creeping toward the l-word

I think I’m right in saying this is the first Fox News video ever to appear here, but either way what we’re looking at here is what I believe the diplomats call “movement”.

They’re not quite there yet, but they’re creeping up on it, deploying damn near every term you can dream up for a lie without actually saying the word “lie”, including “this president keeps telling untrue things, and he does it every time he’s in front of a microphone.”

I have no idea who Shep Smith is—some kind of Fox regular talking head I suppose—but here he is on Fox News offering a comprehensive defense of the media generally, and rather enjoyably tearing Hair Führer a brand new asshole.

“He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we’re some kind of fools for asking the question … Really? We’re fools for asking the questions? No sir, we are not fools for asking the questions. And we demand to know the answer to this question.”

So is this the beginnings of a crack in the dam? Long way to go yet, and let’s see if this guy still has a job by the end of the week, but it can’t hurt.


43 Responses to creeping toward the l-word

  1. KevinNevada says:

    I disagree that the exit strategy is impeachment.

    The far quicker and more likely exit strategy, as Cheeto Benito’s mind dissolves into mush, will be the 25th Amendment.

    But it’s good to see Shep Smith air it out. I suspect that he, and Chris Wallace and some others are very very glad that the ponderous nasty presence of Roger Ailes has left the building.

    And Shep Smith, if fired, could get hired elsewhere. His career could even get a boost if that happens.

  2. bluthner says:

    25th amendment removal requires not just 2/3rds of BOTH houses of Congress, but the cooperation of the Vice President and 8 of the 15 heads of cabinet departments.

    Impeachment just needs a majority of the House to get started, and in the end 2/3rds of ONLY the Senate.

    So in that sense impeachment is far more ‘likely’. If the numbers are there they can pick and choose from a wide selection of high crimes Trump has already done and dusted.

    Meanwhile Bannon is already looking to put boots on the ground.

  3. KevinNevada says:


    the advantage of the 25th Amendment is how quickly it can be invoked.

    Impeachment is slow.

    And the Chinese may have just provided an excellent reason for removal: a bit fat emolument to the Trump Organization, infamously still tied to the Big Cheese Puff.

    That news will break over the next day or so.

  4. KevinNevada says:

    Not surprisingly, the rumor is that the RW blog sites have gone nuts over Shep Smith.

    They are howling for his head on a pike, public display.

    It seems that telling the truth and standing up for factual reality can get a body fired.

    Who knew?

  5. NatashaFatale says:


    Yes, impeachment is far simpler mechanically. But impeachment has one very significant downside for the GOP: millions upon millions of Trump voters who like what they’re seeing just fine. Who are seeing what they hoped they’d see and hearing what they hoped they’d hear (mainly, squeals and moans from everyone they despise). Who, basically, elected him to give the press conference he gave yesterday. Who mainly vote in GOP primaries. And who, when voting in their first post-impeachment GOP primary, will be gunning for the traitors who yanked their dream away at the very moment of victory.

    Contrast this with the overburdened martyr whose health has cracked under the strain of fixing the terrible problems this country faces – the Fallen Hero who gave his all, even his mind, in his relentless, never-ending struggle against polluting foreignness and liberal perfidy. How we honor him! How we hope and pray that once freed from the terrible burdens of office, his health will be restored – and he, too, can proudly watch as President Pence finishes the job that only He Himself could have started…

  6. bluthner says:

    Nat, and Kev,

    Oh I get what you guys are driving at. All I’m arguing is that the 25th only works if before they start the GOP powers that be are stone certain, and can offer proofs, that the fix is in.

    Impeach a guy, the hairball at least gets a chance to make his case. Which is the same as a chance to hang himself all by own.

    Pull the 25th on him and you might as well send in, as you say, the guys in the white jackets. Nobody makes a case, it’s just a matter of counting the votes. And that means trusting the votes you have counted before the votes are counted. Once upon a time that kind of trust wasn’t so rare in D.C.- the GOP came, apparently, early on in his presidency, within a whisker of sending in the 25th ammendment white coats to carry away Reagan. Could so many men -and almost all of them are men- keep the secret that would have to be kept for long enough now? I have my doubts. Unless Trump actually pulls out his dick on national TV to prove that its size is not (post surgical enhancement) in any way proportion to his hands.

  7. NatashaFatale says:


    Oh yeah. Otherwise it’s the Bay of Pigs for those guys. Nobody’s deader than the leaders of a failed coup.

    And I repeat yet again: neither option is remotely possible before the GOP gets 100% of everything they think they can get from Trump. At which point the Democrats, having nothing left to lose (except possibly WW III) might want to keep him around just so they can run against him.

    Meanwhile “there’s no way to understand the US president’s real position without being drunk.” –Komsomolskaya Pravda.

  8. And I repeat yet again: neither option is remotely possible before the GOP gets 100% of everything they think they can get from Trump.

    So long as the perception that the pluses outweigh the minuses remains the massively dominant GOP view, that’s true.

