…dumbfounded [DOT 3/6/21]

what lies beneath...

…ok…so it’s one of those days…there’s a lot going on & I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get to all of it…but…well…here goes…

…there’s a whole thread…but none of it changes the fact that this thing still has momentum

…so…here’s the thing…menken said a lot of stuff that people sometimes quote…but for all that I’m pretty sure he was wrong about some shit this one seems to have been consistently on the money

“No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

…& much as I continue to pine for the possibility that humanity might start coming around to the idea that it helps to listen to people who know what the fuck they’re talking about

Trump returns to the electoral battlefield Saturday as the marquee speaker at the North Carolina Republican Party’s state convention. He plans to follow up with several more rallies in June and July to keep his unique political base engaged in the 2022 midterms and give him the option of seeking the presidency again in 2024.
Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity this spring that when it comes to the midterms push, “we’re all in.”

And as for a comeback bid in the election cycle that follows: “I am looking at it very seriously,” he said. “Beyond seriously.”


…beyond serious…there are several ways to take that


…although I’m guessing not everyone will join me in thinking “that way madness lies”

To build a crowd for a pro-Trump rally, Nevada GOP consultant sought help from Proud Boys [WaPo]


The publisher of the National Enquirer agreed to pay a $187,500 fine after the Federal Election Commission found it “knowingly and willfully” violated campaign law by paying a model who said she’d had an affair with Donald Trump $150,000 to keep quiet during the 2016 presidential election, according to records released by a campaign finance watchdog group.
The complaint charged the payment was made “for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential general election.”


…well…miracles of modern technology…information age…yadda yadda

[…]People who are most confident about their ability to discern between fact and fiction are also the most likely to fall victim to misinformation, a US study suggests.
When researchers looked at data measuring respondents’ online behaviour, those with inflated perceptions of their abilities more frequently visited websites linked to the spread of false or misleading news. The overconfident participants were also less able to distinguish between true and false claims about current events and reported higher willingness to share false content, especially when it aligned with their political predispositions, the authors found.
Although the study does not prove that overconfidence directly causes engagement with false news, the mismatch between a person’s perceived ability to spot misinformation and their actual competence could play a crucial role in the spread of false information, the authors wrote in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.


…or…if you’re more of the forrest gump persuasion…stupid is as stupid does?

The 10 Republican House representatives who voted to impeach Donald Trump are all being targeted by a well-funded new political group largely funded by supporters of the former president.
The 10 Republicans joined with Democrats to approve one article of impeachment against Trump, charging the president with “incitement of insurrection” for his actions around the 6 January storming of the Capitol by a mob of his supporters. Trump was later acquitted in a Senate trial.

Pac funded by Trump loyalists targets 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him [Guardian]

…you know…those “audits”

Observers of Arizona’s GOP-led election audit document security breaches, prohibited items on counting floor [WaPo]

…I mean, we all know some people will say any old shit

When someone lodges a serious claim about a societal problem that you disagree with, you can generally respond in one of two ways. The more difficult path is to dispute the argument on its merits. The easier course is to say, “Well, they’re not talking about me” — to perhaps acknowledge it exists but to downplay either your role or its pervasiveness.

Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, though, is charting a rather novel course when it comes to allegations of racism: Asserting people talking about it are targeting him and his allies, even if they themselves didn’t make that connection.

Tucker Carlson and the curious effort to equate attacks on racism with attacks on Republicans [WaPo]

…but the foundation of pretty much all of it is in the surprisingly reliable footing to be found when you found your position on entrenched dumb…which I know isn’t why tucker is regularly described as “dumbfounded” rather than “dumbfunded”…but maybe that’s how we ought to be using the term these days?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Michael T. Flynn does something highly objectionable that undermines the U.S. government, in which he served. And then when pressed on it, he claims it’s just a big misunderstanding, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Michael Flynn’s ridiculous defense of his coup comments, in context [WaPo]

…& while it would be nice to think that might see some consequences

…remember how impeachment2 fired that guy?

…now, the military isn’t necessarily covered in glory…not least when it comes to the dubious quality of “military justice”

Advocates for reform contend that a key reason for the impunity is the military chain of command, the rigid organizational structure that gives commanders authority over their subordinates. This arrangement also extends to the handling of sexual assault. The rules give commanders a key role in the prosecution of such cases involving service members under their authority.

