GOP Senate Walked Out of DC for a Reason: Voter Foreclosure, 2020 Edition [UPDATE-1]

[NB: Check the byline, thanks!  Updates at bottom of post. /~Rayne]

Come on, media. You’re still screwing up coverage of BOTH the pandemic economy and the general election.

The bothsides-ism the media clings to so desperately as a norm does not work when one party consistently makes bad choices, or no choices with the same effect as bad choices. There is no bothsides when one side acts in bad faith.

Think about it: making no choice is a choice. Taking no action is a choice. The outcome from no-choice/no-action can be very bad; making no decision to rescue a drowning person yields the victim’s death.

In the case of the stimulus and aid bill, it’s NOT the Democrats in Congress who are the impediment. Stop portraying that way.

Start digging into the why behind the White House and the GOP senators resistance to the economic aid in the bill — money which would be plowed back into the economy and ultimately into their donors’ pockets as profits.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a bead on one reason: a portion of the investor class wants real estate values to crash so they can sweep in and buy distressed properties.

… The Wall Street Journal recently reported that investors are “preparing for what they believe could be a once-in-a generation opportunity to buy distressed real-estate assets at bargain prices.” This profiteering is far from “once-in-a-generation” though: It’s straight out of private equity’s playbook during the 2008 financial crisis. We all know what happened then: Homeowners targeted by predatory mortgages lost their homes to foreclosure, and private equity swept in to buy those homes at depressed prices. Communities of color were hit fastest and hardest. Just a handful of years after Black homeownership hit its highest point, the devastating waves of foreclosures wiped out nearly all of the growth in Black homeownership since the Fair Housing Act repealed Jim Crow redlining in 1968. …

“Once-in-a generation opportunity”? Meaning an even more dramatic plummet of property values compared to the 2008 crash a dozen years ago?

We can see the crash coming with an impending 30-40 million Americans on the verge of eviction but neither the White House nor the GOP senate feel a sense of urgency. This is NOT bothsides but one, and one which is and has been comfortable with vulture capitalism.

One side led by a man who claimed to be a billionaire based in no small part on his real estate development business.

This no-choice/no-action is intended to both evict roughly 12% of Americans from their homes, forcing their relocation or homelessness, while a small segment of the investor class reaps benefits.

The rest of the investor class which relies on stability in order for consumption to remain constant or increase won’t benefit. Their values will drop off as they did in 2008 during the crash.

Why are the White House and the GOP senate proceeding as if it doesn’t matter if they come to an agreement on the aid and economic stimulus package?

We’ve seen this before, though; the difference was that the crash hadn’t yet been fully set in motion as it is this time with the pandemic.

~ ~ ~

In 2008 with an evenly split Senate, the 110th Congress faffed around from June to early September, happy with irrationally high oil price which were hurting consumers badly while paying inadequate attention to investment banking and credit markets. Congress threw crappy legislation at the problem of subprime mortgages while the financial sector floundered.

When consumers had to choose between paying for gasoline to get to work or paying their crappy adjustable rate mortgage, they paid for the former rather than the latter hoping to catch up on the latter at a later date. But for many consumers there wasn’t a later date — they were foreclosed upon and evicted.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 passed in late July 2008 did far too little, far too late, and for the wrong end of the economic food chain.

Congress should have learned from this experience. Some of the GOP senators were in office when the 2008 crash happened. They know better.

In September 2008 as the crash loomed days away, a GOP county party chairman in Michigan admitted to a reporter that the GOP was going to use a list of foreclosed homes and addresses to “make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses.

The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee sued the GOP; the Republican National Committee, Michigan Republican Party, and Macomb County Republican Party settled, acknowledging the existence of an illegal scheme by the Republicans to use mortgage foreclosure lists to deny foreclosure victims their right to vote.

At the time the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division told Congress it would monitor for the use of foreclosure records to contest voters’ ballots though it wouldn’t dispatch DOJ personnel to the polls.

But everything is different under the Trump administration. The GOP may try to use foreclosure records this election because they may be able to get away with it after setting a foreclosure crisis in motion.

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is helmed by a Trump appointee; can we be certain they will see the use of foreclosure records the way the Civil Rights Division did in 2008?

A Trump appointee may be the U.S. attorney for each state most at risk — they may be more loyal to Trump and the GOP than to the law.

A Trump appointee may be the judge overseeing any case brought to them about voter foreclosure.

And the GOP is desperate, more so than it was in 2008 because both the White House and the Senate are now at risk if a blue wave sweeps them as a rejection of Trump and his policies.

They’re planning ahead for something, because the GOP has amassed a $20 million legal fund for the election. For what do they need such a big legal fee kitty?

It’s right there in their selection of no-choice/no-action toward economic aid and stimulus.

The entire GOP, from Trump on through the GOP congressional caucus, want to foreclose on Americans’ homes and then their votes.

~ ~ ~

If the media was to stop bothsides-ing their reporting, was to stop treating the GOP’s bad faith as if it were legitimate, the GOP might reverse its position.

Might — don’t hold your breath, though.

For some Americans it’s already too late. They are already behind on rent or mortgage payments, and/or their household isn’t getting enough to eat. Innocent children are suffering for this. Their parents feel compelled to send them to schools which can’t handle COVID-19 conditions because it may mean a meal for their kids they might not get at home.

But the GOP continues to walk away from doing what it takes to ensure American families get the care they need, let alone that the public is able to safely ride out the time between now and an effective vaccine while socially distanced and masked.

The GOP senate caucus has chosen since May to load up their bill with funding for military equipment the public can’t eat or use to pay their mortgage, and let protections against evictions expire without replacement.

The reason is evident in the results, and the media needs to do a better job of holding the one party accountable for them.

Why isn’t there protection against evictions?

Because the GOP — from White House to the Senate — wants evictions and foreclosures.

Why isn’t there financial aid for Americans who have lost their jobs, are behind on their rent, need food?

Because the GOP wants these particular Americans to suffer enough that they are disenfranchised.

Why doesn’t the GOP save the person from drowning?

In the absence of acting to reach for their hand and pull them from the water, we can only assume it’s because the GOP wants the flailing victim dead.

The media needs to stop bothsides journalism and get the GOP on the record. Ask them why they are clinging to funding military spending instead of financial and food aid, why the GOP isn’t preventing evictions and foreclosures with a moratorium.

Ask the GOP whether they are going to attempt to foreclose on voters to save Trump’s ass this November.


UPDATE-1 — 08-AUG-2020 12:25 P.M. EDT —

Three lies in three minutes. The lie about COVID-19 was bad enough on a day when over 1200 Americans died of the disease. The other two lies though…the GOP senate hadn’t budged yesterday. These two issues, both unemployment benefits and an eviction moratorium, can’t be resolved with an executive order which he doesn’t even claim he’ll try to use.


Call it what it is: gaslighting the American public.

I don’t know why his Bedminster course members are willing to pay hundreds of thousands for memberships so they can be gaslighted in person, but rich people do all kinds of stupid shit.


This is an open thread.

128 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the reason federal personnel — little green men like those in Portland OR — were dispatched to certain cities was to help shake down the evicted. If they’re monitoring protesters and surveilling journalists, who else is being watched?

