…who shouts loudest [DOT 10/1/23]

listens least...

…while the truth is it’s not exactly of much consequence…as a fan of irony…there’s some satisfaction to be had…& it did raise a smile?

…I mean…I don’t know if the same warning shows up for everybody…or which came first…but…at least for me…twitter does marge a solid by trying to cloak her embarrassment behind an “are you sure you want to see this” layer for that reply because “the following media includes potentially sensitive content”…&…I expect if you’re marge then it probably smarts some…but thanks to dre being able to afford lawyers capable of “keeping it real”…it’s just marge tweeting “It’s time to begin… and they can’t stop what’s coming.”…with a blank space underneath featuring a notice to the effect that “This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.”…& to be perfectly honest…I’d kind of like to think that’s a pretty apt metaphor for the antics coming our way from a congress near you for the foreseeable future?

The set of new rules Republicans pushed through the House on Monday make it easier to remove their own speaker, establish new investigatory committees, and make it harder to raise taxes or spend federal money, and could potentially slow ethics investigations.

The package, backed by the House on a mostly party-line vote, does not detail all of the concessions made by Kevin McCarthy to nail down the votes he needed to be elected speaker — such as the allocation of prime committee assignments — some of which were handshake deals or would require further action by House Republicans.

[…] the rules could also make it difficult for the House to carry out even its most basic duties in the next two years, such as funding the government, including the military, or avoiding a catastrophic federal debt default.


[…if you feel like wading through the text they voted on…have at it…but it’s a fair bet the lion’s share of the extreme bullshit is in the unwritten parts]

…there’s no getting around the part where the lunatics are running the asylum

in the hours before the vote on Monday, he was already confronting his first challenge, uncertain whether he would have the votes even to approve the rules that would allow the House to begin legislative business.

In the end, a handful of holdouts dropped their opposition and supported the measure, putting aside reservations about Mr. McCarthy’s concessions, including some that they worried could lead to deep cuts in military spending.

The package passed on Monday evening in a mostly party-line vote of 220-213, with just one Republican voting “no.” It includes the so-called Holman rule, which allows lawmakers to use spending bills to defund specific programs and fire federal officials or reduce their pay; makes it harder for lawmakers to raise the debt limit; and paves the way for the creation of a new select subcommittee under the Judiciary Committee focused on the “weaponization” of the federal government.

…we know they’re going to get all “it goes to 11” about dialing up the shitshow component of…well


…any & every news cycle they can commandeer


…& that sucks pretty hard…& they’re swinging for some shitty fences

…that holman rule thing, for example, would be one of the things hair furore didn’t get to abuse…he was stuck playing asshole games like relocating the jobs of federal employees he didn’t like to the other side of the country & turning down their appeals for reasonable accommodations like not imposing unreasonable burdens upon them à la constructive dismissal before laying them off & claiming it was their choice…so “make it easier for us to purge the ranks” seems like they sort of bone not to give a dog getting wagged by this tail

Republicans are convinced that the military is being rapidly destroyed from the inside by “wokeness,” a catchall term that refers to any development related to a social issue that conservatives don’t like.

The evidence they present for this alleged crisis is comically weak. But this isn’t about evidence, or the actual nature of warfighting in the 21st century. It’s about discomfort with modern society, deep insecurities about the changing nature of manhood, and an impulse to delegitimize institutions, even those conservatives used to revere.

Prominent conservatives regularly complain that the military is becoming “emasculated.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chip Roy (R-Tex.) put out a “report” called “Woke Warfighters: How Political Ideology Is Weakening America’s Military.” A GOP lawmaker expresses his outrage about a West Point course on “white rage,” even though there’s no such course. The fantastical picture they’re trying to paint is one of a military that looks more like the gender studies department at Oberlin College than what it actually is — our enormous and sprawling machinery of war.
Lacking from any of this bloviation is evidence that the various things conservatives call wokeness, from trying to prevent extremism in the ranks to designing body armor that fits female soldiers, have harmed the military’s mission in any way. Have there been attacks on the United States that weren’t stopped because soldiers were being forced to read books on critical race theory? What exactly can’t our military do that it used to be capable of, now that gay soldiers don’t have to stay in the closet? The critics can’t quite say. At least one lawmaker says parents of potential recruits are complaining to him about military wokeness. And where might they have learned about it? Fox News, perhaps?

