Notes and Comment Blog

That parlance is not legitimate

Mar 27th, 2018 9:34 am | By

The Post also reports on BoJo’s casual everyday sexism along with his everyday everythingelseism besides.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth.

He once described Hillary Clinton as “a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital” with “dyed blond hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare.” He said Barack Obama is “part-Kenyan” with an “ancestral dislike” of Britain. He joked about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “having relations” with a goat.

Check check check – sexism, racism, xenophobia.

And in Parliament on Tuesday, he referred to Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary for the opposition Labour Party, as Lady Nugee. Nugee is the last name of Thornberry’s husband, Christopher.

What does it say when a man ignores what a woman actually calls herself and substitutes the wife-of-man formula? That only men are real people, and women are just belongs-to-man shadows of real people.

That comment prompted a sharp admonition from the speaker of the House of Commons, who deemed it “sexist” and “inappropriate.”

“We do not namecall in this chamber,” John Bercow said to applause from Labour lawmakers. “We do not address people by the titles of their spouses. The shadow foreign secretary has a name, and it is not ‘Lady Something.’ ”

Bercow went on: “It is inappropriate and frankly sexist to speak in those terms, and I am not having it in this chamber. That is the end of the matter. That parlance is not legitimate, and it will not be allowed, and it will be called out.”

But free speech! What about free speech? BoJo has free speech like anyone else doesn’t he?

In response, Johnson said he would like to prostrate himself in front of Bercow and apologized for “any inadvertent sexism or discourtesy that you may have deemed me to have been guilty of.”

Yeah yeah yeah. Sorry if you were Offended, bitch. We know; we’ve heard it before.

Hear hear

Mar 27th, 2018 9:20 am | By

Goodness, even the Speaker of the House of Commons is a Social Justice Warrior – that is to say he recognizes that a man referring to a woman as “Lady Husbandname” when she goes by her own name is (brace yourselves) sexist.

H/t Maureen Brian

They have a previous engagement

Mar 26th, 2018 4:32 pm | By

Poor Don. Yet another will you come to my party? will you be my lawyer? meets with a Sorry, no.

Two more high-power attorneys have had to turn down President Donald Trump. Tom Buchanan and Dan Webb confirmed to The Daily Beast that Trump reached out to them about representing him, and that they couldn’t do it.

“President Trump reached out to Dan Webb and Tom Buchanan to provide legal representation,” they said in a statement. “They were unable to take on the representation due to business conflicts. However they consider the opportunity to represent the President to be the highest honor and they sincerely regret that they cannot do so. They wish the president the best and believe he has excellent representation in Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow.”

Do they really though? Maybe they do, but I don’t. It depends on who it is. It’s kind of pathetic what a lot of duds have been president over the past few decades. You’d think the job would attract really talented people but it doesn’t seem to.

Buchanan and Webb’s decision highlights the challenges the president has faced in assembling a legal team to represent him for matters related to the Mueller probe. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted that numerous lawyers were eager to work for him. But so far, his team has been shrinking rather than expanding.

If they’re so eager, where are they?

Let’s have another little hit of Fire and Fury.

Bannon described Trump as a simple machine. The On switch was full of flattery, the Off switch full of calumny. The flattery was dripping, slavish, cast in ultimate superlatives, and entirely disconnected from reality: so-and-so was the best the most incredible, the ne plus ultra, the eternal. The calumny was angry, bitter, resentful, ever a casting out and closing of the iron door. [p 35]

Lawyers probably don’t want to deal with On or Off.

Additional measures

Mar 26th, 2018 3:54 pm | By

The shoe might start to pinch now.

The United States and its European allies are expelling dozens of Russian diplomats in a co-ordinated response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.

It is said to be the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.

More than 20 countries have aligned with the UK, expelling more than 100 diplomats.

Russia says it’s going to “retaliate” – which is silly because it did its retaliating in advance, which is why the allies are responding.

President of the European Council Donald Tusk said the EU states had decided to expel Russian diplomats as a direct result of a meeting, held last week about the Salisbury poisoning.

“Additional measures, including further expulsions within this common EU framework are not to be excluded in the coming days and weeks,” he said.

The US state department said in a statement: “On March 4, Russia used a military-grade nerve agent to attempt to murder a British citizen and his daughter in Salisbury.

“This attack on our Ally the United Kingdom put countless innocent lives at risk and resulted in serious injury to three people, including a police officer.”

It called the attack an “outrageous violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and breach of international law”.