    I’m beginning to be persuaded (by events, dear boy, events) that Trump, as his frustration mounts, is going to find new and creative ways to engender all kinds of uncertainty which will begin to corrode (is already corroding) that perception much sooner than I previously imagined.
    I had, in my underestimation of Trump’s compulsively dysfunctional capabilities, previously thought he’d dial things down enough to keep abject panic from the GOP door. I had thought perhaps he actually had that ability.
    Now I’m not so sure at all.

    Today’s unhinged rant about the media being “the enemy of the people” is a case in point. He’s really showing signs of losing his shit, and he’s very close to the point of no return, such that even if by some miracle Ridge Pinball did find a way to dial him back it wouldn’t matter.
    Not all Republican legislators are stupid, and Trump is dangerously close to holing the good ship GOP below the waterline.

  9. KevinNevada says:


    ah, you begin to see . . . yes they will have to dump him at some point.

    When Cheeto Benito begins to wander the halls at night, muttering at the shadows, it will be time for Pence and the boys to do the right thing for themselves . . . excuse me, The Country.

    And I’m betting that day will come sooner than anyone suspects.

    That latest leaked memo, which is of course 100 PERCENT NOT TRUE, proposed using the National Guard (presumably from the right-minded states) to sweep the nation and get rid of a few million people.

    My own Governor, a Non-Trumpian Republican, smiled as he stated that was a non-starter with him. And we are, of course, one of the majorly targeted states for the Great Dragnet.

    The memo is another clear sign that insanity rules the West Wing at present.

  10. bluthner says:

    The transcript of that presser alone, in any other time, have been enough to send the hairball on a permanent rest cure. It’s purely and simply incoherent. But idiotshock is never going to be enough to get Trump gone. He’s going to have to act in some way that even Paul Ryan can’t face swallowing, which really does set the bar pretty damn high.

    Some aggressive forensic accounting would probably bring him down in a matter of weeks, if someone had the right writ and enough funding. Or contacts with the right whistleblowers. At some point, if enough dirt, or one dirty enough revelation comes out, 100% of what the GOP can milk from the hairball will suddenly shrink away to triviality.

    But the moment that sufficiently dirty dirt starts to break, look out for a Gulf of Persia moment, a la Tonkin.

  11. NatashaFatale says:


    Well-known characteristic of people who are drawn to extreme politics (left or right): real, individual things combine into general categories, and then those categories themselves become real, individual things. Everyone does that to some extent, but they really go to town with it. Most people can say “the rich” and “the poor” without forgetting that rich Mary and rich Martha are very different critters; but not your political extremist. Likewise, most people can say “the media” without forgetting that Entertainment Tonight and the NY Times and the Daily Mail and the BBC are very, very different from one another. But not the people at the political edges. For them “the media” becomes a real, tangible, wrap-it-up, put-it-on-the-shelf, take-it-down-and-ship-it-off-to-Schenectady thing.

    For those people, “the media is the enemy of the people” is not unhinged. It may be true or false but either way, it’s a commonplace statement of fact on the order of “the fire has gone out” or “this apple pie is delicious.” And those at the edges who see “the media” consistently proclaiming that their hero is a handful of dirt and they themselves are stupid for not seeing that, know, as surely as they know that hot is not cold and black is not white, that Trump has nailed the problem squarely on the head – that he is not sucking up to “the media” with a mouth already full of meal; rather, they know that for once – finally – they have elected the truth-speaking leader they’ve been craving for years. (Now of course they know that Fox and Breitbart and others who speak the simple truth every day are also in the media business. Of course they know this. But those truth-tellers are brave outsiders who have very clearly not of the media, have very clearly not sold out to it. Because any fool can see who the media is, and any fool can see who it isn’t: we won’t fool them with our slippery, hair-splitting distinctions…)

    Here’s a brave insurgent speaking from the very heart and nerve-center of the enemy and daring to honestly report what everyone, deep down, knows to be true. She’s talking about the same press conference that the media is pleased to call an incoherent, rambling catastrophe. Here’s some of what she says:

    …Trump boldly took to the East Room podium to address a room full of inquisitive journalists.

    Undeterred by critical reporting, Trump did not cower behind a press secretary with carefully crafted words, as most politicians would do. Instead, he himself spoke directly to the American people, breaking through the interpretive lens of the media.

    Trump voters deemed his press conference a success for several reasons: He directed the conversation back to the issues; he showed his undeterred fortitude in tackling the tough questions; and he corrected the record.

    According to the latest CNN poll, 90% of Republicans approve of the way Trump has handled the presidency thus far. Often left out of the media narrative are the reasons why Republicans feel this way. GOP voters look to the President and see a litany of accomplishments: a soaring stock market, withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, elimination of job-killing regulations, expedited permit approval, a hiring freeze on nonessential federal workers and a task force for reducing violent crime, among others. All this in just three weeks.

