…I’ll grant you that it is nice to get away with adding bacon & maple syrup at.the.same.time. to the acceptable options for pancakes…but…it’s shrove tuesday & if you’re eating the above kind of pancakes then I’m sorry to have to tell you this but you’re doing it wrong….those are basically drop scones…I know this because that’s what my grandmother called them & I learned it was best not to argue with the lady…although she is not the granny referred to in the URL that link points to…either way the point is that what you need on a day like this is actual pancakes…farscythe might be able to get some kind of super-pancake because the dutch have mysterious ways…but if these don’t get a look in on your day then I can only offer you my sympathies
…now you might be thinking I’m just picking a needless semantic fight because cousin matt’s not around to make me die on this hill…but think of it this way…isn’t it nice to be considering arguing over something that fundamentally doesn’t matter?
…as opposed to…say…this kind of thing
Why are policies that have proved so ineffective and immoral so hard to undo? Because abandoning them would require admitting hard truths: North Korea will not abandon its nuclear weapons. Iran will remain a regional power. Mr. Assad, Mr. Maduro and the Communist government in Havana aren’t going anywhere. America’s leaders would rather punish already brutalized populations than concede the limits of American power.
But by deluding themselves about the extent of America’s might, they are depleting it. A key source of America’s power is the dollar, which serves as the reserve currency for much of the globe. It’s because so many foreign banks and businesses conduct their international transactions in dollars that America’s secondary sanctions scare them so much. But the more Washington wields the dollar to bully non-Americans into participating in our sieges, the greater their incentive to find an alternative to the dollar. The search for a substitute is already accelerating. And the fewer dollars non-Americans want, the harder Americans will find it to keep living beyond their means.
Ideally, America would stop besieging weaker nations because it hurts them. Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to stop until it hurts us.America’s Other Forever War [NYT]
…you could try them…they’re pretty easy to make…although I guarantee the first one out of the pan will be a sorry-looking effort unless you’re some sort of super-human…but you don’t have to…you could just argue about the whole lost-in-translation mess that is pancakes & act like it’s important…& then you wouldn’t have to think about any of this kind of sorry-ass real-world bullshit
The original apologia for Trump has become his final defense: Trump Derangement Syndrome.
It’s an insanity plea. As in, everyone appalled by Trump’s behavior must be insane.https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/trump-derangement-syndrome-impeachment/2021/02/11/story.html
…or what happens when a member of the GOP displays an outbreak of sanity
Basically, the second Donald Trump tweeted that this is what you get when you steal an election, two or three hours after the insurrection started, I realized he was just unfit to be president. He wasn’t even managing the federal government, wasn’t defending the Capitol. So that’s when I’m like, “Look, Dick Cheney becomes president for [two hours] because George W. [Bush] has to go under a colonoscopy, because it is that important to have somebody at the helm.” We [didn’t] have true leadership at the helm. So that was my decision with the 25th Amendment.
When impeachment came up, I didn’t think it was the best thing to do because I think it just gave Donald Trump an opportunity to be a victim, and he’s really good at being a victim. But I knew that if it was put in front of me, there was no choice. It was, frankly, an easy decision.https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/republican-rep-adam-kinzinger-impeaching-trump-was-frankly-an-easy-decision/2021/02/09/story.html
…because what follows is pretty much the definition of an unedifying spectacle
“Democracy needs a ground to stand upon — and that ground is the truth,” lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said in his opening statement, quoting his father, the political activist Marcus Raskin.
As it turned out, truth was perfectly well served in the trial, at least on one side. Raskin and the other House managers made an irrefutable case. It was so irrefutable that even the former president’s greatest enabler, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, admitted what the facts were: that Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for the insurrection.
But the truth wasn’t enough.
It should be no surprise. After all, one of the hallmarks of the Trump administration — along with a penchant for cruelty and an endless font of self-dealing — was the lying.
