Warren releases results of DNA test


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157 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Argue the substance all you want, but why 22 days before a crucial election where we MUST win house and senate to save America, why did @SenWarren have to do her announcement now? Why can’t Dems ever stay focused???— Jim Messina (@Messina2012) October 15, 2018

    My take is that we’re 22 days away and that means that it’s more than enough time for this to happen and then be completely forgotten.Report

  2. Aaron David says:

    I think you forgot the link for this Mr. Bird.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    The article has a correction at the bottom:

    Correction: Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024.


  4. Oscar Gordon says:

    Given that fraction, which tribe would be willing to add her to their roles on that basis alone? My guess is, none of them, ergo, she doesn’t have enough Native American blood to matter worth a damn, and she should stop trying to work this angle.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      “The Media” seems to be playing this as a win for Warren. Like “THERE! SHE PROVED IT!”

      I’m stuck here thinking “she did?”

      Because I can seriously see this as her proving that she doesn’t have any.Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to Jaybird says:

        Meh, Razib Khan says 99% probability she has Native-American ancestry. Still, not sure how many people list themselves as a racial minority based upon any of this. Eight generations back is 240 years before she was born.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

        Like I said, find a tribe that would be willing to accept her on that basis alone, and it’s a win.

        No tribe would, because the moment they did, they’d have people running DNA tests and flooding the tribes with membership requests.

        PS This whole thing annoys the piss out of me because a large part of my and my wife’s family are Native American. I talk to them about it, and even the ones who are reliable Democrats find Warren’s claims offensive.Report

    • greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Work this angle????? She is trying to respond to Trump sleazy attacks. He’s been calling her Pocahontas for quite a while. It’s a laugh riot for the Trumpets. What is she trying to work? She doesn’t have the right kind of personality to name call back at him. That is more that Avanetti guy.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

        From the Boston Globe, May 02, 2012:

        US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren said on Wednesday that she listed herself as a minority in [Harvard] directories of law professors in the hopes of networking with other “people like me” — meaning those with Native American roots.

        Asked whether she considers herself to be a minority, the Democrat said, “Native American is part of my family. It’s an important part of my heritage.”

        Posting her DNA results undermines her own claims. Dude, she swung wildly at Trump and ended up hitting herself.Report

        • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

          SMH…..Trump has been sleazing at her for a couple years now. He said if she took a DNA test he would cough up a million for a charity of her choice. Is he going to man up?. But no, the the real issue is buying into trump’s attack. I have no sporking idea how seriously she takes whatever amount of native heritage she has. None of us do. I’m not sure why i should care all that much either way. I had jewish relatives, my maternal grandparents family, who died in concentration camps. How much exactly am i allowed to care about happened to them? Are people going to go after trump for breaking his word and lying. Well of course not, we know that is who is.

          Edit: The fair point, raised by Andrew, is that the Trumpoids who buy his sleaze aren’t going to care. They like the swill. This would be aimed at moderates/non-aligned peeps to show she up front.

          And of course there are other issues relating to native americans, like say in North Dakota, the R’s are aggressively failing on.Report

          • InMD in reply to greginak says:

            The truth is no one should care what her heritage is, but when people constantly argue that identity alone grants special credibility or moral authority… well, this is what we can expect.Report

            • greginak in reply to InMD says:

              People have been arguing identity grants credibility for decades at the minimum. It ain’t new. I remember the “Heartland” “Real American” crap from when i was young.

              Or to bring the view out a bit. People always say stand up to a bully. So this is Warren trying to stand up to a sleazy bully. She is not an Avenetti style person and if she was, she would be getting slagged for that. She is answering directly…aaaannnd….that isn’t worth anything. If she didn’t answer, well i guess she would probably get crap for that at some point to.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to InMD says:

              “Real values — small town values.”Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      she should stop trying to work this angle.

      By trying to hit back she punched herownself. Dems just suck at politics….

      It’d be funny if she wasn’t a sitting Senator and a 2020 frontrunner.Report

    • This was horrible strategy on her part, does nothing to help her and probably is a net loss in long run. It was a dead issue other than a laugh line to the hardcore MAGA folks and now is back to being the most prominant thing average, non-political people will know about Sen Warren. ClearlyReport

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      My stepdaughter is 1/4 Navajo. That is the lowest % you can go and still receive a Certificate of Indian Blood. Trump played Warren. I was actually wondering if she would impress me when she ran next year. This is not a good first look.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      …she doesn’t have enough Native American blood to matter worth a damn…

      Much worse than that. She has roughly half the amount of native DNA as the average American.

