The House GOP is not Pining for the Fjords

House GOP Caucus meeting, October 20, 2023

Jordain Carney, Olivia Beavers and Sarah Ferris have a good rundown in Politico of today’s breakdown of the Republican party in the House of Representatives. Two bits leapt out at me. First, buried at the bottom of their column, was this:

In all, 122 Republicans voted to boot Jordan as their party’s nominee, while 86 said he should remain their choice, according to two people familiar with the private discussions. Five members voted present.

Note that this was a secret ballot, so while the public vote of the House showed only a couple of dozen votes against Jordan, a secret ballot proved Jordan could no longer get anywhere close to a majority of the House GOP caucus. Not even close.

The second bit was this, much higher in the piece:

Lawmakers now plan to leave Washington for the weekend as the next round of ambitious Republicans decide whether to mount their own speaker bids.

But most Republicans acknowledge that even with new faces to consider, they still have no clear path to uniting their splintered conference. They have already rejected two speaker candidates — Jordan and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise — as well as former Speaker Kevin McCarthy during this month alone.

Ponder those names for a moment . . .

McCarthy, the former speaker. Scalise, the former Majority Leader. Jordan, the founder of the Freedom Caucus and current Judiciary chair. Those are the #1, #2, and #2a members of the GOP leadership. And they — like the rest of the membership of the GOP caucus — do not like each other, and do not trust each other.

Welcome to life in a multi-party House, where the largest party does not have a majority, and the two other parties are too busy fighting over the name “Republican” for their caucus to get anything done, like selecting their own leader. The House is no longer a place where a majority rules, because there is no majority.

Germany understands this situation, as they’ve lived with it for decades. The conservative Christian Democratic Union (with their regional partners in Bavaria, the even more conservative Christian Socialist Union) [CDU/CSU] and the more liberal Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) are the two historically main parties, with a mix of minor parties alongside them including the Greens, The Left (former East German communists and disaffected SPDers), the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the walking-right-up-to-the-line-with-the-Nazis Alternative for Germany (AfD). Both in the federal government and the various states, governing is usually the work of a coalition, often led by the CDU/CSU or the SPD and filled in with a coalition partner or two.

But there’s one thing more the Germans could teach the folks in the House: despite growing electoral support for the far-right AfD, no other parties will include them in a coalition. Yes, adding them to a coalition could put your leader in power, but the cost of aligning you and your party with racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, hatred of the EU, and historical revisionism is much too much for the leaders of the other parties. This has resulted in some incredible coalitions that one would never expect to see, but the alternative was an unthinkable coalition with AfD.

Which brings us to what’s been going on with the GOP in the House. McCarthy and others made their coalition with Jordan, Gaetz, and the far-right AfD-like folks, thinking they could blunt their harder edges and rougher policies. Note, though, that it took 15 ballots in January to get the far-right to contribute their votes. Finally, the far-right made their coalition with McCarthy, thinking they could roll him with their strong appeal among the base of the party. In the past month, Gaetz et al. decided that the price of the coalition was too much, and pulled the pin on the grenade he was holding within the caucus.

And today, the grenade went off. To borrow from John Cleese . . .

It’s not pining for the fjords! It’s passed on! This party is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker!

It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch it’d be pushing up the daisies!

It’s metabolic processes are now history! It’s off the twig!

It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off this mortal coil, rung down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible!!

THIS IS AN EX-PARTY!!

That’s what none of the folks in the Republican caucus want to admit in public. Their’s is an ex-party.

What is left in the House is Democratic party with a strong plurality of votes, and two smaller parties fighting over the rest. I don’t know what you would label these two small parties, I don’t know how many votes each group wields in the House, but I know this: they are two separate parties.

So one of two things has to happen. Either the two small parties will get together again — something that is increasingly unlikely — or the non-Jordan/Gaetz group will come to an agreement with the Democrats for a coalition to run the House. If it is the former, it is quite likely to be a very temporary arrangement, and we’ll be right back here again in short order.

I don’t know how long it will take to arrange a coalition between the Dems and the not-so-far-right of the former GOP. I don’t know what the terms of the coalition will be. (See here for a description of the 177 page document outlining the terms of a 2018 CDU/SPD coalition that took six months to hammer out.) I don’t know who will hold the gavels in the House and the various committees.

But I do know this: the House GOP has joined the choir invisible.

Three Things: GOP House Caucus in Chaos

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I admit I debated using a header photo from the archives taken on a circus fairway. Accurate depiction, yes?

And yet when I ran across this photo of a LEGO dump I chose it instead, in part because of the chaos, in part because of the minifig bodies strewn throughout — and in part because of the leopard lying in wait in pile.

Any time now someone in the GOP caucus will complain about the mess they’re making and how it makes the GOP look bad.

Insert Adrian Bott’s now-classic “I never thought leopards would eat MY face” meme.

~ 3 ~

I wish I’d noted the exact time I took this screenshot in Google News; I think it was about 4:00 p.m. ET:

Here’s another screenshot taken at 6:45 p.m.:

What a bunch of clowns. Especially this guy:

At 4:53 p.m., Sahil Kapur summarized the situation on the dead bird app by the numbers:

They threw McCarthy overboard when he had 210 votes in the House majority to be speaker. Then they picked Scalise, who had 113 votes. He withdrew. Now they nominate Jordan, with 124 votes. (The magic number to win is 217.)

Nancy Mace (SC-01) objected to Steve Scalise (LA-01) because of his David Duke remarks; apparently in the GOP it’s okay if you’re a closeted racist, just don’t admit it out loud.

Nobody knew who six-term representative Austin Scott (GA-08) was.

Quite literally, CNN published an article with this headline,
Who is Austin Scott, the Georgia Republican who lost the GOP speakership nomination?

Everybody knows who Jim Can’t Dress Himself Jordan (OH-04) is but too few want to vote for him or he’d have been a cinch in the first round. It’s doubtful he’d swear to the criteria which was put to Scalise: publicly acknowledge the outcome of the 2020 election which Biden won/Trump lost.

And of course there’s the inconvenient obstruction Jordan as House Speaker would pose, as Liz Cheney posted on the dead bird app at 11:55 a.m. today:

Jim Jordan was involved in Trump’s conspiracy to steal the election and seize power; he urged that Pence refuse to count lawful electoral votes. If Rs nominate Jordan to be Speaker, they will be abandoning the Constitution. They’ll lose the House majority and they’ll deserve to.
Twitter

This isn’t governance but a goat rope.

