There Is A Memo Open Thread

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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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229 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Trumwill has a thread on the twitters here that you (yes you!) might find of interest if you also find the memo of interest.Report

  2. Avatar Kazzy says:

    The memo is coming out. And my hunch is people are going to see what they want to see in it. Which in many ways makes it a Nothingburger.

    If Trump and the GOP’s intent is to sway public opinion on the FBI and/or Mueller… I think they’ll be largely ineffectual. If you’re inclined to support Trump and the GOP, you’ll remain so inclined. If you’re inclined not to, so you will stay. I don’t see many minds changing.

    But there are two potential consequences I do find very troubling and they’re somewhat related…

    If Trump and/or the GOP use this to restructure the FBI and its oversight to dramatically alter its independence… that is very concerning.

    And if such memos become a common tactic by a party with the requisite people in the right places to write and release such memos… that seems like a huge step in the wrong direction.

    I’ve heard this memo described as a book report… one (or a few) person’s interpretation on a matter. And we aren’t getting to read the book… only the report. And they’re also (currently) preventing us from seeing a different book report that has a different take. And they won’t let us read the book.

    This isn’t transparency. This is propaganda. And we can talk about whether this is new or different or old hat or whatever… but it is propaganda coming out of the House and endorsed by the President. That seems significant.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Kazzy says:

      I’d agree. The memo is not aimed at the masses entirely- it’s aimed at the GOP base. If the GOP base is convinced by it then that may scare the GOP rank and file into falling in line if Trump actually goes after the FBI.

      What I’m really curious about is timing. There’s not a lot of time between now and November. Is Mueller going to release anything soon (if he’s going to release anything or announce anything it’d have to be pretty soon I would presume). Also/likewise if the Trump wing of the GOP is going to move on the FBI they’re presumably want to do it as far away from the election as possible. If they wait until after the election they could lose congress and then they would be fished if they tried to do it.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    The memo is going to show nothing. All the faults of the memo are well known: it’s a report on evidence that inst’ being shown so it’s only an interpretation, Nunes recused himself from the Intell committee for a reason, it’s very one sided and partisan. It’s bait for Hannity. It’s also a disgrace and an overly heavy handed attempt to damage the investigation.

    It’s been said before but Trump/R’s are going all out to unprecedented levels of sleaze to stop an investigation where they insist there is nothing to find. If there is nothing why are so many willing to work so hard to knee cap the investigation.

    This is coming out on Friday afternoon. Why do things get released on Friday afternoons? Classic time to dump news you want to get less attention. Sure people will be talking abotu on monday but the weekend kills some of the momentum. The R’s are trying to dump this to get LESS media attention. Yeah they are really confident.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to greginak says:

      I’m thinking the Friday news dump isn’t what it used to be. (And this was early on a Friday).

      Because generally no new political news gets made after 4pm eastern time, the Friday ostensible burial nowadys actually results in nobody in the political junkie media & social media verse talking about nothing else until Monday morning. At which point normies might start to be aware of whatever Friday’s news was, but the narrative and any counter narrative is long set.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Kolohe says:

        I agree the effect of Friday dump may be less than it used to be. But i still think it says something about what the R’s think of the memo and the kind of attention they want. It’s not like there is any big event that will suck up 2000% of all known media this weekend. The monday news will talk about the memo and a heckava lot about the SB commercials and Brady and whatever the hell happened in the game.Report

  4. Avatar Morat20 says:

    All you really need to know is this:

    Trump is whining that the FBI is biased against conservatives in general, and him in specific, and views the memo as “proof”.

    The FBI that has never, as best I can tell, been headed by a Democrat. The FBI that is currently headed by a Trump pick, whose #2 is a Trump pick, and is currently taking the rare step of calling the memo both bullsh*t and dangerous to release.

    In short, we’ve got full conspiracy theory to the point where numerous Republicans (including Trump’s own picks) are conspiring against him, abusing a law the GOP just reauthorized without a quibble, and the conspiracy theory requires time travel — because the man in question has been under FISA surveillance since 2013 or 2014 and the “conspiracy” is that a dossier produced in 2016 was used to authorize it.

    A time-traveling conspiracy of Republicans against Republicans does not strilke me as being particularly….likely.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20 says:

      You know, based upon the shittness of the FBI’s past behavior, any crying about releasing this memo jeopardizing national security rings pretty damn hollow. Everyone uses classification to cover their ass and hide stuff they’d be embarrassed by.

      What the Republicans SHOULD do is to declassify everything related to this, but that’s not going to happen either. Sure this memo’s propaganda. You think if the Dems leak their side of the memo that won’t be propaganda?Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Damon says:

        You’re attempting a BSDI argument. And yeah, politicians will be politicians. It’s an adversarial system, kind of like the post we recently had here.

        But I don’t know that I can think of a time when a Democratic president attacked the FBI as politicized, and as specifically trying to tilt the election for the Republicans – the election that Democratic president just won. Can you?Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

          I’m not attempting, I’m straight our asserting that both sides and the administration (or deep state) use classification to cover their own asses.

          “I can think of a time when a Democratic president attacked the FBI as politicized,” I can’t either, but I’m not saying it hasn’t happened.

          I’m also asserting that the FBI IS politicized. The anti Trump texts suggest that, at least some FBI members, seem to have impartiality issues.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

            Sure, but the idea that the FBI is secretly a bastion of Lenin-inspired lefties is insane.

            Trump’s been investigated for corruption and grifting and worse for decades. Claiming that investigating him during the campaign was motivated by partisanship makes no sense whatsoever, especially since none of that information was made public prior to the election, while investigations into Clinton played 24/7.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

              I recall reading that Mueller and Rosenstein are both republicans and Rosenstein is a Federalist Society member.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

                Right, but the perceived struggle here might not be between conservatives and liberals.

                It could be between Righteously Insurgent Trumpian Nationalist Conservatives and the Deep State (((Globalist Establishment))). By that index, both Hillary Clinton and Mitch McConnell are on the Enemies List. Federalist Society or no, Rosenstein is surely a creature of the Deep State (((Globalist Establishment))).Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Hmmm yeah i see where you are going. Rosenstein is probably one of those guys who has a passport which signifies him as a global elitist.Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

              “Sure, but the idea that the FBI is secretly a bastion of Lenin-inspired lefties is insane.”

              I agree. But I didn’t assert that either.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                Upthread you wrote

                I’m also asserting that the FBI IS politicized. The anti Trump texts suggest that, at least some FBI members, seem to have impartiality issues.

                Unless I’m reading this wrong you’re implying that Strzok’s anti-Trump “bias” derives from pro-Dem partisan politics. I haven’t read anything to support that claim. Do you have linkies?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Damon is being ridiculous. His expectation for non-bias is opinionless robots.Report

              • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Kazzy says:

                Unless, of course, they have the right opinions.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Nevermoor says:

                Seriously guys, argue with Damon or don’t, but snarking at Damon is not useful or beautiful, to paraphrase William Morris.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Maribou says:

                Yeah, it’s actually an important issue. Damon is arguing that since it’s obvious agents within the FBI are politically biased it should be no surprise that the investigation into Trump’s campaign is entirely politically motivated. As evidence (generalizing from a single instance, I guess) he mentions FBI agent Strzok’s emails to prove the point.

                The problem in this argument is that even tho Strzok’s emails showed he didn’t think Trump was a swell guy, it’s not at all clear his bias derives from partisan politics rather than (for example) information gleaned by investigating the Trump campaign’s activities.

                Alsotoo, Strzok apparently wasn’t a big fan of Hillary Clinton either.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                ” Damon is arguing that since it’s obvious agents within the FBI are politically biased it should be no surprise that the investigation into Trump’s campaign is entirely politically motivated.”

                And again, I made no such conclusion that the ENTIRE investigation is politically motivated.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Maribou says:

                That’s ok Maribou…after all I present as just a stupid arrogant white privileged libertarian (ish) hetero guy. How could I have a reasonable opinion?Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy You couldn’t say “unreasonable” and “appears to be”?
                It’s actually not hard to be more civil than you’re being.

                (I’m assuming Still was talking about Trump’s campaign officials rather than Damon, given that Damon wasn’t asserting anything of the sort.)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

                It seemed a reasonable asssssment of his own opinion.

                If texts of the sort Strzok sent demonstrate issues with impartiality, then impartiality is inconsistent with humanity.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy The phrase “opinionless robots” was not the problem I had with your comment. As should, I believe, have been clear. In case it wasn’t, I was suggesting that “Damon is being unreasonable. His expectation for non-bias appears to be opinionless robots.” was a good 2-3 steps more civil than what you actually said.

                I haven’t read Strzok’s texts and I have no opinion on the issue myself at present.

                I was merely telling you (and Nevermoor) to exercise some consideration when you describe people who are in the same virtual “room” that you are.

                It’s nothing major, just pointing out you are capable of doing better.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                I fail to see how the conclusion that members of the FBI have bias (which is demonstrably true, is the same as “the FBI is secretly a bastion of Lenin-inspired lefties”

                At a minimum, those individuals that are discovered to have a political bias shouldn’t be on Mueller’s team.

                And @ kazzy. Gee, if you’ve got a bias, maybe you should keep you mouth shut and not text your girlfriend about how much the president sucks? You don’t have to be a robot, but it’s probably a good idea that you have an open mind and not assume the results of your investigation conforms with your political biases–that’s also good cop work.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

                Citing facts not in evidence.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy says:

                I wasn’t citing facts.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

                “…a good idea that you have an open mind and not assume the results of your investigation conforms with your political biases–that’s also good cop work.”

                Any evidence that happened?Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Damon says:

                Mueller removed Strozok months ago. He booted him before the texts broke. He was a chunk head for yakking about his political beliefs on a company phone. Other than that there hasn’t been actual evidence of bias in the investigation. I’m sure there are plenty of FBIers who hated Clinton. In fact the NY FBI branch was reputedly a source of a lot of leaks about her.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to greginak says:

                “Other than that there hasn’t been actual evidence of bias in the investigation.”

                I’ve nothing to the contrary and would agree.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Damon says:

                At a minimum, those individuals that are discovered to have a political bias shouldn’t be on Mueller’s team.

                How could that possibly be done?

