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Where you can't be off topic because there IS no topic.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Bill says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Brian Schatz
    ‏Verified account @brianschatz

    I’m convinced that the desire not to seem wacky prevents journalists from describing what is happening accurately. It is legitimately difficult to not sound a bit crazed in describing what Donald Trump is doing to the country.

  3. Teve says:

    Trump supporters suddenly change their tune on the deep state.

    Just the other day they were saying that the US intelligence community was a bunch of dumb liars. Now with Suleimani they’re saying you absolutely have to believe the intel.

  4. CSK says:

    @Teve: This is nothing new; it’s been going on ever since Trump rode down that “golden” escalator. First Cult45 loved Jeff Sessions. Then they hated him. Rex Tillerson was a fine choice. Then he wasn’t. Same for Cohen, McMaster, Mattis, Kelly. Villains all. They were mean to Trump.

    It’s pure Orwell. Bankruptcy is success. Lying is truthtelling. All that’s stayed consistent is that Putin is wonderful.

    Nothing matters but that Trump “owns the libs.”

  5. Kathy says:

    Bad week to play at home.

    Ideally, I’d like to see the Titans or the Texans play the Vikings at the Superbowl. Realistically, it’s more likely to be the Ravens against the 49ers.

  6. Teve says:

    Steve Benen
    A couple of months ago,
    described Trump as “a war-crimes enthusiast.” It was true at the time; it’s even truer now.

  7. Scott says:
  8. Teve says:


    Today I’m proud to endorse @ewarren for president.

    Elizabeth and I share a vision of America where everyone counts. An America where people⁠—not the wealthy or well-connected⁠—are put first. I’m proud to join her in the fight for big, structural change.

  9. CSK says:

    @Scott: Excellent points in that article.

  10. Guarneri says:



  11. Guarneri says:


    Infantile II.

  12. Teve says:

    @Scott: nice reminder that the press has always been defective.

  13. Kathy says:

    As the 737 MAX woes continue, Boeing is again having engine issues with the 787, and development problems with the engines of the 777X.

    In the meantime, Airbus has passed Boeing in sales, and their A321 XLR model may render the prospective (not yet even in the drawing board) Boeing 797 irrelevant.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:



    This is the first time I have ever seen you engage in accurate self reflection. There may be hope for you yet.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Reza Marashi
    ‏Verified account @rezamarashi

    THREAD: Over the past few days, I’ve spoken extensively with career U.S. government officials as they’ve worked around the clock to try and mitigate the damage from Trump’s ineptitude on Iran. With their permission, I’m sharing a small taste from our lengthy conversations. Enjoy.

    “We have no functional national security decision-making process in place. We have no plan for what comes next. They are woefully unprepared for what’s about to pop off, and they’re too stupid to realize it. People here are freaking out, and rightfully so.”
    “We’re still trying to dig out from underneath the last war of choice, and now they’re trying to start a new one. I finally cracked open the bottle of scotch you gave me that I’ve been keeping stashed away in my desk drawer.”
    “When did most of us find out about killing Soleimani? After it already happened. Since then, we’ve been trying to cobble together contingency planning on the fly, but these charlatans ignore most of it, and then Trump does more stupid shit that puts us back at square one.”
    “So many of Trump’s top advisors on Iran are military vets who served multiple tours of duty in our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. They believe to their core that Iran is the reason why they lost those wars, and they’re dead set on payback – no matter what it takes.”
    “They know the Iraqis are gonna kick them out now, so they’re gonna try to kill as many as possible on their way out. Iranians, Iraqis, whoever. Some of them are advising Trump to tell the Iraqi government to fuck off and dare them to make us leave. I shit you not. Insanity.
    “Trump is threatening war crimes against Iran, and none of his top advisors have the courage to publicly oppose it. Instead, they act like cowards and go on background with journalists to express their opposition. They should all resign. They don’t deserve to serve this country.”
    “The scariest part is that they’re just making shit up to justify their preferred course of action. When we point out inaccuracies or question logic, we’re at best yelled at or at worst cut out of the process. Most of the political appointees are paranoid, unqualified, or both.”
    In conclusion: Yes, folks. It really is that bad. I am but a humble messenger of truth. The voice of the voiceless. That is all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

    The full thread has 14 quotes so you can see that I left a lot more stupidity at the link for you to discover on your own,

  16. EddieInCA says:



    Today I’m proud to endorse @ewarren for president.

