Senate Democrats’ Unanimous Fail

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

This is fucking maddening.

Not one bloody Democrat voted against this unnecessary crap. Local police could do more to enforce ordinances against noise and the lack of protest permits but you had go on the record supporting this fascist suppression of First Amendment speech instead.

Perhaps these Senate Dems were thinking ahead to the day Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in as a justice and needs protection. But without any statement to the Democratic base explaining this, the base can only assume they are protecting from First Amendment-protected protests the fascist wing of the SCOTUS which is intent on destroying women’s rights to autonomy.

While Senate Dems’ unanimously support protecting fascist jurists from their neighbors who aren’t happy with them, or gods forbid, the horrors of chalked messages on sidewalks like those which terrified Sen. Susan Collins…

…this is what’s going on in Realityville, USA.

The patient in this thread would have been dead in states where zero tolerance abortion laws have been or will be passed.

She’d tried to avoid getting pregnant and it still wasn’t enough to stop an ectopic pregnancy which threatened her life.

The patient in this next thread would have been prosecuted.

She didn’t even know she was pregnant, but if there had been any misinterpretation of her symptoms and history she would have been prosecuted for aborting the fetus.

As she notes women have already been prosecuted for miscarriages.

While Senate Democrats unanimously supported protections for SCOTUS against so-scary First Amendment protests, states are moving to eliminate women’s basic human rights — like traveling to another state for health care.

Because treating women’s reproductive organs is health care and Texas can’t have that.

Somewhere soon, within hours or days, women are going to begin to die from these anti-abortion, anti-women laws passed in red states. The first will be women with ectopic pregnancies who will bleed out while hospital employees stand around and tell her they can’t do anything about it though the mortal threat can be treated by aborting the unviable pregnancy.

Partitions between states will appear as new state laws are introduced, creating what are little more than concentration camps for women — yes, concentration camps because Texas women of childbearing age will not be able to leave Texas if there’s any possibility they may be pregnant.

Imagine having to take a pregnancy test before being allowed to cross a state line; it’s not an outside possibility.

These laws within these partitioned states will deny fundamental human rights to a class of citizens.

We’ve seen this before and fought a civil war over it.

But do pat yourselves on the back, Senate Democrats — you’ve ensured the Supreme Court’s fascist faction which leaked the salvo setting off this cryptic civil war is protected from women writing poignant demands on the sidewalk in front of their homes.

Go, you. Especially you, Sen. Chris Coons. How bipartisan of you to work with the concentration camp state’s Sen. John Cornyn. Don’t let the appearance of two white men get in the way of shepherding a bill intended to assure the abolition of rights for more than half the population doesn’t inconvenience the people who will ensure those rights are abolished.

This Is Not How You Wield Power: Toxic Punditry’s Lack of Self Awareness

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

This is complete and utter bullshit:

We all know asking Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself is merely pissing into the wind. Congressional Democrats are obligated to ask this of him but they know Thomas is corrupt and won’t give the demand a second thought.

What’s bullshit, though, is MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan and Ayman Mohyeldin ripping into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about a request by Democrats to Thomas for his recusal on cases related to the January 6 insurrection.

We all know as well the real problem is that Thomas should be removed from the Supreme Court. Pelosi was absolutely correct saying that Thomas should never have been approved as a SCOTUS jurist to begin with. His failure to report his spouse’s income appropriately — particularly Ginni Thomas’s income from her nonprofit — during the lead up to the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision was unacceptable, as was his meeting with the Koch brothers.

But the House had absolutely nothing to do with Thomas being approved in the first place. The Senate is responsible for review of nominees to the Supreme Court and their approval.

We all know, too, that the House may impeach jurists, but they cannot be removed without a two-thirds vote for conviction by the Senate.

And in this case, a Senate which is only nominally held by Democrats. They couldn’t convict and remove Trump twice after impeachment for the same reason — an inadequate number of Democrats in the Senate.

Where is this power that Hasan and Mohyeldin think Pelosi has as House Speaker when she cannot remove Thomas? Why are they insisting she launch a war she can’t win? (We can see how that works out for Putin in Ukraine.)

All these two boneheaded pundits (and others making the same argument like them) are doing is misogynist pontificating when they know it’s the Senate which can force the issue and only if there were two-thirds of the Senate willing to vote to convict Thomas for his continued corrupt practices.

Yet you don’t see pundits like Hasan and Mohyeldin going after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Nope.

Why is that?

~ ~ ~

They’re literally filling empty air time with useless crap which only serves to damage the public’s opinion of House Democrats — the portion of government which has most reliably served the needs of the people during the Biden administration while the Senate obstructs its efforts.

They’re directly contributing to and amplifying the same poisoning of public opinion already performed by right-wing media outlets Fox News, Newsmax, and OAN, grossly distorting the public’s perception of US government.

It’s right there in front of their noses and they don’t see it:

Hello, Sam Stein, who’s with both MSNBC and Politico? You’re not doing a very good job breaking through to the public if they believe the complete opposite of the truth.

Dan Froomkin elaborated on media’s failures with help from Dean Baker; public opinion about employment is particularly telling.

An additional 21 percent didn’t know one way or the other. Only 28 percent said, correctly, that jobs were created. Less than half of those — only 12 percent — knew that it was more jobs created than in any other year in history.

Similarly, only 19 percent said they thought the U.S. economy experienced more job growth than normal in the past year. The plurality – 35 percent – said they thought more jobs were lost than usual, which is of course spectacularly wrong.

Media figures go out of their way to make sure something looks like it’s on fire or bleeding, so much so that it’s a joke.

But sure, keep beating on House Speaker Pelosi because that will effect the change needed as will pissing into the wind.

~ ~ ~

A pre-print study found that it’s not solely the public at fault when it comes to misperception — it’s not purely partisanship which mis- or disinforms their opinions.