It’s akin to a department director at a private corporation having a say in whether a rape case involving a person on their staff goes to trial.

How can that kind of justice be fair and impartial?

There’s a Sexual Assault Crisis in the Military. Congress Can Stop It. [NYT]

…but even so…unfortunately not everyone of these assholes can be awarded a dishonorable discharge

With the slogan for QAnon — an extremist ideology that the FBI has deemed a domestic terrorism threat — shining onstage behind him, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) spoke to a crowd gathered for the “For God & Country Patriot Roundup” on Saturday, where he downplayed the seriousness of the January insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and criticized Democrats pushing an independent review of the deadly event.

He suggested that “it wasn’t just right-wing extremists” rioting in the Capitol, even though federal officials have consistently debunked claims that leftist activists played a role in the attack. He also suggested that the insurrection shouldn’t be a serious concern because the United States has weathered worse, including foreign attacks.

At Texas event with QAnon ties, Louie Gohmert downplays Jan. 6: ‘It wasn’t just right-wing extremists’ [WaPo]

Texas governor threatens to defund state legislature after Democrats block voting bill

Greg Abbott excoriated for bizarre threat after Democrats thwart 11th-hour attempt to pass bill that would have made voting harder [Guardian]

…that these idiots will most likely get their way is…galling to say the least

Texas’ voting bill to support Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ will eventually pass. Blame the Supreme Court.

Had five conservative justices in 2013 not gutted landmark civil rights legislation designed to prevent exactly what Texas is trying to do, the Biden administration would be able to stop the Texas law — and others like it, in states like Georgia — from going into effect.


…so much for “ladies first”

With voting rights role, Harris takes on weightiest challenge yet as vice president [WaPo]

…how about “devil take the hindmost”?

Pressure mounts on Manchin as ‘panic’ sets in among Democrats over voting rights [WaPo]

This Senate is the oldest in American history. Should we do anything about it? [WaPo]

…& while I admit it’s tempting to take solace in the discomfort of some folks who deserve to never feel comfortable again

Former president Donald Trump’s company has again hired a broker to sell the lease to its D.C. hotel, according to two people familiar with the discussions, a second attempt to unload the property after the pandemic thwarted a previous effort.
It’s unclear whether the D.C. hotel will be a factor in Vance’s investigation into Trump’s business or in a related inquiry by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D). The property has not been named as a target in any public filings related to either Vance’s case or the investigation by James, but the Wall Street Journal reported last week that Vance’s office is investigating the hotel in addition to other properties.


…you know how some people say “the cruelty is the point”?

Business owners point to the extra $300 a week in jobless benefits that are part of the American Rescue Plan for a covid-ravaged economy. The implication is that the benefit has allowed those who worked in restaurants before the pandemic and were thrown out of work to basically freeload on federal assistance even though businesses are reopening across the country.

Organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, members of Congress and at least 24 Republican-led states want the extra money ended, on the expectation that cutting off the lifeline will drive people back to work.
But what if a substantial number of those not going back to restaurant work simply realized during the pandemic layoff that working in many restaurants … is kind of awful? And if they didn’t go into an entirely new line of work, what if during the past year they discovered that there are interesting new ways of staying in the food business without the exhausting, often demeaning restaurant grind?


…that whip-hand is showing again

In capitalist countries, the standard remedy for labor shortages is to recruit workers by offering higher wages or other inducements. Mr. Gianforte has a different plan in mind. Beginning June 27, the state will reduce weekly payments to unemployed workers by $300, cutting off a federal subsidy that was scheduled to run through early September.

This struck other Republican governors as such a good idea that 23 other states have since announced plans to follow Montana’s example. Together they intend to reject more than $26 billion in federal aid payments to 4.5 million unemployed workers — money that would have helped those workers and surely would have been spent mostly in those states.

A lot of people are going to get hurt, and the pain will not be distributed randomly.


…& sure…there are bits of stupid we can try to mitigate

The Biden administration on Tuesday suspended oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, targeting one of President Donald Trump’s most significant environmental acts during his last days in office.
Now the Biden administration is taking steps to block those leases, citing problems with the environmental review process. In Tuesday’s Interior Department order, Secretary Deb Haaland said that a review of the Trump administration’s leasing program in the wildlife refuge found “multiple legal deficiencies” including “insufficient analysis” required by environmental laws and a failure to assess other alternatives. Haaland’s order calls for a temporary moratorium on all activities related to those leases in order to conduct “a new, comprehensive analysis of the potential environmental impacts of the oil and gas program.”