    These accomplishments, however, rarely garner media attention, except for Thursday when Trump listed them before a captive media audience, saying “I’m making this presentation directly to the American people with the media present. …”

    There’s more – go check it out. This is the voice of that famous, nebulous GOP base. It’s the voice of the people who elected both Trump and the legislators who will have to depose him – who will have to decide that he has reached “the point of no return”, that he “is dangerously close to holing the good ship GOP below the waterline.” And these are the people who will either re-elect those legislators or boot them straight out of their jobs. I expect that it will happen someday, but not while they can find an inch of wiggle-room left.

  12. bluthner says:

    From: A Short History of the Trump Family by Sidney Blumenthal in the most recent LRB:

    Trump’s business has been dependent almost from the start on real-life racketeers. There was Anthony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno, boss of the Genovese crime family, and Paul ‘Big Paulie’ Castellano, boss of the Gambino crime family, who owned the company that provided the ready-mix cement for Trump Tower, used in place of the usual steel girders. There was John Cody, the boss of Teamsters Local 282, who controlled the cement trucks and was an associate of the Gambino family. There was Daniel Sullivan, Trump’s labour ‘consultant’, who in partnership with the Philadelphia crime boss Nicodemos ‘Nicky’ Scarfo’s financier, sold Trump a property in Atlantic City that became his casino. There was Salvatore ‘Salvie’ Testa, ‘crown prince’ of the Philadelphia Mob, who sold Trump the site on which two construction firms owned by Scarfo built the Trump Plaza and Casino. There was Felix Sater, convicted money launderer for the Russian Mafia, Trump’s partner in building the Trump SoHo hotel through the Bayrock Group LLC, which by 2007 had more than $2 billion in Trump licensed projects and by 2014 was no more. There was Tevfik Arif, another Trump partner, Bayrock’s chairman, originally from Kazakhstan. Bayrock’s equity financing came from three Kazakh billionaires known as ‘the Trio’, who were reported to be engaged in racketeering, money laundering and other crimes. And so on.​*

    *For the documentary trail, see Wayne Barrett’s Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth (1992) and David Cay Johnston’s The Making of Donald Trump (Melville House, 288 pp., August 2016, 978 1 612 19632 9).

  13. bluthner says:


    When the adjective coherent ceases to hold meaning, then raw power is all that’s left. Trump has only ever been interested in raw power, and his supporters will only be interested in him so long as he has power to wield and he wields it. It’s not possible that anyone listening to that presser made any sense out of the words spoken, because there was simply no sense to make. What makes sense to Trumpsters is only the fact that he could stand in the room, in that room, and force people to listen to the noise coming out of his mouth.

    That’s why I say it makes no difference what he says, at all. Mockable and laughable and stinking and unparsable though his vomitus may be. What will only matter enough to force any change is an action. He can’t go on repealing Obama’s exec orders forever- soon there will be none left to repeal. After that he can’t just stand there and make noises, he has to act. And then something will have to give.

  14. KevinNevada says:

    Thanks, Bluthner for that citation of the wise guys whom Cheeto Benito has done business with for many years. We already knew that from his mannerisms and how he reacts to challenges or “disrespect’, that he is himself a mobster to the core. He reeks of it.

    A history of the family I saw during the primary phase recounted that the first Drumph in this country, C.B.’s grandfather (who came here to dodge German military service – a consistent theme) made his money in a series of mining boom camps around the West and in Alaska. In each, he opened a bar and sensibly added a string of cribs out back for some working girls. C.B.’s attitude to women is well inherited.

    This is the guy whom the Values Voters are cheering for. That is how desperate they had become to finally have a government that will ram their notions down the throats of all of us sinners and miscreants and skeptics and other scum of the earth.

    And you guys are right, they will not falter very soon in their support of this creep. Hell’s bells, there is still a solid faction of Republicans who think that the wonderful Dick Nixon was treated very unfairly, hounded from office without any cause worth considering.

    But the pols, the insiders, they may well falter when the guy becomes too unstable to allow near external witnesses. That presser was an early sign of instability. The fervent base doesn’t see it but the pros do.

    A quick 25th Amendment strike is the only plausible exit. Impeachment would take too long and their base voters would have time to riot.

    The first serious foreign crisis may be the breaking point. This guy will be putty in the hands of a well organized opponent. I’m sure that his psychological weaknesses have already been gamed out by some very bright folks in a bunker somewhere – scenarios role-played, options listed, provocations scripted.

  15. NatashaFatale says:


    Do you find this incoherent?

    We’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It is’s disaster. I know you can say, oh, Obamacare. I mean, they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they are not the Republican people our that representatives are representing.

    Some do. I wish I did but I don’t. I think I understand it perfectly. I hear it saying “One thing that’s over is caring about the people (whoever they are) who live in alleys. From now on, we’re looking out for the people like us. Get used to it.” And I think it’s an applause line, and a whole lot of people are applauding it. And I think there are so many of those lines out there waiting to be delivered that he can get by with the people who elected him for the whole four years delivering them one by one – so long as the right (ie the wrong) people get visibly hurt when he delivers them.