      So she’s more White and Less Native than most people.

      according to The New York Times, the average white person in America has nearly double the amount of American Indian DNA (0.18%) as Elizabeth Warren (0.098%)

      (This is from the Federalist but I’ve seen it from other sources: http://thefederalist.com/2018/10/15/elizabeth-warrens-dna-test-proves-she-was-lying/ )Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Dark Matter says:

        That’s the lower bound given by the DNA test, at ten generations back. The upper bound, six generations, would be about 1.6%.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          That’s the lower bound given by the DNA test, at ten generations back. The upper bound, six generations, would be about 1.6%.

          Original report clears a lot of this up (proving, again, that the Press is mostly English majors).

          It says they think it was 8 generations back. And genetics gets weird past a certain point. Yes, you give half your genes to your kid, but if it ended there then she’d either have one gene (2.2% of total) or zero. There’s mixing and trading and what-not between genes so it’s more complicated.

          My interpretation is she has one gene, and the amount of degradation/decay/mutation/swapping/whatever is such that it’s probably from 8 generations ago (plus or minus 2). Call it 270 years-ish (25 x 8 + 70 (Warren’s age)), so something like 1750.

          For perspective: Oklahoma was opened for general settlement around 1890 and founded in 1907. There’s at least 150 years of time separating her Oklahoma story from her Indian ancestor.Report

  5. Chip Daniels says:

    I’m trying to figure out what this is supposed to mean.Report

  6. InMD says:

    Life immitates South Park again.Report

  7. Jaybird says:

    I’m honestly flummoxed.

    If she had said something like “Screw you, I’m of Native American descent, no I’m not going to take a DNA test and no I’m not going to show you my family photos. You vultures disgust me!”, that’d be more or less fine. Sure, it’d be jokeworthy but a perfectly defensible position.

    This? I don’t see a single upside to this announcement. She’s treating this like a win and I see it and think “she just shot herself in the foot to the point where she might have cost herself a presidential nomination.”

    I’m looking at this and not seeing how she thought this was a good idea. She’s spiking the football and… dude. I just don’t see it.Report

  8. Chip Daniels says:

    Well this is what I call the Politico/ Cult Of The Savvy sort of discussion.

    Are we talking about what we personally actually believe to be true and meaningful, or are we having some sort of meta-discussion about what we imagine those people out there must be thinking is true and meaningful?

    Because the Beltway media loves to posture like this, as impartial impassive neutral arbiters of what a canny and savvy political attack or defense is, based on their imagination of what The People want. Their logic is all based on the presumption that they have a deeper understanding of issues and their importance.

    Except they don’t. The Beltway media was absolutely riveted on Her Emails, while completely missing the bigger picture right in front of their noses.

    They aren’t savvy at all. They are actually the most credulous and gullible rubes, eagerly lapping up whatever bullshit is dictated to them.

    Seriously. Is there anyone here who actually thinks more or less of Warren because of her Native ancestry?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Seriously. Is there anyone here who actually thinks more or less of Warren because of her Native ancestry?

      Eh. I could see a handful of “THIS IS WHAT WHITE PRIVILEGE LOOKS LIKE” people thinking a little bit less of her.

      I mean, seriously. This is *ACTUAL* cultural appropriation.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

        But what do YOU think?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          That she’s yet another White Person who claims Native American ancestry.

          “Basic”, I think the word is.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

            Now there is a tendency among many of Warren’s critics to latch on to the “maybe somewhere between six and ten generations back” and turn that into “ten generations back” and there is a lot of running with the 1/1024th thing when, hey, it could be six generations back.

            But *I* have an ancestor five generations back who was full Cherokee (my great-grandmother was half Cherokee) and I think that everybody here would be vaguely irritated if I referred to myself as Native American and talked about myself as a member of a minority.

            I mean, seriously.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Personally, I wonder why this seems so important to her? Is her identity that wrapped up in the idea that she has some Native American ancestry? Or is this just a poor attempt to hit back at Trump for calling her Fauxcahontas?

          Either way, it takes a bit more of the shine off of her, IMHO (not that there was much to begin with).Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            If you watch the video… kinda, yes. I thought it was the weakest part of the video where she claims that her Father’s family was against the marriage because her mother’s family was Native American. The video evidence is of a couple of pictures that look like her Father’s Family was quite a bit richer than her Mother’s – which would be plenty plausible for an unsuitable match. Unless I missed it, even the interview portion didn’t mention anything about Indians… just that her Father’s family made it difficult…

            So it struck me as odd that she doubled down on that – especially without any compelling testimony from some ancient Aunt or something.