A key problem is the business model: audience members’ understanding and opinions could be shaped by exposure to media, if media bought their time.

Unfortunately, cable and broadcast news don’t pay their viewers. They rely on advertising and subscription volume; their programming becomes little more than reductive clickbait fighting for audience attention. They’ll run the inflammatory material which skews public opinion the wrong way because good news is boring.

It makes sense, and yet the answer to running content which is both more attention-grabbing and -retaining to viewers and the ethically responsible content to run is right there under their noses.

Assuming, of course, the media outlets aren’t forcing their pundit-anchor class to promote corporatism über alles.

Why aren’t programs like Hasan’s and Mohyeldin’s contacting every goddamned Senator and putting them on the record one at a time on camera about their position on Thomas’s failure to recuse himself and whether they would vote to convict him if impeached for abuse of his office as jurist?

I’d pay to watch them squirm. I’d pay to watch Senators’ chiefs of staff run away from mics to avoid answering.

I’d pay to watch them ask Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and Tommy Tuberville if Thomas should recuse himself on any lawsuit in which they may be named as co-conspirators because Thomas’s wife Ginni sided with Hawley and Cruz on overturning or obstructing the election…and was it obstruction of Congress or overturning an election in which they had been encouraged to participate?

That’d be Must-See TV.

~ ~ ~

The other person who gets off lightly all the damn time to the point every media outlet forgets he exists: Chief Justice John Roberts.

He’s the administrative leader of SCOTUS. Every decision made during his tenure will be attributed to the Roberts’ court.

Clarence Thomas’s unmitigated corruption including the damage to democracy Thomas’s role in Citizen United played is the product of Roberts’ court.

The lack of a self-imposed binding code of conduct is Roberts’ failure. Thomas’s refusal to recuse himself from January 6 cases which may be decided by SCOTUS is also his failure.

The lack of legislation requiring a SCOTUS code of conduct with adequate teeth to ensure enforcement is Congress’s fault, but primary responsibility is that of the Senate. In its absence Roberts could administer his court in a way which enforces judicial ethics.

Why wasn’t Roberts a subject of Hasan’s and Mohyeldin’s critique when Roberts clearly has the power to rein in corruption among his jurists?

~ ~ ~

But the real power to which Hasan and Mohyeldin deliberately turned a blind eye wasn’t Nancy Pelosi’s as House Speaker.

It wasn’t even Chuck Schumer’s, or John Roberts’ power.

That pre-print study says it’s their own. How convenient these media figures with a bully pulpit have a handy favorite punching bag to use as clickbait, redirecting attention away from their own failures as media figures with sizable audiences whose perception they shape.

By the way, you have power, too. You should be exercising it by calling your representative and senators and demanding legislation to implement a code of ethical judicial conduct for the Supreme Court (since Roberts appears unable or unwilling to produce one), and impeachment and conviction of Clarence Thomas for his lack of ethics as a jurist.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Gaslighting of the Obstructive Kind

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

It’s pretty damned bad when your uncle feels he must denounce what you’ve said and done as the head of your shared political party.

Ronna McDaniel, niece of Mitt Romney and Republican National Committee chairwoman, deserved her uncle’s rebuttal. She’d tweeted in response to The New York Times’ article, ‘G.O.P. Declares Jan. 6 Attack ‘Legitimate Political Discourse‘ which reported the RNC’s censure of Representatives Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for their participation in the House January 6 Committee:
As the chair of the RNC, it’s “legitimate political discourse” all the way down with McDaniel. She must have approved the wording of the censure which included the description of the U.S. Capitol’s violent storming as “legitimate political discourse,” doubling down when tweeting her objection to the NYT’s straightforward stenography of the censure.

There are so many layers of stupidity to this censure, one of which Marcy has already addressed. But for McDaniel and the RNC to expect the American public to believe their claim is unmoored from reality.

This is not “legitimate political discourse” by ordinary citizens.

Not legitimate as an exercise of free speech.


Violent to the point political perspective has been lost, beyond an effort to obtain agreement.


No reasoned discourse, just rage the entire world could see.

What instead McDaniel and the RNC have offered is gaslighting – an effort to change the public’s perspective of what they saw on television on January 6, 2020; what they’ve seen online across numerous news outlets since then; what the public has been shown by the Federal Bureau of Investigation which is still searching for perpetrators; what the Department of Justice’s prosecutors have shown grand juries and courts as more than 700 individuals have been identified and arrested for their actions on January 6.

Gaslighting — a truly feeble effort which damages the RNC even further because the public can see through the dampened tissue held in front of its eyes.

More specifically, this gaslighting is aimed at GOP voters, who also saw a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6:

The last year of denialism, trash talking the House J6 Committee, and GOP congressional caucus refusal to cooperate in good faith has moved the disapproval rating 13%, still leaving 61% of GOP voters unhappy with what transpired on January 6.

So McDaniel and the RNC doubled down to try and recover more ground with GOP voters.

But the photos and videos don’t lie, and the other evidence gathered so far by both the House J6 and the DOJ bolster what the visual evidence tells us.

Nor has the court countered what the public saw, having convicted 208 and sentenced 85 out of 734 perpetrators charged to date.

The gaslighting will only become more obvious when hearings begin, and begin they will.

Not even Putin’s saber rattling over Ukraine can stop them.

~ ~ ~

The RNC had to backpedal on their claim this was “legitimate political discourse” because it even offended some GOP.

But the discussion over what the RNC really meant clouds another concern, which is that the censure itself was a fraud.

