Thursday, September 30, 2021

Marital Rape Fundie Preaches In Idaho Town

Moscow's the home of an authoritarian misogynist that rules over his realm. So is Moscow, Russia, but this story is about a bizarre, reactionary "church" / cult which has put down roots in Moscow, Idaho, according to a fascinating and chilling report from VICE:

"Depending upon whom you ask, the town either hosts a Calvinist utopia or a patriarchal cult in which women must submit or face discipline at home and at church. At the center of it all is notoriously controversial Douglas Wilson, the firebrand pastor who has been presiding over his Mother Kirk fiefdom for more than 40 years. 

To learn about Christ Church’s culture of abuse and social control, VICE has interviewed 12 former and current church members and Logos students, and reviewed court and medical documents, church correspondence, and business filings. Ex-kirkers describe a punitive community in which women are told they must defer to church leaders and cannot say 'no' to their husbands, men are taught to strictly control their homes, and those who speak out can be isolated and harassed." (our emphasis)

The story of former church cult member "Jean" and the coerced sex (i.e., rape) in her married life is horrific, replete with a drunken husband demanding and forcing sex on his petrified wife. Here's one depraved example of what this hyper-fundamentalist, Christofascist "church" has produced:

"One night, after their first was born, her husband came home drunk after she was asleep. He pulled her over, lifted her nightgown. She told him 'not tonight,' that she was tired. He got angry. She tried clawing away, then pushing him away with her arms. He pinned her down, so she used her legs to kick him. That’s when he unbuttoned his pants. 'When he was done, he passed out drunk and I locked myself in the bathroom and cried.'  She was bruised and her insides bled.

She called a kirker friend about it the next day. The friend attended a Christ Church plant—a seedling congregation based in Christ Church’s doctrine and culture—and 'she said the same thing was going on in her marriage.' Marital rape, it seemed, was normal. So, Jean didn’t report it. Jean’s husband raped her over and again a couple of times a week for about a decade, either with violence or by waiting until after she took a prescription sleeping pill."  (our emphasis)

It's no wonder that the male monsters in his congregation are out of control: Douglas Wilson is quite the clerical criminal:

"...pastor Doug Wilson is a radical provocateur, even among outspoken Christian conservatives, and appears to relish Twitter wars and blog battles. In the 1970s, he became pastor of Christ Church, which is now influential within the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches, a denomination Wilson helped found that includes more than 100 churches nationally. In 2003, 94 ecclesiastical charges were brought against Wilson by his denomination—from improperly using church funds to pay off students’ casino debts to “carnal threatening” of others—but the charges were ultimately dropped. Last year, Wilson published a novel called Ride, Sally, Ride about a Christian man who runs his neighbor’s sexbot 'wife' named Sally through a trash compactor, and YouTube recently removed Wilson’s video making a moral argument for fake vaccine passports (our emphasis)

Sounds completely wholesome to us. You can be assured that in the past couple of decades at a minimum, Wilson and his flaky flock fulminated against fundamentalist Islamic groups like the Taliban and al Qaeda without the faintest sense of irony or hypocrisy. Add hate speech about the LGBTQ community and you get the picture. Cracks in the cult are widening, as more women resist and report the abuse they've been subjected as a result of the sexual exploitation philosophy of Douglas Wilson, who would already be in the slammer in a just world.

(photo: We can suggest a place to put that lit cigar)

Tweets Of The Day

You get a subpoena, and you get a subpoena, and you get a subpoena... --




 But we know his constituency isn't his constituency, right? --


"If it didn't happen, why should we report on it?" --


Trump-endorsed Virginia Republican goobernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin still doing research on COVID vaccines --


 We wuz robbed! --


Tough landing --




Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Pia Guerra, @PiaGuerra)

(Dave Whamond,

(Marc Murphy, Louisville Courier-Journal, KY)

(Stuart Carlson,

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)

(Steve Benson, Arizona Mirror)

(Joe Heller,

(Randall Enos,

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Asher Perlman, @asherperlman)

Republican Sexytime: The Guv and Corey


It's apparent that the former guy's well-documented history as a sexual predator and assaulter attracts those with a similar bent. One recurring example: the slimy Corey Lewandowski, the disgraced, original campaign manager to Dear Leader, before he was let go for manhandling a female reporter. Lewandowski has been using his connection with the mentally ill former guy to shill work as a "consultant" to alt-right nutjobs seeking election. One could say, based on recent reporting, that he appears to be a "hands-on" consultant, having groped a major GOP donor's wife, according to multiple witnesses. For his part, the groping goon has apparently been exiled from Dear Leader's inner circle, replaced as the head of Trump's Make America Great Again Acton super PAC. It's ironic that groping a woman is a fireable offense in former President P*ssygrabber's circles.