            Looks like an unforced error to me and why I only gave it a B grade.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine says:

              I agree with you, if this is the last we hear of it from her, then it’ll be a big ‘meh’, and I’ll stop caring about it, regardless of how often Trump and the MAGA crowd bring it up.

              If she makes it part of her campaign, on the other hand…Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                This will follow her thru November 2020 or until she’s out of politics completely. Conservatives won’t let a gift like this go unpunished.Report

              • If Trump insults you and you don’t respond, you look weak. If you do respond, but not forcefully enough, you still look weak. If you do respond forcefully, you’re taking him too seriously. Trump is being an asshole, of course, but everyone expects that, so it doesn’t hurt him.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                But Warren didn’t hit Trump, she hit herself squarely on her own jaw. I mean, I get the idea of trying to swing at Trump and the problems doing so entails, but she didn’t do that here.Report

              • She made it quite plausible that her family stories are true: there was someone who identified as Native American a few generations back.

                Will it stop Trump calling her Pocahontas? No, nothing will short of his (unlamented) demise.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                I think maybe this is taking this far too seriously.
                I mean, really, are people at your work talking about this?

                Every single family int he world has some kind of Origin Myth.

                And from what I have heard, almost never does one of these DNA tests match up neatly with the myth because people are never as neatly simple as we like to imagine, because people have been moving around and intermarrying for thousands of years.

                So I’m trying to imagine anyone who really changes their view of Warren because of this.

                So I ask again of the people here- aside from the “Savvy Politics” aspect, does this actually change your opinion of her?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Me personally? Yes. I think worse of her for doubling down on an obvious falsehood in such a ridiculous way.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                But how many people will it sway away from voting for her?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                For Senator? Zero.

                For Nominee? Well…

                For President? Well…Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I would love to meet this person and have them explain their thought process.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The primary is easy to explain. People might prefer Kamala Harris to Elizabeth Warren if it’s important to them that we elect more diverse people.

                The election itself, I’d say, would not be a case of people choosing to vote for Trump instead, but people not being excited enough to get out and vote. The “oh, I’m a member of an oppressed minority group!” thing is a dampener.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Her family always said they were part Indian, but two years ago we found out she is only a tiny fraction. I’m still disenchanted.”

                Really seriously- I want to meet this person.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                That’s not my argument.

                Though if you read “oh, I’m a member of an oppressed minority group!” and translated that in your head to “oh, they had a family story about a Native American ancestor”, I suppose that you don’t have the necessary wiring to be able to imagine someone turned off by this whole thing.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                But yeah, that’s my question- who are these people, for whom this is such a big turnoff?
                How do we even know they exist?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Should I bother linking to Kim Tallbear’s essay?

                Why not.

                Did you know that there are thoughts that Democrats might not have good turnout come 22 days hence?

                Here’s a couple of articles about it.

                Can you wrap your head around someone not being energized to vote in November?

                If you can’t, can you wrap your head around how Democratic Leadership seems to be worried about voters not being energized to vote?

                Because it’s easy for me to see Warren’s statements and the ensuing fight as being a wet blanket on the enthusiasm of People Of Color. Do you not see how that might be a drag?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                If you have to conjure up so many imaginary people, then yeah, its hard to wrap my head around it.

                Really, an article about Latino participation? Can we actually find a statistically significant number of people of color for whom Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry is a factor?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I actually linked to an essay from someone who was turned off by what Warren said… your comment seems to imply that you didn’t even notice.

                Can you just not *SEE* Native Americans? That’d explain a lot.

                (And also why you can see Elizabeth Warren.)

                Can we actually find a statistically significant number of people of color for whom Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry is a factor?

                None of those goalposts used to be there.

                But I’m pretty sure that my argument is one of voter enthusiasm and that Warren’s stuff today is a wet blanket. You can’t imagine someone changing their mind and my argument isn’t about someone changing their mind. It’s an argument about someone teetering on the edge of being enthusiastic enough to vote. If they voted, they’d vote D all the way down the ticket.

                The problem isn’t whether they vote D or R. It’s whether they vote at all.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Do you think native american’s are aware of and infuriated about North Dakota disenfranchising those on the rez? The correct answer is a yes. Will they vote, well in ND plenty won’t be able to so, it doesn’t really matter what they think about Warren.