On January 6 and into the early hours of January 7, 2020, these states’ election certifications were called into question:

Arizona: 11 electoral votes – Counted following objection presented by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Senate rejected objection by a vote of 6-93
House rejected objection by a vote of 121-303

Georgia: 16 electoral votes – Counted following incomplete objection presented by Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) without a senator

Michigan: 16 electoral votes – Counted following incomplete objection presented by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) without a senator

Nevada: 6 electoral votes – Counted following incomplete objection presented by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) without a senator

Pennsylvania: 20 electoral votes – Counted following objection presented by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Senate rejected objection by a vote of 7-92
House rejected objection by a vote of 138-282

On December 30, Hawley said he was going to object to certification.

On January 2, 11 other GOP senators said they would object to certification. They were:

Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Mike Braun (R-IN)
Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Steve Daines (R-MT)
Bill Hagerty (R-TN)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
John Kennedy (R-LA)
James Lankford (R-OK)
Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Roger Marshall (R-KS)
Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)

Blackburn, Braun, Daines, Hagerty, Johnson, Lankford, Lummis all withdrew their objections after the Senate reconvened and voted on certification.

Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) had not announced her intention to object in advance of January 6, but later withdrew her objection because of the assault on the Capitol Building.

Rick Scott (R-FL), Cindy Hyde Smith (R-MS), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) threw in with Cruz, Hawley, Kennedy, Marshall, and Tuberville to vote against certification though they did not announce their position ahead of January 6.

We know now that Tuberville had been contacted by phone on the floor of the Senate by both Trump and Rudy Giuliani just as the Senate was being evacuated on January 6.

Represenatives Brooks Gosar, Greene, Hice, Perry objected to the certification of states Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania with support from senators Cruz and Hawley.

In all, 148 GOP members of Congress – 8 senators, 139 representatives – voted against certification of the election.

What McDaniel and the RNC have tried to hide with their claim that January 6 was “legitimate political discourse” was the autogolpe attempted even after the insurrectionist rioters disbanded and left the Capitol Building.

“Legitimate political discourse” this was not, though it has now been whitewashed by the RNC and protected by the weaponized Speech or Debate Clause.

Which of these GOP members of Congress were in on the conspiracy to obstruct government proceedings?

Which of them knew in advance how the plan to overturn several states’ election certifications would work, and knew their role in the conspiracy?

Which of them performed their role as they understood it?

Which ones remained silent and voted against certification, saying little to nothing afterward?

Which ones vacillated – hello, Kevin McCarthy – or played some other role in the conspiracy – hello, Lindsey Graham?

Which ones refused to participate in the conspiracy, but have simply said nothing at all, implicitly supporting sedition, insurrection, and the peaceful transfer of power with their silence?

The lack of honest, forthcoming answers about the GOP congressional caucus’s role is both instructive and obstructive.

~ ~ ~

McDaniel and the RNC may think they’re going to pull their party’s butt out of the fire with this gaslighting effort, by attempting to reframe angry hordes summoned to D.C. — who attacked police and threatened members of Congress, insulted the country by defecating on the Capitol Building’s marble floors after smashing its doors and windows, stole podiums, papers, laptops — as ‘ordinary citizens’ engaged in “legitimate political discourse,” while redirecting attention away from the roles that GOP members of Congress played on January 6.

But they’ve only demonstrated once again the Republican Party is incapable of governing, just as it’s been incapable of establishing a platform since 2016 based on coherent values it demonstrates in its actions.

If the GOP can’t engage in “legitimate political discourse,” if it can only exercise bad faith in words and deeds, it’s dead.

Sic transit mundum tuum, Factio Republicana.

But what if this obstructive gaslighting was more than a reframing exercise meant to skew public opinion?

What if McDaniel and the RNC instead meant to greenlight the same kind of violent behavior Trump’s supporters exhibited on January 6, using the censure of Cheney and Kinzinger and subsequent discussion as cover?

What if the walking dead GOP is not only rotting the brains of its followers with its false reality but encouraging them to continue to rebel because they have no other truly legitimate means to stay in power if voter suppression doesn’t succeed?

Graphic: Quino Al via Unsplash (mod by Rayne)

Three Things: A Call to Action for Voting Rights [UPDATE-2]

[NB: check the byline, thanks. Update(s) at the bottom of the post. /~Rayne]

It’s time to go to the phones and demand your elected members of Congress not only support civil rights but fulfill their oaths of office.

Before I forget, here’s what you’re going to need:

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use Resist.bot

You may also look up your senators’ local offices online and call the one closest to you.

When you call you’re going to remind them the people are guaranteed under the Constitution a republican (little r) form of government under Article IV, Section 4:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…

The text may specifically say the states are guaranteed this, but it means that every state and in turn its citizens shall be assured their government is of, by, and for the people, with government’s powers arising from their consent. No closed clique will govern opaquely for narrower interests.

To that end every citizen must be assured the right to vote as part of that guarantee. We expect our elected officials to deliver on that, not to act like some star chamber.

Call and demand this through the support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act, letting no procedural rule like the filibuster get in the way of the greater obligation to fulfill their oaths.

~ 3 ~

John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, S.4 (JLVRAA) undoes much of the damage done to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 caused by the Supreme Court’s absurd decision in Shelby County v. Holder (2013).

Because of Shelby County v. Holder, states have been able to violate citizens’ voting rights as states are no longer held to a federal standard to ensure they do not discriminate against voters.

This violates the 14th Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause; depending on the state in which U.S. citizens resided, they may not be assured the same voting rights as citizens in other states.

The JLVRAA:

– Prevents states from reverting to discriminatory polling policies including but not limited to literacy tests and poll taxes with a new federal preclearance policy evaluating polling changes;

– Establishes adequate advance notice to citizens of changes to voting rules by states;

– Allows the U.S. Attorney General to assign observers where racial discrimination against voters is most likely;

– Not only requires federal approval for policies impacting the ability to cast a ballot or register to vote, but ensures availability of language assistance for ESL voters as well as fairness in redistricting.

This bill does not replace the 1965 Voting Rights Act but works hand in glove with it to protect every citizen’s right to vote.