There were tens of thousands of these falsehoods, so many that last October, shortly before the election, the indefatigable Washington Post’s Fact Checker team threw up its hands.
“As President Trump entered the final stretch of the election season, he began making more than 50 false or misleading claims a day. It’s only gotten worse — so much so that the Fact Checker team cannot keep up,” they wrote. (They did go on to complete the job.)
It was this pervasive culture of lying that made it politically untenable for so many Republican senators, in the end, to vote their underdeveloped consciences. The muscles had atrophied, if they ever existed.
Days before the verdict, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) forecast the inevitable. He said that Trump would be acquitted on a technicality, what he called “an easy gate out”: the misbegotten notion that it’s unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial after a president has left office.
“Why did so many of my colleagues need this easy escape hatch?” he asked. “They needed it because their base has been listening to what President Trump called ‘Trump media . . .’ ”
“They may think they’re getting a full spectrum of opinion, but, really, they’re getting one opinion reverberating. And it’s so disconnected from reality.”
So disconnected from reality that when reality manages to intrude — in the form of undeniable facts, timelines, videos and presidential tweets — there’s nothing to do but deny it as outrageous and either look for an escape hatch or go on the attack.https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/truth-trump-republicans-impeachment/2021/02/13/story.html
Maybe, even though the truth didn’t prevail, some of it managed to see the light of day. Enough, perhaps, to give America’s democracy some ground to stand on.
As the Republican Party censures, condemns and seeks to purge leaders who aren’t in lock step with Donald J. Trump, Adam Kinzinger, the six-term Illinois congressman, stands as enemy No. 1 — unwelcome not just in his party but also in his own family, some of whom recently disowned him.
Two days after Mr. Kinzinger called for removing Mr. Trump from office following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, 11 members of his family sent him a handwritten two-page letter, saying he was in cahoots with “the devil’s army” for making a public break with the president.
Mr. Kinzinger was one of just three House Republicans who voted both to impeach Mr. Trump and strip Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia from her committee posts. During the House impeachment debate, he asked Democrats if he could speak for seven minutes instead of his allotted one, so that he could make a more authoritative and bipartisan argument against the president; the request was denied.
Mr. Kinzinger said he has little desire to reach out to the loudest critics in his district’s Republican organizations, whom he hasn’t spoken to in years and said hold little sway over voters. The letter-writers in his family, he said, suffer from “brainwashing” from conservative churches that have led them astray.
“I hold nothing against them,’’ he said, “but I have zero desire or feel the need to reach out and repair that. That is 100 percent on them to reach out and repair, and quite honestly, I don’t care if they do or not.”https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/15/us/politics/adam-kinzinger-republicans-trump.html
…I mean…I’m pretty sure there’s a lot I wouldn’t agree with the man about…but that last bit I do wish was a more widespread attitude
“So, I know that people are feeling a lot of angst and believe that maybe, if we had this, the senators would have done what we wanted,” [Stacey Plaskett] said. “But, listen, we didn’t need more witnesses. We needed more senators with spines.”https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/democrats-defend-lack-impeachment-witnesses-we-needed-more-senators-with-spines
…although sadly it seems like the real takeaway is one of those shouldn’t-that-be-satire things
Donald Trump’s highly anticipated acquittal at his US Senate impeachment trial is the least surprising twist in American politics since … well, his acquittal at his first US Senate impeachment trial a year ago.
On that occasion, with Republicans virtually unanimous in his defence, the then president lorded it over Democrats by staging a celebration in the east room of the White House and gloating over a newspaper front page that proclaimed: “Trump acquitted”.
But this time Trump, already stripped of the trappings of power, suffered a somewhat bipartisan defeat in the Senate has been spared the prospect of becoming the first American president in history to be convicted only because a two-thirds majority is required rather than a simple majority.
The historic debate that played out in the Senate last week is also the final proof positive of a claim made by his son, Donald Trump Jr, at the fateful rally before the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January: “This is Donald Trump’s Republican party!”