That said, a new report is alleging that Lewandowski is having an affair with the loony, ethics challanged Trumpist fanatic governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, who has been his client for several months:

"A conservative website, American Greatness, published a piece Tuesday claiming that, according to 'multiple' sources, Noem has been having an affair with Lewandowski 'for months.' The website did not identify any of the sources. [snip]

Noem and Lewandowski have traveled extensively together across the country for political events, and he has promoted her to members of the media. At one event in January, they were spotted partying together late in a hotel bar."

Noem has been one of Dear Leader's most ardent supporters, but has accumulated a disastrous record during the pandemic as cases in her state infection rate surged while she fought against public health guidelines and pushed for the notorious Sturgis motorcycle rally super spreader. In her response to the allegations of an affair, Noem reached for the Bible thumping card, saying of her marriage, "I’m proud of the God-fearing family we’ve raised together."  It remains to be seen, should the alleged sexytime with Corey be true (we certainly hope so),  if it will result in her ejection from Trump's circle of hypocrites.

BONUS:  Meanwhile, must distract --



(photos: Lewandowski demonstrating his "consulting" technique as Noem beams. Alex Wong/Brandon Bell / Getty Images)

"Impossible Position": Get Vaccinated Or Lose Job And Die (Satire)

Republished in full from The Onion:

Nurse Carefully Weighs Whether She Better Off Getting Vaccine Or Losing Job And Dying

UTICA, NY—Blasting state officials for putting her into such an “impossible position,” local nurse Sophia Wood confirmed Wednesday that she was carefully weighing whether she was better off getting the vaccine or losing her job and dying. “On the plus side, if get vaccinated, I could get to continue to live my life healthy and happy with no drawbacks, but is that really worth giving up the right to die while out of work?” said the healthcare worker, who had spent the past weeks agonizing over a long list of pros and cons of getting vaccinated that she had written up for each side of the issue. “On one hand, I have way more items listed under the pros column, like ‘keep job,’ ‘protect others,’ and ‘protect myself,’ but on the other, I have ‘freedom’ written in big red letters, circled, and underlined multiple times. I’m pretty torn between the two. Who would issue such a cruel ultimatum?” At press time, Wood assured herself that regardless of the choice she ultimately made, she would wind up back in the hospital. 

If that piece of satire doesn't nail the "dilemma" brought on themselves by the "vaccine hesitant" and by hardcore anti- vaxxer/Trumpist resisters facing termination from their jobs (and, potentially, their lives), we're not sure what does.  (h/t Silver Spring Bureau Chief Brian)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

QOTD -- Kill Switch


"Members of Congress have begun to say explicitly in the last couple days what I think has been clear for weeks and months. Kyrsten Sinema’s multiple trips to the White House yesterday just confirm it. She’s not negotiating about any of this in good faith. Joe Manchin is a huge obstacle for Democrats pushing their agenda. But the Manchin problem is still very different from the Sinema problem.  [snip]

"It is perverse and bizarre since the Democrats, though tenuously, now have unified control of the government rather than being a beleaguered opposition with no holds on any levers of power. How we’ve gotten to the point that they cannot collectively control the outcome … well, that’s crazy. But that’s where we are. Largely because of Kyrsten Sinema. But look at what we’re talking about here. Is the reward for her betrayal having the party she is betraying pass her infrastructure bill? That’s too crazy to allow to happen. It is a basic element of life for individuals that we must strive to confront with dignity things we cannot control. It shapes who we are. And something similar applies to political coalitions and parties." -- Josh Marshall, TPM, arguing that if Democrats can't get the Build Back Better reconciliation bill, they need to scuttle Sinema's bipartisan infrastructure bill. Let's hope it doesn't come to that, but given the unreliable flake they're dealing with, don't make any bets.