  2. Geoff says:

    You can thank Mnuchin for a lot of this. He benefited handsomely from the prior crash. This time around it’s an even more cynical ploy they are setting in motion. Because of the nature of those who have lost their jobs (retail, hospitality sectors, and disproportionately non-white) they have two fronts to attack. The eviction moratorium isn’t even national (doesnt cover all types of properties), and that process is already well under way. And the deferrals are just that, kick the can, and one day the bill will come due. When it’s not paid, the landlord for these renters will default. Then the banks get their bailout, which was just a matter of time. And the vultures swoop in to take the rental properties from the mom and pop landlords that dont have the capital to withstand a bout of high vacancy and long downturn in rental values for those still occupied. And in they will swoop to buy these up, and securitize the eventual lower rents that still work with the firesale prices they paid.

    Meanwhile, a bit further up the income ladder, or for the unfortunate homeowners that lost one of two incomes, the foreclosure crisis comes next. Those mortgage deferrals they might say will be tacked on to the end of the loan, but you better have that in writing. And how long will it be before you are both employed? Yeah, thanks, we’ll be taking that house from you. And these will be lower end of the price range houses, and they will disappear from the housing stock, turned into rentals, helping drive down inventory and ratchet up the prices for the houses still around, which in turn, marches all the way up the property ladder, giving a tail wind to higher end homeowner property values.

    It’s truly despicable, but it’s so obvious, and yet, there is NO talk about this. Just dysfunctional congress this, no leadership that, blah blah. As Rayne said, where we are now was an obvious inevitability just a a few months back, which is why the Democrats passed a huge bill then. I mean, why did they do that? For the fun of it??? I am so sick of this crap. The media has got to up their game. Ive been waiting all week for a deal, waiting for when the Dems sucked it up and scaled back to the midpoint or lower of around 2 trillion, thinking, sure, team R has gotta take that…and no, they didn’t. People are going to die in August as they dick around on this. You cannot see it as anything but intentional.

    If two months ago foresight by the Dems was obvious, another freight train full of obvious is heading down the tracks…school reopenings is going to be a short shitshow failure, and lead to the third bump up in viral transmission. So people will not only be starving in August and living on the streets, or crammed unsafely in with fearful relatives, they will be getting exposed by asymptomatic kids. Huge fail. So we are going to have an economy that is whacked from both sides…less fiscal support, and more consumer avoidance, which means more bankruptcies and more jobs and lives lost.

    The only positive, and this is a grim reality, is that perhaps these people wont die in vain. Because the groundswell of hatred this produces for the Republicans, every single f-ing one of them, will make it that much more likely that they are all run out of town come November 3.

    • Rayne says:

      You know what really busted my chops about 2007-2008? All the journalistic postmortems in 2010-later wondering how they missed signs of the impending crash.

      It’s happening again, right now, in front of our eyes.

      • BobCon says:

        This is exactly it.

        The models of news gathering and reporting haven’t changed meaningfully since the 1980s. Or, arguably, the 1960s.

        They missed the spiralling disaster in Vietnam, the fall of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the dot com bubble, 9/11, the 2008 collapse, the rise of Trump, and more.

        But they stick to the same old idiotic top-down, pundit heavy, both sides risk averse atomistic reporting because they just can’t imagine doing the kind of analytical deep dives that MW and a few others do.

        It’s weird cultish behavior at this point. I don’t think there is a good alternative explanation at this point, not even economic explanations work.

        • Rayne says:

          If things get much worse, an AI program might be able to predict and write the news. Like Philip K. Dick’s concept of pre-crime, there will be pre-news.

          They’re going to miss themselves out of careers.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            McClatchy, based in Sacramento, actually did some fabulous reporting on the foreclosures, and its consequences, in 2008.

            And now, they are being purchased by a hedge fund, for $312,000,000

            (McClatchy bought the old Knight-Ridder chain, and possibly paid too much, at the height of the market just prior to the crash of 2008.). Forbes had a tragic, and good, summary:

            Analog papers that provided family wage jobs in livable cities were completely undercut the past 20 years: buy outs, Craig’s List (which absolutely killed one of my local papers), and the rise of digital have completely altered fundamental business models.

            People were putting up ads on Craigslist and Facebook while at paper, after paper, the publishers could barely pay the rent. Until they couldn’t.

            So today, we have a huge focus on national news, and seriously underreported local news.

            But I agree that ‘bothsides’ b.s. is a problem, no matter the format, no matter the revenue stream, and no matter the business model.

            • Dave says:

              The papers’ predatory classified ad rates for autos and real estate created an opening for a to displace them. Hopefully the Republican’s predatory policies will lead to their mass displacement. The media is unable to handle an argument with such bad faith on one side. Sure, it would be great to have a better media, but a more honest center right party would be more useful in the long run.

              [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Dave” or “David.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • tony prost says:

        oh, man, for a couple years before it happened, I was asking all ,my professional financial friends: who is paying the salaries to pay all these mortgages…..and no one could tell me.

        • Rayne says:

          Home owners were only paying the interest on subprime, figuring the price of the house would never crash and that they’d refinance if the rate went up — if they understood that much.

          The one thing I haven’t understood: why foreclosed persons didn’t sue for fraud because they justifiably relied on expertise of the financial institution to guide them through complex documents. But then that would have required yet more reliance on expertise and money the foreclosed didn’t have. So totally vampiric.

          • iamsmall says:

            The homeowners of B of A did.
            The first RICO suit against B of A was settled, the second, of which I was one of the plantiffs was dismissed 5 years later. B of A kept the HAMP money intended for homeowners, they kept the insurance money that is routinely taken out for all mortgages, they kept the mortgage payments that the homeowners had paid in, and then sold the foreclosed properties at a discount. All in all they got paid four times for the same house. One of the attorneys said B of A was processing 30,000 foreclosures per day. The RICO was tiny in comparison.

            • silcominc says:

              I remember walking past the B of A offices in midtown Manhattan in 2010 and 11 and the security around the building was unreal. It was an armed fortress. They were so scared of retaliation by the thousands of people they screwed.

          • greengiant says:

            One person B of A foreclosed on told me that in the fine print her ARM could never go below the initial rate. Which was a change from typical previous ARMs. The derivative demand for subprime was such that brokers were getting a 3 percent commission on subprime and 0.5 percent on prime. Even when the mortgage brokers were not falsifying documents they were channeling prime borrowers into higher interest sub prime loans.

          • P J Evans says:

            The messages they were getting from lenders and others was that real estate – their homes – was an investment that would only increase in value.

  3. P J Evans says:

    And the people who are on fixed incomes and getting by, maybe by only a little, are now getting hit by higher prices for food. (I bought salad on Monday: 3 for $9 or $10; yesterday, exact same salads, $4 each. And I try to get them when they’re marked down to clear them out, but there are fewer and fewer of those.)

    • Hannah says:

      You mean you bought a take away salad surely?
      Not some ie iceberg salad or such in the supermarktet? Because that would not cost $3 or even more.

    • Rayne says:

      Hey, PJ, is your email address accurate? Don’t share it here in public, just let me know if yours works. Might have some information about greens for you.

      • P J Evans says:

        Yes, it is.

