​Memos & Probes - Are We All Getting A Little Tired?

My father bought me a neck guard when I tried out for the senior football team in high school. The neck-guard ended up being worn by one of the older, bigger, and cooler guys on the team - he was assistant captain and middle linebacker … I think I recall it that way. And, in fact, it was actually called a neck roll. Which is what it was. Some sort of plastic-styrofoam-like open ended donut with a fairly thick plastic sheath that you wore to protect your neck.

Little did we know that it would be concussions, not damaged spines and necks, that would become a major factor turning mothers and fathers away from letting their sons (and daughters) play the game.

Little did we know that we were less than a decade away from a new channel/network, ESPN, that would transform sports broadcasting and then turn political and progressive and anger much of its audience.

But had I announced that I was seeking a career in politics or political commentary, what kind of guard should my father have bought me? A slime guard? A slime thrower? With nifty plastic attachments like on those toy M-16 rifle sets? (No, I'm not that old. I'm even older than that). Pick the snap-on attachment depending on who's in the White House. The traitor-leaker guard. The hero-leaker squirt gun. Adjust as necessary.

So as the Eagles and their city of love celebrate the end of 58 years of drought, let me say: I told you so. No, not the game. I had no idea who would win. I told you so, as in the release of the memo, and how it would not convince anyone on the other side to change their mind, and would even harden and inflame positions.

James Hohmann in his Daily 202 sneers and sullies the memo:

The memo published Friday may have been the most overhyped dud since Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone's empty vault in 1986.

Ba dum. Stephen Blank, a former Russian National Security Studies professor at the Army War College, has a bit of a meltdown in a column in The Hill:

... as a former professor at the Air War and Army War Colleges, I can say that not only is there no substance there, but that also there is nothing there that exonerates the White House or anyone else from charges that they were too involved with Moscow. Nor does it prove that the FBI was prejudiced against Trump, another groundless charge.

Had I released such a document while employed by the military I would now be sitting in one of the many Club Feds that dot our country's landscape.

This after having accused Trump - and not the FBI - of behaving like's he's above the law. Based on exactly what evidence? Obstruction of justice? Have you read legal opinions on a President and obstruction of justice, Professor Blank? Have you waited for the evidence Mueller apparently has to actually come out? We're all waiting for that professor.

Never mind that! They criticize the FBI? Off with their heads! Nunes to jail! And never mind the contradiction that if the Nunes Memo is a nothing burger what national security programs/people has he endangered? Unlike the Steele Dossier which may have endangered a few Russian officials' lives.

This is a professor who has helped shape the views of military officials in at least two branches of the services. He might have perused Eugene Robinson's piece in the Washington Post, warning Trump that presidents always lose their fights with the FBI. What? It was Edgar J. in the book depository? That's Robinson's defense of the FBI's integrity?

At the same time, polls are improving for Trump and the GOP. Maybe the mid-terms aren't already a write-off. Maybe, if the GOP does the right legwork to get out their stories on tax reform and regulatory rollback and on jobs and the economy. Legwork that they'll have to do in the midst of never-ending shelling from the Russia probes and their daily leaks and stories and now, also from all the fuss surrounding House memos.

Yet Mike Allen - who like Hohmann has carried his share of water for Democrats, in Allen's case for Obama's administration and his legacy - has an Axios email out today that talks about how Trump has transformed the GOP. This is because his populist mix of strong borders and defense, coupled with constraints on trade and support for entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, is an agenda that a "silent majority" of heartland GOP voters has supported for some time. And that the GOP party elites missed or disagreed with completely. Uhm ... thank you Mike?

So as we learn to live with the memo and the next memo (the Schiff memo is coming in a few weeks likely) and the next memo and the next one ... and so on, as we learn to live with the unending revelations by memo or leak of tiny bits of the dark hidden mass of detail behind these investigations, maybe the Russia investigations will slowly peter out with an exhausted audience - that's leaving aside the hard core of the bases on both sides who'll want hangings no matter what - and we'll return to focusing on legislation. That means Democrats as well as Republicans becoming exhausted. But especially voters becoming so.

