…if comedy is about timing [DOT 8/9/22]

why is none of this funny...

It’s doubtful rhetoric alone will shorten the long odds Democrats face heading into November. But it’s worth thinking through what the strongest possible message for the party might be. As it stands, their main focal point, beyond Congress’ accomplishments thus far in Biden’s term, has been the threat Donald Trump and his allies pose to the democratic process. Last week, Biden kicked off campaign season in earnest with a major address on just that subject. “Maga Republicans do not respect the Constitution,” he told his audience in Philadelphia. “They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election. And they’re working right now ⁠— as I speak, in state after state ⁠— to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.”
Republican efforts to usurp and delegitimize the electoral process should trouble us not just because they’re unfair and destabilizing, but because they advance the interests of the wealthy and powerful, who benefit from the conservative policy agenda. By attacking our elections and the right to vote, conservatives hope to rob us of opportunities to shore up and empower working class Americans on issues from health care to labor rights. And this is the point Democrats should emphasize ⁠— especially given that the pivotal constituencies in the electorate, swing and Trump-curious voters, are clearly ambivalent about, or willing to overlook, Republican violations of democratic norms.
Of course, the process of getting to the IRA colorfully illustrated some of the ways democracy isn’t really working in America. Thanks to the power afforded to one very stubborn man from West Virginia in the Senate, popular policies like paid leave and more expansive climate measures were left on the chopping block. And the anticipated emissions reductions in the IRA will, like the long-troubled Medicaid expansion component of the Affordable Care Act, depend largely on the cooperation of state governments that are controlled by Republicans across much of the country and are working to disenfranchise Democratic voters.

Components of the For the People Act ⁠— now ancient history politically speaking ⁠— would have gone some way towards evening out the already-skewed playing field in the states and combatting Republican voter suppression efforts. Its failure is one of the signal disappointments of this Congress. And Democrats will only get another crack at it, in another majority, if they manage to convince voters that the fight for democracy is, in fact, a partisan and material struggle ⁠— a fight against a party that cannot be redeemed and is animated in its attacks on our norms and elections by more than just loyalty to Donald Trump.
That’s not an argument that will bring Americans together. But realistically, nothing will. And politics is, at the end of the day, about presenting voters with clear choices and stakes. The Democrats have a powerful case to make: return them to power and they’ll do what they can to safeguard democracy from a Republican party fully and irretrievably controlled by bosses and billionaires intent on dominating ordinary Americans. That message might not work magic in time for the midterms. But it’s worth a shot.

…see…now that sort of thing ought to be hyperbole…except…it isn’t…& the bizarre thing is that the crazy end of this stuff doesn’t seem to understand some pretty basic shit

[…] They sat around the table and introduced themselves: five super-wealthy guys – yes, all men – from the upper echelon of the tech investing and hedge-fund world. At least two of them were billionaires. After a bit of small talk, I realised they had no interest in the speech I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come to ask questions.

They started out innocuously and predictably enough. Bitcoin or ethereum? Virtual reality or augmented reality? Who will get quantum computing first, China or Google? Eventually, they edged into their real topic of concern: New Zealand or Alaska? Which region would be less affected by the coming climate crisis? It only got worse from there. Which was the greater threat: global warming or biological warfare? How long should one plan to be able to survive with no outside help? Should a shelter have its own air supply? What was the likelihood of groundwater contamination? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system, and asked: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” The event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, solar storm, unstoppable virus, or malicious computer hack that takes everything down.

This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from raiders as well as angry mobs. One had already secured a dozen Navy Seals to make their way to his compound if he gave them the right cue. But how would he pay the guards once even his crypto was worthless? What would stop the guards from eventually choosing their own leader?

The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed “in time”.

I tried to reason with them. I made pro-social arguments for partnership and solidarity as the best approaches to our collective, long-term challenges. The way to get your guards to exhibit loyalty in the future was to treat them like friends right now, I explained. Don’t just invest in ammo and electric fences, invest in people and relationships. They rolled their eyes at what must have sounded to them like hippy philosophy.

