…incidental expenses [DOT 26/2/21]

costs to count...

…so…where were we

…oh, yeah…trying not to drag things out to the point that nobody has time to get through them before the next lot of things are due



…why does that sound familiar?

Neera Tanden committee votes delayed as alternatives to lead White House budget office surface [WaPo]

Can you believe that Neera Tanden called Hillary Clinton the “anti-Christ” and the “real enemy”?

Oh, wait. It was Ryan Zinke who said those things. Fifty-one Republican senators (and several Democrats, including Joe Manchin III of West Virginia) confirmed him as secretary of the interior in 2017.

And how about the times Tanden allegedly called the NAACP a “pinko organization” that “hates white people” and used racial epithets?

My bad. That was Jeff Sessions. Again, 51 Republican senators (and one Democrat, Manchin) voted to confirm him as attorney general in 2017.

Surely Tanden went beyond the pale when she “liked” a tweet calling then-Secretary of State John F. Kerry a “traitor” and “Vietnam’s worst export,” and when she suggested Clinton supporters leave the country.

Except Mike Pompeo was the one who did those things. He won confirmation as secretary of state in 2018 with the votes of 50 Republicans and six Democrats, including Manchin.

But, really, the most appalling thing Tanden said was that Muslims have a “deficient theology” and they “stand condemned.”

Whoops. That wasn’t Tanden but Russell Vought. Just last year, 51 Republicans voted to confirm him as director of the Office of Management and Budget — the same position Tanden is up for now.





Rightwing group nearly forced Wisconsin to purge thousands of eligible voters [Guardian]

…hypocrisy, thy name is republican


…or something


…worth looking at that thread…sure seems to suggest there might be dots to connect between the GOP, them as funds them & those that stormed the capitol on jan 6th…to probably the surprise of nobody

…it’s almost like there’s some sort of pattern


…support a cause


…claim to be appalled about the consequences


…invoke bipartisanship

If 70 percent of Americans support a policy, including most Republicans, it is bipartisan — regardless of what some senators think about it.

Mitch McConnell Doesn’t Get to Define ‘Bipartisan’ [NYT]


…blame anyone but themselves

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has subpoenaed financial records related to Steve Bannon’s crowd-funding border-wall effort, signaling that its criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s chief strategist is advancing, according to people familiar with the matter.



Rebekah Mercer, the 47-year-old daughter of major Republican donor Robert Mercer, is a founding investor of Parler. She increasingly pulls the strings at the company, according to people familiar with the company who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private business matters. She holds the majority stake in Parler and controlled two of three board seats as of early February — a board to which she recently appointed allies.
Now Mercer, who is credited with helping get Donald Trump elected president in 2016, is working to revive the site. It came back online last week with her new handpicked CEO, former Tea Party Patriots leader, Mark Meckler, at the helm. It’s the latest in a long line of maneuvers by the Mercer family to create an alternative media industry that pushes a version of the news that fits with their right-wing, populist political agenda — while keeping a low profile themselves.
Mercer has worked with her father for years to fund and support a complicated web of foundations and companies designed in part to sow distrust of big government. The Mercers invested in data company Cambridge Analytica, the firm that spurred a long-running scandal over misuse of Facebook data. They also invested heavily in right-wing site Breitbart News and were instrumental in connecting its then executive chairman, Stephen K. Bannon, with Trump, whom he served as a senior adviser until mid-2017.
Observers of the Mercer family say her interest in Parler coincides with the family’s efforts to erect an alternative media system that aligns with their political views.

“She wants to influence the public narrative,” said Mobashra Tazamal, a senior research fellow at the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University, who has studied the Mercers for years. “She doesn’t just give money, she is involved in every entity she invests in.”

Mercer and her father have heavily invested money in populist and conservative media efforts, such as the Media Research Center, which works on “neutralizing leftist bias in the news media and popular culture,” according to its website, and the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative think tank co-founded by Bannon.


[https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/mercer-bannon/ – in case anyone needs a reminder]



Opinion: Stephen Miller is running a shadow war against Biden. It’s based on deceptions. [WaPo]

‘The base is solidly behind him’: Trumpism expected to thrive at CPAC [Guardian]



At conservative gathering, ideas fall to an airing of Trump grievances [WaPo]

…right up to the part where they take things too far


…if you think you hit a deer but somehow the dead man’s glasses…that he wore on his face…wind up in your car…that’s what you might call a credibility gap

State officials released videos that show investigators confronting the attorney general, Jason Ravnsborg, with descriptions of his car hitting a man: “His face came through your windshield.”

South Dakota Attorney General Faces Impeachment and Calls to Resign Over Crash [NYT]

…before expecting the courts to somehow make it ok that they did


The Supreme Court Is Not Finished With Elections [NYT]


…so do we really need another news service designed to pander to them?