The US is expelling 48 envoys at the Russian embassy in Washington and 12 more at the UN in New York. It will also order the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.

Big turnaround for Don. Maybe he’s given up his dream of friendship with Vlad the Poisoner.

Verbose potus

Mar 26th, 2018 11:23 am | By

Haha the Times (Shear and Haberman) calls Trump verbose. In real life (i.e. socially as opposed to pretending to be presidently) that would be the worst thing about him: the windbag aspect. I cannot bear windbags.

The verbose commander-in-chief has posted more than 2,900 times on Twitter since taking office, using the term “FAKE NEWS” to describe everything from the Russia probe and allegations of chaos in the White House to harassment accusations, the size of his inaugural crowds and heated arguments with world leaders.

But he has been uncharacteristically silent in recent days — to the relief of his advisers — as a pornographic film star and a Playboy model described intimate details of sexual encounters with Mr. Trump.

The library produced one of its hundreds of copies of Fire and Fury for me yesterday so here’s a bit about Don’s verbosity:

And yet his entry into the Trump inner circle caused Priebus his share of uncertainty and bewilderment. He came out of his first long meeting with Trump thinking it had been a disconcertingly weird experience. Trump talked nonstop and constantly repeated himself.

“Here’s the deal,” a close Trump associate told Priebus. “In an hour meeting with him you’re going to hear fifty-four minutes of stories and they’re going to be the same stories over and over again.”


Not so plausible after all

Mar 26th, 2018 10:49 am | By

Well there’s a surprise, Trump has finally joined the move to rebuke Putin.

President Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians from the United States on Monday, adding to a growing cascade of similar actions taken by western allies in response to Russia’s alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.

Poland, Italy, Denmark, France and Germany were among 14 European Union member nations announcing plans to expel Russians from their countries in solidarity with Britain, which previously expelled 23 Russian diplomats after the poisoning. Canada also said it would expel four.

They’re kicking out 12 intelligence officers at the UN and closing the consulate in Seattle, with seven days to pack up and leave.

In a call with reporters, senior White House officials said that the move was to root out Russians actively engaging in intelligence operations against the country, and to show that the United States would stand with NATO allies. The officials said that the closure of the consulate in Seattle was ordered because of its proximity to a U.S. naval base.

The one in Bremerton, I suppose.

Kadri Liik suggests this may be the beginning of the end for Putin’s “plausible deniability” approach.

The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent who was found unresponsive in southwest England earlier this month, poisoned with a deadly nerve agent, may be the moment when “plausible deniability” has reached its limits. In fact, it now looks as if it is turning against its masters in the Kremlin. The United States’ decision on Monday, alongside Canada and a number of European countries, to expel Russians in retaliation for the poisoning makes clear to Moscow that its actions have consequences, whether it denies them or not.

Since the annexation of Crimea, Russia has resorted to “plausible deniability” again and again. The interference in the American presidential elections was a classic case: Mr. Putin has repeatedly emphasized that Russia has not intervened “at the level of the government,” but he admits that some “patriotic hackers” or trolls with Russian citizenship might indeed have been active.

I kind of wonder how they’re using “plausible” in cases like that, but whatever.

This strategy isn’t an unmitigated success. In 2016, in a big embarrassment for Moscow, two Russian intelligence agents were indicted by Montenegro for plotting a coup that was supposed to take place under the cover of spontaneous anti-NATO protests. More tragic was the huge blunder of Russia’s proxies shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. Moscow claims to this day that it had nothing to do with it, but it was nonetheless unable to escape reprimand from the international community.

There’s no such thing as “the international community”; there’s only the rest of the world, parts of which can work together all the time and parts of which can unite for particular purposes and parts of which go their own way.

Liik says it’s backfiring because the use of all these proxies means that now other countries are suspicious even of legit activities like business promotions.

Russia’s foreign ministry isn’t happy about this situation and neither are Moscow’s business circles. But they cannot raise the issue with the Kremlin: Because these activities are being denied, they can’t be brought up in normal policy discussions. So it’s effectively impossible for the different Russian institutions to come together and discuss what the country as a whole wins or loses by engaging in such actions.

So it might turn out that Vlad has been a little bit too clever, or too short-term clever, or too not even all that clever actually.

Moscow’s track record with “plausible deniability” — from Ukraine to the United States — makes things worse. The world does not yet know the full details of the Skripal poisoning, but it does not feel like waiting, as the expulsions make clear. Too often in the past, Moscow has denied its involvement in cases that later end up being traced to the Kremlin or its proxies. The result is that its denials lack credibility. Now, the successful use of “plausible deniability” in all the previous cases collides with the Kremlin’s current interests and contributes to the verdict: guilty until proven innocent.