                What cop, detective, district attorney, judge, prison parole committee, can honestly claim political impartiality?

                Maybe instead of asking for impartiality, we ask them to not make their partisan preferences make unsupportable decisions.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Oh, I don’t know, maybe removing anyone who was ” yakking about his political beliefs on a company phone”? Gee, that was done. Guess it CAN be done.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

                He was also critical of Clinton in his texts.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Should every cop or prosecutor who says, “We’re gonna nail this fucker!” or some derivation be removed from the case?Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy says:

                Only those that are assigned to political cases and high gov’t targets, not for street crime.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

                Natch… bias against those folks is straight cool.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Remember Mark Fuhrman?

                Good times.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy says:

                Even more reason to move his off the team.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

                Which is exactly what happened.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy says:

                Interesting position from the employees:

                https://twitter.com/CNN/status/959565646999707657

                “The FBI people “are ticked” and they’ll be saying of Trump, “You’ve been around for 13 months. We’ve been around since 1908. I know how this game is going to be played”

                That’s sure sounding closer and close to disobedience and active defiance of their boss. It could be getting close to “sedition”. Remember that the president can determine who’s an enemy of the country (even americans) and “drone” them. Obama set that precedent. o.0 Now that’s something for peeps to be worried about.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Damon says:

                The oath is to the Constitution, not the President. If Trump is violating the Constitution, and enough people agree with that, well, Trump better know how to fly that drone by himself.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Damon says:

        @damon

        Yes Minister said it best, the Official Secrets Act doesn’t exist to protect secrets, it exists to protect officials.Report

  5. Avatar Stillwater says:

    From the memo: “The Papadoplous information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July, 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strzok.”

    So, Nunes own view of the evidence is that the investigation into Trump’s campaign was “triggered” by Papadop and not the Dossier or information gleaned from surveilling Carter Page. On any reasonable reading this inclusion should put the whole conspiracy theory to bed, right? Right?Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

      It really says something that the partisan Nunes spin is that a drunken loudmouth campaign opp blabbering to a Aussie diplomat about how they knew about stolen info on the D’s is the spin they are trying to sell. That is exculpatory to them?!?!Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

        I think Schiff really effed up here. If he *actually* read the memo (he claims he did) he should have realized that Nunes own words undermine the ostensible reason for the memo’s release. He should have encouraged Nunes to release it to expose the whole thing for the political stunt that it actually is. Instead, the Dems got their nose bloody *again* because they’re terrible at politics.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to greginak says:

        Nunes, strangely, acts more guilty than Trump does. He did work on the transition team, but it’s hard to imagine he’s in more potential jeopardy than Trump. Or even anywhere close.

        This marks the second time Nunes has, flailing in a panic, delivered a “killing blow” that made him look worse than before it happened.

        Of course, I’m giving it at 80% chance Trump fires Rosenstein this weekend, so maybe that’s good enough.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Morat20 says:

          I think the basic fact is that Nunes and most of the Trump circle are really pretty incompetent. So much of their covering up stuff seems covered with flop sweat and panic. If they are looking for reasons to fire FBI types then this kind of crap job is not going to move anybody but the hardcore partisans. But they already have the partisans. The furious frantic smoke jobs, distractions and insults are chum in the water for prosecutors and FBI types.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Morat20 says:

          Nunes has demonstrated himself to be a weasely little lackey… the kid that runs around doing all the bidding or presumed bidding of the bigger bully who he wants to align himself with, totally naive to the fact he’ll be tossed aside as soon as its convenient.

          I don’t think Nunes even knows what he’s doing beyond trying to stay in Trump’s good graces.Report

  6. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I think my favorite part might be where they refer to Lisa Page first and foremost as Strzok’s “mistress”.Report

  7. Avatar DavidTC says:

    Here is the incredibly information in the memo, the information that is, I suspect, the main case. It is also the part that is, strangely, not backed up by a single fact: The claim that the dossier ‘formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application‘.

    You’d think the memo would explain how this was so, especially since the dossier is _not classified_ so citing information from it, and saying ‘This information appeared in the application.’, would appear to pose minimal danger to sources.

    Instead, it doesn’t bother to justify that claim at all.

    Oh, wait, sorry, there is one justification of this claim: The claim that McCabe testified December 2017 to Congress that no warrant would have been sought without the dossier.

    So, I have three thoughts here:
    1) Reading a bunch of newspapers articles written at the time about McCabe’s testimony about the dossier, there was plenty of criticism for all sorts of things, but not a single newspaper reported that he had said what the memo claims he says that, which would have been considered a very important fact at the time. It’s hard to see how no one noticed he had said that until now.

    And the memo, somehow, again, doesn’t bother to quote anything there either!

    It’s rather amazing how this memo will bother to quote Steele’s exact words when talking about how he doesn’t want Trump to be president, but can’t even be bothered to quote people supposedly saying damning things about what was in the warrant application, or the warrant application itself.

    2) It should be pointed out that ‘we would not have asked for a warrant if we had not gotten this dossier’ is not even close to the same thing as ‘the warrant consisted of a lot of information from the dossier’.

    If the police receive an anonymous tip that someone on Instagram is boosting he is the bank robber they are looking for, and they go and check Instagram and, yes, he is, and they get a warrant from that, the warrant ‘wouldn’t exist’ without the tip, but the warrant isn’t going to include information from the tip…they got a warrant because the tip pointed them to publicly available information they were not aware of, and they used that public information in their warrant. They are not required to try to figure out how credible the original tip is, or include any information about the tipster in their warrant.

    Or if, for a completely random example, if the dossier said ‘This person visited Russia and met with these people while there’, and the FBI goes ‘Well, that seems credible, Russia has tried to recruit him before, let’s check’ and checks flight information and overseas intelligence sources, all of which they have access to without a warrant, and they puts _the results_ of that check in the warrant application, it is entirely possible for the first statement to be true, without the warrant application including any parts from the dossier at all.

    As we don’t have any quote of what McCabe supposedly actually said, we are left entirely in the dark of what he meant.

    …or, what I actually believe, in that McCabe didn’t say anything like that _at all_.

    3) Back to the warrant itself, ignoring of statements by McCabe no one can find, there is a thing that McCabe did say, repeatedly. Namely, that the FBI had confirmed the parts about Carter Page’s trip.

    You know, the only thing from the dossier that a warrant application for Carter Page would have included?

    The GOP seems to want to pretend the dossier is one giant cloudy thing and anything used from it is equally cloudy. Except…the entire ‘visited Russia’ is trivially easy to confirm, and ‘met with Russian officials while there’ is probably pretty easy for the CIA to say ‘Yup, we saw that.’.

    Even if the entire dossier is a paid hit job, it doesn’t change the fact that as it related to Carter Page, all the information it had appears to be true, and thus all the information ‘from the dossier’ in Carter Page’s warrant application would have been 100% correct.

    (Except, to repeat myself, it’s probably only ‘from the dossier’ in the sense the dossier pointed the FBI at information they could get themselves.)Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

      I love how horrified and offended all these political types are at how the FBI secured the warrant, as if that isn’t exactly how warrants are secured for citizens every single day.

      Equal protection, ya bastards, that’s what it looks like.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        It’s a FISA court, not a regular court. It exists to handle terrorism and foreign spies like the Rosenbergs.

        That they even allowed an investigation into a politician, even a low level one, boggles the mind. Why not just authorize drone strikes on political opponents based on accusations overheard in a bar?Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner says:

          That’s funny GT. It was Popodouplos’ drunken yapping out of his Ouzo hole about knowledge of stolen info to an Aussie gov official that led that ally to report it to the FBI. That led them to open a case on the Trump campaign officials. That had been known for a while but it was even in the Nunes Meh Mo.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner says:

          Hey now, we’ve been told for over a decade about how the judges on the FISA court are so very honorable and carefully scrutinize all FISA warrant applications to make sure that they are legit for the FISA court, yadda yadda.

          Either the FISA judges know their job and found the warrant application to fall under their auspices, or the whole thing has been a shame since 2001.

          Pick your poison.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

          That they even allowed an investigation into a politician, even a low level one, boggles the mind.

          Pssst: Not only had the FBI been looking into Carter Page since 2013, long before he was a ‘politician’, they didn’t try to get any of the recent surveillance authorized on him until _after_ he was fired from the Trump campaign.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC says:

            And yet when Hillary was raking in millions from the Russians by approving the transfer of US defense technology, the FBI didn’t bat an eye, just as they didn’t when she approved the transfer of technology to Iran (for which her husband set up a LLC in Sweden that he forgot to report).Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Kazzy says:

                All I know is, if the cite doesn’t include a reference to Comet Ping Pong, I will be sorely disappointed.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Kazzy says:

                Washington Times story

                Bill Clinton’s foundation set up a fundraising arm in Sweden that collected $26 million in donations at the same time that country was lobbying Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department to forgo sanctions that threatened its thriving business with Iran, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Times.

                The Swedish entity, called the William J. Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse, was never disclosed to or cleared by State Department ethics officials, even though one of its largest sources of donations was a Swedish government-sanctioned lottery.

                As the money flowed to the foundation from Sweden, Mrs. Clinton’s team in Washington declined to blacklist any Swedish firms despite warnings from career officials at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm that Sweden was growing its economic ties with Iran and potentially undercutting Western efforts to end Tehran’s rogue nuclear program, diplomatic cables show.

                Note that there is no FBI investigation of any of that.

                Note that the FBI and DoJ never had a cabbal of Bush holdovers getting FISA warrants to get NSA wiretaps on everybody on Obama’s team by citing Alex Jones confirmations of Glenn Beck’s tips from Karl Rove about Obama being in league with Pakistan’s ISI, al Qaeda, Spectre, Chaos, SMERSH, and THRUSH, in a determined attempt to bring him down, even though such evidence would be more credible than the idea of Trump colluding with Russia.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

                Note that there is no FBI investigation of any of that.

                Yes, there is. It was started in 2015.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner says:

          It’s a FISA court, not a regular court. It exists to handle terrorism and foreign spies like the Rosenbergs.

          That they even allowed an investigation into a politician, even a low level one, boggles the mind.