…so…while the likes of boeble-head or marge are busy doing their best “no, I’m lady macbeth” routine…no, really…that metaphor isn’t nearly as absurd as the level of absurdity these people are bringing to the table…or chamber…to wit…though wit itself seems like an inapposite term

What beast was’t, then,
That made you break this enterprise to me?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;


…they are, after all, preoccupied to a freudian extent by “what maketh man”

So here’s the truth: The military has indeed changed, because American society has changed, and so has the nature of modern warfare. Our military needs not just guys with big muscles, but people with a wide variety of skills and knowledge. To be maximally effective, it can’t deprive itself of the talents of large swaths of the population.

But conservatives — especially those whose ideas about war come mostly from the movies — don’t like many of those changes. While they sometimes claim to oppose “politicization” of the military, what they actually want is for their cultural and political agenda to prevail there. They want the military to be a bulwark against progressive social change, where traditional gender norms are reinforced and reproduced.

When the wokeness panic is aimed at the military, it isn’t about the military at all. In a world where most men are unable to demonstrate that their upper-body strength justifies their superior social status, some are desperate to defend a physical hierarchy wherever it can be found. But if women can do nearly all military jobs just as well as men, then what’s left?

What’s left for many on the right is the feeling of being unmoored from any order that makes sense to them. Government can’t be trusted, the media are corrupt, corporations are against you, and the only appropriate response is rage. That feeling, Republicans also believe, is political gold.
Unlike joining the actual military, service in the culture war is easy. You don’t have to suffer through boot camp, or follow orders you don’t like, or risk your life. All you have to do is stay mad.


…& not coincidentally they’re apparently not at home to the possibility it might be “manners“…but then they’ve spend years brutalizing the concept of civility so that’s not entirely surprising, you might say…so…we might wind up being the ones who’d do well to “screw your courage to the sticking place”…because they are going to be laying this shit on with the proverbial trowel

Will I with wine and wassail so convince
That memory, the warder of the brain,
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep
Their drench’d natures lie as in a death,
What cannot you and I perform upon
The unguarded […] What not put upon
His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
Of our great quell?


…I won’t strain the allusion to the point of bringing up the part about “men-children” but…it might be a question of picking your battles if you’re going to manage to pace yourself for the long haul the next few years are shaping up to be…there’s liable to be all too literally no end to the showboating, grandstanding & general stunting

restoring any semblance of order and structure to the consideration of spending bills and other measures will prove to be extremely difficult with conservative Republicans in charge of the House and Democrats controlling the Senate and the White House. The new dynamic is more likely a prescription for shutdown and gridlock. The roots of dysfunction run deep.

Even lawmakers with long experience in trying to make Congress work acknowledged the collapse of what is called “regular order” — the civics class version of “how a bill becomes law” in getting legislation through the House and the Senate and signed by the president.

It wasn’t always this way. For most of its existence, Congress had a methodical approach to producing spending bills, which were the core of its workload, its major legislative responsibility as it exercised its vaunted power of the purse. Knowledgeable subcommittees in the House and the Senate would take detailed testimony from executive branch officials on what they needed, draft individual measures for each area of the government and hold line-by-line committee reviews of the bills.

Then they would move each bill across the floor of the House and the Senate one by one in the spring and summer, work out differences between the two chambers and get them signed by the president before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 so the government wouldn’t be disrupted. The lawmakers who oversaw the appropriations subcommittees were labeled “cardinals,” reflecting the extent of their power, and jealously protected their control over their areas of the federal government. The spending panels were the place to be for lawmakers who wanted to exert influence.

But those days seem as distant as when bills were written with quill pens. Some of the foundational work still takes place as members of the appropriations panels — and, importantly, their staffs — assemble the bills, but the process is done with far less public review and transparency. And because it is so difficult to move individual pieces of legislation through both chambers — filibusters are the rule, no longer the exception, in the Senate — the measures are now almost always mashed together into giant packages.
But there are explanations for why it happened, and one of them is the heightened partisanship in Congress. While the appropriations process always contained a dose of bipartisanship — and the appropriators were treated almost as a party unto themselves — that aura has faded as deeper polarization has taken hold.

Now the bills themselves have become a ripe target for political attacks when they reach the floor, leading both parties to restrict the opportunity to propose amendments to save their members from taking tough votes. The limits have chafed, and Republicans are promising to ease them. But it will make legislative life difficult, as Democrats discovered.

“What you have is filibuster by amendment,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat and former majority leader who is also a veteran member of the Appropriations Committee. “You have 435 members, and 435 amendments at 10 minutes will take you a long time.”