Biden administration suspends oil and gas leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [WaPo]

…but that’s the thing about malignant stupidity…it isn’t easy to get at the roots

Biden Aims to End Arctic Drilling. A Trump-Era Law Could Foil His Plans. [NYT]

…& some of it isn’t just out of our hands but also getting out of hand

The brewing battle over the century-old Klamath Project is an early window into the water shortfalls that are likely to spread across the West as a widespread drought, associated with a warming climate, parches watersheds throughout the region.

Amid Historic Drought, a New Water War in the West [NYT]

…to tell you the truth last time I looked into the deal with water in a global context the stuff I found pretty much terrified my ass…so I won’t try to dive into those waters

Climate crisis is suffocating the world’s lakes, study finds [Guardian]


…but we do need to bear in mind that sometimes the global context is ultimately the one we need to address if we’re going to actually make progress with an issue that effects the whole world

It has become abundantly clear that there will be no broad-based recovery from the covid-19 pandemic without an end to the health crisis. Access to vaccination is key to both.
Some affluent countries are already discussing the rollout of booster shots to their populations, but the vast majority of people in developing countries — even front-line health workers — have still not received their first shot. Low-income nations have received less than 1 percent of vaccines administered so far.
Inequitable vaccine distribution is leaving millions of people vulnerable to the virus while allowing deadly variants to emerge and ricochet back across the world. As variants spread, even countries with advanced vaccination programs have been forced to reimpose stricter public health measures and travel restrictions. The ongoing pandemic is deepening divergence in economic fortunes, with negative consequences for all.


Leaders of the major international health and financial organizations are sending an urgent SOS to the Group of Seven summit next week in Britain: The global pandemic response is lopsided. Rich nations are vaccinating people 30 times faster than the poorer countries. Rectifying this inequity is in everyone’s interest, and requires political willpower, action and money.

The pandemic fire is still raging. Rich-country leaders must respond. [WaPo]

…even if it’s hard to view this kind of thing as other than a good direction to be trying to go

Biden announces ‘month of action’ to get 70% of Americans vaccinated [Guardian]

…come july 4th it isn’t as clear as I’d like that independence is what everyone’s liable to be feeling

Covid has unleashed the most severe setback to women’s liberation in my lifetime. While watching this happen, I have started to think we are witnessing an outbreak of disaster patriarchy.


…& this might not be what the above article had in mind…but I have to say there does seem like some conceptual overlap

How a Police Chief in Wyoming’s Ranchlands Lost Her War on Drugs [NYT]

…not forgetting the part where everyone’s meant to pay for the privilege

The subscription economy was on the rise before the pandemic, but its wider and deeper reach in nearly every industry is expected to last, even after the pandemic subsides in the United States. The UBS financial services firm predicts that this “subscription economy” will grow to $1.5 trillion by 2025, more than double the $650 billion it’s estimated to be worth now.
However, the rapid growth of subscriptions has created a host of challenges for the economy, far outpacing the government’s ability to scrutinize aggressive marketing practices and ensure that consumers are being treated fairly, consumer advocates say.


Consumers have complained about a range of business practices. For example, some have said that they were tricked or put into recurring monthly charges without their consent. Others have said that companies make it extraordinarily easy to sign up for recurring subscriptions but much more difficult to cancel.

Federal officials look to crack down on deceptive subscription marketing practices at broad range of firms [WaPo]

…& those T&Cs can have some other surprises


…& it isn’t always just the consumers who don’t know what they signed on for

‘One of the worst jobs I ever had’: former Citizen employees on working for the crime app [Guardian]

Amazon warehouse workers suffer serious injuries at higher rates than workers at other companies. Critics blame productivity pressure. [WaPo]

Walmart workers ‘feared for their lives’ due to Covid, executives told [Guardian]

…or the employees

If facial recognition is not regulated now, it will never be used responsibly [WaPo]

…frankly the market is a mysterious place…but if you look at it right there’s pretty much always someone who seems to be making out like a bandit?