    I wonder if his four supporters will follow him over.

  17. CSK says:

    I said nothing that isn’t verifiable. To a member of Cult45, that makes it infantile, I suppose.

  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    Hopefully they didn’t shoot their way in.

  19. Teve says:

    @EddieInCA: every little bit helps.

  20. Teve says:

    Klobuchar is about to have her brief moment and then fade.

    Warren 2020!

  21. Jax says:

    Awww, Guarneri learned a new vocabulary word! Gold star for you, little buddy.

  22. CSK says:

    Bolton has agreed to testify in the Trump impeachment trial if he is subpoenaed.
    I remember saying back when Trump canned Bolton that Trump had made a bad, bad enemy. Bolton is hot-tempered–and very vindictive.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Bolton has agreed to testify in the Trump impeachment trial if he is subpoenaed.

    So the Republicans led by Moscow Mitch control the United States Senate that is mandated by The United States Constitution to try this indictment.
    Can the Republicans interview Bolton “behind closed doors” before he testifies? If Bolton says things Mitch and his fellow travelers don’t want to hear from Bolton in a secret interview (“Trump blows dead goats and I have proof.” for instance) can they just refuse to call Bolton to testify in the open session? The only reason for the Republicans to call any witness would be to shower praise on their Golden maned Hero.

  24. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster: The Democrats would issue the subpoena and call Bolton to testify, I believe.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    “it’s possible they’re here right now (outer space aliens) and we simply can’t see them”.
    British astronaut Helen Sharman.


    The Dragon in My Garage

    ‘A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage.’ Suppose (I’m following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin) I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself. There have
    been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!
    ‘Show me,’ you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle – but no dragon.
    ‘Where’s the dragon?’ you ask.
    ‘Oh, she’s right here,’ I reply, waving vaguely. ‘I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon.’
    You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.
    ‘Good idea,’ I say, ‘but this dragon floats in the air.’
    Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire. ‘Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.’
    You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.
    ‘Good idea, except she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint
    won’t stick.’
    An so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.
    Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all?’

    The Demon-Haunted World
    Science as a Candle in the Dark
    Carl Sagan

  26. JKB says:

    Funny how none of the Democrats are bringing up that the Iran deal was designed to build up Suleimani. People have already shown the “amnesty” Obama gave Suliemani and other killers in the deal.

    Obama Strikes a Deal–With Qassem Suleimani
    Lee Smith July 14, 2015

    According to the terms of the Iran deal announced in Vienna on Tuesday, U.N. Security Council sanctions regarding nuclear-related issues will be lifted on a number of entities and individuals—from Iranian banks to Lebanese assassins, like Anis Nacacche. The name that most sticks out is IRGC-Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani. Administration officials counsel calm, and explain that Suleimani is still on the U.S. terror list and will remain on the terror list. But that’s irrelevant. The reality is that Suleimani is the key to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action


    Obama liked the man responsible for 17% of American casualties in Iraq, and hundreds of others in the ME. Trump killed one of Obama’s heroes.

    Obama likes Suleimani, and admires his work. As the president reportedly told a group of Arab officials in May, the Arabs “need to learn from Iran’s example.”

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    The full thread has 14 quotes so you can see that I left a lot more stupidity at the link for you to discover on your own,

    “The American people should know that we will do the right thing.”
    –Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Believe what you want. It all depends on what rule changes the Republicans offer and whether the Democrats accept them. Right now, it’s still in the air. Last headline I read, Mitch hasn’t agreed to agree with Lindsey on changes.

  29. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Sure. But muzzling Bolton will look bad. Very bad. And if Bolton wants to go public with this, who can stop him?

  30. Kathy says:

    From the “When Bad Things Happen to Terrible People” file: Harvey Weinstein’s been hit with new charges from California, just his trial in NY is getting underway.