        I buy salads because I’m on a permanent low-carb diet, and they’re both filling and relatively low-calorie. Some I like better than others, but there’s not much that can be spoiled with a little added ranch dressing. Also, this time of year, it’s too hot to cook about half the time.

        • Eureka says:

          The only greens I’ve got right now are frozen brussels sprouts, so roasting bacon and brussels sprouts it is.

          Too hot to cook indeed. At least the dog is excited (why did I preheat the oven *wipes forehead*).

          • P J Evans says:

            I’ll nuke them and eat them as finger food. (Broccoli and cauliflower are okay this way also. Salt/pepper optional.)

            • Eureka says:

              YES, finger food — that is how I shovel(ed) such deliciousness: BUT I am generally more a raw or roasted fan with veggies (I did get them unfrozen with the steam-in-bag). No regrets about the sweaty oven _after_ they were done, tastes like a whole different food. Bonus: random crispy fallen leaves.

              • P J Evans says:

                I’ve saved some of the teeny bits that fall off and frozen them for use in omelets. (Sometimes I can get fresh broccoli/cauliflower at a discount in the supermarket – even better.)

                • Eureka says:

                  It’s funny you mention having them in omelets because I was going to joke (but not really a joke) that I needed the bacon for fat to absorb the carotenoids from the greens: any fat will do for that, but Big Egg has done some PR studies saying to have, e.g., X eggs on your salad for same (meanwhile the ranch dressing is doing the same job).

                  The store’s still a big crapshoot these days, as far as what’s available for produce — much less any deals. (I was reviewing my strange pandemic food and noted the can of cherries from the pie filling section — was the best fruit option at that time, all fresh and frozen cleared out. However I did learn that canned potatoes make excellent, easy, potato salad.)

                  • P J Evans says:

                    I have somewhat more options, because of being in L.A., but fresh produce is still pretty high-priced. Frozen works, though, and I’m almost out. (Something else for a grocery run.) I miss some of the stuff they used to have, like peas with baby onions.

                    • Eureka says:

                      LOL speaking of missing old standbys, I am trying to not get attached to new neat things that _do_ show up (like some “NY/NJ Berries” in the freezer section– great, but bag almost empty, and I will be sad if I never see them again. But ‘dems the times…)

    • Tom says:

      I always assumed those ready made salad green fixings in plastic bags were a recent innovation, but when I read “From Here to Eternity” this past winter I was surprised to see that James Jones describes one of his female characters buying individual salads in cellophane bags in Honolulu in 1941.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Presumably, the R’s think this allows Trump to swoop in like a savior.
      Talk about farce…

      The Dems simply cannot cave this time.

      I read a piece by Dana Milbank (yes, that guy) at WaPo this week, about Meadows: I had not realized that his background is in managing a sandwich shop (!) and ‘real estate development’, which leads me to suspect ‘strip malls’. If his background involves strip malls, that kind of construction requires almost no engineering and would obsess on rents and leases. Between Mnuchin and Meadows, it appears that we have two of the worst qualified people in the US, so I did not expect them to be capable of compromise or negotiation.

      Mitch continues to blame the Dems, but IMVHO too many people are home, paying a LOT of attention, and ‘that Blame Dog don’t hunt’ much longer. Apparently. 1/3 of the adult population of Kentucky is on unemployment, and if that is cut to $200 I expect to see cities in flames…

      The next question would be, assuming Rayne is (as usual) correct in her hunch that the GOP **wants** foreclosures, then who is repeating the profits from those hedge funds?! Because IIRC, anyone can do business via a hedge fund and a tax haven. So how many oligarchs and offshore interests are pushing for foreclosures, and using the GOP as their Trojan horse…?

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        ‘repeating the profits’ should be ‘reaping’ the profits…
        Sorry… too late!

        • vicks says:

          Republicans in congress set up a win win for Trump.
          If Democrats throw up legal challenges, they will be blamed for standing in the way of giving the people the help they need.
          No one is going to read the text of the memorandums Trump signed, and few will be interested enough to have it Dem-splained to them.
          There is an election coming up, and his people need to be reminded that only he can fix this.
          Trump again has controlled the media cycle, and instead of doing what a president is supposed to do he kept everyone entertained and on the edge of thier seats in the hopes no one will turn away long enough realize the country is going to hell.

  4. ThomasH says:

    Not to mention the disruption to a voter’s ability to cast their vote if they’ve been evicted or foreclosed. Oh, like COVID-19 in the beginning, the effects from this maliciousness will Disproportionately affect team Blue strongholds.

  5. Nehoa says:

    Rayne, while I agree that preying on foreclosure victims is probably a motivating factor in what the GOP is doing, I think that the GOP Senators unwillingness to address the economic crisis in a responsible manor has two larger motivations. First, they don’t want to get blindsided by Trump, particularly with Meadows as COS now. Second, those GOP senators not in a tough re-election race this year don’t want to primaried from the right when they do run again, and don’t want to be accused by a primary opponent of being a “big spender.”
    Plus, they are also people who lack human decency.

    • P J Evans says:

      They sealed their fates when they refused to convict Trmp, and instead followed McConnell’s lead in ignoring all the evidence.

    • Rayne says:

      Oh, all that, but I don’t have to make that case here. I have to point out what ALL media have failed to think about, discuss, and ask the GOP.

      Are they going to “foreclose” on voters they’ve already fucked over by failing them with both a national COVID-19 strategy and with economic aid?

      The rest of the media should already have pressed about the points you made. We’ve already heard the GOP are chickenshit about Trump’s mean tweets. We’re already hearing deficit talk from their idiot gurus like Stephen Moore who has been trying to cover Trump’s self-dealing ass wrt payroll taxes.

      But the media is still bothsides-ing AND they’ve completely forgotten “voter foreclosure.”

      • P J Evans says:

        They still seem to think Kudlow is an economist and that Navarro is an expert in something.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          IMVHO, msnbc and cnbc are damaging their business model having those two retreads on at all. It’s tragic; I am simply not able to watch.

          But notice that Financial Times and Economist for the most part don’t sully their digital space with people who are simply covering Trump’s arse; presumably, their readers don’t have the time. Too much ink on Navarro or Kudlow would damage their brands. (It is what it is…)

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Kudlow is the guy at the end of the bar. He never leaves, but he always has enough to pay for his drinks. Navarro has talent, but he sold it to the devil, which is worse than never having had any at all. They are legion.

        • vicks says:

          Yes I watched those two earlier and all I could think of is that this is seriously the best that Trump’s party can do.
          Now I am watching that Hogan Gidly fella on Fox and wondering how we are going to survive until January without leadership that focus itself on serving the American public.

  6. BobCon says:

    I think another factor is that the GOP has 99% cut themselves off from reality. In 2008 Hank Paulson was the point guy for the Bush administration, and Bush had given up on the doctrinaire types like Chris Cox. Bernanke had some trust with the GOP too. There is nobody but Kudlow and Moore and Navarro types now, with Mnuchin being a mental midget.

    They simply cannot add 2 + 2, let alone think through the effects of a 1%, 5% or 10% increase in unemployment or what happens when the postal service can’t deliver the mail.

    Complex thought pretty much escapes them now. It’s all wishful thinking.