~ 2 ~

The Democratic House caucus Democrats back House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08).

That’s it, that’s Thing 2.

Democrats NOT in disarray.

~ 1 ~

Passed on October 1, a continuing resolution extending the last federal budget runs through and expires on November 17 — just shy of five weeks from today.

The nonpartisan, non-profit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget published a table document outlining the budget items which will expire without a new budget and in some cases, budget items which have already expired in spite of the continuing resolution.

Childcare aid and nutrition programs for children may be part of the expired line items.

The longer the GOP dicks around with picking a speaker, the less time they will have to negotiate a new budget.

The media should be hammering on this point but nope. The threat of hungry children and families struggling to work and ensure their children have care just aren’t clickbait.

~ 0 ~

Stay behind the barrels, keep your hands inside the compartment. This is an open thread.

Three Things: This Week’s Massive Dickhead Award Goes To…

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

This last week was bad. We were swamped with dickheads, more so than usual, and some of them bigger dickheads than the usual fare.

There are so many it’s worth assessing who was the champion dickhead this week.

Below are my top three. Tell us in comments who you’d have picked for this week’s Massive Dickhead Award.

~ 3 ~

WINNER: Rep. Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10)

This asshat became the Acting House Speaker after the ultra-fascist faction of the GOP House Caucus led by Matt Ephebophile Gaetz forced the feckless Kevin McCarthy out of the speaker’s role.

McHenry chose to come out swinging rather than settling calmly and rationally into the speakership.

Within hours of McCarthy’s removal, McHenry booted Nancy Pelosi out of her office while she was out of D.C. escorting Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s body back to California. She was not accorded a reasonable amount of time to attend the funeral service and return to D.C. to clean out her office.

He then blew off the Congressional delegation in need of air transportation to California for Feinstein’s funeral.

…the House Republican leadership did not allow a plane to transport the late Senator’s colleagues from DC to SFO. After the late Senator passed, Rep. Zo Lofgren contacted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy to request air transportation for colleagues to attend the memorial service.

This is a courtesy any delegation is traditionally afforded to allow members to travel together to honor a member who passed away. But, Rep. Lofgren, who’s the delegation representative, never heard back from McCarthy. According to Thompson, she made the same request of Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry but also didn’t get a response.

“It’s just sad commentary on the House Republican leadership where they wouldn’t allow a plane to come back so her colleagues can pay tribute to this great legislator, great Senator remarkable leader,” Thompson said. “I’m assuming some people will not be able to make it because of that.”

Sloppy if not arrogantly thoughtless. A slap at the state which is the fifth largest economy in the world, with the largest congressional delegation, as if McHenry doesn’t think anything of winning Democratic seats in California.

There have been 39 representatives and senators who’ve died in office since 2000, and at no time has there been such a pointed dickishness toward the congressional delegation traveling to funeral services, regardless of the political party in control of the House or Senate.

But this is McHenry’s SOP, has been since at least 2008. He demonstrated his sloppy thoughtless arrogance then:

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon told a North Carolina lawmaker Tuesday that he couldn’t re-air a video he’d shot in Baghdad after accusations surfaced that he breached operational security in detailing enemy rocket attacks.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Republican, traveled to Iraq with other lawmakers for the first time on March 22. The video was the second incident stemming from that trip that has drawn unwanted attention to McHenry. Earlier, he was criticized for berating a guard in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone for not allowing him into a gym there because the congressman did not have the proper identification credential.

The new criticism stems from a video that was featured on his Web site last Friday. Shot in the Green Zone, it showed McHenry gesturing to a building behind him and saying that one of 11 rockets “hit just over my head.” Then he named two other places struck by the rockets.

As in 2008, his unthinking reflexive behavior is a sign McHenry is not capable of governance, only peevish pettiness which pisses on the American public and their needs for rational effective government.

Our country deserves and needs better than massive dickheads who believe owning the libs is the job for which the American public pays them. It’d be nice to think the GOP thinks so, too, but they actually allowed McHenry to pull this bullshit and spit on congressional comity at a time when it’s most needed to negotiate a budget. Thanks to North Carolina’s persistent partisan gerrymandering, the GOP ensures both NC-10 and the country are stuck with this prize-winning jerk, at least through the 2024 election.

~ 2 ~

SECOND PLACE: Vladimir Putin

Killing 50 civilians including a child with a missile, wiping out half the village of Hroza while its residents interred a loved one is both a war crime and the height of dickishness.

Way to win hearts and minds, Pooty, you kidnapper and murderer of children.

You’d think he’d have learned something from U.S. errors in places like Iraq and Afghanistan but nope. He just doubles down on his criminality.

Added asshole-ishness: this agitprop trying to stir up shit between the U.S. and Israel immediately after the attack by Hamas.

Unlike Putin, POTUS can walk and chew gum, isn’t hiding in their ill-gotten fortress of solitude, and isn’t obsessed with toxic nostalgia for the past like the decades-plus effort to restore the USSR.

The U.S. also has a defense budget larger which makes Russia’s look like nothing – we can manage more than one challenge.

But that’s the point, isn’t it? All Russia has in its arsenal is cheap influence operations amplified by cringelords?

Speaking of cringelords…

~ 1 ~

THIRD PLACE: Elon Musk

Why this guy bothers with American citizenship is beyond me given his reluctance to respect its government.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday sought to force Elon Musk to sit for a deposition as part of an ongoing investigation about his purchase of Twitter, now known as X.

The SEC said Musk failed to appear for testimony as required by a May subpoena despite agreeing to show up last month at the SEC’s office in San Francisco.

Musk waited until two days before the scheduled date to notify the SEC he would not appear, regulators said. They’re now seeking a court order to force Musk to comply.

Musk’s response this week was pure DARVO:

Elon Musk called for an overhaul of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday, the same day the agency sued him in an effort to compel him to testify about his purchase of Twitter, the platform now known as X.

“A comprehensive overhaul of these agencies is sorely needed, along with a commission to take punitive action against those individuals who have abused their regulatory power for personal and political gain. Can’t wait for this to happen,” Musk wrote on X in response to news of the SEC suing him.