                Which is getting more airtime? Which is getting more attention on NA media?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Did you know that there is a “Twitter Moment” dedicated to Native Americans responding to Warren’s DNA test results?

                There is!Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Indeed there at twitter storms for all sorts of things. Often those storms dont’ relate much to the actual significance of things in meatspace nor are they even followed by non-twits and people who are politics nerds. Lots of people dont’ even know what the twitters are.

                In an age when we are shot in the face with a data fire hose every minutes discerning what is of value and what isn’t seems like a useful function. A killer app.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Jaybird says:

                I also believe Cherokee blogs spent a lot of time fact-checking Warren’s claims. Example, here.

                I took some personal interest in this story because my mother-in-law’s family has a Cherokee ancestor by tradition; I think they lived in Georgia and moved to Arizona in the late 19th century. My initial efforts to confirm the tradition are not positive, but neither my wife or kids have ever checked a box as a racial minority, particularly if the box expects formal tribal affiliation or recognition.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Speaking for, I am sure, everyone here, we find this profoundly disappointing.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                In the primary, probably quite a few.Report

              • It will sway nobody to vote for her that wasn’t already inclined, so the same end result.Report

              • Mr.JoeM in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                It will likely dampen enthusiasm some. Which results in less campaign donations, knocking on doors, running phone banks, and helping folks register and get to the polls.Report

      • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

        I actually think the relative silence and/or continued support of the faction that regularly talks about white privilege will be the attack line.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

          That, or the focus on identity as a driver in Dem politics. I mean, if we take off the glasses which make us squint at politics, she publicly expressed her status as a minority of Native American heritage for a reason. (Going back to her time at Harvard…)Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

            This is the wild card… I can’t believe she’d try to fish in that pond again; but then as I commented above to Oscar, the Video does dip a toe into the victim pool: she is part of a Native American family wasn’t good enough for her Father’s family.

            I don’t know what to say, the section in the video is completely unsubstantiated (maybe she’s got something that someone foolishly edited out) but man, it sticks out like a sore thumb from otherwise changing the narrative to, “Hey, leave off my Mom… she said we had an Indian ancestor, and we do… apologies if I made it sound closer in our family history than it is… but that’s oral tradition for you and mom wasn’t sure exactly herself… why are you picking on an old dead lady??”

            Instead, she wants us to believe that her family 5-9 generations removed from any Native American blood were victims of racial tensions. I hate to say it, but from *her own video* I’m led to believe she’s lying and that the allure of victim status clouded her judgement.

            If I were a Republican operative… I’d start canvassing the old folks who knew her Father’s family… my hunch (and its just an Occam’s razor thing) is that no, there’s no-one who thought her Mother couldn’t marry into the family for being Indians… but hey, I’m just watching the video *she’s* putting out there to support her claims.

            Its an unforced error in her unforced error cleansing process. Such is the power of Identitarian Politics…Report

          • InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

            Maybe this is me being overly charitable but it’s quite possible she believes/d it. I have a few friends with Cherokee ancestor stories, and for all I know they’re true (the friends who have them seem to think they are). Of course none of them use it to claim any sort of benefit or anything so if we ever found out it was false or embellished or whatever it wouldn’t matter.

            But this is kind of where this stuff goes. Start attributing a positive value to a particular identity and suddenly there will be an incentive to reclaim that funny old story grandma used to tell.Report

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to Stillwater says:

            “That, or the focus on identity as a driver in Dem politics…”


    • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      She’s running for President.

      She said some things that are awkward.

      She’s preemptively is changing the narrative from her being Native American, to her (and her Republican brothers – yes I watched the “carefully choreographed” video) defending their family’s verbal storytelling – and in particular their mother’s memory.

      I think it does what it needs to do… provide a response to a mistake she introduced.

      It won’t convince anyone of anything… she’s both part Native American and not Native American at all… just as she was before. But now she can say the question has been asked and answered. If she’s smart, she never says a word about it ever again. [That’s why she released it 22-days before the Mid-Terms… too close and it becomes a “thing” for the mid-terms, but after the Mid-terms it becomes the first of the Presidential “things” because Nov 8, 2018 is Day-1 of President 2020 (2Oprah)]

      As political rhetoric, I give it a solid B for plugging a hole that needed plugging. Unless she tries to campaign on it, then its a D-, probably an F. But she’d never do that would she?Report

  9. Jaybird says:

    And there’s this part from the article too. (I’m adding the emphasis.)