Well, good.

An Olympian whinger

Mar 25th, 2018 5:48 pm | By

Priss Choss is even funnier than I realized.

An unauthorised new biography of Prince Charles paints a picture of a capricious man who is obsessed with the public’s opinion of him, whose lavish spending reveals a royal utterly divorced from the life of ordinary people.

According to Tom Bower’s Rebel Prince, published on Thursday by William Collins, Charles once “shrieked” and “trembled” at the sight of an unknown plastic substance covering his dinner, only to be told “It’s cling film, darling,” by Camilla. On another occasion, Bower claims the prince brought his own mattress, toilet seat, Kleenex Velvet toilet paper and two “landscapes of the Scottish Highlands” when visiting a friend in north-east England.

And he was only dropping in for an hour.

Bower, who has previously written unauthorised biographies of names including Tony Blair, Richard Branson and Mohamed Fayed, says he interviewed more than 120 people for his biography of Charles, who he claims has “resorted to machination and media manipulation to restore his position” since 1997. The prince, Bower writes, “presides at the centre of a court with no place for democracy or dissenting views … like some feudal lord”.

Doesn’t he sound like our own undear Donald.

Charles is obsessed with public opinion, Bower claims, even once hurling a dinner plate to the floor at a dinner party after learning of his low popularity ratings.

Gosh; so like him. Does he give himself extra ice cream in front of guests?

He doesn’t read newspapers, and he throws things at the radio when he hears something that makes him cross.

The book also details a meeting between the prince and Peter Mandelson, during which the Blairite former minister allegedly told Charles that the public thought he was “rather glum and dispirited”, which had “a dampening effect” on their opinion of him.

“After Mandelson had left, he beseeched Camilla, ‘Is that true? Is that true?’ ‘I don’t think any of us can cope with you asking that question over and over again for the next month,’ she replied,” writes Bower.

Still, it makes a nice change from shrieking and trembling over the cling film.

His portrait is of a man discontent with his lot. “Even my office is not the right temperature. Why do I have to put up with this? It makes my life so unbearable,” the prince is quoted as saying to an assistant. Bower quotes one friend describing Charles as “an Olympian whinger”; Charles himself is quoted as saying in 2004: “Nobody knows what utter hell it is to be Prince of Wales.”

Well no wonder he brings his own mattress and paintings of Highland scenery with him wherever he goes.


Mar 25th, 2018 5:18 pm | By

Sam Harris just keeps getting more tiresome. (Not more smug. He started out at maximum smug so he can’t get any more so.) (Unless he performs a miracle.)

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Ooh edgy.

They really see the bigger picture

Mar 25th, 2018 11:45 am | By

Joan Walsh on yesterday.

Parkland high school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez galvanized a student revolt against gun violence with a fiery speech calling out NRA-bought politicians, just a few days after a disturbed young man murdered 17 of her peers—in six minutes and 20 seconds. At Saturday’s March For Our Lives in Washington, Gonzalez galvanized a movement with silence.

She recited the names of all 17 Parkland victims, and then she stood mute, tears streaming down her cheeks, her eyes sometimes closed. The crowd, rooting for the poised young woman with the shaved head and wearing a braided choker, grew confused. A few minutes earlier, a nervous Parkland classmate had actually vomited on stage during her speech, and then recovered with world-class aplomb. “I just threw up on international television and it feels great!” the brave Samantha Fuentes told the crowd. Was Gonzalez having a case of nerves? Next to me, Parkland resident and substitute teacher Debbi Schapiro watched her anxiously, then shook her head and murmured, “This is too much responsibility for these kids.” In the crowd beneath Gonzalez, a few students tried to start the chant “Never again,” but it faded quickly. Spontaneously, they fell silent and simply held high their signs of protest. Behind us, people lifted their cellphones to record the unlikely silence.

Gonzalez finally spoke. “Since the time that I came out here, it has been 6 minutes and 20 seconds,” she said. “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”

In between the two sentences she pointed out that was how long it took the shooter to kill all those people, and that at 6.20 he put his rifle down and mingled with the fleeing students and escaped to walk free for an hour before he was arrested.