The Mystery of the $113 Million Deli

…well…hell…I knew I wouldn’t get to all of it…but I might try to cram a couple more things in before I go look for some tunes?

[…call it a P.S.]

One of the most powerful courts in the country, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, is cloaked in unnecessary secrecy. It authorizes panoramic surveillance programs that can have profound implications for the rights of millions of Americans, but many of its significant decisions have been withheld from the public.

[…]The needless secrecy surrounding the surveillance court is bad for the court, the intelligence agencies and the public — and it is also unconstitutional.

What Is America’s Spy Court Hiding From the Public? [NYT]

Russian Cybercriminal Group Was Behind Meat Plant Attack, F.B.I. Says [NYT]


The End of the C.D.C. Eviction Moratorium Means Trouble [NYT]


How Naftali Bennett, Head of a Small Right-Wing Party in Israel, Rose to the Top [NYT]

As the world’s oil and gas giants face increasing pressure to reduce their fossil fuel emissions, small, privately held drilling companies are becoming the country’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, often by buying up the industry’s high-polluting assets.
In some cases, the companies are buying up high-polluting assets directly from the largest oil and gas corporations, like ConocoPhillips and BP; in other cases, private equity firms acquire risky oil and gas properties, develop them, and sell them quickly for maximum profits.

The largest emitter, Hilcorp Energy, reported almost 50 percent more methane emissions from its operations than the nation’s largest fossil fuel producer, Exxon Mobil, despite pumping far less oil and gas. Four other relatively unknown companies — Terra Energy Partners, Flywheel Energy, Blackbeard Operating and Scout Energy — each reported emitting more of the gas than many industry heavyweights.

Oil and gas giants are selling off their most-polluting operations to small private companies. Most manage to escape public scrutiny. [NYT]

…so…those tunes are maybe a little overdue at this point, I think you’d agree?



    • …well, they do say it’s the soul of wit?

    • And yet still the best online news roundup!

  1. I’m not even mad at the lab leak theory… in theory. Labs like Wuhan store crazy shit. The CDC, USAMRIID, VECTOR (in Russia), they all do. We still have smallpox on hand! Even though the general scientific community agrees we don’t need to have that! It doesn’t mean Covid is a bioweapon. Just that they came across it in the wild and put it in their back pocket to study. But of course, we have too many looney tunes running around to talk about anything these days.
    And the disaster patriarchy article doesn’t surprise me in the least. Have you ever watched a disaster/end of days/zombie movie? What’s usually the fist thing to happen to women who don’t die? So, yeah. I am not looking forward to the inevitable civil war when my body becomes currency because I don’t own guns and have no marketable skills and am closing in on menopause. 

    • That and there’s nothing that’s happened NOW to make anyone think the lab leak theory is more plausible than it was then. The same people use the same evidence that didn’t pass muster then; real experts said it was extremely unlikely but possible. The only change is that the right has crusaded enough on it that now the media/world is expected to treat it like a 50/50 proposition, which it isn’t. (Plus, we all know that no matter what is actually found, they’ll go to their graves convinced that the Chinese released the virus to kill white Americans.)

      Why aren’t they exploring MY pet theory that the UFOs the Air Force can’t explain are the ones who caused Covid? WHY IS THE MEDIA HIDING THIS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    • And the kicker which I left off: The reason people like Fauci and others didn’t want to make a big deal over investigating is because they knew full well what just saying they were looking into it would mean for Asian-Americans and the sort of idiotic saber-rattling toward China by these looney tunes would demand.

  2. For your morning dose of horror:
    Two children ran away from a group home in the county I grew up in. They were a 12-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl. They broke into a home that had a cache of loaded and unsecured guns (including a shotgun and an AK-47) and proceeded to engage in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies. The girl was eventually shot twice and is in critical condition. The boy finally surrendered. 
    I have no words.

    • Home of “responsible” gun owner?
      A “good” guy with a shit ton of guns?
      Also, shouldn’t these kids be commended for “standing their ground” and proving the “castle” doctrine by the NRA and the Koch Bro(s)?
      If this were Not-Florida/Not-US South then that crazed moron would be charged, but I will shocked shocked that he will (unless he’s a minority.)