But for that to happen, the investigations and their concomitant leaks will have to finally be so irrelevant and boring that no one listens to them anymore. Or they will have to come to a conclusion and issue their findings. The thing is, the opposition to Trump is so invested in their story of a quasi-fascist Trump dystopia massaged and manipulated by the Kremlin, that we're still a long ways from that day.

But we can always hope.

Posted by Keeley at February 6, 2018 6:52 PM
Comment #424113

I am always in favor of more, rather than less, when it comes to releasing information about our national government and its various agencies and departments Keeley.

We never know when something really important might mistakenly be released. And, sometimes, what appears innocent may cause someone to come forward with insider information.

Unlike the Democrats, who for years proclaimed open and transparent government during their reign, President Trump and the Republican’s appear to have actually meant it.

For example, every Republican voted to release the Nunes memo with not a single Democrat voting to release.

Every Republican and every Democrat voted to release the Democrat version of the information released by the Republicans.

The Democrats said they couldn’t vote to release the Nunes memo for various reasons related to national security. Really? How then could they vote, unanimously, to release even more supposedly “secret” information?

In both cases, the release of information was favored by every Republican member of the House.

Transparency in government is good. Republicans support that. Democrats don’t.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 6, 2018 8:01 PM
Comment #424114

“This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!”
Donald Trump, 2/3/18

President Trump declassified Top Secret information in order to publish this.

According to Trump, it had nothing to do with transparency. I am quoting what he said, NOT what you wish he had said.

More Trump quotes:

Today, in reference to immigration laws:

“If we don’t change it, let’s have a shutdown. We’ll do a shutdown and it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of.”

Yesterday at a speech, Trump called Democrats “un-American” and “treasonous” for not applauding enough at his SOTU.

He gave a speech on the economy, but after bragging 25 different times about stock market highs in January, he shared a split screen with a DJIA showing it went down 1152 points, after a 666 point decline on Friday. That set a new record for the largest one-day decline in terms of points.

Little noticed- on Monday the next budget deficit- not national debt, but the one year deficit- is projected to top $1 trillion, due to the tax cuts. Thanks to Bush and the GOP, Obama faced with a $1.4 trillion deficit when he took office. By 2014 it was reduced to $468 billion. Now we are staring at more than $1 trillion.

Little noticed- the next debt ceiling just moved up a month because debt is now increasing MUCH faster.

Posted by: phx8 at February 6, 2018 8:45 PM
Comment #424115

Oh, and we’re going to do a military parade in D.C. Apparently Trump saw one in France and liked it. I’d like to think France is the first country that comes to mind when it comes to military parades, but in fact, I think of the militarism of North Korea and the Soviet Union.

No conservatives said anything whatsoever about Trump refusing to impose sanctions against Russia over interference in the last election, despite being authorized by the House & Senate 517-5 to do so.

You’re good with that?

Posted by: phx8 at February 6, 2018 8:49 PM
Comment #424116

I’m still reading Collusion, by Luke Harding. There are a whole lot of Igors. It’s a little like reading Dostoevsky.
People get bagged and disappeared in front of their colleagues. The Russian who knew -rump the longest had a sudden heart attack and died. Others died suddenly although they had never been sick. Some were just murdered outright. Putin did a lot of house cleaning to cover for his puppet.

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Comment #424122

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Comment #424128

Heh. Nunes is running away from reporters. They keep asking him if the White House helped write the memo.

Well, it’s been a great month for Putin, really great. The attack on the American counter-intelligence community by Trump, the GOP, and Russian bots exceeded expectations, with Trump declassifying top secret information to give the Russians insight into FISA and surveillance. Nice! Better yet, Trump- a Russian asset- fulfilled his role and imposed no sanctions whatsoever on Russia for the 2016 election. Not even a 517-5 vote in the House & Senate for sanctions could force Trump to act against his patron. Added bonus: Trump calls everyone names except Putin! The Russian autocrat must be tickled pink. Meanwhile, Russian political opponents are getting jailed on trumped up charges, or murdered, and Trump is not saying a single thing about not. Nothing. And of course, the silence about Russian meddling in the 2018 midterms from Trump is deafening.

I know! Let’s have a parade, just like the Soviet Union used to do!