          What boggles my mind is you somehow think politicians cannot be foreign spies. You do realize that ‘foreign’ in ‘foreign spies’ is a reference to the fact they are assets of a foreign power, not that they themselves are foreign? The Rosenbergs were US citizens. (And also a bad example of what the courts should do. While it is now clear the Rosenbergs were indeed guilty, that trial was…not good.)

          People get confused by ‘foreign spies’ because they think ‘spies’ are people who work for intelligence agencies. In actual intelligence parlance, spies are any people who directly collect the intelligence, aka, who do the spying.

          These ‘spies’ are almost always assets (I.e, people being paid to betray their country) of an intelligence operative. (CIA officers or whatever.) Very little spying is complicated undercover missions where actual CIA employees try to pose as other people and collect information. They’re usually just trying to turn people who already have access to information.

          The term ‘foreign spy’ just means ‘someone who collects intelligence on behalf of a foreign power’, which almost always is…not a foreigner. (Hell, if they were foreigners, the government wouldn’t need _warrants_ to listen to them.)

          The US has had a few notable Russian spies that were politicians. Harry Dexter White, for example, and Samuel Dickstein. Neither of whom, it must be pointed out, were ever caught, we found it out from the Soviets long afterward.Report

          • Avatar The Left in reply to DavidTC says:

            For the record-
            We call them “5th Columnists”, “Fellow Travelers”, or in the case of Carter Page, simply “Useful Idiots”.

            Although it is debatable just how useful of an idiot he was.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to The Left says:

              Although it is debatable just how useful of an idiot he was.

              As we probably all know at this point (except the people here commenting that don’t know anything at all and think this entire investigation was invented because one guy wrote some random stuff down and gave it to the FBI) …the FBI discovered that the Russians were trying to recruit Carter Page back in 2013 via an intercepted phone conversation between two Russian operatives. (Or maybe discovered it some other way, but they did catch that also.)

              This conversation supposedly includes a supposition that Carter Page might be too stupid to recruit. Yes, he might be too stupid to be an intelligence asset. Because there is actually a difference ‘useful idiot’ and ‘complete and utter moron’ and if you’re an intelligence operative, you know it.

              The first will pass you information under the table and eventually you blackmail him when he does some illegal stuff for you without realizing it, and then you force him to do more illegal stuff, and at some point, you own him.

              The second won’t be able to find the information despite it being clearly labelled, and probably go ask the FBI for help finding it so he can hand it to his new Russian friends. Or you might get him to do some illegal stuff, try to blackmail him, and really he is too stupid to understand what he did is illegal, so he goes to the police about your blackmail and is, of course, arrested. (Which is funny, but a complete waste of time, and probably blows your cover.)

              And considering Page was stupid enough to not bother to realize this prior recruitment attempt (Which the FBI literally told him about) had gotten him on the FBI’s radar and thus making trips to Russian establish covert communications lines for the campaign with their government might be really really stupid…

              ….I can’t fault those Russian’s estimations of him.

              Especially when we recall the actual start of this: A different moron drunk in a bar who, unprompted, told a completely unrelated-to-anything foreign diplomat stuff that got confirmed by it happening.

              Trump truly surrounds himself by the best people. Sure, he accidentally lets in some criminals and foreign assets, but he tries really hard to find a few people, the best people, who are too damn stupid to be either.Report

            • Avatar Joe M. in reply to The Left says:

              Seeing the dust-up he is causing and loss of faith in FBI, probably a lot more useful than they thought.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I love how horrified and offended all these political types are at how the FBI secured the warrant, as if that isn’t exactly how warrants are secured for citizens every single day.

        Yes, this is actually completely inane. As I started to mention in my post but decided to cut it out, the FBI is not actually required to give every fact in a warrant application anyway.

        If the judge is unclear about the credibility of a source, the judge should _ask_ for more information about it.

        Unless you literally lie in a warrant application, you have to get pretty damn far off the truth with omissions for a warrant to retroactively be found invalid.

        Moreover, this entire thing is even more nonsense, which I didn’t realize at the time. Why?

        Because, as the memo goes out of it’s way to avoid saying, the FBI might not have known the DNC had funded the thing at the time. Seriously, read the memo. It says they didn’t disclose the origins were the DNC, even though they know the ‘political origins’ and that ‘political actors’ had funded it.

        Not that the DNC had funded it. ‘political’.

        Which just means they might have guessed it was opposition research, which was pretty damn obvious.

        What everyone has forgotten is that Steele might not have even know who he was working for…or, to be more accurate, he knew he was working for Fusion GPS. And _Steele was the FBI’s only point of contact_ for the dossier.

        In fact, it’s unclear if Steele even told them he was working for Fusion GPS. (Hell, let’s not forget that all this started with Republicans paying for it, which means that Steele might not have realized it changed.)

        In other words, these sequence of events is entirely plausible:

        Steele: Hello, FBI? I am a researcher, have some disturbing information I have discovered.
        FBI: Oh?
        Steele: You see, I have been hired by a employer I would rather keep confidential (Or maybe he admits it’s Fusion GPS) to do research on Donald Trump and his campaign team, and holy shit…just, here, take my entire file.
        FBI: *hangs up* Hey, CIA, who is this Steele guy anyway?
        CIA: He’s an retired MI6 officer, currently works as a researcher for a group called Fusion GPS. He’s got a pretty good reputation.
        FBI: *hangs up* Fusion GPS, eh? That’s that political research group. Fusion GPS, does Christopher Steele work for you? If so, what is he doing now, and for whom?
        Fusion GPS: We will admit Christopher Steele has worked for as a researcher for us, yes. We keep our clients confidential, and we’re not telling you any more without a warrant.
        FBI: *hangs up* So this Steele guy does sound like he does legit opposition research. Looking at the timeline of this, it probably was one of Trump’s primary opponents. Welp, we better start checking this out.

        Later:

        FBI: Well, some of these seems to hold up. We should probably check back with Steel, see if we can pay him to follow some stuff up. … Man, this Carter Page is suspicious as hell, we’ve actually look at him _before_ when the Russian tried to recruit him. And based on his well-documented overseas trips, I bet we can get a warrant.
        FISA Court: Why, yes, you can.

        Much later:

        Nune: Why didn’t you tell the FISA court that Steel was being paid by the DNC?!!?!?!?!!?!?!?!
        FBI agents privately, because all this is classified: Because we didn’t know at the time, you morons, and it didn’t actually make a difference because the FISA court won’t just blindly accept ‘Because someone said so’ as the basis for a warrant, so we have a bunch of other information proving the stuff in the FISA warrant about him was true, all of which Carter Page _literally admitted to you two months ago_.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

          Because, as the memo goes out of it’s way to avoid saying, the FBI might not have known the DNC had funded the thing at the time. Seriously, read the memo. It says they didn’t disclose the origins were the DNC, even though they know the ‘political origins’ and that ‘political actors’ had funded it.

          And: It’s Over.

          Not only was I right, but I was trying to make explanations and didn’t consider the much simpler possibility: Nunes was basically lying.

          Sources have now told the WSJ that the warrant application said that Steele was being ‘paid by a law firm working for a major political party’.

          For those who can’t count, we have exactly two major political parties at the national level in the US, and exactly one of would be doing opposition research to Donald Trump in October 2016.

          So the FBI did, indeed, tell the various judges that Steele (Or rather Fusion GPS) was being paid by the Democratic Party. So most of the memo is a complete lie.

          The FBI literally just didn’t say the name ‘Democratic Party’ in the application.

          Why did they not use the name? Well, it’s a little something called ‘masking’.

          Now, many people, like Congressentity Nunes, might not be aware of what masking is, but it’s when intelligence services do not put in the names of US person or entities in the intelligence documents when the names are not relevant. This is done even when it is blindingly obvious who is being discussed, like ‘The only major political party that is running against-

          *holds finger to earpiece*

          -sorry, hold on. I am being informed that Nunes knows exactly what the hell masking is. Because his last hissy fit was pretending it was somehow illegal for someone to ask for a name to be unmasked, despite masking not actually being any sort of law and the intention that people reading the intel can always ask for things to be unmasked.

          Huh. What a weird coincidence.

          Now, I sorta want to preemptively shoot down a slight counter-argument to this.

          Other sources have told other newspaper things like this in slightly less clear terms, saying the FISA application said it was a ‘political entity’ paying for the thing, or that the research was ‘political motivated’, not using the term ‘political party’.

          I suspect we will find out the exact wording in the Democrat’s counter-memo, and it will say ‘party’, but until then, it is hypothetically possible the warrant application might have said Steele was (being paid by someone that was) paid by political ‘entities’ trying to find dirt on Trump, something that was vague enough that it could be interpreted as ‘the Hillary Clinton campaign’ or ‘a Democratic PAC’, or even ‘Daily Kos’.

          I mention that only to point it doesn’t matter a single bit, as the entire premise of the memo is that the judges were not informed that Steele was not some sort of neutral observer, but being paid by someone with an axe to grind.

          And that is, at this point, _very clearly_ not true. The judges were told that about Steele. They literally were not told ‘Democratic Party’, which might or might not been possible to figure out (And if they wanted to know they could have just asked!), but they indeed were told ‘This guy is being paid to find dirt about Trump’.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DavidTC says:

            Nunes admits he never read the warrant application.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

              Gowdy did. And suddenly he’s noping the hell out of politics entirely.

              He’s defending Rosenstein, Mueller, the investigation, and ditching his incredibly secure seat for private office. That is…not in character for Gowdy.

              I wonder what he saw in that FISA application? Or perhaps it’s renewal application (to renew, the renewal application has to show the previous 90 day warrant bore fruit….I wonder what Carter Page might have said between October 2016 and January 2017? This was after he left the Trump campaign…)Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Morat20 says:

                Those of you who had “Trey Gowdy, Nonpartisan Man of Principle” on their 2018 bingo cards…

                …must be fucking psychic or something.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

                (Bingo doesn’t work like that, does it? I haven’t actually played bingo since I was seven.)Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to pillsy says:

                No kidding, right? He’s a firebeathing partisan — he’s never gone for the elder statements route, and certainly showed no signs of wanting out of office.

                He’s 53, in one of the safest seats in Congress, with no worries about a right-wing challenge (well, until the last two weeks) and seemed set on a political career.