    Detecting DNA for Native Americans is particularly tricky because there is an absence of Native American DNA available for comparison. This is in part because Native American leaders have asked tribal members not to participate in genetic databases.

    “The tribes have felt they have been exploited,” explained Lawrence Brody, a senior investigator with the Medical Genomics and Metabolic Genetics Branch at the National Institutes of Health. “The amount of genetic data that is available from Native Americans is sparse.”

    To make up for the dearth of Native American DNA, Bustamante used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American. That’s because scientists believe that the groups Americans refer to as Native American came to this land via the Bering Strait about 12,000 years ago and settled in what’s now America but also migrated further south. His report explained that the use of reference populations whose genetic material has been fully sequenced was designed “for maximal accuracy.”

    So the test didn’t prove anything about her ancestry except that somewhere, between 6 and 10 generations back, there was someone from Mexico, Peru, or Colombia.

    This is a shit show.

    Why in the hell did she announce this?Report

  10. Jaybird says:

    The Cherokee Nation just released this press release:

    TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. issued the following statement Monday in response to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test claiming Native Heritage:

    “A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”


  11. Jaybird says:

    The Onion’s Latest Headline:

    Elizabeth Warren Disappointed After DNA Test Shows Zero Trace Of Presidential MaterialReport

  12. Jesse says:

    When even Razib Khan can’t really attack Warren on this, I think it does show something –


    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Jesse says:

      There’s literally a minority group saying this is offensive to minority groups and liberals are trying to defend her here. We have officially entered the Twilight Zone.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Oh, the crazy is only just beginning Mike. My suggestion? Take notes.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Is it too early for a “Nevertheless, she persisted” joke?Report

      • greginak in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        fwiw….the crazy started a long time ago with trump calling her pocahotas. Native Americans didn’t really take kindly to that. Warren’s wrong are being inflated. She had family stories of have NA ancestry. Many american’s do. Lot’s of those claims are dubious but i don’t’ see the reason to doubt her sincerity. She hasn’t claimed a ton from her believed background though it would have been more polite to have never done so unless it was more solidly proven. There isn’t any evidence she got anything much for claiming NA ancestry.

        I dont’ blame the tribe for not being happy with her. But, like i said, they weren’t happy with Trump either.Report

        • KenB in reply to greginak says:

          You have the timeline wrong — people on the right were calling her Fauxcahontas for years before Trump became a candidate. All he did was pick up on it while getting it wrong.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to greginak says:

          My understanding is that the actual issue here is allegations—unproven, AFAIK—that she exploited her nigh-negligible aboriginal ancestry for affirmative action purposes. There is documentation of Harvard using her for PR purposes back in the 90s to respond to the complaint that their law school had no minority women, but it’s not clear whether it affected their decision to hire her.

          The real problem with Warren is that she’s a charlatan whose appeal is based entirely on loudly expressing very strong opinions on issues she doesn’t understand.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            The really explosive allegations will be when it is discovered she is related to someone who donated a lot of money to the university which gave her an unfair advantage.

            But shhh, you didn’t hear it from me. *wink* *nod*Report

  13. Jaybird says:

    Mueller better have one hell of an October Surprise.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

      Slate is reporting it will be a November…? What would we call a November thing? A November Whitewash? A Movember Meh? A November Operators Manual for the New Democratic Congress?

      He is “close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice,” and will likely write up a report on them “after the November midterm elections.

      Of course, I’m sure we’ll all get a preview of the juicy bits in October… somehow.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Marchmaine says:

        I’m always a bit dubious of how much the prez affects midterms, but any bad PR for Trump is okay for me. His response to this Saudi thing makes Obama look like a master statesman.Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Hmmn, interesting thought… I tend to feel that the mid-terms are almost entirely about the Prez. They are Proxies for hopes, dreams, fears, and frustrations. Usually driven more by fears and frustrations than hope… which is why the President’s team fares poorly.

          Trump makes Sarah Palin look like a master statesman whenever he talks about foreign policy… though on the Saudi thing, I disagree (with many) that this is a matter for the US.

          Now, if the Turks wanted to arrest the Saudi Ambassador, present their findings to the UN, and proceed to execute, dismember and send the pieces back to MBS with a Kim Jung Un sized Card that reads: “Now Don’t Do it Again” … and then burn down the Embassy. I’d consider that a fair cop. But that also might just be my Byzantine DNA speaking.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

        If it were a nothingburger, would it be better to announce before or after the elections?

