…not enough [DOT 14/9/21]

coffee...logic...sense...sanity...you pays your money & you takes your choice, I guess...

…maybe if I could somehow consume more coffee than seems plausible I’d be able to make sense of it all…but today doesn’t seem like it’s that sort of day…so this may seem more confused than usual…then again…it might not be me that’s confused

Senior House Democrats on Monday unveiled legislation that would represent the most significant tax increases on the rich and certain corporations in decades, reflecting President Biden’s pledge to confront a dramatic surge in U.S. inequality.
But economists and tax experts say the proposal — which has White House support — amounts to the first major effort in Congress to address the populist political fervor over the gap between America’s ultrarich and its middle-class that has widened to levels unseen in nearly a century. The fears of a tax system unduly weighted to the rich have only intensified during the pandemic. Since 2019 alone, the wealth controlled by the top 400 people in America increased by $1.4 trillion, according to Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley.
Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper on Monday suggested that Neal’s tax plan would raise roughly $2.2 trillion over 10 years, but Democrats say their $3.5 trillion spending package is fully offset. They argue that they recoup more savings by cutting costs on prescription drugs and from “dynamic scoring,” or assuming higher economic growth leads to more government tax revenue.
But Jeffrey Sachs, a liberal economist and special adviser to the United Nations on economic issues, said Neal’s plan would take only a small part of the huge gains made by the richest Americans in recent decades. Neal’s plan would raise revenue from a variety of sources, including by increasing tax enforcement, by roughly $260 billion per year. By contrast, Sachs said, the richest 1 percent currently receive roughly $4 trillion per year — and roughly $2 trillion more per year than they would have had their share of national income remained flat since the 1980s.


The proposal, which is set to be considered by the panel on Wednesday, does include measures to raise taxes on the rich. Taxable income over $450,000 — or $400,000 for unmarried individuals — would be taxed at 39.6 percent, the top rate before President Donald J. Trump’s 2017 tax cut brought it to 37 percent. The top capital gains rate would rise from 20 percent to 25 percent, a considerably smaller jump than President Biden proposed.

A 3-percent surtax would be applied to incomes over $5,000,000.

But more notable is what is not included. The richest of the rich earn little money from actual paychecks (Mr. Bezos’s salary from Amazon was $81,840 in 2020). Their vast fortunes in stocks, bonds, real estate and other assets grow each year largely untaxed.

The Senate Finance Committee wants to tax that wealth with a one-time surtax imposed on billionaires’ fortunes, followed by levies annually on the gains in value of billionaire assets, the way property taxes are adjusted each year to reflect gains in housing values. The Ways and Means Committee shrugged that off.

Courting moderates, House Democrats stop short of proposing the most aggressive plans to tax the rich. [NYT]

The House bill proposes tax increases on wealthy corporations as well as individuals. But elements of the proposal are markedly different from what Mr. Biden initially proposed and what Senate Democrats have floated.

Moderate and conservative Democrats have balked at the $3.5 trillion price tag and certain proposed revenue provisions, even as their liberal counterparts warn that they have already compromised on the package’s scope.
The House plan is less aggressive than those of the White House and the Senate […] including when it comes to taxing inheritances. Some top Senate Democrats want to tax inherited assets based on the gain in value from when those assets were initially acquired, rather than what they are worth at the time of death. Moderate Democrats have complained that would unfairly affect smaller family farms and businesses, and the House bill does not include such a plan.
Mr. Biden has suggested raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, a significant increase from its current level of 21 percent but still lower than the 35 percent rate that was in effect before the 2017 tax cuts. House Democrats instead proposed a graduated rate structure, with an increase to 26.5 percent for companies with taxable income of more than $5 million.
The Biden administration has led a global effort to crack down on profit shifting by companies that locate their headquarters in countries with low rates to reduce their tax bills. The measure unveiled by House Democrats on Monday waters down some of what the White House has been pushing for, including the rate that companies would pay on their overseas profits.
The House proposal also offers more generous exclusions than what the White House envisioned. Companies could exclude 5 percent of their foreign tangible assets, such as property and equipment, from the minimum tax. While that is less than the current 10 percent, the Biden administration wanted to cut that benefit entirely.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a fiscal watchdog, called the Ways and Means Committee international tax proposal “less aggressive” than what the White House proposed and projected it would raise about $360 billion in revenue compared with the $1 trillion that the White House plan would raise.