  31. Gustopher says:


    Bolton has agreed to testify in the Trump impeachment trial if he is subpoenaed.
    I remember saying back when Trump canned Bolton that Trump had made a bad, bad enemy. Bolton is hot-tempered–and very vindictive.

    The Democrats should subpoena him for testimony in the House. No reason to let him play games of “I will honor this subpoena but not that one.”

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    “The Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats. Watch out for them, they are human scum!” Donald Trump

    Of course his Republican supporters in Congress are just bloated sacks of protoplasm:

    GOP Congressman Freaks After People Call Out His Fake Obama Photo
    Of course, tweeting bizarre and inappropriate things is nothing new for Gosar, who made news when six of his siblings did campaign ads for his opponent in 2018.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @JKB: Your 17% statistic is just silly. Unless you are willing to name gun manufacturers as responsible for gun deaths in the US, and all war zones.

    And sometimes you have to work with bad people to get things done. Delaying Iran’s nuclear program (with the prospect of delaying further being on the table) is one of those things that makes sense to do, even if it involves some bad people.

    The reason JCPOA lasted N years was not because everyone thought it was a great idea that in N years plus a day Iran would have nuclear weapons, but because neither side trusts the other enough to commit to a longer agreement. would you have trusted any long term agreement?

    It offered strong visibility into Iran’s nuclear program, and it did nothing to prevent another deal in N-2 years, that builds off the trust gained, fixes any problems with JCPOA, and delays Iran’s nuclear weapons program some more, over and over again. It kicked the can down the road, and left us in position to do so again and again.

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..And sometimes you have to work with bad people to get things done.

    Trump and his disciples know this. They all tout the Presidents love affair with the murderous Kim Jong Un as evidence of the success of United States policy now that North Korea “is no longer a nuclear threat.”
    “…everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,”
    What a relief!

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    We just did the full 13 course tasting menu at Robuchon in Las Vegas. Don’t even ask what it cost. Third best meal of my life in the haute cuisine category. #1: Alinea. Changed my life. Blew me away. #2: Trotter. Katherine and I went there when she was pregnant and we were thinking of moving from Minneapolis to Chicago. (For the weather.) It was a sad day when Charlie died. #3 Michel Rostang, Paris. The fucking truffle grilled cheese. If I were to go to heaven I’d want St. Peter waiting with a plate of that. #4. Robuchon. 17 kinds of bread. Butter carved at tableside. Caviar, truffles and wine. #5 The Inn at Little Washington. Sweetbreads in Champagne sauce, supernatural service. #6 Alain Ducasse at Lutetia Hotel, Paris. #7 Ramsay, Gordon’s UK home office.

    So full.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Oh and #8, Tru in Chicago. #9 Spiaggia, also Chicago.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Obama liked the man responsible for 17% of American casualties in Iraq

    As pointed out above, your 17% is horseshit and when it comes to what Obama liked, it was an Iran without the means for a nuclear bomb. And yes, that meant dealing with Suleimani. Your hero has been trying to make a deal with Kim. The difference is Obama succeeded where as trump is failing abysmally.

    Oh, one more thing, trump no more killed Suleimani than Obama killed Osama bin Laden. Isn’t that the metric you idiots set back in 2011?

  38. Guarneri says:

    News Item:

    Pentagon leaders on Monday defended the U.S. military strike President Trump ordered against Iranian terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani on January 1, saying that intelligence showed he was planning “imminent” combat operations against U.S. military forces in the region.

    Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon:

    I’ll stand by the intelligence I saw that was compelling, it was imminent, and it was very very clear in scale and scope. Did it exactly say who, what, when, where? No. But he was planning, coordinating and synchronizing significant combat operations against U.S. military forces in the region and it was imminent.

    “Those of us who were involved in the decision-making of that, we would have been culpably negligent to the American people had we not made the decision we made,” he added.

    Milley also pushed back against reports claiming the intelligence justifying the strike against Soleimani was “razor-thin.”

    “Very, very few people saw the intelligence,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the NYT mourned the loss of the great poet. Mataconis wrote a blog piece calling Milley a liar while his slack-jawed readers clapped like seals, and Barack Obama was seen speed dialing for plane reservations and cash in large, unmarked bills.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: Milley, good soldier that he is is falling on his sword. And you, clown that you are, are falling for the bullshit justification of “imminent attacks”. There have always been “imminent attacks”. There still are.