Tweets Of The Day

Acting responsibly after the horse (dewormer) is out of the barn --


Follow the money, cont. --






Here are your pink slips, jackasses --


Surprise, recycling crew!! -- 



Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Robert Ariail, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, SC)

(Michael de Adder, Washington Post)

(David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star)

(Rob Rogers, Counterpoint)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(John Branch, Houston Chronicle)

(Clay Jones,

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

The NYT's "Trust And Innovation" Project Torched



The "Trust and Innovation Project," a pet venture of publisher A.G. Sulzberger recently announced by the New York Effing Times, is coming in for considerable -- and well deserved -- head-scratching and mockery. The paper, which has become infamous for its years long Trump voter diner safaris, is now using this "reboot" in a search for the reasons why people just don't trust them (and, of course, to expand their subscription base).

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Will Bunch has the best take- down of this latest navel- gazing exercise by the clueless management at the Times His full article is worth the read, but here are some excerpts:

Yo, Trump voters in rural Ohio diners! Wake up! It’s time to put your MAGA hats back on, grind some bitter coffee and wipe the layers of grease off that Formica countertop. The New York Times still desperately wants you, and they’re coming back your way! Like, for the umpteenth time.

That may sound over the top, but I don’t know what else to say after learning that America’s most influential newsroom — after more than four years of dozens of stories informing its largely left-leaning readers that Donald Trump voters still love Donald Trump — is doubling down on efforts to persuade media-bashing right-wingers to like them, and maybe even subscribe.  [snip]

It’s true that lack of trust in the media is widespread these days, but since the dark morning of Nov. 9, 2016, the Times has been largely obsessed with its seeming failure to understand the Trump movement, but also — more weirdly — its inability to forge some kind of connection with these huddled masses who seem to hate them. In an anxious moment when the Times’ core readers and a flood of new digital subscribers looked for leadership to defend truth, science, and the role of a free press, the Times instead dwelled on the question that Sulzberger and top editor Dean Baquet asked in a letter five days after that election: “Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters?”  [snip]

Instead of learning from those mistakes as we enter the Biden era, the new Times initiative seems to double down on its lost-cause obsession with wooing angry conservatives, like John Cusack holding up that boombox. Why? The crass answer would be money, as the Times — which already dominates digital journalism in America with 7 million subscribers, including more in many cities than that city’s hometown paper — is aiming for a goal of 10 million, which presumably could be reached with some (literal) buy-in from conservatives.

But more important is the Times’ stuck-in-the-1950s worldview that their self-worth as journalists comes from everyone perceiving them as balanced and fair — as opposed to a commitment to uncomfortable truths, regardless of how that might offend some readers. This apparent belief by prominent Times journalists that the public would like them more if they only understood how gosh-darned smart and overqualified its medical or legal reporters are is almost sad in its naivete. It shows that in those 58 months since the Sulzberger-Baquet letter, the Times has learned nothing about the modern conservative moment. [snip]

In other words, not only is there little — nothing, really — the Times can do to gain the trust of such non-readers, it shouldn’t even consider pandering to these instincts in the first place. A truly trustworthy news organization doesn’t cater to the concerns of any segment of the public — but only to one thing, the truth.

In today’s current fraught moment, that means an aggressive and clear-eyed approach to informing that public about the unprecedented threats to American democracy — with zero concern about “on one hand, on the other hand” forms of balance. The irony is that, in doing this, the Times might actually gain a few million new readers from so many Americans who desperately want the earned trust that comes with unvarnished truth, and not a phony, manufactured kind. If the Times still insists on clueless kowtowing instead of rising to this moment, the nation’s premier news org might be destroying journalism instead of saving it.

As with all corporate print and media operations, the imperative to increase the reader/viewer base, which drives advertising rates and revenue, is paramount.  Unfortunately, the Times appears to be moving toward an even more entrenched "both sides" model of journalism in a desperate attempt to draw more subscribers rather than, as Bunch puts it, to just tell the truth.  

Once again, we must refer to Masha Gessen's perceptive warning that institutions will not save us from autocracy.  It seems the Times is living proof of that thesis.  But be assured, they'll cover the fall of democracy evenhandedly!

BONUSSteve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog has additional thoughts on the project.

(Image:  That was then;  now, not so much.)

Mid-Week Song


Jazz flutist Ragan Whiteside's style can't be pinned down, as she fuses contemporary jazz with funk, and pop jazz with "neo soul" in her compositions and performances. Above all, it's expressive and melodic. Here she is with frequent collaborator Bob Balwin on keyboards on "Off The Cuff" from her upcoming 2022 (untitled) album.

