Category Archives: Congress

What I Meant To Say Was…

A Tour Guide On A Bus

Not me, but an amazing simulation of me.

In real life outside the world of internet punditry, my profession is that of a tour guide. I take people from all over the world on tours of any and all of the sights around Northern California, from as far south as Monterey up to the Napa-Sonoma wine country. The wife (Cruella) also is a tour guide. She’s the one who got me into the profession for which I am forever grateful. I love doing it.

After all how many professions can say the job is to pick up strangers at elegant hotels and show them a good time? OK, yeah, there is that other one as well. My job doesn’t pay nearly as well as the other one but I do get to keep my clothes on for which my guests are forever grateful.

I recently took a group of Texans for a tour to some of the Napa wineries. Along the way we passed by the notoriously expensive ($350 per person without wine for a pre-fixe tasting menu) restaurant The French Laundry. That particular restaurant has been on the minds (and thus on the tongues) of conservative media lately as Gavin Newsom had a misstep early in the pandemic of being photographed having dinner there right after he enacted strict COVID restrictions on all restaurants. Mind you, The French Laundry was adhering to all those restrictions when the picture was taken. Also the picture had been cropped to make it appear he was dining indoors when in fact that room is open on two sides. Nevertheless, bad optics and it was a rallying cry used in the catastrophically lopsided recall election that kept Newsom in office and may have destroyed the Repugnicant Party here in the Golden State.

Now I bring this up because as we drove past, the gentleman seated in the front seat of the bus snickered “Bet Nancy Pelosi eats there”. We’ll forget for a moment his mixing up of liberal California Democrats. My response was a simple “to be honest, I wouldn’t know” and a quick moving on to other subjects. I reserve my liberal snarck for my dear readers.

But here’s what I meant to say:

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O Captain! My Captain!

The news media found new life last week when Joe Biden began withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan. Finally they had the sensational story with a simple plot that drew clicks and eyeballs. And even better, Biden’s approval rating took a hit this week allowing them additional hand-wringing opportunities to opine about how his legislative agenda was now in jeopardy.

Why would Democrats refuse support for programs that would be a huge boost to their campaigns next fall? It didn’t make sense to me, but it did to a bunch of conservative House Democrats who saw this as a heaven-sent chance to hold the rest of the Democratic caucus hostage.

Under the banner of striking while the iron was hot, Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and his Sabotage Squad insisted that the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill be held ASAP, completely bypassing the agreement between progressives and conservatives. How bad were the optics on this? Mitch McConnell said he was rooting for them to tank the entire deal, including the bill he himself had voted for.

There is a subset of House Democrats which doesn’t seem to have a complete understanding of the difference between representatives and senators. The size of the House means that the individual influence of any 1 representative is diluted, especially when compared to the power an individual senator has. So while Joe Manchin can extract concessions, it’s much more difficult for even a group of representatives to do the same.

And the Sabotage Squad had an additional wrinkle in their plans—appeasing them meant antagonizing the other squad, thus stopping all forward movement of both bills in the House. There was no way that Nancy Pelosi was going to put up with that nonsense.

As we learned last week from numerous think pieces, Afghanistan is the place where empires go to die. And Speaker Pelosi is the Afghanistan of the House of Representatives. Waves of rebels have gone to their ideological deaths at her capable hands. (Remember how Seth Moulton was going to be the next Speaker of the House? Yeah. Although he didn’t seem to learn from his lesson since he jetted off to Afghanistan to create more headaches for Biden.)

Poltico covered the story on Monday as Pelosi offering a deal to Gottheimer. That same framing was repeated, as if Pelosi were actually worried that it was all going to go south. Then on Tuesday night, a day after the panicked Politico piece, word came that all the needed votes were complete and the 2-track plan was still intact.

Not only that, but there was no actual deal:

Nancy Pelosi is the most consequential Speaker of the House in the 20th century, and so far in the 21st century as well. Her political acumen led to the passage of the ACA. She masterminded the 2018 midterm election strategy that returned her to the Speaker’s chair. And now she’s going to pass the bulk of Joe Biden’s legislative agenda before the 2022 midterms. I’m going to miss her leadership when she steps down as Speaker after this Congress. I hope she changes her mind.

If Democrats Were More Like Republicans

Not even a Bowie Knife

If Democrats acted more the way Republicans act things might be different in these parts

  • The headline in the Dallas Morning News would be:

BIDEN TO TEXAS, DROP DEAD

  • Democratic governors would be shouting at the top of their lungs for citizens to wear masks as well as turning around and signing mandatory mask laws that have REAL teeth, ie, don’t wear a mask and you are confined to your home for the duration.
  • Kristen Simena would have outed Lady G and watched in smug triumph as he squirmed to get out from underneath his own baggage.
  • MSNBC would have better ratings than Fox on a consistent basis.
  • The public would have been bombarded with TV and print commercials saying this Daily Show phony anti-voting ad was real. Plus the Voting Rights Act would have already passed.
  • Every time Republicans blathered Culture Warrior chants, Democrats would bring out photos of slaves, civil rights workers being beaten, and the protests over the murder of George Floyd.
  • The cries over a supposed “border crisis” would be outshouted by the cries to fix the countries these poor people are fleeing
  • Climate change deniers would be ridiculed for their folly and real solutions involving real jobs for real workers would be front and center in the public mind.
  • Etc., Etc., Etc..

Democrats don’t have a problem with their policies. State any one of them to any John Q. Public you meet on the street, strip out who is in favor of that policy, and old John Q. is going to say, sure I’m for that. No one will ever say they are in favor of polluted water, unbreathable air, heath care only for those rich enough to afford it, preventing citizens from voting.

So where do Democrats stumble?

They don’t outshout their opponents. And on top of that they allow themselves to get drawn into useless debates over petty issues that muddle the waters and make independent and never Trump Republicans say how can I trust them to run the country.