Kurt Bardella, a former Republican congressional aide who switched allegiance to the Democrats, commented: “It’s a demonstration that his status as the leader of the Republican party is unchanged, even though the results of the election have shown that his agenda is a losing agenda for the Republican party.”
One explanation is that senators’ actions are ultimately shaped by Republican state parties, which are ever more radically pro-Trump, and by grassroots supporters, who were not necessarily paying much attention to the trial.
In short, the evidence that was devastating to Trump’s reputation, and could harm his future political chances, was not necessarily seen by much of his “Make America great again” base.
Whatever Trump’s future plans, critics fear that a precedent has been set. The upshot of the trial – held at the very scene of the siege – is that a president can lie about an election and incite a riotous mob yet still not endure the ultimate sanction available to Congress. That is Trump’s dangerous legacy.
Bardella added: “If you send a signal that someone who vocally led a violent insurrection against American democracy can do so without consequence, you’re only sending the message that he should do this again, that it’s OK: you are condoning that behavior.
“And it’s not just Donald Trump. The people that perpetrated this are extreme and radical and will only see the Republicans like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio as partners in what will be an ongoing effort to continue to destabilise the democratic process.”https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/13/donald-trump-impeachment-trial-analysis-acquittal
…see…wouldn’t you rather argue about the pancake thing?
It’s obvious why Trump’s lawyers couldn’t defend his conduct after the attack began. It was indefensible and inexcusable. The president was clearly rooting for the mob, at least initially. The conversation between McCarthy and Trump confirms that. So, too, does the fact that even after then-Vice President Mike Pence had to be evacuated from the Senate chamber at 2:13 p.m., Trump still inflamed the mob, which was now inside the Capitol, with a tweet critical of his vice president. (Impeachment managers played a video of rioters chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”)
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), the arch Trump lickspittle, sought to cast doubt on the new evidence by tweeting: “The source of these stories is the liberal media with an agenda.” Nope. The source of these stories is Graham’s fellow Republicans. Imagine how damaging it would have been to Trump’s defense if Herrera Beutler and Tuberville had testified under oath for the whole world to see — joined, ideally, by McCarthy, former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and others with direct knowledge of Trump’s actions on that fateful day.
Trump’s attorneys were so eager on Saturday to avoid witnesses that they agreed to stipulate that Herrera Beutler’s testimony was accurately reported by CNN (while falsely claiming that McCarthy had denied her account). The surprise is that Democrats took the Trump team up on its offer even after the Senate had voted to hear witnesses. It would not have been difficult to depose Herrera Beutler and other witnesses while the Senate continued with other business. That is what the Senate did in 1999 when it deposed three witnesses during the Bill Clinton impeachment trial.https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/13/senate-got-smoking-gun-evidence-trumps-guilt-republicans-didnt-care/
It is disappointing that Democrats refused to force a fuller airing of the facts. But even without hearing from witnesses, the House impeachment managers still presented conclusive evidence of Trump’s guilt. Eighty-six percent of the Senate Republicans just didn’t care. The smoking gun was right in front of them, and they said, “What gun? What smoke?”
The revelation underscores several points. First, other witnesses may exist to the McCarthy conversation. If so, their continued silence is disgraceful. They have direct evidence of mendacious conduct relevant to the impeachment yet decided to remain silent. Second, the new evidence underscores McCarthy’s cowardly, unprincipled conduct.
