Says:

    @ define and redefine:

    Yes, of course; what you say is accurate,

    There is one niggling difference; the DNC is not iintent on fucking the 99% out of whatever they have left after the last 40 or so years of relentless attacks on unions, civil liberties and financial stability.

    Fuck Berniebros. Bernie tried ro do what Trump succeeded at, hijacking the machinery of an institution (as flawed as it is) that he couldn't be bothered to blelong to for his entire poilitical career.

    Keep on beatig that dead horse, depending on your age you may live long enough for the food riots.

  57. geoff Says:

    @DC, Bill, speaking of wrasslin', Linda McMahon was confirmed as head of the Small Business Administration yesterday:
    https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/linda-mcmahon-confirmed-senate-sba-administrator

  58. Major Kong Says:

    Shhhhhh……..nobody tell Matt that professional wrestling isn't real.

  59. doug Says:

    This entire thread has been a stunner for me!
    Thanks to all. and especially Ed for giving us the sandbox and leading the discussion…

  60. define and redefine Says:

    @democommie –

    Not a Bernie bro. I'm brown and the child of immigrants – there was no way in hell I wouldn't have voted for the best chance of keeping Trump out of office. It's not useful to address my point with an ad hominem.

  61. define and redefine Says:

    To clarify – I voted for Hillary.

  62. chopper Says:

    Major Kong @ 8:09:
    Except in Mexico… "Oooh, pro wrestling from Mexico. You know down there it's a real sport" — Homer Simpson

  63. Grendel Says:

    @define and redefine:

    Define this term "the best chance of keeping Trump out of office"

    I don't think it means what you think it means.

    I voted for Hillary too, but damn she was a horrible candidate. Horrible at retail politics and extra horrible as a fit for the political moment. I can't help but think Bernie would have kept the angry white working class at home in the Democratic Party.

  64. Skepticalist Says:

    Trump thinks that we all want to be Donald Trump but "Ha Ha" I am and you're not" means he's the winner.

  65. Skipper Says:

    SCROTUS is so used to being a bully because of being a billionaire that he's forgotten that there are some people who can fight back in surreptitious ways. He's used to just firing someone (he built a reality show on it), suing them, or stiffing them and leaving them with no recourse.

    However, he forgot — or never learned — the First Law of Restaurant Patrons: Never antagonize someone who can spit in your food. You have to wonder how many times he has been served food that has been "seasoned" with spit and/or semen. Or how many times he has used silverware that was wiped in someone's crotch or butt before being put on the table in front of him. The "lowly" people he insults and bullies have ways of fighting back.

    This dust-up with the intelligence agencies just takes this to a new level. These guys can fight back. Now, he's named billionaire Stephen Feinberg, a guy with no intelligence or government experience, to investigate the intelligence agencies. This is gonna be good. You don't get to be a Wall Street billionaire without a skeleton or two — maybe a couple of dozen — in your closet. I'm guessing that the agencies are already going through their hefty dossier on him, selecting the most salacious things to use against him. Failing that, they could plant kiddie porn on his computer in about five minutes.

  66. Gerald McGrew Says:

    @define and redefine,

    In a superficial sense, I agree. The DNC did try and downplay the content of the hacked emails and play up the source of those hacks. But beyond a mere superficiality, THERE WAS DAMN GOOD REASON TO DO SO.

    The contents of the emails showed, at worst, a political party that was favoring one of its candidates over another. While that's a problem, it's internal party politics. The SOURCE of the hacks OTOH was indeed a major story. It was the Russians, who as we all now know, were directly influencing our election in support of Trump.

    That is an ENORMOUS story all by itself.

    Compare that with the current situation, where the source of the leaks are staff within the intelligence agencies. While this level of leaking may be unprecedented, its existence isn't. We've seen intelligence leaks before.

    But the CONTENT of what's being leaked is downright alarming. As I said above, it's starting to look like the Putin regime pulled off the unthinkable….installing a puppet regime in the White House.

    Do you see the differences?

  67. Skepticalist Says:

    I'm stunned. Never have I seen a more infantile press conference. I'm sure it went over well with my secret and not so secret Trump voter friends.

    "Gotcha again. Ain't I tremendous?"

  68. Skepticalist Says:

    Oops!

    "Gotcha again" refers to Trump's reaction to questions, not the press'
    questions.

    Jeeze my post was poorly worded……..

  69. democommie Says:

    @define and redefine:

    My apologies, to you. Fuck the Berniebros.

    I'm not talking about people who LIKE Bernie. I'm talking about people who are still convinced–to the extent that they will work at keeping the democrats from beating the republicans in elections foe federal office, by voting for a non-starter in a tight race or just pouting and staying home–that Bernie would have won.

    Oddly, up until 2016 or so, Bernie did it right. He started his political career in Burlington, VT where there are only retail politics. If he didn't talk to every resident at some time while he was Mayor I would be surpised. Then he became a U.S, Rep., at large. He was elected to the Senate in 2007 and is currently serving his second term, after re-election in 2012.

    He's always identified as "I", not, "D".

    He decided in 2016 (afaia) that running for PotUS would be a great idea and he then decided that using the apparatus of the democratic party would be the way to achieve his aims. Never having dealt with the DNC (and they are a selfish, petty, fucking lot of morons) and not having helped other democrats get elected (again, afaia) he not only didn't OWE them anything, they didn't OWE him anything. Rightly or wrongly (and I think it's "wrongly") the DNC is staffed by people who want to be successful/important/remembered/sucked up to, etc.,. Bernie Sanders has been pretty disdainful of the dems over his years in Congress–voting with them when it suits him or voting against them when it didn't. He did some good work and he also got a ton of credit for things that orther people via party collegeiality, horsetrading, calling in favors and making threats were largely responsible for achieving.