    • P J Evans says:

      They probably know how payroll taxes relate to Social Security and Medicare, but they can’t relate either to people who are retired and living on SS checks (and *vote*).
      I have no clue what universe Trmp lives in, but I’m sure that the GOP-T are at least approximately in this universe.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Vanity Fair has a nice article about Stephen Miller and how he, “molded the GOP to his anti-immigration agenda.” It’s an excerpt from Jean Guerrero’s new book, Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda.

    I don’t think it took much, though, for the party of the Southern Strategy to equate racism with immigration. There was a long history of doing that before Nixon. The Chinese Exclusion Act makes that case, as does the experience of Jewish and Catholic immigrants around the turn of the 19th-20th centuries. Attempts to exclude them from entry are fundamental to the history of IQ testing and the American eugenics movement.

    It’s also fanciful, for example, that Miller believes, “through the force of his own will, he can just change reality.” Miller might put it that way – to invent an aura of power – but I don’t think he believes he can change reality. He does think he knows “how to twist arms and wear people down, pressing buttons when they wouldn’t budge.” The difference is a matter of process and agency, not wishful thinking.

    The article also includes a snippet about Miller’s time working for Sen. Jeff Sessions, and the latter’s grilling of S.Ct. nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Sessions argued that Sotomayor violated American tradition by believing that her heritage and background would influence her decision-making. Session’s argument adheres to the myth that judges should merely interpret, not make law, and they should do it based on an objective reading and honoring of precedent.

    The FedSoc and Roberts’ radical court make a mockery of that myth. Of course every judge’s personal history affects her decision-making. Would Clarence Thomas have written Carlton Reeves’s opinion about qualified immunity, or Brett Kavanaugh? That’s how it should be and why we need women and men of more diverse backgrounds on the courts.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The story is about Stephen Miller’s rise as a presidential whisperer, in the manner of Bannon, Rove, and Goebbels. As with any hatemonger, Miller’s power comes from the boss he sucks up to. They use his hate to make their base follow without thinking, and to distract and harry their opponents. I must say, Stephen looks just as noisome and offal without the boots, uniform, and armbands as he does with them.

  8. Molly Pitcher says:

    Some times the universe delivers irony

    “Ship Called ‘Trump D’ Moored in Ukraine Brought Triple the Explosives of ‘Floating Bomb’ That Blew Up Beirut
    An American-owned cargo ship named after the president of the United States docked in a Ukrainian port has just offloaded 10,000 metric tons of the same chemical substance that nearly leveled the city of Beirut this week, according to the Liveuamap news source. The hangar in Lebanon only had 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, which caused catastrophic damage to the Lebanese capital. The ship docked in Ukraine, which was previously named Seabreeze before a Florida company registered as Pilin Fleet Management LLC purchased it in 2018, and renamed it Trump D, was registered by Marine Traffic tracking website in the Yuzhi port near Odessa on Friday.

    The Trump D was placed under investigation three months ago by Ukrainian prosecutors in Crimea after the previous owners were suspected of stealing sand from the Crimean coast. That investigation has since been closed without charges.”

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump mega-donor, Louis DeJoy, reassigns some two dozen top USPS executives, “further consolidating” his power. He does it the day after a contentious hearing in Congress, presumably to dominate the battlespace.

    Neoliberal bidnessmen like DeJoy think management is one big round of cuts to people and services – happy day when it involves a large government agency and an essential union – hiding them behind jargon, such as “clarity,” “focus,” and “core business functions,” and granting themselves big paydays. As a major GOP fundraiser, protecting his party’s minority vote would also be a high priority.

    • P J Evans says:

      And DeJoy is unqualified for the position and should never have been nominated for it in the first place.

    • tony prost says:

      this USPS shit is going to backfire on them so bad! People love the Post Office. Where else can you get a government service for 50 cents? (or whatever it is these day)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Apparently, that’s DeJoy firing and demoting – not just reassigning – nearly two dozen senior USPS executives. He is tossing out existing leadership, their grapevines, and their loyalty networks. He is tossing their priorities. He is ridding the USPS of decades of collective know-how. Apart from the major goal of corrupting the election, those are textbook examples of what one does to prepare a target for a contested takeover.

      Neoliberals hate the USPS. It’s personal. It works. It’s in every city, town, village, and rural district in America. It operates just above cost. It’s built around unions. It provides a leg up into what used to be middle America for hundreds of thousands of people, especially women and people of color. It controls their benefits, and a mountain of cash required to meet the absurd funding mandate Congress imposed in 2006.

      It provides an essential means of communication among people, and between them and their government. It threatens to provide other basic essential services, such as postal banking, which is common in Europe. It has access to an unrivaled databases. It’s sitting on valuable real estate all over America. And it’s an example of public government doing something well. Neoliberals want to privatize or destroy all that.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        DeJoy dismantling the USPS is also a mahvelous distraction from 160,000 and counting dead family, friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Good article at SFGate. One thing every good CEO learns how to do well – almost as well as their head of HR – is lie. In that, DeJoy seems exceptional: “[T]he notion that I would ever make decisions concerning the Postal Service at the direction of the President, or anyone else in the administration, is wholly off-base.”

          “Off-base” is suitably vague. Plus, someone who has given over $2.0 million to Trump and the GOP since 2016 might think he can give orders to them. DeJoy and his wife happen to control $30-75 million in assets of USPS competitors or suppliers. One would think that might be a conflict of interest, but in the Trump administration, it’s a requirement for high office.

          DeJoy also happens to be giving proprietary USPS contract data to the GOP, via Mnuchin, while claiming to impose undisclosed levels of confidentiality over it: “Upon accessing… [a $10 billion loan from Treasury], the Postal Service, subject to confidentiality restrictions, will hand over [disclose to Mnunchin’s Treasury] proprietary contracts for its 10 largest service agreements with private sector shippers.” I think that’s called oppo research.

          • P J Evans says:

            I think the GOP-T is hoping to show that they’re favoring Amazon ( meaning Bezos), but I doubt that would happen.
            Also, they need to learn about rates for presorted mail – that gets discounts for senders, but the same rates for all of them. They think that ballot should pay the same rate as mail that you or I send, when ballots can be presorted right down to the route.

          • dimmsdale says:

            American Prospect tweets: “The Postal Service has informed states that they’ll need to pay first-class 55-cent postage to mail ballots to voters, rather than the normal 20-cent bulk rate. That nearly triples the per-ballot cost.”

            If, somehow, DeJoy fails to utterly sabotage the Postal Service, I expect that one of the loudest voices crying “Voter Mail Fraud!!” will be…DeJoy’s. THAT’s really why he was installed.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              The USPS should return to full government ownership and provide its essential services at cost. It should not be a for-profit entity any more than the courts or the local fire department.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Presumably as part of the GOP’s longstanding desire to privatize the USPS, DeJoy tells his Board of Governors that he is committed to fixing the USPS’s “broken business model.” Jargon typical of the corporate raider.

              House Dems need to recall DeJoy and put on record the “business model” he is going to squeeze the USPS into at the beginning of a lame duck administration. I don’t think they will agree with it. For starters, the Postal Service is not a business, it’s a constitutionally-mandated public service.