…I guess maybe if you can’t appreciate the utter miracle that society…even as flawed & strained as it might currently look to be…manages to stave off the collapse of civilization on any given day…despite the rampant inequity, injustice & immorality that one might reasonably argue is why some of these insanely wealthy people could delude themselves into a belief that they could spend their way out of it…then maybe you really are too blind to see

Taking their cue from Tesla founder Elon Musk colonising Mars, Palantir’s Peter Thiel reversing the ageing process, or artificial intelligence developers Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether. Their extreme wealth and privilege served only to make them obsessed with insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is about only one thing: escape from the rest of us.
Never before have our society’s most powerful players assumed that the primary impact of their own conquests would be to render the world itself unliveable for everyone else. Nor have they ever before had the technologies through which to programme their sensibilities into the very fabric of our society. The landscape is alive with algorithms and intelligences actively encouraging these selfish and isolationist outlooks. Those sociopathic enough to embrace them are rewarded with cash and control over the rest of us. It’s a self-reinforcing feedback loop. This is new.

…how new it might be is perhaps debatable…or seems that way to me…but

Instead of just lording over us for ever, however, the billionaires at the top of these virtual pyramids actively seek the endgame. In fact, like the plot of a Marvel blockbuster, the very structure of The Mindset requires an endgame. Everything must resolve to a one or a zero, a winner or loser, the saved or the damned. Actual, imminent catastrophes from the climate emergency to mass migrations support the mythology, offering these would-be superheroes the opportunity to play out the finale in their own lifetimes. For The Mindset also includes a faith-based Silicon Valley certainty that they can develop a technology that will somehow break the laws of physics, economics and morality to offer them something even better than a way of saving the world: a means of escape from the apocalypse of their own making.

…call it overly simplistic…but…at least to me…the defining characteristic of a global catastrophe…as you’d think the last couple of pandemic-tastic years would have made obvious to…well…apparently not everyone…is that nobody gets to sit it out unaffected…but if you do try to look at that picture seriously…what does it look like?

But the message that got my attention came from a former president of the American chamber of commerce in Latvia. JC Cole had witnessed the fall of the Soviet empire, as well as what it took to rebuild a working society almost from scratch. He had also served as landlord for the American and European Union embassies, and learned a whole lot about security systems and evacuation plans. “You certainly stirred up a bees’ nest,” he began his first email to me. “It’s quite accurate – the wealthy hiding in their bunkers will have a problem with their security teams… I believe you are correct with your advice to ‘treat those people really well, right now’, but also the concept may be expanded and I believe there is a better system that would give much better results.”

He felt certain that the “event” – a grey swan, or predictable catastrophe triggered by our enemies, Mother Nature, or just by accident –was inevitable. He had done a Swot analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – and concluded that preparing for calamity required us to take the very same measures as trying to prevent one.
Here was a prepper with security clearance, field experience and food sustainability expertise. He believed the best way to cope with the impending disaster was to change the way we treat one another, the economy, and the planet right now

…& that might actually be grounds for some of that optimism I wish were a little less rare…except…you know…what’s that guy actually doing?

– while also developing a network of secret, totally self-sufficient residential farm communities for millionaires, guarded by Navy Seals armed to the teeth.

…yeah…& he’s pretty clear-eyed about it, too

“Honestly, I am less concerned about gangs with guns than the woman at the end of the driveway holding a baby and asking for food.” He paused, and sighed, “I don’t want to be in that moral dilemma.”