    Bernie was almost certainly unelectable. On the plus side he wasn't black; on the negative side he is a jew and a known socialist. That I know he IS NOT a commie matters not in the least to the millions who would have voted against him because "Socialism" = commie rats stealin' what's mine!

    I was not at all confident of Hilary Clinton's abiity to beat the dogfuckers that are the modern GOP. I was absolutely concvinced that she could do the job of PotUS waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay the fuck better than Trumpligula (then, again, so could I) and I was not at all cinfident that Bernie would have an uphill battle with his own party and no shot with the repukes in congress.

    Yeah, those are only my opinions but Bernie still self-identifies as "I", so I put him in pretty much the same bucket as Nader. Both of them could have helped maintain sanity, instead they went off on their own bat and in both instances we reap the whirlwind.

  70. democommie Says:

    This:

    "and I was not at all cinfident that Bernie would have an uphill battle with his own party and no shot with the repukes in congress."

    "and I was not at all confident that Bernie wouldn't have an uphill battle with his own party and no shot with the repukes in congress."

  71. Mo Says:

    Kaleberg –

    Is there a betting pool about who will win … or even survive … the battle between the FBI and the CIA, now that US president Donald Trump is reportedly eyeing private equity billionaire Stephen Feinberg to review the country’s spy agencies?

    A torturer is also evidently now the second-in-command at the CIA…

  72. Katydid Says:

    @Democommie; standing ovation. That's it, exactly.

    My two cents after that; had Bernie been named the D candidate, I would have held my nose and voted for him because Trump in the White House would be (and is proving) unthinkable. However, he was *not* a Democrat and he had a lot of problematic issues regarding women and children. The BernieBros with their magical thinking and toddler-like petulance are just so tiresome.

  73. define and redefine Says:

    @ Grendel – I mean, on November 8th (or whatever day I early voted…I forget), what I perceived to be the best chance of keeping Trump out was voting for Hillary. I understand she was a horrible candidate, but given my options, she was the only choice I was even remotely comfortable with.

    In retrospect however, given that I live in NC, I wish I had voted for whomever the fuck I wanted to do.

    @ Gerald – Yes, I do see the difference, both in terms of content and sources. I apologize – I wasn't trying to make a false equivalency (even though I did…whoops.)

  74. geoff Says:

    Welp, I'm starting to think that Flynn was the only guy on Team Trump with enough knowledge and experience to even BEGIN to take on the intelligence community, so they whacked him first. Allen Dulles would be proud.

    (This is in no way meant as a defense of Flynn. He's very obviously an anti-Islamic nutjob, and don't even get me started on that Pizzagate shit. He was however a career (military) intelligence professional.)

  75. democommie Says:

    "He was however a career (military) intelligence professional."

    Like jumbo shrimp, an oxymoron/contradiction in terms.

  76. geoff Says:

    @DC, well yeah, but every NSA director since the beginning of the Agency has been career military.

  77. Lless Says:

    Then against all staff advice he holds a presser today totally unprepared and throws random nonsense hand grenades, demonstrating that nothing short of death cures imbecility.

  78. Major Kong Says:

    I kind of liked Bernie, although he was a bit to the left of me.

    I still think that Bernie would have lost as well, just for different reasons.

    I'm as liberal as the next guy but I don't think a self-proclaimed socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet freakin' Union was going to fly even in 2016.

    Either way I would have voted for the Dem candidate because the alternative was…….well……what we have now. (shudder)

  79. Mo Says:

    Phrase O' the Day: Shit Sandwich.

    Career military know how to cover their asses, if nothing else.

    Except "Pants Down" Petraeus, of course. Wondering where he'll wind up in 45's administration.

  80. Nate Says:

    @democommie et al, I think Matt was referencing Mr. Trump's appearance in Wrestlemania 23. He "beat up" Vince McMahon. Not that it makes his comment any more intelligent, but that actually happened. Also, he's appointed Vince's wife Linda into his cabinet. True story.

  81. democommie Says:

    @ Geoff:

    Your point doesn't change my assessment. We have had a spectacular degree of ineptitude visited upon us by people who are "smarter" and "better informed".

    The Coie, Mogadishu,The Beirut Marine Barracks, The Iran Hostage Crisis, our current situation vis-a-vis Vlad the Imp. All situations that seemed to happen with no warning from the guys who have all of the gadgets and training.

  82. democommie Says:

    And we musn't forget not one, but two, attacks on the WTC, the first one being bad, the second causing the deaths of upwards of a million people*–virtually all of them NOT in Manhattan, NYC, USA,USA,USYAAAAAY!!!!–since 2011.

    * I think it's fair to say that most of the current craziness in the middle east and far east, attributed to ISIS, etc. was smouldering prior to the oxygenation of the Afghan/Iraq wars.

  83. evodevo Says:

    And Kelly Anne is looking pretty worn down lately – Good.

  84. Kovpakistan Says:

    Kind of late here, but for the sake of doing my job let me point out that contrary to what another commentator said, do NOT serve BORSHCH cold. I'm sure they were thinking of gazpacho.

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