He had this damning information but did not share it with the House. He voted against impeachment. He allowed a groundswell of opposition to form against Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for her principled vote to impeach. He went to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring of the disgraced former president and has remained quiet during a trial in which defense counsel claimed the former president had no knowledge that his vice president was in peril. In short, McCarthy withheld critical information from the House, the Senate and the country; knowing how despicably the former president had behaved, McCarthy kept him front and center as the party’s leader.Just How Low is Kevin McCarthy? [WaPo]
Mr. Trump’s acquittal stands as a defining moment for the party he molded into a cult of personality, one likely to linger in the eyes of voters and leave a deep blemish in the historical record. Now that Republicans have passed up an opportunity to banish him through impeachment, it is not clear when — or how — they might go about transforming their party into something other than a vessel for a semiretired demagogue who was repudiated by a majority of voters.Republican Acquittal of Trump Is a Defining Moment for Party [NYT]
Blue Lives Matter is officially dead. People may continue to chant and post the slogan, but it is dead. Senate Republicans killed it last week when they voted to acquit Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection that left one officer dead and 138 injured. (Two officers who responded to the insurrection later died by suicide.)
In the Senate’s acquittal — or more accurately, abetting — of Donald Trump, they stripped away the facade of the opposition to Black Lives Matter and the elevation of Blue Lives Matter.
Blue Lives Matter was in large part an attempt to silence the people asserting that Black lives mattered, as if Black people and police officers were equal and opposite sides of a scale, which is such a vicious and aberrant comparison.
Blue Lives Matter seemed to counter that violence against Black bodies was simply collateral damage in an effort to keep society safe and that the officers should not be constrained in their attempts to do so.
Republicans sided with the officers until Trump goons violently attacked officers. Then the entire argument fell apart.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/14/opinion/blue-lives-matter-trump-impeachment.html
The era of Trump has been the era of Republican unmasking, and many Republicans didn’t have their masks successfully affixed in the first place. This trial and that footage left them nothing to hide behind. What Trump incited — the insanity of it, the profanity of it, the body count — represents the antithesis of everything that the party purported to hold dear.
They were distracted, cavalier jurors at that. Rick Scott, who of course voted “not guilty,” was seen studying and then fiddling with a map or maps of Asia. Dare we dream that he’s plotting his own relocation there? Hawley, who also voted “not guilty,” at one point moved to the visitors gallery above the Senate floor and did some reading there, his feet propped up, his lanky body a pretzel of petulance. What happened to Republicans’ respect for authority? What happened to basic decency and decorum?
Clinton was a supposedly unendurable offense against that, but then along came Trump, and Republicans decided that decency and decorum were overrated. Truth, too. Heck, everything that they claimed to stand for in the Clinton years was now negotiable, expendable, vestigial. Nothing was beyond the pale.
On Friday, as the trial drew nearer to the moment when senators would render their verdict, President Biden was asked for his thoughts on the proceeding. “I’m just anxious to see what my Republican friends do — if they stand up,” he said.
What a generous statement. Trump brought these Republicans to their knees long ago. Stand? They can barely crawl at this point.Trump’s Republicans, Brought to Their Knees [NYT]
To Raskin and the eight other managers, McConnell’s speech was at once a vindication and an insult, showing that they’d proved their case, and that it didn’t matter. McConnell voted to acquit on a manufactured technicality, arguing that a former president is “constitutionally not eligible for conviction.”
His bad faith is awe-inspiring; it was he who refused to move forward with a trial while Trump was still in office. With his split-the-baby solution to Trump’s manifest guilt, McConnell seemed to be trying to stay on the right side of his caucus while calming corporate donors who’ve cut off politicians who supported the insurrectionists.
But — and here’s the important part — McConnell signaled openness to Trump’s prosecution in other forums. “He didn’t get away with anything yet — yet,” said McConnell. “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one.”
Decisions to pursue charges shouldn’t be made by politicians, but they shouldn’t be blocked by them, either.
In the past, Republicans seemed ready to try to stop any federal Trump investigation. As The Financial Times reported in December, before Democrats won two pivotal Senate seats in Georgia, “Republicans have made clear that if they control the Senate, they would seek protection for Mr. Trump before approving any attorney general nominee put forward by Mr. Biden.”