Al Jazeera’s surprise decision to launch a digital platform for conservatives in the US has left many within the Qatar-based news organisation dumbfounded and confused, staff have told the Guardian.

The network has announced the launch of Rightly, a platform that will host programmes and produce online content aimed at “audiences currently underrepresented in today’s media environment”, in this case right-of-centre Americans.

It will be overseen by Scott Norvell, part of the founding team of Fox News, who said in a press release that Rightly aimed to show the wide spectrum of the American right.


…or is that literally the only route to a place to say things they might actually deign to listen to?

More than 90% of the people charged in the riots so far are white, researchers at the Chicago Project on Security and Threats found. About 40% are business owners or have white collar jobs, the researchers found, and compared with previous rightwing extremists, relatively few of them were unemployed.

“There’s been this assumption that the most reactionary folks on the frontlines would be what’s often referred to as white working-class, but that’s of course not what we saw,” said Vanessa Wills, a political philosopher who studies the intersections of race and class. “The people who showed up are disproportionately small business owners.”

The people charged in the attack so far also did not come exclusively from Republican states or conservative enclaves. In fact, a majority lived in counties that Biden won, like Beverly Hills, nestled next to Hollywood in liberal Los Angeles county.


…because it’s hard not to feel like the rest of us have been repeating ourselves


…but it doesn’t seem to have the effect you might hope it would

At postal hearing, Rep. Connolly says he ‘will not be lectured’ by election deniers [WaPo]

In non-pandemic times, Nakhasi barely used social media. Now, he’s the co-founder of #ThisIsOurShot, a digital campaign to promote positive messaging about the coronavirus vaccines through a network of more than 25,000 health-care workers. He also checks Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn multiple times a day — scrolling through feeds in the morning as he’s scarfing down a bowl of cereal and waiting for his coffee to brew, taking a quick glance on his way to the bathroom at work and signing on again in the evenings at home. These days, he can hardly find time to make himself dinner, instead subsisting on a rotation of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Chipotle and Subway.



…even when it’s something we mostly knew to begin with

The Biden administration will release an intelligence report Thursday that concludes that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, three U.S. officials familiar with the matter said.


…or at least should have



Pentagon report reveals disturbing details about White supremacists in the ranks [CNN]


…or, hell…shit we’re running out of time to listen to




After an 18-month court battle, prosecutors in Manhattan investigating possible bank and tax fraud have seized former President Donald J. Trump’s tax records.

Manhattan D.A. Now Has Trump’s Tax Returns [NYT]




Some of Trump’s businesses are in crisis, facing sharp drops in revenue and an exodus of clients, lenders, lawyers and business partners. Now, sharks are circling.

The Washington Post spoke with four investors who said they are exploring efforts to buy Trump’s properties or the loans he has taken out on them. They believe Trump has fatally wounded his brand — a view shared by some independent analysts — and they are hoping he will cut his losses by selling them luxe properties for cheap.

“The first thing you do is you take the Trump name off them — which, by the way, could be a multiple-week effort, because it’s on everything,” said one of the four, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no offer has been made yet. “Once it’s gone, it’s a competitive asset.”
From the outside, it is impossible to get a full picture of the Trump Organization’s financial health. The company is private. It releases no details about its overall profits, losses or cash reserves.
But the data that is available shows that the Trump Organization is diminished — having lost revenue and properties since Trump entered politics.
Industry analysts sum it up this way: Trump has a brand, and he has a business. But now, they are aimed at entirely different sets of people.


…sort of like the difference between state & federal legislatures, ine might say

This week, Illinois became the first state to eliminate its cash bail system, and Virginia became the first Southern state to abolish the death penalty. These developments illustrate that many of the most impactful criminal justice reforms can and must be enacted by states, not by the federal government.

Criminal Justice Is a State Issue [NYT]

…so it’s hard to not get annoyed when the dems seem to lose steam just as they might have been onto a popular idea with some actual merit


…even if it turns out that ultimately so much still comes down to its chances of getting through the damn senate…& increasingly it seems like claiming they control that is…less than entirely accurate





…but sometimes we don’t get the details right even when the story is a big deal


After the Civil War, Henrietta Wood made history by pursuing an audacious lawsuit against the man who’d kidnapped her back into slavery. Yet the story was lost to her own family.