              • P J Evans says:

                DeJoy needs to be fired and all his “changes” reversed. Plus the Board of Governors needs to be investigated to see why they chose someone with no knowledge to be Postmaster-General.
                (The postmasters on my family tree are screaming. There are at least three, and one started as a substitute carrier and worked his way up.)

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  That “they” hired him underlines the claptrap DeJoy is selling when he says he works for them, not the president. I would say they’re all in this together.

                  • P J Evans says:

                    I’d like to reclaim the USPS as all-government and not expected to be profitable all the time. The idea is that it allows everyone to have access to news and to government, even if they live off a dirt road in the back country of Alaska – or west Texas.

                    (One of my great-great-grandfathers was, for some years, postmaster in Radical, Kansas – it was an actual location, but the post office shut down before 1900.)

    • greengiant says:

      The overtime ban has caused letter carriers to call it a day after 8 hours even if they have not finished their route. At least that is only a business day delay. The parcel post problem has made Amazon prime a mockery and is the talk of social media for all parcel post users.

      • P J Evans says:

        I never expected that we’d have to take to the streets to get the government to do its f*cking job.

  10. Eureka says:

    Trump in 2007: ‘I’m Excited’ for Housing Market Crash

    Includes related quotes, in order of appearance, from 2007, 2004, 2005, and 2006.

    But do see the below great unpacking of the bullshit, horoscopic double-talk* Trump was then-promulgating about the nature of his business(es) and prowess(es) (with a timely loop-back to some Deutsche Bank, too). The “funny” thing is that Trump, in many respects, was on the losing end of 2008, his Ritchie Rich talk being all bluster. I say “funny” because it’s a good bet, sadly, that that’s why the vulnerable Trump and his handlers shifted focus to the Presidency — again, but for realz in 2016 — for the Greatest Grift of All.

    Why, I can even hear them saying, over and over and over, “What have you got to lose?”

    Donald Trump Says He ‘Called’ the ’08 Crash. Here’s What Really Happened

    *Of course he was selling both branded real estate purchases and real estate investing (e.g. via Trump U), so he had to cheerlead the “great economy” and decry any bubble so as to sell his wares, all while claiming how “great” bad markets were for him.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Donald is the son god of life insurance and aluminum siding salesmen. He foresees all and it’s all good for him. Reality and multiple bankruptcies are just His Father’s way of teaching him what it is to be human, so that his sacrifice will not have been in vain.

    • Rayne says:

      Trump was embedded in the Jenga piece which caused the financial cascade in 2008. Some of his debt was in the Bear Stearns’ bundle which failed the preceding summer and set the liquidity crisis in motion.

      I have been bothered by this since I read Glenn Simpson’s testimony before House and Senate about Fusion GPS’ role in the Steele dossier.

      I am still bothered because a crash like 2008 could happen again; too little was fixed, too much has been undone yet again since 2008.

      And Trump is still in the mix up to his smeary Bronx Colors Urban Cosmetics foundation.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        If you ever get a chance to read or listen to the audio version, “Reckless Endangerment” about the 2008 mortgage crisis, is impressive in its detail, range, and scope.

        Written by Gretchen Morgenson and Josh Rosner, it goes levels deep, and one of my takeaways is that the federal government needs to dismantle Fannie and Freddie brick by brick.

        In the 1990s and up to 2008, recall that realtors and ‘homebuilders’* were deeply linked in D.C. and (at least in my region) verrrrrry tightly to the GOP. After all, capitalism, raging or otherwise, is about ‘ownership’. And bankers and ‘homebuilders’ are like Siamese twins; conjoined. In my area, the bigger homebuilders are heavily invested in mortgage banks: they fund the land development, the housing construction, and then they profit on 30 years of mortgage interest. It probably works that way across the US. And it’s all enabled by taxpayer-funded Fannie and Freddie.

        The appalling ‘salaries’ (grift) of Fannie and Freddy execs, the consolidation of banks in the 90s, the go-go delusion that ‘it only takes money to make money’ (biosphere be damned!), is all laid out in that book. (Rosner is a finance guy, so his expertise is invaluable.)

        Something like 2008 could definitely happen again, and The Donald would be an ideal catalyst. We need to know how many offshore, and US-based, oligarchs are camouflaged by hedge funds and private equity, and whether they will (once again) use taxpayer dollars to swoop in and pick up properties on the cheap.

        The idea of what Rayne proposes is so evil it almost makes my brain freeze. Except that we’ve seen it play out before: a wealth transfer legally sanctioned, and politically sanctified by photos of anguished political appointees, helpless to assist grief-stricken foreclosed families.

        This is the worst possible moment for the press to hide behind
        ‘bothsides’: any whiff of that butt-covering and prevarication actually communicates ‘you can’t trust my reporting, because I can’t actually assign blame for mendacity’. Who needs it?

        • gnokgnoh says:

          A fairly close relative is the buying and selling end of a consortium of real estate business all owned by the same man. Everything. My relative’s business has one employee and the owner. They buy and flip homes at the rate of about 5 every two weeks. The owner has a separate business for every aspect of the transaction, title search, real estate agents for seller and buyer, remodeler for any modest fixes usually done in two weeks, appraisers, building inspectors, and mortgage agents. Evidently, all they need to do to comply with the law is to be separate businesses and to use specific language and brochures that don’t say the must use their businesses. They’re just super-convenient and marketed as, “this is who we normally use.” “Great building inspector,” etc.

          Small scale, but shocking, nonetheless.

          • P J Evans says:

            Back in the mid-60s my parents were looking for a house to buy, as my father had changed jobs and the new one was about 35 miles from where we lived, with hills in the way (and the shortest route was somewhat hazardous at the best of times). The one that caught their eye had been vacant for months, due to foreclosure. They got a deal on it by telling the mortgage lender that we’d do the fixing up if they cut the price by whatever they’d been going to spent on the cosmetic fixes. (It took several years to get all the fixes done: some of the needed stuff wasn’t cosmetic at all.)

      • Eureka says:

        As long as today’s discussion is about how _really_ and truly fucked we are, I’ll throw another log on the fire.

        Collateralized loan obligations are the new collateralized debt obligations, writes Frank Partnoy — who used to bundle and sell CDOs and CLOs for Morgan Stanley in the 1990s. He breaks things down and dives the rabbit holes in an illuminative longform that pairs well with your CNBC link.

        How much of this stuff’s on _your_ financial institutions’ books? Your insurers’? Pensions’?… Seems we’ll only find out when things (continue to) go south:

        The Looming Bank Collapse
        The U.S. financial system could be on the cusp of calamity. This time, we might not be able to save it.

        • Eureka says:

          Unless you work in finance, you probably haven’t heard of CLOs, but according to many estimates, the CLO market is bigger than the subprime-mortgage CDO market was in its heyday.


          Despite their obvious resemblance to the villain of the last crash, CLOs have been praised by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for moving the risk of leveraged loans outside the banking system. Like former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, who downplayed the risks posed by subprime mortgages, Powell and Mnuchin have downplayed any trouble CLOs could pose for banks, arguing that the risk is contained within the CLOs themselves.