Should Trump actually face legal jeopardy, plenty of Republicans will still howl about a witch hunt. McConnell might even join them. But his words can’t easily be taken back.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/15/opinion/mcconnell-impeachment-trump.html
…still, it seems like the fat lady won’t be singing for a while yet
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that the House would move to establish an independent commission to investigate what led to a mob storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 — one similar to the body that studied the 9/11 attacks for 15 months before issuing a sweeping 585-page report.https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/02/15/riot-commission
The acquittal of former President Donald J. Trump at his second impeachment trial will hardly be the last or decisive word on his level of culpability in the assault on the Capitol last month.
While the Justice Department officials examining the rash of crimes committed during the riot have signaled that they do not plan to make Mr. Trump a focus of the investigation, the volumes of evidence they are compiling may eventually give a clearer — and possibly more damning — picture of his role in the attack.
“If this was a conspiracy, Trump was the leader,” said Jonathan Zucker, the lawyer for Dominic Pezzola, a member of the far-right Proud Boys group who has been charged with obstructing police officers guarding the Capitol. “He was the one calling the shots.”
As the sprawling investigation goes on — quite likely for months or even years — and newly unearthed evidence brings continual reminders of the riot, Mr. Trump may suffer further harm to his battered reputation, complicating any post-presidential ventures. Already, about a dozen suspects have explicitly blamed him for their part in the rampage — a number that will most likely rise as more arrests are made and legal strategies develop.
Some defendants, court papers show, said they went to Washington because Mr. Trump encouraged them to do so, while others said they stormed the Capitol largely because of Mr. Trump’s appeal to “fight like hell” to overturn the election. One man — charged with assaulting the police — accused the former president of being his accomplice: In recent court papers, he described Mr. Trump as “a de facto unindicted co-conspirator” in his case.
In text messages obtained by the F.B.I., […]three Oath Keepers appear to anticipate — even welcome — conflict in the postelection period. In one message, from Nov. 16, Mr. Crowl tells Mr. Caldwell, “War is on the horizon.” In another, just days later, Mr. Caldwell tells Ms. Watkins that he is “worried about the future of our country.” Then, court papers say, he adds, “I believe we will have to get violent to stop this.”
As for Mr. Pezzola, his lawyer said he felt betrayed.
“He went to Washington because Trump asked him to save the country,” Mr. Zucker said. “Then he got arrested and Trump went to play golf.”As Impeachment Ends, Federal Inquiry Looms as Reminder of Trump’s Role in Riot [NYT]
…but the sad truth is that even if eventually some justice gets ground out & he winds up paying for at least some of his wrongdoing…it’s going to take a long time
…& that puts it firmly outside of the gnat-like attention span of the voters who apparently get to decide elections for the rest of us…so it’ll just be bitter folks like me that can’t get over the incipient collapse of their ability to believe in the fragile illusion that there exists some sort of meaningful incarnation of the concept of a democratic society that can invoke the rule of law to ensure that it isn’t held hostage by those who have no respect (or understanding) of why any of that shit might be important…they’re probably safely escaping from reality via video games or something
Last week, the youngest person in the UK to commit a terrorism offence was sentenced. Only 13 when he downloaded a bomb-making manual the teenager subsequently became leader of the UK arm of a banned neo-Nazi terrorist group that glorified individuals responsible for racist mass murder.
His swift journey from lonely adolescent to UK leader of the Feuerkrieg Division is disquieting not for its uniqueness but for its part in a growing pattern.