…oh, well…that’s all right then…as long as you don’t have to actually look it in the eye…no dilemma, I guess…& don’t get me wrong…that guy is like the best example available…most of the crazy-rich-prepper stuff is way over the morally-bankrupt horizon

So far, JC Cole has been unable to convince anyone to invest in American Heritage Farms. That doesn’t mean no one is investing in such schemes. It’s just that the ones that attract more attention and cash don’t generally have these cooperative components. They’re more for people who want to go it alone. Most billionaire preppers don’t want to have to learn to get along with a community of farmers or, worse, spend their winnings funding a national food resilience programme. The mindset that requires safe havens is less concerned with preventing moral dilemmas than simply keeping them out of sight.
On closer analysis, however, the probability of a fortified bunker actually protecting its occupants from the reality of, well, reality, is very slim. For one, the closed ecosystems of underground facilities are preposterously brittle. For example, an indoor, sealed hydroponic garden is vulnerable to contamination. Vertical farms with moisture sensors and computer-controlled irrigation systems look great in business plans and on the rooftops of Bay Area startups; when a palette of topsoil or a row of crops goes wrong, it can simply be pulled and replaced. The hermetically sealed apocalypse “grow room” doesn’t allow for such do-overs.
They were working out what I’ve come to call the insulation equation: could they earn enough money to insulate themselves from the reality they were creating by earning money in this way?

…I mean your mitch mcconnells & your joe manchins are just thinking it won’t get really bad until after they’re safely dead…but…your younger generations of the fuck-it-burn-it-all-the-way-down-if-it-keeps-us-on-top types…these people are at least as deluded in their own way as the useful idiots currently being distracted by the fabulist nonsense propagated by the likes of Qanon or the MAGA lot or whatever today’s flavor of bat-shit crazy might be

…& I’ll level with you…I was only going to throw that article in as a bit of slightly grim light relief…I was gonna point & laugh on account of how fucking ridiculous it was that these people could convince themselves that in a scenario where we are all of us completely screwed…they somehow wouldn’t be included in that equation…but…well…as blackadder once memorably put it…fortune vomits on my eiderdown once more

Squeezing “every last cubic inch of gas” from the North Sea, re-starting fracking, rejecting windfarms in favour of fossil fuels – the policies espoused by Jacob Rees-Mogg, against a backdrop of rising energy prices, form a clear indication of how the new business secretary will view his brief.

…that’s right…the lady everyone is terribly impressed by for not putting a white guy in any of the four posts considered to be the top slots in the UK political landscape…another handy trump card to wield alongside the 3-0 record of female prime ministers come the general election she doesn’t want to have anytime soon…has – somewhat fittingly for a leader parachuted into position by a few dozen MPs & less than 2% of the population – given a vital position to the minister for medieval britain himself

Rees-Mogg will be the core cabinet member as secretary of state for business and energy, with responsibility for meeting the UK’s legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It is a goal he has previously described as “a long way off” and “a huge regulatory cost”.
An investor in oil and coal mining through Somerset Capital Management, the fund management firm he co-founded and still benefits from financially, Rees-Mogg has many times voiced climate denialism – even to the extent of misrepresenting climate science. In 2014, he told Chat Politics that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had found efforts to stop climate change would only work in the very long term.
Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, said: “Rees-Mogg is the last person who should be in charge of the energy brief, at the worst possible moment. He blamed ‘climate alarmism’ for high energy bills, pushing David Cameron to ‘cut the green crap’ like incentives for solar, wind and energy efficiency, which has added £150 to every energy bill. Appointing him to the brief now suggests the Tories have learned nothing from years of energy policy incompetence.”
He takes the brief at a time of unprecedented crisis for the UK’s energy industry, and for bill-payers, both domestic and in business. Millions of people are likely to struggle to pay their heating bills this winter, and even the price cap proposed by the prime minister, Liz Truss, will leave many households choosing between heating and eating. Small businesses are facing ruin without government help. The UK is also badly off-track to meet its net zero commitments, despite strong evidence that action to meet them would also bring down bills.
Dave Timms, head of political affairs at Friends of the Earth, said: “Extracting more fossil fuels is a false solution to the energy crisis. It’s our failure to end our reliance on gas and oil that’s sent energy bills soaring and left us teetering on the brink of catastrophic climate change. We need a forward-looking, modern energy strategy based on better home insulation and unleashing the full potential of the UK’s homegrown renewables power – not one rooted in dirty fossil fuels of the past.”

…sound familiar?

