Photo: Pavan Trikutam via Unsplash

Day 33+11H: Flood the Zone

[NB: Check it ^^^ / ~Rayne]

I don’t have a full post written yet — I will update this post when I have more to say.

What I want to say is this: CALL YOUR SENATORS RIGHT NOW.

Congressional Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

There are only two simple things to tell them:

— Government must be reopened as soon as possible;

— No on the “fucken wall.”

Our nation’s health and security is diminished every moment this unnecessary lockout continues.

Why do you need to call now? Because Mitch McConnell has scheduled a vote for 2:30 p.m. today on Trump’s ‘phony compromise‘ bill.

Right-wing wall proponents (a.k.a. anti-immigrant bigots and faux budget conservatives) have been encouraged to call their senators with a pro-wall message. We must counter this; calls are counted and weighed into consideration.

More later. Just make the call. Share in comments your experience.

174 replies
    • American abroad says:

      A huge fan of emptywheel. Thought I would chime in here with another way to contact senators and representatives. First heard about it from the guys at Crooked Media, Pod Save the World specifically.

      For any issue before Congress. I used it the last time I was home (in the US) visiting my parents and my country was putting (still is putting) children in cages. Also, worth looking though the PStW archives and listening to the episode. June of 2018, I think.

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks for sharing the link to ResistBot.

        Readers, please do be sure to vet organizations and read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy of any activism service before you use it.

  1. P J Evans says:

    From a short post on this sh*t at Kos, by Joan McCarter:

    One Republican senator whom Politico reporters Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine are declining to identify explained, “Our leadership is strongly encouraging us to set off a negotiation by having both go down so that it forces a negotiation.” So that will be the vast majority of Republican senators being for something before being against it—that something being the paychecks of 800,000 federal workers and 1.2 million federal contract workers.

    So they’re likely going to vote down both, because. And GOP-T leadership seems to have no idea what negotiation is.

    • Rayne says:

      I won’t be surprised if the GOP senators fold like broken lawn chairs and cave to McConnell’s enforcement.

      This isn’t about the wall. It’s about breaking the government so badly Democrats can’t rebuild it if they happen to win 2020 like they did in 2018.

      There are about a dozen senators who could be on the fence, though. For this reason we need to keep calling.

      • BeingThere says:

        A couple questions about federal elections: Will there be funding for federal elections if the government is still shut down?  What happens if there is no funding for a 2020 election?

        Is this their long game to slip into tyrrany?

        • Rayne says:

          Campaign donations go directly to the candidate’s campaign account. It’s the reporting that would be problematic, if this shutdown goes on this long.

          It won’t. We’ll have a full-scale revolt, a mass strike before too long — and that might be closer to their game plan, distraction and disruption at scale so we don’t notice their criminality.

          • errant aesthete says:

            “We’ll have a full-scale revolt, a mass strike before too long — and that might be closer to their game plan, distraction and disruption at scale so we don’t notice their criminality.”

            Pay close attention. This is the sound of truth.

    • Trip says:

      Yep. And McConnell’s proposal would kill asylum or something extreme like that, guaranteeing that no Democrats could/would sign it. It’s a bad faith execution of devious fuckery, not intended to arrive at any agreement at all.

  2. no one at all says:

    No offense to anyone, but I want the Trump Shutdown to continue until it throws us into another Great Depression .. not to teach the conservative voters a lesson, because that’ll never happen, but to teach the liberal/progressive/sane voters a lesson, which is, you failed to vote last time, maybe you need to rethink that stupid strategy.

    And it would be a nice bonus if the commercial business known as the Democratic Party Corporation would stop throwing their own internal selections. Clinton didn’t win the nomination, Sanders did. Hey, I get it, the DP is just a business and it gets to install its C-suite cast of characters as it sees fit, just sayin’, you would have the White House now if you hadn’t fuckin’ cheated.

    • Rayne says:

      You’re okay with Americans dying because they can’t afford insulin without their paychecks? Being evicted in the middle of winter? Children going hungry.


      Now fuck off and take your bullshit Bernie-bro propaganda with you.

      When I wrote “Bring all the off-topic craziness in here,” I didn’t mean Russian-encouraged conspiracy theories.

    • P J Evans says:

      Seconding Rayne.

      I have friends and family who ARE being hurt by this lockout, and they’re not deserving of that kind of crap. I’m dependent on Social Security and Medicare, and I’m at poverty-level income now, buying marked-down food at the supermarket because that’s what I can afford. I’m in remission from cancer, and still have thousands in bills to come – but Medicare paid for most of the treatment. I’m one of the lucky ones, and I know it – but in another year, I’ll have to choose between car and apt, or move a couple of hundred miles to someplace cheaper (and less healthy, and far redder).

      • Rayne says:

        Don’t feed it. I don’t need to spend my valuable time swatting down it and its friends.

        Less than 45 minutes to the Senates’ vote.

    • Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

      Sure Comrade, Bernie “won” the nomination by getting FEWER votes.

      But, but, but it was “rigged” you will counter.

      Really? Riddle me this: how does an organization that DOESN’T RUN PRIMARIES manage to “rig” an election? Now ponder the inconvenient fact that Sanders did better in the contests (caucuses) that the party DOES run. And while you’re at it, how do you reconcile upstart Barack Obama wrestling the nomination from HRC and her “machine” in 2008 — even with her overwhelming lead in Super Delegates before the Iowa caucuses?  But, but, but closed primaries in NY state. Is that your final answer because you can’t simultaneously claim the closed primaries were “undemocratic” while your candidate benefited from the clearly undemocratic caucus system.

      Oh wait, Hillary “won” because she got debate answers in advance.

      How about you put down the crack pipe.

      But, but, but DNC insiders were “biased” against Bernie.

      The effrontery of being in favor of someone who had given millions to support Democrats versus a dude who isn’t even a registered Democrat.

      But, but, but those emails.

      Okay you got me. I’m sure a bunch of DNC employees sending snide emails after it was mathematically impossible for Sanders to win the nomination was the reason Bernie was “cheated” (rolls eyes).