At least 17 children, some as young as 14, have been arrested on terrorism charges over the past 18 months. A new neo-Nazi group led by a 15-year-old from Derby emerged last year. Its entire membership consisted of children. The group discussed attacking migrants in Dover and how to acquire and modify weapons.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/14/how-far-right-uses-video-games-tech-lure-radicalise-teenage-recruits-white-supremacists
…so I guess apologies in advance for probably not quitting complaining about the fact that even (or even especially) the assholes the other asshole pardoned are a bunch of actual-verifiable-for-real criminals that ought to be in jail right-the-fuck-at-this-very-moment for what may well be the foreseeable future
At least six people who had provided security for Roger Stone entered the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, according to a New York Times investigation.First They Guarded Roger Stone. Then They Joined the Capitol Attack. [NYT]
Mr. Stone, a convicted felon who was pardoned by Mr. Trump, has a long history as a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” political operative who has lived by the edicts of attack, admit nothing, deny everything, and counterattack. He posted a message online denying involvement in “the lawless acts at the Capitol.”
…or banging on about how it might be nice to see someone “follow the money”
The story behind the Eshelman donation — detailed in previously unreported court filings and exclusive interviews with those involved — provides new insights into the frenetic days after the election, when baseless claims led donors to give hundreds of millions of dollars to reverse President Biden’s victory.
Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party collected $255 million in two months, saying the money would support legal challenges to an election marred by fraud. Trump’s staunchest allies in Congress also raised money off those false allegations, as did pro-Trump lawyers seeking to overturn the election results — and even some of their witnesses.
Documents that have surfaced in Eshelman’s litigation, along with interviews, show how True the Vote’s private assurances that it was on the cusp of revealing illegal election schemes repeatedly fizzled as the group’s focus shifted from one allegation to the next. The nonprofit sought to coordinate its efforts with a coalition of Trump’s allies, including Trump attorney Jay Sekulow and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), the documents show.
True the Vote has spent the past decade aggressively promoting claims of voter fraud and pushing for voter-identification laws. The group has established itself as a hub for training volunteer poll watchers to monitor voters for their eligibility. Democrats have accused it of trying to intimidate minorities and other low-participation voters.
As a nonprofit, True The Vote is required to be nonpartisan, and Engelbrecht has said that its mission has nothing to do with party politics. But it has worked with Republicans on other campaigns — for instance, partnering with the Georgia GOP on a “voter integrity” effort for last month’s Senate runoffs in that state.https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/true-vote-lawsuit-fraud-eshelman/2021/02/15/story.html
First things first: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump should never have been allowed to work in the White House. Anti-nepotism rules exist for a reason, namely so that unqualified relatives of the president are not given jobs in the most important office in the world.
Kushner, the son of a now-pardoned felon and real estate magnate, came to the White House from his previous position as an executive in the family business, often playing the role of slumlord. Yet, he was tasked with solving everything from the opioid crisis to modernizing the federal government to criminal justice reform to Middle East peace to the coronavirus pandemic. He solved almost nothing, but he did reportedly help secure a pardon for his father.
Yet, it was so important that these two serve in the administration that the Department of Justice dismissed its anti-nepotism guidelines and decades of precedent to let them work. They left their businesses behind, they said, divested from any potential conflicts of interest and refused to take a salary because they were not in Washington, D.C., for their own benefit.
Or were they? A new analysis of their financial filings shows the couple disclosed up to $640 million in outside income while working in the White House. At the same time, the couple failed to entirely divest from their businesses. Put together, our analysis suggests that as former President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law decamped from the White House in January, they left a trail of ethical breaches in their wake.https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/ivanka-trump-jared-kushner-made-millions-in-washington-but-at-what-cost
Donald Trump’s presidency will forever be associated with the violent Capitol riot that marked its final days. But the four years that led up to that final spasm of chaos were defined by a steady drip of malfeasance, corruption and misdirection. The nepotism that put Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the White House is part of that corruption. But once installed, the two seem to have quickly went to work exploiting America’s current ethics laws. Who needs a salary when you can earn millions in real estate and branding deals?
…all part of that make-america-grift-again pitch, right?
Government aid programs have long been fertile ground for scammers. But the scale of the fraud in the unemployment program created by the CARES Act has reached a staggering level, state and federal officials say.