~ 2 ~

The For the People Act, S.1 also supports the 1965 Voting Rights Act by:

– Expanding automatic voter registration to every state;

– Restoring voting rights to Americans who have completed their felony sentences;

– Establishing independent redistricting commissions in every state to end partisan redistricting.

– Changes ethics and campaign finance rules to reduce improper and unethical influence on legislation.

You’d think this would be a no-brainer piece of legislation.

~ 1 ~

This video by David Pepper offers the clearest explanation I’ve found as to why the filibuster must go when it comes to voting rights.

Our rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. Our elected members of Congress have a duty to ensure the guarantee is fulfilled as part of their oath of office.

Their oath is NOT to changeable, non-permanent procedures which have benefited a narrower class of citizens.

Insist your senators fulfill their oath and end the filibuster for any civil rights legislation including the JLVRAA and Freedom to Vote Act.

This applies equally to every member of Congress, no matter what state or party affiliation; they’ve sworn the same oath to defend and uphold the Constitution.

~ 0 ~

Perhaps I could have written a shorter hortatory post; if I’d felt less than I do about this I might have, but these bills are essential to the preservation of our democratic republic.

Bottom line: call your senators and demand they fulfill their oaths by passing the JLVRAA and Freedom to Vote Act, ending the filibuster as necessary to pass these bills.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use Resist.bot

Now go – get in good trouble. Let us know how you did in comments.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 5:00 PM —

Looks like there may have been a breakthrough on a procedural basis:


Fingers crossed this works. Can’t be certain we have 50 senators supporting these two bills yet.

If your senators are Republicans or Independents, call them anyhow. All 100 senators swore the same oath.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-2 — 1:00 P.M. 13-JAN-2022 —

Last evening Michael Li of the Brennan Center noted the two voting rights bills have been consolidated, which may make the “message between the Houses” procedure much easier.

This morning Democracy Docket’s Marc Elias noted a change adding anti-subversion wording:

So the new “Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act” isn’t just a consolidation but an improved bill.

I need to confirm the improvement may get around that corrupt twit Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s block of three election security bills which were intended to prevent foreign interference and tampering with electronic voting machines over the internet. (By the way, racist Blackburn is up for re-election in 2025. Ditch her, Tennesseeans.)

The problem even with the procedural maneuvering remains Sen. DINO Sinema who has given a speech this morning which Sen. McConnell praised. That should tell you all you need to know.

Keep calling your senators including GOP senators. The ones who are more centrist like Murkowski in Alaska may be amenable — especially Murkowski given the percentage of voters in her state who are Native American.

Three Things: Omigod Omicron

[NB: Check the byline, thanks! Updates will follow at the bottom of initial posted content. /~Rayne]

Only a month after the World Health Organization declared it a variant of concern, Omicron is now dominant in the U.S. accounting for roughly 3/4 of the nearly 1.9 million new cases of COVID reported over the last week.

Because of its dramatically increased ease of transmission, new cases of COVID are expected to explode and exceed past waves of cases.

~ 3 ~

Joe Biden will be speaking to the nation today about the federal response to the new coronavirus variant Omicron.

The surge of cases is expected to swamp health care infrastructure which has already been pushed up to and beyond its limits by previous COVID waves and the continued resistance to vaccinations and boosters by roughly 30% of the population.

Lockdowns are not expected to be part of the federal response; rather, the government will send federal personnel to large hospitals across the country to help beleaguered staff as new cases roll in.

500 million instant tests for home use are also expected to be sent out. The hue and cry after White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s comments regarding testing and masks sent to homes may have spurred this effort in concert with the dramatic uptick in Omicron cases.

Will this federal response be enough? Likely not — but we would not be in this situation had there been a plan to mitigate COVID in place when Biden took office 11 months ago. Taking office just as another surge began placed the entire Biden response on its heels.

Likely more later on this as an update; three items are in progress and will follow shortly.

~ 2 ~

Speaking of the White House communications, Jeff Zients set off a shitstorm with a poorly worded or thought-through remark about the unvaccinated.

Disability activists were reasonably put out as many disabled can’t get vaccinated and boosted for health reasons.

But there’s another bigger problem in terms of the percentage of people affected: workers especially in low wage jobs aren’t getting vaccinated because their employers aren’t providing adequate support.

If you’ve gotten fast food recently, you’ve probably been in contact with someone who hasn’t been able to get vaccinated.

An effective federal outreach will reach the unvaccinated who want the shots and booster but whose circumstances haven’t allowed them to do so. Leaving this to the states — especially in red states — has left economically vulnerable exposed to COVID.

That said, fuck the unvaccinated who willfully refuse to be vaccinated, especially those who refuse all other mitigation measures. Welcome to the “winter of severe illness and death” you’ve asked for; may its toll be on you alone and not on any vulnerable children, immunocompromised, disabled, or precarious and marginalized persons.

~ 1 ~

One of the biggest flying periods of the year is nearly upon us as Americans fly to/from home for the holidays. Unfortunately this follows a hearing last week before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in which an airline executive said something ridiculously absurd.

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, when asked about mask use by travelers and staff on its airplanes, said,

I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much if anything in the air cabin environment. It’s very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.

Never mind the studies of aerosol transmission which has examined mass transportation for dispersal of aerosolized particles, or case studies of specific outbreaks occurring among persons in enclosed spaces, all of which have shown sitting in close proximity to infected persons substantially increases the odds of transmission between infected and non-infected persons.

Former surgeon general Jerome Adams was rather blunt in response to Kelly’s remarks:

“I’ve got to tell you, there’s no other way I can put my feelings about that than, it was irresponsible. It was irresponsible. It was reckless.”

Kind of surprising for a guy who fluffed up the Trump administration’s policy about mask use.