Like it or not we live in an age of Click Bait and Gotcha and political discourse via Tweet. Democrats do a good job of pointing out in great detail the downsides and absurdities of what Republicans say, but by the time they do the metaphorical horse has fled the barn. Learn to play the game. It is played in short tweets that do nothing to advance the art of political discourse, but do get a few idiots who currently vote Republican to switch sides.

You can win with defense only in sports. If you don’t go on the offensive and do it on a regular and consistent basis you end up only playing defense. In the world of politics, defense loses every time. Just ask Andrew Cuomo.

I’m tired of Democrats not getting out ahead of any issue and allowing Republicans to set the argument. Look at the disgusting way Congressional Republicans have framed the January 6th attempted overthrow of the government as merely a group of over zealous tourists. Yes, Democrats have pushed back on that notion, but not so much that the general public hasn’t laughed Republicans out of office. The Republican argument is a plainly absurd idea. We all saw with our own eyes what happened and it was nothing less than an attempted coup intending to install Donald Trump as the winner of the 2020 election.

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The Amateur Lawyers Are Killing Me

I don’t mean the killing me bit literally. It’s a vivid image that I’ve used countless times on Twitter. It’s also why I used the Hamilton Burger-Perry Mason featured image. Now that I think of it, fictional lawyers know more than amateur attorneys. The amateur ones are a Raymond Burr in my saddle…

I nearly used this title when I wrote The Law Is Slow, but I thought that title brought more light than heat. I’m big on bringing light when so many others only bring heat. It’s the curse of our age.

The latest know-nothing legal Tweet comes from former Tea Party dude turned Never-Trumper, the Other Joe Walsh.

I could just leave it there, but I feel like expounding. It’s what pundits do.

One of the most important recent legal developments took place a few weeks ago. It’s when DOJ announced that Trump regime officials could NOT invoke executive privilege. I celebrated it in a Not Everything Sucks post, but it was largely ignored by those who prefer drama to substance. That includes most of the MSM who miss the constant drama and leaks from the previous administration.

I think First Draft newbie Cassandra nailed it as a part of last night’s Other Joe Walsh conversation:

BTW, if you don’t follow Cassandra on Twitter please do so.  I’m uncertain if she’ll sing any strange opera, but she’s insightful and fierce as well as operatic. As long as it’s not Klingon opera, I can handle it.

Back to recent legal developments. Former acting Attorney General Rosen testified because of DOJ’s move on executive privilege. I hope nobody thinks that Bill Barr’s former deputy did this out of the goodness of his heart.  He’s hoping to avoid prosecution and/or disbarment. Besides, coup plotting was a bridge too far for both Rosen and Barr. I just said something nice about Bill Barr. There’s a first time for everything.

There’s been a lot of talk about the House Select Committee, but Dick Durbin the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is determined to get to the bottom of the intrigue at DOJ.

Josh Marshall nails the Durbin angle:

The Senate Judiciary Committee, under Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL), appears to be doing most of its work in private, rather than in set-piece hearings. Things appear to have kicked into higher gear after Attorney General Merrick Garland allowed former Trump-era DOJ officials to testify about what is now emerging as a fairly elaborate coup plot hatched in the waning months of the Trump administration. Judiciary committee investigators jumped at the chance and some who were involved in the plot – or at least were witnesses to the plot – have jumped themselves … to testify. Rosen apparently was in a bit of a rush to testify – once Garland gave the go-ahead – before anyone on the Trump side could get into court to try to stop him. The testimony was also conducted out of the press spotlight so it would be done before anyone who might want to block it knew.

That’s how investigations should be handled. It’s best to sneak up on suspected criminals before pouncing, especially when they’re former presidents*. One reason the Mueller Probe was a disappointment was that Team Trump saw it coming and mounted a concerted albeit mendacious counterattack.

All of these factors lead me to believe that there *is* a current investigation at DOJ. I realize the amateur lawyers don’t think so because they prefer to wallow in their “Merrick Garland sucks” narrative. Repeat after me: The law is slow.

Former US Attorneys Barbara McQuaid and Joyce Vance collaborated with Larry Tribe on a roadmap for a Trump investigation. When I saw Joyce discuss the piece on MSNBC, she said that she thought an investigation was underway. She added that she too preferred to investigate behind closed doors when she was a US Attorney. Always trust a cat person:

Another way in which the amateur lawyers are killing me is this: the incessant chants for Trump to be jailed immediately. While I’m in favor of prosecuting Trump, in America, we don’t just lock people up before filing charges. That’s what the Impeached Insult Comedian wanted to do to his enemies. It’s company that I don’t want to keep.

Even if Trump is indicted and convicted, he can still run for federal office unless the GOP changes its nominating rules. Anyone think that’s even remotely possible?

Here’s how I described the run from jail possibility in an earlier post, The Ghost Of Roy Cohn:

… a reminder that even if Donald Trump is convicted of a crime, he can still run for office from prison. Eugene V. Debs received 913, 664 votes while languishing in federal prison in 1920. Debs was a political prisoner locked up for his anti-war views. Trump is, of course, a criminal who deserves everything the justice system can throw at him.

The amateur lawyers of the MSM and Twitter need to learn patience. The law is slow, it doesn’t work as fast as Twitter, nor should it. We need to get this right, not fast.

The last word is an ironic one. It goes to the Real Joe Walsh with a song he wrote with Glenn Frey and Don Henley:

Quote Of The Day: Losing Candidate Edition

Ryne and I roughed up Nina Turner yesterday before she lost the race for the Ohio-11. I think I was onto something with the district as a distended intestine line. Here’s a 2020 quote from the losing candidate about supporting Joe Biden:

“It’s like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.’ It’s still shit.”

Holy clothespin vote, Batman.