  3. Trip says:

    Wilbur Ross doesn’t understand why furloughed federal workers need food banks

    How can even one working person support this administration? Then he reduces them to numbers, in that they are only a small percentage of the economy, NOT HUMAN BEINGS. They should just get loans, he says. What about contractors? They (Trump and GOP) aren’t even pretending to care at this point.

    Their slogan again:
    Let them eat pain for Putin’s gain.

    • Trip says:

      Trump’s sacrifice includes continuing to operate his DC hotel (for private profit), while the Park Ranger service and the GSA (who mishandled the emoluments clause) are working there too, in spite of the (no pay) shutdown of more crucial services.

      Oh and they are getting paid via GSA funds. So screw the rest of you federal workers, go eat pain and get loans, etc.


      • Trip says:

        I think it’s twofold. The Kochs and Fed society would like nothing better than the government collapsing, so they can reduce it, thereby only funding any services which benefit the rich. With less government, then they can argue for even less taxation of their tribe. Of course since they won’t be taxed, the people will only be paying taxes toward the benefit of the wealthiest.

        The second part is Trump creating chaos, destroying any and all systems which may interfere with the ongoing quid pro quo and investigations thereof. Plus he wants to exert dictator power by holding ‘the people’ hostage to his whims, while not acknowledging coequal parts of power in government.

        This is a naked power grab by the GOP, and it is destroying the country.

      • Jenny says:

        Totally agree. We are on the same frequency.  I have been saying for weeks, “I really don’t care, do you” is the GOP’s slogan.  GOP lack compassion.

        They do not care.  Plus the “Let Them Eat Cake” party solidified and magnified they do not care with their comments and actions with the Trump/McConnell shutdown.

        Wilbur Ross and Lara Trump sharing their ignorant and insensitive comments for themselves and this maniacal administration about federal employees who are hurting is reprehensible.

        If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  Dalai Lama

  4. Cathy says:

    Senators are definitely today’s priority. Though as long as we’re dialing, suggest we hit up our GOP Reps, as applicable, and let them know we’re paying attention.

  5. Peterr says:

    The 13th Amendment:

    Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Note to the GOP: This has NOT been repealed, and yet “involuntary servitude” seems to be the reality for thousands of government workers. You might want to address this.

  6. Cristabel says:

    I think the only way out of this is through the senate passing a veto-proof majority to override Trump. It looks like he loves the shutdown and will continue it as long as he can. He loves the breathless attention, the reality show aspects, the fact that the very law enforcement establishment investigating him is being ham-strung, and he hates backing down and being a loser. I think the only real question at this point is: to what degree is Trump carrying out Putin’s orders here?

    • General Sternwood says:

      A continuing resolution on Trump’s desk, even with the certainty that he would veto it, would be a victory in that it would make it even more crystal clear who is responsible for the continuation of the shutdown.

  7. Dr. C. says:

    It’s possible that the FBI counter intelligence investigation into the President is still active. (I would think that if it had been resolved in his favor it would have been broadcast far and wide.) That said, is not the chaos in the government and the governing of America exactly what Mr. Putin wants? Seriously. If ever we were vulnerable to a foreign power, now is the time.

    The current situation is beyond pith and snark, even beyond obscenity. And to think that it rests in the hands of Mitch McConnell.

    • rip says:

      The current devils in the Senate (R) and WH (?) are well advised by their masters, both US-based (Mercers, Kochs, ilk), and foreign (USSR-wannabe).

      There is no way that the WH or our current batch of McTurtle herds have the savvy to hijack the government and media as well as has been done. Makes me wonder if their fingers weren’t into the Nixon, Gingrich, Rove/Cheney/W regimes, also.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        M“Makes me wonder if their fingers weren’t in the Nixon,Gingrich, Rove/Cheney/W regimes”

        now you’re gettin’ it. This goes back a lot further than that … while the German’s were rearming in the 30’s under Hitler, the Prescott Bushes, the Fords, Fred Koch and Old man Trump were crankin’ up a fascist movement here and of course Britain was run by in-bred fascists the entire time.

  8. punaise says:

    D Kos hints at a good Friday:

    Mueller’s grand jury conducts rare Thursday session, could be sign of Friday indictments

    …the [grand] jury has entered an unusual Thursday session—the first such session since July 12. That July session was followed the next day by a series of indictments.

  9. Jockobadger says:

    In addition to the coming collapse of SNAP, kids locked in cages, workers unable to feed their families or even buy gas to get to the job they’re not being paid to do, we have this from The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) President Joe DePete, and Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) President Sara Nelson:

    Here’s a short but critical bit of it: 

    “In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented.”

    • Rugger9 says:

      The “kids locked in cages” part is also in violation of a court order by almost 6 months now, and not a peep from the GOP side.

    • Tom says:

      If those same Air Traffic Controllers came to work under normal circumstances feeling stressed out because of worries about their housing, their financial situation, their ability to care for and feed their families, they’d probably be told by their managers to take some time off and deal with their personal problems as they wouldn’t be considered to be in any shape to give their job duties the full concentration they deserve.     They’re really in a horrific double jeopardy situation.    If they don’t show up for work, isn’t their job at risk?     If they do show up for work and an airline accident happens, won’t they be held responsible?

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks much for the feedback. Using email when senators’ voicemail boxes are full is the next best alternative because they will get through and be counted.

      For everyone else: If you use email, use a simple subject for ease+speed of reading by staff: Open Government, No Wall — or something to that effect, then elaborate in the body of the email.

  10. Savage Librarian says:

    LOL. In the Daily Beast there is an article about Emma Best creating a site that archives collections of Russian emails.

    This Time It’s Russia’s Emails Getting Leaked
    Kevin Poulsen
    01.24.19 1:45 AM ET

  11. Gnome de Plume says:

    I saw where Cornyn is not going to be in DC for today’s vote. How does not voting work in the calculus for passing a bill?

    • Cathy says:

      False alarm. Cornyn voted for R bill, against D bill. Then took to the Senate floor accompanied by poster of a concrete wall (caveat: no info on whether his co-star was installed or proposed or in what location – tx, az, or middle east – no context clues either: couldn’t read his lips).

  12. Rayne says:

    Off topic:

    A man opened fire in a Florida bank, killing five. Authorities still don’t know why.