    2 – 1/4 does not equal Zero, it equals 1 3/4. For a week or 2. After that it will probably equal 3 1/2.

  40. Teve says:

    “People try to analyze Lindsey through the prism of the manifest inconsistencies that exist between things that he used to believe and what he’s doing now,” Schmidt says. “The way to understand him is to look at what’s consistent. And essentially what he is in American politics is what, in the aquatic world, would be a pilot fish: a smaller fish that hovers about a larger predator, like a shark, living off of its detritus. That’s Lindsey. And when he swam around the McCain shark, broadly viewed as a virtuous and good shark, Lindsey took on the patina of virtue. But wherever the apex shark is, you find the Lindsey fish hovering about, and Trump’s the newest shark in the sea. Lindsey has a real draw to power — but he’s found it unattainable on his own merits.”

    rolling stone

  41. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: you had the mashy taters i hope.

  42. Kathy says:


    And sometimes you have to work with bad people to get things done.

    Not sometimes. Often.

    But it seems Americans can’t or won’t see things that way. They need a good guy or a friend, not an ally. So they whitewash Stalin to defeat hitler, and various dictators to fend off Stalin, and Saddam to beat back the Ayatollah, etc.

  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    You mean the butter slightly adulterated with potato? They could have just brought a vat of that stuff.

  44. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: yeah, years ago a gourmand friend commented on those potatoes and how good they were, and I looked up the recipe, and was like oh. Potato flavored butter. 😛

  45. Teve says:


    I will buy bottomless drinks for life for the White House reporter who asks Trump this exact question:

    “Which country does Hezbollah operate in, who leads it, and why is it a threat?”

    100% serious. If I run out of money to buy you alcoholic beverages, I’ll start pawning stuff

  46. Teve says:

    “The only ones mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democrat leadership and Democrat Presidential candidates.”

  47. Teve says:

    Iran has fired missiles.

  48. Teve says:

    A mere $1 increase in minimum wage is linked to a 3.5-6% drop in the suicide rate among Americans with a high school education or less, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. The potential for a minimum wage increase to prevent suicides is most powerful, lead author John Kaufman notes, when there’s a lot of unemployment.

    The study looks at monthly data from 1999 to 2017, for all 50 states and Washington, D.C. concerning suicide rates, the difference between the effective state and federal minimum hourly wage, changes in state minimum wages, and unemployment data.

  49. Gustopher says:


    “Very, very few people saw the intelligence,” he said.

    I assume you are quoting from Zero Hedge or something again, based on the lack of links…

    But, anyway, this is why the president is supposed to include Congressional Leadership — so there can be bipartisan support, even if the underlying intelligence cannot be revealed without compromising methods or agents.

    Ideally before, but if there is really an imminent threat, there might not be time.

    But, he didn’t do that, and he has a history of lying and demanding other people lie, so here we are — only Republicans believe him, and many due so only out of spite.

    It is very likely that Soleimani was less of a threat to the US than Donald J. Trump’s actions.

    And, on the subject of imminent threat, quoting your general…

    I’ll stand by the intelligence I saw that was compelling, it was imminent, and it was very very clear in scale and scope. Did it exactly say who, what, when, where? No. But he was planning, coordinating and synchronizing significant combat operations against U.S. military forces in the region and it was imminent.

    If you don’t know what, where or when a threat is, it is not an imminent threat.

    You’re going to die. Don’t know how, where or when, though, so we cannot say your death is imminent.

  50. Gustopher says:


    It is very likely that Soleimani was less of a threat to the US than Donald J. Trump’s actions.

    To clarify: Soleimani might be more of a threat to a number of individual Americans, but Donald Trump’s unilateral order to kill him, without congressional input and oversight, is a greater threat to America.

  51. Teve says:

    So Sebastian Gorka’s nickname for Greta Thunberg is “Thunder Thighs”.

    I’m not making that up.

  52. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: it’s always projection with these people isn’t it?

    Sebastian Gorka is hardly svelte or lithesome. He probably has cottage cheese thighs.