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Friday, June 16, 2017

A cryptic message

Are you like me? Whenever I do "normal stuff" -- say, listening this amazing performance of the "Ode to Joy" -- I feel guilty. We're in the thick of a great political fight, and contrary to common liberal belief, our side has small hope of success. I felt as though I had shirked an important duty simply because I took a twenty-minute vacation from Trump research in order to reacquaint myself with the sublime.

You probably feel the same guilt pangs on occasion. And so we spend every spare minute researching and reading and listening to cable news reportage. This fight is necessary, but war kills the soul. Trump grew up with a love of fighting, and if this conflict goes on too long, we too may learn to love it. That's the danger. The battle against Trump threatens to turn us into Trump.

Nevertheless, another day has dawned, and we must enter the fray again. We have no choice.

The great mystery facing us this morning concerns a cryptic statement issued under the name of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein:
Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,’ particularly when they do not identify the country – let alone the branch of agency of government – with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated. Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations.
Bizarre. Unprecedented. I can't recall ever seeing a similar warning issued by any previous administration.

Many people have wondered if Trump wrote these words and issued them under Rosenstein's name. I cannot accept that theory: Trump is incapable of composing a text of this length without committing serious errors of grammar or spelling.

Then again: The phrase "the branch of agency of government" does have a certain Trumpian inelegance, don't you think?

It seems likely that Rosenstein wrote this statement, but that he did so at Trump's behest. If so, then we may have new reason to worry about the Russia investigation. Rosenstein has the power to fire Mueller. If asked to do so, would Rod Rosenstein demonstrate the decency and courage of Elliot Richardson?

Let us now examine several theories as to what this Dan Brownian Mystery Message is all about:

Theory 1: Pee! Some believe that a foreign government (perhaps the UK, though some say Australia) will soon announce the reality of the much-storied pee-pee tape. It's a fun idea without any evidence to back it. The Palmer Report offers the fullest version of this theory:
But what stands out is the intel community chatter that picked up roughly three hours before the press release went out.

For instance political insider Claude Taylor – whose inside sources have correctly predicted Trump Russia grand juries and other events – posted the following: “A lot of us are hearing similar chatter-that a certain US ally has a ‘compromising’ tape of Trump and is debating if/when/how to release it.” (link). Taylor posted this at 6:46pm eastern time, hours before Trump’s DOJ sent the press release.

So it’s not as if this sudden online buzz around the mythical “Pee Pee Tape” is mere speculation as a result of the DOJ press release. Instead, intel community chatter about the compromising tape surfaced online first, and only then did Trump’s camp put out the statement begging the public to ignore any foreign leaks to the U.S. media. So it sounds a lot like the Trump administration heard the same foreign intel community buzz that political insiders heard, and believes that something is indeed about to be leaked.
Claude Taylor did, in fact, release such a statement about 12 hours ago. Minutes ago, he signed onto the idea that the Rosenstein message must be in response to the, uh, forthcoming urination release.

Personally, I find this notion hard to credit. Taylor is tied in with Louise Mensch, who has pretty thoroughly trashed her reputation by this point. Just which sources would still be talking to those two -- and why? Why leak to writers whom few consider credible?

I cannot comprehend why Vladimir Putin would allow this tape "into the wild" (presuming that it exists). Moreover, the Taylor theory does not coincide with what Rosenstein actually said. The mystery message spoke of a forthcoming statement -- mere words. A video recording is not a statement. A video can be challenged on forensic grounds, but the Rosenstein memo makes no reference to that sort of challenge.

It just don't add up!

Theory 2: Pence, not pee. Louise Mensch, Taylor's sometime writing partner, has a very different theory:
Mike Pence illegally leaked to @washingtonpost the lie that @GenFlynn was not under investigation. Rosenstein shot was at Pence
No no no. That won't do either. The mystery memo, though not as clearly-worded as one might hope, seems to refer to information involving a foreign source.

Repeat: Information...from a foreign source.

The Taylor theory falls apart because it involves something other than verbal information, while the Mensch theory falls apart because the source is domestic. At least Taylor had the decency to admit that his theory is indeed a theory; I'm more than a little annoyed by the Menschian tendency to proclaim speculation as fact.

(Will she now accuse me of being a toiler on behalf of "Team Deza"? Maybe, but only if she notices me. These days, paranoid slander is pretty much her way of saying "Hi.")

Theory 3: Ego. Although columnist/NYU professor Ian Bremmer has not directly addressed our mystery message, he did offer a tweet which may explain it all:
Heard from Defense Min of a US ally: Mattis & Tillerson said they make relevant policy decisions & ignore Trump because he’s not in charge.
This covers everything, doesn't it? The source is an unnamed foreign official, and the allegation that Trump "is not in charge" seems designed to inflict a serious wound to the ego of Dorito Mussolini. One can easily visualize Trump directing Rosenstein: "I want you to issue a statement telling everyone this is bullshit. I'm the one who's in charge here. Nobody else!"