    “It does not appear that Zephen Xaver, the alleged shooter, had any connection to the SunTrust Bank he terrorized Wednesday afternoon or the five women he shot dead inside, Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund said at a news conference Thursday. Hoglund called it a “random act” with “no specific targets.” He said the investigation is ongoing and that the crime scene remains active.

    Visibly shaken and emotional, Hoglund also offered information on the five victims, all women and all members of the small Sebring community of 10,000 people.”

    Gee, I can’t imagine why the lone gunmen killed all these people sharing two attributes — women at a bank.

  13. Savage Librarian says:

    How about Zuck redeeming himself by renting Elon’s Boring Machine and digging some giant tunnels before Eminent Domain steals private property on the border. Bezos could contribute too. Maybe even Gates, the Google gang too.

    The Washington Monument could be relocated there as well. I think it might be having an adverse impact on the mental stability of the narcissists in DC.

      • P J Evans says:

        He’s a PITA, generally speaking, along with most of the rest of the tech billionaires, including Bezos. They’re good examples of why we need that 70% (at least!) tax bracket.

        • Flachbau says:

          having personally dealt with that class I can tell you that the are highly overrated … you would think they would be the most grateful people in the world … but instead they are obsessive, small minded and not all that smart … which is why they hire and pat others to think for them. EW 2% tax … haha they’ll make that back in a few months.

  14. getouttahere says:

    Even though there are unlikely  to be sufficient repug defections  on this afternoon’s votes  to end the shutdown, if there are at least 5 or 6 defectors, some of these other clowns/rats may start to get cold feet.  These asswipes care only about their own selves and they may see some electoral jeopardy for their cravenness.  Let’s hope the two or three “weak” dem senators stick to the plan. Keep hope alive. And fingers dialing.

  15. Colleen Batjer says:

    Thanks Rayne!

    I called my senators from Texas and told them hell no to the fucken wall and open the damn government and it felt great! I’m passing it on!

  16. Savage Librarian says:

    For future reference, in case you didn’t know, there is a phone service called Credo Long Distance. Decades ago they were called Working Assets.

    I use them for my landline. But they have mobile service too. I am enrolled in their CitizenLetters service. They also donate routinely to progressive causes.

    [FYI: Referral above provided by commenter does not reflect this site as it does not endorse any commercial products./~Rayne]

  17. Ollie says:

    hey gang!  I just called both my Senators telling them NO on the wall and OPEN GOVERNMENT even tho we’ve got good representation here in Oregon.

    If anyone finds 800 #’s leave them w/me.  I don’t have long distance Rayne so I can’t call the 202’s.  Land line on w/o long distance.


      • Marsi says:

        I have my senators’ and representative’s phone numbers saved in my Contacts. No need to deal with a switchboard.

      • Ollie says:

        Update: Thank you first of all Rayne.  I had an 855 blahblahblah and called and put in zip code so that’s how I got to Merkley and Wyden.  I dialed the # you provided and put in zip code and it goes to Merkley.  I guess if I looked up other Senators like turtle neck I can put his zip code in and leave him a msg like DO YOUR F’ing JOB and open gov?

        Many thanks.  Check back very soon.  peace

    • harpie says:

      Sen. Merkely 1:22 PM – 24 Jan 2019

      Good work, people. After several days of heavy pro-wall calls, our phones were overwhelmed yesterday by callers urging us to reject the wall and open the government.

  18. Savage Librarian says:


    Yep, that’s why he could redeem himself by putting up the $$ to build an access tunnel.

    Some time ago (can’t remember where or when) I read that DT had hired a bunch of lawyers who specialize in repossession of property.

    I’m thinking it had to do with the wall and the farmers who don’t want to sell their land.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s not just farmers, it’s the Catholic church and indigenous people. Neither Trump or Zuckerberg adversely taking property solves any problems. Rather, this creates more.

      • Jockobadger says:

        In Arizona alone, the damn wall would cross the Tohono Res, two National Wildlife Ref’s, two Nat. Forests and the Organ Pipe Nat. Mon.  That’s just one state.  I don’t want my tax $ being used to support this sort of Gov’t sanctioned thievery.  The Res. is a sovereign nation and I imagine there are lawyers galore that would assist them in this fight – same goes for the forests, refuges and mons.

        A year ago, I would’ve said “not going to happen under any circumstances.”  Now, not so sure.  JHC.

  19. Pete says:

    No’s on McConnell amendment (on wall) is at 44 so I assume it will fail as expected (60 vote threshold).

    Collins (R), Murkowski (R) and Manchin (D) voted yes.  May be some other “surprises” in the final tally.

  20. Savage Librarian says:


    I guess you don’t know me well enough to realize it was all tongue in cheek.

    I just think it’s bizarre that DT and minions can’t fess up to the fact that tunnels are the obvious way to challenge a wall. They already exist for f’s sake.

    I think it would be a statement to have one of those huge machines parked in a place where DT could not refute it. It wouldn’t hurt to have Bezos standing next to it with a big grin saying, “Take that you Pecker.”

    This is simply an idea for a stand up comedy routine. Might give DT pause.

    • P J Evans says:

      Using [s] snark tags [/s] will help. (It’s hard to tell sometimes whether it’s snark or trolling.)

  21. Bobby Gladd says:

    Just heard on MSNBC that Trump is digging in, says “I’m not going to negotiate with myself.”

    Donnie, we’ve known that all along. You are the only person in your world.

  22. Geoff says:

    Collins burnishing her mod cred by slipping in another non-R team vote when it doesn’t matter.  So transparent, so utterly full of…

  23. P J Evans says:

    Phony compromise bill: 50-47. Manchin for; Cotton and Lee against (because not cruel enough).

    Dem bill: 52-44. Rs for: Alexander, Collins, Gardner, Isakson, Murkowski, Rmoney. [I guess Mitt gave them permission.]

    • P J Evans says:

      The roll call vote reports won’t be up for a while yet; says it takes at least an hour.

  24. Pete says:

    Time to “storm” the WH and Senate. All in a non violent way.

    Does anyone know of “fund me” or like to support unpaid workers?  Would like priority to feeding kids and medicine/medical access.