    Of course this says nothing at all to Gunny’s point that many in the GOP really do want a government that functions in some ways and so far he’s failing to deliver one. That’s real, that’s true. It says nothing at all about what the people who have try to run the government are thinking and doing. It says nothing at all about what the press will be reporting, and nothing at all about what the likes of us will be up to. All it’s saying, and all I mean to say, is that to way too many people, this is not the self-evident clusterfuck that too many of us seem to take it for granted that everyone can see.

  16. Tommydog says:

    NF. I’ve been enjoying your posts and insights. You’re the only one here taking their coffee black. The rest are dreaming.

  17. bluthner says:


    To reach the level of ‘coherent’ you’d first have to show me where anyone cared about the people who live in alleys before the hairball took over. Or that people who live in alleys have any truck at all with Obamacare, which they don’t. Or that Trump or the GOP has any plan whatever to replace the ACA, which so far they don’t, and plenty of people who support Trump, and hate Obamacare, as we know, aren’t so keen on losing the coverage they can get under the ACA.

    So the actual words spoken are not even beginning to be coherent, no. But when you say you don’t find them incoherent, what you mean you don’t find the message behind the noise incoherent. And I don’t disagree at all with you there. Sure he can go on spouting nonsense that behind it hammers the same old same old: fuck everyone who doesn’t agree with us, who doesn’t look like us or talk like us or pray like us. That’s what the noise is there to do, that’s the message behind it, but the words themselves are purely incoherent.

    So I’ll stick by what I said: he will never go down for making any amount of that noise. He will only go down for seriously fucking up some action beyond the noise. How that makes me a cream and six sugars man I don’t know, but maybe Tommy will be kind enough to explain.

  18. Tommydog says:

    So long as realistic prospects remain on the table for lower tax rates (capital gains, personal and corporate), a territorial taxation system, generally less regulation, a SC justice of whom they approve (and possibly a second bite at the SC apple) , Trump is not going going to be impeached or removed under the 25th by a Republican Congress. Whether they’ll amend or radically change Obamacare is also on the wish list. These things are as much under Congress’s control as Trump’s, but it seems probable to think a lot of those boxes will be ticked in the next year or two.

    As NF himself has pointed out, if many Republicans don’t much like him (he achieved generally what? 30-40% in the primaries?), the holding of their nose and voting for him may pay off at the price of some cringing humiliation. Unlike deals with the devil, this one has term limits.

    Insulting the press is not going to cost him much; they’ll still want to attend his parties and then complain about how he snubbed them afterwards. The immigrant bashing won’t lead to mortal wounds.

    Of course, if he starts firing off missiles that could be another matter, but otherwise he’ll last his term. But, with a bit of luck he won’t be in any shape to run again in 2020. Reportedly, Melania doesn’t like being first lady, but then she’ll be 50 soon and perhaps traded in on a younger model.

    It ain’t cream and sugar I’m wondering if you’re putting in the coffee.

  19. NatashaFatale says:


    Okay, we agree, but we’re talking about two senses of “coherence.” You mean it in the sense of “states a definite proposition”, “makes an argument that holds together”, of “makes a case”, of “is falsifiable”. And I agree that that’s probably definition number 1 in most dictionaries. And I would never, ever call Trump coherent in that sense.

    I mean it in the sense of “has a message he wants to convey, and communicates it perfectly to the people he’s actually addressing.” That, too, is a kind of coherence. And it’s Trump’s kind. It got him nominated, it got him elected, and it ain’t about to stop working on the people who put him where he is. It conveys information just as much as any recitation of facts does: it says, loud and clear, “See? I’m working effectively to deliver exactly what I promised you. We’re a well-oiled machine. True, we’re not a well-oiled engine of governance – but we are a well-oiled chainsaw. And that’s what you ordered, right?”

  20. bluthner says:


    Sure but President Pence can deliver every single item on the GOP wishlist you mention. While building up a brand to sell to the faithful (in every sense) come 2020. If Trump lasts all the way to the end of his term, not so much.

    And I get completely the message that you, Nat, point out that lies behind Trump’s noise, I’ve never not got that. Again, my point is entirely that the noise will never on its own be enough to get him run out of office on the express 25th ammendment rail, or on the impeachment local. My point is that he is going to have to take some kind of action that can’t be talked away or dissappeared with yet another bout of crass proof by assertion. Until such time as he does that, sure, he can make all the noise he wants. And then it depends on what action he (or more to the point Bannon) decides to take. If the only actions he takes are to cut taxes and regs and proposing new members of SCOTUS and the other stuff Tommy mentions, I’m sure he’s safe enough, and Pence can cool his heels, no matter how much other noise he makes.

    But Bannon isn’t built to play it safe, and Trump isn’t built to do the least bit of due diligence on whatever Bannon tells him is a good idea. Nor is Trump built to turn down a chance to rake in dirty bucks. So I fully expect him to do something beyond just making noise, something greedy and selfish and incredibly stupid. Not just say stupid things, do one. And then we will see.

  21. NatashaFatale says:


    Sounds to me like we’re in pretty much perfect agreement, then. But I’d be a lot happier (a relative term, after all) if so many people I’d like to agree with didn’t seem to think he’s already taking that long, slow;walk to the gallows.