So predictable: deny the abuse, reverse victim-abuser order. Poor Musk is the victim, won’t somebody deal with the mean old SEC?

The acquisition of Twitter by this narcissistic git very much needs investigation. As noted previously, Musk was so desperate to avoid Delaware’s Chancery Court after he sued to stop his acquisition last year that he threw in the towel and proceeded to buy Twitter.

What is it that Musk doesn’t want revealed in public record?

An alleged proponent of free speech, Musk appears to have shrugged off an egregious persecution of civil rights though it’s his platform which has been at the heart of the Saudis’ charges and death sentence against Saudi citizen Mohammad Alghamdi for their tweets.

Besides blowing off the SEC’s subpoena and blowing off free speech, Musk also managed to both screw up his own company’s product and spit in the face of media outlets which have continued to bolster the sagging social media platform.

Musk decided headlines make tweets look bad so he’s had them removed. Before the change if a news outlet included a link to a news article in their post, the article’s headline would appear next to an image served from the link so that users would know what the link was about and the tweeter could add a prefacing blurb in the tweet’s body.

Now the user must allocate their post’s text to adding a headline. Jay Peters at The Verge does a better job of explaining the problem (red markup mine on image below):

In short, Musk stiffed news media the most with this move which he claims improves the platform’s aesthetics.

Ri-ight. Because all the white supremacists and TERFs and other haters don’t damage the platform at all.

Bloomberg’s finally coming around about the moral argument against the former bird app, but it’s infuriating they can’t see the business argument is right there, too, thanks to Musk’s constant degradation of service.

What happens when journalists are targeted by intelligence operatives because Musk has decided maintaining privacy of personal data shared with the former Twitter is now an inconvenience, or that data is just another fungible to be harvested without regard to users’ privacy and security and the FTC’s consent decree?

~ 0 ~

Honorable Mention:

Matt Gaetz, because a pumpkin has more smarts and savvy than this shit stirrer who launched the ouster of Kevin McCarthy thereby setting McHenry loose to be a bigger dick than usual.

At some point we need to call Gaetz and his wrecking crew anarchists because that’s what they are – they don’t give a fuck about the republic and keeping it, they just want to destroy it.

Let’s hope this next week we run into fewer dickheads.

Who’s on your list of Massive Dickheads from this past week? Who has screwed over more people and undermined democracy in a big way? Share your nominees in comments.

This is an open thread.

Three Things: Fraud Trial Begins, Newsom’s Pick, Contingent Aid

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

It’s going to be a rather busy Monday. Grab your poison of choice — second LARGE cup of joe underway here — and let’s get at it.

~ 3 ~

It’s rather sad this needed to be said yet again in reference to Donald Trump:

“No matter how much money you think you may have, no one is above the law,” James told reporters before entering the courtroom. “The law is both powerful and fragile. And today in court will prove our case.”

But the wretched former guy apparently needs it as the civil fraud trial opens today in New York.

The Trump campaign’s post-debate stunt leaving a bird cage outside fellow GOP candidate Nikki Haley’s hotel room likely encouraged the reminder, on top of Trump’s other egregious behavior including insults about New York AG Letitia James.

The stunt, which followed Trump’s insult on social media saying Haley had a bird brain, didn’t go over well abroad. India’s media took note of this trashy behavior unbecoming a former U.S. president and a current presidential candidate.

One can only wonder if Trump would be both stupid and arrogant enough to pull such a gag on AG James as a dig at the prosecutor.

~ 2 ~

California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint Laphonza Butler to fill the Senate seat in the wake of Dianne Feinstein’s death.

Butler’s appointment is a statement none of the other possible appointees could make. She’s been president of political action committee EMILY’s List since 2021; the organization’s mission has been to get more women elected to office.

Butler has also been a superdelegate for California during the 2016 election when she supported Hillary Clinton. Originally from Mississippi, Butler has worked as a union organizer, last with SEIU where she worked toward raising the minimum wage and taxing the wealthiest Californians.

In 2018 Butler left the SEIU to join a Democratic communications firm, SCRB (now Bearstar Strategies) where she worked on Kamala Harris’ campaign.

Butler is gay and married; she and her partner have a daughter.

So many boxes checked off by one appointment, so many marginalized and suppressed groups now represented. Worth reading Philip Bump’s graphic-laden piece in WaPo to understand what this means.

~ 1 ~

Americans know Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) this weekend establishing a 45-day extension on the budget. Omitted from the extension was financial aid to Ukraine at a time when Ukraine is preparing ahead of winter warfare against aggressor Russia.

The failure to provide aid in spite of efforts by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is in part the result of ongoing influence operations by Russia targeting GOP members of Congress. Like Trump they have fallen prey to the idea that the US has no interest in Ukraine’s democratic sovereignty and that NATO and the EU likewise should play no role in rejecting Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

But the reasons why financial aid to Ukraine may not have passed with the CR isn’t solely due to hostile foreign influence. It’s also linked to ongoing corruption in Ukraine undermining the nation’s sovereignty while cannibalizing the resources needed to repel Russia and build back infrastructure destroyed by the last 19 months’ war.

Ukraine took a large move toward addressing corruption with its arrest of oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi on September 2. Kolomoyskyi, appointed Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast in 2014 after the Euromaidan, had already been blacklisted and indicted by the U.S.

This arrest is only one step Ukraine must take. The Biden administration has continued to press the Zelenskyy administration for more measurable efforts on corruption. Without making more substantial headway, it would be difficult for Ukraine to join the EU let alone NATO. Ukraine can’t become a means to drain EU and NATO resources in peacetime.

Zelenskyy will have to make considerable progress over the next 45 days – for this reason alone the near-shutdown and CR have a beneficial effect since both the Biden’s State Department and Zelenskyy can point to a date toward which both will have to work on corruption together.

It’s all the more important that the U.S. at state and federal level also address domestic corruption. The U.S. can’t make a demand of other democracies to tackle corruption without setting an example.

All the more reason why we need to demonstrate and not merely say no person in this democracy is above the law.

~ 0 ~

This is an open thread.

Oligarchy Has Arrived. Congress Must Take Notice — and Act!

This is a guest post from our friend Bob Lord, who you may recall from previous guest posts. This was originally published a few days ago at Inequality.org – bmaz

The United States is experiencing a level of wealth inequality not seen since the original Gilded Age. This yawning gap between rich and poor has unfolded right out in the open, in full public view and with the support of both political parties.