Uh, Nina, Joey Shark is more popular with Democrats than the Impeached Insult Comedian is with GOPers. Oops.

Akron was added to the Ohio-11 in 2010. It’s Chrissie Hynde’s hometown. The Pretenders get the last word with a scorching live version of My City Was Gone featuring Adam Seymour on lead guitar.

Look Out Cleveland

The Ohio 11th Congressional District.

I hope everyone enjoyed Ryne Hancock’s piece about the special election in the Ohio-11. I’m not crazy about Nina Turner, but Ryne cannot stand her. Rumor has it that he likes Shontel Brown.

It’s a special election to replace Marcia Fudge who joined the Biden administration as HUD secretary. Fudge herself was first elected in a 2008 special election. Isn’t that special? I’ll skip the fudge jokes…

The Ohio-11 is one of those districts that resembles a distended intestine. It winds from Cleveland south to Akron. It’s classic GOP Gerrymandering: pack all the minority voters into a district so wingnuts like Gym Jordan don’t have to worry about black voters. It’s a violation of the spirit of the Voting Rights Act, which has, of course, been violated into oblivion by the Roberts Court.

I, too, wish Shontel Brown luck today. If I were a pure satirist, I’d favor Nina Turner because she’d be more entertaining. I am not, however, in the habit of supporting folks who voted for the Crunchy Granola Machiavelli DBA Jill Stein in 2016.

Ryne’s post gave me a double earworm. The last word goes to The Band and Ian Hunter,

Ryne Hancock: Do The Right Thing, Cleveland

Towards the end of June, I was a guest of a local rapper by the name of E.D. Nix, who was celebrating the release of his brand-new album “Blvck Economics”.

Midway through the rooftop party, I looked off in the direction of Municipal Auditorium, a hulking white elephant that is located in the Treme, one of the oldest black neighborhoods in the United States. The more I took in the view from the 925 Common building, I thought about the ancestors that paved the way for us to have a rooftop party to celebrate black excellence.

As soon as local comedian Mark Caesar finished speaking, I took to the mic and gave a small speech.

“We are standing here on the shoulders of those who came before us,” I said, “Our paths to this point in time was created by the footprints of our ancestors.”

Less than two weeks after that rooftop party speech, I told that same story to Jay Banks, who represents the New Orleans City Council district I live in, on my podcast.

“Each day that I go to work,” he told me during our conversation, “I know I’m standing on the shoulders of those who came before me.”

In the black community, respecting our elders is something that is ingrained in us from birth. That’s not to say to blindly agree with everything our elders do or say but respect the work they put in to put us as a community into a better position.

In the case of the primary race between Nina Turner and Shontel Brown, it’s a battle of a chaos agent against a rising star in the Democratic Party in the state of Ohio.

Despite the fact I believe in a lot of the stuff Nina Turner says (as I did with Bernie), I feel that constantly operating from a point of rage as well not finding a middle ground much less knowing how to compromise is something that would turn me off as a voter.

Not to mention the fact that the rallies, save for that Dr. Cornel West character that shows up out of hibernation every four or five years, look as unseasoned and bland as a cookout in a lily-white Chicago suburb when the congressional district that Nina wants to represent is 53% black.

It’s as if Nina wants to basically cut off the noses of black voters because in her mind, they’re the establishment and what’s wrong with the Democratic Party.

With Shontel Brown, you see a positive vibe and a reasonable message that can attract the main voting base of the Democratic Party; older black voters and of course, black women.

It’s why Brown, not Turner, earned the blessings of elders like Joyce Beatty and Jim Clyburn.

In the eyes of Clyburn and Beatty, they see themselves in Brown. They know she’s going to continue their legacy in Washington.

That being said, Cleveland, do the right thing. Vote for someone that isn’t going to Washington to be some chaos agent and give bulletin board material for the GOP.

Vote Shontel.

Quote Of The Day: January KMac Edition

Kevin McCarthy *is* a blockhead as illustrated by his latest “joke” about Speaker Pelosi: “I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It will be hard not to hit her with it.”

Yo, KMac, jokes about violence are not funny. Jokes about violence against women are even less funny. Schmuck.

August KMac is a manly man echoing talking points coming out of Mar-a-Doorn. He’s tough. He’s butch. He’s macho. He’s bad. He’s nationwide.

For a brief shining moment January KMac spoke the truth about the Kaiser of Chaos and his role in the Dipshit Insurrection:

…let me be clear, last week’s violent attack on the Capitol was undemocratic, un-American and criminal. Violence is never a legitimate form of protest. Freedom of speech and assembly under the constitution is rooted in non-violence. Yet the violent mob that descended upon this body was neither peaceful nor democratic. It acted to disrupt Congress’s constitutional responsibility.

<SNIP>

The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump, accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term. The President’s immediate action also deserves congressional action, which is why I think a fact finding commission and a censure resolution would be prudent.

Not long after these brave words, KMac went to Mar-a-Doorn and renewed his vows of subservience to the Impeached Insult Comedian.  It’s the only way KMac thinks he will ever become Speaker of the House.

The ventriloquist and his dummy plan a campaign based on the election BIG LIE and defense of the Dipshit Insurrection. If that’s a winning campaign strategy, I’m Edgar Bergen. Bring it on.

The last word goes to ZZ Top with the late Dusty Hill holding down the bottom.

While we’re at it, Dwight Yoakam did a swell cover of I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide.

The More You Know #2

Back in May I wrote:

There won’t be any Q Party votes for any Democratic proposal. Ever.

I’m here to say that I was wrong. On Wednesday night, 17 GOP senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voted for cloture on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. I did not see that coming back in May. But I know what happened.

On Tuesday night, the Trump-backed candidate in a Texas primary for a US House seat lost. And some Senate Republicans realized Donald Trump isn’t the kingmaker they all thought he was and decided the party needed actual accomplishments prior to the midterms. Will wonders never cease?