  22. Sure but President Pence can deliver every single item on the GOP wishlist you mention.

    And do it in ways which would almost certainly engender less furiously committed opposition too, both inside the beltway with his political peers, including the ever-pliant Dems, and in the nation at large among ordinary people.

    The problem the GOP must overcome is that they can’t impeach or 25 him without precipitating a party schism’ ‘cos Trump now owns such a large swath of the party base. So absent something so unprecedentedly spectacular that it freaks everyone out, even people like Tommy, it ain’t gonna happen. Not that Trump isn’t capable of something like that, of course. Or Bannon.

    Still, for the GOP, a good solution would be a myocardial infarction. Even better would be have a brown person, preferably a Muslim, shoot him.

    I still think the best chance for people of goodwill is to work like hell get the Dems (I know, yuck!!) back in control of the Senate in the mid-terms, and maybe pick up a few extra seats in the House. That will be easier with Trump manufacturing outrage almost daily than it would be with a skilled politician and team player like Pence running the show.
    If in the meantime a few R legislators break ranks, so much the better. They’re not all going to be using the same calculus for planning their strategies. For some, the threat is being primaried from the right if they stray out of Trumplandia. For others the bigger threat is losing their seat to a Dem challenger if they don’t.

    I’ll add a little edit here, and say that it’s next to impossible recently to scan the news without coming across a story about some GOP politician or other getting badly mauled at a town hall meeting and being told to “do your fucking job”, or actually running away from a town hall meeting, or just saying “fuck it” and cancelling them altogether. At some point, if that kind of pressure continues and so long as Trump is in office being Trump there’s no reason to think it won’t, it’s going to start to matter.
    The more Trump says the rabble is not relevant ‘cos they’re not the people who matter, which is what he’s essentially saying, the more rabble we’re gonna see.

  23. Tommydog says:

    NF made the point above that no matter how abhorrently Trump acts, after a couple of years the Dems might just want to keep him around as the person they run against. (I can’t believe I’m agreeing with everything you say).

    I’m sure we’ve all had to work with Trump like characters before: egotistical bullies who belittle people and leave a lot of wreakage in their wake – who believe, as one once put it to me “the only way to get things done is to create a crisis”. I’ve never been convinced. Many self destruct. However, not all do. I never met Steve Jobs, for example, but people I know who did know him said he was very difficult and self absorbed, and while he may have stumbled and gotten back up, he didn’t self destruct. I was fortunate to meet Bill Hewlett once when we did a job for him – very courtly and nice – especially to green young guys. Ya’ don’t hafta’ be a dick to succeed, but that sure doesn’t stop some people. And let’s face it, Trump’s most ardent supporters want him to hurt people, many of whom probably deserve it. His lukewarm supporters just want the traditional stuff that they hope he can help deliver. The two combined will keep him in office through the term, unless he starts playing with the ordnance.

  24. NatashaFatale says:


    Take two aspirin and a couple of stiff drinks. That’s what I did and it seems to be working.

  25. KevinNevada says:

    TD: I think you misunderstand what I was predicting.

    I certainly don’t think that Cheeto Benito will be removed via the 25th any time soon. The nastiness tolerance of conservatives is now so high, their sense of decency so degraded, that he’ll be supported for quite a while yet.

    But give it one or two disastrously screwed up foreign crises (will happen sooner than later), the steady erosion of secrecy around his financial arrangements, a few more overt violations of the Emoluments Clause (the latest Chinese trademark award certainly qualifies!) and the resulting storms of criticism, and his mental state and conduct may degrade to the point there the 25th is the only sensible next step.

    That famous Russian Dossier from the retired MI6 guy is now at least partially verified. Not the Golden Showers (yet) but enough details to justify further investigation. And those investigations are proceeding.

    There is a limit to how far any White House can go, to suppress dissident activity within the vast Federal offices. Every President complains about leaks. No one else in DC wants the leakage to stop because information is power.

    And there is another form of power, near and dear especially to members of the US Senate: the ability to say NO, to stop things from happening (at least for a while).

  26. NatashaFatale says:


    “And there is another form of power, near and dear especially to members of the US Senate: the ability to say NO, to stop things from happening (at least for a while).” Yes, but for the first time in a long time, they’ve finally got a whole lot they devoutly wish to say yes to. And I don’t see them passing on that chance.

  27. And I don’t see them passing on that chance.

    Nat, given my longstanding lack of confidence in all of our institutions’ abilities to respond to planetary reality, upon which I’ve been harping for years around here and for decades prior to that, and given that I’ve already said somewhere in the last few days here that relying on any kind of epiphany on the part of GOP Senators generally to contribute to a solution to this mess is a fool’s errand, I think my Pessimist’s Club credentials are solidly valid.

    And under normal circumstances, using almost any kind of traditional political calculus, I’d get behind that statement of yours 100%

    As it is I’m hovering around, oh let’s say 92%, because these circumstances are not normal and traditional political calculus has been, while not totally useless, certainly been taking a beating for quite a while now.