How House Democrats Plan to Raise $2.9 Trillion for a Safety Net [NYT]

…tax stuff being confusing is probably one of those things they say is a feature not a bug…but I confess I struggle to understand how it is that people can argue with a straight face that returning to a level of taxation that was previously the case (i.e. before “the former guy” cut the rates for the richer among us) is somehow insupportable…particularly when the people theoretically shouldering that burden are the sort of people who spend more on accountants in a year than some families live on…the suggestion that they can’t afford to pay more tax is laughable on its face

Many of the spending items in the reconciliation bill Democrats are negotiating could be described as transformative. If we had universal pre-K, free community college, paid family leave and enhanced Medicare benefits, millions of lives would be changed for the better.

But there’s nothing radical about the tax changes Democrats are proposing to pay for these items. Yet Republicans — and even a few Democrats — are acting as though the bill represents some kind of terrifying tax apocalypse.

It’s nonsense.
Democrats appear to fear the talking point that such taxes would devastate the owners and operators of farms passed down from one generation to the next.

But, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide, the current negotiations had already carved out an exemption for family-owned farms that would only tax gains valued from $25 million and up. It’s hard to see how that exemption would permit for the existence of any actual sob stories about family farms.

If this provision does die, untold gobs of wealth could escape taxation permanently. Yet this flows directly from the idea that there’s something somehow radical about Biden’s tax plans.

Indeed, when you get beyond the scary sound of “trillions of dollars in new taxes,” it isn’t actually all that much.

That’s on the macro level. Looking at individuals, you have to ask: Who will have their lives upended by these measures? Billionaire investors? Wealthy tax cheats? Corporations that might find it a little harder to move money around to foreign subsidiaries?
Yet many changes Democrats want to make are simply reversing provisions of the Republicans’ 2017 tax cut (and in some cases only partially). Paying taxes something like five years ago can’t be that radical a change.
The bigger picture is that the 2017 tax cut was the capstone of a period of relentless tax-cutting for the wealthy and corporations dating back to the 1980s. In 1980, the top marginal income tax rate was 70 percent, about twice what it is now, and if anything, the rich spent less time whining about how oppressed they were by taxes than they do today.


…but here we are

The prospect of a $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending bill has sparked a lobbying frenzy in Congress, as lawmakers zero in this week on a measure that could reshape the nation’s energy system.
Unlike the usual lobbying drive on high-profile bills, this campaign has been swift, reflecting the political urgency of Democrats’ efforts to advance long-stalled policy priorities and vast swaths of Biden’s broader economic agenda. Using a budget process known as reconciliation, they hope to pass the mammoth package with only Democratic votes as soon as this month, along with another, nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The budget bill’s most ambitious climate spending plans still face major hurdles within the president’s own party, including from Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), a pivotal vote from a state with a flagging coal industry. This month, Manchin said he would not support a $3.5 trillion spending bill, and he has privately signaled to his Democratic peers that he may support only half as much in spending and tax increases.
The centrist Democrat’s approach has left some of his liberal colleagues seething. In an interview this month, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) blasted Manchin as “somebody who takes a lot of corporate money, takes money from Big Oil” and called on him to focus on “what does our economy need.”



A political standoff over raising the debt ceiling — again — hangs over an increasingly cloudy market outlook, prompting economists to warn that taxpayers could be the ones to pay the price for politicians’ intransigence.
Playing chicken with U.S. sovereign debt could incur staggering costs, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

“Treasury yields are the so-called risk-free interest rates for a reason… If there’s any sense that the Treasury won’t pay on time, it shakes the confidence of global investors. Interest rates are going to spike, the stock market is going to plunge,” he said, adding that future generations of Americans would ultimately bear the cost. “The problem is, forevermore, investors are going to demand a higher interest rate, so it’s going to cost us enormously,” he said.
With about a month to go before the Treasury’s stopgap measures stop working, Wall Street is still behaving as if it expects the stalemate to be resolved without incident. “You don’t have any choice but to raise the debt ceiling so you can continue to run the country,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments.
“Every time the debt ceiling comes up, it’s an exercise in political jostling,” said Peter Essele, head of portfolio management for Commonwealth Financial Network.