A malignant class of modern robber barons has amassed unthinkably large fortunes. These wealthy have catastrophically impacted our politics. They have weaponized their wealth to co-opt, corrupt, and choke off representative democracy. They have purchased members of Congress and justices of the Supreme Court. They have manipulated their newfound political power to amass ever-larger fortunes.

The result? We can sum that up with a word usually associated with nations like Russia: oligarchy. Unless Congress takes action, inequality — and the instability inequality invariably produces — will only intensify.

The Patriotic Millionaires have been sounding out the alarm, over recent years, on inequality and oligarchy. More than most, our members — all men and women of substantial means — understand just how much wealth can buy. Wealth can even turn tax systems toxic.

In well-functioning democracies, tax systems serve as a firewall against undue wealth accumulation. By that yardstick, our contemporary U.S. tax system has failed spectacularly. Those of us in Patriotic Millionaires have witnessed that failure first-hand. Our nation’s current tax practices allow and even encourage obscene fortunes to metastasize while saddling working people with all the costs of that metastasizing. Years of this approach to taxation have hollowed out our middle class and our democracy.

Congress can change all that. Enter the OLIGARCH — Oppose Limitless Inequality Growth and Reverse Community Harms — Act. The architects of this legislation, led by Representatives Barbara Lee (CA-12) and Summer Lee (PA-12), have crafted a visionary approach to combat the existential threat to democracy we all now face. The OLIGARCH Act offers a powerful mechanism that can break the vicious cycle of unchecked wealth accumulation we now find ourselves trapped inside. That mechanism: a wealth tax tied directly to our level of inequality.

Enacting the OLIGARCH Act would create a dynamic tax structure that quickly responds to changes in our distribution of national wealth. The OLIGARCH Act’s elegantly straightforward solution builds upon a set of tax rates that escalate as a wealthy taxpayer’s wealth escalates:

  • A 2 percent annual tax on wealth between 1,000 and 10,000 times the median household wealth.
  • A 4 percent tax on wealth between 10,000 and 100,000 times the median household wealth.
  • A 6 percent tax on wealth between 100,000 and 1,000,000 times the median household wealth.
  • An 8 percent tax on wealth exceeding 1,000,000 times the median household wealth.

As inequality swells, in other words, the wealth tax would intensify, in the process acting as both a deterrent to wealth concentration and an antidote to it. As inequality recedes, our economic playing field would become more level. All of us would find ourselves better situated to flourish.

The OLIGARCH Act legislation also recognizes our fundamental need to counter tax evasion among the wealthiest households. By mandating a minimum 30 percent audit rate on ultra-rich households and instituting penalties for significant valuation understatements, the OLIGARCH Act would fortify our nation’s capacity to shut down tax manipulation and evasion.

We’ve reached a tipping point in our nation today. Extreme wealth is begetting extreme power, in turn begetting even more extreme wealth. The resulting stranglehold our richest hold over our democratic institutions has led to a government that caters to billionaires while working citizens struggle to make their voices heard. This imbalance doesn’t just weaken the integrity of our democracy. This imbalance emboldens extremist ideologies that thrive whenever masses of people become politically disillusioned.

We face a stark choice. Will we allow a handful of individuals to wield their wealth like a weapon against our nation’s bedrock principles? Or will we rise to the occasion, defend our democracy, and reaffirm our commitment to a society that offers real opportunity and disperses power — instead of letting that power concentrate among a fabulously wealthy few?

Those of us working with Patriotic Millionaires see the OLIGARCH Act as more than just a piece of legislation. We see it as a statement of purpose, a declaration that the American people will not stand idly by and watch the principles we hold dear erode away. We see the OLIGARCH Act as a call to action that asks each and every one of us to join the chorus demanding change. By urging our congressional representatives to co-sponsor and pass this transformative legislation, we pave the way for a future where democratic capitalism thrives, inequality recedes, and the American way of life endures.

Safeguarding our democracy, today more than ever, requires us to address the catastrophic — and rapidly growing — inequality that’s empowering a new aristocratic ruling class. To do anything less than challenge that class would leave our democratic institutions to the whims of America’s oligarchs. The stakes run that high.

Bob Lord, a veteran tax attorney and Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow, is currently serving as a senior advisor on tax policy for Patriotic Millionaires.

The Smell of Flop Sweat and Circus Peanuts

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Buckle up, cupcakes. You know it’s about to go down when the ringmaster summons the clowns.

Like this sad doofus.

[Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R, GA-14) sharing stolen photos* attributed to Hunter Biden during a GOP-led House Oversight Committee hearing July 19, 2023.]

She can’t even entertain and distract us on her own without flesh-colored props stolen from someone’s computer.

How entirely predictable this goat rodeo was on Wednesday, though. You could set your watch by the triggers.

~ ~ ~

First, the truth is slowly beginning to seep into the public’s consciousness that lifelong scofflaw Donald J. Trump is in deep shit which is about to meet the oscillator.

As Marcy shared in a post on Tuesday, Trump had a tantrum in his personal social media platform. He acted out after Special Counsel Jack Smith sent him a target letter with a deadline Thursday — today — to appear in front of a grand jury.

Lashing out against law enforcement is far from constructive — unless it serves another purpose like whipping up the base for grifting.

Up to now the angry hyperbole flung at Special Counsel and other investigations hasn’t helped Trump much in public opinion, according to a Politico/Ipsos poll published July 6, a month after Trump was indicted related to possession of classified documents and presidential records.

While right-leaning outlets posted headlines like “Nearly a quarter of Republicans say classified docs charges make them more likely to support Trump: poll” in The Hill, Ipsos’ published its results under a headline which read, “Most Americans think Trump should head to trial before the 2024 election.

This is not a pretty picture for Trump one month after his indictment, before even more evidence emerges about the case.


Trump will continue to respond the same way until these numbers improve because he’s running out of options.

~ ~ ~

Second, in his tantrum online, Trump called upon the House GOP and whined for their support, demanding “REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS MUST MAKE THIS THEIR # 1 ISSUE!!!”

Why the GOP-led House and not some other political group? Because members of the House are protected by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate clause, Article I, Section 6, Clause 1:

“The Senators and Representatives…shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.”