The second revelation of the day, for me, is how hard the Parkland students have worked to meld their cause to the cause of young black people who disproportionately suffer gun violence. I met Curtis Kelly, the father of 16-year-old Zaire Kelly, shot during a robbery in Washington, DC last year as he was coming home from a college prep class. He says the Parkland students have been working with students at Kelly’s Thurgood Marshall High School; his son Zion Kelly, Zaire’s surviving twin, spoke at the rally.

Zion got choked up talking about his brother. “Can you imagine what it’s like to lose someone that close to you?” The students on the stage cheered him on, as his father hugged one of the many friends who’d come out to the event. I have not done the kind of reporting that would let me say with certainty that the Parkland movement—and it is a movement—has done all it can to bring in gun violence victims of color. But Cullen says “behind the scenes,” that’s how many of the Parkland survivors spend much of their time. “They really see the bigger picture. They know there’s more power if they join forces with kids from Chicago, and everywhere—that’s where victory is.”

Meanwhile, the NRA

Today’s protests aren’t spontaneous. Gun-hating billionaires and Hollywood elites are manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment and strip us of our right to defend ourselves and our loved ones.

Billionaires and elites, is it. So the NRA is all about arming the poor so that they can rise up against the rich?

Image result for nra

Spring break

Mar 25th, 2018 10:57 am | By

Surprisingly, Melania won’t be settling down on the couch next to Don this evening to watch 60 Minutes. He’s going back to DC but she’s staying on in Florida because reasons.

“The First Lady will be staying in Florida as is their tradition for spring break,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a late Sunday morning statement.

Ah yes their tradition. They have a long long long tradition that goes back to the Norman Conquest that he goes to the White House and she stays at the golf hotel for spring break. Tradition is a beautiful thing.

Trump, meanwhile, has been complaining to associates here this weekend about all the media attention Daniels has been receiving, according to people familiar with the conversations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid. Among other inquiries, Trump asked one friend how Daniels might affect his poll numbers.

Of course he has. He wants all the media attention to be on him and his amazing awesomeness.

He has 5 hours left to stage a diversion.

Everything’s fine, totally normal

Mar 25th, 2018 9:37 am | By

Aw. Poor Don is having trouble hiring new lawyers now.

President Trump has decided not to hire two lawyers who were announced last week as new additions to his legal team, leaving him with a shrinking stable of lawyers as the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, enters an intense phase.

“The president is disappointed that conflicts prevent Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing from joining the president’s special counsel legal team,” Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement on Sunday morning. “However, those conflicts do not prevent them from assisting the president in other legal matters. The president looks forward to working with them.”

And Dowd quit on Thursday. Rats, sinking ship, at all, maybe?

The president met with Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing, who are married, in recent days to discuss the possibility that they would join his legal team in the Mueller case. According to two people told of details about the meeting, the president did not believe he had personal chemistry with Mr. diGenova and Ms. Toensing.

“Personal chemistry” – what does that mean in Trump’s case? They seemed too intelligent? Not quite corrupt enough? Sketchy in the bullying department?

The news about the canceled legal appointments came as White House officials were girding themselves for an interview on Sunday evening on the CBS program “60 Minutes” with the porn star known as Stormy Daniels.

Yes, well, don’t be too surprised if Trump drops a nuke on someone in the next few hours, just to make sure nobody will be watching 60 Minutes.

On Sunday, one of Mr. Trump’s closest friends, Christopher Ruddy, said the president was “perplexed” by reports of turmoil in his administration. Speaking on the ABC program “This Week,” Mr. Ruddy, who is the chief executive of Newsmax Media, said he expected the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, to stay in his job, despite the president’s chafing at what he sees as the restrictions Mr. Kelly has placed on him.

Oh yes? Well if Trump is “chafing” then Kelly is halfway out the door.

How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem

Mar 25th, 2018 9:09 am | By

Well, great, Rick Santorum has the solution – tell the kids to stop whining and just learn first aid for when their shooter arrives. Right?! Goddam lazy kids expecting other people to pass reasonable gun control laws.

CNN commentator and former Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Rick Santorum on Sunday suggested students protesting for gun control legislation would be better served by taking CPR classes and preparing for active shooter scenarios.

“How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that,” Santorum said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Totally! Kids today are so spoiled, looking to legislators to pass legislation. Kids shooting up schools with automatic weapons are their problem, not ours! God, grow up, willya?