Despite the saber rattling, Essele argued that politicians in both parties have too much to lose to play chicken with the nation’s credit rating. “It’s essentially a self-inflicted wound in the middle of a pandemic. During a period when we’re seeing slowing growth and above-average inflation, it would be political suicide for both parties,” he said. “There’s certainly a situation where they could put us on the verge, but ultimately, it’s in the best interests of politicians to have something worked out.”
“Treasuries are the bedrock of the entire financial system. If there’s any major disruption to the risk-free rate, the whole house of cards would basically collapse at that point,” Essele said. “The aftermath of that would basically be scorched earth in Washington.”


…still…it makes more sense to me than trying to resurrect woolly mammoths?

A team of scientists and entrepreneurs announced on Monday that they have started a new company to genetically resurrect the woolly mammoth.
Other researchers are deeply skeptical that Colossal will pull off such a feat. And if Colossal does manage to produce baby mammoth-like elephants, the company will face serious ethical questions. Is it humane to produce an animal whose biology we know so little about? Who gets to decide whether they can be set loose, potentially to change the ecosystems of tundras in profound ways?
Dr. Church, who is best known for inventing ways of reading and editing DNA, wondered if he could effectively revive an extinct species by rewriting the genes of a living relative. Because Asian elephants and mammoths share a common ancestor that lived about six million years ago, Dr. Church thought it might be possible to modify the genome of an elephant to produce something that would look and act like a mammoth.
Dr. Church’s proposal attracted a lot of attention from the press but little funding beyond $100,000 from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Dr. Church’s lab piggybacked mammoth research on to other, better-funded experiments. “This set of tools can be used for many purposes, whether it’s de-extinction or recoding the human genome,” Dr. Hysolli said.
The scientists will try to make an elephant embryo with its genome modified to resemble an ancient mammoth. To do this, the scientists will need to remove DNA from an elephant egg and replace it with the mammoth-like DNA.

But no one has ever harvested eggs from an elephant. In case it doesn’t work, Dr. Hysolli and her colleagues will also investigate turning ordinary elephant tissue into stem cells, which could possibly then be coaxed to develop into embryos in the lab.

Initially, Dr. Church envisioned implanting embryos into surrogate female elephants. But he eventually soured on the idea. Even if he could figure out in vitro fertilization for elephants — which no one has done before — building a herd would be impractical, since he would need so many surrogates.

A New Company With a Wild Mission: Bring Back the Woolly Mammoth [NYT]

…sure…in some cases seemingly contradictory things can in fact be indications of the same issue

For centuries, spring-run Chinook salmon, among California’s most iconic fish, would rest for weeks in these historically cold waters after their brutal upstream journey. Then they would lay eggs and, finally, perish to complete one of nature’s most improbable life cycles.

No longer. What once was a place where life began is now one of untimely death.

The creek is simply too warm, an astounding 10 degrees warmer than average in some parts of these spawning grounds. It is the result of the creek’s low flow, which speeds up the spread of disease as the water stagnates, and of the Central Valley’s high heat in the depths of drought.
The drought is enveloping much of the American West, where many places recorded their hottest July in history last month. The parched-brown landscape has become more normal than aberration in California, where the increasingly rapid shifts from cool to hot, wet to dry, are driving historically huge wildfires, deadly mudslides and new demands on water supplies.


As global temperatures rise, researchers have been investigating how a warmer climate will affect flooding patterns. Although precipitation events have undoubtedly increased in frequency and intensity, researchers have been unable to clearly discern how flooding will change — until now.

New research by Brunner and her colleagues shows the occurrence and intensity of extreme flood events will increase, but smaller and more moderate floods will probably decline.


Last month, for the first time in recorded history, rain fell on the highest point of the Greenland ice sheet. It hardly made the news. But rain in a place historically defined by bitter cold portends a future that will alter coastlines around the world, and drown entire cities.
A consortium of climate scientists writing two years ago in Nature, a prestigious scientific journal, concluded that if Greenland continues to melt, in one bad-case scenario after another, tens of millions of people could be in danger of yearly flooding and displacement by 2030 – less than nine years from now.