  25. Savage Librarian says:


    “Treat this as an open thread, by the way. Bring all the off-topic craziness in here.”

    This is what you said at the top of this post. I took you for your word.

    From my vantage point, both you and bmaz have a tendency to commit what I call “Chris Cuomo’s”. That is, you disparage followers who may actually be your friends.

    Marcy and Ed Walker don’t seem to do this. Maybe they can share some tips.

    I say this because I worked in a field where we were sometimes pleasantly surprised by benefactors we never knew we had. It seems treating everyone with dignity might have some unexpected positive results.

    Of course, I know there are people out there who seem suspicious and it is difficult to know who is who.

    So, is the cost of alienating friends worth whatever reward you see in it? Just sayin’…

    I actually do have a great deal of admiration for you and bmaz. But I also believe you have alienated a good number of friends.

  26. punaise says:

    There was a report on Nice Polite Republican radio this morning about a proposal in Denmark to build a five-foot tall wall along its 40 mile border with Germany, for the purpose of keeping out feral pigs (boars) potentially carrying harmful African Swine Disease.

    I’m all for building a wall in DC to keep the bore of a Federal Pig in his trough.

    • Cathy says:

      (1) ha ha *snort* ha ha *snuffle* he hmm…

      (2) definitely a better chance of success in DC – we’ve learned not to bet against feral pigs

    • Rugger9 says:

      I read the report on it, so there’s no ASD in Germany and they swim across the Flensburg Fjord anyway, bypassing the wall.  Maybe someone spiked the Carlsberg with stupid juice.

      OTOH, maybe the Danes are still pissed about Schleswig-Holstein and want to keep the Germans out.

    • koolmoe says:

      LOL. I was thinking along those lines yesterday. Funding for a wall is demanded, but is there any definition of the wall? or steel-slat barrier? What if Dems give him money for a wall, but only for a wall (no land grabs) with specific dimensions, like 3 feet high, 2 feet wide, made of brick, in the colonial style (to throw Republicans a symbolic bone)… A nice decorative wall may be kinda neat…and keep out those damn Lilliputians…

  27. Jockobadger says:

    Just heard that here in Washington State, Governor Jay Inslee has authorized the state to pay unemployment to the non-furloughed (ie essential, but unpaid) federal workers. That’s something at least. Affects about 8000 according to KUOW. Not sure how state and federal funding interconnect wrt unemployment payments. The Guv’s heart is in the right place and he’s def good on climate change. Wants to be the next Prez. Thanks Rayne.

  28. Draco7 says:

    Pete, try the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA) site. They have a mini-grant program especially for furloughed employees. It’s targeted pretty much the way you describe.

  29. P J Evans says:

    @Savage Librarian
    They can’t read your mind; they can only read what you post, and it’s hard to tell which political side you’re posting from.
    (I’m not able to read your mind, either, and some of your posts come across as hostile.)

  30. Sick says:

    In 1939, the German ocean liner St. Louis and its 937 passengers, almost all Jewish, were turned away from the port of Miami, forcing the ship to return to Europe; more than a quarter died in the Holocaust.

    It was disgust over actions like these that led to our embrace of more humane and compassionate immigration policies after WWII.

    Trump’s latest immigration proposal – the “Central American Minors Protection Act of 2019” — would bar asylum claims by minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who show up at the border. Instead, thousands of innocent children who flee their homes in Latin America due to violence, gangs and crushing poverty would be denied asylum in the US, and returned to their hellish homes.

    This stinks. Why?

    To understand the current crisis in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, one must go back to the 1960s. In Guatemala, the US helped stage a coup against the democratically-elected government in favour of a military junta, which it then spent decades supporting despite well-documented human rights abuses. It’s a similar story in El Salvador. Honduras did not have a civil war, but it was used as a staging ground for the Contras, a far-right guerrilla group backed by the Reagan administration in neighbouring Nicaragua’s civil war. These wars – backed by the American military and intelligence agencies – destabilised the region and subjected generations to a cycle of extreme poverty and violence.

    The power vacuum created by US activities has allowed organised crime to thrive in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and the United States interfered again to make it much worse. The president’s favourite bogeyman is an American export. MS-13 got its start in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Through American deportations, it was repatriated to the region, where the carnage and corruption made it rife for an organised crime syndicate to thrive and terrorise the local population.

    We sent MS-13 to terrorize the children we will now turn away at our border, presumably because they have brown skin.

    Truly sick.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The other part is that they were supposed to present themselves at local centers yet to be established.  I’m sure Palace Goebbelmeister Stephen Miller will get right on it and make Kirstjen Neilsen get-er-done at top speed.  Just like reuniting the kids.

  31. Alan says:

    There comes a point when Congress needs to pass a bill and then override Trump’s veto, if that’s what he chooses to do…

    “U.S. President Donald Trump would only consider a Senate plan to temporarily fund the government if it included a “large down payment” on a wall along the border with Mexico, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Thursday.”

  32. Jim_46 says:

    Don’t often have this experience. Called my Republican senator at 12:30. He was one of the six who voted for a clean CR at 2:30. I’m claiming all the credit. :)

    • Rayne says:

      Feels good, doesn’t it? Seriously, you don’t know for certain whether your call did it. It’s always safest to call than to wonder after whether it would help.

      I still can’t get over the time I called one of my senators and found out I was one of only five callers on a rather important piece of legislation. You just never know.

      • Jim_46 says:

        We’re starved for anything that sounds like something real. We’re now so used to discounting what anyone and everyone says as selling, promoting, spinning, obfuscating, positioning, misdirecting, and the like, that when we sense that just maybe in this one instance out of a million, this person is just saying, “Screw it, I’m going for it,” we feel the tiniest spark of hope leap in our hearts.

        • Jenny says:

          I was so impressed, I called Senator Bennet’s office thanking him for a passionate speech.  Also for being compassionate.  Authentic moment.