                If he’d just bailed, I figure it was money or something — he can make more on the lobbyist circle, and there’s always the chance that he’s got personal issues (health, marriage, etc) that take precedence over his job. But that coupled with, for Gowdy, is a full-throated denunciation of Nunes and Trump’s tactics, with pretty blatant statements of “Oh yeah, buddy, there’s fire there”?

                Really weird.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Morat20 says:

                He’s defending Rosenstein, Mueller, the investigation, and ditching his incredibly secure seat for private office. That is…not in character for Gowdy.

                Fun fact about Gowdy: He used to be a former federal prosecutor.

                This means he is entirely at home with throwing all sorts of doubt on witness testimony, and asking leading question after leading question, managing to tell a story that goes in the opposite direction of what the person he is interviewing wants (Regardless of actual facts), all right under the threshold that anyone listening, like a jury, would say ‘This is unfair’.

                We saw it over and over again, with Benghazi-palooza, and the only that seems so transparently stupid to us is that we educated ourselves on the situation. With everyone else, those hearings did basically what they were supposed to.

                Likewise, a lot of the weasel text in the memo, like where it talks about how the FBI knew political entities were behind the dossier, but didn’t put ‘the DNC’ in the text (And not mentioning they did at least put ‘political entities’ in there.) is textbook dishonest lawyering. It’s telling a blatantly misleading story in the hopes that by the time it is corrected, everyone will remember the story and still have doubts.

                Aka, ‘Party A said it wasn’t included, Party B said it was. Conclusion, the truth must be in the middle’, instead of what should actually be concluded ‘Party A implied it wasn’t included, Party B flatly stated it was, Party A did not dispute. Conclusion, the truth is what B said, and A is a liar who lies by implication.’

                But what Gowdy apparently isn’t at home with is attacking investigators, prosecutors, and the courts. Several possible reasons pop up:
                1) He sorta actually believes in the rule of law. I know that seems weird for someone who used Congressional hearings to produce slander, but he never actually tried to have any _charges_ or anything falsely brought. Perhaps he just sees investigatory hearings as a purely political thing. But what happens in a _courtroom_ is perhaps sacred?

                2) He’s acutely aware that Nunes’ _current_ actions might be opening Nunes up to obstruction of justice charges. Yes, it’s not possible to prosecute Congressentities for anything they do as part of their jobs, but, considering that writing and releasing a memo this way has never been done, no one’s quite sure it actually counts as part of Nunes’ job.

                3) His after-politics jobs maybe was supposed to be something in criminal justice. Maybe he wanted to be a judge, or get hired as a lobbyist for a law practice, or something like that. And he realizes that attacking the FBI and courts on clearly bogus nonsense is not a particularly clever career plan.

                4) Somewhat related, he surely knows a lot of former Federal prosecutors, and when your entire set of non-Congressional friends are saying ‘What the hell is this? You guys have to stop this’, he gets a bit worried.

                And now, I’m rather wondering if the memo wouldn’t have actual lies in it if Gowdy hadn’t been involved, and he managed to get it turned into lying by implication and completely unrelated stuff (Like the stuff about Ohr.)Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

                A bit of comment on #2:

                Yes, I know Congress has authorized themselves to release classified information in this manner. This is a law that protects Congress from having violated the law WRT to classified information, _not_ from anything else.

                As I’ve mentioned before, obstruction of justice does not require some sort of underlying crime, you can obstruct justice in ways that are clearly legal, so this law would not protect from it.

                Meanwhile, elected officials in Congress are immune to the laws for any action they take that is part of their lawmaking ability, and their lawmaking ability includes oversight of the executive. If the end goal is some law, or research for a law, or research for oversight, or anything that can be connected back to that, they’re fine.

                This is a _constitutional right_, not a law, and as such they are immune under it from obstruction of justice charges just like anything else.

                The problem is, while it’s easy to justify _creating_ the memo and showing other Congressentities under ‘Congressional oversight’, it’s rather harder to justify releasing it. What does telling the American people do that would further the end result of lawmaking or oversight? _We_ don’t make the laws.

                Congress, can, of course, do stuff that doesn’t further its constitutional mandated actions all the time. Even declassified information, which it is allowed to do under the law. (Note I’m not really talking about the ‘obscure rule’ here. The House presumably has the power to declassify (and classify) information because of how the classification law is written. The ‘obscure rule that’s never been used before’ is just how one House committee can do it without a full vote in the House.)

                But the thing is, that sort of stuff, stuff done voluntarily like that, falls outside of that constitutional immunity of Congressentities. Which means it suddenly _can_ be obstruction of justice.

                So, with Congressional immunity stripped away, it’s hard to see how it’s _not_ attempted obstruction of justice to deliberately release misleading information about a _confidential_ part of an investigation. (In fact, non-Congress people in government have been prosecuted for that exact behavior.)

                Same with Nunes’ original press conference, BTW.Report

  8. Avatar Stillwater says:

    The memo is so bad Nunes lost Redstate.

    The Fire-Rosenstein rollout is hitting some early snags.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Kos, of DailyKos fame, seems to be pleased with how things are playing out.

    Which is as good a windsock as you need, seems to me.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

      Except … Kos isn’t the target audience. The release was supposed to ramp up *conservative* enthusiasm for firing Rosenstein and shutting down the Mueller investigation.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

        The longer goal, if there is one, is to continue the process of destroying public trust in law enforcement as an objective entity, and turning it into an arm of the party in power.

        We are literally at the point where the President demands personal loyalty from law enforcement while accusing them of partisan bias.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          The part of this which baffles me: all the “above the frayers” and Dem pundits saying this is a nothingburger despite the clearly articulated intent behind it. It was (and still is!) a politically motivated disingenuous hit on the FBI and FISA courts intended to justify shutting down the Mueller investigation by way of firing Rosenstein. So basically, the “nothingburger” is that Nunes, in concert with the Trump admin and against the advice of FBI director Wray, released (inaccurately summarized) classified information for the single purpose of politicizing the DOJ sufficiently that it will obstruct the investigation into Trump’s campaign. The level of open and admitted corrupt intent here is mindboggling to me.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

            What baffles me is that now the FISA courts are owned by Team Blue.

            Wasn’t too long ago we could all join hands and lament the Patriot Act from both sides of the aisle.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

              Has the ACLU changed their views on the threat FISA courts and Patriot Act surveillance present to civil liberties?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                TBD… its more the ongoing chosing of sides and talismans as we fall apart. The idea that its inconceivable that the FBI has agenda and might take out political figures is, for as long as I can remember, an important part of the Left’s mythos. Deep suspicion of secret courts and government over-reach? I used to be able to count on that. Having the left wake up to how awesome these things are is, a little sad.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Occam’s razor says that the FBI did not have to invent Trump administration corruption.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I understand; and, re-reading it comes across more of a defense of Trump than I mean. Probably the wrong thread or time for the observation.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Sure, political winds change. People disagree about stuff. With respect, tho, I’m not sure how that constitutes an analysis of the political dynamics surrounding the Nunes memo. I mean, we’ve been down the exact same road you’re describing in overly broad brush-strokes during the Comey firing. Conservtives thought Dems should applaud his termination because he threw the election to Trump. Dems, while agreeing that he did play a role in the election’s outcome, viewed the firing as obstruction of justice (which it was, even by Trump’s own admission).

                The reason people disagree is more important than the fact that they do.Report

              • Avatar The Left in reply to Marchmaine says:

                For the record- The Left still officially distrusts secret FISA courts.

                But “distrusts” is not the same as “reflexively hostile”, and blind squirrel/ acorn has some application here.

                But in the main, this is what is disturbing, that our law enforcement agencies are being forced to become binary partisan entities, either Pro or Anti-Trump.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to The Left says:

                Fair enough, as I note above I’m picking up my marker.

                {But I’m gonna save it because I think I’ll be able to use it again in a better context}Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to The Left says:

                Just to amplify a bit about how I feel about this (even though @marchmaine has moved on), I think the whole FISA process is somewhere between sketchy and scary, but there’s a big difference between complying with a law that’s too damn easy to comply with and not complying with a law (especially if it’s too damn easy to comply with!)Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Have we reached the point yet when the J. Edgar Hoover building gets renamed? Cause I sense of lot of iconography is being rebuilt these days and that one might be due.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Shhhh… don’t show them all the cards, we’ll need them later.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to PD Shaw says:

                There’s been a project in the works for a couple of years now to move the FBI hq entirely to somewhere in the burbs, but it’s been on indefinite hold since last summerReport

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Marchmaine says:

              Based on what I am seeing from The Left, and non-left longtime critics like Julian Sanchez at Cato, they are frustatedly ‘siding’ with the FBI and FISA courts only insofar as there is absolutely no good faith on the part of the Nunes memo side, and this is not the way to go about reforming and/or dismantling the system.

              The Left and Libertarian side also points to the fact that a congressional reauthorization vote occured in early January, about a week or so before the memo was drafted, and all the current Memoistas did nothing during that re-authorization process to rein things in.

              (even though the memo came after the vote, many of the broad strokes were known already, and certainly it was known there was an investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Manafort, Gates, and Papadopolous indictments were made public in late October 2017)Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

            The contents of the memo are nothing burger.

            The release of the memo represents everything you describe. And as such represents a very real threat to our nation.Report

        • This. O’Sullivan’s Law has become personalized and imposed upon the government and norms of democratic self-governance themselves, as follows:

          1. That which is not explicitly conservative becomes liberal over time. (This is the original O’Sullivan’s Law.)

          2. That which is liberal is unworthy of trust.

          3. To be conservative is to be openly, unwaveringly, loudly, and shamelessly loyal to Donald Trump.

          4. Therefore, anything or anyone which is not openly, unwaveringly, loudly, and shamelessly loyal to Donald Trump, is unworthy of trust.

          Is the FBI openly, unwaveringly, loudly, and shamelessly loyal to Donald Trump? No? Don’t trust it.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          There has been zero trust in the FBI or the DoJ ever since they gave Hillary a free pass to commit unlimited crimes, so there is not trust left to destroy.

