Commenting Policy

The aim of allowing comments at this site is to encourage thoughtful discussion. Please be respectful to others, and report offensive or abusive or spamious or other double-plus-ungood conduct to me as soon as it turns up. Use of ethnic slurs and indeed of slurs of any kind is streng verboten, and personal attacks on anyone, including yours truly, slurry or not, are just as verboten.

I also provide an “Ignore” button to help users cope with “trolls” and other commenters whom they find annoying.

Commenter Ignore Button Technical Demo

I don’t want to ban anyone, so will usually begin with warnings, with opportunities to revise and repent. I want to err on the side of free exchange even of views widely taken to be offensive, but in my view the objective of preserving such openness to ideas requires even greater care in language. So, no cussin neither except when I find it unusually amusing or well-justified.1 I reserve the right – or accept the responsiblity – to take down any comment I judge unacceptable, or more likely to sidetrack or interrupt than to extend discussion – without warning.

Commenters should also know that their comments are protected by the site’s copyright, but will be subject to re-production, exploitation, and editing, without advance permission, and anywhere in the multi-verse – and not just by me.

Commenters will also find some other extra features here, ones that accentuate the positive, like the “Commenter Archive” and “Comments this Thread” functions initiated by image-links that appear next to the Ignore Button after a commenter’s name, and also appear in the State of Discussion widget and page. I’ll soon be re-introducing versions of the Commenter Highlight and Comment Highlight buttons that debuted along with the Commenter Ignore Button, and I’ll be adding others if and when commenting becomes as lively at this site as it has been at times in the past, or as I develop features I’ve installed at other sites as full-fledged WordPress Plugins, or pointing out some others that are not currently very relevant to my handful of users.

(last updated: 20 December 2016)


  1. Also: Grow up or get sane! []
Lanced Infinity

Noted & Quoted


President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics.

The allegations, if true, would appear to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics, even as US-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million (£8 million) annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP.

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The texts, posted on a darknet website run by a hacktivist collective, appear to show Manafort’s family fretting about the ethics, safety and consequences of his work for Yanukovych. And they reveal that Manafort’s two daughters regarded their father’s emergence as a key player on Trump’s presidential campaign with a mixture of pride and embarrassment.

In one exchange, daughter Jessica Manafort writes “Im not a trump supporter but i am still proud of dad tho. He is the best at what he does.” Her sister Andrea Manafort responded by referring to their father’s relationship with Trump as “The most dangerous friendship in America,” while in another exchange she called them “a perfect pair” of “power-hungry egomaniacs,” and asserted “the only reason my dad is doing this campaign is for sport. He likes the challenge. It's like an egomaniac's chess game. There's no money motivation.”

By contrast, the Manafort daughters and their mother seemed much more unsettled about Paul Manafort’s work as a political consultant for Yanukovych’s Russia-backed Party of Regions, which is a subject of renewed interest among investigators probing possible links between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

In one March 2015 exchange that appears to be between the two sisters, Andrea Manafort seems to suggest that their father bore some responsibility for the deaths of protesters at the hands of police loyal to Yanukovych during a monthslong uprising that started in late 2013.

“Don't fool yourself,” Andrea Manafort wrote. “That money we have is blood money.”

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If there's anything mitigating the bad news for the White House here, it is that Comey may have also sent subtle signals that the matters under investigation are not principally about the personal conduct of Trump himself. While this is speculation, I do not believe that if Comey had, say, validated large swaths of the Steele dossier or found significant Trump-Russia financial entanglements of a compromising variety, he would have said even as much as he said today. I also don't think he would have announced the scope of the investigation as about the relationship "between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government" or "coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts"; these words suggest one step of removal from investigating the President himself. If the latter were the case, I suspect Comey wouldn't have used words suggestive of the Flynn-Manafort-Page cabal.

But that's reading a lot into a relatively small number of tea leaves. What is clear is that this was a very bad day for the President. In it, we learned that there is an open-ended Russia investigation with no timetable for completion, one that's going hang over Trump's head for a long time, and one to which the FBI director is entirely committed.

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State of the Discussion

Comments this threadCommenter Archive
+ Yeah, I read C's comments as trying to do a variety of things at the same time, having the effect of making interpretation more difficult. Any [. . .]
Benjamin Wittes: How to Read What Comey Said Today – Lawfare
Comments this threadCommenter Archive
+ Sure, so why do they have "work Phones" they take home? Even if they don't have fate of the world responsibilities, who they work [. . .]
Isenstadt and Vogel: Paranoia seizes Trump’s White House – POLITICO

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