The Labor Department inspector general has yet to complete a full investigation but, based on previous programs, estimates at least $63 billion of the $630 billion in disbursements has been misspent. The full scope of the loss in taxpayer funds is likely orders of magnitude higher, experts and officials say, soaring well beyond $100 billion.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/how-billions-in-pandemic-aid-was-swindled-by-con-artists-and-crime-syndicates
…because it wasn’t like there were people who needed that help…right?
Affordable housing advocates have celebrated the Biden administration’s extension of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on evictions as a critical move that could help people fight to stay in their homes as the pandemic continues to gut the economy. But the order includes loopholes that financially stretched landlords have been able to use to remove tenants who fall behind on rent. Housing advocates say one of the hardest-hit groups has been mobile home park dwellers like Brokaw and Larson, who were already surviving with a limited safety net to fall back on. Before the pandemic, many mobile home residents, like Brokaw and Larson, had juggled paying for their mobile homes and for the lots they sat on. When they find themselves facing eviction, they risk losing not only the lot but also their home equity.
“In many cases, the tenant has 30 days to leave the lot. But how do you expect someone to pay a tow company $5,000 to $10,000 to detach their home from the property and reinstall it somewhere else?” said Stuart Campbell, a staff lawyer at Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, who has been working on a steady stream of mobile home eviction cases through the pandemic. “Oftentimes when they are evicted for lot rent, they’re forfeiting the equity on the home. You could lose your home for $1.”
There are 8.5 million manufactured homes in the U.S., nearly 10 percent of the country’s housing stock, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute. The median household income of a family living in a manufactured housing park is $30,000 a year, according to the institute.
While most manufactured home parks […] are owned by small businesses, a growing number of park chains are owned by private equity firms. The practice of routinely evicting tenants in manufactured home parks has become more “aggressive” across private equity-owned lots, said Jim Baker, executive director of the nonprofit Private Equity Stakeholder Project.
“We’ve definitely seen certain circumstances where owners have substantially raised lot rents,” Baker said. “It forces these difficult decisions for families between paying rent or putting food on the table or paying for prescriptions.”
Since the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms have piled into the manufactured home sector. Because manufactured homes are difficult and expensive to move, they are viewed as stable investments by private equity firms and shareholders. If a tenant is evicted, the property inherits the abandoned home and can rent it out again, producing a consistent source of revenue growth, said Linda Jun, senior policy counsel at Americans for Financial Reform.
“Tenants are really at the mercy of these PE owners when they take over parks, and they can charge whatever they want, because [tenants] can’t afford to move somewhere else,” she said.
Manufactured homes have become increasingly attractive investments as more commercial and retail real estate has fallen into distress during the pandemic. The homes require little capital upfront, and they can bring in high returns, said John Pawlowski, head of the residential sector with the real estate research and consulting firm Green Street Advisors.
Because homes themselves depreciate in value over time as land increases in value, the economics work in property landlords’ favor, he said. In addition, as demand outpaces supply, landlords can increase rents “well above inflation,” he said.
“Those are two dynamics that have led to fantastic returns over time,” he said.
Housing advocates and lawyers, including Slonski of Wisconsin Judicare, have lobbied civil courts to encourage judges to follow a broader interpretation of the CDC’s eviction moratorium order. Since last year, judges have had wildly disparate interpretations of the order. Some judges have interpreted it to suggest that the agency halts evictions as a public health measure to prevent the spread of the virus, while others have taken a narrower view, strictly following the order’s five-point description of who is covered. In two Georgia counties, they refuse to acknowledge the order altogether.
“What people really need right now is rent forgiveness and direct payments to those landlords who have been struggling themselves,” Slonski said. “It’s impossible for low-income people to come up with half a year’s rent with the drop of a hat. We need financing, and that’s unfortunately only going to come through with congressional action.”https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/mobile-home-dwellers-hit-even-harder-when-facing-eviction
…still…at least some of the recently-out-of-work might actually deserve a little financial hardship