“They took action to ask someone to pass a law,” Santorum said. “They didn’t take action to say, ‘How do I, as an individual, deal with this problem? How am I going to do something about stopping bullying within my own community? What am I going to do to actually help respond to a shooter?’… Those are the kind of things where you can take it internally, and say, ‘Here’s how I’m going to deal with this. Here’s how I’m going to help the situation,’ instead of going and protesting and saying, ‘Oh, someone else needs to pass a law to protect me.'”

Absolutely. It’s the same with hurricanes, you know? People expect someone to help them when their city floods, instead of taking action to say, “How do I, as an individual, deal with this problem?” An individual can bail whole buckets full of water in a day. I have no idea where they would put all that water, but that’s their problem, as an individual.

Guest post: No forced pregnancy, no health care

Mar 25th, 2018 8:47 am | By

Originally a comment by iknklast on All for the fetus, nothing for the child.

The Nebraska budget bill is currently stalled in the legislature because the governor managed to get a passage stuck into it to end all Title X funding for any agencies that perform, counsel, or refer for abortions. This would end funding for most of the current Title X agencies, meaning that a lot of low income people wouldn’t be able to get important health care.

The governor is a tea party favorite who is also obscenely rich and has attempted to pack the legislature with people who will agree with him 100% of the time, supporting them with his own money. He is bullying the legislature because there are some Democrats filibustering the bill, and they can’t get the 33 votes required to end debate (they only have 31). This is pretty amusing in some ways, because this is a deep red state with a mostly Republican legislature (although the vote is considered non-partisan). Still, the end result isn’t funny. If the budget bill isn’t passed, funding for services for children on welfare will run out in May. If it is passed, and it doesn’t have the abortion clause, likely the governor will not sign it. If it is passed and it does have the abortion clause, many people will lose all the opportunities they have to get care, not just abortions (which aren’t paid by Title X), but a lot of basic care.

Why do so many people hate women?

All for the fetus, nothing for the child

Mar 24th, 2018 3:56 pm | By

Last week Mississippi passed a law making abortion illegal after 15 weeks.

On Monday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1510 into law, making it immediately illegal for a woman to obtain an abortion after 15 weeks gestation. Mississippi’s previous law restricted abortion access within the state to 20 weeks. The state’s sole abortion clinic, Women’s Health Organization, located in Jackson, does not perform abortions past 16 weeks.

On Tuesday a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order to stop the law from going into effect.

Meanwhile, Mississippi is the poorest state in the country.

Along Southern Boulevard toward Mar-a-Lago

Mar 24th, 2018 3:49 pm | By

Trump thought he was safe from the pesky students.

At least 2,000 people are expected to turn out Saturday afternoon for a March for Our Lives event in West Palm Beach, joining over a million people at more than 800 marches nationwide.

The participants plan to march along Southern Boulevard toward Mar-a-Lago, taking the same route used by Trump’s motorcade to transport him to and from the golf course.

According to press reports, Trump arrived at Trump International Golf Club just after 10 a.m. on Saturday.

When he leaves, thousands of protesters will be waiting to greet him — and they’re coming prepared to make sure he hears their message.

“They will have bullhorns. They are going to do everything they can to make their voices heard,” said local resident Michelle Kendall, who helped secure permits for the event.

“He may not like to hear what we have to say,” said Valerie Rangel, the 17-year-old student who organized the march. “I think he’ll get a really angry response from the crowd because a lot of people are angry that he allows groups like the NRA (National Rifle Association) to hold our lives hostage.”

Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll tweet that the protesters love him.

The march

Mar 24th, 2018 3:12 pm | By

Organizers estimate 800 thousand student protesters in DC.

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The protest stretches for miles.

John Lewis was there.

Six minutes and twenty seconds

Mar 24th, 2018 12:00 pm | By

Really look at it

Mar 24th, 2018 10:27 am | By

More than 10 thousand shares on Facebook so far: Look at this picture:

Look at this picture. Really look at it. Look at the way the younger son holds onto his dad’s shirt with one hand and his dad’s thumb with the other. Look at how this father holds both of his older son’s hands in his. Look at how this father cradles his younger son’s tiny foot between his fingers. Look at the way their heads tilt towards each other. Look at their smiles. Keep looking. Don’t look away. Why? Because this father will never hold his children again. Because this father was shot twenty times in his grandmother’s backyard armed with nothing but an iPhone. Because this is why we must march and protest and resist and show up and shout from the rooftops that #BlackLivesMatter.


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An emerging portrait of Mr. Bolton as a bully

Mar 24th, 2018 10:03 am | By

Let’s go back back back in time to see why a Republican-led Senate committee in 2005 refused to approve John Bolton as Bush’s ambassador to the UN, because now he’s in a job that doesn’t need Senate approval.