        If it were a somethingburger, would it be better to announce before or after the elections?Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

          I never go against Sicilians when death is on the line.

          I started to answer seriously, then quickly fell into the Princess Bride trap.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

            I know that you know that I know that you know that there is a burger somewhere between nothing and something that delineates the two burger zones.

            I know that you know that I know that you know that a burger in the something zone is a burger that would benefit the democrats most if it were released, oh, next week, say. Well, next week if it’s in the larger part of the zone. Closer to the line means that it’s best closer to the election.

            But I also know that you know that I know that you know that a burger in the nothing zone would depress turnout in the favor of the republicans. Closer to the line means the less depressing… but depressing nonetheless.

            I just don’t know that I’m right about knowing those things.Report

            • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

              Yeah, I’m expecting a Hamburger Rorschach Dog’s Breakfeast of a Report.

              Anything short of,
              Yep… he done colluded and here’s the smoking gun, or
              Nope, we got everyone who did something wrong, so long and thanks for all the fish.
              will be a shitstorm of… well, actually.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              What could Mueller possibly say, that would make us forget everything that is already known about the eagerness the Trump campaign had for Russian assistance?
              Or Trumps desperate attempts to hide it?

              What could possibly be discovered that would make everyone say, “Wow, we were totally off base- the Russians and Trump had nothing to do with each other!”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                If you’re asking me for a theoretical something, how’s about something like “yeah, everybody we’re going to arrest for something we’re able to arrest them for has already been arrested”?

                Or does that not answer your question?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m hard pressed to see how that, or anything else, could depress our turnout.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                That is *NOT* the question you asked.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Though if I wanted to depress turnout, I’d say that Mueller officially announcing that the dossier that the FBI got their hands on was funded by Clinton and compiled by, shall we say, “motivated” compilers and the important thing was not whether it contains anything true but that it contains mud to sling and that most of the rumors flying around are just pre-election oppo that happened to not die down once the election was finalized.

                I could see that sort of depressing a handful of folks. In theory.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think the broad outlines are the things that no one disputes:

                That Trump himself has had a long murky relationship with Russian mob/ government;

                That his real estate deals with them seem like classic money laundering;

                That he surrounded himself with people who also had a long and murky relationship with the Russian mob/ government;

                That he eagerly sought Russian help in email hacking to find dirt on Clinton;

                That Trump’s campaign chair, several campaign advisers including his foreign policy adviser have been charged and convicted of crimes relating to their involvement with the Russian mob/ government;

                That Trump has consistently behaved like someone who is beholden to the Russian mob/ government;

                That Trump stated on tv that he fired FBI director Comey to curtail the probe.

                These are all facts, things that no one disputes. Mueller doesn’t even have the power to change any of this.

                Its possible Mueller will reveal something new and astonishing.
                But it is almost impossible to be anything exculpatory, since the guilt has already been admitted.Report

              • greginak in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Just wait until you hear about his connections with the Saudi’s and their cover ups in the last week.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                So… what’s your question that I didn’t answer?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                You were saying Mueller better have a hell of an October Surprise, and I am saying it can’t possibly be much of a surprise, at least to the extent of telling us anything we don’t already know.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Then the only thing we have to worry about for the next 19ish days is the New Normal News Cycle?Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                #2 is actually easier than #1.

                #2… The Russian plan was to thwart and humiliate Hilary Clinton for interfering in Russian elections in 2011-12. Their goal was to expose the corrupt machinations of the Democratic Primary process and thereby call into question the “fair and free” elections of the United States. Specifically to discredit HRC whether she won or lost.

                The signal intelligence evidence also shows that the Russians were expecting Rubio or JEB! to win the primary and were going to continue their efforts to derail HRC no matter the Republican nominee.

                Motive, means, opportunity. (and a dead body)Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:


          • Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

            That’s one of the all time classic blunders, right after “Never get involved in a land war in Afghanistan”.Report

            • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Personally I’m looking forward to the remake: ????? Wilson’s War

              edit: Dang, imagine that ???? = Cyrillic for Charlie… its Hi-larious.Report

            • Some years back (circa 2005 or 2006) I had an opportunity to take a class from a visiting prof from one of the war colleges. His summary of Afghanistan at the time was, “These are the best insurgent fighters in the world. Outlasting invading armies and chasing them away has been the national sport for 3,000 years. Declare victory and go home. It’s what we will do eventually, it’s what everyone from the Indus Valley civilization to the Soviet Union has done. Better to do it now and save the blood and treasure.”