  33. harpie says:

    Heather Long 8:21 AM – 24 Jan 2019:

    [quote] Wow. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross just told 800,000 employees who have missed a month of paychecks to stop complaining and go get a loan (with interest) from the bank.// There “really is not a good excuse” why they can’t get money, Ross said. // Read the full remarks below. [end quote] 

    Phil Mattingly  12:04 PM – 24 Jan 2019:

    [quote] Virginia Freshman House Dem @RepWexton [Va-10] invites Commerce Sec. @SecretaryRoss to a food bank this weekend to meet with and help serve federal employees in wake of CNBC comments: [screenshot] [end quote]

    • Rayne says:

      Ross needs to be forced out. It’s bad enough he’s a corrupt mothertrucker who lies but his “this won’t hurt a bit” attitude is a sign he may not be competent to hold his office.

      Recall his bullshit this past summer waving a soup can saying tariffs will only add a few pennies? Campbell Soup was furious. And now, months later, it’s not the people without paychecks who can afford those extra pennies.

      I am sooo glad Pelosi cut him a new orifice in her own way.

      Edit — I mean, when is enough enough with this asshole?

      — Commerce Dept had to release four officials because of security clearance failures;
      — Ross not only omitted information from his financial statement but he admitted to making a false statement (and it probably wasn’t the only one);
      — He said he’d sell assets he omitted from his financial statement — and then he didn’t. And he failed to sell assets to avoid conflicts of interests several times.

      One of the most egregious conflicts may have been right under our noses when he waved that fucking soup can. He was invested in Boeing and International Automotive Components Group the previous year when he was supposed to have divested them, but he may still have had them during the introduction of steel and aluminum tariffs, both of which would have affected valuation.

      Crap. I just wrote a post. Don’t be surprised if you see this ^^^ on the front page of the site.

    • Trip says:

      Hi harpie,
      Ross is so precious in his velvet slippers:

      Hunter Walker‏Verified account @hunterw

      I’ve seen billionaire Cabinet Secretary Wilbur Ross padding around the West Wing in custom made velvet loafers adorned with the Commerce Department seal. Wilbur Ross really, really loves velvet loafers.

      I mean can the guy be any more of a terrible stereotype?

  34. Savage Librarian says:

    @P J Evans 4:56 – None of us can read minds. It goes both ways.

    You may think people outside the EW tribe are your enemies. But maybe we just need some clues on how to speak the language.

    BTW, I appreciate your help about snark. I won’t necessarily remember it, but I thought it was respectful of you to share.

    I have felt a lotta hostility from the tribe. So, I thought I should point it out. The tone of some of your tribe actually sounds very much like the tone of the far right. And believe me, I have had some very ugly encounters with the “right.”

    Definitely some cognitive dissonance for me interacting with you (in the plural sense.) It’s very possible that I react to the tone I feel. I have no doubt that we share the same political view, though. Please be assured of that.

    I’m not understanding why you don’t know my political views. But, I admit I can be dense that way. It would help if you point out examples of what you think is hostile in things I have said. That way maybe we could work through it and build some trust.

    • Rayne says:

      This: I’m not understanding why you don’t know my political views.

      About 2/3rds of the people you see in comments here are regulars, including PJ Evans who’s been here 11 years. Believe me, the regulars don’t all see eye-to-eye nor get along all the time. But to drop in and expect us to mind-read your politics after a meager 24 comments since January 9th and police a regular’s language?

      Nope. Other way around, buddy. Why should anybody at this site trust you?

      • P J Evans says:

        Thanks, Rayne – I’ve been reading here since before FDL, but was trying to not pull “old-timer” on people (all my white hair is earned, though.)

  35. harpie says:

    15 minutes ago:
    Exclusive: White House preparing draft national emergency order and identified $7 billion for wall  CNN Updated 5:32 PM ET, Thu January 24, 2019
    The White House is preparing a draft proclamation for President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency along the southern border and has identified more than $7 billion in potential funds for his signature border wall should he go that route, according to internal documents reviewed by CNN. 

    Trump has not ruled out using his authority to declare a national emergency and direct the Defense Department to construct a border wall as Congress and the White House fight over a deal to end the government shutdown. But while Trump’s advisers remain divided on the issue, the White House has been moving forward with alternative plans that would bypass Congress. […]

      • Jockobadger says:

        A “Presidential Proclamation” (or “national emergency order” – whatever that is) doesn’t have any legal weight does it?  He can’t use it as a vehicle to try to pole-vault over Congress and swipe some $ from somewhere to build his signature wall, can he?  Sorry – don’t know the proper legalese for this question.  JHC and Thanks all.

        • koolmoe says:

          IANAL, but sure he can try…but I’d hope it would immediately be stayed and litigated, forcing him to define and clearly quantify ‘national emergency’. Leaving such a proclamation unchallenged would set horrible precedent.

          • P J Evans says:

            I expect the suit is ready to file about five minutes after he announces any such emergency – especially since there isn’t one, outside of his enablers and his ignorant brain.

  36. punaise says:

    Taking open thread to heart:

    Did Kamala Harris’ Berkeley childhood shape the presidential hopeful?

    Apparently I haven’t been paying much attention; as a Berkeley resident I had no idea that Kamala Harris grew up here (until age 12). Our very able local news site Berkeleyside has a write-up about her local roots. It’s not entirely a biographical puff piece, as it touches on the troubling side of her career that many here and elsewhere consider disqualifying:

    While Harris identifies as a “progressive prosecutor,” some Bay Area critics consider the phrase a contradiction in terms, arguing that the senator is herself responsible for the police brutality and mass incarceration she pledges in her book to tackle.

    In a recent New York Times op-ed, University of San Francisco law school professor Laura Bazelon argued that Harris has a troubling history of fighting to uphold wrongful convictions and resisting criminal justice reform.

    “Kamala Harris made her career by locking up Black people in the Bay Area,” said Blake Simons, assistant director of UC Berkeley’s Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center and co-creator of the Hella Black Podcast, in a Twitter thread. “Her track record consists of terrorizing Black communities through the prison industrial complex.”

    FWIW I’m not a fan of her candidacy.  Doing pretty well as a junior senator so far, but everything she does is clearly with an eye on optics and exposure for her presidential run.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ve caught some flak elseweb for saying that I think she shouldn’t run this soon – she’s in her first term as senator, and I’d prefer that she finish it before trying for president. People bring up 44, and I point out that his inexperience in federal politics showed; he did a little better in the second term, but he really wasn’t ready for that seat.