One moment singularly derailed his nomination. Testifying before the usually staid Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 2005, Carl W. Ford Jr. — the former assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research — called Mr. Bolton a “kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy” and a “serial abuser” of people beneath him in the chain of command. Mr. Ford — a self-described conservative Republican and Bush supporter — made vivid an emerging portrait of Mr. Bolton as a bully who repeatedly sought retribution against career intelligence analysts with the temerity to contradict him.

No wonder Trump likes him. “Kiss-up, kick-down” exactly describes Trump. Smooch Pootie, kick almost everyone else.

Mr. Bolton, President Bush’s under secretary of state for arms control and international security, had a general disdain for diplomacy that rankled several Republican members of the committee, including George Voinovich of Ohio and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. Mr. Lugar had quietly counseled the administration not to nominate him.

That disdain, in and of itself, did not sink his nomination. Rather, it was the testimony we heard and evidence we uncovered that Mr. Bolton had a habit of twisting intelligence to back his bellicosity and sought to remove anyone who objected.

He insisted Cuba was developing biological weapons; people who knew more about it disagreed; Bolton tried to get them moved to other jobs.

Mr. Bolton also was accused of attempting to inflate the dangers of Syria’s biological and nuclear weapons programs, by trying to sneak exaggerated assertions into speeches and congressional testimony before being called on it by intelligence officials. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage reportedly issued an extraordinary decree that required Mr. Bolton to clear all of his public utterances with Mr. Armitage himself.

That sounds very Trump-like too. Trump tells shameless lies, and seems to have no qualms about it whatever.

Then in 2002, during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Mr. Bolton helped orchestrate the removal of the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (which would win the Nobel Peace Prize more than decade later). His crime? Trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Iraq. (Mr. Bolton said he was fired for “incompetence.”) Those inspectors might have debunked claims that Saddam Hussein retained a stockpile of chemical weapons and was pursuing a nuclear arsenal — the justification for the following year’s invasion.

He tried to get other people fired. He frequently demanded the identities of US officials whose names were hidden in sensitive intelligence; some on the Committee worried that was because he wanted to retaliate against them.

Other witnesses came forward to allege abusive behavior by Mr. Bolton during his time as a lawyer in the private sector — screaming, threatening, throwing documents and, in the words of one woman, “genuinely behaving like a madman.”

All of this ultimately proved too much for Senator Voinovich. In a remarkable speech to his colleagues on the committee, a visibly pained Mr. Voinovich explained his decision to vote against Mr. Bolton, effectively killing the nomination. We’ve heard, he said, that Mr. Bolton is “an ideologue and fosters an atmosphere of intimidation. He does not tolerate disagreement. He does not tolerate dissent.”

“This is not,” he continued, “the behavior that should be endorsed as the face of the United States to the world.” President Bush used a recess appointment to make Mr. Bolton the ambassador without Senate approval.

We are about to find out whether this sort of behavior is any more appropriate for a president’s national security adviser, arguably the most powerful, sensitive and demanding job in the administration short of the president’s — and one that requires an honest broker, willing to present the president with ideas and analyses he does not agree with.

Bad moon.


Mar 24th, 2018 9:04 am | By

Benjamin Wittes shares a bit of hate-mail.

It’s the usual fever-dream nonsense, but what caught my attention was “Joe DiGenova is good old Irish-Italian stock.” Good old what? Since when is Irish-Italian considered a “stock”? (Jokes about minestrone with extra potato occur to me, but I push them aside.) Since when is Irish-Italian treated as a US ethnic grouping? Since never, that’s since when. Wittes’s correspondent is apparently just thinking “good old immigrant stock, the kind who immigrated so long ago that nobody thinks of them as immigrants any more, your Kennedys and McCarthys and Scavinos and Scaramuccis.” That’s nice, but he’s an idiot if he thinks those immigrants were welcomed with champagne and excellent housing. Like hell they were. They were greeted with hostility and tenements and crap jobs. It’s just a matter of time passing that makes them seem to Abusive Emailer like old, respectable, patriotic, normal, ok “stock.” Just a shot in the dark here but I wonder if one of his parents is of Irish background while the other is of Italian. Wild guess.

Anyway the point is, guess what, genius, time does wonders for injecting Respectability into once-hated immigrant groups provided they are white.

There’s also his bashful list of the things he likes best about his girlfriend, but that’s another story.