SIO26: The Trump Administration and Russia – An Incredible Amount of Smoke

With a heavy news week full of depositions, testimony, odd press conferences and more, today I take a look at some of the evidence of Russia-Trump collusion and what it all means. Ok, what it MIGHT mean…  while trying not to descend into full on conspiracy theorist mode. It’s not exactly easy.

After that, I go into the details of a case Gorsuch decided that perfectly illustrates why the originalist/literalist method of jurisprudence leaves this podcaster cold.

Some sources used:

Politico Trump Timeline

Nicholas Kristof on Trump-Russia

Paul Manafort AP Exclusive

Greenwald Russia Article

Gorsuch Truck Driver Case

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2 Replies to “SIO26: The Trump Administration and Russia – An Incredible Amount of Smoke”

  1. There’s something so unsettling about Gorsuch’s constrained “golly gosh and goodness” persona during these hearings, especially given his judicial philosophy of inferring lawmaker’s intent even when the practical consequence of that is requiring people choose between not freezing to death and keeping their jobs.

    “I have deep empathy for this man” and “I have never considered what I would do in his position” are two statements that can’t be true in any meaningful sense.

    Also, in along with Senator Franken, Senator Whitehouse has been killing it during these hearings.

    And, if for no other reason than to further prove that we’re not living in a PC totalitarian state, I want to point out that Gorsuch and Ted Cruz joked about PTSD during a Supreme Court nomination hearing, and nobody gave a shit.

  2. Hey, Trump promised that the “disastrous catastrophe” known as ObamaCare would be repealed and replaced with “something amazing.” Those were his exact words: “something amazing.” Well, if ObamaCare’s replacement is amazingly abortive and inadequate, technically, from an originalist’s point of view, he will have kept his promise. So let’s assume amazement until it turns out otherwise.

    . . .

    Believe it or not, one phenomena that occurs when a society is “over-terrorized” is numbness. Larry Ahrens, a talk show host from Albuquerque, visited Israel and did some live radio broadcasts from there in the early 2000s just following some bomb attacks at civilian targets in Tel Aviv. One guy he interviewed told of a community center that had been bombed, killing and injuring several people and heavily damaging a couple of buildings. The guy said the scene a day later (after bodies and body parts had been removed) was, to him, surreal. Construction workers were fishing debris from the buildings out of the swimming pool while neighborhood kids were swimming in the pool. The cleanup crew wasn’t running the kids off (God knows where their parents were) nor did the kids seem the least bit phased by the situation. It was just a day the life.

    Another lady had a woodscrew lodged above her kidney from a bombing in a coffee shop. She didn’t know if she was going to have it removed or not. She didn’t use these exact words, but her attitude was that she didn’t want to undergo general anesthesia for something that small; let’s wait and see if something more serious happens, then we’ll take care of all of it at once. The people Ahrens talked to were just numb to the whole situation. Of course, the Israeli government was probably off grinding a bunch Palestinians into the ground in retaliation, but to the people of Tel Aviv, it was just the way it goes.

    Terry Gilliam captured this phenomena in his movie Brazil where, following a bomb blast in a restaurant, the wait-staff simply cordons off the section containing the dead and dismembered people with curtains and room dividers while the rest of the patrons continue dining.

    We are already numb to mass killings, whether their object was political terror or not. A country that can have twenty first graders shot in the face with an assault rifle and do absolutely nothing in response to it is a failed state. A country that will elect a man who brags about sexually assaulting women to its highest office is a failed state. We’re already numb.

    . . .

    One thing we should have in the back of our minds as the Russia story plays out is that we are not in the same league as Putin. He ran the KGB before he became “president.” An incompetent boob does not rise to the top of an organization like the KGB. Putin learned to speak perfect German years ago when he was overseeing the KGB’s operation in Germany. Most Americans don’t have that sort of discipline and intelligence to begin with and we definitely don’t have the cream of the American crop running the show these days. We need to keep in mind that when it comes to smarts, capability, ruthlessness and determination we are outclassed when dealing with Russia—at least on the surface. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were folks at the NSA and Pentagon who know the whole story and have strings they can pull. How much of what they know and can do they will share with Trump we don’t know and may never know.

    . . .

    I smiled when you alluded, however briefly, to President Al Franken. That’s the most encouraging thing I’ve heard in a while. Damn, if we could swing it, we might have a chance in 2020. I’ve been so sure that the PC/SJW wing of the party would force the nomination of a Clinton clone and that that would ensure our defeat in 2020. Franken might have the balls and the brains to appeal to folks outside the PC/SJW bubble. Hmmm . . .

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