…& so on & so forth…replete with squeaky wheels in search of a good greasing & a lot of putting on of breaks

The demise of earmarks, the pet projects lawmakers add to bills to steer federal money to their states and districts, was celebrated as a crackdown on “pork.” But the ban also contributed to making it much more difficult to pass spending bills the old-fashioned way. Banned in 2011, earmarks could no longer provide the grease for the appropriations skids, and advancing the bills separately became even more arduous. Earmarks made a return last year and were instrumental in providing the votes for approval of the huge spending bill, particularly among Republicans.

House Republicans plan to make it much more difficult to win earmarks. They also intend to make it much easier to cut spending and to force offsets in spending elsewhere to compensate for increases, a plan certain to encounter resistance from Democrats. And they want to couple any increase in the federal debt limit with corresponding federal spending cuts, an approach that almost caused an international economic calamity when Republicans newly installed in the House majority tried it in 2011.

…at some level the GOP is aware that it has mitch’s track record of obstruction at the senate level to thank for team D not having a better track record of useful legislation to point to…so they don’t necessarily think the crazies will get their bullshit all the way to joe’s desk…& it’d only take, what…217-212=5…five (R) congresscritters to find a spine should anything important &/or not mere performative grist to the outrage mill actually make it to a vote…but…I’d feel a lot better about the idea that it’s all over bar the shouting if it didn’t seem like the shouting is pretty much the entire point

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, met Mr. McCarthy’s election with a warning that House Republicans are likely to “cause a government shutdown or a default with devastating consequences to our country.”

Republicans are already talking about a spending freeze or keeping the government running under a “continuing resolution” with automatic cuts if lawmakers cannot find agreement. It is going to be a real struggle to find common ground. And though Mr. Blunt was discouraged by the decline in the way Congress has operated, he warned that there is an even darker alternative.

“The only thing worse than the way we do it would be not doing it,” he told his colleagues in his parting speech. “The only thing worse than the way we do it is just to decide not to get our work done and see what happens.”


…it really does read a lot like they’ve reached the full-throated version of the whole “drown-it-in-a-bathtub” thing @emmerdoesnotrepresentme mentioned the other day…with a side order of covering a certain permatanned ass…whether by trying to hobble the IRS…or trying to subvert the legitimacy of investigations

The circuslike intimations of this shouldn’t obscure the genuinely important and complicated issues at play here. For decades, through Republican and Democratic administrations alike, the Justice Department has resisted congressional oversight of ongoing criminal investigations.
So the GOP push to pry open these investigations could get tied up in litigation, and courts may not let it get far. But that might not matter: Provoking the department into strenuously resisting oversight might be the whole point.

That resistance could serve as grist for Republicans and their allies in the right-wing media to scream “coverup” and paint investigations as corrupt. That could even be used to manufacture a fake rationale for impeaching Attorney General Merrick Garland, and for attempts to use an obscure House rule to defund investigations of Trump.

“This is all deliberately planned theater,” former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was aggressively targeted by congressional Republicans during the investigation into Russian electoral interference, told me. Republicans will “play that out for a few months,” Strzok suggests, to dramatize the question that he expects to be screamed 1,000 times on Fox News: “What do they have to hide?”
Democrats are also girding for coordination between congressional Republicans and Trump’s lawyers. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the former chair of the Intelligence Committee, notes that during previous investigations into Trump — over Russian interference and the strong-arming of Ukraine — Republicans functioned as “surrogates for the Trump defense team.”

“Whatever we uncovered during those investigations would immediately make its way to Trump and his criminal lawyers,” Schiff told me. “I fear we’re going to see more of the same.”

…odds are good it’s not going to be pretty

Here’s how: While the noise in our politics obscures this, much real government work gets done quietly behind the scenes, such as information sharing between intelligence agencies and lawmakers in both parties conducted voluntarily and in good faith. That could be imperiled by bad GOP actors leaking information to fuel deep state conspiracy theories.
Congressional oversight of law enforcement and intelligence agencies is an essential component of accountable government and the rule of law. Perhaps Republicans will undertake this oversight with nothing but pure, unsullied concern for the public interest.

But the oversight process can also be abused. And Republicans have an actual track record of this: Again and again and again, they’ve wielded that process in bad faith to create all manner of bogus news narratives, many falsely exonerating Trump.

You cannot overstate the importance of spectacle to the MAGA right’s overall political project. Much of what this new committee does will be designed to create mere impressions of coverups, of wrongdoings, of all sorts of shady deep state conspiracies.

That will create immense challenges for the mainstream news media, which could feel obliged to treat these GOP efforts as serious “counter-investigations” into what has already been revealed about Trump. This will give them a sheen of legitimacy even before they’ve earned it. But there’s no reason to grant that presumption, given the long trail of flagrant abuses of the public trust we’ve already seen from them.