Nature Takes A Hit


News Item: Twenty-three species of animals and plants are now extinct from the planet, among them the fabled ivory billed woodpecker:

“'This is not an easy thing,' said Amy Trahan, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who reviewed the evidence and wrote the report concluding that the ivory bill 'no longer exists.'

'Nobody wants to be a part of that,' she added, choking up in a Zoom interview. 'Just having to write those words was quite difficult. It took me awhile.'

The Fish and Wildlife Service proposal Wednesday to take 23 animals and plants off the endangered species list — because none can be found in the wild — exposes what scientists say is an accelerating rate of extinction worldwide. A million plants and animals are in danger of disappearing, many within decades. The newly extinct species are the casualties of climate change and habitat destruction, dying out sooner than any new protections can save them."  (our emphasis)

It's not at all out of the realm of possibility that more recognizable animals like the African elephant may become extinct in this century, poached for ivory and impacted by dryer climates, never to return. With the ivory billed woodpecker, we've been ensuring his eventual extinction since the 1890s, cutting down the virgin forests in the southeast U.S. where it made its home. Ironically, through the workings of human-caused climate change over future decades, we also may be working on our own ultimate extinction.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

QOTD -- Trump Modeled Putin


"It would have been impossible for any close observer of recent Russian history to not recall those episodes on January 6, when a mob whipped up by Trump and his allies—who had spent weeks claiming that the 2020 election had been stolen from him—stormed the U.S. Capitol and tried to stop the formal certification of the election results. The attack on the Capitol was the culmination of four years of conspiracies and lies that Trump and his allies had fed to his supporters on social media platforms, in speeches, and on television. The “Big Lie” that Trump had won the election was built on the backs of the thousands of little lies that Trump uttered nearly every time he spoke and that were then nurtured within the dense ecosystem of Trumpist media outlets. This was yet one more way in which, under Trump, the United States came to resemble Russia, where Putin has long solidified his grip on power by manipulating the Russian media, fueling nationalist grievances, and peddling conspiracy theories." -- former Trump National Security Council official Fiona Hill in Foreign Affairs, after noting a convergence of politics practiced by the malignant loser leading up to January 6 with coup attempts in Russia in the past 30 years. Interesting reading, with insights about the malignant loser's insecurities in relation to Russian autocrat Putin.

Tweets Of The Day

The Afghanistan withdrawal hearing today --




The debt limit fiasco and the filibuster --


But there's a way out, if Democrats have the will to do it --


Even one more seat is one too many, though --


Follow the money --



Goat Rodeo participants need fuel --




Coin Of The "Reich"

As their violent, anti-democracy threat grows, far-right groups here and world wide are having to get creative on their tactics, communication / social media, and means of funding. The far-right's use of certain social media like Telegram, Gab, 8chan and other fascist-friendly platforms are making it more difficult for law enforcement to track their thoughts and plans. The same is occurring in the financial realm.

New reporting from the Associated Press indicates that as far as raising money for right-wing extremist causes, cryptocurrencies have become the new, nearly untraceable form of financing for the activities of far-right white supremacist hate groups. Their anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi beliefs dovetail with using cryptocurrencies, too: 

"As one white nationalist cryptocurrency guide circulating on Telegram puts it: 'We all know the Jews and their minions control the global financial system. When you are caught having the wrong opinion, they will take it upon themselves to shut you out of this system making your life very difficult. One alternative to this system is cryptocurrency.'

Richard Spencer, an American white supremacist, has dubbed Bitcoin the 'currency of the alt-right.'”  (our emphasis)

Despite the notorious volatility of Bitcoin prices, for example, far-right players have profited in recent years. A cryptocurrency analytics company, Chainalysis, looked at extremist right groups' use of Bitcoin:

"Chainalysis collected data for a sample of 12 far-right entities in the U.S. and Europe that publicly called for Bitcoin donations and showed significant activity. Together, they took in 213 Bitcoin — worth more than $9 million at today’s value — between January 2017 and April 2021.

These groups embrace a range of ideologies and include white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and self-described free-speech advocates. They are united by a shared desire to fight the perceived progressive takeover of culture and the state.

'These people have real assets. People with access to hundreds of thousands of dollars can start doing real damage,' said John Bambenek, a cybersecurity expert who has been tracking the use of cryptocurrency by far-right actors since 2017."  (our emphasis)

The Associated Press' in-depth report is in conjunction with an upcoming PBS "Frontline" documentary. The use of cryptocurrency by dangerous far-right white supremacist groups needs to be exposed and curbed, despite the difficulties in tracing and accessing information on it. 