Rain fell on Greenland’s ice sheet for the first time ever known. Alarms should ring [Guardian]

…so…perhaps we’d be better off paying attention to things that aren’t yet extinct?

Mississippi’s arguments, the brief said, amounted to “a request that the court scuttle a half-century of precedent and invite states to ban abortion entirely.”
Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the providers, said the Mississippi case had the potential to do away with the right to abortion in much of the nation.

“Right now,” she said, “Texas has managed to ban abortion even as Roe stands, and other states have said they will follow in its footsteps. While Texas is circumventing Roe and the Constitution, Mississippi is openly asking the court to overturn Roe. If the court grants Mississippi’s request to overturn Roe, large swaths of the South and Midwest — where abortion is already hard to access — will eliminate abortion completely.”
The court has not yet scheduled the argument in the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392, though sometime in December would seem to be a good bet.
In the brief filed on Monday, the Mississippi abortion providers suggested that the change in the state’s approach represented a bait-and-switch tactic that could warrant dismissal of the case.

The precise question the justices agreed to decide was “whether all previability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” Depending on how the court answers that question, it could reaffirm, revise or do away with the longstanding constitutional framework for abortion rights.

The providers devoted much of their brief to a defense of viability as a principled and workable dividing line between when states can ban abortions and when they cannot.
Mississippi has not come forward with a good alternative to viability, the providers wrote. “A party asking this court to take the grave step of overruling a rule of law — one that has been repeatedly reaffirmed — should at least propose and seriously develop an alternative legal framework,” the brief said.

Supreme Court Urged to Reject Mississippi’s Attack on Roe v. Wade [NYT]

They said in their brief that Mississippi’s request that the court overturn its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade was based on the state’s hope that a “changed composition” of the court would reject years of legal precedent.

To do so, said lawyers for the state’s only abortion clinic and a doctor, would be to “abandon a rule of law that this Court has said uniquely implicates the country’s ‘confidence in the Judiciary.’ ” The quoted statement is from the court’s 1992 decision in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, in which the court upheld the essential holding of Roe and said states may not impose an undue burden on a woman’s right to the procedure.

The court’s review of the Mississippi law, which prohibits almost all abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, has taken on even more significance since the Supreme Court earlier this month let a more restrictive Texas law go into effect.

The court said it was not ruling on the constitutionality of that law, which authorizes private citizens to sue those who aid or abet an abortion after six weeks, only whether challengers had made a proper showing it should be stopped before taking effect.


…but then “the court” has taken to saying a bunch of shit of late…& I use that term advisedly

Two Supreme Court justices are attempting to convince the public that the divides on the court are a result of differing judicial philosophies, not partisan motivations.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, making her most visible public remarks since being confirmed to the court last year, told a Kentucky crowd Sunday that the justices do not take partisan outcomes into account when deciding cases.

But the setting for Barrett’s remarks prompted immediate blowback on social media: She was talking to guests at an event marking the 30th anniversary of the opening of the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville.

It is named for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who as Senate majority leader was instrumental in Barrett’s nearly party-line confirmation vote after President Donald Trump nominated her to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last September.
The pushback was swift. “If Justice Barrett wants the Supreme Court not to be seen as partisan, she should avoid being hosted by a center named after the most partisan person in America,” said Gabe Roth, leader of a Supreme Court reform group called Fix the Court.


Justices must be “hyper vigilant to make sure they’re not letting personal biases creep into their decisions, since judges are people, too,” Barrett said
“To say the court’s reasoning is flawed is different from saying the court is acting in a partisan manner,” said Barrett, whose confirmation to the seat left open by the death of the liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cemented conservative control of the court. “I think we need to evaluate what the court is doing on its own terms.”
“I have an important job, but I certainly am no more important than anyone else in the grocery store checkout line,” Barrett said, describing how her relationship with her children — who are not “particularly impressed” with her high-profile post — helps her stay grounded in her “regular life” where she is busy “running carpools, throwing birthday parties, being ordered around.”