…& that’s just in the broad strokes

Grand jury in Georgia’s Trump 2020 election investigation finishes work [Guardian]



…there’s no end of detail to drill down to

Anti-McCarthy Republicans Are Raising Money Off Stonewalling Congress [Rolling Stone]




…& perspective isn’t a given in this media landscape of ours

…not to mention that the “politics” of distraction work real good


…arguably even better when everyone minds their manners


…it’s a whole thread…but if you can spare the time it clarifies a fair bit of the reality behind the empty promises about this stuff mouthed by the UK wing of the politics-is-all-in-the-performance party

…maybe spectating on that whole mess might incline a few more folks stateside to listen to bernie about a thing or two

Today, in terms of health, we have a dysfunctional healthcare system in which we spend the astronomical and unsustainable sum of nearly $13,000 for every man, woman and child, twice as much as most developed countries and almost 20% of our GDP. Yet, despite that huge expenditure, 85 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured and we have worse health outcomes and lower life expectancy than many other nations. While the insurance companies make huge profits, over 500,000 people declare bankruptcy each year from medically related debt, and over 68,000 die because they can’t afford the care they need. Our complicated and fragmented system is so broken that it cannot even produce the number of doctors, nurses, dentists and mental health personnel that we desperately need.
Today, as we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the pharmaceutical industry is making record-breaking profits and more than a few executives in drug companies are becoming billionaires. Meanwhile, despite billions in government investment in prescription drug research and development, nearly one out of four Americans are unable to afford the medicine their doctors prescribe and too many seniors are splitting their lifesaving pills in half because they can’t afford them. And because Medicare doesn’t cover dental, hearing and vision, there are millions of seniors who are trying to survive without these basic healthcare needs.

But it’s not just our healthcare “system” which needs a major overhaul. In terms of education, we need to take a hard look at how we are educating our kids – from childcare to graduate school.


…I mean…it’s as much an oversimplification as anything else…but…I suspect a lot of folks might be surprised by how much better off we’d all be if it were more often the case that by the time they hit voting age we’d taught folks to know better?

[…more coffee for me…& then more tunes to go here]



    • …ironically enough, maggie was on deck when we first decided to tilt at the ozone windmill…& that actually looks to have…if not paid off then at least made paying off a visible target


      …whereas rishi’s increasingly desperate mugging for the base by trying to set himself up to take credit for things that their efforts won’t have much impact on bringing about & hoping people stop asking him awkward questions with obvious & far less flattering answers…is less iron lady & more handbags at dawn

      …won’t stop him trying to ride her coattails for all he’s worth, though

  1. Since you can read almost every word Prince Harry and his coauthor JR Moehringer wrote for free online, you can use the money you saved by not buying Spare to buy Bernie Sanders’s new book next month, It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism. I suspect Sanders’s book won’t be as obsessively excerpted.

  2. it’s a fair bet the lion’s share of the extreme bullshit is in the unwritten parts

    As AOC points out as far as McCarthy already breaking the 72 hour “rule” — all of these rules can be broken at any time the GOP wants.

    In the the end, this is all for show, and shows why the breathless scoops about the list of demands were just reporters exposing their gullibility. The point wasn’t the substance. The point was making McCarthy publically sign over any pretense of control.

    It’s a version of the “Leonine contract” and the “offer you can’t refuse” from tvtropes.org



    These deals are technically unenforceable, but the point isn’t about legal niceties, it’s about power in the immediate scope and conning people in the larger scope.

    • …the parts of the rules package that were in that .pdf were obviously available for more than 72hrs…but yes to the wholesale inconsistencies of the GOP approach to rules & the committee that oversees/interpets them

      …I guess to me it wouldn’t be all for show…they aren’t nearly as good at this kind of legislative sleight of hand as the tories have long been across the pond…but part of the usefulness of useful idiots like empty greene or gaetz or whoever is loudest with the look-at-me-screeching-the-quiet-part thing is that they distract from the more substantive awfulness that can be inflicted by…say…the supreme court…or other available thumb on a scale

      …it may not be smith’s sort of invisible hand…but when it comes to the not-waving-but-drowning semaphore of the right’s front-&-centre attempts at dexterity…it’s probably worth keeping an eye on what the sinister side of the equation is trying to grab in the wings?

      • Except the rules changes weren’t published in advance. They added the real changes and jammed them through on short notice, which is exactly what they’ll be doing anytime they want with legislation going forward if they can get away with it.

        They will be taking a scheduled bill to rename a post office after Ronald Reagan and suddenly turn it into a bill to defund Ukraine, or a bill to celebrate kittens and puppies and turn it into a bill to gut Medicare and Social Security if they can steamroll their own caucus.