…but at least we can be clear about one thing…fridays are a good thing



  1. OK, I’m strapped in and will, as always, read every word of your post. But I have to pause here. What prompted this? Is it reasonable for OMB candidates to be asked to engage in a little comparative theology thought exercise?
    But, really, the most appalling thing Tanden said was that Muslims have a “deficient theology” and they “stand condemned.”
    Whoops. That wasn’t Tanden but Russell Vought. Just last year, 51 Republicans voted to confirm him as director of the Office of Management and Budget — the same position Tanden is up for now.
    I have no doubt that the Biden presidency will throw up its own share of nutters. I personally think Neera “Hillary Clinton is my God; I shall have no false gods before me” Tanden is one of them. But it seems like the entire Trump administration was an elaborate scheme to give employment to fringiest among us. Did no one ever have a “Don’t know/Not sure” response to any issue? Did anyone ever think to hold their tongue? 
    How I yearn for the simpler days of The War on Terror/Gulf War II/George & Dick’s Excellent Adventure. Ladies and gentlemen, John Ashcroft, Bush the Younger’s Attorney General during the height of the hysteria, singing his #1 smash hit:


    • …at times I’ve wondered if it would be worth it for biden et al to put up a few candidates they know won’t make it through confirmation just to make the subsequent pick seem easier to swallow by comparison

      …the voters the GOP is grandstanding for don’t actually have any interest in the underlying substance of the thing so if you sacrifice an unrealistic pick to give them a “win” maybe they’d bank that & assume their voters wouldn’t notice that the one they confirmed was still the sort of competent that’s anathema to them

      …but the flip side is that it’s the performative nature of their politics that demands they obstruct any & every thing/person/policy/bill that the dems propose…so I don’t know as that would actually work

      …the extent to which the hypocrisy is not only overt but practically emphasized in damn near everything they say & do is so much the very definition of the whole “a feature not a bug” thing at this point that it quite literally beggars belief

      …they delight in proving over & over again that by paying disingenuous lip-service to the principles of the democracy they claim to partake in they can force it to operate in an entirely undemocratic way…& that the dems won’t stop them lest the means by which they do so be turned against them at the earliest opportunity…when it’s obvious they will be whether or not they actually do so

      …it’s exhausting…substantively there’s seldom any doubt that the GOP loses the debate in terms of substance…indeed they’re routinely shown to be so entirely full of shit that it isn’t even in any meaningful sense a debate…but functionally it’s consistently the case that the dems are left decrying the problem while once again sticking to the chorus of “we tried but you have to pick your battles & this one is past the point of diminishing returns” & assuming that their support will stick by them because the alternative is the antithesis of functional government

      …while the GOP does little but break shit, cut deals that see more money go to those with least need & deny help to those with the greatest…& all the while energize their supporters

      …so even before I watched that clip I was asking myself if I’d finally lost my mind or if it was reality that seems to be divorced from itself…& now I’m reminded that ship sailed a good while ago

      • That is precisely the theory about Neera Tanden. She’s the sacrificial lamb and THIS is actually 4th-dimensional chess, and it’s a theory I subscribe to. Throw her out there. Her ego is big enough that she is convinced she could do the job. She is a sop to the HRC wing of the party which, while atrophying but not nearly quickly enough to my tastes, is suspicious of all things Obama/Biden and their deep-rooted “misogyny.” Meanwhile with her as an almost Trump-like distraction other, more important posts can be filled. What does the head of the OMB do, anyway? They’re like the office manager for the most vast, most sprawling bureaucracy the world has ever known. It is their job to go to the boss (Biden, I guess) and get him to buy in on the needs for more pencils in the supply closet (multiply the cost by an almost unimaginable number) and go to home office (Congress) to approve the invoices. Whatever. My husband has an (earned) MBA from Wharton, not the bought-and-paid-for courtesy undergrad BA that Trump has from that fine institution, and he could run the OMB, I just know he could. He’s good with people, and yet the thought of “public service” fills him with almost existential dread. “Everything takes how long and you have to put up with what? And you actually have to live in Washington, it can’t be done out of New York where all the money is (or used to be)?”

        • That was my take too. Tanden is “Look, a squirrel!” to confuse and befuddle Republicans while other more important posts are filled. Plus denying her gives them a false sense of accomplishment and satisfaction — “See what we did, Mommy? Aren’t we big boys?”
          Your husband would be a fine choice to run OMB. As a Wharton alumnus, though, he should register his displeasure at the dilution of Wharton brand through those bullshit bought degrees awarded to clowns and grifters, particularly orange ones. I’ve run into them before in my career (Harvard pulls that shit too) when buffoons claim that a summer extension program makes them a “graduate” of a lofty institution. These institutions need to realize that those things hurt them much more than the relatively paltry sum of money they get helps them. 