  37. Alan says:

    surrender, or BS? And didn’t the Senate pass a bill nearly unanimously before the shutdown started?

    “President Donald Trump said on Thursday if Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer come to an agreement to end the partial government shutdown, he would support it.”

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ll take “BS” for $400, Alex. The guy changes his mind faster than he changes clothes, and does it every time he hears something from Fox.

  38. punaise says:

    @P J Evans says:
    January 24, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Yeah, I’d have to change clothes too, if I ever heard from Fox.

    • Rayne says:

      Somebody had to order those custom made for him. Trying to decide if it’s less creepy his plastic trophy wife did it or if he did it.

      Bespoke velvet loafers with custom monogram run at least $300, which is about the only saving grace – they’d be cheaper than the average bankster’s high-end leather loafer.

        • Rayne says:

          Just Google “bespoke velvet loafers monogram” and you will learn far more about the market for those luxury items than you really want to know.

          I think Elvis would have drawn the line at this. It’s more like a Liberace thing, the kind of chichi excess someone who owns a gold-plated bathroom would appreciate.

  39. Savage Librarian says:

    Rayne & P J Evans,

    Thanks for the insight. Hypothetically, if someone could go back in time and show street creds for:
    1. being a student protester at Kent State (May 4, 1970) where National Guard killed innocent people who opposed Nixon’s plan to invade Cambodia
    2. or could show evidence of being a whistleblower who exposed government negligence
    3. or who took a local government to fed court for violating someone’s Constitutional protections,

    Hypothetically, would these things earn entry into the trust vault.

    Or, would it be better, hypothetically, to spend the rest of this person’s time trying to sprout wings?

    It’s starting to look like free will and democracy might belong in the same circular file. Before some people kick the can they might like to invest in the delusion that there are avenues that make a difference.

    Hypothetically, of course.

    One thing seems true and real to me. That is that sometimes metaphors make all the difference. For children who don’t understand politics, the image can be what is real.

    A schoolteacher enlightened me to that. She wasn’t an Obama fan. But she said it hit her like a hammer when she realized the vast impact a POTUS had on her kindergarten children. The difference in the behavior patterns of the children under the two different administrations are alarming she says.

    So, in the end, maybe that’s what is most important to me. Something the 5 year olds trust. After all they were the ones who succeeded in the “build a spaghetti tower with a marshmallow on the top.”

    The MBA’s lost big time. That’s because the 5 year olds knew nothing about deferring to status. The MBAs and CEOs were all a bunch of sycophants.

    Go figure.
    I know I am just one more stupid newbie to you. But maybe there are others who have similar intentions to try to help but can’t quite figure out the secret code words.

    • Rayne says:

      There are no secret code words to gain access to the clubhouse. There’s no club. There are people here who share similar values — though not all of us share the same ones and ‘membership’ is fluid.

      Trust is earned. It’s not granted with a magic wand. In this particular digital neighborhood, we set greater store by evidence and reasoned argument than pretty hyperbole.

      I’ll tell you what I’ve told my kids from the time they were the kindergarteners by which you measure: How badly do you want this? Work for it.

      • Jockobadger says:

        We’re all here for one reason I think – there’s this enormous threat that we all feel and writing about it in a place that isn’t an echo chamber is helpful.

        EW is that place. I learn so much from reading the posts and comments and I’m so happy I found an island of sanity.

  40. Taxidermist says:

    Re the Michael Bennett speech. I highly recommend watching the whole thing, it’s around 22 minutes and worth every minute!  (It’s on YouTube so I won’t link)

    I called my senators via the Indivisible number (it felt good) then got a text offer to enter my zip code for an optional  “approximately 3 texts per month” about needed action in my area. I loathe calling lists but these seem like desperate times. The number is 844-236-2373.

    Thanks again to the EW community, you make the world a better and more educated place.

  41. Taxidermist says:

    Savage, just stop! Trolls get smacked down regularly here, which is why it remains a quality site. If you aren’t a troll, relax and read on. Next time you want to post keep in mind that the state of our union has us all at a 10 a lot of the time, so take a breath (or go for a walk or have some quality you time) and post when you’re down to a 5. For now you should just stop.

  42. Rusharuse says:

    Wilbur Ross i’m da boss
    got nice slippers fully emboss
    lose ya home jus don’t moan
    get old Wilbur on the phone
    happy to help nine percent
    or jus sell up and go pay rent
    I love you all
    Eat cake suckers
    I made 700 million
    from you no count fuckers

  43. Alan says:

    @ Savage Librarian

    As just a side observer, I think you are right on both counts– your comments were misconstrued, and the moderation here can be excessively harsh and might drive off potential allies. So I understand your disappointment and where your push back is coming from. I think you are a valuable contributor, and maybe your feedback will do some good in the long run–until then, this is it just the internet (not real life), and sometimes we just have to count our blessings, look on the bright side, see what’s in the glass instead of what’s not, try to be our best self and live our best life, and put on a cheerful smile and set the best example of the kind of people we want to be. As a Patriots fan, all I can say is, On to Cincinnati!

    • Rayne says:

      I hope you realize we do have provocateurs regularly given the content this site publishes. At least I’d like to think most of the commenters here are aware the same kinds of information warfare specialists we write about would also like to shape what happens here.

      Allies prove themselves over time with effort.

  44. Eureka says:

    This is the clip where Trump tells us he was babysat by the teevee as an enfant – as today- and well m.aga is shorthand for grasping at Mama’s teat. That’s the real “compromise” line-in, such easy pickings for Bannon.
    He is asked about Ross’ remarks; see also some of the comments:
    “This 47 second clip explains how the president bankrupted 3 casinos…”

    “Does he think everyone lives in Mayberry?… ”
    “Walton’s Mountain store – Ike Godsey will help you out… “

    • Eureka says:

      Adding this because the comments cite additional shows/characters/plot fixtures.  Guess we’re gonna have to retrope our way out of this one:

      Rebecca Ballhaus: “Trump, asked about Ross’s suggestion that federal workers take out loans to pay their bills, says Ross “should have said it differently”—but suggests grocery stores and banks will “work along” w/furloughed workers. “They know the people, they’ve been dealing with them for years.””