    That, and the fact that while, as you point out, the NYT and the Daily Mail are indeed both “media” and share the same concerns as each other in many important respects, they are not the same thing nor can they be relied upon to all sit like obedient frogs in the same wheelbarrow no matter what fresh news comes along.
    Similarly, while all GOP Senators are politicians who share the same wider political and party concerns, they are not all the same thing when it comes to their devout attachments to wingnuttian zealotry or their tolerance for (and understanding of) playing fast and loose with the constitution.

    So the idea that a tiny fraction of Senators might be motivated to hop out of McConnell’s wheelbarrow in a decision that really matters (as opposed to a merely symbolic gesture which changes nothing, which we’ve already seen) is not necessarily madness.

    It would be madness to expect it, sure, but you never know.
    After all, none of us here, not even Tommy, truly expected to be having this conversation at all.

  28. NatashaFatale says:


    I’ll go along with 92%. McConnell was almost always able to enforce 100% discipline against Obama, but that was in opposition – and the habit of opposition and “look at me, I’m blocking the road” is as irresistible as heroin to some people.And the habit of “don’t you dare take my vote for granted – I need something I can show the folks back home” is absolutely universal for any senator from a remotely purplish state. And then of course there’s brother McCain’s constitutional inability to play along, his craving for the limelight and his more or less constant sidekick Graham. There’s Susan Collins, who has to make some show of independence. There’s Manchin, who can’t afford to tank every vote. Finally there are a couple of guys, Rubio and Cruz, whose life is a constant struggle to stay relevant and seem to be independent of Mitch. None of them can afford to come out of this looking like Schumer’s new pet poodle, none of them can be the turncoat who singlehandedly snatched away the GOP’s triumph and gave it back to the Democrats – but they’re all candidates to be the second man to jump in provided someone else goes first.

    As important as the inside baseball business is the senate’s institutional ego, its need to be the venue of the drama, the place where the important action is happening. This wouldn’t be the first time when even those who side with the president want to upstage him, to encourage opposition so they can be the hero who overcomes it.

    And possibly more important than all that is the general uncertainty you allude to, the now-famous “ludic fallacy” that says, essentially, that some things are just too complicated to behave according to the calculable probabilities. Especially given the near-certainty that Trump and Bannon will keep their promise to do something dramatic three times a week in perpetuity.

    So wrap it all up together and an 8% hedge doesn’t seem unreasonable at all.

  29. bluthner says:

    Fake News Alert! Fake News Alert!

    Sweden has been attacked by terrorists!

    No it hasn’t. Some fucking liar just lied his flaming pants off, just made up a story out of thin air. Typical.

    Good thing our stalwart citizens are smart and savvy enough to tell the difference between fake news and true news, right? Otherwise we’d all be fucked.

  30. It’s OK bluth, Melania’s keeping an eye on things, ensuring that Donald has his priorities straight;

    “A nation committed to a greater civility and unity between people from all sides of the political divide. I will always stay true to myself and be truthful to you, no matter what the opposition is saying about me,” the first lady said, wearing a red frock with a fitted waist and flared skirt, her mane of blonde hair blowing slightly in the breeze.

    Don’t know about you, but the prospect of being lied to on a daily basis by Donald Trump is onerous enough. Subjecting us to a possible four-year sentence of a stone-faced high-rent East European hooker with a single client force-feed us that kind of shit is cruel and unusual punishment by any objective standard, surely?

  31. bluthner says:

    Maybe the Lord’s Prayer was the panic button, she’s sending a last-ditch cry for help message to her handlers in the KGB: Get me the fuck outta here!

  32. NatashaFatale says:

    Leesten carefully, Melania. Theenk of your poor old mother, your leetle seester. They need you steel, life is steel pre-car-i-ous here for them, is not so? Is steel understood? Good. You are getting closer and closer to launch codes, yes? One blowjob away, two blowjob away, no? Then you come home, then you get parade and 90-room dacha with whole damn Red Army Chorus to serve you in every personal way. Not before. Then.

  33. Tommydog says:

    heh, heh. She may not have much time. In her late 40s and 50 looms, and there are probably some cuties in the intern pool. Plus apparently the old Soviet bloc nations have more attractive ladies that I would have suspected. Who knew? Trump did I guess.

  34. Squirrel says:

    “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Sweden. The USA will make every effort to help the Swedes”—nah, that’s a vegetable, seen it on the menu in my restaurant, who writes this shit?—”the Swedenborgians” —that’s right, yeah?”— fight this international moose-lim terrorist menace. Bigly.”

    “These are bad people. And moose-lims. Very bad people, right? We’re not letting them in, OK?”

    Future News: Presidential Briefing, dateline London 5th November 2017. “Thousands of rockets reported landing on London. . .” Presidential tweet, 2am 6th November: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Canada after this latest radical muslim attack on one of their great cities.”

    The ‘fake news Beeb’ ran (I think all, I saw part of it) the ‘Trump 2020 Rally’. No jackboots or people marching in step (only thinking in step, which is probably just as bad) or even a ‘dome of light’, but very Nuremberg-esque all the same. Even down to the Fuehrer shouting hoarsely.