              I have a note for a short story set a hundred years in the future where someone is making a pitch for next-gen drones to the US Army. “We’ve done extensive testing in Afghanistan against the warlords. We didn’t win, but we did better than anyone else has.”Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Does your story have a wise cabby who tells us that the next six months will be crucial?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Courtesy Brad Delong:

                Tom Friedman: Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at Last: “The most significant reform process underway anywhere in the Middle East today is in Saudi Arabia… its own Arab Spring… led from the top down by the country’s 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman…. If it succeeds, it will not only change the character of Saudi Arabia but the tone and tenor of Islam across the globe. Only a fool would predict its success—but only a fool would not root for it…


  14. Philip H says:

    Brandon Berg:
    The real problem with Warren is that she’s a charlatan whose appeal is based entirely on loudly expressing very strong opinions on issues she doesn’t understand.

    Actually on matters economic and financial shes knows quite a lot. Her publication track record before becoming CFPB head under Obama and then senator was and still is considered very academically substantial. As to her foreign policy chops – yes a lot of that was learned on the job but by all accounts she actually had experienced staff helping her learn that side of the house.

    All that said, however, I’m really frustrated by her and her handlers. Sen. Warren needs to stay on the Hill and replace Schumer as Senate majority leader when Dems retake the Senate. Running for President is totally unnecessary for her.

    I remain VERY angry at the Democratic party for its continued insistence on playing by last century’s rules to confront this century’s politics. Like so many moderates on the right who feel like the Republican Party left them, I’m rapidly running out of room to tolerate Establishment Democrats who thing k MORE neoloberal approaches to our nation’s ills will solve anything.Making nice with Bully’s never wins the fight for you. Sometimes you just have to throw a punch – rhetorical or otherwise.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Philip H says:

      Obviously I am not going to vote for Trump in 2 years, but so far I’m not seeing anyone on the Dem side I can vote for. And it’s deeply concerning that Biden is considered the front-runner right now. I don’t have an issue with him per se but I’m tired of the old farts running the show.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        I’m not a fan of the Biden idea, or the Warren Idea. I could get behind Kamala Harris, grudgingly. Cory Booker would have to change several of his biggest stripes to even get my look. Sanders had his chance, and was thwarted. The real issue is the Democrats focused on the White House for so long they lost the bubble on governorships, which is where the Republican bench in our generation s at the moment.Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to Philip H says:

          Halfway through your comment I was thinking “Wonder if there are any solid Dem governors I need to know about?”

          I don’t know anything about Harris really, but I will try to keep an open mind after she announces. There are several Republican governors that are moderate enough for my tastes but it’s doubtful anyone challenges Trump.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Of the 16 state houses held by Dems at the moment . . . Jay Inslee in Washington has some good points environmentally and seems to play well with Boeing; Jon Bell Edwards in Louisiana is making a small amount of progress against a Burn It To The Ground republican majority in the state senate but not without a lot of pain; Colorado’s current governor seems to be navigating an Open Carry state with legal Marijuana fairly well. I had hoped North Carolina’s governor would swing harder at his states republicans, but the gerrymandering war there is really slowing stuff down.

            That said – Republicans currently hold 33 governor’s mansions.Report

            • Mike Dwyer in reply to Philip H says:

              I think I read an article about John Hickenlooper that sparked a little interest on my end. If I thought he was sensible he will likely go down in flames with all the other moderates I have supported in the last 20 years.Report

  15. Philip H says:

    Jaybird: Mueller better have one hell of an October Surprise.

    Perhaps its my continued lack of sleep getting to me, but I no longer think his investigation will actually move the dial unless Dems retake the House and Senate and actually impeach the President based on whatever Mr. Mueller turns up. clearly Mr. Trump believes he’s winning, and the Republican Party has secured their conservative majority on SCOTUS – to say nothing of their continued tax cutting and their current (and mostly unreported) attempts to use that tax cut to leverage defunding Social Security and other earned benefits. To say nothing of their various disenfranchisement gammets (which are being met with some judicial resistance but a big yawn by most Americans).

    its as if we’ve mostly decided to let democracy die because its too much actual work otherwise.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

      We’ve got two weeks and one day left in October.