      “Harriet Olsen was the Donald Trump of Walnut Grove”

    • Rayne says:

      My grandfather owned a gas station in the 1940s-1960s in an area where local lumber industry eventually collapsed; he sold out in the late 1960s. He was still owed a total of $5000 by various members of the tiny community when he died in 1983. He didn’t have it in him to let somebody go without kerosene for heat or gas to get to work, and he never chased people for debts. I hate to think how much that would have been today if he could have been paid and in turn invested that amount. On his death he was worth about $15K between his tatty house, cash in the bank, and his 1976 Ford Maverick with a shitty 3-speed transmission.

      Guys like my gramps didn’t have gold-plated bathrooms but their neighbors didn’t freeze in winter. They’ve gone the way of the dinosaurs.

      Some day I am going to have to write about this because gramps once worked for people who were household names, people whose families still have massive amounts of money — like the Ford family. My mom’s head is still fucked up from working for them as a teenager.

  45. Flachbau says:

    you cannot unwind excessive wealth … taxing it makes little sense as that does not fix the inequity … the only solution is to make it non transferable meaning a 100% death tax WITH NO LOOPHOLES … I am saying this as someone who is a libertarian so I don’t agree with this in principle. You may not like Bill Gates but he agrees and is doing this voluntarily.

    • Alan says:

      The problem with many of these ideas (including this one) is that the USA has to compete with the rest of the world for talent and capital.  If you tell all USA citizens they will be taxed at 70% or 100% or whatever, then a sizable number of highly skilled and motivated people will leave the USA and take their talents elsewhere, and the USA will end up worse off for it.

      I’m personally in favor of 0% corporate income tax, a low (10-20%) flat individual income tax, a sizeable VAT tax (like 35-45%), a sizable estate and wealth expatriation tax (progressive rate up to 60 to 70%), and a tax credit for domestic jobs that pay a living wage (with the tax credit rate set to achieve close to full employment).  I think a system like that could be made much more fair than our current system while attracting talent and capital instead of driving them away.

      • P J Evans says:

        “Flat tax” sounds easy – but the people who are hurt most are the ones with less income; see “sales taxes” for an example close to home. The 70% thing is a tax bracket – it would only hit people with at least that much income, and only apply to the income over that amount.

      • Rayne says:

        Bullshit. Somebody making over $10M a year wants to leave the U.S. to avoid taxes? See ya. They aren’t paying taxes *right now* under the current tax system because they can afford accountants to hide income and assets. We won’t miss them because we don’t see them affecting our country except to use its resources without paying back.

        Really, name some talented, skilled individuals earning over $10M a year whose exit from the U.S. would both earn them comparable or greater income elsewhere and who is a critical asset the country can’t afford to lose. Be sure to check their income for deferrals. There might be a dozen at best. Certainly not a couple thousand.

        I think you are grossly overestimating the talents and skills the 1% bring to the table which aren’t related to siphoning money off everybody else or playing sports like LeBron James.

    • P J Evans says:

      Funny – estate taxes used to work really well, along with high taxes on the highest brackets. We shouldn’t have that kind of huge inherited wealth, anyway – it makes things worse.

      • Alan says:

        They used to, back when the USA economy was a virtual island unto itself and not integrated into the international economy.  Going back to those days would not make us better off.

        • P J Evans says:

          You mean back in the 70s, when we were buying stuff from Japan, not China? Srsly, most of these changes were after 1970, when the GOP first got control after years of sane fiscal policies.

          There are a couple of nice charts here, showing when things changed.

    • JD12 says:

      Our tax code could use an adjustment, but the biggest cause of inequality over the past 30 years has been the FIRE sector carving out a bigger and bigger piece of the economy for themselves. Donald Trump is an example—he couldn’t have done his first deal without a $160m tax abatement from NYC. And they needed the money more than he did!

      There are a lot of things the 1%ers are doing that extract economic value rather than creating it. A lot of the tactics used in private equity are terrible for the economy, not to mention criminal, but the people doing it probably pay lower effective rates than the average person.

  46. OldTulsaDude says:

    Is it possible that the SCO responded to BF simply because the article inferred a leak from the SCO to other law enforcement?  That would help explain the somewhat vague disclaimer.

  47. MattyG says:

    DT should deliver his SOTU speech from the Russian Counsulate – he does his best work in front of Kremlin translators.

  48. Agu Tonpa says:

    I hear senators work four hours a week for 34 weeks a year. Work around two days a week and get three days off. The gym and cafeteria are said to be great and the office is comfy for sleeping. I think I got this from a Ryan interview. Plus of course free healthcare and golden parachutes

    How about someone do a comparison with a federal employee making a fraction of their privileges that cut them off the realities of regular Americans?

    • Rayne says:

      Documenting and sharing the average Congressperson’s day is a nice idea although I think the experience will vary widely from rep to rep/senator to senator depending on the resources they have before they are elected to office. Of course the ones who have fewer resources are vulnerable to compromise — this is a serious problem. I wonder why we haven’t considered establishing a dormitory to provide very basic accommodations for our members of Congress so that they aren’t vulnerable. (I also think the 4-hour work day is quite inaccurate; they also have to work the weeks they aren’t in session back at home with constituents.)

      I do think we need to deal with health care — the real issue isn’t that members of Congress get lifetime benefits but that the rest of us should and don’t. I’d rather focus on getting that for us.

      It’s also clear that we need to tell many elected officials and appointees what life is like for a majority of Americans — this is a more important story to tell than for us to learn about them.

      And some of them will never learn. Wilbur Ross, for example, is in his 80s; I doubt he’ll ever catch a clue. He needs to retire and be replaced by somebody who gives a damn — and definitely not somebody who’ll take our military planes to fly their trophy wife to watch a solar eclipse.

  49. Pat Neomi says:

    I didn’t get a chance to get in on the last OT thread, but there were some people expressing gratitude to the team here at emptywheel, and I wanted to take a chance to express my gratitude as well.

