I am the guy behind WTFJHT. Ask Me Anything

(Matt Kiser) #61

lol this question is great.

I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” True story. I was a shy, introverted kid and “doctor” or “fire fighter” never agreed with me.

I was in 4th or 5th grade when I discovered punk music and with that I discovered the DIY ethic. I’ve always gravitated to making things and doing things that nobody else was doing. I always knew I wanted to run my own business. I just didn’t expect it to be a blog/newsletter. So I guess what I do today is an expression of who I wanted to be.

I would love to parlay what I’ve learned from running WTFJHT into a fellowship or a research project to help solve the issues surrounding local news. Local news is vital to democracy and so many local newspapers and alt weeklies have died, leaving the checks and balances, uh, unbalanced. Could a freemium membership model like WTFJHT work at the local level? I don’t know, but I’d like to find out.

(Matt Kiser) #62

…and I think that’s that. Thanks to everybody to wrote in with a question. These were really fun to answer and look forward to continue the conversation in the member forum.


(Patricia) #63

Terrific idea. This is my first foray into the forum, but when you mentioned it in the newsletter, I knew I wanted to check out what you had to say. I didn’t ask a question but thought the ones that were asked were mostly things I wanted to know. I’m a fan and keep thinking I want to participate more in this enterprise. Maybe this is the first step.

I’m actually part of team of people who run a small collaborative press which assists writers in self-publishing. I’ve also run a successful Kickstarter project. However, I don’t regard myself as an expert in either. Still, if you start pulling together a team to work on either or both of these, I will be paying attention to see if I can fit in.

Good work, Matt. As each day moves toward late afternoon, I start anticipating WTFJH.


Thanks for all of your interesting replies Matt.
I think I’m going to need more than a few glasses of wine to continue reading that link to the Musk quote. The reply thread is unsurprisingly depressing.

It’s given me a good starting off point to investigate deeper. I think a lot of us just think that Trump has the nuclear football with him at all times and if he gets pissed off he could just open it up and start pressing buttons.

(Mesila Thraam) #65

I agree about “centralize to organize” completely. I don’t see anything wrong with “resistance” because that’s what it is. You even had quotes around “movement”. It has to be able to be referred to as something, something that isn’t labeled by political party. What would you call it? I think many people do identify with resistance. But that’s the only thing I disagree about. The rest of your advice is very solid. I believe we have to let go and compromise about some of our inclusive values and concentrate on fighting this administration and its worst crimes. We definitely don’t need what you describe in Seattle.

(Judy Hammerschlag) #66

Let me know when you have a “Pre-Sale.” Let’s raise the funds to make it happen. My niece just helped a friend get an album released. Maybe I can get her to figure out how to get the wheels rolling on this. See if anyone else volunteers, and if not, I’ll initiate the contact.

(Ashley ) #67

Please do! I’ve always been curious about this, seeing as how it can been a barrage of information all at once.

(R. Francis Smith) #68

For what it’s worth, I know Fred Hicks of Evil Hat/FATE success stories on Kickstarter, plus another friend who’s funded a novel or three that way. I can do an introduce on FB or something if you want sometime.



(John) #70

That’s an interesting question I was also very curious about. This is what I found:

We can only guess what Mueller is doing based on who he has hired so far—top expert lawyers (16 and counting) on criminal fraud, foreign bribery, cybersecurity, etc.

The top mandate is to investigate Russia’s impact on the 2016 presidential election; then whether members of Trump’s campaign collaborated with Russia in any way; and whether Trump obstructed justice when firing Comey. Additionally, Mueller can pursue any leads on suspected crimes that may arise directly from these areas of focus during the fact-finding process.

Mueller has likely already looked at information in the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) database, possibly in relation to Trump’s businesses, casinos, and real estate deals (or if not related to Trump himself yet, certainly for any number of shady people like Paul Manafort, Felix Sater, etc.)

As of a few days ago, news reports revealed Mueller also enlisted the help of the IRS Criminal Investigations Unit that specializes in financial crimes like tax evasion and money laundering.

I don’t think there are any fixed time limits for the investigation, per se. The parameters and boundaries of Mueller’s investigation must be approved by the Attorney General (in this case, Deputy AG).