(image: from

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

 (R.J. Matson, CQ/Roll Call)

(John Cole,

(Clay Jones,

(Nick Anderson,

(Dave Whamond,

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(David Horsey, The Seattle Times)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Jen Sorensen,

(Stuart Carlson,

Grisham's Book Exposes More Trump Betrayals


The Washington Post has secured an advance copy of former White (Supremacist) House press aide Stephanie Grisham's new book, "I'll Take Your Questions Now," and some of the revelations confirm our picture of a corrupt, potentially treasonous and dysfunctional operation. One of the items involves the former guy's meeting with Russian thug and Trump's handler Vladimir Putin in Osaka, Japan in 2019:

"Little is known about what happened in the 90-minute conversation between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Osaka, Japan, two years ago. But as journalists were quickly ushered out of the room at the 2019 Group of 20 Summit, Stephanie Grisham once again found herself with a close-up view of the action.

She saw Trump lean toward Putin that day and tell him: 'Okay, I’m going to act a little tougher with you for a few minutes. But it’s for the cameras, and after they leave, we’ll talk. You understand.'”

Oh, we understand tovarich. Maybe some talk about some sweet money laundering by Russian oligarchs into Trump properties, or maybe about plans for that Trump Tower Moscow in exchange for "friendly" relations with the U.S.

There's more on the infamous "I Really Don't Care, Do U?" jacket Melania / Melanie wore to the border with Mexico, on a secret colonoscopy that Dear Leader hid from the public to avoid being the <cough> butt of jokes, and on the regal pretensions of Jared and Ivanka:

"[Grisham] is particularly negative about the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner — both of whom held senior White House positions. She wrote that the first lady and White House staff called Ivanka 'the Princess' who regularly invoked 'my father' in work meetings, and Grisham dubbed Kushner 'the Slim Reaper' for his habit of inserting himself into other people’s projects, making a mess and leaving them to take the blame." (our emphasis)

It wouldn't be a book about the malignant "President P*ssygrabber" if it didn't contain at least one example of his obscene attitudes toward women:

"Grisham alleges that Trump became obsessed with a young, female press aide who isn’t named in the book. The president constantly asked where the aide was during press events, Grisham wrote, and allegedly once requested that she be brought to his cabin on Air Force One so he could 'look at her [behind].'”

The entire article has heretofore unknown, but entirely typical, anecdotes of life in the Trump lie factory. Too bad Ms. Grisham didn't quit and expose these horrors earlier, not that it would have changed anything.

BONUS:  Can't leave this out --



Whistleblower: Intelligence On Russia, White Supremacists Altered To Suit Trump


Of all the dangerous, if not treasonous, national security lies and coverups that the assministration of the malignant loser engaged in, this has to be close to the top of the list:

Monday, September 27, 2021

Tweets Of The Day

Covidiot self- owns --




Am the "reality based" media learning? --



Lying liar lies;  also water continues to be wet --


Trump-endorsed Virginia Republican weasel Glenn Youngkin --



 On lob-stah! --



Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News)

(Marc Murphy, Louisville Courier-Journal, KY)

(Bill Day,

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune, PA)

(Chris Britt,

(R.J. Matson, CQ/Roll Call)

(Dave Whamond,

(M.R. Miller/Nick Greenberg,


BONUS:  While we're on the subject of cartoons, check out what's going on with this Trumpist covidiot cartoonist.

Anti-Vax Health Care Workers Face Firing


The State of New York has mandated that its health care workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 (and the Delta variant) by today, and it appears a number of health care covidiots there are refusing to do so.  As a consequence, they risk losing their jobs, which given the science and evidence that vaccinations are extremely effective in limiting the virus' impact is hard to fathom:

"Experts have called the mandate a clear-cut way for health care workers to prevent new waves of the virus from spreading, and to persuade doubters to get vaccinated. And health systems say the plan is crucial to keeping patients and staff safe.

Westchester Medical Center Health Network, where 94 percent of the systems’s 12,000 workers are vaccinated, called the mandate 'a critical part of upholding our mission,' in a statement on Sunday."