          These sanguine views are hard to square with reality.[…]

          Why are these particular folks parroting the ‘low-risk’ line? Thinking unblended smeary face…

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            I have a lot of respect for Portnoy. Yves has reprinted some of his things IIRC. If he says it, I’m inclined to believe that he knows what he’s talking about.

            I think that we really have no way of knowing how catastrophic our current circumstances are – knife’s edge, and all. Nothing, however, is inevitable if we all keep our heads.

            Bothsiderism is lethal at this moment: we really need to know who f*cked up, and who got it right. In the past, Portnoy’s been more right than wrong.

  11. ducktree says:

    Sorry to be a shabbas noodge … I keep trying to create a profile here, but I’m not finding the proper entry portal.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “Profiles” are for management. The rest of us have only a pen name and eww mail address – hence, the effort to make the distinct – and what we write.

  12. Stacey says:

    For my money, the jury is in on this: Trump and his entire team, including the vultures in his party in congress, are all about the advantages they can take of the desperate people and what’s left of their lives after the crash he’s causing.

    Donald Trump was what “Disaster Capitalism” was written for! He’s like the mascot of that shit!

  13. jmac says:

    Both-siderism in the media is a GOP creation which a media cowed by years of conservative criticism decided it had to follow, and it will continue to exist until the GOP is no more. Sadly memes like this have become much easier to set in place with the internet.

  14. Rugger9 says:

    I expect the GOP to pull out all of the stops this time to cling to power, with the USPS Friday Night Massacre being the latest example. However, given how DJT is also alienating his donors and being unable to self-fund even if he wanted to (remember he doesn’t put his own money up on any of his projects) combined with the really stupid campaign stuff (an EO about pre-existing conditions that is already part of the ACA when DJT is in court now trying to squash in its entirety), it seems pretty clear to me that DJT will not win this election and it will be a landslide like 2008 when we’d had enough of the Bushies. By the time we reach October for AG Barr’s planned surprise DJT will have sharted enough dreck to piss everyone off and no one will care about the Biden lies to come.

    So, that means you all need to vote as soon as you can get ballots, drop them off in person at the registrar so they can’t be “harvested” like in North Carolina – 9 to eliminate the USPS interference. That means you need to re-verify that you are registered (we can do this online in Silicon Valley).

    That also means that when the GOP loses, all of their footsie with the Russians, et al, needs to be dug out and broadcast everywhere to bury the GOP in its current form forever. That means Faux and OANN need to have their licenses reviewed in an above board and fair (indeed, even favorable to them) investigation to address the misinformation shoveled out. There’s a reason Canada doesn’t let Faux call itself “news”, and while these two can continue broadcasting, they also need to be forced to show disclaimers front and center on each show that the content is not completely factual.

    I really do not think the GOP in its current form survives the election if they lose, and America doesn’t survive if they win.

  15. madwand says:

    In my neck of the investor woods they have been talking about the “largest transfer of wealth in history” for at least the last six months now. In fact many of the same guys who predicted 2008 are predicting this. It does almost sound like a plan where the moneyed interests cynically manipulate events to gain their ends. Alternately they could be taking advantage of events that have simply fallen into their laps and unable to stay away from a good investment they pounce, fallout be dammed. Either way these things will proceed on course, as Geoff, above has described.

    Everyone knows that the MSM is owned by corporate interests. Why do you think they practice “both side ism” It isn’t to be fair though the media might say that, but it is to manipulate by propaganda the minds of the electorate into one camp or the other. When this happens large portions of the populace engage in conditioned ignorance where viewpoints are polarized and rarely changed. They have you at that point, and most people rarely change from one side to the other, less to no side at all. This is particularly evident now with the left being MSNBC, CNN, the Networks ABC etc, and the right being Fox, Sinclair, Breitbart, etc. People identify with the views expressed and are lumped together as either right or left.

    So expecting the MSM, a corporate and advertising entity, to be fair say to everyone is a little bit naive in my opinion. It won’t happen because they don’t work for everyone, they work for corporate interests. Corporate interests control the output of a “free press” as guaranteed in the Constitution, people don’t. So that is what we get for the most part, “news as the controlling corporate entities would like to have you understand it. The important point is that when you have a media controlled by private interests rather than a government owned media, it is more difficult to detect propaganda. You have to search for outlier opinion, one of the reasons I like this site, to get a different perspective on events. The internet has made it easier for instance to get differing opinions. Herman and Chomsky, In “Manufacturing Consent, The Political Economy of the Mass Media.” is a good place to start.

  16. BobCon says:

    I think a great example of the both sides insanity is Maureen Dowd’s column today, which had the jaw droppingly idiotic claim that it has been 36 years since a man and a woman ran together on the Democratic ticket.

    Now posted with an embarassing correction:

    Dowd herself was responsible for endless sexist ink about Hillary Clinton, but decided to bothsides the issue and complain about the Democrats shying away from nominating a woman in the wake of the 1984 election. And of course, when she writes about the long knives waiting for a woman nominee she names Fox.

    Dowd completely ignores the NY Times coverage in 2016 including her own writing. What planet does she live on? How shameless can she be to memoryhole everything that she was a part of?

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Pithy and correct, unlike much of the MSM, from Rick Perlstein:

    “We’re not polarized. One party is a pluralist center-to-left coalition whose ideas are broadly popular, based in scientific consensus; the other is reality-denying near an authoritarian cult w waning minority support, hanging onto power through cheating and panic mongering.”

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I actually think this is a pretty legitimate claim.
      Go to the site (Republican Voters Against Trump) and see if those people don’t look like some of your neighbors and cousins… it’s a good reminder that there are lots of thoughtful, decent people.

    • gnokgnoh says:

      Just had a conversation from my front porch with my neighbor walking his dog this morning. He first said that he does not understand why everyone does not wear a mask, decried the media for sensationalizing the pandemic, then proceeded to say that he’s tired of both sides pointing fingers. I asked him which side was advocating wearing a mask, and does he support that point of view? So, why the false equivalency? He then mumbled something about 50 sides and how each is autonomous, and we did not see this coming. I said that we had every epidemiologist in the world warning us and lots of time to prepare. What’s with the helplessness? We went on like this for awhile with every piece of shade thrown in my face. It’s getting old.

  18. Savage Librarian says:

    Oobleck and Gömböc

    We are sucked so far in oobleck,
    We yearn now for gömböc,
    We’re aggrieved so many grew sick,
    From GOP’s arm lock.

    We have to cancel out the hooey,
    On tricky quicksand we can’t stand,
    Toodle-oo to ooey gooey,
    Render service that’s on hand.

    We’re so tired of being gassed
    by some sybaritic upper crust,
    We’re ready for the steadfast,
    the upright and the just.

    We are sucked so far in oobleck,
    We yearn now for gömböc,
    We’re aggrieved so many grew sick,
    From GOP’s arm lock.

    How to Make Oobleck


  19. empken says:

    There’s a failing in being “open minded” which causes many of us over-compensate and blunder into “bothsides-ism”, simply to prove we’re really being “open minded”.