Not Everything Sucks: Progress In Washington

I just realized that I’d dropped the Not Everything Sucks flag. It was mostly Athenae’s banner, but I helped run it up the flagpole a few times. It’s time to pick the flag up and run with it or some such shit. Holy exhausted metaphor, Batman.

I have no illusions that last night’s cloture vote means that Congress will become less constipated BUT it’s a sign of progress. 17 Republican senators acted like politicians and voted to debate sending home the bacon. It shouldn’t be that hard but unrelenting obstructionism has been the name of the GOP game since the Turtle became their leader. He actually voted for cloture, which was unexpected. Mitch McConnell can still go fuck himself.

A swell subplot to yesterday’s vote was the fact that the Impeached Insult Comedian denounced Senate GOPers as cowards and RINOs as the negotiations intensified. It does not signal a break with that malevolent moron, but any progress is welcome however incremental.

People have forgotten what legislating looks like. It’s never pretty as it involves much posturing and some prevaricating. That’s why I don’t take seriously the Sinematic senator’s announcement that she’s not voting for the Democrats only infrastructure bill, neither does Josh Marshall:

I think this is best interpreted as Sinema throwing up a flag that she’s going to continue to preen and create drama for the purpose of building a reputation as an uber-‘moderate’ and generally have everyone kiss up to her. She wants to come out of this as the person who wasn’t totally down with Democratic priorities and shaved the numbers down, at least a bit. If she really wanted to stop the process she wouldn’t vote to let it begin, which she is. That tells you the story.

The flags are really flying today. Here’s some more from Josh:

Sinema meanwhile is a preening phony. She started out as a member of the Green party. Then she was a progressive Democrat. Now she’s an uber ‘centrist’. She’s a total phony and I doubt very much that she will be able to pull any of this off if she’s there alone without Manchin. Without Manchin, she’ll fold.

Sinema’s annoying antics are just part of the legislative game. One that we could live without.

In other good news, the Justice Department announced that it would NOT invoke executive privilege in the inquiry into misconduct by Trump DOJ officials after the election. That inquiry is being conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee and another log was placed on that fire last night by a WaPo story about daily “perfect phone calls” from Trump to the Acting AG, Jeffrey Rosen. Stay tuned.

The DOJ also declined to defend Alabama wingnut Mo Brooks in the Swalwell Capitol riot lawsuit. Essentially, Brooks claimed that inciting a riot was part of his job description. DOJ disagreed. I can’t wait until he’s deposed by Swalwell’s lawyers. Stay tuned.

Finally, President Biden is expected to require federal employees to get jabbed. This common sense measure will make it easier for state governments and private sector employers to follow suit. Cassandra isn’t the only one tired of being held hostage.

That concludes this sprawling edition of Not Everything Sucks. I’m not spiking the ball, but incremental progress merits an incremental celebration. I’m not sure what that entails but it scans well.

Writing this post gave me two earworms: one inspired by the legislative gamesmanship (gamespeopleship?) and the other by more perfect phone calls by the Kaiser of Chaos. That’s why Bryan Ferry and Badfinger get the last word.

Who Hired The Hitman?

I usually hate Congressional hearings. The members talk too much. Most of them have no idea how to pose or frame a question. The first day of the House Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee hearings was different: solemn, dignified, and focused.

Speaker Pelosi should thank feckless House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy for boycotting the committee. There are no wingnuts determined to speak over others and put on a show for the cameras. The committee is small: only 9 members. The two Republicans are willing to face the scorn of their idiot leader who denounced them as Pelosi Republicans. Nobody cares what KMac thinks. He maneuvered himself into oblivion last week.

The four police officers who testified were great witnesses and deserve a shout-out: Aquillo Gonnell, Michael Fanone, Daniel Hodges, and Harry Dunn. They epitomize the sort of people who *should* be in law enforcement. During the Dipshit Insurrection, they protected and served. As Adam Kinzinger said, “You guys won. You guys held.”

They were all impressive, but Capitol copper Harry Dunn stood out: both literally and figuratively. Dunn is a big dude. He’s 6’7″ and built like an old school NBA power forward such as the late Wes Unseld who played his entire career for the Baltimore/Capitol/Washington Bullets.

Officer Dunn was denounced before the hearing by that entitled little shit Tucker Carlson as “an angry left-wing activist.”

Harry Dunn *is* angry and with good reason:

Dunn, a 13-year-veteran of the force, testified that as rioters were nearing the a room directly off the House floor, they shouted about having been invited by Trump to “stop the steal” — prevent the congressional affirmation of Joe Biden’s victory. He said those rioters said “nobody voted” for Biden.

“I’m a law enforcement officer, and I do my best to keep politics out of my job, but in this circumstance, I responded: ‘Well, I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?'” said Dunn, who is Black. “That prompted a torrent of racial epithets. One woman in a pink MAGA shirt yelled: ‘Did you hear that, guys? This n—– voted for Joe Biden.’ Then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming, ‘Booo, f—— n—–.’

“No one had ever, ever called me a n—– while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer,” Dunn continued, adding that after the riot he heard from other Black officers who faced racial abuse from the mob. “One officer told me he had never, in his 40 years of life, had been called a n—– to his face, and that streak ended on January 6th. Yet another Black officer later told me he had been confronted by insurrectionists in the Capitol who told him to ‘put your gun down, and we’ll show you what kind of n—– you really are.'”

The Trump mob showed what kind of cowards they are. There’s safety in numbers. None of them would have dared to abuse Harry Dunn one-on-one.

The sub-text of the hearing was ingratitude. The ingratitude of Republican lawmakers whose lives were saved by the cops who risked their own lives to protect them. The Trumpers are lionizing Ashli Babbitt and calling her fellow rioters political prisoners. I know what to call them: Terrorists.