Time and again, Trump has proved that he really, really wants "underlings" to issue statements praising his awesomeness and exonerating him from any allegations of non-awesomeness. Why would Rosenstein go along with this inanity? I think that, rather than lose his job over the matter, he simply decided to apply a small bandage to Donnie's injured ego.

Which of the three theories makes the most sense to you? Do you have theory of your own?

Comeback of the week. As most of you know, yesterday Donnie gifted the world with this sage observation:
Why is that Hillary Clintons family and Dems dealings with Russia are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?
Ian Bremmer's response:
I can't wait for this election to be over.
Yep, I do have a naive optimistic theory before we sink back into the realism of current American gloom and madness:

There is a conspirational effort going on to save the Republic from Trump. The leading conspirators include Comey, Mueller, Rosenstein, Yates, McMaster, perhaps Tillerson and Mattis. They have many allies in the IC and in the judicial branch. It became clear to me that McMaster was an inside man the moment he stood before the cameras to pathetically defend and trivialize the “back channel”. A McMaster would never sacrifice his dignity for a Trump in this way unless a higher objective was at stake. Obviously McMaster has agreed to submit to Trump’s caprices in order to remain undercover. Same for Rosenstein. He had to humiliate himself with the “fire Comey” recommendation in order to keep the door open for slipping Mueller in later in the game.

The action begins in the first week of the presidency. On Tuesday Jan 24, Comey grills and fully nails Flynn. On Wednesday, the conspirators decide to send Yates to the White House to tell them the FBI got Flynn, but withhold the specifics. So on Thursday Yates goes to brief McGahn, who briefs Trump. On Friday lunchtime Trump summons Comey to dinner that same night. There, he demands “loyalty” but (seemingly odd, given the above-mentioned sequence of events) asks no questions whatsoever about the FBI’s evidence on Flynn. This means Trump already knows everything about it, i.e. it’s proof to the conspirators that Trump himself is deeply implicated.

Next, the conspirators use leaks to bounce Flynn from his post. When Trump reacts, by explicitly asking Comey to bury the Flynn investigation, all doubt is removed and they resolve to go straight for Trump’s jugular. Comey starts “leaking” his memos of the Trump conversations, which he says was intended to provoke the appointment of a special counsel but was in fact intended to make it look as if Rosenstein had no other choice. The conspirators’ plan to deploy Mueller (including his top-notch legal death squad) must already have been in place since Feb 14 at the latest. They only had to wait for Comey’s expected firing, which duly arrived on 9 May. Then Rosenstein carried out the Mueller coup swiftly.

Rosenstein is also the person Trump would have to ask to fire Mueller. That is his lever. His task is to stay put until then, and then refuse to carry out Trump’s order, which would open a whole barrel of legal worms working for the conspirators. That’s why he continues willingly taking shit for statements Trump forces him to issue, for now.

And so on. I'm not claiming more than two cents for this. Hope it made you smile.

Waterbed-Gate adds a whole new meaning to "Leaks".
Perhaps they are referring to the Orbis Doc and MI-6 re; "foreign".
I envy people who witness all this shot and don't care one bit. I think I already had two mini_strokes since the election. I wish I could stop thinking about something else. I definitely need a lobotomy. If anyone have an idea to stop please let me know
Even if there is a pee pee tape, The Conservative Religious Right has convinced itself that Trump as president matters much much less than the fact that he has the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court for at least the next four years.

Therefore, Trump on his worst day is still better than a democrat because of his ability to appoint the next Supreme Court nominee.
Listen - the British government is now exceptionally weak and unpopular. I don't just mean it's incompetent and many have a low opinion of it. A mood is rising in London in connection with the terrible fire in North Kensington, which everyone knows resulted from many years of housing policy and the deliberate degradation of people's living conditions. This mood may bring down the Tory government within days.

A petition is urging Jeremy Corbyn to table a motion of no confidence in the government "and its housing policy that caused the Grenfell Tower fire". Please can people help circulate it.

It could happen that when Parliament officially reopens next Wednesday there are 100,000 people on the street outside, expressing "no confidence" in the government.

That has not happened before in living memory. Everyone who isn't a total shit wants Jeremy Corbyn to take over as prime minister. And it's possible, seriously possible, that we will get what we want very soon.

In your fucking ugly face, Donald Trump!

b, if next Wednesday is the day, maybe we can have people in the streets here in sympathy...I could pass it on to Indivisible.
Anonymous 11:22. I do not recommend stuffing your face with the new salted caramel thins from Oreo. Yes, the sugar rush dulls the brain, and the cookies are good, but not salty or caramelly. I should've opted for the new coconut thins instead.

Well, I started early adjusting to President Puny Paws. I adopted a mantra "Fury Free." I repeat it as necessary. Also, never watching tv works. As well as not understanding half of what Joseph painstakingly researches. The new post above is bewildering, but I'm glad he posted what b said. i think we should stand in solidarity with the Brits if they take to the streets.

Mostly I think we should work on annoying the Orange Oaf. It rankles him so.

Theory 3 M
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