Clowns like Big Marj and Jim “Ignore the OSU sex abuse” Jordan (R, OH-04) can blab in front of cameras and microphones, say the most obnoxious crap on behalf of their mob boss, and never be held to account so long as they do it while ostensibly representing their constituents.

They’ll keep doing this until voters get fed up with this trash juggling which does nothing to address the country’s real needs.

Really, what does a bunch of stolen nude images of Hunter Biden have to do with tax law enforcement — laws which have already resulted in Hunter Biden being charged with a guilty plea expected in court this next week. This isn’t even a question you’ll note.

These images had jack-doodley-squat to do with the investigation by IRS personnel who should have been looking for documentation of unreported income or fraudulent write-offs and not nudes of a white male in his late 40s engaged in consensual sex with adults.

Because the erstwhile IRS investigators have also not been held to account for their shoddy work which amounts to little more than digging through a digital underwear drawer, they’ll be used over and over again like goats in this clown-riddled rodeo.

~ ~ ~

Third, the influence operation(s) which resulted in disinformation relying on stolen digital nude photos is being picked asunder and exposed for what it is. This site’s readers who’ve been following Marcy’s painstaking effort digging through documentation know well the narrative created by Trump, the GOP, and other entities is falling apart.

One major tell: the attack on this website after Marcy published her most recent post examining media outlets’ role in the influence operation suggests the details she’s shared have hit a nerve.

Not only has the ringmaster summoned the clowns to change the subject as loudly and obnoxiously as possible, but an attempt was made to shut down and silence an open source investigation.

Can’t imagine why that would be necessary given how entertaining the truth has been.

~ ~ ~

Lastly, there’s another narrative both the ringmaster and a certain clown needed to drown out in a big fat hurry.

Oops.

So utterly predictable which clown would be in the center arena of the big top Wednesday.

When the next federal indictment of Trump is announced, which flop-sweaty clown do you think will appear first? Place your bets.

Consider this an open thread. Bring everything not on topic in other threads to this one.

_____
* Image blurred by me because nobody needed to see that; a citizen’s bodily autonomy and personal privacy deserved protection and shouldn’t have been treated like revenge porn without their consent no matter if they failed to pay some of their federal income taxes or carried a handgun while addicted to illegal substances.

[Photo: Emily Morter via Unsplash]

Let’s Give ‘Em Something To Talk About: Cooked, Hooked, Mooked

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Did something happen today? LOL

We need a fresh post and thread to talk about it.

~ 3 ~

Cooked: Donald Trump’s wallet

A jury in Manhattan awarded E. Jean Carroll $5 million in damages after finding the former president Donald Trump liable for defamation and sexual abuse.

Under New York State’s New York’s Adult Survivors Act which went into effect last November, Carroll filed a lawsuit against Trump for defamation based on his public denials after she accused him of raping her in 1996.

While the jury did not find Trump liable for rape – the challenge likely hanging on penetration as Teri Kanefield explained in an online thread – they did find credible Carroll’s accusation of sexual abuse and found Trump had defamed her with his repeated denials.

As revolting as it often is, Trump’s testimony is worth a scan as yet another example of classic abuser’s behavior called DARVO: Trump repeatedly Denied the accusation, Attacked his accuser, Reversed the Victim and Offense by claiming Carroll and the other women who supported her with their own sexual abuse accusations against Trump were lying about him. He minimized what he said about grabbing women by the pussy in the Access Hollywood tape and lied about his infidelities.

After reading Trump’s testimony one can only wonder what he might say under oath about the presidential records and classified documents he stole from the White House.

~ 2 ~

Hooked: Rep. George Santos charged by DOJ

Criminal charges were filed today under seal in the Eastern District of New York against Rep. Santos. Specifics about the charges are as yet unknown.

While the current GOP-led House Ethics Committee has been dragging its feet investigating – Santos, alias Anthony Dee – the representative for New York’s 3rd congressional district has been under pressure by House Democrats to resign due to his manifold lies and apparent frauds.

During his brief time in office, Santos has been accused of breaking campaign finance laws, violating federal conflict of interest laws, stealing cash meant for an Iraq War veteran’s dying dog, masterminding a credit card fraud scheme and lying about where he went to school and worked.

In response, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said, “I’ll look at the charges.”

Right. He’s only had nearly 6 months to look into Santos to prevent more embarrassment for the House GOP Caucus and NY-03’s constituents. You’d think Santos having at least one alias and settling criminal charges for fraud in another country would clue McCarthy.

As Marcy noted, Santos was useful to McCarthy:

His utility is done, isn’t it, Kevin? Or do you want to be personally embarrassed by what may emerge from DOJ’s prosecution of Santos?

UPDATE — 10-MAY-2023 10:15 A.M. ET —
The indictment has been released to the public. Here it is: https://www.justice.gov/d9/2023-05/santos.indictment.pdf

See also Marcy’s latest post on McCarthy’s ability to count votes.

~ 1 ~

Mooked: Kevin McCarthy and his out-of-control caucus are feckless mooks

Speaking of McCarthy, he’s allowing his caucus to threaten tanking the entire global economy by way of a potential default on U.S. debt.

Never mind the entire problem began when the GOP-led 115th Congress passed Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The GOP’s bill relied on trickle-down economics to pay for itself, yet trickle-down economics don’t work, hurting those at the bottom of the economy the most. It left the country ill prepared for an effective and timely pandemic response, yet now the GOP wants to double down on its stupidity.

(Do not forget the House Speaker at that time was Paul Ryan. Don’t let him whitewash his way out of the blame for his role in the impending economic crisis. Ditto Mitch McConnell, former Senate Majority Leader.)

The same corporations and their wealthy owners which benefited from the Trump tax cuts are now raking in money hand over fist through price-flation for profits. They’re expecting their GOP minions to deliver even more benefits by starving the public which has yet to recover from the worst of the pandemic.

The complicit corporate media enables them by trotting out its tired “Dems in Disarray” bullshit, blaming Biden for the impending economic crisis when the problem is of the GOP’s making, just as it was when that idiot Senator from Texas Ted Cruz held the government’s operations and the economy hostage in 2013.

This is yet another kind of coup attempt; this time the mooks are seated inside Congress wielding a blunt economic weapon. If McCarthy and his minions aren’t willing to repeal part of Trump’s misbegotten tax cuts and raise taxes on the wealthy who can well afford to pay more, they’re acting in bad faith and against the needs of the American public.