    People behind him supplied with obviously fake ‘handwritten’ placards (which all looked to be in the same script)” “Women for Trump’, ‘Blacks for Trump’ (picked up and waved at “We did well with . . .[insert ethnic group, gender, vocation or job etc. here]”. Didn’t see them, but for all I know foetuses were for Trump too.

    And he seemed to be referring to the crowd as his ‘movement’. Obviously, this is going to continue. Any setback by ‘the establishment’ and off he flies to a hangar-full of Trumpeters. And the ‘establishment’ (aka ‘swamp’) includes the Republican party, clearly. He’s claiming, it would seem, that he is the ‘voice of the people’.

    And that ‘trumps’ media, party, politicians, judiciary, establishment . . .Be very interesting to see how that old piece of paper survives even a year, let alone four, or eight, of this.The ’25 per cent solution’ notwithstanding.

    Parliamentary debate—which could now be even more potentially interesting than it looked to be three weeks* ago) tomorrow; everyone who signed the petition has been promised a transcript and video by email. Squ will actually be in second home (hospital) Tuesday, and at a Pollini concert Tuesday night, but if y’all are interested I’ll see if I can find juicy extracts.

    *If one week’s a long time in politics, four weeks is an eternity, what’s four years now? Even Dante couldn’t imagine A purgatory as long as that. Is that why Melanomania felt the need for prayer?

  35. but if y’all are interested I’ll see if I can find juicy extracts.

    Oh yes please.

    I, too, am having difficulty imagining four years of this shit. I can see Trump’s 4th Reich falling apart under the weight of its own lies and deceits, and I can it persisting via emergency decrees and ensuing martial law, but I can’t see us bumbling along like we are right now. Not for four fucking years I can’t.

    I’m not sure if that observation arises from a sense of political reality or whether it’s a reflection of my questioning if I’d have the stamina to endure it, but there it is.

  36. Squirrel says:

    OK, will do. I’ve no idea whether any channel in the US will cover it, or how much. We know the starting-point, the plot and the denouement, of course already, but the story-line between could be interesting.

    “I can [see] it persisting via emergency decrees and ensuing martial law. . .”

    After the Nuremberg (Florida) speech, it looks rather like there’s a TrumpHouse inclination to a form of both. He re-iterated his Laura Norder thing again, and there’s that document suggesting putting National Guard troops in ‘sanctuary cities’* to flush out immigrants, and that idea of putting troops or whatever into Chicago.

    You don’t need, as I understand it, an actual declaration of martial law, only for a tame (or scared, or politically or financially, blackmailable) governor to declare a ‘state of emergency’. And what proportion of elected Republicans would really object, given the raucous acclamation of this and no doubt the next Nuremberg rally?

    Trump certainly appears to think he can use executive orders (he relished the word ‘proclamation’ in his Nuremberg, Fla speech to the masses) as, well, proclamations. Bit unfamiliar to The Human Anagram, but no doubt he’ll come round to the idea once it’s properly impressed on him he’s only Uber-President Bannon’s messenger to the Untermensch of Congress.

    Judging from that Fox interview, he’s getting there, slowly, but it’s probably being explained to him in words of fewer syllables than previously as we debate here.

    Clearly Trump simply doesn’t know how US government’s supposed to work (though obviously someone had told him he had to remember to slip in a line or two of lip-service about it in Florida) and one presumes Steve Bannon knows but doesn’t care. So far, we appear to be in ca. 1932 rather than post-1933; Trump seemingly not yet feeling properly elected president and the ghost of Hindenberg/Obama still in the shadows of the Reich Chancellory.

    (The Beeb is broadcasting as of today a dramatisation of ‘SS-GB’ . . .Some commissioning editor seems to have been rather prescient a year or eighteen months ago, though maybe they had people like Geert Wilders and Viktor Orban in mind at the time. My friends and I are watching this stuff avidly in search of clues. Or reassurance that we are not going to follow an absolutist/isolationist path after Brexit. Over which I–and I’m not alone—am hoping the EU will, during the next two years, see the manifest dangers of punishing us rather than accommodating us. But that’s another story altogether. Even though Trump is beginning rather to concentrate people’s minds, possibly even ‘Teresa’ May’s before too long.)

    * Would it be that difficult? I (‘we’, really, over here) were pretty shocked to see Boston closed down, invaded with troops banging on doors, people herded out with their hands on their heads, military armament on the streets, and all the rest of it after the Boston bomb. It wouldn’t even have to be a ‘real’ emergency, since who, soon, would be able to cry it was ‘fake’ and be believed?

  37. bluthner says:

    I keep thinking of those scenes in Boston as well. And how wilingly and how quickly those cops went from zero to eleven on the para-military scale. But the so-called president can’t roll anything like that out on a national scale. Some states maybe, but not by any means all, not by any means at this point.