Congressional loons Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, and Louis Gohmert Piles (hereinafter the Four Gs) showed what they were made of yesterday. They staged a “protest” outside the Justice Department. They demanded the release of insurrectionists who they claim are political prisoners. So the QAnon Shaman is the new Andrey Sakharov? Who knew?

It was a disgusting display of cosplay courage: they were run off by a guy with a whistle. I am not making this up. Here’s the proof:

One more note, make that Tweet, about the freak show surrounding yesterday’s hearing:

Holy Cosplay Tough Guy, Batman.

Back to the main event: the hearing.

The officers made it clear that they want those behind the insurrection held accountable. It was Harry Dunn who inspired the post title: “If a hitman is hired, and he kills somebody, the hitman goes to the jail. But not only does the hitman go to jail, but the person who hired him does.”

We all know who he’s talking about: former President* Pennywise. He’s incapable of planning anything but capable of inciting a riot. That’s what he did on Twelfth Night, 2021.

The last word is inspired by the Four Gs DOJ Mishigas and the guy who made them look ridiculous:

First Draft KMacpalooza: The Grand Finale

This tweet I sent this morning was a bit premature:

I thought that after that and Michael F’s brilliant and punny press post, we’d exhausted the subject. I was wrong. It’s still KMac day at First Draft.

The brain-dead response of the MSM to Pelosi’s power play has been hilarious as pointed out by Never Trumper Tim Miller:

How dare Speaker Pelosi not allow Gym Jordan to wreck the investigation? KMac selected him to turn it into a shit show. Pelosi refused to play along.

The MSM was confused by Nancy Smash’s power move so much so that KMac walked into her trap by withdrawing from the Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee. That perfects their fuck-up in refusing to participate in a 1/6 Commission over which they’d have veto power over subpoenas. Now they have no representation, influence, or power. They won’t be on teevee when the hearings air either. It was a stupid move by a stupid man. Thanks, KMac.

Cassandra discussed Liz Cheney. I’d like to expand on her thoughts by quoting People Magazine quoting I Alone Can Wreck Fix It.

When hundreds of angry Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after being incited by the president, Rep. Liz Cheney was inside with other members of congress, including Rep. Jim Jordan.

Jordan — who had supported Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen — offered to help Cheney out of the aisle.

She wasn’t having it, according to a new book.

“That fucking guy Jim Jordan. That son of a bitch,” Cheney told Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley on the phone, detailing the siege, according to I Alone Can Fix It, by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.

“While these maniacs are going through the place, I’m standing in the aisle and he said, ‘We need to get the ladies away from the aisle. Let me help you,’ ” recalled Cheney, then the House of Representatives’ No. 3 Republican, per the book. “I smacked his hand away and told him, ‘Get away from me. You fucking did this.’ ”

I undeleted the expletives. We still have a fuck quota at First Draft even without Athenae and Jude. Fuck, yeah.

One thing I respect about the Cheneys is that they’re good haters and even better grudge holders. Liz Cheney’s hate for that fucking guy Gym Jordan runs deep.

The main reason I’m wrapping up KMacpalooza is this:

“We will run our own investigation,” McCarthy said at a news conference, calling Pelosi a “lame duck speaker” and accusing her of an “egregious abuse of power” and of “destroying the institution.”

That was KMac’s OJ Simpson moment. Remember when the Juice got loose and claimed that he’d investigate the murders? That never happened. Instead he wrote a book called If I Did It.

KMac’s book could be titled How I Tried To Kill Democracy.

I eagerly await a subpoena landing on KMac’s desk.

The last word goes to The Kinks. Just imagine Gym Jordan singing Dave’s part and Liz Cheney singing Ray’s.

 

Clowntime Is Over

My husband and I finally began watching “Ted Lasso” last month. For some reason he became enamored of the word “wanker” and used it delightedly all the time. Because of household osmosis, now I am using it, too.

Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, is a tiresome wanker. He really, Really, REALLY wants to be Speaker of the House, and until that day comes he is determined to try to outsmart Nancy Pelosi. He gets very few opportunities of course, but you can’t say he doesn’t make the most of them when they come along.

For example, he’s been stringing this 1/6 Select House Committee along for weeks now. Now no one actually thought House Republicans were going to happily participate in this fact-finding mission. And no one thought McCarthy wouldn’t name poisonous House members to the committee.

I have to say that I was impressed by McCarthy’s restraint in only naming 2 trainwrecks—I was sure he was going to add 5. And I wasn’t surprised at all that Pelosi rejected Jims Banks and Jordan, and nor were any of us that after that, McCarthy pulled all of his suggestions and walked away, crowing about the dangers of partisanship.

Except the 1/6 Select Committee is already bipartisan:  Pelosi named Liz Cheney as one of her selections. On one hand, ensuring that the committee would be bipartisan was an excellent tactical move.  McCarthy doesn’t realize he’s already been checkmated. Pelosi is going to put Cheney front and center to emphasize that the committee isn’t just Democrats. This won’t matter to Trumpers, but it will resonate with never Trump Republicans and with independents.

On the other hand, elevating Cheney in this way makes Cheney a credible politician whose ideas should be taken seriously, instead of just another GOP wingnut, albeit one who does not subscribe to The Big Lie.  Anti-Muslim, pro-torture, anti-marriage equality, anti-choice—apart from wanting to save democracy, she’s interchangeable with the rest of the haters in her party and I am sorry that she is going to emerge from these hearings with a luster of legitimacy.

But having the hearings take place in an orderly, professional, serious fashion is more important than my distaste for radical Republicanism. McCarthy has juggled his last plate regarding the 1/6 insurrection.

Things I Don’t Care About

The MSM are experiencing Trump withdrawal. Cable news ratings and internet clicks are down. They’re flailing, searching for drama where none exists. This week has been a prime example. Here are three things that are getting play that I don’t care about.