Karma had her way with Kelly, though, who had been coughing during his appearance before the Transportation Committee — he was diagnosed with COVID the next day.

What an ignorant, arrogant douchebag. He probably infected others in his own workforce and possibly members of Congress and staffers. Why Southwest’s board of directors and shareholders haven’t suspended Kelly is beyond me; air travel requires a fairly high degree of trust in science and Kelly clearly doesn’t trust science.

Masks have been mandatory on public transportation including airplanes since last year. This requirement will likely continue throughout the Omicron wave and beyond.

If you must travel over the holidays, trust the science and wear a high-quality mask.

~ 0 ~

Oops, one more thing: Robert F. Kennedy III is a blight on his family’s legacy. His anti-vaxx bullshit is racist bordering on genocidal.

He needs to be kicked to the curb. I would love to know who/what is funding his sketchy work.

Angry Mom: Thanks, Joe “2022 Will Be an Electoral Bloodbath” Manchin [UPDATE-2]

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

I have no choice but to warn you I write this as one hella angry mom. I want to put some people in time out badly.

First, a caveat and an ear-boxing:

The GOP is worthless. They have systematically refused to govern during a time of crisis. What the GOP has done instead has exponentially increased risk to America – Making America Great at Stupidity – and to the rest of the world with its anti-science, anti-vaccine, anti-mask propaganda.

They’ve fought every single damned effort to offer aid to the country. Their congressional voting record documents this for posterity as well as in state legislatures. They resist rational science-based efforts to stem the pandemic because of weak sauce excuses like “muh freedum!” which means protecting the unconstitutional right to increase others’ risk of sickness, disability, death, and loss of business.

They’re not a political party with a reasoned platform based on a sound ideology with which the country can identify. Instead it’s an organization intent on maintaining a grip on power by aggregating Know-Nothings, Do-Nothings, and Stop-Everythings, which includes stopping this country from realizing a more perfect union.

If the GOP was a sane and legitimate political party I wouldn’t have had to write this post.

That said, Senator Chuck Schumer and President Joe Biden have screwed up in a big way, a couple times over. They need to be schooled for this.

~ ~ ~

Joe Manchin appeared on fucking Fox News yesterday to say he wasn’t going to support the Build Back Better Act which has already been passed in the House.

If that wasn’t a deliberate in-your-face “Fuck You!” to Biden, the Senate Democrats, his West Virginia constituents, and the entire country, I don’t know what is.

Not NBC, not CBS, not ABC. Not NPR, not even a local West Virginia news station.

He went to Fox Home of Demoralizatsiya News.

And he was able to do so because Schumer and Biden allowed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (a.k.a. Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework – BIF) to be delinked from passage of the BBB, putting the BIF first and BBB second in order to obtain Manchin’s support.

Except the BIF is the only thing Manchin wanted to the benefit of his corporate overlords. BBB gives money to those people he doesn’t trust, like most of the constituents of his state, the second poorest state in the country.

Can’t have that.

Ask Adam Jentleson about it. He does a better job in this Twitter thread explaining how this negotiation was fucked up all to hell.

Don’t ask the progressive House Dems about this situation; you should already have been able to hear them warning before this all went down that Manchin couldn’t be trusted. Their fury is righteous.

And I absolutely mean righteous because there’s no goddamned way in hell someone like Ady Barkan, who has fought so vigorously for American’s health care, should have to worry about services he needs as he fights a mortal illness.

There’s also no way that the roughly 10% of Americans who are diabetics should have to continue to worry about coming up with $1000 per month to pay for insulin which costs a few bucks to make. They should be rejoicing about a $35 month price instead, but no – Manchin fucked them over, and Chuck and Joe failed to see the fucking coming at us.

Don’t get me started on the other fuck-ups like the Child Tax Credit, about which one tweeter wrote, “2022 will be a Electoral bloodbath” (sic).

Imagine this happening to a household which has had reduced hours, wage cuts, or has been on minimum wage, or dealing with unpaid time off due to COVID over the last year. Just do the simple math of two young parents trying to manage this on 40 hours a week at prevailing local minimum wage.

People have to pay bills NOW, and in January, and in February, in spite of work disruptions and increased cost of daycare and other childcare expenses…they can’t just float everything until this is fixed or the credit is paid out after they file 2022 tax returns.

Also extremely unhelpful is Biden’s persistent refusal to use his executive power to forgive student loans in part or in whole.

Parents of young children with student loans are doubly screwed by the failures of both the White House and the Senate Leader. And yet there’s head scratching about Biden’s weak approval rating going into 2022 especially with younger voters.

Why the hell should Millennials and Gen Z turn out to vote when they can do the math and they know the Democratic Party hasn’t delivered for them – especially as they go into another COVID hurricane thanks to Omicron?

~ ~ ~

Look, the BBB is an economic stimulus package. Every single household saddled with burdens BBB could alleviate would be able to participate more fully in the economy.

Some of that “economic anxiety” the media hyped up as one reason behind Trump’s election in 2016 could be partially relieved.

Forgiving student loans is likewise an economic stimulus targeted at a segment of the population which is most likely to spend income immediately, locally, and on goods and services which propel our economy.

This is what Joe Manchin failed to recognize and couldn’t explain to his constituents AND his corporate overlords because he’s a selfish dumb ass.

The BBB is economic stimulus — this is the justification for Schumer and Biden to approach moderate GOP members like Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME) to obtain their votes (Collins owes women this, big time).

Other people have been explaining it quite capably:

Yet Manchin refuses to accept the assist.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs downgraded its estimates of U.S. economic growth yesterday.

Which leads me to ask one rather important question, given Manchin’s announcement on goddamned Fox News and Goldman Sachs’ downgrade on a Sunday.

Who knew about Manchin’s decision and shorted the market?