      Mueller seems to fully understand that three weeks is an eternity and so he’s waiting until juuuust the right time to let the cat out of the bag about the Russian Collusion.Report

  16. Philip H says:

    Jaybird: We’ve got two weeks and one day left in October.

    Mueller seems to fully understand that three weeks is an eternity and so he’s waiting until juuuust the right time to let the cat out of the bag about the Russian Collusion.

    Perhaps, but if as has been widely reported he doesn’t believe he can prosecute the President and Dems don’t take the Senate, then I am unconvinced he could do real damage to the President or Republicans. The President’s base, remember, says they forgive him because Christ forgave Pilot.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

      It doesn’t have to be about “real” damage. Sufficient damage to impeach (even if not found guilty) should suffice.

      The other option, I suppose, is nothing comes out. Mueller makes no announcement.


  17. Philip H says:

    Jaybird: It doesn’t have to be about “real” damage. Sufficient damage to impeach (even if not found guilty) should suffice.

    That was the aim against Clinton – and we on the left are only now grappling with that legacy and the legacy of his triangulation and neoliberal economics – which weren’t actually left leaning nor labor friendly.

    Sure I’d love to see the house Impeach even if the Senate doesn’t convict, but if that happens the chorus of “suck it Liberals” will only get louder.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

      Clinton wasn’t impeached because of triangulation and neoliberalism. Those were the parts of his stuff that the Republicans actually liked.

      Does Trump have a bunch of stuff that Democrats secretly like except they’re still ticked off about 2016 and that’s blinding them to it?Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Trump is said to have wanted to do infrastructure before ACA repeal and tax cuts. Dems might have gotten on board with that one. McConnell/Ryan weren’t having any of it, tho.*

        *Which makes me think that Trump, at the time**, wasn’t sure enough of himself as President to bend Congress to his will.

        **Assuming those reports are true, of course.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Stillwater says:

          given that he and McConnell seem to have come to detante’ i’m sure he could do infrastructure if he wanted to. But he doesn’t – probably because his people haven’t yet figured out how he can buy companies that would profit from such spending.Report

  18. Philip H says:

    Does Trump have a bunch of stuff that Democrats secretly like except they’re still ticked off about 2016 and that’s blinding them to it?

    given Chuck Schumer’s lack of ability much less will to call a liar a liar, I do wonder sometimes.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Philip H says:

      Schumer’s the worst. I don’t see how Dems can regain control of the Senate with that bumbling fool as Leader. He’s a liability.Report

      • Jesse in reply to Stillwater says:

        I mean, I agree with you, but thankfully, Schumer’s not in charge of the campaigning arm – Chris Van Hollen is.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jesse says:

          And we’ve got Tom Perez and Keith Ellison in charge of the DNC and I’ve no doubt that they’ll do a better job than DWS did.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

            I doubt it. Perez was a neoliberal labor secretary whose labor policies were more corporate leaning then labor leaning. He also owes his position to his long association with the Clintons. Ellison has some credible domestic violence charges against him, and while he has every right and opportunity to fight them legally, he needs to step out of the DNC to do so, and I don’t see him doing that.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

              Keith Ellison’s divorce records were unsealed today against the wishes of both people involved:

              The documents, which were obtained by the Star Tribune, contained no allegation that Keith Ellison abused his ex-wife. They did, however, contain a 2015 statement in which he reported that his ex-wife had hit him throughout their 25-year marriage. The affidavit, written in response to a motion for increased spousal maintenance, said that “it was very humiliating to admit that I was a domestic abuse victim.”


  19. Jaybird says:

    Well, Fox is now reporting that Tucker Carlson had Debbie White Dove Porreco on his show and she called for Warren to apologize. Debbie White Dove Porreco is, apparently, a descendant of Pocahontas. Like half of the people of Virginia, she *CLAIMS* to be one.

    Where do they find these people?Report

  20. Jaybird says:

    Warren gave a reason as to why she took the test:

    Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Sunday that she changed her mind recently and took a DNA test proving her heritage because Americans’ trust in government is “at an all-time low” and she wanted to help rebuild it by being transparent.


    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:


    • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

      “I get it. You wanted an Indian woman, but Elizabeth Warren failed her DNA test”

      Nikki Haley, Al Smith dinner.

      But we’re never mentioning it again. After this one time.

      This one make me chuckle:
      “The President got really mad about Woodward’s book, really mad. The book compared him to a fifth grader. A lot of Democrats seized on that, until they realized, they got beat by a fifth grader.”Report