~ 0 ~

What else is there to talk about? Share in this open thread.

Three Things: Crying All the Way to the Bank

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I cried all the way to the bank.

– attributed to performer Liberace

I’ve run the gamut from fuming to furious this past week. I didn’t have a dime in Silicon Valley Bank, but its failure royally pissed me off.

Did we not learn anything from the 2008 crash? Or the decade-long savings and loan crises?

For that matter, have we not learned to stop listening to millionaires and billionaires who will not go hungry when their investments fail though Mom and Pop and their tiny businesses will?

~ 3 ~

In March 2018, I wrote a letter to both of my senators asking them to vote No on S.2155 Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, explaining,

— While smaller community banks may complain about the cost of compliance with Dodd-Frank regulations, the costs may be entirely appropriate to a safe, secure banking system. We cannot expect safety and security at no cost;
— Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks have been allowed to accrue economies of scale placing them at an advantage over smaller competitors. The balance should be in the amount of collateral TBTF banks are required to maintain to offset their much larger risk. It is not irrational to expect a trade off of cost savings in exchange for increased security;
— The bill backpedals on protections against racism in lending by preventing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from collecting data about lending demographics;
— And the Congressional Budget Office’s score is dismal:
•  The bill would increase federal deficits by $671 million over the 2018-2027 period
•  And “would increase the likelihood that a large financial firm with assets of between $100 billion and $250 billion would fail.”

And yet both of my senators voted for the bill. Sen. Gary Peters replied with a pathetic explanation that he was trying to help community banks.

Community. Banks.

Like Silicon fucking Valley’s bank, which grew to be Too Big To Fail.

Specifically, this is what he wrote:

   Community banks and credit unions have made great contributions to our economic growth, and in turn, we must make sure they can continue reinvesting in our economy. Our financial regulations must protect consumers and ensure that community banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions can continue to safely provide the mortgages, small business loans, and auto financing that make our economy work for Michigan families. Big banks and Wall Street caused the financial crisis – not Michigan’s credit unions and community banks. Our state’s credit unions and community banks kept Michigan families afloat during the financial crisis by providing loans when big banks would not. We should not have a “one size fits all” approach to financial regulation.

Our economy is healthier and more stable when our financial system is diversified and not concentrated in a handful of the biggest multinational banks. Local community banks and credit unions are having difficulty competing with large, multinational banks headquartered out of state and overseas. This has resulted in increased consolidation and growth of the largest financial institutions while too many community banks and credit unions are being forced to close their doors. I am committed to ensuring that these local institutions can continue to provide affordable, competitive, high-quality financial services to Michigan’s hardworking families and businesses.

Yeah? Well the lack of diversity still happened and now the small banks and credit unions which were supposed to be protected are going to feel the pressure from yet another TBTF bank failure which slipped through the crack created by rolling back regulations.

I hate feeling like Cassandra. The only comfort I have is that I’m not alone.

Max Kennerly shared what Sen. Elizabeth Warren was surely thinking when she wrote about SVB this past week:

That. We fucking told you so. When are legislators going to listen?

And by legislators, I mean any of these Democrats who are still in office who voted for S.2155:

Democratic Senators (13 of these 18 are still in office):

Last Name

State

Comments

Jones

Alabama

Bennet

Colorado

Carper

Delaware

Coons

Delaware

Nelson

Florida

Donnelly

Indiana

Peters

Michigan

Stabenow

Michigan

McCaskill

Missouri

Tester

Montana

Heitkamp

North Dakota

Hassan

New Hampshire

Shaheen

New Hampshire

Kaine

Virginia

Warner

Virginia

Manchin

West Virginia

King

Maine

(Independent, caucuses with Dems)

Heinrich

New Mexico

(Not Voting)

Democratic House Reps:

Bera

California

Bishop (GA)

Georgia

Blunt Rochester

Delaware

Carson (IN)

Indiana

Correa

California

Costa

California

Cuellar

Texas

Davis, Danny

Illinois

Delaney

Maryland

Foster

Illinois

Gonzalez (TX)

Texas

Gottheimer

New Jersey

Hastings

Florida

Himes

Connecticut

Kind

Wisconsin

Kuster (NH)

New Hampshire

Larsen (WA)

Washington

Lawson (FL)

Florida

Maloney, Sean

New York

Murphy (FL)

Florida

Nolan

Minnesota

O’Halleran

Arizona

Peters

California

Peterson

Minnesota

Rice (NY)

New York

Schneider

Illinois

Schrader

Oregon

Scott, David

Georgia

Sewell (AL)

Alabama

Sinema

Arizona

Suozzi

New York

Veasey

Texas

Vela

Texas

Speier

California

(Not Voting)

Walz

Minnesota

(Not Voting)

If any of these are your senators or representatives, feel free to call them at (202) 224-3121 and tell them they need to undo the damage S.2155 did in 2018, and re-assess Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insurance and funding.

~ 2 ~

In a nutshell, this is what was wrong at Silicon Valley Bank:

•  SVB had many high-value depositors whose accounts exceeded FDIC’s $250,000 threshold; 97% of funds deposited were uninsured;

•  The bank leaned on borrowers to deposit all their cash with SVB if they were to be approved for a loan, leaving depositors greatly exposed to SVB’s failure;

•  Using depositors’ cash, SVB bought excessively into long-term bonds while interest rates were low; when rates increased and more rapidly than anticipated, SVB tried to shift its distribution, but without adequately ensuring enough cash to cover withdrawals;

•  SVB’s Chief Risk Officer left and no replacement was named between April 2022-January 2023; the absence of a CRO had not been widely known. A new CRO was named in January 2023, but long after volatility in the tech sector had increased and thousands of tech employees had been laid off.

Ultimately, the bank was extremely vulnerable to the trash talk among techbros who hung with Peter Thiel who pulled his cash and advocated his peeps do the same. They read a newsletter which said SVB was technically insolvent, got their panties in a twist and set off a bank run rather than carefully doing more research as to where SVB had distributed its portfolio and working with the bank to manage rejiggering SVB’s portfolio distribution.

These same depositors could have been asking questions about the CRO’s replacement last summer without raising a ruckus and starting a run, but no. They could have been asking about adequate stress testing last year, in tandem with the Federal Reserve’s moves to increase interest rates between July and December 2022, but no. Apparently they only talked to SVB management when they needed loans.