Heaven help you if you did, Manchin.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 2:50 PM 20-DEC-2021 —

Thanks to Kendall Brown for saving us a click so we didn’t have to read all the revolting Manchin-sympathetic journalism to get to this bit:

I’m even more convinced something shady happened than I was before if Manchin is going to blame incivility by the White House as a reason to walk away from the BBB.

Who didn’t know Manchin was the hold up? We all of us knew it, it wasn’t a surprise. The White House naming him as the lone Democratic holdout only confirmed what we’d known and what the House progressive caucus was worried about — that a single Democrat would be the sole reason the bill would fail, and look, it was one of the two senators most-likely-to-DINO-tank-a-bill.

Doesn’t he make enough from his other investments to take care of his family if he’s so worried about them being included in harassment because he’d rather tank the entire BBB and hurt Americans in the process? Maybe sell your Maserati, Manchin, and buy a couple security people.

Jesus Christ, what a whiny baby he is.

Rep. Jayapal is now looking at executive action as a Plan B to realizing key components in the BBB.

What a pity Manchin didn’t take a hint from all the feedback he got from average Americans to simply agree to pass the bill and be a hero instead of self owning by appearing to flip flop on his demands throughout the course of the negotiations in full sight of the public who could see he was the bottlenecking gatekeeper.

He looks even more weak and pathetic having to go to yet another sympathetic outlet to make his non-existent case.

UPDATE-2 — 11:50 AM 21-DEC-2021 —

There have been rumbles over the last 24 hours about the BBB possibly being revamped if not revived or resuscitated. But Manchin’s homies have also taken issue with his position on BBB:

The West Virginia Dems had done a fair amount of organizing recently which showed up in polling about the BBB:


Hard to get around these numbers which show bipartisan support among constituents for BBB.

Three Things: A Three-Ring Circus

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

Under the enormous canvas tent of the United States, come see the mightiest extant amusement organization, superior in character, regal in appointment, magnificent in conception, omnipotent in strength, with hundreds of witnesses, a plethora of attorneys and paralegals, the promise of the wild beast-like Chansley, multiple frustrated judges…

And one orange-tinted slack-bottomed kack-handed clown unseen off the stage entantrumed in the wings.

Ladies, Gentlemen, and those of pronouns without and within, welcome to the American circus.

I can’t even begin to imagine what all of this looks like from abroad.

~ 3 ~

Arguments just wrapped up in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit regarding former president Trump’s claim of executive privilege over testimony and materials subpoenaed by the House January 6 Committee. Twitter threads covering the hearing’s progress:

For BuzzFeed:


For DailyKos:

Stream the audio of the arguments on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/DcMnkpZOpxo

I have to admit this hearing is making me grit my teeth. No one is above the law; the executive’s job is to execute what Congress legislates, and Congress cannot do its job effectively without oversight of the executive’s work when its work product is not related to classified national security issues. There’s zero executive privilege for testimony and materials related to campaigning if performed in and by the White House.

~ 2 ~

Convicted shaman insurrectionist perp Jacob Chansley filed an appeal today.

Good luck with that, buddy. What a waste of a lengthy mea culpa in court.

Chansley wasn’t the only lower level perp on the agenda today — check Scott MacFarlane’s Twitter feed for more including another perp charged and another arraigned today.

~ 1 ~

Washington Post published an article today about Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who until now has completely resisted compliance with a House January 6 Committee subpoena. Here’s the timeline of related events:

September 23, 2021 — House January 6 Committee issued a subpoena to Meadows;
October 7, 2021 — Due date for records subpoenaed;
October 15, 2021 — Deposition deadline;
November 11, 2021 — White House Deputy Counsel sent a letter to Meadow’s attorney advising that President Biden would not exert executive privilege over any testimony or records the House January 6 Committee subpoenaed;
November 11, 2021 — U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit blocked handover of National Archives’ presidential records responsive to a January 6 committee’s subpoena;
November 12, 2021 — Meadow’s attorney issued a statement which said Meadows would not cooperate with the committee until after the legality of the subpoenas was settled in court;
November 30, 2021 — See Thing 3 above, Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit hearing today regarding subpoena of testimony and records over which Trump claims executive privilege.

Hed and subhed of WaPo’s article today:

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows cooperating with Jan. 6 committee
Meadows has provided records to the committee investigating the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob and will give a deposition.

“Cooperating” is rather broadly used. Committee chair Bennie Thompson issued a statement today about Meadows:

“Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition. The Select Committee expects all witnesses, including Mr. Meadows, to provide all information requested and that the Select Committee is lawfully entitled to receive. The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”

“has been engaging” isn’t the same as cooperating; an “initial” deposition doesn’t mean anything until Meadows has actually answered questions put to him without prevarication.

As Marcy tweeted, “Meadows could invoke a bunch of things and avoid testifying and avoid contempt that way.

Betting this “cooperating” is a stall tactic which won’t end until the Department of Justice indicts Meadows for contempt of Congress as they did Steve Bannon.

But perhaps there will be more than two charges if Meadows “has been engaging” in a little light obstruction.

Sure hope for his own sake Meadows turned information related to his phone records.

~ 0 ~

What other hearing(s) did I miss? Share in comments.

Photo: Pavan Trikutam via Unsplash

Burners, Burning: The Heat’s Turned up on Mark Meadows [UPDATE-1]

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

Well, well, well. According to Hunter Walker in a fresh report at Rolling Stone, Kremer the Younger bought burner phones to use when communicating with key persons attached to the White House.

In the thread attached to my last post, a community member commented about the Kremers saying,

… Only if they knew Trump’s plans, the Kremers might be guilty of conspiracy. …

They didn’t need to know Trump’s plans, though. They only needed to understand part of one or more of the conspiracies and then take some action to further that conspiracy.

Like this:

… Kylie Kremer, a top official in the “March for Trump” group that helped plan the Ellipse rally, directed an aide to pick up three burner phones days before Jan. 6, according to three sources who were involved in the event. One of the sources, a member of the “March for Trump” team, says Kremer insisted the phones be purchased using cash and described this as being “of the utmost importance.”

The three sources said Kylie Kremer took one of the phones and used it to communicate with top White House and Trump campaign officials, including Eric Trump, the president’s second-oldest son, who leads the family’s real-estate business; Lara Trump, Eric’s wife and a former senior Trump campaign consultant; Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff; and Katrina Pierson, a Trump surrogate and campaign consultant. …

Sending someone who isn’t a Kremer to buy a burner phone with cash to evade tracing suggests Kylie Kremer knew exactly what the role of her organization, Women to Save America First, was within the framework of the insurrection.

If this was a legitimate effort to work with the Trump campaign using dedicated communications for easier access, why the skulkery of a third person using cash buying a burner? Why not use a dedicated VoIP number to contact a communications person in the Trump campaign?

Or a no-contract phone purchased with a credit card? Or an additional number added to an existing cell phone contract?

Why was Meadows involved in any way given his role as the Chief of Staff, which should have been wholly separate from any campaign-related effort?

Whether Meadows interacted with Kremers or other members of the conspiracy as COS (a Hatch Act violation) or as a campaign member (not shielded as executive acts), he’s thoroughly shot through any claim to immunity or privilege.

The existence of burner phones used to contact persons in the White House certainly expands the import of this graf from the House January 6 Committee’s letter to Meadow’s attorney after Meadows’ refused to comply with the committee’s subpoena:

… In addition, Mr. Meadows has not produced even a single document in response to the Select Committee’s subpoena. Although you previously indicated that your firm was searching records that Mr. Meadows provided to you, more than enough time has passed for you to complete your review. Please immediately inform the Select Committee whether Mr. Meadows has any records responsive to the subpoena. Your search for responsive records should include (but not be limited to) any text messages, emails, or application-based messages associated with the cellular phone numbers and private email address the Select Committee has identified. If Mr. Meadows has records that you believe are protected by some form of privilege, you must provide the Select Committee a log describing each such record and the basis for the privilege asserted. …

Emphasis mine. Were any burner phones among those cellular phone numbers requested? Has geo-fencing been used to narrow down where those phones were during the lead up to and on January 6?

We don’t know yet. I suspect we’ll find out more in the not too distant future.

The purchase of the burner phones, though, look like an overt act to advance a conspiracy (18 USC 371).

Sure hope both of the Kremers as well as the aide who was asked to buy the burners, the third team member who received a burner phone, and Meadows all realize this is only getting worse for them.

Same for the Trump family members Eric and Lara who must be getting a little itchy after Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen resurfaced.

Especially for Meadows if he continues to blow off Congress with his refusal to comply with the January 6 Committee’s subpoena; it won’t be just contempt of Congress (two counts under 2 USC 192) with which he may be charged and prosecuted.

Hello, 18 USC 1505 otherwise known as Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees.

Perhaps with a domestic terror enhancement?

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 11:45 A.M. 25-NOV-2021 —

LOL Really? Eric’s going to try to SLAPP suit people in small outlets who don’t report the burner phones Kylie Kremer asked an aide to purchase may have been used to call him and Lara?

I love the smell of discovery in the morning!!

Mark, Mark, Mark!: No Wonder Meadows Balked at House Subpoena

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

This isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but I couldn’t help think of this dubstep mix by Massachusetts artist ZMcD titled Mark Mark Mark.

It popped into my head while reading Hunter Walker’s latest piece in Rolling Stone, Leaked Texts: Jan. 6 Organizers Say They Were ‘Following POTUS’ Lead’.

Apparently there are text messages from the rally organizers Amy Kremer, Women For America First’s chair, and Kylie Jane Kremer, WAF’s executive director, which are incriminating:

… Two sources who were involved in planning the Ellipse rally previously told Rolling Stone they had extensive interactions with members of Trump’s team, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The text messages provide a deeper understanding of what that cooperation entailed, including an in-person meeting at the White House. Rally organizers also described working with Trump’s team to announce the event, promote it, and grant access to VIP guests. A spokesperson for the former president did not respond to a request for comment on the record. …

Oh Mark, Mark, Mark!

No wonder he’s dragging his butt submitting to the House January 6 Committee’s subpoena.

… Two days later, Kremer texted some of the organizers to let them know she was temporarily getting off the bus to travel to Washington for a White House meeting.

“For those of you that weren’t aware, I have jumped off the tour for the night and am headed to DC. I have a mtg at the WH tomorrow afternoon and then will be back tomorrow night,” wrote Kremer. “Rest well. I’ll make sure the President knows about the tour tomorrow!”

The message describing Kremer’s White House meeting is one of several where she and Kylie, indicated they were in communication with Trump’s team. …

Kremer sent that text on November 30, 2020 about a December 1 meeting at the White House.

Six weeks later Kremer would be ordering appetizers and dinner at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel while insurrectionists continued to riot inside the Capitol Building. Mark Meadows will likely know this if he was copied in a group message sent by March to Save America/Women for America First rally organizers.

No wonder the committee and the House hasn’t yet voted to hold Meadows in contempt, sending him a tautly worded letter when he refused to comply.

This is Meadow’s chance to save his behind by looking into immunity because these text messages can’t shed a good light on him.

Perhaps he should call former Nixon White House counsel John Dean about this (what a pity he can’t call Jeb Stuart Magruder who like Dean was granted limited immunity for his cooperation during the Watergate investigation).

No matter whether he calls Dean or not, I sure hope Meadows has lawyered up.

And I sure hope he’s thought good and hard whether that slack-bottomed chronic golf cheat is worth his time and effort.

I certainly wouldn’t put faith in the support of the Kremers, as text messages indicate one of them got sloshed the evening of January 6, locked herself in a bathroom and then begged to be rescued in the early morning January 7.

Three Things: Ugly Goes Clean to the Bone [UPDATE-1]

[NB: As always, check the byline. Updates will appear at the bottom. Thanks. /~Rayne]

Friday we got badly wanted news; we wanted it badly enough we didn’t blink at its arrival in the late Friday afternoon news dump zone.

But it wasn’t enough. It was only the start, a mere teaser.

~ 3 ~

At 3:53 p.m. last Friday, the Department of Justice tweeted the indictment news:

The internet was paying attention:

…even if Steve Bannon hadn’t been.

Rather hubristic to carry on as if he didn’t expect to be indicted, but then many of us were beginning to think it would never happen.

Bannon is supposed to surrender himself today, which may be a bit of a circus since Bannon now has a new attorney, David Schoen. Schoen was one of Trump’s impeachment attorneys in 2020.

~ 2 ~

The well-meaning sages who insisted things were under control — it was a good sign it was taking nearly a month to indict Bannon, don’t be like deplorables, blah-blah-blah — all had their say.

But which is it?

These things just need more time because DOJ must be cautious?

Or these things just needed this one person who wasn’t approved as DC-US Attorney until October 28 and sworn in more than a week later on November 5 to do the thing — which, by the way, took one week from oath to indictment?

Because it sure looks like the entirety of the House January 6 committee’s ability to wield its inherent powers on intransigent witnesses was completely dependent on the absence/presence of a single Biden appointee which some jerk like Sen. Ted Cruz could have held up the way he is currently holding our foreign policy hostage with holds on State Department nominees.

Are we supposed to accept with a pat on our heads that our democracy yet again depended on one person’s role?

If the DC-US Attorney were to become incapacitated at any time when the January 6 committee refers a contempt charge to DOJ, are we supposed to accept the platitudes “this takes time” or “don’t be a deplorable” when nothing happens?

What kind of government continuity is this?

~ 1 ~

Which brings us to the problem of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who received communications both Thursday and Friday from the chair of the January 6 committee about his lack of response to a subpoena issued by the committee on September 23.

Using false or misleading claims, Meadows had attempted to spur the DOJ to investigate election fraud claims including a bizarre theory that unknown persons located in Italy used military technology and satellites to remotely switch votes from Trump to Biden. These claims were sent to then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen between December and January — after the 2020 election but before the January 6 insurrection.

Meadows was supposed to appear before the committee on October 15 to answer questions about these claims and his role in pushing them toward the DOJ, a week after he was supposed to have furnished documents requested by the committee in relation to these false election fraud claims.

The committee’s chair sent a letter last Thursday to Meadow’s attorney:

And on Friday the committee emphasized it’s going to use the tools available to it to obtain compliance with the subpoena — or else.


Meadow’s attorney sent a massively ballsy op-ed to the Washington Post as a rebuttal to the committee’s subpoena:

Opinion: In abandoning executive privilege, Biden rejects 200 years of history

George J. Terwilliger III is a partner at McGuireWoods LLP in Washington and previously served as deputy attorney general.

As counsel for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, I was surprised and disappointed to receive a letter Thursday informing me that the Biden administration will be the first in history not to resist a congressional subpoena for testimony from a senior White House aide. …

WaPo treated this like any other conservative’s op-ed; no caveat this op-ed may be tampering with an investigation.

Rather interesting how Terwilliger was able to get a 789-word op-ed published at 3:30 p.m. on the same day the January 6 committee issued its letter. This isn’t the first time Terwilliger has opined in WaPo about someone involved in the January 6 insurrection though Terwilliger’s last op-ed was a defense of former AG Bill Barr’s interference in Roger Stone’s sentencing. Can’t have the GOP’s senior ratfucker excessively punished during an election season after all.

Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean didn’t think much of Terwilliger’s op-ed:


I think I’d put my money behind Dean as to which of these two attorneys has a better grasp on the limits of executive privilege.

But it gets worse for Meadows since the soon-to-be-released book about the January 6 insurrection by reporter Jonathan Karl revealed yet another memo outlining steps to effect the autogolpe overthrowing the election.

Meadows had forwarded by email to then-VP Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short a memo prepared by attorney Jennifer Ellis outlining the steps Pence needed to take to avoid certifying the election for Biden until a new alternate slate of electors for Trump could be introduced from just enough states to flip the election to Trump.

A rather pathetic carrot offered to Pence with the stick to follow on the day of the insurrection — a threat of violence and possible assassination by mob because Pence didn’t take the memo as a White House-approved order.

Looks like the number of questions Meadows must now answer has grown even longer.

~ 0 ~

The title of this post comes from an aphorism attributed to a favorite writer, Dorothy Parker: “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.” Meadows may be more physically attractive and better dressed than Bannon but they’re both deeply ugly people who represent an existential threat to American democracy.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 10:00 P.M. ET —

Yeesh.

For a guy who was simply asked to appear before a House committee to answer some questions about what happened leading up to and on the day of January 6, this guy sure wants his audience to believe he’s being uniquely singled out for harassment by a president who both believes in the equal but separate powers inherent to each branch of government, and who believes the DOJ should be independent of the White House. Perhaps Bannon’s projecting since he was just fine with Trump’s DOJ acting like his personal police force.

Bannon could have just shown up, told the committee on a question by question basis, “I can’t answer that because my lawyer said it’s under executive privilege as Trump has claimed,” and simply gone about his day, coming off cool and collected like someone with nothing to hide.

But no, Bannon has to make a big scene because it’s a grift for more money; you know when he said “Stand by,” he will likely elaborate soon saying, “Stand by, because I’m going to ask you for help soon,” and then he’ll point to a link for donations for his legal fund.

Wow, he doesn’t even need to claim he’s building a border wall this time.

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