    I’ll quote Edward R. Murrow (revered by the news media) in order show its okay not to do “bothsides-ism” on every subject…. “I don’t think [that] there are two equal sides to every story.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You don’t need to be Ed Murrow to spot that on many contemporary issues, there are not two equal sides, or even two rational ones.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Thanks, Jenny, I hadn’t seen that. I watched the youtube segment you provided. At about the 9 minute mark, I think, Hovakimian does something really weird with his tongue, while he is talking about the 1st Amendment. It looks like his forked tongue is trying to suppress the urge to slither out of his reptilian mouth and snake it’s way across the room to inject its venom into innocent victims.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Here’s some useful background:

      “Trump to tap DOJ lawyer as National Intelligence general counsel” – 5/4/20

      “Patrick Hovakimian, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, will serve as the intelligence community’s top lawyer.”
      “He also played an instrumental role in DOJ’s handling of last December’s shooting by Saudi students at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.”
      “Brad Brooker currently serves as ODNI’s acting general counsel. He temporarily stepped into the role in March, after former general counsel Jason Klitenic left to return to the private sector.”

      “Last September, Klitenic briefly got wrapped up in the early stages of President Donald Trump’s impeachment probe when he consulted with the Justice Department and decided that a whistleblower complaint that ODNI’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, had deemed “urgent” should not be provided to Congress. Atkinson was fired by Trump last month.”

  20. JamesJoyce says:

    Great Stuff here today.

    Only one side to
    be on in my mind. 🇺🇸

    “Gaslighting leading to
    a massive Transference of Wealth.“

    Borrow borrow borrow..
    then we implode like vlad’s ussr..

    “Austerity” is in the Corona body count..

    Many Germans paid for the eventual WV Love Bug before the car manufacturing plants were constructed.

    Transportation and fuel…

    The system is designed to be manipulated extracting the wealth, to then blame it in simply market conditions or business…

    DiCaprio made the same argument in a movie as a southern plantation owner benefiting from another’s toils.

    It is a “Long War” here.


    Not radial thinking..
    Just candid…

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I was intrigued by this photo of Jerry Falwell and friend, posing drink-in-hand, pants-unzipped, on a boat. In a film noir, they’d be reclining on a bed, sharing a cigarette. It’s the kind of thing Republicans invented to use against Gary Hart.

    His partner’s attitude suggests relaxed fun and an emotional, if fleeting, connection. Falwell’s eyes are, on the other hand, stone cold. He’s standing next to a possession. He’s bragging and expects no repercussions. I hope he’s wrong. But since his university’s board put him on leave for an implied sex photo, but not for subjecting its student body to mass contagion, my hopes are restrained.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Aside from the creepiness involved (more than a few Peg Bundy comments on the ‘net) Liberty U enforces a strict code of conduct about dating and drinking (which is why Jerry Jr said the wine was black water). The rank hypocrisy is not setting well at all with the fundies that somehow believe Liberty is a shining beacon of faith.

      So, Jerry Jr is probably toast, but still might perform his duties to protect DJT’s fundie flank. After all, Jim Bakker was able to be forgiven his multiple sins and get back on TV until he got busted again with silver solution.

      • BobCon says:

        The football program at Liberty is having big problems due to Falwell. I have to wonder if that’s the real issue for the trustees.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I’ve been listening to Charlie Sykes’ Bulwark podcasts lately, listening to guests that I generally wouldn’t know about.

      I think that last week, maybe Tim Miller ( was his guest, and Sykes played an audio clip of Jerry Jr being interviewed on a recent evangelical radio show. Even I, a generally obvious sort, thought, “I’ll be damned if Jerry Jr isn’t completely soused’. Sykes and Miller were just kind of in ‘hoooooly shit!’ mode.
      It’s a fair guess there’s more to the story.

      On my Twitter feed, all the wits want to know if he took Pool Boy with him on sabbatical 8^)

    • harpie says:

      I guess there might be some…major problematic repercussions…from growing up in the entitled, public and very sick limelight of dad Jerry Falwell, Sr..

      Can’t help but note that there are so many other people in this category with outsize roles in our ongoing National Nightmare.

      Jr. and the rest are obviously still responsible for their OWN lethal and destructive actions.

      The Board members are probably just mad all their “dirty hip[py]”ocritical laundry is being aired out in the open.

      Here’s a reading for them:
      The Lesson of the Lamp
      (Mark 4:21-25)

      16 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. 18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        For today, I’m simply going to bask in wonder at the fact that the NRA is finally being exposed and dismantled the same week that Jerry Falwell Jr made such a complete ass of himself that even the Liberty Univ board took action.

        It’s taken years to get to this place, and I’m just going to savor the moment.

  22. rattlemullet says:

    With the advent of the twenty four hour news cycle created by Ted Turner, the news industry was forever change. Tragedy as Entertainment, became a staple of his empire. This format birthed controversy as news, both siderism if you will. Well documented by “ ” through the years. Create entertainment by false narratives knowing one side of the discussion is not based in truth. The both sides narrative is a staple in the industry. The entire news industry being owned by so few and mostly conservative owners, it will not change soon.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I had a chance to hear a CNN news exec about ten years ago; he actually credited Turner a lot, but pointed out that Ted was also responding to technical innovations in smaller cameras, more portable ways to cover events, easier to get cameras ‘onto the scene’ and then edit them (generally on a Mac loaded with as much memory as possible). then, of course, networks for uploading and transmission.

      The speaker was not a prima donna at all – more a technical, down-to-earth guy in the early days of iPhone, before video was available on phones. He surmised, IIRC, that something like ‘personal video’ would have profound social impacts. I think he got that one correct.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    One executive order and three memoranda, all of dubious legality. Standard operating procedure for Trump.

    Separately, Michelle Ye Hee Lee has a nice article in the WaPo (paywalled) about foreign correspondent, John Hersey. Hersey wrote a blistering 30,000 word expose for the New Yorker – regarded as one of the finest pieces of 20th century journalism – soon after the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

    But like most of the western press, Lee elides Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett. He accurately reported on Hiroshima before Hersey, at a time when the NYT was giving its front page over to the government’s propaganda, “No lingering radiation in Hiroshima ruin.”

    • Rugger9 says:

      Even the payroll tax “holiday” only defers the payment and does nothing for someone who is not on a payroll in the first place. One can only imagine the mechanics next year when the tax forms have to account for this head-snapping whim. Just like the 1040 was made more complicated by splitting one form into six, the accounting will be a headache.

      Wasn’t Hersey the one who wrote “The Wall” about the Warsaw uprising? That should be required reading about the reporting of Noach Levinson especially in these times.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I know you millions of householders are living on a shoestring. There are no jobs to go to. You spend every dime you get, and it’s never enough. I’m gonna do you a favor, though.

        I won’t collect the vig. I’ll let it accumulate. And when it gets really big, I’ll force your employer to give it to me, which means you won’t get paid that week or month. You won’t be mad at me, though, you’ll be mad at Social Security, and you’ll want me to destroy it. I will.

      • BobCon says:

        There is also a fear by employers what their liability will be if they don’t collect payroll taxes and Trump’s maneuver turns out to be a sick joke.

        It’s all fantasyland strategy.

        • Eureka says:

          The wanton corruption (with McConnell endorsing the perversion of constitutional powers) x incompetence x depraved indifference on this stunt is striking hard.

          Whatever will we do?