          When intelligence agencies decide they get to pick and choose who is allowed to hold political office, democracy is over. That’s how the Soviet NKVD and KGB ran the East Bloc. Do you want the US to use the same system?Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to George Turner says:

            You’d figure that if we were already in a state where the intelligence agencies picked and chose who is allow the hold political office, and they chose Hillary Clinton, well, then, Hillary Clinton would be currently holding political office.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        Perhaps not, but I’m of the opinion that if Kos was hitting the table with his fist and screaming “nothingburger!” that that would bode better for the intended target audience.Report

  10. Avatar Nevermoor says:

    Do I have it right that the big conspiracy was surveilance of Carter Page AFTER HE LEFT the Trump campaign?

    Seems a pretty ham-handed way for the deep state to attack the Trump campaign, doesn’t it?Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

      The next one involving the State Department? The one run by Tillerson? Where virtually every senior careerist has quit? Where most of the nominated positions remain unfilled?

      I really wonder what Nunes is afraid of.Report

  11. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Whats sobering to me is witnessing the power of ethnic rage and cultural resentment to turn otherwise decent people into moral monsters, and otherwise intelligent people into drooling idiots.

    Trump’s, and his base’s, primary motivation all along is this mix of white rage and cultural resentment, and now it is turning on their fellow Americans.

    We look at the list of things that used to be perfectly all-American :
    The FBI, the intelligence services, the diplomatic corps, the NFL, the tech industry…and these are now the Enemies Of The State who must be purged of scurrilous subversion alongside the earlier outlaws Public Schools, Colleges, and Hollywood.

    I predict that the next on the list will be the Military, when it resists going to war.

    And, I hope, there will be a “Have you no shame,” moment, when the spell is broken.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Again, the people who ran the FBI decided to spy on a US political campaign. Not even Nixon managed to get them to do that. This is the largest scandal in US history.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      That’s the second time today you’ve rung the white rage bell. It’s always risky speculating on the motives behind actions, but you’re claiming that consistent actions demonstrate changing motives.

      It’s always possible for a person to keep doing the same thing, but to change motives for doing it. I could support a project at work because my boss supported it, then after he dropped his support I could support it because I’d become convinced that it was worthwhile. I could start dating someone because of attraction, and keep dating her out of convenience. You’re saying that a large number of people are suddenly being motivated by white rage – you’ve characterized this as a change twice now – but what are you citing as your proof? Republicans are legislating and politicking the same as usual.Report

      • Avatar The Left in reply to Pinky says:

        I wouldn’t characterize it as a change; White resentment has been a factor in our politics since forever.
        It just flares up whenever white people feel threatened.

        After the Civil War, it became Jim Crow, after the waves of immigrants around 1900 the Klan surged in the 1920s, after the Civil Rights struggles of the 50s/ 60s, it became the Southern Strategy, and after Obama’s election it became the Tea Party, and now Trump.

        And for that matter, it isn’t just the anxiety of white people losing their place, its male anxiety at the changing culture.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Pinky says:

        The nomination of Donald Trump was, in and of itself, a major break from Republican politics. Every Republican Presidential nominee in my lifetime had held high office (either governor or senator) prior to getting the nod from the GOP.

        There is only one exception to this rule during my parents’ lifetimes, what with Eisenhower.

        So no, I don’t buy the argument that Republican politicking has continued as normal.

        And when you look at Trump himself, well, he’s a world class racist rage-junky, and his political career, such as it is, was characterized by endless appeals to just that sort of racist rage.

        So you’ve got drastically different behavior, and that new behavior is consistent with the motivation @chip-daniels is suggesting.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky says:

        But Chip, you did characterize it as change. You said that the Trump presidency couldn’t even be judged by traditional standards. You said that people are turning from decency and intelligence to immorality and idiocy. Both those statements are about change.

        And Pillsy, everything that Chip listed was in reference to the past 12 months, not the election. You may think that the election of Donald Trump constitutes a major break (as do I) but Chip wasn’t talking about that. He was listing things that Trump has done during his presidency on a thread largely about what Republican lawmakers have been doing in the past few months. This isn’t about the election, or if it is, then it’s hand-wavingly about everything (which means that it can’t be replied to).Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Trump’s, and his base’s, primary motivation all along is this mix of white rage and cultural resentment, and now it is turning on their fellow Americans.

      For God’s sake Chip, you do realize that this is complete bullshit from the get-go.

      It’s a convenient interpretive framework to use to “see” the racism or whatever in whatever is today’s issue du jour. And then, having seen racism or whatever, it justifies an escalation in antagonism against conservatives or Republicans.

      This is ridiculous because if you take an honest look at the situation it’s clearly a matter of straining gnats and swallowing camels. Clearly, the immediate, direct contemporary politics of cultural revanchism is on the Left. The mainstream Right and the populist Right are in the middle of a so-far-successful devaluation of the cultural power of the Left. Ie, the Left has as much or more control over the culture industries as they ever have, but their ability to leverage that into actual influence, or more desperately, some kind of operational veto against policy changes they particularly disapprove of.

      Therefore, instead of trying to strain gnats trying to conclude that Donald Trump is a racist because he said that Haiti was a shithole, let’s have the libs heal themselves of their third degree (censored – maribou – roughly, affrontedness) and start participating in American political culture in a way that respects the legitimacy of their adversaries.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Koz says:

        It’s a convenient interpretive framework to use to “see” the racism or whatever in whatever is today’s issue du jour. And then, having seen racism or whatever, it justifies an escalation in antagonism against conservatives or Republicans.

        There are many problems with Trump and his relationship with contemporary conservatism, but one of the most striking is that it drives endless, entirely spurious denials of racism despite Trump’s decade-long history of being racist as hell. Everything that happened more than a news cycle ago [1] is supposed to be forgotten so that we can interpret his current outrageous statement in the most charitable popular light.

        Therefore, instead of trying to strain gnats trying to conclude that Donald Trump is a racist because he said that Haiti was a shithole, let’s have the libs heal themselves of their third degree (censored – maribou – roughly, affrontedness) and start participating in American political culture in a way that respects the legitimacy of their adversaries.

        To wit, while saying “shithole countries” is not necessarily racist, it is something racists like to say an awful lot, and they say it for the same racist reason that Donald Trump did: to justify restrictions on immigration from those same “shithole countries” on account that people who come from those countries are bad merely by virtue of being born there.

        But yeah, we’re totally the ones that are straining at gnats here.

        For pity’s sake.

        [1] Praising overt white supremacists after one of them murdered a woman, trafficking in racist conspiracy theories, attacking a judge’s impartiality entirely based on his racial background, making racist and anti-semitic comments about his accountants, engaging in racial discrimination as a landlord, ad literal fucking nauseam.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

          Also, the racism and the spurious denials of racism are all entangled in imagined persecution, whether it’s the Alt Right’s “white genocide” gibberish [1] or the much more mainstream, “White people are the ones who are really persecuted now!”

          This is one thing that ties the the Nunes memo to the ethnic rage that @chip-daniels describes. Take, for instance, this response from the de facto leader of the Republican Party:

          Representative Devin Nunes, a man of tremendous courage and grit, may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2018

          Translation: people are calling a Congressman a liar and a moron. Which, like, have you even heard of Congress, or discussed it with any other human being in the past? In all cases it ties back to fantasies of victimization that are fundamentally ludicrous.

          And for that matter, claiming that we victimize the right by daring to notice and criticize stuff that, you know, the President says that is racist as balls, or that these racist sentiments clearly appeal to a significant constituency [2] in the Republican Party.

          [1] According to the Alt Right, white people are actually confections spun from sugar, tinsel, and dreams, and the mere proximity of someone who isn’t white will make them crumble to dust.

          [2] In terms of both numbers and power.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

          But yeah, we’re totally the ones that are straining at gnats here.

          There’s an implied premise that we’re supposed to take seriously lib concerns about racism, or anything else for that matter. But we shouldn’t.

          We have a long history of laws and traditions which libs like to ignore when it’s convenient. But the lib malevolence in the Trump era goes beyond that even, to the reasons why we have those laws and traditions (or any laws and traditions really) in the first place.

          People of different temperament and different interests, are going to disagree on things. You and I, lib and conservative, R and D, America and Chivas, whoever. Therefore we need a way to resolve our conflicts, so we come up with things like the Constitution, the House of Representatives and so on to handle our conflicts. Hopefully, however our differences get resolved, they are resolved and we can further our common purpose without resorting to some kind of Hobbsean war of all against all.

          Libs’ contemporary failure on these terms is exactly what’s led to their revanchist kulturkampf against mainstream America that I was talking about before. They’ve taken some big hits on Election Day, but instead of dialing the antagonism down, and trying to find some common purpose, they have escalated, and now here we are.

          As a consequence, we have these issues and controversies which clearly have legitimacy at the heart, fought mostly by revanchist libs who are finding that the cultural power does not go as far they want when the de jure power invokes their legitimate authority against them. And then try to argue that this is really some kind of triple-bank-shot expression of racism, or something else similarly disreputable.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Koz says:

            There’s an implied premise that we’re supposed to take seriously lib concerns about racism, or anything else for that matter. But we shouldn’t.

            Notably absent from the wall of text that follows this assertion: any sort of attempt to address the overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump is actually racist as hell. The fact that Donald Trump won the election, or the GOP controls Congress, or even the alleged cultural power of liberals doesn’t translate into legislative power, has precisely no bearing on the question of whether Trump is racist as hell.

            The rest is very much a pure ad hominem fallacy: liberals are bad for reasons, so liberal arguments are wrong.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

              Notably absent from the wall of text that follows this assertion: any sort of attempt to address the overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump is actually racist as hell. The fact that Donald Trump won the election, or the GOP controls Congress, or even the alleged cultural power of liberals doesn’t translate into legislative power, has precisely no bearing on the question of whether Trump is racist as hell.

              Yeah, that’s the whole point. We don’t have to care if Trump is racist or not.

              As far as I’m concerned, take it up with Gen John Kelly. If he’s concerned, I’ll entertain it. Otherwise, it’s probably not very important.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Koz says:

                Yeah, that’s the whole point. We don’t have to care if Trump is racist or not.

                You’re right. It’s a free country and you have an absolute right to think whatever you want and an almost absolute right to say whatever you want.

                This means that no one can force you to adhere to even the most basic moral and intellectual standards.