Europe Is Sacrificing Its Ancient Forests for Energy [NYT]
[…that one is a sort of scrolling-text-over-pictures kind of a deal but if you can get it to load…well…yadda yadda, picture…thousand words, yadda yadda]

Next week the future of many of the world’s forests will be decided when members of the European parliament vote on a revised EU renewable energy directive. If the parliament fails to change the EU’s discredited and harmful renewables policy, European citizens’ tax money will continue to pay for forests around the globe to literally go up in smoke every day.

Europe’s directly elected representatives now have to choose: they can either save the EU’s “climate targets” with their legislative loopholes or they can begin saving our climate, because right now, that is not what EU targets are working towards.

Increasing volumes of wood pellets and other wood fuels are being imported from outside the EU to satisfy Europe’s growing appetite for burning forests for energy. This is an appetite that the existing EU renewable energy directive incentivises. It does this by classifying forest biomass on paper as zero-carbon emissions when in reality, burning forest biomass will produce higher emissions than fossil fuels during the coming decisive decades.
There is just not enough time for these tree plantations to regrow to be in line with the Paris agreement. Forest biomass takes minutes to burn, whereas it takes anywhere from decades to centuries for the climate and environmentally harmful tree plantations to resequester the carbon . This equals decades of carbon debts that we do not have time for.
For forest residues to become sustainable end-products, forestry needs to be sustainable in the first place; but this is not the case today. Most people would assume a few things about our forests based on what they’ve been told: first, that Europe has a fair amount of protected forests – and even if not yet as much as the EU has promised, that protection rates are at least moving in the right direction. Other common misconceptions are that forestry is carried out sustainably, that predominantly climate-friendlywood products are produced, and that only forest residues are burned for energy.

In reality, none of this is true for the EU today. Strictly protected forests are being logged daily, half of what is logged in EU forests, not just residues, is burned as fuel. Certified and supposedly “sustainable” forestry causes increased emissions, a daily loss of biodiversity and a systematic violation of indigenous peoples’ rights in Europe’s Arctic regions.

…yesterday was when they’d have needed to vote in an amendment to the EU renewable energy directive to alter their trajectory on that…&…I for one can’t find a single thing to tell me they so much as tried?

[…that one’s a lot less slick than the NYT effort but also involves pictures & text & considerable amounts of scrolling to tell a pretty stark tale]

[…for the hat trick…here’s one from WaPo about how electric cars are changing the landscape of a desert region in south america]

…so what’s worse?

Mark Fullbrook […] [t]he political consultant, a former longtime colleague of the election strategist Lynton Crosby, was appointed to the most senior role in Truss’s team this week, having previously worked on the failed leadership campaign of Nadhim Zahawi.

Senior advisory roles in No 10 have now also gone to Mac Chapwell and Alice Robinson, both founding members of his lobbying firm, Fullbrook Strategies.

The company, which launched in the spring, has lobbied the UK government on behalf of clients including the controversial Libyan parliament and a firm that won a £680m PPE deal in the pandemic.

Two more senior No 10 staff, Beatrice Timpson, the deputy press secretary, and Reuben Solomon, a digital adviser, have done stints at CT Group, Crosby’s political consultancy, where Fullbrook worked for over a decade.

Alongside Fullbrook and his aides, Truss’s inner circle comprises a slew of people who have worked for rightwing thinktanks. Sophie Jarvis, a political adviser, is a former staffer at the Adam Smith Institute, a thinktank working to promote neoliberal and free market ideas, while her economics chief is Matthew Sinclair, a former chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, a pressure group campaigning for low taxes.
Fullbrook struck out on his own in March this year after more than a decade of working with Crosby. Crosby sat on the advisory board of Fullbrook Strategies along with Sir Michael Hintze, the Tory donor and Australian billionaire who helped fund a UK-based lobby group campaigning against net zero climate action.
Truss briefed her MPs at the backbench 1922 Committee on Wednesday that her election campaign was already beginning, and that Fullbrook would brief the party on her strategy next week.

The Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism pored over more than 38,000 names on leaked Oath Keepers membership lists and identified more than 370 people it believes currently work in law enforcement agencies – including as police chiefs and sheriffs – and more than 100 people who are currently members of the military.

It also identified more than 80 people who were running for or served in public office as of early August. The membership information was compiled into a database published by the transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets.
The data raises fresh concerns about the presence of extremists in law enforcement and the military who are tasked with enforcing laws and protecting the US. It is especially problematic for public servants to be associated with extremists at a time when lies about the 2020 election are fueling threats of violence against lawmakers and institutions.
The Oath Keepers, founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, is a loosely organized conspiracy theory-fueled group that recruits current and former military, police and first responders. It asks its members to vow to defend the constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, promotes the belief that the federal government is out to strip citizens of their civil liberties and paints its followers as defenders against tyranny.

…too close to call? …apples & oranges? …just different chunks of the same ball of wax? …symptoms rather than the actual disease? …all of the above?

A federal judge in Texas has ruled that a provision of the Affordable Care Act that mandates free coverage of certain drugs that prevent HIV infections violates the religious beliefs of a Christian-owned company.

…what are you – fucking high? in terms your allegedly christian ass supposedly has done the homework to be able to follow…jesus fucking wept

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor came in response to a lawsuit filed by Jonathan Mitchell, a former Texas solicitor general and a conservative activist, on behalf of Braidwood Management Inc. and other self-described Christian employers and employees.

The 2020 lawsuit challenged a provision of the ACA that required free coverage of the HIV drugs Truvada and Descovy, commonly known as PrEP, that hundreds of thousands of people in America — mostly gay and bisexual men — take.

…some days I kinda wanna go to bat for my personal definition of the term offensive…& why ironically enough it springs to mind most frequently when confronted with things others seem to be under the illusion they deserve not to be offended by

Egypt became the latest Arab country on Wednesday to demand that Netflix drop content that runs counter to its “societal values,” an escalation of a battle by regional authorities on Western-produced television shows and films that depict gay and lesbian characters onscreen.

…if your beliefs are so sacrosanct that you genuinely believe the rest of the world shouldn’t be allowed to contain stuff that runs contrary to them…then how come my belief that that makes your entire worldview offensive to me doesn’t mean by the same logic you have to excise those elements from your shit across the board so it no longer offends my delicate sensibilities? …& if that’s such a preposterous proposition on my part…what does that do to the foundation of your whole fucking argument you disingenuously hypocritical fuckwits? …just sayin’

After the public demand to Netflix by the six Gulf countries on Tuesday, Saudi state television aired an interview with a woman it identified as a “behavioral consultant” who said that Netflix was an “official sponsor of homosexuality.” It also showed a clip from “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous,” an animated series streaming on Netflix in which two women kissed. On Saudi television, however, the scene was blurred out.
In Egypt, the authorities often prosecute gay people on charges of “immorality” or “debauchery.” Police raids targeting gay men at private parties, restaurants and bars are common.

…either way…sure does make vice & the saudis some strange bedfellows

The youth-focused digital media company is exploring a deal with MBC, a media giant partly owned by the Saudi government, to start a new content partnership in the region, according to two people with knowledge of the talks who would speak only on the condition of anonymity.
Vice is talking with MBC at a pivotal time for the company, which has struggled to live up to its lofty $5.7 billion valuation and has been weighing a sale of its business. Any significant deal with MBC could increase the price it is able to command from a suitor. But the talks could still fall through, and any prospective acquirer could try to distance the company from entities affiliated with the Saudi government.
In April last year, the company’s decision to open a commercial office in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, became a point of contention. In a call with the staff to discuss the new office, one producer called the decision “morally bankrupt.”

…&…sure enough…shit be complicated

A Vice spokesman said in a statement that the company was focused on young audiences underserved by existing media organizations, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia where a majority of the population is under 35.