        It’s important to stress that legislative whizzes aren’t needed in the US House the way they may be in the US Senate or the UK Parliament, because anything can be jammed through by the party in control as long as they have the votes in their caucus. It’s hard to make clear to outsiders how meaningless rules are in the US House when the votes are there — even most reporters don’t get it.

        What we’ll be seeing going forward is an attempt by the extreme right to crush any possible dissent with McCarthy’s full compliance. I suspect it may end up harder than they think due to issues like Ukraine and defense spending, but we’ll see.

        • …if I had a point I guess it was more or less that…but maybe that didn’t come across somehow…sorry

          …in that between the filibuster-by-amendment thing & the general rules-are-whatever-we-say it’d be nice to think the various strands of performative bat-shittery would cancel one another out…& the senate would be able to nip anything too malformed in the bud before it needed a veto to kill it with fire…or some other nuclear option

          …to some extent they style themselves as champions of dissent, too…so they aren’t entirely in the business of shutting that down so much as prostrating themselves on the altar of a deck stacked to preclude any preferences but their own…at least for the “show” part that goes with all their tells

          …but however much their sound & fury may signify nothing…I’d say it’s a fair bet that if everyone just let them have at it until they ran out of steam there’d be a dismal amount of stuff they managed to fuck up worse in the process…so it’s not a problem that entirely lacks meaningful aspects beyond the co-opting of news cycles & media narratives?

          …look at that thread of harriot’s about the framing of what’s arguably an archetypal story of a one-time criminal who knuckled down & got a law degree before getting hired on by someone who showed that in a couple of generations you can go from being at the mercy of a lynch mob to laying down the law…or the other thing of his about the divergent outcomes for participants in the jan 6th would-be-coup & the folks who took to the streets in protest after the death of george floyd

          …the letter of the law is pretty much on a par with the damned lies & statistics end of the spectrum…but that doesn’t mean fussing over it can’t include some body blows to the spirit of the thing?

          • That Harriot thread is great because he highlights just how far bad faith actors can get when reporters swallow their narrative without doing the slightest amount of due dilligence.

            It’s a looming problem with the US House because for the DC press, the House is the dumping ground for young, uninformed, and uncritical reporters, along with a lot of hack editors who refuse to vary from standard tropes that were fossilized in the Reagan era 40 years ago.

  3. As in Britain, about 7.000 nurses went on strike yesterday in NYC, and for the same reasons as in Britain: to raise pay but more importantly to increase staffing levels so that nurses aren’t asked to perform superhuman tasks like working 72 hours straight and/or managing 32 patients at a time. I, unfortunately, have seen this in action first-hand. In NYC, at least, a law was passed mandating minimum staffing levels which hospitals are ignoring, claiming candidate shortages. So the nurses here, at least, have the law on their side, if nothing else.


    As an FYI, in 2020 Montefiore’s CEO pulled in about $7.2 million and that sum has presumably increased thanks to the tens of billions of dollars NYC’s health care sector received to deal with Covid. In 2019 Mt. Sinai’s CEO pocketed (“trousered,” as the British say) over $11 million. I’m sure they’re worth every nickel.

    • Came here for this but you beat me to it!

      “Totally Unexpected”


        • Mary Trump did the only reasonable thing, which was to avoid shrinking from her name and take it on.

          I think as a psychologist she had the tools to do this. I have to leave it to the Royal Family watchers to say if Harry is anywhere nearly as well equipped to do something similar, although I think it’s fair to say one of the ways bad families insulate themselves from internal attacks is to make sure potential dissenters lack the tools and perspective they need to pull it off.

          • …I don’t know how true or otherwise it rings…but someone I know was trying to convince me the other day that whether your sympathies lean toward harry or not (or specifically according to the line they were drawing you pick #teammeghan over #teamkate) or vice versa has a lot to do with whether you’re more attuned to the way things work in the US or the UK

            …personally I find it a lot easier to sympathize with his spare-ness…but I can attest to having heard no end of earnest explanations of why kate can do no wrong but it’s who harry married that’s the cause of all his woes & it’s just so terribly unfair on the rest of his family

            …& not a one of them has diddly-squat to say about the fact that for every sin they claim meghan has committed you can pull up examples of kate doing basically-the-same-thing-but-worse

            …so…there might be something to it…damned if I get it…but it seems to make some people a lot more comfortable if the ones saying dangerously heretical things like “the royal family is not a land of psychological well-being & it’s not as silent as it likes to make itself out to be” are the villains…which precludes them being victims of any sort…or something?

Leave a Reply