One anti-vaxxer, Deborah Conrad a physician assistant in upstate New York, claims that she fears "side effects" that she claims to have seen (<cough> Fox News), but which run counter to evidence of the vaccine's safety record. She's seemingly baffled at why her vaccinated co-workers see her as a danger to their health:

“We were all traumatized, vaccinated and unvaccinated,” said Ms. Conrad, who works at United Memorial, a hospital in Batavia, a small city midway between Rochester and Buffalo, and felt respected by colleagues there. “It’s very hard that the same people who elevated me to this level now look at me as a dangerous person.”  (our emphasis)

Perhaps because you ARE a danger to their and their patients' safety, COVID Conrad. The good news is that an estimated 95 percent of nurses in the state are vaccinated, according to the nurses' union. But it's a vocal, and likely partisan minority that are rejecting the vaccine, and whose firing -- despite causing an initial strain on health care organizations -- may be a blessing in disguise for the rest of us. 

BONUS: Columnist Leonard Pitts has a send off for the anti-vax employees: goodbye and good riddance.

Gaetz Planning For "Scorched Earth" Trial

Alleged sex trafficker and far-right Trumpist towel boy Rep. Matt "Teen Spirit" Gaetz (Sedition - FL) is reportedly hiring big- time criminal defense lawyers experienced in sex crime cases, which suggests that he wants to battle the charges against him in court rather than seek a settlement:

"Gaetz is personally represented by Marc Mukasey, who has defended the Trump Organization in several high-profile disputes, as well as Isabelle Kirshner, a partner at Clayman & Rosenberg LLP. Kirshner is a top Manhattan criminal defense attorney who also represented former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman after multiple women accused him of physical assault.

Separately, the Gaetz campaign—Friends of Matt Gaetz—also looked north when in June it retained New York-based trial lawyer Marc Fernich. Fernich’s client list includes child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and convicted sex trafficker Keith Raniere, who led the NXIVM cult. While Fernich is familiar with sex crimes cases, he does not have experience with campaign finance law."  (our emphasis)

It seems that Gaetz and his friends have assembled a legal team that's familiar with representing the biggest criminal dirtbags, which  seems altogether appropriate. The bottom line is that it's an indication of how dangerous he thinks the charges are against him, and how he'll need more legal firepower than what's available in his district. Attorneys and former prosecutors believe that Gaetz will employ the "scorched earth strategy" of a combative trial rather than plea bargain:

“'The fact he’s hiring trial lawyers would suggest that they are preparing for a trial, not a negotiation. But it’s not unusual for a trial lawyer to go above a prosecutor into the DOJ to make their plea on behalf of their client,' [former Federal prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks] said. 'That said, I can’t think of any time that happened to me in my experience, where a decision not to indict was made because of a meeting.'”

Gaetz is the entitled son of a wealthy former health care provider CEO and Florida politician whose previous scrapes with the law include 16 speeding tickets and a 2008 arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. He's used to having his family wealth and political connections get him out of legal problems, and he's counting on it working again this time. 

(photo: Tom Williams / AP) 

Monday Reading


As always, please go to the links for the full articles/op eds.

This is going to be an historical week in Congress, for good or bad.  Ellen Ioanes describes what's at stake:

On Monday, Democrats will start one of the most chaotic legislative sprints in recent memory. With a potential government shutdown looming, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on Saturday that three key bills, including President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, “must pass” in the coming week.

That timeline means the next week could be make-or-break for Biden’s legislative agenda, but all three bills face a complicated road ahead in Congress.

“The next few days will be a time of intensity,” Pelosi said in a letter to her caucus on Saturday. “We sent a CR to the Senate and are awaiting their action to avoid a shutdown. We must pass the BIF to avoid the expiration of the surface transportation funding on September 30. And we must stay on schedule to pass the reconciliation bill so that we can Build Back Better.”

The proposed continuing resolution, or CR, would fund the government until December, heading off a shutdown in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. Democrats have also attached a crucial measure to increase the debt ceiling to that resolution.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill, or BIF, which passed the Senate last month with the support of 19 Republicans and every Democrat, includes $550 billion in new spending and would direct much-needed funding to roads, public transit, rural broadband, and other areas. And a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which Democrats have branded the Build Back Better Act, includes major parts of the Biden agenda that were dropped from the bipartisan deal. If passed in its proposed form, the bill would fund new social programs like universal pre-kindergarten, create green jobs to help combat climate change, and expand a child tax credit that has already lifted millions out of poverty.