                But if you’re just going to say you don’t care about racism while trying to upbraid liberals for lacking civic virtue because they talk deserved and true shit about the gross bigoted buffoon in the White House, you need to take that whole redwood forest out of your eye.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

                But if you’re just going to say you don’t care about racism while trying to upbraid liberals for lacking civic virtue because they talk deserved and true shit about the gross bigoted buffoon in the White House, you need to take that whole redwood forest out of your eye.

                No no no. It’s because you won’t salute the uniform, you’re not loyal, you’re not really one of us, it means you don’t have enough moral credibility to bring up racism or anything else really for that matter.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Koz says:

                @koz Given that there are liberals who read and comment on this site who not only will salute the uniform, they have literally served in the Armed Forces, you need to back the heck down off this now.

                Plus you really aren’t serving any useful purpose, in my autocratic judgment, by telling members of this community that they don’t have enough moral credibility to bring up racism. That’s a very civilized way of putting a very uncivilized claim. I realize you were clarifying because pillsy misunderstood, but if you hadn’t fallen back to your same tired refrain (albeit in a more harmonious arrangement), the one I’ve warned you off of before, there wouldn’t be something to clarify. If a comment like the one you just made was anything other than a clarification of something someone else said you were saying, I’d suspend you. I’m perilously close to doing so anyway, because I’ve told you about 100X that attacking other commenters for being in some sort of ill-defined moral error is not okay. But I won’t. This time.

                @pillsy If you don’t understand what he’s getting at, and he’s getting under your skin, it may be more useful not to argue with him. That said, I appreciate you arguing with the claims, and not attacking the person. Thank you.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Koz says:

        … let’s have the libs heal themselves of their third degree (censored – maribou – roughly, affrontedness) and start participating in American political culture in a way that respects the legitimacy of their adversaries.

        This is such a bad premise that it took all of a day for Trump to say something to blow it out of the water. Again.

        I mean sure, Trump is saying it’s un-American not to clap for him, and maybe treasonous [1], but it’s “libs” who need to respect the legitimacy of their adversaries.

        [1] I’m sure that because it was maybe a joke it doesn’t count because we’re supposed to take stuff that Trump says seriously except when we aren’t.Report

        • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

          I mean sure, Trump is saying it’s un-American not to clap for him, and maybe treasonous [1], but it’s “libs” who need to respect the legitimacy of their adversaries.

          ~*facepalm*~ Yeah whatever, this is a really tendentious.

          But let’s say for the sake of argument that’s exactly what he said and that’s exactly what he meant. That still doesn’t change anything. Just because he says something stupid or controversial doesn’t mean that you are required to believe it. Your obligation is to respect the fact that he is the President.

          You’re probably not subject to the UCMJ, but that’s where they come up with the concept of “salute the uniform”. In parliaments, they have a loyal opposition. They apply in different circumstances, but the idea is the same, ie, how can we resolve our competing loyalties in this situation.

          Suffice to say, your problems with Trump in this regard are in no way novel, and the resolution of them is not in principle difficult.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Koz says:

            But let’s say for the sake of argument that’s exactly what he said and that’s exactly what he meant.

            For the sake of argument? There’s video!

            Just because he says something stupid or controversial doesn’t mean that you are required to believe it.

            Or clap.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

              Or clap.

              Or clap. Or believe anything that he says. On rare occasions, you maybe obligated to do something he requires from you. But mostly, the things that come from Trump can safely be ignored.

              But to respect the fact that Trump is President comes from above Trump, that is the possibility for us to act and hold together in common purpose. The consequences of you disdaining that are not nearly as benign.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Koz says:

                “Everybody needs to respect exacting norms of public discourse around the Presidency except the President himself!” is not, in fact, a remotely convincing position.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to pillsy says:

                I thought one of Trump’s claims to fame was his success in fighting the clap?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

                What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? The ignorance or stupidity of something Donald Trump says doesn’t at all change the nature of your obligations.

                In fact, there is a substantial likelihood that the consequences of your hostility to Trump break the opposite way of what you’re hoping. Because you refuse to salute the uniform, because you have rationalized yourself into believing that the tab-A slot-B mechanics of American democracy somehow don’t apply to you, you are not trustworthy, you’re not a good citizen and whatever maneuvers there are to mitigate the Presidency of Donald Trump have to take place around you, not with you.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Koz says:

                Liberals are disloyal and untrustworthy, and we also need to respect the legitimacy of our adversaries while they tell us repeatedly how disloyal and untrustworthy we are. This is because we don’t believe the mechanics of democracy apply to us, which we prove by doing incredibly undemocratic things like criticize our political opposition.

                That’s as distinct from conservatives, who are just being good citizens when they call liberals disloyal and untrustworthy.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

                Liberals are disloyal and untrustworthy, and we also need to respect the legitimacy of our adversaries while they tell us repeatedly how disloyal and untrustworthy we are.

                This is backwards. As a consequence of failing to respect the legitimacy of your adversaries, as a consequence of failing to accept that the mechanics of democracy apply to you, you have shown yourself to be untrustworthy.

                This is not about me just gratuitously trashing libs for the fcuk of it. And furthermore, if those consequences aren’t working for you, the remedy for it is easy. Undo those things that got you there in the first place. Don’t trash the legitimacy of Trump or other Republicans to be in office.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

                Like for example right now we’re in the middle of this memo business.

                From the Nunes memo and other things, it’s pretty clear that there’s at least a strong circumstantial case that the FBI and other elements of the deep state have improperly politically mobilized against the Trump campaign.

                Now libs and D’s have been very active that those claims are easily rebuttable (and tbh I haven’t followed the libs’ arguments here very closely). But they do have to be rebutted. And they can’t be rebutted until they are circulated in the first place.

                I’ve read the memo, and I think there’s a quote from Steve King or somebody to the effect that as a scandal, this is clearly the worst ever in American history. Based on that, King or whoever is clearly overselling the matter, but tbh I don’t see most Republicans reacting the same. For me, it is clearly a matter of public interest that should have been published, and Rep Nunes’ critics on this matter are clearly wrong.

                The circumstantial case against the FBI and parts of the intelligence community, is substantially stronger however, in light of the circumstances and the aftermath surrounding the release of the memo. In perhaps the mirror image of Steve King, I’ve seen several lib pundits or D politicians talk about Rep Nunes’ actions as being criminal or treasonous, and I haven’t seen anything about those comments being disavowed by more reasonable parties.

                But it’s actually the response of the deep state, the FBI in particular that I want to comment on here. The FBI and some of their lib enablers have tried to claim that the release of the memo is harmful to national security because it makes sources and methods more vulnerable to compromise.

                This argument is wholly specious, and that’s apparent to anyone who has read the memo. Therefore, whatever there is in the memo itself, we know that the FBI and related parties are strongly trying to prevent the circulation of important information to the public interest, presumably in the service preventing institutional embarrassment.

                And we’ve got the same kind of issue with the FBI that I was talking about wrt the libs in other comments. Legally, Constitutionally, and structurally the FBI and parts of the DOJ are the same as any other executive branch agency, like the EPA or USDA. But traditionally, they are much different in that political appointees are supposed to have minimal contact with them. There is good bipartisan reason why we want the appearance and reality that the machinations of criminal law aren’t tied in with the political sausage factory of the party of whoever happens to be President.

                But that is just a tradition. The law is that all of those people serve at the pleasure of the President just like the rest of the Executive Branch. There is also a tradition giving wide leeway to the FBI and the rest of the DOJ regarding the mechanics of classified information. But again that is a tradition, and it can be explicitly overridden by Acts of Congress or waivers from the President, as occurred here.

                In any event, it’s absolutely critical that the FBI and other elements of the deep state honor their obligations related to their chain-of-command when explicitly invoked. Salute the uniform, as it were.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Koz says:

                “There is also a tradition giving wide leeway to the FBI and the rest of the DOJ regarding the mechanics of classified information. But again that is a tradition”

                I’d use “tradition” in quotes. I’ve not doubt that certain intelligence agencies have “dirt” on important people and have used that, do use that, to their own ends….like this “tradition” of hands off.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Damon says:

                I’d use “tradition” in quotes. I’ve not doubt that certain intelligence agencies have “dirt” on important people and have used that, do use that, to their own ends….like this “tradition” of hands off.

                Maybe, but what I was talking about is something more mundane.

                As it pertains to the FBI and other intelligence handling agencies, there is a tradition of extreme deference to their assertions as it pertains to the need to protect sources and methods and what that applies to.

                But tradition or not, it can be overridden by those who have the de jure authority to do it, which is what happened here.

                And frankly, apart of the libs that’s a big problem for me here.
                I find it very distressing that FBI would spuriously cite sources and methods in order to prevent institutional embarrassment. I know that for me at least (which I appreciate isn’t necessarily worth very much), I am going to be much more skeptical of assertions regarding sources and methods.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Koz says:

                Ah, I see.
                We’ll I’d generally agree. Citing sources and methods as a reason not to disclose, when the memo makes no mention seems like grade a bureaucratic horseshit.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Koz says:

                OK, so your case boils down to…

                …some “libs” saying dumb things about the memo, or Nunes being a criminal for the way he handled the memo, or the memo’s effect on national security?[1]

                Like, sure, I’ll stipulate all of that, and also agree that on balance it’s better for people to not say things that are dumb, but then again, so what? Saying dumb shit (and slinging specious accusations) for partisan reasons isn’t a rejection of the “slot A, tab B” mechanics of democracy, it is the “slot A, tab B” mechanics of democracy.

                For example, the way we rely on Congressional oversight to be a check on the Executive, both in terms of curbing its power and blocking corruption, is rooted in a mix of explicit law (going all the way to the text of the Constitution itself) and custom. Given the nature of Congress, it’s going to end up being partisan and politicized.

                And indeed, everything you grouse about “libs” doing now under Trump, there are closely analogous things that “cons” did under Obama. And then you can go back and look at things “libs” under W, or “cons” under Clinton.

                Back in the Clinton days, the guy who had Nunes’ job running the Oversight Committee was shooting up cantaloupe in order to prove the Clintons murdered Vince Foster. It was crazy.