      • Oh, it gets better. I know it’s behind a paywall, but the homeowner has children. So he had a loaded AK-47, loaded shotgun, and at least one loaded handgun sitting around in his house with his children in it. The house was apparently was so secure that two children managed to break into it. I suppose he needed the loaded guns so he could repel a battalion probe from … dunno, the gubmint? Iraq? 
        Alternate theory — this is a drug dealer. There are lots in that area. That would explain both the stupidity and the amount of loaded weapons. 

        • Big Yikes!

    • Lots of finger pointing going on in that article but barely a mention of the guy with young children keeping loaded unsecured weapons lying around.

      • See my reply above. Took me a minute, but I think I figured that part out. He’s a dealer. 

  3. So the Federalist Society chapter of Stanford Law School whined to the administration about a joke flyer another student posted online that mocked them as backers of January 6 like other Federalist Society freaks like Josh Hawley.
    Stanford decides to launch an investigation and block the student from receiving his diploma, instead of what any responsible lawyer would say, which is 1st Amendment, you dummies.
    Stanford has now backtracked, moaning about how complicated things are, we worked as fast as we could, oh poor us, and cleared the student, when of course nothing should have happened in the first place.
    The Federalist Society dweebs, of course, are dumb hypocrites and nobody should take their moaning bout cancel culture seriously again.
    There are two problems, though. One is that the establishment loves narratives about lefty cancel culture, and the Bill Maher type and The Atlantic and NY Times Opinion Page will never stop.
    The other is that Stanford and Harvard and other top schools will never back off their affirmative action programs for right wing dummies. Conservatives like these Federalist Society dolts or Tom Cotton are obviously poor thinkers, and they ought to be disqualified from the start. But the elites feel that they should bend over backwards for them because they need the club to be happy.
    They’ll also never acknowledge that these people want to eat the club alive. Josh Hawley cheering on the January 6 attacker is just the start. But yeah, a knockoff of The Onion is the real threat for Bill Maher and Stanford.

  4. Oh, and that bit about an opposition agreement to oust Netanyahu is good news.
    The guy has been a malignant force not only at home, but in courting and elevating the evangelical right in the US with the goal of damaging Democrats. I disagree with most visions of Putin as ringleader, but here I think it’s fair to say Netanyahu is a partner in crime, and Kushner’s dealings with both are sinister as hell.
    There are scary rumblings that he is going to go rogue and rally violent extremists to try to block the coalition. He probably won’t win, but at a minimum he’s trying to provide fuel for similar movements all over, including the US.
    The punditry in the US was sure Netanyahu’s assault on Israeli Arabs was a disaster for Biden, instead of a sign of Netanyahu’s extreme weakness, because once again the punditry is married to stupid narratives.

    • Unfortunately, the guy moving up might be worse than Bibi; it’s a little bit like impeaching Donald Trump to make Matt Gaetz president.

    • End Times gotta start somewhere! Gotta support Israel no matter what to make Jesus happy!

    • Swalwell needs to hire the sheriff that served me for an accident that I witnessed a few years ago. First off – he ambushed me in my backyard at 6am as I was letting my dog out.
      Secondly, when I showed up at the trial  – they thought I was the one who was at fault. I only witnessed it and had already given two very lengthy statements to the insurance companies. The judge told me that I was going to have to come back another day after things were sorted out and I told him flat out that I would be out of the country and unavailable – no matter what the date was. They didn’t serve me again. 

  5. Oh, Black Rod reminded me. It’s time for another does of Matt Gaetz:
    Matt Gaetz reportedly being investigated for cover-up scheme and mysteriously missing a wad of money
    Seems Matt sent $155,000 across the US and now it is “missing.” Supposedly he’s paying for a “yacht” (which would be more of a boat for that kind of money, and of course we sell those in Florida, where he could actually see and test drive it). So speculation is rife and we should play too. Is Matt Gaetz: 
    1. Bribing a potential witness (and if so does she need money for prom)?
    2. Paying someone to smuggle him out of the country? 
    3. Bribing a government official? 
    4. Buying a yacht? (lol, that last one is complete bullshit)

    • …I’m 50/50 between options #1 & #3

      …although if it’s #1 I hope some of it goes to a college fund?

    • Now that we don’t hear about Nestor-the-Son anymore, maybe he has a contract with Nestor’s real father and this is kind of a prenup? 

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