“We’re proud of the internationally recognized work we’ve done across the Middle East, our incredibly talented team there and the impact they’ve had,” the spokesman said. “The editorial independence of Vice News has never been compromised by the countries in which we operate, and that won’t change.”
While some media companies backed out of deals with firms tied to the Saudi government after the killing in 2018, some maintained their relationships or reached new business deals more recently. Penske Media, the parent company of the Hollywood trade publications Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, received a $200 million investment from the Saudi Research and Media Group in 2018, before Mr. Khashoggi was killed. Bloomberg Media announced a deal in 2020 to collaborate with the Saudi Research and Media Group on Asharq Business With Bloomberg, a financially focused division of the Asharq News, a media company based in Riyadh.

Vice, which had longstanding business ties to Saudi Arabia, publicly backed away as well. Vice in October 2018 put its business with the Saudi Research and Media Group under review. Another deal worth a projected $20 million to produce films for the Saudi Research and Media Group through Broadly, Vice’s website dedicated to issues of gender and identity, was “on hold due to bad press,” according to an internal document from March 2019. That same document said Vice was still contemplating a deal worth up to $150 million in Saudi Arabia.

A Vice spokesman said those two deals hadn’t come to fruition, and Broadly was folded into Vice.com in May 2019.

…but…what price virtue?

But more recently, Vice’s ad agency, Virtue, has worked on marketing campaigns aimed at promoting Riyadh, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.
Vice faces financial headwinds this year as it tries to achieve a full year of profitability, which would be a milestone for the company. A memo obtained by The Times sent to employees in June by the company’s chief executive, Nancy Dubuc, said the company’s revenue forecast was flat against the same period last year, meaning that the company was “slightly behind” its overall financial target.
“There’s a difference between being owned by a company that’s part of the Saudi government versus doing business with them,” [Tom] Rosenstiel [a professor at the University of Maryland and a former director of the American Press Institute] said. “Nonetheless, I think it would give anyone in news pause to be in business with a government that kills journalists.”

…meanwhile…if you’re still scratching your head about what that special master bullshit is about…here’s an attempt to boil it down to a less legalistically obfuscating mess & mold it into something broadly resembling an actual strategy behind the circus act

…arguably part of the point of this kind of bullshit is that the “substance” of it is farcically easy to take apart in ways that show it to be utterly without legitimate foundation…but that doing so wastes time…time which the other side hopes will keep their heads above water long enough to benefit from an illegitimate lifeline once their wider project to subvert the whole enterprise bears its rotten fruit…but…at the risk of giving credit where the opposite is surely due…it’s also very much an effort to warp the judicial system to grant them access to information about the case being built against them which they may in fact be more interested in hearing than we are…& I for one am champing at the proverbial bit for a lot of that shit…so here’s something to consider

…I know…the first one in that pair is a repeat of the last one in the pair above…but that last tweet is the part I think really bears repeating?

…but…you know…don’t over-think it?

In the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes tried to get the organization’s general counsel, Kellye SoRelle, to put him in touch with the White House, she told NBC News.

In addition to her work with the Oath Keepers, SoRelle was a volunteer for Lawyers for Trump during the 2020 election and was in contact with many of the people fighting a doomed legal battle to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election and keep former President Donald Trump in office. The contacts include, she said, people in Rudy Giuliani’s and Sidney Powell’s camps, as well as those inside the administration, although she added that she “wasn’t, like, communicating with Trump directly.”
As SoRelle tells it, despite her close relationship with Rhodes, she never put him in touch with key figures, putting a firewall between her work with the Oath Keepers and her work to overturn the election results. Nonetheless, she was on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol (although didn’t enter the building) on Jan. 6. And on the night before the attack, she was present in a parking garage as Rhodes met with Enrique Tarrio, the head of the Proud Boys, the other predominant organization in a smorgasbord of extremist groups connected with the Capitol attack.