                And if you think that “libs” are somehow being more overheated in response to Trump, well, that can just as easily be explained as dose-response, because Trump is flatly worse than his predecessors in a lot of salient ways. Even the really bad ones.

                This is especially true if we take your rather odd contentions about “common purpose” and “saluting the uniform” [1], because in addition to being a comically awful racist jackass [2], Trump was by far the candidate who was most entangled in the right-wing attempts to reject Obama as a legitimate occupant of the Office of the President for deranged racist reasons.

                And it’s not like this behavior wasn’t all on open display before he secured the nomination, let alone won the general election. So the argument that you are just doing all of this because of all the horribly untrustworthy ways that “libs” acted prior to the election dies yet another death, this time at the hands of causality.

                Because, “Well, you did it first,” is a pretty bad argument to begin with, and it’s flatly preposterous in this instance. “Cons” had a choice, and they chose Trump. This means using your exact argument, anything that “libs” may have done following Trump’s election is OK because, well, by making the guy head of their party, “cons” proved that they can’t be trusted.

                Oh, and if that means that the other branches of the government are controlled by people we can’t trust?

                1. No shit. Even Republicans don’t trust Mitch McConnell.

                2. As you told @kazzy, our freedom of movement is constrained, but that’s tautological, and constrained as it is, it absolutely includes everything you complained about.

                To be blunt, your argument looks a hell of a lot like a pretext for “gratuitously trashing libs”, and it’s not even a good pretext.

                [1] There are a lot of weird and irrelevant comments about the FBI here, as if the FBI and “libs” are somehow coextensive.

                [2] Trump doesn’t wear a uniform, in case you haven’t noticed.

                [3] Skip the hogwash about “moral standing” and “respect institutions”. If “common purpose” places an obligation on the left, than it sure as hell places an obligation on the right, too, and Trump’s barely disguised white nationalism, as well as apologism for it, are both incompatible with any such set of obligations that isn’t a blatant partisan fraudReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to pillsy says:

                The “case” boils down to shouting “Hey look over there!”

                Notice how successfully they have shifted the discussion from
                1. Trump campaign officials meeting with Russians to uncover dirt on Hillary, and how;
                2. Most of them were deeply cultivated by the Russian government as assets, and how;
                3. The Russian government was strenuously trying to meddle in American elections.

                But, hey! Look over there!Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

                “[1] There are a lot of weird and irrelevant comments about the FBI here, as if the FBI and “libs” are somehow coextensive.”

                @pillsy It was fairly evident to me that his comments were an effort to return to the topic of the OP and demonstrate what he thought liberals should be doing with the memo news as an example of the argument he was making about what they should be doing generally. Which I actually found to be a good move, a move away from the rather pointless topic of his general opinion of libs and toward the theoretical topic of what is, admittedly, an open thread.

                And that is as someone who is no defender of Koz, generally.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

                I think you’re right, and am going to bow out because I missed that for reasons that are between my chair and my keyboard.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

                [1] There are a lot of weird and irrelevant comments about the FBI here, as if the FBI and “libs” are somehow coextensive.

                Yeah, I was worried about the lack of clarity on that point, but that comment was already long enough as it was.

                That is, I wasn’t intending to apply that the FBI failing to salute the uniform was an example of libs failing to salute the uniform. That’s not right because the FBI aren’t necessarily libs. I was trying to illustrate that they were examples of the same kind, with different actors involved.

                I will say though, that the confusion on that point supports my other argument about the circumstantial case for the improper politicization of the FBI. Here you have the libs on television and the FBI in lockstep message discipline regarding at least some arguments which for me are wholly spurious.

                Are these things coordinated or not? I’m willing to believe that they’re not but I need to see some evidence of that. And if they are coordinated that’s an improper politicization and people ought to be punished for it.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

                For example, the way we rely on Congressional oversight to be a check on the Executive, both in terms of curbing its power and blocking corruption, is rooted in a mix of explicit law (going all the way to the text of the Constitution itself) and custom. Given the nature of Congress, it’s going to end up being partisan and politicized.

                That’s exactly right. And as a result of the tab-A slot-B mechanics of American democracy, both houses of Congress are controlled by Republicans. So if want to want to try to have some kind of Congressional check on the executive, you might be better of asking the Republicans for this or that instead of trashing them.

                For example, if you have a problem with racism, especially racism in the Executive Branch, we have a Senate. And in that Senate we have a Judiciary Committee. And the chairman of that committee is very well-regarded fair-minded Iowa farmer named Chuck Grassley. If he’s not concerned about it, your idea just probably wasn’t meant to be.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Koz says:

                @koz

                What you are saying essentially boils down, “You catch more flies with honey”.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Or the alternative-
                Grab them by the balls, and their hearts and minds will follow.

                Which is to say, democracy, and our republic, is completely amenable to hardball politics. The Founders weren’t naive children, they were experienced in the trench warfare of politics, petty, personal and otherwise.

                Compromise is wonderful, but so is sticking to principle. And right now, with the Republican Party going full tilt towards white ethno-tribalism, the principle liberals are sticking to is the idea that all people are equal.

                I would say our better strategy in this is “Not One Step Backward!”Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                +1

                Metaphorical bare-knuckle brawling is well within the normal parameters of American politics.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to pillsy says:

                The occasional literal beating with a cane is as well.

                Well, maybe not the normal parameters, but as Trump has shown, norms exist to be broken.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

                This is especially true if we take your rather odd contentions about “common purpose” and “saluting the uniform” [1], because in addition to being a comically awful racist jackass [2], Trump was by far the candidate who was most entangled in the right-wing attempts to reject Obama as a legitimate occupant of the Office of the President for deranged racist reasons.

                Those things could be true as premises, but like I said before they’re irrelevant. I don’t care if Trump is a racist and a birther, he’s still the President, and the nature of your obligations to him haven’t changed by that.

                And it’s not like this behavior wasn’t all on open display before he secured the nomination, let alone won the general election. So the argument that you are just doing all of this because of all the horribly untrustworthy ways that “libs” acted prior to the election dies yet another death, this time at the hands of causality.

                Actually, that’s not true at all. The way libs have acted since the election is much worse. Before the election, there’s a better excuse, in that libs are trying to argue their case before the American people. But after the election, that excuse doesn’t hold any more and we’re supposed to be able to come together as Americans and move forward having at least some of our differences resolved by the election.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to pillsy says:

                [3] Skip the hogwash about “moral standing” and “respect institutions”. If “common purpose” places an obligation on the left, than it sure as hell places an obligation on the right, too, and Trump’s barely disguised white nationalism, as well as apologism for it, are both incompatible with any such set of obligations that isn’t a blatant partisan fraud

                No no no. Those things are important, and I think it’s your confusion on those points that are the lion’s share of the differences between us.

                We’re not necessarily going to agree on policy matters, or values frameworks that underlie them (white nationalism, racism, whatever). What we can agree on, and have agreed on, is the mechanism for resolving our differences, and the idea that coming together to resolve those differences is better for all of us than a Hobbsean war of all against all. That is what libs are undermining, to the detriment of all of us.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Koz says:

                @koz But you’re not going to come to agreement with folks who disagree with you, on the topic of *who* is undermining “the idea that coming together to resolve those differences is better for all of us than a Hobbsean war of all against all,” either. At least, y’all have been arguing about it for a year (minimum timeline, of course), and you have yet to do so.

                And if you actually want to achieve some change (which I assume you do given the constancy with which you argue for it), I would suggest that you are more effective when you are more specific and concrete, and that you get less effective as you get more general, in your criticisms.

                You also seem better at not just tossing out insults (disloyal, not one of us, etc.) at large groups of people when you are being more specific about particular issues, which makes my life easier. I mean, I get that you believe those things about the general run of “libs,” and about many of the commenters here, but they really don’t make your case any better, and they do make you more likely to run afoul of me telling you to stop calling people names.

                I realize that you don’t think you need to be making a case…. and yet you keep coming here and making it. And there’s value, IMO, in you doing that. So there’s my advice for how to make it more effectively.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Maribou says:

                Koz has been arguing that kind of thing for ages now, bless’m. He’s a towering lighthouse of partisan consistency (I say that un-ironically being a partisan myself so I respect a superior practitioner of the craft) and I’m very glad he’s still about.

                Like a lighthouse, of course, the light goes on and off which works very well for partisan reasoning. When Republicans decide, a priori, that any proposals the newly elected President puts forward must be lockstep opposed, regardless of their merits, to insure he’s a one term president the light goes off. When excitable protestors and attention seeking left wingers brand their opposition to the a different newly elected as “the Resistance” the light is on. When indignant glibertarians go on an rants about the looming “Marxism”* and found the tea party to oppose the President at the time, the light goes off. When left wingers form their own action groups to oppose looming “Fascism” the light goes on again. I’d add Trumps leading the charge on asserting that Obama was a closet Islamist and fake-American here but I can’t think of a left wing parallel and admittedly the left wing fringers have never elected a candidate to their Party’s highest office (or really many major offices at all) nor do their media mandarins command the obsequious deference of left wing politicians so I admit they parallels are of kind rather than degree. Still, it’s unconscionable when left wingers do it, an assault on the foundation of our political order; it’s laudable when right wingers do it, a safe-guarding of constitutional prerogatives. You know where ya stand with Koz, just like with light houses before the advent of GPS. You just need a watch to time the seconds between the blinks and you have a pretty good idea where they stand- and accordingly a pretty good idea where you stand yourself.

                *Or folk-Marxism! There’s a blast from the past!Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to North says:

                @north

                I didn’t need that site history lesson.

                I was actually choosing my words pretty carefully to not make reference to comments from days of yore (some of which still bother me on occasion, a lot more than this does), and I’ve been around every bit as long as Koz has. Hence my reference to minimum timeline.

                One thing I remember with Koz is that as much as he hated and complained about Obama, he didn’t complain about people complaining about birtherism when it was happening, nor did he suggest that Obama was not the president, we were in a war and there are only 2 sides, etc.

                I think he’s pretty consistent in this particular belief and in how he’s been voicing it, aside from the parts when he veers into being gratuitously insulting, which he has actually been tailoring as I’ve been insisting he do so. (This appraisal is different from my appraisal of the accuracy of the belief.)