Deals will be cut because this is the sausage- making phase of the legislative process.  We all must be prepared for "haircuts" on some our favorite elements and must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

On that subject, Harold Meyerson reminds Democrats that implementing major legislation requires a timing reality check:

This means that Democrats won’t have a lot they can point to before the midterm elections.

For context, when the Democrats originally enacted Medicare in 1965—a much bigger undertaking than any of these programs—it was up and running within one year.

There’s no mystery why major infrastructure projects and policy expansions take time, of course. The expansion of child care and creation of universal pre-K in the reconciliation legislation, for example, will require the recruitment and training of a new workforce and the upskilling of many in the existing workforce. The recruitment part requires setting pay and benefits at a level commensurate with the needs and expectations of millions of workers, which is certainly not the case today. The training and upskilling of workers also requires a significant expansion of the teacher training workforce and facilities.

As for infrastructure, progressives need to grapple with their own handiwork. The expansion of government frequently collides head-on with the procedures of clean government that hears out the concerns of stakeholders. This was not the case during the New Deal, when Franklin Roosevelt’s administration managed to put millions to work on public projects in a matter of weeks.

ICYMI, neocon former Republican Robert Kagan had a long, widely discussed essay in the Washington Post, "Our Constitutional Crisis is Already Here."   In it, he distills most of the critiques and analyses of the malignant loser and his "zombie" cult/ party only to come to the conclusion that Democrats need to "give anti-Trump Republicans a chance to do the right thing" to form a "national unity coalition." Yes, because we know what spines Republicans have, we expect that any day now.  Regardless of the prescription he ultimately botches, Kagan makes some clarifying points along the way:

First, Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate for president in 2024. The hope and expectation that he would fade in visibility and influence have been delusional. He enjoys mammoth leads in the polls; he is building a massive campaign war chest; and at this moment the Democratic ticket looks vulnerable. Barring health problems, he is running.

Second, Trump and his Republican allies are actively preparing to ensure his victory by whatever means necessary. Trump’s charges of fraud in the 2020 election are now primarily aimed at establishing the predicate to challenge future election results that do not go his way. Some Republican candidates have already begun preparing to declare fraud in 2022, just as Larry Elder tried meekly to do in the California recall contest.

Meanwhile, the amateurish “stop the steal” efforts of 2020 have given way to an organized nationwide campaign to ensure that Trump and his supporters will have the control over state and local election officials that they lacked in 2020. Those recalcitrant Republican state officials who effectively saved the country from calamity by refusing to falsely declare fraud or to “find” more votes for Trump are being systematically removed or hounded from office. Republican legislatures are giving themselves greater control over the election certification process. As of this spring, Republicans have proposed or passed measures in at least 16 states that would shift certain election authorities from the purview of the governor, secretary of state or other executive-branch officers to the legislature. An Arizona bill flatly states that the legislature may “revoke the secretary of state’s issuance or certification of a presidential elector’s certificate of election” by a simple majority vote. Some state legislatures seek to impose criminal penalties on local election officials alleged to have committed “technical infractions,” including obstructing the view of poll watchers.

Kagan agrees that reforming the filibuster and passing voting rights legislation is the process solution to this existential problem.  But the problem of his cult will continue:

It would be foolish to imagine that the violence of Jan. 6 was an aberration that will not be repeated. Because Trump supporters see those events as a patriotic defense of the nation, there is every reason to expect more such episodes. Trump has returned to the explosive rhetoric of that day, insisting that he won in a “landslide,” that the “radical left Democrat communist party” stole the presidency in the “most corrupt, dishonest, and unfair election in the history of our country” and that they have to give it back. He has targeted for defeat those Republicans who voted for his impeachment — or criticized him for his role in the riot. Already, there have been threats to bomb polling sites, kidnap officials and attack state capitols. “You and your family will be killed very slowly,” the wife of Georgia’s top election official was texted earlier this year. Nor can one assume that the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers would again play a subordinate role when the next riot unfolds. Veterans who assaulted the Capitol told police officers that they had fought for their country before and were fighting for it again. Looking ahead to 2022 and 2024, Trump insists “there is no way they win elections without cheating. There’s no way.” So, if the results come in showing another Democratic victory, Trump’s supporters will know what to do. Just as “generations of patriots” gave “their sweat, their blood and even their very lives” to build America, Trump tells them, so today “we have no choice. We have to fight” to restore “our American birthright.”

It's a long read, but take some time and judge for yourselves.

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