…so this bit of that thread by kyle cheney…the “rhodes says the arrest of kellye sorelle damages his ability to present a defense, since she was a key part of his strategy but now will be unlikely to provide substantive testimony” part…that reads several different ways to me…there’s the obvious part where if she offered a route to connect with (as I believe colbert had it the other day) “darth traitor” who most of these people take as an article of faith is to eventually be back in a position to pardon them for anything & everything…that might plausibly be a key part of an actual strategy, I guess…but there’s another way she might damage his ability to present the pretense of a defense…& it has everything to do with substantive testimony

…in the same way as that special master bullshit is barely about the case that insane ruling in response to the woefully incoherent filing that preceded it are nominally related to…the service rhodes is trying to provide here to the new crop of MAGA-orbiting lawyers in his corner is very possibly illegitimate access to privileged information about the fruits of a different tree…or at least a separate branch…as per the part cheney labelled as “NOTABLE“…the DoJ may have indicated it doesn’t have access to the jan 6th committee transcripts of what roger stone, rudy collude-y & sundry others including the lawyer he styled as such a lynchpin of his defense strategy had to say…in what cheney characterizes as a concession…but this is a defendant “getting access to electronic discovery ‘that no other defendant is getting in any case’“…& that’s the opinion of a judge…like…an actual judge…not some federalist society hack shunted into a position she’s clearly shown herself to be wholly unqualified for in any respect bar the precise hackery she was put there to provide…& that’s the kind of discovery he’s sniffing after

…so…sorry…that’s the circuses part…& as far as I can tell the bread is stale

Imagine. A prime minister’s questions where the prime minister actually answers the questions. Where ideology and policy are debated in a relatively civilised way. There was a calmness. Without sneering, bombast or diversion. And only the odd one-liner putdown. It probably won’t last. But it was a refreshing change while it lasted.
Starmer appeared rather taken aback. He was used to dealing with Boris Johnson, who had never knowingly given a direct answer. Or engaged with policy. PMQs was just pure theatre for the Convict. A forum for point scoring and getting cheap laughs. Truss was entirely different. She really did seem to believe all that mad stuff she had been spouting at the Tory leadership hustings. It hadn’t been just a pose to fuel the wet dreams of some moribund Conservative members. She actually was more rightwing than Margaret Thatcher. Even Maggie had imposed a windfall tax.

Just to make sure he had heard right, the Labour leader repeated himself. So what Librium Liz was saying was that she was more than happy to commit the UK to borrowing billions of pounds more than strictly necessary and for the public to pick up the tab, rather than asking the energy companies for a penny more. Even though the energy companies had openly admitted they had more money than they knew what to do with and were quite relaxed about a second windfall tax.
On and on. It had categorically been proved that the trickle-down economics of lower corporation tax boosted investment. Er, it hadn’t. George Osborne’s failed maths had long since been discredited and France, with a much higher corporation tax rate, had attracted more foreign investment than any other European country for three years running.

“There’s nothing new about Labour putting up taxes,” Librium Liz declared. The Tory benches, which up till now had been half-hearted in response to her wooden delivery, now erupted. As if she had just said the funniest, cleverest thing imaginable. As if they had now been given proof that their new leader was capable of thinking on her feet.

[…] How come the Tories had had three female leaders while Labour had had none? Be careful what you ask. The reason there was a third was because the Tories had unceremoniously dumped the second one a few years ago. And on current form they could be heading for a fourth in 12 months’ time when the novelty of Librium Liz’s incompetence has worn off.

Truss struggled to explain how she could be trusted to deliver. After all, she has been in cabinet for the last eight years. During which you’d have thought it might have occurred to her she was supposed to be delivering something. She also ticked off a Labour MP for talking down the country by saying the NHS was on its knees. Odd. Most of us could have sworn Liz had spent the leadership hustings saying the NHS wasn’t working.

…still…at least there’s still the likes of john crace out there proving that we haven’t reached the point of a complete sense-of-humor-failure?

[…tunes…coffee…not necessarily in that order…you know how it goes by now]



  1. Well. After that sober and serious-minded survey of important topics to which we should all be paying far more attention, my daily contribution might seem insulting. Nevertheless, hours ago I congratulated myself upon coming across this item, which deals not with Florida Man, but rather with Florida Woman, and like a Scrabble play, I thought I could get double points for the “Tupac Lives!” angle:


  2. I, for one, neither give a fuck whether or not S.E. Hinton’s book (that she wrote when she was 16) is banned in Oklahoma, where she is from, nor that she wrote it when she was 16. I also don’t give a fuck why it is banned. As an adult, she STILL refuses to apologise for or amend its anti-indigenous content.

    She was, however, apologetic toward…

    the graphic novel community for mocking it in 2020?

    Fuck her and fuck her stupid racist book!

  3. I’ve always been amazed at the naivete, ignorance and stupidity of Tech bros especially in fields outside their area of expertise.

    The worst tend to be the Software types who think that the universe is as simple as writing code.

    In a world where society collapses, money and the trappings of money doesn’t mean anything and it boils down to the charismatic leader who can round up the most armed folks on his/her side.  Elon (at least in person and when not surrounded by fawning business reporters) and Peter (especially) are not very charismatic and have a tendency to piss people off.

    Even in the comic book world of Batman, Bane took out the rich folks who bankrolled him.

    Or look at what Trumpism has done to the party of rich people.  The foot soldiers and morons think they run the show while the long time leaders and power brokers are struggling to regain control (and mostly losing.)

  4. @SplinterRIP, the BBC is on non-stop death watch for the Queen…they are stationed at the gates of Balmoral. I wish her majesty well – she has been a constant and steady influence for the lifetimes of most persons alive today. However, I am sure that your thoughts are more accurate and current.

    Also, from today’s DOT, there were several notable comments, my favorite being “disingenuously hypocritical fuckwits”. Honest to goodness, that is a phrase with many direct applications.

    • …yeah…I was making light of this the other day…but in all honesty they are doing their best impression of vultures circling so that might be a real possibility this time

    • Mrs. Butcher has contended for years that Liz was staying alive as long as she could to shorten Charles’ reign as much as possible.  She’s even floated the idea that somehow the crown would skip right over Charles to land on Willie’s head, which is something I find…unlikely.

      • …there’s a good slice of folks in the UK who think they’d be well advised to skip over charles…some of them just because he’s married to a divorced lady these days…but some with better reasons…so it’s not impossible?

        • I’m sure the Royal Family would be much opposed to this but they could amend the Succession Act. They just did quite recently; now when a Monarch dies the oldest takes over, not just the oldest male. They could make something up, like mandate a retirement age, Britain has those, and then if they like the Monarch they’ve got they could just repeal it.

          It would certainly change the spirit and character of the Monarchy but the institution has gone through worse. I believe it was QEII who had to allow three of her four children to divorce, which she did, and it was certainly she who allowed Charles to marry divorcée Camilla, a courtesy she did not extend to her own sister. But times change and monarchs are living very, very long lives. Queen Victoria, who’s commonly remembered for ruling during the entire 19th century (she didn’t) was only (“only”) 81 when she died. The Queen is 96. Her mother lived to be 101.

          Speaking of that centenarian, a mandatory retirement age and a happy post-career enjoying the wide affection of the public, like the Queen Mother did, might not be the worst thing.

          • @matthewcrawley I’m going to watch nothing but baseball for the next month because of the Queen dying. I’m also going to avoid EVERYTHING I possibly can about it whilst reading the news all day every day.


            that doesn’t mean I – or the rest of DS – don’t want you to write a post about it….it also doesn’t mean we don’t expect you to.

  5. Idaho high school senior Shiva Rajbhandari won a local school board election. He beat the incumbent who refused to reject the endorsement of a radical right wing organization.


    I think there are a lot of people who want more of these challenges, and I think Biden’s direct attacks on Trump are aimed at rallying people who are sick of the radical right. And I also think the DC press shows its ideological capture and general isolation from reality by swallowing the right wing elite’s PR and focusing on how this might be a problem for Biden instead of what it means for the GOP.

  6. Unfortunately I am late to the party and can’t check comment section right now, sorry if this has been discussed….


    “some days I kinda wanna go to bat for my personal definition of the term offensive”


    My mother is grossly offended of my swearing but cares nothing of the fucked up shit that goes on daily.

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