Billionaires In Space: Who cares about Jeff Bezos’ and Richard Branson’s brief and expensive foray into space tourism? Neither flight lasted as long as Alan Shepard’s 15-minute Mercury 7 flight. All they proved is that if you have enough money, you can spend your way into space. Yawn.

I agree with Senator Professor Warren’s pre-flight take:

“He’s laughing at every person in America who actually paid taxes,” Warren said. “Jeff Bezos’ trip to outer space is being financed by all the rest of the US taxpayers who paid their taxes so that Jeff Bezos didn’t have to.”

She added: “Jeff Bezos kept all of his money and uses it on a space ticket. Uh-uh.”

The only tantalizing question is whether Jeff Bezos has billionaire hair envy. Richard Branson has a full head of hair, Bezos does not. All he has is a cowboy hat that doesn’t fit. I guess he thinks he’s one of these guys:

Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner had the right stuff. Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos merely have the green stuff.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Drama: The MSM remains so addicted to the GOP narrative that they’ve forgotten who is driving the train in the Senate. Democrats show signs of breaking up with the Rob Portmans of the world and folding traditional infrastructure spending into the larger bill and passing it via reconciliation. That’s always been plan B, a point that’s lost on the media. Backup plans are boring.

Wingnuts Get Jabbed: Suddenly, the folks at Fox News are urging people to get jabbed like they all are. The MSM is in a tizzy wondering why this happened. Here’s why: the stock market cratered on Monday because of fears that the Delta variant is out of control. It’s a sign of greed, not enlightenment.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise hews to the Fox News line. The Metry mediocrity announced that he got vaccinated after resisting it like other wingnut dummies in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. Thanks, Steve?

Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

The last word goes to The Byrds:

The Senate Is Slow

Thanks to the Turtle, the United States Senate was a moribund body between 2015-2021. They cut taxes and tried to gut the ACA, but otherwise little of note was accomplished. That began to change when Democrats won a narrow majority and passed the American Rescue Plan via the reconciliation process.  That was a surprisingly fast process, but the senate is back to its slow, slow ways.

I’ve criticized Bernie Sanders in this space before. It’s time to praise him. In his new role as Budget Committee chair, he did a masterful job of steering the human infrastructure bill through his committee. Senator Sanders didn’t get everything he wanted BUT the scaled back bill pleased committee progressives and moderates alike. It’s unclear what the Emperor of the Senate, Joe Manchin, thinks. The 50-50 split gives this guy too much power but that’s democracy in action.

Mercifully, the above bill can be passed via reconciliation, but that’s the majority’s last bite at that apple for now. Everything else is subject to the McConnell era filibuster and he’s vowed to obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. It’s uncertain if the bipartisan infrastructure bill will get the necessary ten Republicans vote. I’m expecting the rug to be pulled out from under it, but Democrats will get points from the broader public for the effort. Independents love bipartisanship.

Republican senators dislike both voting rights bills that have been proposed by Democrats. They’re expected to vote in a solid bloc against both measures. Times have changed. The last time the Voting Rights Act was renewed in 2006 the senate vote was unanimous. That’s right, Mitch McConnell voted for the VRA before it was gutted by Chief Justice Roberts.

All roads in 2021 lead to the filibuster. The amateur senators were up in the arms that President Biden didn’t mention it in his stirring speech about voting rights. They’re demanding that he demand its abolition as a sign of his sincerity. I, too, support abolition BUT it would have been an empty gesture for the president to do so. The votes aren’t there, and the situation calls for our old friend nuance.

The best we can hope for is filibuster reform. A carve-out for voting rights seems to have 48 votes as of this writing: we all know who the two holdouts are.

TPM has been keeping track of where each Democratic senator stands on the filibuster. Using the TPM filibuster tracker’s terminology, here’s how it broke down as of two weeks ago:

The Status Quo Sect: 2

The Reformers: 24

The Nukers: 14

The Nuke-Curious: 10

TPM’s head count shows that there are only 14 firm votes to nuke the filibuster with a ceiling of 24. That’s substantial progress from past years. Senators such as Dianne Feinstein, Jon Tester, and Angus King have moved into the reform column this year. Hell, current nuker Bernie Sanders was a reformer until recently.

The amateur senators want brave speeches and absolutist stands from Joe Biden. I think a six-term former senator knows more about the upper chamber than the Twitteratti. What’s called for right now is cunning and guile.

Biden and one of his closest allies, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, are playing the inside-outside game on voting rights. Biden is privately lobbying senators while Clyburn is speaking out publicly. This is the way politics is supposed to work.

I’m cautiously optimistic about things working out in the senate. I realize, however, that things could fall apart. Major legislation often appears to be doomed before it passes. That was the case with the ACA, among others. Stay tuned.

Whatever happens, it won’t happen overnight. Repeat after me: the senate is slow.

The last word goes to goes to Foghat:

The House Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee

It’s been six months since the Dipshit Insurrection. Former President* Pennywise is demanding the release of insurrectionists but Speaker Pelosi is moving forward with an investigation. See the post title.

Count me among those people who thinks that getting at the truth of what happened on 1/6 and during the Trump regime is more important than prosecuting crimes. Most aspects of the Dipshit Insurrection are clearly criminal whereas many Trump era scandals involve the violation of norms. We need to get at the truth of those norm violations, then figure out how to address them. The criminal law is a blunt instrument and cannot be used for everything.

The House Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee’s mission is to investigate what happened before during and after 1/6. The poorly led House Republican Caucus painted themselves in a corner by not supporting the commission. Congressman Katko cut a good deal, which gave them clout in the investigation. But KMac blows with the wind and the prevailing breeze comes from Mar-a-Doorn. KMac and the Turtle bowed to the Kaiser of Chaos’ wishes and are now living to regret it.