Posted by: phx8 at February 7, 2018 10:10 AM
Comment #424130

All these right wing conspiracy theorists should check their tin foil hats. Dumpty should try wearing one to keep his hair in place:



Kelly seems to be following along the same path as Flynn, or thinks that’s what he has to do to please Dumpty. Flynn went to russia to coordinate with them on fighting terrorism, and he fell in love with russia, and immediately began violating rules about disclosing private contacts with foreign nationals at the DIA.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 7, 2018 12:33 PM
Comment #424131

This morning I happened to catch some FOX news and some Limbaugh on the way home. The ferocity of their attacks on the FBI is startling. Trump joined in with a tweet. Limbaugh suggested the problem was leftists in the FBI. Pretty wild stuff. The overall idea of the attacks is to discredit the FBI among Trump’s base, enough that Trump can ride out the findings of the Mueller investigation. It might work. Most Republicans no longer trust them. According to a Reuters/IPSOS poll the other day, 73% of Republicans believe “members of the FBI and Department of Justice are working to delegitimize Trump through politically motivated investigations.”

That is a pretty astounding number. The basic idea is that anyone in government who is not a Trump supporter must go, because whether Republican or Democrat, they are biased members of the deep state.

And 73% is a GREAT number for Putin! Congratulations, Vladimir!

Time for a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, with tanks and everything!

Posted by: phx8 at February 7, 2018 3:11 PM
Comment #424134

I don’t have much sympathy for the FBI.

Malcolm Nance on the Stephanie Miller show today:


Natalya Veselnitskya sent a message to Dumpty from Putin. We own you. The russians don’t understand how our system works. Rich people, even fakers, don’t pay for what they do here. We’re not going to strap him to a gurney live and push him into a crematorium while filming it to train our agents in loyalty.

They’re worried about all that money that they laundered through the “wealth management” department at Deutsche Bank. They’re just stupid enough to think that Dumpty can actually do something about that, beyond having the justice department levy fines so low that it’s just a slap on the wrist.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 7, 2018 5:26 PM
Comment #424135

It is interesting to hear Mr. Obama’s name being mentioned now due to revelations in correspondence between two FBI agents. While Obama claimed he never knew about certain FBI investigations, it now appears he did.

Thanks for making me laugh phx8. How does one “accidentally” tune into FOX news or the Rush radio show?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 7, 2018 5:50 PM
Comment #424136

Where I work out has overhead screens. Most are sports shows. Usually one is CNN. Today was unusual because FOX was on a monitor.

Limbaugh is something I catch only if I am driving at a certain time. For some reason political talk radio is nearly non-existent in OR. When I drive I usually listen to cd’s.

The money laundering portion of the Mueller Investigation has stayed black, so there is no way to know how close, or how far, they are from achieving results. Deutsche Bank and the Bank of Cyprus cooperated. They released documents last year.

Judging by the increasingly desperate behavior of Trump, FOX, Limbaugh, Hannity, and others, it is a fair guess that Mueller must be close to completing the Obstruction and Conspiracy portions. Trump needs to be interviewed, but he may refuse to do it, even if subpoenaed and cited for contempt.

There has been an all-out press to destroy the credibility of the FBI, DOJ, and counter-intelligence. It seems to be working among Republican Trump supporters. The sustained attacks on the free press, the judicial system, and the Intelligence Community will cripple the country. I tell ya, it is a great time to be Vladimir Putin.

The best case is that this will utterly destroy the GOP. They deserve it, but that is not really a good thing for the long term health of the country.

Posted by: phx8 at February 7, 2018 6:17 PM
Comment #424137

“The sustained attacks on the free press, the judicial system, and the Intelligence Community will cripple the country.”

It is easy to understand how Liberals, such as phx8 and others, could mistake how a Democratic Republic, obeying our Constitution, should operate when not impeded by scoundrels in politics who desire to operate outside the law and Constitution.

Every day a new revelation of wrong-doing among high level democrats and their operatives is brought out into the open. This is how our country must and should operate at all times.

We are reaching a point at which political spin, and media cover-up is becoming impossible. As more facts, based upon actual documents, are released to the public, the democrats look ever more the party of deception and desperation.

I often deliberately watch Left-wing television shows phx8. I am not ashamed of my desire to gain information from all sources as you seem to be. I don’t fear being tainted by fake news.