    I am grateful to everyone who contributes from the administrative level, Rayne, bmaz, etc., and of course Ms. emptywheel herself. The team driving this blog has done an exceptional job of creating an intelligent and thoughtful space to converse and rise above the din of the otherwise largely banal media landscape. I appreciate all the work and thought that goes into this, and I know so many others do, too.

    Also, thank you to all of the intelligent commenters for their contributions.

    Keep up the good work, everyone!

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks very much. It’s a team effort and the readers and commenters here are a key part of the team process — they keep us on our toes.

  50. punaise says:

    Our quaint old school neighborhood grocery still does charge accounts, but Safeway snd Whole Foods sure as hell don’t.

    • Trip says:

      A bodega run by a guy you know might spot you. But then how much can he absorb? He has to pay rent, keep the lights on, the heat and cooling going, pay suppliers to stock the shelves, support cashiers, and so on, which then cuts into how he takes care of his family. Spreading the pain.

      The supermarkets let you pick up food without cash, but it’s called a credit card (with interest and late payment fees).

      Do you think Trump has an ‘account’ at McDonalds?

  51. P J Evans says:

    @Rayne January 25, 2019 at 12:33 am

    I’ve thought about that. Something like the Watergate buildings, with 1 to 3-bedroom apts, as needed (because some will have kids). They get assigned to the size they need; for occasions when they need more space, there are rooms in the building that can be used. No choice of neighbors, so they get exposed to people who aren’t just like them in color or religion or political views. (The shock as the people from the middle states discover that people from the coasts aren’t as different as they’ve been told by the conservative media outlets they’re used to – that should be fun to watch.)

    • Rayne says:

      You know, I don’t think we should pay for the families. They are supposed to have homes back in their districts/states. I think if we paid for dorms for the members they should be able to send income back home to support families AND have a reason to go there and engage regularly with their communities. If we encourage families to be in DC the members lose touch with constituents and their perspective gets jacked up.

      I also think we need to ensure congresspersons aren’t engaged in insider trading. I think that’s still happening, they just haven’t been caught at it like Chris Collins was (so flagrant, suggests there’s more going on out of sight of the public).

  52. Alan says:

    @ Rayne

    It’s not the woman making $100M here in the USA today that you need to worry about. It’s the ones that are going to be making $100M next generation and the generation after that, along with the talented and highly-motivated immigrants who could bypass the USA all together. Those are the people we want to attract and retain, along with all the capital that they are able to attract and retain.

    • Rayne says:

      I raised that generation. They’re AOC’s age and they’re worried they can’t have kids because the planet is going to burn down. There’s a reason why a bright light like AOC has taken a job like the one she has now, being dogged every day by right-wing trolls, instead of working for Wall Street or Silicon Valley — because she, like my kids, is worried there will be nothing left in a dozen years.

      There is no one or two generations out. You are looking at the end of the line unless we do something dramatically different in a hurry. There will be no immigrants coming here — they’ve already been clearing out of our universities. We don’t let them in to work in the humanities, not even to collect their Oscars.

      I’m not kidding, Alan. Both my kids are worried they can’t do enough change fast enough and I didn’t teach them that. They learned it on their own in college.

      • Alan says:

        We do face serious problems as a country and a species.  Around the world, there are people living on dirt floors, drinking foul water with little to eat and no health care.  There are millions of people living in war zones being killed and maimed.  There are thousands of being abused and trafficked into slavery. I get how “income taxes” and “income inequality” play into the fears faced by some American voters.  These are not however the real threats we face or what is going to bring an end to civilization as we know it.

  53. J. H. Frank says:

    @Savage Librarian

    I’m still super new here, so maybe I’m misreading this, but you posted this:
    “How about Zuck redeeming himself by renting Elon’s Boring Machine and digging some giant tunnels before Eminent Domain steals private property on the border. Bezos could contribute too. Maybe even Gates, the Google gang too.

    The Washington Monument could be relocated there as well. I think it might be having an adverse impact on the mental stability of the narcissists in DC.”

    I have no idea what that means. All of the words and phrases make sense, but in that combination, uh, I don’t get it.

    Ultrarich technocrats should build tunnels and put the Washington Monument in them?

    And then bmaz responded with:

    Which is a pretty solid response. It mirrors my own. My initial impression was that it was word salad and you are unwell, and I’m being quite literal with that phrasing.

    Don’t let it get you down. This is a pretty great comment section.

  54. harpie says:

    Also…Jared Kushner security clearance:

    5:31 PM – 24 Jan 2019 This is why @RepCummings would be far better served spending time on his laser-focused security clearance investigation (and Emoluments) than a big hearing with Michael Cohen.

    Links to: 5:19 PM – 24 Jan 2019 NEW: Exclusive: Two security specialists rejected Jared Kushner’s top secret security clearance over concerns of potential foreign influence, but were overruled by a supervisor, two sources familiar with the matter told @NBCNews. / Kushner’s was one of at least 30 cases in which Kline overruled career security experts and approved a top secret clearance for incoming Trump officials despite unfavorable information, the two sources said. / Kushner’s FBI background check identified questions about his family’s business, his foreign contacts, his foreign travel and meetings he had during the campaign, the sources said.

    House Oversight:

    🚨NEWS ALERT: Chairman @RepCummings Issues Statement on News about Jared Kushner’s Security Clearance! Full Statement:  

  55. Michael says:

    PBS has aired three episodes of a series called The Dictator’s Playbook. I missed episode #1. Last week featured Saddam Hussein. Last night featured Benito Mussolini. Each was “Like a lady’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject but short enough to maintain interest” (as a composition prof. put it in 1965).

    Creating a common enemy; declaring “Only I…”; controlling, co-opting or eliminating the press; eliminating domestic opposition; making war to solidify a fractured society. Was chilling, for this PoliSci.know-nothing to compare/contrast with 2017-present.

  56. Alan says:

    The collapse of Republican support for the shutdown will be coming any day now…

    BREAKING: FAA says it is halting flights into New York’s LaGuardia airport due to air traffic control staffing issues.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for that. I’m tweaking the HTML to display the image now.

      Edit — Please call only your own senators. Your calls will not be recorded if you call other senators apart from your own and you’ll block incoming calls from constituents.

Comments are closed.