If only they could take responsibility like the guy in the Jackie Wilson song:

I find myself in the weird position of quoting Gret Stet Senator Bill Cassidy without any mockery. This is how he explained his vote for the 1/6 Commission:

“The legislation I voted for ensured Republicans had equal power over the commission and set a deadline of December 31, 2021 to prevent a needlessly drawn-out process,” he said in a statement.

“Without this commission, there will still be an investigation,” he added. “But it will be a House select-committee set up by Speaker Pelosi – the nature of which will be entirely dictated by Democrats and would stretch on for years.”

Cassidy feared a Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi style committee. That seems unlikely but the GOP shot itself in the foot by voting against the commission.

KMac got extra mad when Liz Cheney accepted a slot on the select committee. He’s running around like a headless chicken shaking blood over everything. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Dumbass.

Back to the substance of the committee’s work. There’s been talk of White House involvement in the Dipshit Insurrection. That should be a focus of the committee’s investigation. They may or may not be able to establish any violations of the criminal laws, but the facts need to come out.

I have no illusions that any of this will shake the faith of hardcore Trumpers and QAnon creeps. Frankly, I don’t care about them. They’re lost souls. I am, however, interested in keeping the GOP on defense in the House and elsewhere. The Dipshit Insurrection committee should stick the knife in slowly and let them bleed out.

Here’s the best-case scenario:

They’re not our friends but I like the funeral and bleeding stuff. Besides, I’ve gone to the Let It Bleed well too often.

As of this writing KMac hasn’t said whether they’ll participate in the select committee. They would be wise to do so. When Nancy Pelosi was confronted with the same choice over the Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi select committee, many thought Democrats should boycott, she did not. It was the right decision. Of course, KMac is not known for his judgment. I guess he’ll have to call the Impeached Insult Comedian for instructions.

Finally, if you haven’t seen the New York Times recent look at the Capitol riot, CLICK HERE. 

The last word goes to Roy Byrd DBA Professor Longhair with another fault-based song:

It’s Still A Trap

I have some good news for y’all:  just like I hoped they would back in February the Democrats are FINALLY playing politics. And boy are the Republicans mad!

It was very clear what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s game plan was:  to try to corral the moderate Senate Democrats in a bid for bipartisanship, to agree to a plan that was sub-optimal, pass it, let it fail the American people, and then blame the Democrats on the campaign trail in 2022. And they might have gotten away with it…if their chief opponent hadn’t been Joe Biden.

See, congressional Democrats had already decided among themselves that there would be 2 bills:  one that the moderates could show bipartisanship on, and one that progressives could tout next year and use reconciliation to pass, both of which Democrats would pass. And the Republicans knew this all along—in fact, Shelley Capito referenced it back in May:

And McConnell himself referenced the 2 bill plan:

And like I said back in May:

Capito and friends met again with President Biden this week and I give him a lot of credit. Everyone knows that even if the Democrats agreed to everything the Q Party wanted, they’d still vote against it! And I mean, even if it had everything, including leaving their precious corporate tax rate alone, they have no intention of giving Biden and the Democrats another accomplishment.  That’s because:

There won’t be any Q Party votes for any Democratic proposal. Ever.

And so here we are once again.

In reality, it’s a tempest in a teapot, sustained by McConnell and his buddies because their Grand Plan was thwarted they think they now have a great excuse to do what they always planned anyway. Both bills should pass and McConnell will have to find another excuse to explain away his pre-planned obstruction.

The reason that this non-issue is getting attention is our lazy mainstream media. It’s hard to write interesting stories about straightforward facts, and it’s even harder to get clicks on those stories after all of the circuses of the trump administration. In lieu of actually working, the press just repeated Republican lies.

From AP:

Senators were described as “stunned,” “floored” and “frustrated” after Biden publicly put the conditions on accepting their deal, according to two people familiar with the private conversations who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the reactions.

Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at NYU, tweeted this as an explanation for how egregiously the press is handling current events

He’s wrong. You don’t need a journalism degree to know one side is lying. And you don’t need a journalism degree to push the narrative that prizes the truth. It’s not pedagogy that is failing journalism; it’s character. Democracy might die in darkness, but it is also strangled by intellectual laziness.

 

 

The Milley-Gaetz Mishigas

The right is at it again. Mindless support for the Impeached Insult Comedian has replaced everything that conservatives once believed in. That’s why I no longer call them conservatives, they’re radicals bent on strip-mining our democracy until it’s so enfeebled that it will cave in.

There was a House hearing the other day at which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley testified. They were upstaged by suspected sex trafficker Matt Gaetz who used his time to bang on and on about Critical Race Theory.

Gaetz wouldn’t know what CRT was if it bit him in the ass. Stupid didn’t just fall on Alabama, it fell on this Florida Man.

The suspected sex trafficker accused the military brass of being “woke.” Mercifully, he didn’t call them pansies like Ted Cruz in this infamous tweet:

Oy just oy.

Back to the Milley-Gaetz mishigas. The latter was expounding on CRT and wouldn’t let the General speak. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan yielded her time to General Milley who cut Gaetz down to size:

 … on the issue of critical race theory, et cetera, I’ll obviously have to get much smarter on whatever the theory is, but I do think it’s important actually for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read. And the United States Military Academy is university and it is important that we train and we understand. And I want to understand white rage and I’m white, and I want to understand it.

So what is it that causes thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here, and I do want to analyze it. It’s important that we understand that because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardians, they come from the American people. So it is important that the leaders now and in the future do understand it.

I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend? And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, non-commissioned officers of being quote woke or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there.

Remember all the flag waving and strident admonitions to support the troops during the Bush-Cheney administration? The Trumpified right has turned on the military. It’s not the first time either: Joe McCarthy’s attacks on the Army proved to be his undoing. I wish I could say that Milley’s remarks would have the same effect that Joseph Welch’s shaming of McCarthy had, but they’re too far gone.