                In general it’s easier for me to try and communicate with people about how I think they could do better, commenting-wise, if people don’t “weigh in” with their own critiques of the commenter in question. Or of me. Or whatever, that isn’t the actual argument on the table. Even if they are doing so in a spirit of appreciation / fun / whatever this description of Koz is.

                Give me some space to work, please.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                What does it mean to “respect” a fact?Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                That’s a very important and useful question. In the broader context of this case, it means that libs internalize their aspirations and motivations exist within the context of the mechanics of American culture, not above it.

                Therefore, as our side wins elections, it means that your scope for movement is constrained accordingly.

                To the extent that you are afraid of the consequences of the Trump Presidency, you should present your concerns to us, who have control over other branches of government and have some legitimate avenues to do something about it.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

                You’ve lost me.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

                It means that after 8 years of the office being vacant, there’s a president again.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz says:

            But let’s say for the sake of argument that’s exactly what he said and that’s exactly what he meant. That still doesn’t change anything. Just because he says something stupid or controversial doesn’t mean that you are required to believe it. Your obligation is to respect the fact that he is the President.

            Nope. I have to acknowledge that he’s president, and that the GOP Congress is too gutless and venal to stand up to him, but respect has nothing to do with it.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              Nope. I have to acknowledge that he’s president, and that the GOP Congress is too gutless and venal to stand up to him, but respect has nothing to do with it.

              Sort of. You are correct that we are civilians and the UCMJ doesn’t apply to us, so the things I am talking about in this thread are for the most part metaphorical obligations instead of actual ones.

              But it’s exactly this move to say, “Fcuk Trump, I don’t owe him shet.” that’s escalating the antagonism of the situation.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz says:

                He owes me conscientious service (and isn’t providing it.) I owe him nothing.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I’m pretty sure that the job duties of President, if written down, would never say anything about “conscientious service”. In fact, I doubt he has ANY responsibilities at all to you, or the nation.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Damon says:

                @damon If you’re talking written down responsibilities of the President, there are some, for eg the State of the Union address is a tradition, but it’s based on an actual responsibility: the constitutional requirement that the president inform Congress of, well, the State of the Union, on occasion.

                According to whitehouse.gov there are some more.
                https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/the-executive-branch/

                Not exactly a thorough job description (to be fair that isn’t the point of that document), but I’d say it counts as written down responsibilities.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Maribou says:

                Yes, M that’s true, but Congress isn’t individual citizens or voters, and I’d expect the pres could fulfill his obligations by sending a letter to Congress saying the state of the nation is “fine”.

                You can drive a planet into that gaping whole of nothingness. Of course, individual americans, not employed by the administration, don’t “owe” the president a damn thing either.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

                Koz transitioned us to the metaphorical.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Damon says:

                Yes, M that’s true, but Congress isn’t individual citizens or voters, and I’d expect the pres could fulfill his obligations by sending a letter to Congress saying the state of the nation is “fine”.

                Might even be an improvement.

                It would at least eliminate the need for an annual round of accusations of lése majestè because a bunch of people who hate the President’s guts didn’t show proper deference to him.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Damon says:

                He’s getting a salary. He should do the damn job.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Damon says:

                They definitely say he needs to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”, though.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Koz says:

                But it’s exactly this move to say, “Fcuk Trump, I don’t owe him shet.” that’s escalating the antagonism of the situation.

                For over thirty years Trump has been one of the most repulsive, corrupt, morally debased con-men in American public life. His election shouldn’t be celebrated by any American.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Koz says:

        Pillsy, it’s ridiculous of you to generalize about the right like that. But it’s exactly what all of you liberals do.Report

  12. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    And being the top General in a World War isn’t peanuts.Report

  13. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    pillsy:
    “Everybody needs to respect exacting norms of public discourse around the Presidency except the President himself!” is not, in fact, a remotely convincing position.

    Trump wins by dragging his opponents down to his level. He figures, correctly, that they have more to lose.

    If everyone but him respects norms, then he’ll be the odd man out and maybe the public will realize he’s covered with shit. If everyone does what he does, then he’s not the odd man out.

    Also I don’t want this to be the new normal.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Dark Matter says:

      This is a much better argument. I disagree [1], but if this is what @koz meant and was trying to get at, then he has my apologies for reading him so uncharitably.

      [1] Mostly because of the way our system functions, or kind of doesn’t, in terms of informal rules, which make it hard to respond effectively to norm violations, especially on the part of the President.Report

  14. Avatar Jaybird says:

    There is, apparently, another memo that just came out.

    Apparently, people are freaking out about it.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      This isn’t new. They announced they were referring Steele for potential prosecution a month ago.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        I don’t know for whom the fact that we’ve reached the “this is old news!” phase is a good indicator.

        (The date on the URL is 2018-02-06, by the way.)Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          The letter is dated Jan 4 fwiw. It’s not good news. It’s just more repub attempts at obfuscating and distracting the investigation. Is there any R in congress who isn’t acting like the investigation is going to drop a B-52 load of bombshells. Heck it seems like they think there will be more indictments and guilty pleas then i do.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

          It’s sort of new news, but it’s not clear what its significance is. I think Julian Sanchez’ take is basically right.

          The FISA law is shady and a bit scary. The process for getting warrants in general often involves shaky evidence [1]. There’s nothing at all wrong with looking at something like this and saying, “The scandal here is the policy,”[2] and really when else are we going to pay attention to this.

          But satisfying the requirements of a not-terribly-good law is far removed from misconduct or undermining the rule of law.

          [1] This seems almost axiomatic to me. If you’ve got really good evidence, you have much less need for a warrant, right?Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

            Or as Popehat put it:

            You don't often go wrong by assuming that "look at this outrageous abuse of the system" stories are actually "look how we just noticed an instance of how the system operates all the time without comment" stories.— TreasonHat (@Popehat) February 7, 2018

            Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

            We’re going to get a memo next week, too.

            “It’s old news”, we’ll be told.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

              Given that the memos are all third parties describing primary sources that aren’t being released, I think dismissing their importance has a degree of wisdom for it. Especially since we’re now being subjected to a blizzard of them.

              The original warrant application might be news, but cynically speaking, if it were I’m pretty sure we would have seen it already.Report

  15. Avatar DavidTC says:

    BTW, it’s interesting to go read this Yahoo News report that the Republicans keep trying to claim was used to verify things:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-s-intel-officials-probe-ties-between-trump-adviser-and-kremlin-175046002.html

    Go and read it. I’ll wait. If it’s too long, skip to the photo with Putin lurking in the background.

    Notable in that article: Everything about who Carter Page met with is clearly labeled ‘U.S. officials have since received intelligence reports…’ and ‘U.S. intelligence agencies have also received reports…’ and ‘the Western intelligence source said.’

    I.e, the Yahoo! article is repeating what Steele gave them, yes, but it’s repeating in a way that _clearly indicates it is getting its information from either the FBI or its source_. It’s not presenting it as independent reporting, or something that is true, it’s reporting literally that that intelligence agencies are looking into something.

    So there are two conclusions possible:

    The FBI had been told information about something, and cited that, and to confirm it, they insanely cited an article saying specifically the FBI was looking into that information, under the apparent logic ‘If there’s a leak and people know we are investigating things, that makes those things true!’, and the FISA court, drugged out of their minds, went along with that logic…

    …or the Republicans have been lying their ass off and the reason that article is cited in the Carter Page warrant application is something else.

    For the record, the answer is door number two, and the reason that article is cited in the FISA application is probably the _other_ stuff that it said about Carter Page, stuff almost certainly not from Steele. For example, what Page said at the New Economic School.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC says:

      And again the big picture here is that the Trump campaign was filled with a lot of people who were lobbyists for or eager dupes of, the Russian government which was covertly trying to sway the election, while they all lied about it.

      No one can even deny that anymore so they try the squid cloud of ink tactic.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        The Trump administation reminds me of an old Onion article. In this article, a man wonders why he keeps receiving fellatio from many, many gay men despite being straight. (I’ve cleaned up the title a little bit, just for those at work).

        Why, the Trump Administration moans, am I always surrounded by Russian spies, oligrarchs, and other shady Russians? What weird cosmic coincidence, comrade, created such a weird situation in which I have borrowed a great deal of Russian money, sold Russians a great deal of real estate at strange prices, altered the GOP platform as more Russian friendly, and praise Putin a lot?

        Don’t these Russians know I am true American patriot, comrade?Report

  16. Avatar pillsy says:

    Of particular interest to @jaybird :

    In addition to being “old news”, or “a nothingburger”, Wonkette informs us that a memo can be “preemptively knee-capped in the dick”.

    This is a valuable addition to our vocabulary for describing scandals.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

      Remember when we said stuff like “Man, I wish they’d stop calling everything ‘something-gate’?”

      Then we added “something-ghazi” to our vocabulary and wishing that we’d stop saying that?

      Can we go back to “-gate”? I promise I won’t complain about it anymore.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

        My proposed rule for that nomenclature was we’d use the suffix “-gate” when it appeared that there was actually something serious underneath all the hullaballoo, and that we’d use the suffix “-ghazi” when it appeared likely that it would result in a #nothingburger.

        Thus, “Russiagate,” but “Memoghazi.”

        For some reason I recall that no one reacted to this rule with either praise or criticism, thus wounding my ego moderately-to-significantly.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to pillsy says:

      Query as to how one actually goes about kneecapping something or someone in a part of the anatomy which is not the knee.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to pillsy says:

      Speak of, the House Intel Committee has gone absolutely bonkers:

      This is what the article leads with:

      In a sign of increasing partisan hostilities, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee plan to construct a wall – a physical partition – separating Republican and Democratic staff members in the committee’s secure spaces, according to multiple committee sources. It’s expected to happen this spring.

      But that’s not the good part. The best part is a quote from Tom Rooney (R-Florida), and is very interesting news indeed:

      Rooney said one reason for the tension is an erosion of trust, exacerbated by an ongoing ethics investigation into the “entire Republican staff,” including “the woman up front that answers the phone” for alleged leaks. He later added that the matter was being handled by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

      Wasn’t one of the first moves of this particular Congress an attempt to get rid of that pesky Office of Congressional Ethics?Report

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