The capper was that SVB lobbied for weakening of Dodd-Frank Act regulations with passage of S.2155. None of these big bucks depositors batted an eye at that; some were surely donating cash to right-wing politicians who were bashing the Biden administration about interest rates.

One thing legislators could address is the nature of some of the deposits and the limits of FDIC insurance. If some of the depositors are businesses with sizable cash deposits needed for operating funds like payroll, it may be worth considering establishment of a particular kind of FDIC insurance on these accounts above and beyond $250,000.

Imagine you’re a general manager and owner of a technology business. Average pay of technology workers in Silicon Valley is $134,000/year, or $11,166/month. If you have 100 employees, your need for cash to cover payroll will exceed $1 million.

Silicon Valley’s technology businesses can be small shops of one or two people to several thousand – they all still need to cover payroll each month.

Are we really going to worry about making whole people who should be smart enough to know they’ve exceeded FDIC insurance limit with their deposits, people who are rather well off by comparison with the rest of the U.S.? Nope, especially not entrepreneurs’ personal deposits since taking risk is what entrepreneurs do, it’s on them.

But protecting the lower wage workers and the economy at large? Yes, we should consider this. In the past week I’ve seen small businesses scrambling with fire sales of product to raise cash for operations after losing money at SVB. There’s at least one Broadway production which may have been canceled altogether because its producer was a depositor at SVB. In both of these cases it’s workers whose salaries are much less than $100,000/year who are going to bear the brunt of this kind of failure.

It shouldn’t be that difficult to regulate a particular kind of account dedicated solely to payroll which the FDIC would insure for the value of one month’s cash equal to the highest average monthly payroll in the previous 12 months.

This would blunt the drive for businesses and employees alike to pull cash out of a bank, heading off a potential run. Insured banks should likewise be obligated to ensure there was cash on hand matching the anticipated one-month payroll needs, in addition to cash required to meet stress tests the Dodd-Frank Act required.

Some legislators could make this happen in a heart beat if they were really concerned about the economy now and voters in 2024.

~ 1 ~

I’m sure there are folks who aren’t going to like this third of three things but we have an immigrant problem.

Nope, not the folks seeking asylum, desperately fleeing with their families to the U.S. leaving violence and economic hardship behind, who take jobs Americans don’t want and work doggedly to support their families here and abroad.

We have a problem with immigrants like Elon Musk who think they are their gods’ gift to mankind, who believe their money makes them invincible and unaccountable, who are able to thumb their noses at laws in ways the rest of us can’t, feeling immune because he was born with a South African emerald mine in his mouth. Musk has managed to completely trash a critical communications platform used by most news media and marginalized populations, subverting necessary exchange of information important to a functioning democracy – and he did it for little more than the lulz.

We’d long had a problem with immigrant Rupert Murdoch whose News Corp and Fox News have likewise undermined American democracy by promulgating increasing fascism, weaponizing the First Amendment to do so.

Now we have a problem with immigrant cryptofascist who believes they can buy whatever political outcomes they want while ignoring the will of the majority in a democracy. They also believe their wealth doesn’t require them to act prudently for the benefit of the rest of their community and society.

In particular, immigrant Peter Thiel who was key to starting a bank run on SVB, triggering its failure. He pulled all his money out, encouraged his friends to do so, setting off a run which tanked SVB, destroying wealth of persons and businesses in competition with Thiel and his friends.

Fuck everybody else affected by this behavior as far as he’s concerned, because he got his.

If a hostile foreign entity wanted to damage the U.S. economy deeply, they could do *exactly* what Thiel did. Asymmetric warfare would not look different.

As noted on Mastodon, the amount it will cost to make SVB’s depositors whole exceeds the amount the U.S. spends in a year on its food stamp program. There may not be a full federal bailout, with only the FDIC’s insurance covering each depositor to $250,000, but the amount of private as well as public money in play on a single bank should tell us something about our national priorities.

Those national priorities should now include discussion about the kinds of people we’re letting into this democracy, what they are doing to this democracy, and letting them stay in this democracy.

And if we’re going to agree we can’t eject them because they’re wealthy, selfish, and sabotaging the country with their utter disregard for the country which gave them citizenship, then we need to have a serious discussion about disarming them.

Tax them to the hilt so they can’t create a fascist autocracy, for starters – one that looks like Nazi Germany in the 1930s, or an apartheid society like South Africa where both Musk and Thiel once lived.

You may argue this isn’t fair, that American-born billionaires like Robert Mercer and Charles Koch are just as bad at sabotaging democracy.

Okay, great – what are we going to do about that? This country bred their toxicity, and then allowed a new immigrant generation of toxicity to rise because they all had beaucoup money. Meanwhile, hard-working impoverished asylum seekers have been treated like trash.

Let’s deal with this moral and ethical challenge instead of ignoring it.

~ 0 ~

This is an open thread. We’re overdue for a space to dump about topics unrelated to January 6.

Three Things: Walking in the Rain

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

“I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying.”
― Charlie Chaplin

Now is not a good time to be walking in the rain, even if it hides your tears (I’m talking to you, Kevin McCarthy).

~ 3 ~

There are numerous warnings and advisories about the extreme weather event underway in California. The central portion of the state is and will be hardest hit over the next 12-24 hours because of a “bomb cyclone” but the entire state will feel the effects in varying degrees.

In no small part it will be due to the accumulation of rain before this cyclone; the ground in many area is already waterlogged and unable to soak up more water. As you can see from this California Water Watch map based on Tuesday’s data, portions of central CA had already passed 200% of the year-to-date precipitation before the cyclone hit.

There’s rain forecast every day for the next week as well; it’s hard to imagine there not being some enormously dangerous effects arising from this much rain in a state which ordinarily doesn’t see this much rain in an entire season.

~ 2 ~

But it’s not just the rain which is problematic.


[Graphic: Surface wind, approx. 3:15 PM PST January 4, 2023 via earth.nullschool.net]

Power outages are ongoing, some beginning late morning Wednesday. The entire Mission district in the Bay area went dark in early evening local time; by 10:00 p.m. 100,000 residents had lost power in the region.

(Gee, I wonder how Silicon Valley and San Jose are handling this weather event.)

Portions of Santa Cruz upgraded from evacuation warning to evacuation ordered.

I listened to a podcast Wednesday evening on KQED featuring Daniel Swain, climate scientist, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA; Brian Garcia, warning coordination meteorologist, National Weather Service SF Bay Area/Monterey; and Gerry Diaz, newsroom meteorologist, SF Chronicle.  I was struck by how blasé and banal some of the inquiries to the station were, like how to deal with problematic trees, or whether a person living less than 14 feet above sea level on a canal might be at risk of flooding. It was already far too late to be asking these kinds of questions when much of the area was already without power, the coastline was surely being battered by gale and hurricane-force winds, and people should have evacuated 12 hours earlier.

So much denial.

~ 1 ~

The really sad part: just like the wildfires California has faced the last handful of years, this isn’t the last time there will be a weather event of this magnitude. There will be more, they will get bigger, they will happen more often. Denial won’t prevent them or make them go away, any more than denial has worked to fend off the COVID pandemic.

Yet denialists will point to other disasters elsewhere in the U.S. claiming California isn’t anything special, normalizing weather disasters.

This normalization, though, denies the increasing number of weather disasters, keeping pace with the mounting climate crisis:

Eight out of the 10 years with the highest number of natural disasters occurred in the last decade.

Since 1980, there have been 332 billion-dollar natural disasters in the US. In total, these disasters have cost $2.2 trillion after adjusting for inflation and took the lives of more than 15,000 people. This includes 160 severe storms, 57 tropical cyclones or hurricanes, 36 floods, 30 droughts, 20 wildfires, 20 winter storms, and nine freezes.[1]

In the 1980s, there were a total of 31 billion-dollar natural disaster events, resulting in 2,970 deaths. In the 2010s, this number rose to 128 such events, resulting in 5,227 deaths.

[Source: USAFacts.org, Is the number of major natural disasters increasing?, updated November 5, 2022]

Now denialists are currently obstructing the operation of U.S. government by holding out against the majority of their party’s caucus and refusing to elect their party’s choice for House Speaker. By denialist I mean the members of the House GOP caucus who denied the results of the 2020 election, who objected to certification of the election, who were Trump-y enough to be endorsed by the orange-skinned golf cheat. None of these people are serious about governance; none of them will do anything constructive as members of Congress with regard to climate change.

They are simply continuing the January 6 insurrection by other means.

It must be particularly galling to House Speaker candidate Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20), being held hostage by a couple handfuls of people from wide-flung places across the U.S.:

[Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/01/04/us/politics/house-speaker-republicans-vote-against-mccarthy.html]

…while McCarthy’s district is currently floating away, and he’s unable to do anything about federal response as a member of Congress.

~ 0 ~

If you’re in California, please, please, PLEASE heed the National Weather Service’s warnings about conditions in your area.

Mastodon user Jenny from the Bloc (@[email protected]) pulled together a nice list of informational links for use by Californians and curious folks outside the Golden State:

https://aware.zonehaven.com/search – map of evacuation orders and statuses (not complete – only works where integrated with local services)

https://pgewam.lovelytics.info/pge_weather_app/ – pg&e-run weather map with information on winds, precipitation, and more

https://pgealerts.alerts.pge.com/outages/map/ – pg&e-run map of outages. lets you search by address

https://poweroutage.us/area/state/california – third party map of outages. does *not* let you search by address

https://calalerts.org/ – landing page for county-based emergency alerts. note that each county runs their own system, so if you want to keep track of multiple locations in different counties you will need a unique account for each county

https://sfplanninggis.org/floodmap/ – hypothetical flood risk map for city of sf (NOT real time)

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/map/# – noaa-run map of tides, water levels, meteorological observations, and more

https://marin.onerain.com/map/?view=www_marincounty – marin-based map of winds, precipitation, river levels, and more

https://www.oaklandca.gov/topics/winter-storms city of oakland’s dedicated winter storms webpage with further links to oakland-specific resources

https://www.windy.com/ – weather map with information on temperature, precipitation, air quality, and more

https://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ caltrans-run map of road conditions

https://sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=69a0e54e9e2b48c086d122027b21c961 – sonoma county evacuation map
https://slvpost.com/at-home-when-debris-flow-strikes-there-is-hope/ – article about recognizing and responding to debris flows (land slides, mud slides, etc)

https://www.wunderground.com/ – weather site that is extra useful for under-served areas

https://alert.valleywater.org/map?p=map – surface water data & map for the south bay

https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/Departments/Public-Works/Engineering-Services/Creek-Monitor-Cam creek monitor and camera for palo alto

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/08/12/climate/california-rain-storm.html – not about this storm in specific, but an interactive article predicting exactly this kind of storm, explaining how we got here, and exploring what we can do to respond to storms of this type.

For the rest of our community members, do spend some time this week checking your emergency/disaster preparedness plan.

Watching The Circus

As I write this, the House is adjourned until 8:00 pm Eastern, which is when futile voting can begin again. Somewhere H.L. Mencken said that he didn’t mind paying taxes, because every morning he would read the newspaper and laugh his head off at the dullards in Congress. And Twitter is carrying on this tradition watching House primates throw poop at each other.

One thing is clear: the Republicans did not win a majority in the last election. The Democrats won 212 seats, the Republicans won 201, give or take 1, and the Burn It Down Party won 20 seats. Kevin McCarthy, that craven toady, has proved no one can negotiate with the BID Party; and that’s for the best, sane people don’t negotiate with terrorists.

So here’s my solution: the Rs elect Hakeem Jeffries and let the Ds run the House. In return, the Ds agree to take all reasonable steps to marginalize the BID Party members. No committee seats, no earmarks, no rides on military aircraft, no post offices, no flags flown over the Capitol, and anything else suggested by the Elders of the party, Jim Clyburn and Nancy Pelosi.

Pearl-clutching pundits insist that the Democrats must clear up this absurdist drama. I’ll pitch in: How about bringing back Bob Livingston or John Boehner? Maybe check the back bench: is Louis Gohmert available? How about an outsider, like, say, George Santos? And thinking outside the box, how about Brett Kavanaugh?

This is an open thread. Please feel free to post your favorite tweets, toots, articles, etc. and make your own jokes. As an example, here’s a gift subscription to the excellent Alexandra Petrie in the WaPo.

My favorite tweets so far:

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