The anti-intellectualism of today’s right is so pronounced that a military man felt compelled to defend intellectual curiosity. Unlike suspected sex trafficker Matt Gaetz or suspected rapist Donald Trump, General Milley actually reads books. Does that make him a woke pansy?

It’s a short step from barring the teaching of CRT to banning and burning books. Is that the future Matt Gaetz and his ilk have in mind? It’s hard to tell because everything they do is for short-term effect, but raw meat eventually spoils. They would be wise to heed the words of a genuine conservative, General President Eisenhower:

Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book…

The last word goes to XTC:

Sinema Laughs

Yesterday I wrote this about Senator Sinema:

I’m not going to go as far as some who have said that Sinema has “toxic white lady energy” or hinted that she’s a Green Party double agent bent on wreaking Jill Stein-style havoc on the Democratic party. Instead, she’s an opportunist who blows with the wind and only cares about being reelected.

I stand by the last sentence, but I’m less sure about the toxic white lady stuff after this:

Who the hell is she? The Wicked Witch of the West?

Gridlock isn’t funny, Senator.

Remember the thumbs down after she voted against the minimum wage hike?

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it was a tacky punk ass move.

Ready for more movie jokes about the snickering Sinematic senator?

The post title is inspired by the tag line on the posters for Ninotchka: Garbo Laughs.

Kyrsten Sinema is certainly no Greta Garbo and yesterday’s vote wasn’t as funny as Ninotchka. Now that I think of it, the Garbo movie that fits Sinema is Two-Faced Woman. Like the Senator’s filibuster act, it was a flop. Thumbs down.

All I’ve got for a last word are these posters:

It’s last word movie trivia time: Garbo’s leading man in the above movies, Melvyn Douglas, was an ardent liberal who was married to Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas. She was best known for losing a senate race to one future president-Nixon-and having an affair with another, Lyndon Johnson. That’s all she wrote.

Running Scared

It’s been a jam-packed day at First Draft with fine posts from Shapiro and Cassandra. I hope everyone is enjoying our new writers. It’s proof positive that cronyism can be a good thing. Cronyism and nepotism are essential components of Greek culture, after all.

Since the senate will be voting soon on whether to debate the voting rights bill, we begin with a poorly written and illogical op-ed “written” by Senator Krysten Sinema.

Sinema’s Lack Of Scope: It’s astonishing that I haven’t previously used this pun on the senator’s name and the Cinemascope process. Perhaps it’s because Cinemascope brought new depth and scope to movie going whereas the Arizona senator specializes in narrow-mindedness.

Sinema reiterates her opposition to filibuster abolition in a WaPo op-ed with a revealing title: We Have More To Lose Than Gain By Ending The Filibuster. It’s a Sinematic ode to fear of the unknown and change. It’s an odd stance for the senate’s only bisexual member, who claims to admire John Lewis, to take. Rights are secured by the bold, not the risk averse.

Sinema’s opposition to filibuster reform is particularly odd because her state is going through the Fraudit and she’s a co-sponsor of the For The People Act, which has no chance to pass without filibuster reform.

I’m not going to go as far as some who have said that Sinema has “toxic white lady energy” or hinted that she’s a Green Party double agent bent on wreaking Jill Stein-style havoc on the Democratic party. Instead, she’s an opportunist who blows with the wind and only cares about being reelected.

I’m not going to quote her op-ed. However, I wonder why she doesn’t have a staffer who can write better than that. Ugh just ugh.

It’s time for a brief cinematic musical interlude:

Our next segment is about the douchebag who has replaced Bill-O as my Fox News hate object.

Mothertucker: NYT media writer Ben Smith has done it again. This time, in a piece about why the MSM is so soft on Tucker Carlson.

No matter how much the Mothertucker lies or slanders the media, they’re soft on him because he’s a good source:

And Mr. Carlson’s comfortable place inside Washington media, many of the reporters who cover him say, has taken the edge off some of the coverage. It has also served as a kind of insurance policy, they say, protecting him from the marginalization that ended the Fox career of his predecessor, Glenn Beck, who also drew a huge audience with shadowy theories of elite conspiracy.

I realize that reporters dislike burning a source but allowing this creep to skate is reprehensible. The Mothertucker is the worst sort of phony as it’s unclear if he believes in the bile he spews on the air every weeknight.

I’m glad that Ben Smith finally decided to burn the Mothertucker. Perhaps it’s because he described the media at large as “cringing animals who are not worthy of respect.”

Who’s cringing now, Mothertucker?

Speaking of animals:

My Complaint About Portnoy: Snotty, know-it-all teenage me loved Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. It was a genuinely funny book that was turned into a painfully unfunny movie.

Alexander Portnoy was a fictional character who made me laugh, Dave Portnoy is a real person who makes me cringe. There’s nothing worse than someone who thinks they’re funny but is not.

Portnoy is the jerk behind Barstool Sports, which specializes in frat boy sports talk radio style humor. He’s becoming a power to be reckoned with in the Trumpified GOP aka the Gross Out Party. That’s the argument made in an excellent piece in Politico Magazine by Derek Robertson.

Robertson opines that the Republicans have become the Barstool Party. I think he’s on to something. Here’s how Dave Portnoy described his support for the Impeached Insult Comedian in 2016:

“I am voting for Donald Trump. I don’t care if he’s a joke. I don’t care if he’s racist. I don’t care if he’s sexist. I don’t care about any of it. I hope he stays in the race and I hope he wins. Why? Because I love the fact that he is making other politicians squirm. I love the fact he says shit nobody else will say, regardless of how ridiculous it is.”

He sounds like a hybrid of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. Rush was the original Barstool Republican. Dave merely puts the Oy in Portnoy. Schmuck.

Our third musical interlude circles back to the post title and the fearful word of Senator Sinema. The last word goes to Roy Orbison: