Friday Reads

Happy Friday!!

Today is a busy news day, even though it’s the Friday before Thanksgiving week.

Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., presides over House passage of President Joe Biden’s expansive social and environment bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The breaking news: The House passed the Build Back Better bill this morning. CNBC: House passes $1.75 trillion Biden plan that funds universal pre-K, Medicare expansion and renewable energy credits.

The House of Representatives on Friday passed the largest expansion of the social safety net in decades, a $1.75 trillion bill that funds universal pre-K, Medicare expansion, renewable energy credits, affordable housing, a year of expanded Child Tax Credits and major Obamacare subsidies.

The final vote was 220-213, and only one Democrat, Jared Golden of Maine voted against the bill.

Now that it has cleared the House, President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act goes to the Senate, where it is likely to be revised in the coming weeks. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he aims to have the chamber pass the bill before Christmas. The House will need to vote on it again if the bill is altered.

If the measure is signed into law, the bill will profoundly change how many Americans live, especially families with children, the elderly and low income Americans.

What’s in the current version of the bill:

  • Universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year olds. In addition to helping millions of children prepare better for school, the benefit would enable parents of young children to return to the work force earlier.
  • Capping childcare costs at 7% of income for parents earning up to 250% of a state’s median income.
  • 4 weeks of federal paid parental, sick or caregiver leave.
  • A year of expanded Child Tax Credits. During the past year, these credits have raised households with more than 3 million children out of poverty, and cut overall child poverty in America by 25%.
  • Extended pandemic-era Affordable Care Act subsidies. So far this year, these subsidies have increased ACA enrollment by more than 2 million.
  • New hearing benefits for Medicare beneficiaries, including coverage for a new hearing aid every five years.
  • A $35 per-month limit on the cost of insulin under Medicare, and a cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 per year.
  • $500 billion to combat climate change, largely through clean energy tax credits. This represents the largest ever federal investment in clean energy.
  • Raising the State and Local Tax deduction limit from $10,000 to $80,000.

The bill represents a major victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who pulled together a divided caucus with conflicting interests and united it behind a sprawling, 2,000-plus-page bill, passing it with a thin majority.

The vote was supposed to be last night, but a deranged Kevin McCarthy decided to make a last ditch effort to prevent it from going forward. The New York Times: Kevin McCarthy Speaks for More Than Eight Hours to Delay a House Vote.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California early Friday concluded a marathon speech in opposition to the Democrats’ social policy bill, after talking for eight hours and 32 minutes, surpassing the length of one by Representative Nancy Pelosi in 2018 that held the record for the longest continuous House speech in modern history.

“Personally I didn’t think I could go this long,” Mr. McCarthy said toward the end of his monologue as some of the people behind him struggled to keep their eyes open. Finally, after 5 a.m., he finished. “With that, Madam Speaker, I yield back,” he said.

Mr. McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, railed against President Biden and his agenda in an effort to delay the passage of the Democrats’ $1.85 trillion social policy and climate change bill.

The debate over the bill had been scheduled to last 20 minutes before Mr. McCarthy took over after 8 p.m. to deliver an at times rambling speech stuffed with Republican talking points against the legislation and punctuated with riffs about history.

“I know some of you are mad at me, think I spoke too long,” he said at one point. “But I’ve had enough. America has had enough.”

Shortly after midnight Friday, when Mr. McCarthy showed no sign of yielding control of the House floor, Democratic leaders sent lawmakers home, with plans to return at 8 a.m. to finish debate and vote on the sprawling package.

The horror! The notion of the government helping regular Americans instead of enriching the already super-rich was just too much for McCarthy and the rest of the Trumpist goons.

The Daily Beast: Democrats Finally Unite—to Mock Kevin McCarthy All Night as He Breaks Stupid Record.

Curiously, McCarthy stopped talking shortly after surpassing the eight hour, seven minute record set by Nancy Pelosi in 2018—yielding after eight hours and 32 minutes.

Starting at 8:38 p.m., McCarthy took full advantage of the “Magic Minute”—in which leaders from both parties are allowed to speak for as long as they want with it only counting as one minute against the time allocated for debate—and delivered a stemwinder of half-truths, outright lies, aggrieved arguments, unrelated tangents, and recycled rhetoric….

As McCarthy began his lecture on the floor Thursday, the Democratic heckling started almost immediately. McCarthy told members he had “all night,” to which Democrats responded, “So do we!”

And both sides really did.

When McCarthy baselessly claimed the bill would cost $5 trillion, Democrats started yelling out increasingly large numbers. “$6 trillion!” one shouted, before another topped him with “$7 trillion!”—with more Democrats joining in with even more farcical projections.

When McCarthy said, “If I sound angry, I am,” Democrats chimed in with a prolonged “awww” sound, like they were watching a baby do something cute.

Read more at the link. Democrats mocked McCarthy on Twitter too. Read more at Mediaite: House Democrats Roast Kevin McCarthy on Twitter for Marathon Speech: ‘Please Saw Me in Half and Put Me Out of My Misery.’

Biden appears to be working up to getting rid of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. The Washington Post: Biden expected to replace Ron Bloom, USPS board chair and key DeJoy ally, on postal board.

President Biden is expected to announce Friday that he will not renominate Ron Bloom, the chair the U.S. Postal Service board and a key ally of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, when his term expires next month, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.

The move casts doubt on DeJoy’s future at the agency, the people said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

The decision potentially gives liberals on the panel another crucial vote to oust the postmaster general, who can only be removed by the board of governors. The nine-member board currently comprises four Democrats, four Republicans and one independent, though Biden has only appointed three members.

Bloom, a Democrat, has backed DeJoy as the agency permanently slowed mail delivery standards and raised prices.

Biden’s decision reflects the White House’s continued antipathy toward DeJoy, who is widely viewed as a loyalist to former president Donald Trump.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

Yesterday, Dakinikat posted a video of Louisiana Senator John Kennedy going full Joseph McCarthy on a Biden appointee.

At The Guardian, David Smith writes: ‘Professor or comrade?’ Republicans go full red scare on Soviet-born Biden pick.

Saule Omarova, 55, was nominated in September to be America’s next comptroller of the currency. If confirmed, she would be the first woman and person of colour in the role in its 158-year-history.

Omarova was born in Kazakhstan when it was part of the Soviet Union and moved to the US in 1991. For John Kennedy of Louisiana, a member of the Senate banking committee, this was like a red rag to a bull.

Questioning whether Omarova was still a member of communist youth organisations, Kennedy said: “I don’t mean any disrespect: I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”

The remark prompted gasps in the hearing room on Capitol Hill.

Omarova replied, slowly and firmly: “Senator, I’m not a communist. I do not subscribe to that ideology. I could not choose where I was born.

“I do not remember joining any Facebook group that subscribes to that ideology. I would never knowingly join any such group. There is no record of me actually participating in any Marxist or communist discussions of any kind.”

Omarova then told how her family suffered under the communist regime.

“I grew up without knowing half of my family. My grandmother herself escaped death twice under the Stalin regime. This is what’s seared in my mind. That’s who I am. I remember that history. I came to this country. I’m proud to be an American and this is why I’m here today, Senator.”

Omarova has worked mainly as a lawyer and most recently as a law professor at Cornell University. She has testified often as an expert witness on financial regulation and even worked briefly in the administration of George W Bush.

Kennedy wasn’t the only one to attack Omarova.

…in a letter to Omarova after she was nominated, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania requested a copy of a graduation paper she wrote about Karl Marx when she was an undergraduate at Moscow State University – “in the original Russian” .

At Thursday’s hearing, Toomey noted that Omarova has written several academic papers that propose sweeping changes to the banking system.

“Taken in totality, her ideas do amount to a socialist manifesto for American financial services,” he said.

A judge is trying to muzzle the NYT in the Project Veritas case. The New York Times: Judge Tries to Block New York Times’s Coverage of Project Veritas.

A New York trial court judge ordered The New York Times on Thursday to temporarily refrain from publishing or seeking out certain documents related to the conservative group Project Veritas, an unusual instance of a court blocking coverage by a major news organization.

The order raised immediate concerns among First Amendment advocates, who called it a violation of basic constitutional protections for journalists, a viewpoint echoed by The Times. Project Veritas issued a statement in support of the order, arguing that it did not amount to a significant imposition on the newspaper’s rights.

The judge’s order is part of a pending libel lawsuit filed by Project Veritas against The Times in 2020. That suit accuses the newspaper of defaming Project Veritas in its reporting on a video produced by the group that made unverified claims of voter fraud in Minnesota.

Led by the provocateur James O’Keefe, Project Veritas often conducts sting operations — including the use of fake identities and hidden cameras — aimed at embarrassing Democratic campaigns, labor organizations, news outlets and other entities. It is the subject of a Justice Department investigation into its possible involvement in the reported theft of a diary that apparently belonged to President Biden’s daughter, Ashley.

Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a lawyer who represents media outlets including CNN, called the court’s order “ridiculous.”

“Even though it’s temporary, the Supreme Court has said even the most modest, minute-by-minute deprivations of these First Amendment rights cannot be tolerated,” Mr. Boutrous said. “To go further and suggest a limit on news gathering, I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

Read the rest at the NYT. See also The Washington Post: Court bars New York Times from publishing Project Veritas memos in move called ‘unconstitutional.’

More stories to check out today:

Will Bunch at The Philadelphia Inquirer: The impeachment of President Biden and other American nightmares coming in 2023.

The Daily Beast: Europe Locking Back Down With COVID Winter Surge Coming for Us All.

The Washington Post: Prominent scientist who said lab-leak theory of covid-19 origin should be probed now believes evidence points to Wuhan market.

The Chicago Tribune: Man spotted with AR-15 outside Kyle Rittenhouse trial confirms he is a fired Ferguson police officer.

Politico Magazine: The Bonnie and Clyde of MAGA World. For a decade, Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence had surfed the wave of populist-right politics like few other people in America. Then came Jan. 6.

CNN: Trump’s ire grows as DeSantis’ popularity with Republicans takes off.

The Washington Post: ‘No one tells me what to do’: Sinema praises infrastructure, questions spending and inflation in wide-ranging interview.

What stories are you following today?


Lazy Caturday Reads: Call Witnesses!

Ambrosius Benson, Portrait of a Woman and cat

Ambrosius Benson, Portrait of a Woman and cat

Good Morning!!

Yesterday after the Trump lawyers in the impeachment trial presented their pathetic defense of Trump’s January 6, 2020 coup attempt, details about a phone call between Trump and GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy began getting a lot of attention. The facts had actually been available for some time in the Longview, Washington Daily News, but hadn’t broken through in major media outlets until CNN broke this story yesterday: New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters.

In an expletive-laced phone call with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy while the Capitol was under attack, then-President Donald Trump said the rioters cared more about the election results than McCarthy did.

“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump said, according to lawmakers who were briefed on the call afterward by McCarthy.

McCarthy insisted that the rioters were Trump’s supporters and begged Trump to call them off.

Judith Leyster, Two Childrren with a Cat,

Judith Leyster, Two Children with a Cat

Trump’s comment set off what Republican lawmakers familiar with the call described as a shouting match between the two men. A furious McCarthy told the then-President the rioters were breaking into his office through the windows, and asked Trump, “Who the f–k do you think you are talking to?” according to a Republican lawmaker familiar with the call.

The newly revealed details of the call, described to CNN by multiple Republicans briefed on it, provide critical insight into the President’s state of mind as rioters were overrunning the Capitol. The existence of the call and some of its details were first reported by Punchbowl News and discussed publicly by McCarthy.

The Republican members of Congress said the exchange showed Trump had no intention of calling off the rioters even as lawmakers were pleading with him to intervene. Several said it amounted to a dereliction of his presidential duty.

Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was one of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, based on what she had learned about the phone call. From the Longview Daily News story linked above:

In a Friday interview with The Daily News, she said the events of Jan. 6 determined her course of action for the following week. Hiding with colleagues from the violent mob that was ransacking the U.S. Capitol on that day, she told how she was flooded with emotions.

“I was heartbroken. I was aghast. I was in disbelief,” she recalled. “I was praying. I was like, ‘We’ve got some pretty big angels, a couple of big angels, and we’re fine.’ Just knowing how badly outnumbered everybody was at that point, and how beaten everybody was, the fact that there wasn’t a mass casualty event to me just demonstrates, I feel like, I do think God, I do think God intervened.”

“When I look at the picture of the Capitol police officer on his face, with the crowd standing over him, or of someone being bludgeoned to death, I cannot express to you the feeling inside that says, ‘I will stand up to that any day of the week and twice on Sunday,’ ” she said.

Woman with a cat, Il Bacchiacca

Woman with a cat, Il Bacchiacca

“To me that’s what my vote represents. I will not tolerate that and nor will, I believe, a majority of the good people in my district, in our state and in our country.” [….]

On the House floor Jan. 13, Herrera Beutler said:

“I’m not afraid of losing my job, but I am afraid that my country will fail. I’m afraid that patriots of this country have died in vain. I’m afraid that my children won’t grow up in a free country. I’m afraid injustice will prevail.

“My vote to impeach our sitting president is not a fear-based decision. I am not choosing a side – I am choosing truth, she said. “It’s the only way to defeat fear.”

Trump’s lawyers are still claiming he didn’t know that Pence’s life was in danger, but he had to know, even before his phone call with Tommy Tuberville. USA Today: Sen. Tommy Tuberville stands by account of Jan. 6 Trump phone call after lawyers say it’s ‘hearsay.’

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., stood by his account of former President Donald Trump’s phone call to him during Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol despite Trump’s lawyers calling the account “hearsay.” 

Tuberville’s account would mean Trump was aware of the danger Vice President Mike Pence faced before he tweeted an attack on Pence. Asked about the allegation by reporters, Tuberville said he was not sure exactly what time Trump called, but reiterated he had talked to Trump by phone on Jan. 6 and had told the president Pence was evacuated from the Senate chamber. 

Tuberville recounted answering the phone, talking briefly to Trump, and then telling him, “Mr. President, they’ve taken the vice president out. They want me to get off the phone, I gotta go.” [….]

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., asked Trump’s lawyers for greater clarity on the call but said Trump’s lawyers had “not really” answered his question.

Trump’s attorney Michael van der Veen had responded to Cassidy’s question by saying he disputed the “premise” of Cassidy’s question and called Tuberville’s account “hearsay.”

But the Secret Service would have informed Trump.

This is from yesterday’s Washington Post: Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol.

Hiding from the rioters in a secret location away from the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appealed to Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) phoned Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter.

Studies for Madonna with a cat, Leonardo Da Vinci

Studies for Madonna with a cat, Leonardo Da Vinci

And Kellyanne Conway, a longtime Trump confidante and former White House senior adviser, called an aide who she knew was standing at the president’s side.

But as senators and House members trapped inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday begged for immediate help during the siege, they struggled to get through to the president, who — safely ensconced in the West Wing — was too busy watching fiery TV images of the crisis unfolding around them to act or even bother to hear their pleas.

“He was hard to reach, and you know why? Because it was live TV,” said one close Trump adviser. “If it’s TiVo, he just hits pause and takes the calls. If it’s live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold.”

Even as he did so, Trump did not move to act. And the message from those around him — that he needed to call off the angry mob he had egged on just hours earlier, or lives could be lost — was one to which he was not initially receptive….

Trump ultimately — and begrudgingly — urged his supporters to “go home in peace.” But the six hours between when the Capitol was breached shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon and when it was finally declared secure around 8 p.m. that evening reveal a president paralyzed — more passive viewer than resolute leader, repeatedly failing to perform even the basic duties of his job.

It’s absolutely clear at this point that Trump deliberately aided the insurrectionists and knowingly put his own Vice President and members of Congress and their staffs in danger. Now House managers are face pressure to call witnesses in the trial, which they still can do. Greg Sargent writes:

Peter Paul Rubens, Detail from Annunciation,

Peter Paul Rubens, Detail from Annunciation,

Evidence is mounting that Donald Trump knew Mike Pence was in grave danger from the mob rampaging into the Capitol when the then-president sent out a tweet blasting his vice president.

During the Jan. 6 assault, Trump tweet-slammed Pence for lacking the “courage” to overturn the election, which further infuriated the insurrectionists. Trump essentially pointed the mob like a loaded gun at Pence — and newly unearthed facts suggest Trump may have understood what he was doing in exactly these terms.

These new circumstances hand Democrats one last big weapon to wield against Trump at his impeachment trial. They also impose on them an obligation.

Specifically, the impeachment managers can still call witnesses. And the case for this has gotten stronger, now that we are so close to showing that Trump may have knowingly endangered Pence’s life.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is calling for witnesses in the trial.

Today’s session of the Trump trial should be interesting.

More relevant reads:

Jan Steen, Children teaching a cat to dance

Jan Steen, Children teaching a cat to dance

The Bulwark: The 10 Worst Moments from Trump’s “Defense”

The New York Times: For the Defense: Twisted Facts and Other Staples of the Trump Playbook

David Frum at The Atlantic: The Incompetence Lasted to the Very End.

The New York Times: For the Defense: Twisted Facts and Other Staples of the Trump Playbook

George Conway III at The Washington Post: Opinion: Trump’s lawyers offered an attack on everything but the evidence

Aaron Rupar at Vox: Trump lawyers keep accusing Democrats of manipulating evidence. But they’re doing that themselves.

Politico: House Republican pleads for Pence, Trump aides to speak out on Jan. 6 insurrection

PBS: Sen. Patty Murray recounts her narrow escape from a violent mob inside the U.S. Capitol\

Yahoo News: Trump lawyer struggles to answer key questions from Republican senators

ProPublica: “I Don’t Trust the People Above Me”: Riot Squad Cops Open Up About Disastrous Response to Capitol Insurrection

That’s all I have for you today. Have a terrific long weekend, Sky Dancers!


Thursday Reads: Democrats and The Greene Party

Vittorio Matteo Corcos, Dreams / Sogni, 1896|

z;o Vittorio Matteo Corcos, Dreams / Sogni, 1896

Good Afternoon!!

I’ve never been a Joe Biden fan. Early on in the 2020 primaries, I even thought I might refuse to vote for him if he were the Democratic nominee. But as time went on, he grew on me. Now I think he probably is exactly what we needed. He’s a “normal” Democratic politician, he’s extremely knowledgeable and experienced in the ways of the Senate, and he comes across as a decent person. He’s the perfect antidote to Trump’s psychotic behavior, ignorance, and incompetence. And it turns out that most Americans support what Biden is doing as president.

AP: AP-NORC Poll: Americans open to Biden’s approach to crises.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two weeks into a new administration, a majority of Americans say they have at least some confidence in President Joe Biden and his ability to manage the myriad crises facing the nation, including the raging coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, 61% approve of Biden’s handling of his job in his first days in office, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Though the bulk of Biden’s support is from fellow Democrats, about a quarter of Republicans say they approve of his early days in office.

Even at a moment of deep national divisions, those numbers suggest Biden, as with most of his recent predecessors, may enjoy something of a honeymoon period. Nearly all modern presidents have had approval ratings averaging 55% or higher over their first three months in office, according to Gallup polling. There was one exception: Donald Trump, whose approval rating never surpassed 50% in Gallup polls, even at the start of his presidency.

The Travelling Companions by Augustus Egg

The Travelling Companions by Augustus Egg

Obviously Biden faces serious challenges, but so far the public as a whole is supportive.

Biden’s standing with the public will quickly face significant tests. He inherited from Trump a pandemic spiraling out of control, a sluggish rollout of crucial vaccinesdeep economic uncertainty and the jarring fallout of the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill. It’s a historic confluence of crises that historians have compared to what faced Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the Civil War or Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the depths of the Great Depression.

Biden’s advisers know that the new president will be quickly judged by Americans on his handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 450,000 people in the U.S. He’s urgently pressing Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion relief package that would include funds for vaccine distribution, school reopening and state and local governments buckling under the strain of the pandemic.

“We have to go big, not small,” Biden told House Democrats on Tuesday. He’s signaled that he’s open to trimming his $1.9 trillion proposal but not as far as some Republicans are hoping. A group of GOP senators has put forward their own $618 billion package.

Lady on a Sofa, Harold Gilman, c 1910

Lady on a Sofa, Harold Gilman, c 1910

At Axios, Mike Allen explains why Biden’s stimulus plan is probably going to get through Congress one way or another: Biden’s grand plan

President Biden toldRepublican senators he has “an open door and an open mind” on his $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan. But he already has the votes, and overwhelming support in the country.

Why it matters: Well, power matters. And Biden holds all of it.

Get used to this. Democrats are gleeful as they watch the media fixate on family feuds inside the GOP, while Biden pushes out executive orders and pushes through this bill on his terms.

  • Biden embraces the reality that the two numbers that matter most to his presidency are coronavirus cases falling and economic growth rising.

Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president and longtime Biden confidant, was in the Oval this week for meetings with Republican and Democratic senators, and told me that the president “reaffirmed and deepened his explanation and commitment on the numbers and the substance” of the full package.

  • Ricchetti said Biden made it clear that he welcomes “fine-tuning or amendments or recommendations,” but “underscored that he’s committed to his plan and to the elements he outlined” — and to moving quickly.

What we’re watching: Ricchetti said the president wants to have “a bipartisan and unifying dialogue in the country,” including conversations he’s already had with mayors and local elected officials, “so that this isn’t just about a dialogue with senators and members of Congress. It is a dialogue with the country.”

  • Ricchetti said Biden treated a GOP counterproposal “with an open mind and with respect. He was also honest … in underscoring why he proposed what he did — that he was committed to every one of the elements in his package.”

The bottom line: Democrats will dismiss any whining about Biden’s stimulus as D.C. noise or Republican hypocrisy. They’ll be right on both fronts.

The Railway, Edouard Manet, 1873

The Railway, Edouard Manet, 1873

Meanwhile, Republicans are mired in a conflict over Q Anon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Gree Kevin McCarthy has to be the most pathetic GOP leader ever–even worse than Paul Ryan or John Boehner. Yesterday, Republicans met to discuss the futures of Greene, a complete crackpot, and Liz Cheney, a relatively normal mainstream Republican who had the guts to vote for Trump’s impeachment. Both women have survived so far. 

CBS News: Liz Cheney survives vote to remove her from GOP leadership.

House Republicans voted by a large margin Wednesday to allow Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney to stay on as the GOP conference chairwoman following an hours-long meeting where members aired their grievances over her vote to impeach former President Trump last month. Just 61 Republicans voted to remove Cheney from her post, while 145 voted for her to stay in a vote by secret ballot.

The vote came after Cheney told her Republican colleagues she would not apologize for her decision, according to a source familiar with the meeting. She later praised the result as a “terrific vote.” 

“We’re not going to be in a situation where people can pick off any member of leadership,” she said after the meeting. “It was very resounding acknowledgment that we need to go forward together and then we need to go forward in a way that helps us beat back the really dangerous and negative Democrat policies.” 

歌川国芳 by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

歌川国芳 by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Greene’s situation is still somewhat up in the air, but she got a standing ovation after apologizing the her colleagues in a private meeting. From The New York Times: The G.O.P. Walks a Tightrope.

  • The extremist wing of the Republican Party has lived to fight another day. But G.O.P. leaders are in knots trying to prove that the party’s factions can all live in harmony.

  • Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, refused to strip Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee appointments yesterday, instead issuing a long statement that condemned her history of making extreme and violent statements but also threw a jab back at Democrats, accusing them of a “partisan power grab.”

  • But at a closed-door meeting yesterday, the party’s House delegation also voted overwhelmingly to keep Representative Liz Cheney — an anti-Trump, establishment figure who has drawn fire from the party’s right wing — in her spot as the No. 3 Republican in the chamber.

  • At the meeting, many House Republicans expressed dismay with Cheney for her vote to impeach Trump and her condemnation of his role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Members of the far-right Freedom Caucus accused Cheney of “aiding the enemy” when she joined just nine other Republicans in voting to impeach Trump, according to people familiar with the discussion. But ultimately she held on to her leadership role easily.

  • McCarthy’s unwillingness to strip Greene of her appointments, as Democrats and many Republicans have called on him to do, indicates that the G.O.P. plans to address the division in its ranks through messaging more than disciplinary action, at least for now.

  • In his statement, McCarthy used strong and direct language to reject the conspiracy-minded views promulgated by Greene, but he effectively defended her right to have held them.

  • “Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference,” McCarthy said. “I condemn those comments unequivocally.”

  • He said that he had met with her privately and explained “that as a member of Congress,” she would be held “to a higher standard than how she presented herself as a private citizen.”

Just a Couple of Girls by Harry Wilson Watrous, 1915

Just a Couple of Girls by Harry Wilson Watrous, 1915

At Axios, Margaret Talev reports: Exclusive poll: Republicans favor Greene over Cheney.

Conspiracist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is far more popular than Rep. Liz Cheney among Americans who align with the Republican Party, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

Why it matters: As the House GOP caucus is being torn over calls to yank Cheney from congressional leadership for backing Donald Trump’s second impeachment, and strip Greene from committee assignments for her baseless conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric, these findings show how strongly Trumpism continues to define most Republicans.

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is much more popular with Republicans than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the survey finds.

By the numbers: McCarthy enjoys the highest favorable versus unfavorable ratings (net favorability) of the four among Republicans, at 38%-16% (+22); followed by Greene, at 28%-18% (+10); McConnell, at 31%-46% (-15); and Cheney, at 14%-42% (-28).

  • Greene is the least well known of the four, with 51% of Republicans and Republican leaners saying they don’t know enough to say whether their impression is favorable or not. Respondents have the most fully formed views of McConnell.
  • Republican respondents are three times as likely to say their views align with Greene than with Cheney, but nearly one-third say they don’t align with either, and half say they don’t know enough to say.
  • Republican respondents who voted for Trump in November gave McCarthy a high net favorable rating (+31) and McConnell a high net unfavorable rating (-18).

The intrigue: People who identify with Greene are disproportionately likely to have lost faith in democracy or believe despite evidence that voter fraud is rampant in their state.

How scary is that?

Leitura by José Ferraz de Almeida JúniorDemocrats are moving forward on a plan to take away Greene’s committee assignments. CNN: House to vote on removing Marjorie Taylor Greene from committee assignments.

The House will vote Thursday on a measure to remove Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments, a decisive step that comes in the wake of recently unearthed incendiary and violent past statements from the congresswoman that have triggered widespread backlash from Democrats and divided congressional Republicans.

House Democrats, who control the chamber, set up the vote after first attempting to pressure Republicans to strip the Georgia Republican of committee assignments on their own. House Republicans have not taken that action, however, and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday released a statement calling the push by Democrats to take away the congresswoman’s committee assignments a “partisan power grab.”

The measure the House will take up calls for Greene to be removed from the House Education and Labor Committee and the Budget Committee “in light of conduct she has exhibited.”

The move could set a risky precedent as Democrats target a sitting member of the opposing party in Congress over views expressed prior to her serving as an elected official — one that has the potential to someday be used against the party by Republicans.

Interesting stories to check out today:

Young Woman Reading an Illustrated Journal, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, c. 1880

Young Woman Reading an Illustrated Journal, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, c. 1880

Slate: How Georgia Newspapers Are Covering Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The Atlantic: What QAnon Has in Common With the Birchers: Sixty years ago, many GOP leaders resisted extremism. Now they’re not even trying.

Just Security: Movie at the Ellipse: A Study in Fascist Propaganda. Scholars on the Nazis and anti-Semitism have seen this before.

Norm Eisen and Katherine Reisner at USA Today: Whatever legal or constitutional test you apply, Trump incited the violent Capitol attack.

The Washington Post: Mitt Romney unveils plan to provide $3,000 per child, giving bipartisan support to President Biden’s effort.

Slate: Biden Ousts All 10 of Trump’s Union Busters From Powerful Labor Panel.

NBC News: Biden administration weighs plan to directly send masks to all Americans.

Moe Tkacik at Slate: The Lousy Tippers of the Trump Administration. They were exhausting, impossible, stingy, and cruel, just like at their day jobs.

It has been quiet around here lately. I know I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, and I’m probably not alone. I’m realizing that Trump culture isn’t going to just magically go away. But I do hope you’ll check in and leave a comment or link when you can. We miss you when we don’t hear from you!


Thursday Reads: Following Up On Trump’s Attempted Coup

Carol-Estes-cardinal

Good Morning

As you can probably guess from the images, it is snowing here. It snowed Tuesday night into Wednesday and we might get a bigger snowfall over the weekend. It has been a snow-free January so far, but no longer.

As Congressional Republicans once again circle the wagons around Trump, the death and injury toll from the January 6 attempted coup is growing. A second policeman committed suicide and many more cops were injured than preciously known.

CNN: Two police officers died by suicide after responding to Capitol riot.

Acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee told the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that two police officers have died by suicide since responding to the riot at the Capitol on January 6, according to Contee’s opening statement before the committee, which was obtained by CNN.

This is the first time the force has confirmed that two officers took their own lives after the attack.

“Tragically, two officers who were at the Capitol on January 6th, one each from the Capitol Police and MPD, took their own lives in the aftermath of that battle,” Contee said in his statement.

Another Capitol Police officer, Brian D. Sicknick, died the day after the riot “due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” the Capitol Police said in a statement earlier this month.

Eastern bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

And don’t forget that one of the rioters also died by suicide.

The New York Times: The Capitol Police union says nearly 140 officers were injured during the riot.

Nearly 140 police officers from two departments were injured during the Jan. 6 pro-Trump mob attack on the Capitol, including officers who suffered brain injuries, smashed spinal discs and one who is likely to lose his eye, the Capitol Police union said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the union’s chairman, Gus Papathanasiou, faulted leadership of the Capitol Police for failing to equip officers with proper equipment ahead of the attack.

He was responding to the closed-door testimony on Tuesday of Yogananda D. Pittman, the acting chief of the Capitol Police, who acknowledged that the department had known there was a “strong potential for violence” that day but failed to take necessary steps to prevent what she described as a “terrorist attack.”

Chief Pittman took the reins of the agency after the siege, replacing Steven Sund, who resigned as police chief under pressure.

“We have one officer who lost his life as a direct result of the insurrection,” Mr. Papathanasiou said. “Another officer has tragically taken his own life. Between U.S.C.P. and our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police Department, we have almost 140 officers injured. I have officers who were not issued helmets prior to the attack who have sustained brain injuries. One officer has two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs. One officer is going to lose his eye, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake.”

Chief Pittman testified via videoconference before a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee that officers were outmanned during the riot, that internal communications were poor, and that officers lacked sufficient equipment and struggled to carry out orders like locking down the building.

Nevertheless, Congressional Republicans are mostly back in the Trump cult. 

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Two crows in snow

Stephen Collinson at CNN: In the Republican Party, the post-Trump era lasted a week.

Two roads diverged in American politics, and the Republican Party chose the one traveled by disgraced ex-President Donald Trump and QAnon conspiracy theorists.

While pundits ponder the GOP’s future — and traditionalists hope to change course out of the wreckage left by Trump’s insurrection — Washington’s power players and state activists have already made their choice.

Highlighting the former President’s lightning fast rehabilitation, the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will visit Trump in Florida on Thursday after repudiating his own criticism of the incitement of the US Capitol riot.

Only a week after Trump left the White House, it’s clear that his party is not ready to let him go. Extremists and Trumpists are on the rise, while lawmakers who condemned his aberrant conduct fight for their political careers. The anti-Trump wing — represented by members of Congress such as Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Mitt Romney of Utah and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger — look like a small and outmaneuvered force.

This week’s sorting will have significant implications for the GOP’s positioning as it heads into the 2022 midterm elections, and for President Joe Biden’s hopes of draining the poison from Washington in the name of national unity.

But it will also pose a fundamental question for the Grand Old Party itself. Is yet another doubling down on grassroots fury and the Trump base the best way to win back Americans? Especially those in suburban areas who rejected the ex-President who lost the House, the Senate and the White House in a single four-year term?

Asawin Suebsaeng at The Daily Beast: Republicans Come Crawling Back to Trump Three Weeks After Capitol Riot.

Immediately following the deadly Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill, several leaders and prominent figures in his own party wanted to ditch President Donald Trump, blame him for inciting the mob, or at least move on from him. It took less than a month for almost all of the official GOP to start crawling back to him.

Junco On A Branch

              Junco on a branch

GOP bigwigs who were, very briefly, prepared to throw Trump onto the ash heap of history following his primary role in sparking the MAGA riot and for helping the Republican Party lose the presidency and both houses of Congress are now beginning to shield the ex-president, once again, from his liberal foes. Top Republican lawmakers are increasingly signaling that they are ready to let Trump off the hook yet another time, and the former president has been working the phones from his new home base in Florida in an effort to make sure GOP senators vote to acquit him in an upcoming impeachment trial.

Of course Lindsey Graham is leading the pack in their rush back into the Trump orbit.

“He’s very interested in the outcome of the trial and I talked to him yesterday, and I told him the vote yesterday is a sign of things to come,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a close Trump ally, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.

Graham was referring to a Tuesday vote for which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sided with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on a measure declaring Senate impeachment proceedings against an ex-president to be unconstitutional. Earlier this month, McConnell had publicly blamed Trump for “provok[ing]” the anti-democratic rioting, and had left open the possibility of voting to convict him in a potential trial.

Minority leader Kevin McCarthy is not far behind.

McCarthy is making nice with the former president—and his family, too. Days after his argument with Donald Trump, McCarthy got on the phone with Donald Trump Jr. Both sides of the conversation walked away believing that they remained on great terms with the other. Trump Jr. is currently planning to do whatever he can to help the GOP take back the House in 2022, according to a person familiar with the matter. “Don wants to see Kevin as speaker of the House,” this source said.

Moreover, multiple news outlets reported on Wednesday that former President Trump and McCarthy are scheduled to meet in person in Florida on Thursday.

Just a short time ago, both of these assholes were denouncing Trump for his attempted coup.

Rose finch

Rose Finch

Yesterday, JJ posted a links to Seth Abraham’s reporting on a suspected planning meeting held on January 5, the day before the Capitol riot. Other news outlets are now reporting on the meeting.

Here’s Abramson’s summary of what is known so far. More Revelations About Secretive January 5 War Council at Trump International Hotel.

Reporting in the Omaha World-Herald, as well as social media screenshots and videos, confirm a January 5 pre-insurrection war council at DC’s Trump International Hotel. Also confirmed by the evidence is a list of the gathering’s (minimum) fifteen attendees.

The first Proof article on this subject can be found here.

The secretive January 5 meeting—which one attendee, Senator Tommy Tuberville, has already been caught lying about, and which another, Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster, has attempted to scrub his social media to conceal—included eight different components of Trump’s political machine:

  • Family members: Donald Trump Jr.Eric Trump, and Kimberly Guilfoyle (current girlfriend of Trump Jr., and a former on-air Fox News personality).

  • Trump’s legal team: Rudy Giuliani.

  • United States senators: Tuberville and at least two other senators (see below).

  • Administration officials: Peter Navarro and Charles Herbster.

  • January 6 organizers: Ali AlexanderAdam Piper, and Michael Flynn.

  • Trump campaign officials: Corey Lewandowski (former), David Bossie (former).

  • Cyberintelligence specialists: Flynn (information operations) and possibly Phil Waldron (self-described—see more below—as skilled in “intelligence analysis”).

  • Trump donors: Mike LindellDaniel Beck, and Herbster.

Due to minimal ongoing coverage of this extraordinary pre-January 6 strategy meeting, questions about the Trump International Hotel gathering remain. This article outlines key questions and reveals the answers to several—all uncovered over the last 24 hours.

Read the rest at the Substack link.

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                 Chickadee

From The Alabama Political Reporter: Trump appointee says Tuberville met with Trump family, advisers on eve of Capitol attack.

Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville through a spokeswoman Tuesday denied meeting with the then-director of the Republican Attorneys General Association and others inside Trump’s private residence at the Trump International Hotel on Jan. 5 — on the eve of the deadly U.S.  Capitol attack.

But a photo posted to social media appears to show Tuberville in the hotel’s lobby that day, and a company CEO in a separate post describes meeting with Tuberville and others at the hotel that day and discussing “illegal votes.” 

Charles W. Herbster, who was then the national chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee in Trump’s administration, in a Facebook post at 8:33 p.m. on Jan. 5 said that he was standing “in the private residence of the President at Trump International with the following patriots who are joining me in a battle for justice and truth.”

Among the attendees, according to Herbster’s post, were Tuberville, former RAGA director Adam Piper, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, adviser Peter Navarro, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and 2016 deputy campaign manager David Bossie. 

More details:

A photo posted to an Instagram user’s account appears to show Tuberville standing in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel on Jan. 5. The user captioned the photo “Newly elected Senator Tommy Tuberville.” In two other separate photos, the person posted images of Flynn and Donald Trump Jr. inside the hotel on Jan. 5. Attempts to reach the person who posted that photo were unsuccessful Tuesday. 

Daniel Beck, CEO of an Idaho technology company, in a Facebook post at 10:27 p.m. on Jan. 5 wrote that he’d spent the evening with Tuberville, Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, Michael J. Lindell, Navarro and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

bluebirds-on-snowy-branch-538973107-59de75100d327a00119e3bedAnd Mother Jones has info on Roger Stone’s long-term involvement in preparations for the coup: 

In the weeks before riled-up Trump supporters looking to overturn the election assembled in Washington, DC, Stone worked to raise money for “private security” and equipment for events there on January 5 and 6 that preceded the storming of the Capitol. But the “Stop the Steal” website where Stone solicited funds was subsequently taken down. Though he now claims to have merely encouraged “peaceful” protests of Congress, he struck a fiery and apocalyptic tone in speeches leading up to the Capitol attack. At a DC rally on December 12, he exhorted his rightwing fans to “fight until the bitter end” to prevent Joe Biden from taking office. Speaking at a rally in Freedom Plaza the night before the Capitol riot, Stone urged the crowd to join an “epic struggle.” 

At that event, Stone appeared to be receiving protection from a security detail composed of members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group. And Stone for years has maintained close ties to members of the Proud Boys, whose leaders treat him as a mentor. Members of both groups face criminal charges for their role in the assault on Congress.

There’s much more on Stone’s role at Mother Jones.

One more from Raw Story: Viral video renews interest in report Trump sons held pre-Capitol coup meeting to pressure’ lawmakers.

A clip from a video recorded by the CEO of a text messaging company is going viral after well-known attorney and activist Seth Abramson posted it to Twitter late Tuesday night.

In the original Facebook live video, posted at 11:32 PM the night before the January 6 insurrection, Txtwire CEO Daniel Beck claims to have just finished a meeting with “about 15” people at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., including, he says, Rudy Giuliani, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr., My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, and “several Senators.”

It appears at least one of those Senators has now been identified.

The video itself would be interesting to those investigating the insurrection and Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the election, but it’s far more interesting given an article in the Omaha World Herald published January 6, that reports a Republican exploring a run for governor of Nebraska, Charles Herbster, appears to have attended that same January 5 meeting.

Read more at Raw Story.

So this could get very interesting. I hope big media will pick up on this story soon. It sure seems significant.

That’s it for me today, but there’s lots more happening. I’ll post more links in the comment thread and I hope you will too.

 


Thursday Reads: Authenticity and Politics

authenticity2

Good Morning!!

Yesterday J.J. posted an article from Vox by Andrew Prokop that discussed the Politico article about Joe Biden that I blogged about on Tuesday and the idiotic obsession the media has with politicians and authenticity.

Imagine how the press would react if Hillary Clinton did what Joe Biden just did.

Since Joe Biden has been weighing a run for president, members of the press have repeatedly praised him for his “authenticity.” This has largely been in contrast to Hillary Clinton, who is frequently pilloried by the media as secretive and calculating, and has its members yearning for a more natural candidate. “With Joe Biden, what you see is what you get,” Mike Barnicle wrote for the Daily Beast.

Even the anecdotes about Biden’s political calculations have portrayed him as a conflicted, grieving father. On August 1, New York Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd narrated a heart-wrenching private moment that occurred among the Biden family. Dowd wrote that the vice president’s dying son Beau, his face “partially paralyzed,” sat down with his “anguished” father and urged him to run for president — “arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”

Dowd’s column was extremely vague about how she got this information, but it kick-started the buzz that Biden might really be serious about a 2016 campaign, which is still going strong this week.

Now it turns out that her source — according to a report by Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere today — was Joe Biden himself.

authentic def

As Prokop points out, if Hillary had done this, she would be “ripped to shreds.” But Prokop’s main point is that all politicians are inherently calculating, trying to present themselves to the public in the best light.

Some politicians — like Biden and John McCain (particularly in 2000) — are deemed to be genuine individuals, while others — Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and Mitt Romney — are viewed as calculating, contrived phonies.

The rationale for these judgments differs from candidate to candidate. They could involve flip-flops on issues, real or perceived dishonesty, or even just wooden campaign styles.

But frequently, “authenticity” seems to be a synonym for “better at working the press” or “more fun to cover.” The candidates who are more extroverted and freewheeling and less scripted — and those who joke with the press and give them lots of access — tend to get that label.

It’s an odd construct. The campaign trail is not in any sense a “natural” environment, and presidential contenders’ words could have very real consequences — it makes sense for a candidate to be guarded and careful about what he or she says. But reporters get bored covering candidates who give the same stump speech all the time, and yearn for more excitement in their lives.

Importantly, once a candidate gets the “authentic” label, his (it’s usually “his”) flip-flops, calculations and strategic acts are excused, or at least viewed as unrelated to his true character.

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Prokop refers to an October 1 column by Brian Nyhan: Hillary Clinton’s Authenticity Problem, and Ours.

Is Hillary Rodham Clintonnot presenting her true self to voters? As with candidates like Mitt Romney and Al Gore, claims that she is inauthentic have fueled endless cycles of negative coverage of her campaign.

In reality, all politicians are strategic about the image and behaviors they present to voters. Some just hide the artifice better than others.

The refrain that Mrs. Clinton is calculating and inauthentic has recurred throughout her political career. During this campaign cycle, reporters and columnists have already questioned who the “Real Hillary” is, said that she “wrestles with the authenticity issue,” and described just being herself on the campaign trail as “a tricky proposition.” The Daily Beast’s Mike Barnicle reflected the conventional wisdom in writing that the “nagging question” that “won’t go away” is “Who is she? Really, who is she?”

Nyhan also points out that once the media has labeled a politician as either “authentic” or “inauthentic,” this perception is set in stone and can never be altered.

Once these narratives develop, candidates like Mrs. Clinton can get stuck in what I’ve called the authenticity doom loop — the same fate that plagued Mr. Gore and Mr. Romney. In this phase, candidates are criticized for not being sufficiently authentic and urged to reveal their true selves. But any efforts to demonstrate authenticity prompt the news media to point out that the candidate is acting strategically and is therefore actually still inauthentic. This coverage in turn motivates further efforts to reveal the “real” person, and the pattern then repeats.

Mrs. Clinton has gone through this cycle many times, which leads to headlines like “The Making of Hillary 5.0” and “Re-re-re-introducing Hillary Clinton.” Consider, for instance, a recent column by The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, who criticized her for “the latest of many warm-and-fuzzy makeovers — perhaps the most transparent phoniness since Al Gore discovered earth tones.” He calls for Mrs. Clinton to “shed those who orchestrate these constant makeovers” so she can “be spontaneous — and regain some semblance of her authentic self.”

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I think it’s a bit much to compare Hillary with Mitt Romney or Al Gore. She’s not “wooden” except to people who already hate her and just accept the decisions of the pundits. Hillary comes across as genuine to people who have open minds. I saw this happen in 2008 in New Hampshire and in a number of important swing states. I think it’s mainly the media who hold onto this perception of her. She is just going to have to be tough and fight through it–expecting nothing but negativity from most of the media.

Fortunately, there are some writers who know Hillary well and view her in a positive light. Here’s Gene Lyons on the recent admission by Rep. Kevin McCarthy that the Benghazi select committee has never been anything except a way to lower Hillary’s poll numbers.

The Death Rattle Of A Fake Scandal.

To hardly anybody’s surprise, it turns out that the “vast right-wing conspiracy” has been right in front of our eyes. Always was, actually, as Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s politically disastrous on-air admission made plain. Or maybe you thought a seventh Benghazi investigation lasting as long as the Pearl Harbor and JFK assassination probes combined was exactly what America needed.

Hillary has already released an ad in response to McCarthy’s admission.

She has also agreed to testify before the committee this month. If she does testify, Lyons warns the committee’s chairman Trey Gowdy that he’s not likely to get what he wants from her.

Chairman Gowdy would be well advised to invest in a pair of super-absorbent Depends when Hillary testifies before his committee on October 22. All he’s got is a handful of long-disproved conspiracy theories and selectively edited witness transcripts leaked to the news media to create a false impression.

So he’s an ex-federal prosecutor. Whoop-de-doo. Arkansas was overrun with them during the late Whitewater investigation….

As the Washington Post‘s GOP-oriented columnist Kathleen Parker points out, Rep. McCarthy has “tried to cram the bad genie back into the bottle, but the damage has been done and can’t be undone….any previous suspicions that Republicans were just out to get Clinton have cleared the bar of reasonable doubt.”

Meanwhile, if Trey Gowdy doesn’t already know that Hillary Clinton’s a lot smarter and tougher than he is, he’s about to find out. Truthfully, they’d be better advised to fold the committee and file some weasel-worded report.

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Lyons has a few choice words for the media too:

Then there’s our esteemed national news media, repeatedly burned by inaccurate leaks from Gowdy’s committee. The New York Times has run one phony exclusive after another. First, her famous emails were illegal, except they’re not. Then they were contrary to regulations enacted, oops, 18 months after she left office. Next Hillary was the subject of an FBI criminal probe. Except that too turned out to be false. Now they’re making a big deal out of the exact date she changed email addresses. Seriously.

And why? Because as Bill Clinton recently explained to Fareed Zakaria, they’re essentially fops and courtiers, “people who get bored talking about what’s your position on student loan relief or dealing with the shortage of mental health care or what to do with the epidemic of prescription drugs and heroin out in America, even in small towns of rural America.”

Let the Villagers call Hillary “inauthentic.” They’ve been doing it since Bill Clinton first ran for President, and they’re not going to stop. She just has to go out and talk directly to voters and let them judge whether she’s a real, genuine individual. I believe she can win this thing despite the tired old media narratives.

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A few more headlines:

It looks like Jeb Bush has been dubbed “inauthentic” by the media too. From Politico: Jeb Bush’s identity crisis.

Here’s an old Politico story on Biden that I got from the Vox piece on authenticity: Ex-Biden aide pens angry tell-all.

Have you heard? Hillary has a close circle of friends and advisers who will ruin her chances to be President. Vanity Fair: How Hillary Clinton’s Loyal Confidants Could Cost Her the Election

Here’s something from AbeBooks for J.J., Beata, and anyone else who loves vintage Hollywood photos.

An important, heartbreaking article from The Guardian about Amanda Kimbrough, the woman in Alabama who has been imprisoned for having a stillbirth: Alone in Alabama: dispatches from an inmate jailed for her son’s stillbirth.

George Zornick at The Nation: Hillary Clinton Just Made Passage of the TPP Much More Difficult.

Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair: Why Donald Trump Will Always Be a “Short-Fingered Vulgarian.”

Ben Carson had a gun stuck in his ribs at Popeye’s, according to The Hill: Carson: I faced a gunman.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread below.