I have confidence in my ability to discern truth from fiction. Perhaps phx8 should try it sometime.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 7, 2018 7:05 PM
Comment #424158
There has been an all-out press to destroy the credibility of the FBI, DOJ, and counter-intelligence…The best case is that this will utterly destroy the GOP. They deserve it, but that is not really a good thing for the long term health of the country. Posted by: phx8 at February 7, 2018 6:17 PM

Dumpty has been attacking the FBI since Sally Yates came in to warn McGahn about Flynn. He was probably planning on that since Comey met with him and detailed what they knew about his past with the russians. Attack the messenger!

The KKK/NRA/GOP is destroying itself by revealing itself. The NO party is in power, and revealed their priority. Pay back their donors. The Kochs are happy, so nothing else matters.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 8, 2018 2:14 PM
Comment #424159

Paying off the donors was virtually the only reason the GOP passed tax cuts. Corporations and the Kochs and the Mercers demanded it, and threatened to withhold money if they did not get what they paid for.

What a disaster. Corporations were already producing for record earnings. We were at full employment. Higher growth and wages chasing the same amount of goods and services means inflation, and that means accelerated earnings rate hikes. The recession is still a ways off, but the recession is in plain sight.

The DJIA dropped another 1000 + today.

For the base, they believed a lot of lies about the economic statistics.

“During the campaign, Donald Trump called the official unemployment rate published by the Labor Department “such a phony number,” “one of the biggest hoaxes in American modern politics” and “the biggest joke there is.” He variously described the real rate as 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30 and 35 percent. In August, he told Time magazine that the “real unemployment rate is 42 percent.”

That bad information- or to be more accurate, those lies- led bad decisions. The economy was good, growing at a 2-3% clip. It did not need a stimulus to grow at a 4 or 5% clip for a few quarters, a boom to be followed by a bust to beat all busts.

It gets worse. The next budget deficit is projected to exceed $1 trillion. And that is the ROSY scenario. All the projections for deficits and debt are based on a high rate of growth, NOT a recession. We are looking at $2 trillion deficits in the next few years.

And it gets even worse, because then we are going to be introduced to a new phrase: the debt bomb.

Posted by: phx8 at February 8, 2018 5:24 PM
Comment #424160

“We are looking at $2 trillion deficits in the next few years.”

But, but…according to phx8’s mentor, economist Paul Krugman, deficits and debt only matter when Republicans are in charge of government.

Sorry phx8, your prediction quote above is no more valid than Krugman’s prediction of economic collapse upon the election of Trump to the presidency.

Millions of working class Americans are finding bigger paychecks due to lower income tax rates. Hundreds of American corporations have gifted millions of employees with a bonus due to the tax reform bill. Billions of dollars have poured into the US Treasury as taxes are finally paid on corporate foreign earnings.

And…finally phx8, the Liberal Lament of wage stagnation is finally being resolved by President Trump and the Republican congress against the wishes of the Left who want the middle class and poor to suffer in the erroneous belief that such economic suffering can be blamed on Republicans.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 8, 2018 5:51 PM
Comment #424161

I am unfamiliar with Krugman’s prediction of doom, so I read it:


His timing may (or may not) be wrong, but he is right about this:

“It’s true that we’ve been adding jobs at a pretty good pace and are quite close to full employment. But we’ve been doing O.K. only thanks to extremely low interest rates.”

Mortgage rates climbed about 1/2% during Trump’s first year while the Fed raised rates by small amounts three times. In the last unemployment report, wages made their biggest increase in six years. Normally, this would be good if it came within a framework of steady growth and steady increases in available goods and services. This is NOT what happened. Trump and the GOP used debt financing to pour money into everyone’s pockets. Hurray! Free money! And we don’t ever have to pay for it because borrowing pays for itself! Vote for Trump!!!

Uh huh.

More money chasing the same amount of goods and services means inflation, and that forces the Feds to raise interest rates MUCH faster than previously anticipated, thanks to tax cuts. And remember, all those awful projections about the deficit and more debt were based on ROSY scenarios.

The dollar declined @ 10% versus other currencies; in other words, the US economy weakened relative to foreign economies.

What that means is that money may stay abroad in tax free havens, rather than coming here. Staying abroad avoids losing 10% of the value due to the declining American currency. Moving money FROM abroad TO this country only makes sense if it can appreciate more than the currency decline, and that is not likely to happen, especially if the US economy noses over into recession.