    I guess all the noise about fake news, and the talk about the press (if they criticize or disagree with the hairball) being the enemy of ‘the people’ is all about laying the groundwork for disavowing the leak, that must be coming, about the crime that can’t be shouted down or dismissed or talked around.

    We know that Banafort was talking to the Russians while working on the campaign. Even he didn’t deny it outright. For Priebus to now say no one from the campaign was talking to Russia is just lying outright, and Wallace let him get away with that. Wallace also let him get away with the lie about the invented terrorist attack in Sweden, among a lot of other stuff, so I don’t think we can pin any hopes on Wallace turning attack dog for the 4th estate.

    But there just has to be a big ugly news item, a leak, a revelation, coming up that is going to bring this ugly mess to some kind of crisis. Maybe not for weeks, maybe not even for months, but it has to be coming. And then what? Everything rests in the hands of the Congress. There are 193 Democrats currently in the house. If 27 Republicans would join them in a vote to impeach, that would be enough, I think. But 27 is a high number. To use the 25th would take 67 Republicans to join all the Democrats. And then ten or so Republican senators would have to cross over as well. So it would have to be some crime both unambiguous and unforgivable. I don’t doubt for a moment that such a crime has already been comitted, but when it finally breaks out into the light, will we still have enough of a constitution left to put down the rabid hairball without violence? He won’t go easy like Nixon. And his most passionate arselickers are also the most heavily armed.

  38. NatashaFatale says:

    Good line by Michelle Goldberg at (the mostly useless) Slate: Trump’s thrice-daily outrages are “a denial of service attack on our attention.” I remember groping for a way to say that right here in as few as three longish paragraphs.

    [Oscar Wilde: “I wish I’d said that!”

    James Whistler: “You will, Oscar, you will.”]

  39. NatashaFatale says:


    Re that “big ugly news item, a leak, a revelation, coming up that is going to bring this ugly mess to some kind of crisis.” As you’re our resident attorney, I wonder if you can tell me something. Is there such a thing as the “Yes, that’s all true but you see, my client is a well-known scumbag” defense? Similar to the insanity defense, perchance?

    “Well of course that was wrong! Of course it was! But it’s what scumbags do, isn’t it? In fact, scumbags are notorious for doing things exactly like that, aren’t they? And not only is my client a famous scumbag now, he was a famous scumbag long before the last election! I mean, who didn’t know that he was a scumbag? Just about nobody, that’s who! And we elected him. We knew he was a scumbag and we elected him. What’s that tell you? Eh? It tells you that we wanted a scumbag, so we elected one!

    “Now tell me something. How can we possibly eject a president who, contrary to all custom, tradition and precedent, is doing exactly what we knew he’d do when we elected him? Eject him for doing exactly what we, knowing full well as in fact we did that he was already a notorious scumbag, had to have expected him to do? In a word, we cannot. Mr Speaker, the defense rests, and demands that you dismiss these Trumped-up charges immediately.”

  40. bluthner says:


    That’s a well used defense, but generally only in divorce court, and it’s fallen out of fashion (Your Honor, the plaintiff married my client knowing full well that he enjoyed two quarts of gin a day and got an erotic charge from the feel and smell of all-body rubber suits- she can’t now come into court now and say those things constitute unreasonable behavior!)

    Trump’s version will of course use a different spelling of scumbag. His defenders will no doubt spell it S-A-V-I-O-R, or R-E- D-E-E-M-E-R or A-N-O-I-N-T-E-D O-N-E or even E-M-A-N-C-I-P-A-T-O-R. The strict legal term for this defense is of course jury nullification.

  41. KevinNevada says:

    NF and Bluthner:

    They have the word of that Direct Pipeline to the Almighty, one Pat Robertson, who once again preached, recently, that anyone who opposes or even criticizes the Dear New Leader is also opposing the WllaDaLord.

    I don’t know what more our right-minded folk of the land would need, to keep them properly briefed, than such a clear message as that.

  42. NatashaFatale says:

    For what it’s worth, CNN’s website is showing that parliamentary debate live right now.

  43. KevinNevada says:


    back up the thread a bit. Back to the point about the Power to Say No.

    It is a power that tends to atrophy if not used, and everyone gets that message clearly during Freshman Senator’s Orientation, down in the hotel bar over a drink or three.

    And we are already seeing the beginnings of the the Upstart’s Caucus. Susan Collins of Maine is kicking over the reins and riding free on a regular basis now, and McCain let loose over in Munich the past couple of days, and his boy toy Graham has predictably done a Me-Too emission.

    When they get to a stable unit of five or six, it will be time to rock and roll.

    Team, let’s also remember that pols read polls, every day. And Cheeto Benito’s ratings are remaining low, historically low for a new occupant of that office.

    Give it one botched foreign confrontation, one massive screwup, to kick things off and it will indeed be time to rock and roll. Once the serious opposition gets organized, we can expect C.B. to lose it.

    It will be a cyclic thing: screwup, storm of mockery, lost votes on the Hill, explosions of anger, then another screwup while distracted, new storm of mockery . . . round and round we will spin, with wings of lead and feet of tin.

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