          2020’s epitaph: “All we had was tweets”

          ^ the end cued by Lieu today tweeting about the Trump-Adelson tiff (and the possible illegality of its cause or potential ‘resolution’ via PAC cash, depending on how their ‘disagreement’ went); a respondent asks Lieu, ~ What are you going to do about it? Tweet?

      • Vicks says:

        “And if he’s re-elected he will make them permanent”
        This whole thing is a terrible set up.
        Dems fight any of this and they are bad guys.
        If the payroll tax cuts aren’t legal, a vote for Trump means you or your employer won’t have to pay them back.
        Biden says he will do the same and he’s complicit.
        Stopping evictions just shifts the burden to landlords which is already creating it own crises.
        Any attempts to fight this on legal grounds and it will be framed as a fight to with withhold support to good people who desperately need it.
        If they let Trump get away with this magic wand trick once (clearly this is different from the wall and other issues that only served the deplorables) and there is zero chance the good guys will ever be in charge of this country again.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Also typical of Trump, his supposed $400/week is less than he says. At best, it’s a one-third cut to money that has kept both the forced unemployed and the economy going. But Trump is really cutting payments by half.

      The feds will somehow pay $300/wk, but only if a state pays a $100 on top of it. No state match, no federal money. The unemployed in that state get nothing. When Trump doesn’t fuck things up through incompetence, he does it intentionally – and wants undiluted praise for it.

      • harpie says:

        Daniel Dale has the quote [and says later in the thread that $300 is more accurate]:
        4:51 PM · Aug 8, 2020

        Asked how he decided on $400 versus $600, since $400 will be a hardship for some families, Trump says,
        “It’s not a hardship. This is the money they need..the money they want.”

        [via Helen Kennedy]:
        4:53 PM · Aug 8, 2020

        Replying to @ddale8
        Bankers that took charge of Trump’s bankruptcy gave him an ALLOWANCE of $450,000 a MONTH. [link]

        [Links to]:
        David Johnston, Knight-Ridder Newspapers
        June 25, 1990 Atlantic City, N.J.

        • harpie says:

          […] At least 50 banks from Newark, N.J., to Dresden, East Germany, to Tokyo are demanding radical spending cuts, both in Trump`s personal life and his business empire.

          Trump, revered by many as the greatest living hero of economic freedom, is submitting to the bankers` financial shackles because he cannot come up with enough cash to pay interest on more than $3.3 billion he borrowed from banks and junk bond buyers.

          By making new loans, the banks hope to get past the immediate financial crisis, giving them time to sell off unprofitable pieces of the Trump empire at better than fire-sale prices.

          In effect, Trump is engaged in a privately negotiated bankruptcy at which the banks are presiding. […]

  24. Eureka says:

    A big item from Friday. “Tic tock” on the bigger picture coming to light…:

    Byron Tau: “NEW from me this morning: A U.S. government contractor with ties to the intelligence community and the military has embedded software in mobile phones apps that allows the tracking of hundreds of millions of devices worldwide. [WSJ Exclusive link]”

    In reply to a question, Tau continues:

    “I tried very hard to find out which apps. I asked two separate experts to do technical analysis of apps to try to find out. No nice. The company said it was a trade secret and they were bound by confidentiality.”

    “No *dice*”

  25. harpie says:

    [This ties in with the earlier discussion about Jerry Fallwell, Jr.]:
    NYT front page, today, about Trump and his evangelical support:

    In January 2016, Donald J. Trump gave a campaign speech at a small Christian college in Sioux Center, Iowa.
    Standing in front of a three-story pipe organ, he said,

    “I have the most loyal people.”
    “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?”

    But he said something else that day. And his intended audience was listening.

    ‘Christianity Will Have Power’
    Donald Trump made a promise to white evangelical Christians, whose support can seem mystifying to the outside observer.
    Elizabeth Dias [Elizabeth Dias covers religion for The New York Times.]
    Photographs and Video by Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber
    August, 9, 2020

    • harpie says:

      Here’s Dias’s introductory twitter thread:
      8:28 AM · Aug 9, 2020

      If there is one question people ask me over and over, it is this: Why do evangelicals support Donald Trump? This story, told through devout families in Iowa, is our answer to that question. 1/ […]

      And so to understand the relationship between Trump and white evangelicals, one has to go back to January 23, 2016. One has to hear his speech the way the evangelical community heard it. 6/

      “You are always only one generation away from losing Christianity,” one man told me. “If you don’t teach it to your children it ends. It stops right there.” 7/ […]

      Their stories reveal the deepest impulses of mainstream evangelical Christianity & expose where its believers pledge allegiance. And they reveal that white evangelicals support Trump not in spite of who he is, but because of who he is—and who they are. 9/ […]

      • Vicks says:

        Well, someone needs to explain to them that they are wrong.
        The fact that up until this point, no one has been able to ease any of the (misguided) fears widely held by Republicans is the power of political gamesmanship and I am not the only one that believes that democrats are clearly outmatched.
        The reasons aren’t too complicated, fear overrides logic, and deliberately tangling religion with politics whenever possible is an easy way to keep the bar low for the many (many) justifications of bad behavior that require similar leaps of faith.
        Knowing that these fears are the result of manipulation doesn’t make them any less real to those who hold them and if democrats really want to solve problems instead of building election campaigns around them, they better stop talking over them or dismissing them as ignorant.

  26. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nice little thread about Bill Barr lying to Congress. In May of 1968, shortly after the Tet Offensive, Bill Barr turned eighteen. Like virtually every other male for several decades, but especially so during the Vietnam war, Bill Barr was required to register for the draft. He was then a freshman at Columbia University. He registered, but obtained the usual student deferments.

    Yet, in his Senate confirmation hearing to become Donald Trump’s AG, Bill Barr claimed he was not required to register for the draft. Wags claim he forgot, he was just a teenager. Three months after Tet? As a freshman at Columbia, one of the hotbeds of student unrest, opposing both the war and the draft. In the month between the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr and Bobby Kennedy? Most adults alive then remember that time in excruciating detail.

    As a bright young Columbia man, Barr knew no registration mean no deferment. He lied. This is not Bill Barr’s biggest lie – or crime. But it’s an obvious, easily proven one, which demonstrates his arrogance and sense of entitlement, and his willingness to repeatedly engage in what Henry Kissinger dubbed, the Big Lie.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      To gild the lily, Bill Barr graduated from Columbia in the Spring of 1971, which meant the end of his deferment. Vietnam was still a hot war: the US was slowly withdrawing troops, but the draft was still a real thing. Conveniently, student deferments were available until September of that year.

      As it happens, Bill Barr chose to stay at Columbia, starting his MA in August/September 1971. He graduated with it in 1973, a few months after the SecDef had announced the end of the draft, in January.

      As a bright young Columbia man, Bill Barr knew that no draft registration meant no student deferment. It also meant ineligibility for certain government employment, certainly in jobs requiring a security clearance. After leaving Columbia In 1973, Bill Barr joined the CIA, successor to the OSS, which his father had joined after he graduated from Columbia.

    • P J Evans says:

      My brother could have told the committee that was a lie – he turned 18 in 1970, registered, and had to fight his board for a CO classification. (His field is horticulture. No, he doesn’t have firearms.)

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