Daily Check-In 11/08/2018

Thursday, November 8, 2018



No one is above the law.  No one.

Mueller’s team has begun writing its final report, multiple sources told CNN.

Before that happens, one of the major questions in the Russia investigation remains to be answered: What happens to Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser who has been at the center of a whirlwind of legal activity behind the scenes even during the election-related public quiet period by Mueller.

As recently as a month ago, Mueller asked Trump’s lawyers to produce call and visitor logs related to Stone from Trump Tower in New York, according to a source briefed on the matter. The request at this late stage of the investigation came as something of a surprise to lawyers involved, given that the Mueller team has been focused for months on Stone and his activities before the 2016 election.

Among the questions Mueller has asked the President to provide written responses on are queries about Stone and his communications with then-candidate Trump, according to a source briefed on the matter.

Expect the shit to hit the fan very soon.  As far as that request goes, remember when Paul Manafort flipped? (Daily Check-In 09/14/2018). In the last two months, he’s spent over 40 hours interviewing with the Special Counselor’s team.  My guess is Paulie Walnuts told them about Roger Stone visiting Trump Tower on certain dates, and gave them proof of the visits.























1/ Some observations on the Jim Acosta situation: I watched the exchange just moments after it happened, then sent out a tweet saying the woman who tried to get his microphone should be lose her job. Swiftly, I was hit with a bot-driven response.

2/ The responses, as you’d expect from bots, were strikingly similar. It was either “Acosta assaulted that woman” or “he karate chopped her arm.” (I thought the karate reference was odd, since nothing in the live video suggest such a motion. It’s also just a random word choice.)

3/ My mentions swiftly filled up with other MAGA accounts – maybe real, maybe more bots – parroting the same language. That soon became the narrative on the right: Acosta attacked that woman! Hours later, the White House released a statement making a similar allegation.

4/ The statement said Acosta placed “his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.” A few hours later, Sarah Sanders releases a doctored video that has been sped up so it looks like Acosta’s arm is moving in – you guessed it – a chopping motion.

5/ I bring this up because I happened to be tuned in to the whole evolution of this thing. It shows just how swiftly an absurd disinformation campaign can be set in motion and how willingly the White House embraces these campaigns and uses them to stir the pot.

6/ I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ponder whether this could all have been a set up. Personally, I don’t think this administration is clever enough for that. I think they just stumble into other people’s nonsense and roll with it if it helps them. But this should concern us.

7/ Both because this administration is a moral vacuum that will leverage disinformation – and disseminate it – without a second thought. And because we’re clearly in an age where an administration that’s both soulless AND clever could easily create untold chaos. END

8/ This thread has now become a column, with expert insight from Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, who studies social media disinformation campaigns.

Absurd Acosta story shows how disinformation bubbles from bots to the White House – Chicago Tribune








Something that gets lost in the discussions about gerrymandering is that while it usually guarantees a certain number of seats for one party, it does so at the risk of getting blown out.  Here’s why.

Let’s say that a fictional city and surrounding area, like Gotham, have 10 representative districts.  Even though the city has most of the population for the area, the map was gerrymandered so that 80% of the population, mostly Democrats in the city were packed into 3 districts, and the remaining 7 are lightly populated but slightly above 50% Republican.  Under normal circumstances, the 3-7 math stays the same every year, especially at the beginning of the decade.

However, over time, some of the people living in the city move out to the suburbs, settling down out there.  Because of this, those 7 Republican districts go from 50% registered Republicans to only 40%, and it’s across the board.  Those 7 safe districts are no longer safe.

There are two main tools involved in the practice of gerrymandering.  Packing and Cracking.  Packing places those in one group in a small number of districts, while cracking splits them into several districts.  Utilizing both tools, a map can be drawn to completely neuter the majority in most cases.  Thing is, that packing and cracking can fail if there’s a demographic change over time, or a wave style election that overcomes the safety margin.  If each safe district is drawn with a +10% lean toward on party, the opposition would have to have more than that to win.  It’s like playing basketball to 50, but spotting the opponent 10 points at the start of the game.  If there’s a difference in talent or abilities, that 10 points can be overcome under special circumstances.

And it’s those demographic changes and special changes that are changing the politics around Dallas.





I’m cautious about getting too deep on this story for a few reasons.  Mostly, this article from Yahoo was the only piece I found on this even that didn’t come from the Right Wing Media.  A video surfaced on Twitter for a little while, but that was it.  It makes me wonder whether or not this actually happened, or if it was a planted story.

With Tucker Carlson, I don’t doubt he would do it at all.


That’s it for Thursday.  I’m on the road tomorrow.  I’ll try to keep up with some stuff, but when Donnie Jr., Roger Stone, or someone else gets indicted tomorrow morning, I’ll try to cover it when I get time.  In the meantime, I’ll wait for the alerts from WaPo and listen to some podcasts and audiobooks.  I’m about 8 hours into Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss, and I’ve got the Bag Man podcast from Rachel Maddow saved on the phone.  I can at least nerd out on the road.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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