This is Rosenstein’s letter (PDF) appointing Mueller as Special Counsel. It seems Mueller has been given a lot of leeway.

That being said, firing Mueller (or potentially any Deputy Attorney General who refuses to do his bidding) has crossed Trump’s mind before. Trump might be the most proximal threat to the investigation’s time table. Whether or not Trump would actually fire him, Mueller has likely prioritized investigative matters keeping that possibility in mind. Indeed, last month several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee with similar concerns introduced bills to try to prevent firing of a Special Counsel without judicial review.

Another possibility that could cut the investigation short is if some Republican lawmakers try to curb it. Rep DeSantis (R-FL) has recently floated the idea of restricting the investigation’s duration to 180 more days and isolating its scope to events after June 2015 when Trump announced his run for president.

Restricting funds seems to be a common way lawmakers try to kill projects, agencies, committees, investigations, and other agendas they don’t like.

Per FactCheck.org:

How big of a staff will Mueller get, and who decides that?

The federal code does not specify how large a staff the special counsel is afforded. It says only that a special counsel “shall be provided all appropriate resources by the Department of Justice.” The code notes that special counsels may request the assignment of Justice Department staff to assist them, and that such employees will be supervised by the special counsel. Special counsels also may request additional staff from outside the Justice Department, and “[a]ll personnel in the [Justice] Department shall cooperate to the fullest extent possible with the Special Counsel.” The special counsel’s proposed budget is subject to approval by the acting attorney general. The length of the investigation is not mandated, but federal code requires the special counsel to make a budget request each fiscal year, at which point the acting attorney general “shall determine whether the investigation should continue and, if so, establish the budget for the next year.”

Per CBS News, funding for Mueller’s team comes from a permanent Treasury Department account with indefinite appropriations (subject to DOJ oversight):

The money to fund the investigation will come out of the government’s “permanent indefinite appropriation” fund which is allocated specifically to pay for all necessary expenses of investigations and prosecutions by independent counsels.

Mueller will submit his budget to the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General for Administration Lee Lofthus. Lofthus says there is no real limit, and Mueller will get any funds he deems necessary, subject to the approval of the deputy attorney general.

Some pundits have speculated Mueller is still in the somewhat early stages of his investigation, about 20-25% complete.

Robert S. Mueller III was appointed as Special Counsel on May 17, 2017. Up through today (September 3, 2017), his investigation has lasted 110 days and counting.

For comparison,

(Soraya E.) #71

Thanks for answering my question! Have a nice Sunday and a good week!

(alysha) #72

There’s also Blurb, which is very reasonable, especially if you take pre-orders and buy in bulk.

(Full disclosure: I worked at Blurb 10 years ago but have no financial incentive to support them now.)

(Matt Kiser) #73

Really good suggestion! I looked at Blurb a few times before for unrelated projects.

(Susanna J Sturgis) #74

I totally agree about “unbiased.” Also “objective,” as in “objective journalism.” Talk about oxymorons! Writing and editing are all about making choices, and nothing involving choice is objective. In both reporting and commentary, I’m looking for writers whose judgment I can trust. I don’t expect them to be “right” 100% of the time, but I do expect them to have solid reasons and sources for the choices they make. I like what you’re doing here, and that’s why I’ve got the T-shirt. :grinning: (Oh jeez. So many emojis, so much indecision . . .)

(Susanna J Sturgis) #75

Hoard, dammit! Hoard! (Lol, in case you didn’t guess.)


Hey Matt, been following your site since the first days of this chaos.

I joined the forum cause I wanted to mention something since day 74 and day 173 respectively:

I think it’d be good that, each time Eric Prince (Blackwater founder) is mentioned, that you also remind people that he’s the brother of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s highly controversial pick for Secretary of Education. Just in case people still had doubts about the current corruption going on.


I bet this is happening in a lot of families and between friends. I have one family member who unfriended me on FB; and I had to unfollow one other because his posts aggravated the shit out of me. If you turned your question around and asked how many of us would be turned to the dark side it would be nearly zero. This is our new civil war being fought virtually and with posts, links and memes.

(Ormond Otvos) #78

Big ship, small rudder, but still close to rocks (20 trillion, aging workforce, huge greed siphoning away the profits from productivity)…

(Matt Kiser) #79