Posted by: phx8 at February 8, 2018 6:24 PM
Comment #424163

This is the Krugman quote I was referring to phx8.

“It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?” Krugman said in his post. “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”

“We are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight,” he added. “I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened.”


I fully expect more severe market fluctuations as the FED ends “quantitative easing” and attempts to return the economy to normal. We could not live in the “economic bubble” created by Obama forever.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 8, 2018 7:13 PM
Comment #424166

By the way phx8, the only part of this enormous spending bill working its way through congress, that I support, is the increase for military spending. Nearly all the rest is simple pandering for votes by both parties.

I am hopeful that conservatives in the HOR will not vote for this deficit spending.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 8, 2018 7:48 PM
Comment #424168

QE was curtailed in 2014 and ended last year because the economy was healthy. QE created a bubble- it re-inflated an economy- and that was necessary because the economy collapsed at the end of the Bush administration. We faced deflation, not inflation. The Stimulus & Fed policies worked. We escaped a long economic depression because Keynesian economics worked.

Keynesian economics still applies, but this time, we are applying a huge stimulus to a healthy economy, and that will overheat the economy. I believe that is what markets are looking at right now, the combination of rising wages and lower corporate earnings requiring a fast increase in interest rates.

Why an increase in military spending? Other than anti-ballistic missile programs and preparation for North Korea, I do not see much need.

I am very sympathetic to spending cuts, but it needs to be accompanied by tax increases, not tax cuts, and of course, the cuts are always going to be opposed by whoever’s ox is getting gored.

Posted by: phx8 at February 8, 2018 9:25 PM
Comment #424170

Back on the right wing attacks on the government. This is what they were planning to do when they didn’t win. Dumpty was going to do it as a russian agent. Now he’s doing it as a POS. The russians weren’t expecting him to win either. They underestimated the stupidity and corruption. One of the tin foil hatters even went into a tirade one day about impeaching HRC. It’s like they had the scripts written, and forgot that she didn’t become POTUS.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 8, 2018 10:17 PM
Comment #424180

Russia russia russia for two years. Now its rob portman rob portman rob portman.

Posted by: Roy ellis at February 9, 2018 11:00 AM
Comment #424186

“… lower corporate earnings requiring a fast increase in interest rates.”

Corporate earnings are very healthy phx8. You need to read more.

“Why an increase in military spending?” Once again phx8, I suggest you read something informative about our military.

“Fed policy makers met Wednesday and announced that October would conclude their third round of using dollars created out of thin air to buy vast sums of bonds — $1.7 trillion in just the third round of the program, known across the land (or at least the financial world) as QE3.

The program has managed a rare trick of being perpetually maligned on Wall Street while driving asset prices up enough to make lots of people on Wall Street very wealthy.”


Obama’s $4 trillion gift to the rich

“QE is now widely recognized by both supporters and opponents as causing the single largest shift ever in wealth, from middle class savers to rich Wall Street investors.”


Posted by: Royal Flush at February 9, 2018 6:27 PM
Comment #424189

Corporate earnings are healthy. That is correct. I was unclear. Normally, corporate earnings decline as companies compete for employees in a full employment market. They pay for those rising wages out of earnings. However, the tax cuts poured money into corporate coffers, and one of the places it will go is to wage increases right now, rather than over a period of years.

Wage increases would have happened eventually. The tax cuts just made increases happen MUCH faster, which is inflationary, and that means interest rate increases will increase MUCH faster.

Interesting to read the NYT article on QE. The author made some good and not so good predictions right.

Bottom line: QE worked.

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2018 8:03 PM
Comment #424224

“Bottom line: QE worked.”

Yes phx8, it did work to redistribute wealth from middle class savers to rich Wall Street investors.

Most economists, and I, agree that interest rates have been kept artificially low. Creating artificial components in our economy is useful, but dangerous over a long term.

It is time for interest rates to seek a level on their own, based upon factual conditions, not artificial structuring.

Historically low interest rates over an extended period of years has cost me many thousand of lost dollars in interest earnings.

Those who would normally save money in a bank savings account, CD, or money market, and earn less than 1/10th of a percent interest, choose more risky investments.

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