          • Good old Neera is proving to be quite the distraction. Eric Swalwell (D-CA 15) recently condemned the hesitancy on the part of confirming Tanden, and said (tweeted no doubt) something along the lines of “I represent a district with one of the largest South Asian populations in the country. What will they think if Tanden is not confirmed?” The response is, “Well, we South Asian girls can grow up to be VP of the US but we can’t represent CA-15, it looks like, better it should elect an Iowa-born white male…”
            The right is not entirely humorless. Touché.

        • When I was in college, my favorite professor took students every other year to Egypt. And I wanted in! 

          But I knew my super republican parents would freak the fuck out about a 2 week chaperoned trip to Egypt (OMG all the Muslims).

          So I played the long game. There was a trip over the break in my senior year. So, I spent half my sophomore year talking about doing a study abroad trip to Mali (OMG rural Africa). And then I spent a large chunk of my junior year talking about studying abroad in Thailand (OMG what about the sex traffickers who would steal a white girl!). 

          And then I switched to “you know my favorite professor has been going to Egypt for 30 years and she knows people there and takes students every other year.” And goddamn if they didn’t eat that up with a spoon. Turned out great for me. Egypt was amazing. 

          • In retrospect I can’t believe what a charmed, albeit lower-middle-class, childhood I had. When I was in high school I was studying two foreign languages and a third as a sort of extra-curricular activity. I got wind of this non-profit program dedicated to fostering peace between the nations so I convinced my parents that it was a great honor to be considered for such a program (it was, in a way, you had to get a teacher teaching you one of these foreign languages to vouch for you) and my parents went along and somehow scraped up enough money to allow me to self-deport. I was 16. No internet, no real contact, nothing. It was a home-stay program, and it was organized, but we all left each other alone and I didn’t see or hear from my family for three solid months.
            Then, I got to university. Though my concentration wasn’t languages, I was bored and restless and decided to do a Junior Year Abroad in another foreign language. The university very self-interestedly made you jump through all kinds of bureaucratic hoops just to get into one of the programs they sponsored, incredibly expensive, and worthless, essentially a multi-week vacation in a desirable foreign locale. I did a little research and found a rigorous program willing to take me at about 10% of what I was paying at my home university (and I was on a very generous scholarship) because universities were free in Europe when I went and very welcoming to Americans. Living through the Cold War had its benefits! When I told some functionary about my plans, they threw up roadblock after roadblock, so I called my mother, my hopes dashed. She was a widow at this point. “Here’s what you do. Tell them you’re going and they have two options. They let you go for a year and accept your credits. Or, they don’t let you go, and you tell them, ‘Well, I formally withdraw, and you’ll never see me again.'” That’s what I did. “The university has been very generous to you, and—” “Uh huh.” “You’re putting all this jeopardy. Your parents—” “Call them. One parent. My father’s dead, thanks for keeping up.” “We can’t do that, you’re over 18.” So I called my mother and she said, “Oh I’ll call them!” And so she did. And I lingered on that abroad program for 18 months, with the connivance of my European host university, and returned with nothing but contempt for my home university, from which I graduated but much lower in my class than I should have been, because the credits—who can remember, it was academic shenanigans, and after about a year of graduation no one gives a flying fuck about GPAs or class rank, they just want to know if you got the diploma and can prove it. 
            My mother is also now dead but I think of my parents often. If I were offered the chance to go to Egypt they would have been intrigued and certainly wouldn’t have stopped me. I’m sure my mother would have said something like, “Omar Sharif is Egyptian. And Liz Taylor was so beautiful in ‘Cleopatra.’ I wonder if people do ride camels everywhere? Well, in any event, send a post card or two if they have them.”

  2. Made a little more headway. I never realized Rebekah Mercer is only 47. I know she’s part of the Mercer family, but I thought she was like a 70-something sibling, like the four Wal-Mart Waltons. You learn something new every day.

  3. The South Dakota AG case highlights something I say a lot: We need to normalize resigning in shame in this country.

    As for Ms. Tanden, leaving aside the hypocritical hilarity of GOP pearl-clutchers suddenly reading Twitter closely after 5 years of “No, I didn’t see it” … I’m pretty OK with telling shitposters to go F themselves when it comes to government jobs. She’s an odd choice with a lot of unnecessary baggage, and if that’s the hill the GOP wants to die on congratulating itself for its obstreperous behavior, cool?

    Lastly, this is why Democrats lose: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/540640-biden-disappointed-in-senate-parliamentarian-ruling-but-respects

  4. Yeah. It’s time to say fuck the filibuster and get shit done. Pass your voting rights act and let demographics keep Republicans out forever. If everybody gets to vote, that problem will be solved

  5. Headache update: yesterday sucked but I got thru it without going to the ER (though i was sorely tempted). I have today off so I just get to relax. I think I’m on the upswing. Just a little stiff and sore.

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