“My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” the newest Supreme Court justice, Amy Coney Barrett, said Sunday. Good luck with that. When the court’s hard-right majority stops acting like partisan hacks, maybe we’ll believe her.
“Judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties,” Barrett claimed in her speech. And it is true that the conservative justices (all appointed by Republicans) and the liberal justices (all appointed by Democrats) reach consensus or cross party lines on many decisions. But on the issues most associated with partisan politics — such as abortion, gun control, affirmative action and voting rights — philosophy and party affiliation function in lockstep on the high court, with Roberts sometimes straying from GOP orthodoxy.
But Barrett is being disingenuous. The Supreme Court’s rulings are not theoretical exercises in abstract legal reasoning. They have real-world results. In Texas, the second-most-populous state in the nation, many reproductive health clinics have stopped offering abortion services because they and their workers could face a ruinous avalanche of civil lawsuits brought by state- and self-appointed antiabortion vigilantes. Roe v. Wade is still on the books. But in Texas it no longer functionally applies.
The conservative Federalist Society, which has become a crucial gatekeeper on the right and vetted a list of acceptable Supreme Court candidates for Trump to choose from, did its job well. The result is a solid five-vote and sometimes six-vote majority that opposes abortion, supports gun rights, questions affirmative action, doubts existing federal protection of voting rights, doesn’t see the influence of big money in politics as a problem… in short, a majority that agrees with the Republican Party’s position on issues the party most cares about.


…not unlike that old saw about how “if you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear”

Apple on Monday advised all users to update their devices after researchers warned that the Israeli spyware company NSO Group had developed a way to take control over nearly any Apple computer, watch or iPhone.
While Pegasus isn’t known for surveilling large numbers of people, governments often use it to target individuals who don’t appear to be violent criminals, said Bill Marczak, a Citizen Lab senior research fellow. Citizen Lab was only able to identify this exploit because it was examining the phone of a Saudi dissident who so far has not given permission to share his name with the public, he said.


Spyware researchers have captured what they say is a new exploit from NSO Group’s Pegasus surveillance tool targeting iPhones and other Apple devices through iMessage, in yet another sign that chat apps have become a popular way to hack into the devices of political dissidents and human rights activists.
This is the first time since 2019 that the malicious code used in a Pegasus hack has been discovered by researchers. It offers new insights into the techniques of the company, highlighted in July by the Pegasus Project, a multipart global investigation by The Washington Post and 16 other news organizations.

The researchers declined to name the Saudi activist who was targeted, at the person’s request. They also did not reveal which NSO governmental client they believe deployed Pegasus against this person. They did say that the hacking technique used, which they called FORCEDENTRY, has been active since at least February and can invade Apple iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches secretly in what is called a “zero-click attack” — something of a specialty for NSO, which is based in Israel.

The “zero click” capability of Pegasus allows the spyware to install itself on a phone without the owner doing anything, such as clicking a link. The spyware can then turn the phone into a spy device, recording from its cameras and microphones and sending location data, messages, call logs and emails back to NSO’s client.
NSO Group says it licenses its Pegasus spyware tool to dozens of government agencies and police forces around the world to investigate major crimes. But the Pegasus Project investigation and earlier reports by Citizen Lab and Amnesty International found that the tool had also been used to target political dissidents, business leaders, journalists and human rights activists.


Apple issued emergency software updates for a critical vulnerability in its products on Monday after security researchers uncovered a flaw that allows highly invasive spyware from Israel’s NSO Group to infect anyone’s iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac computer without so much as a click.
Using the zero-click infection method, Pegasus can turn on a user’s camera and microphone, record messages, texts, emails, calls — even those sent via encrypted messaging and phone apps like Signal — and send them back to NSO’s clients at governments around the world.
The discovery means that more than 1.65 billion Apple products in use worldwide have been vulnerable to NSO’s spyware since at least March. It signals a serious escalation in the cybersecurity arms race, with governments willing to pay whatever it takes to spy on digital communications en masse, and with tech companies, human rights activists and others racing to uncover and fix the latest vulnerabilities that enable such surveillance.
NSO has long drawn controversy. The company has said that it sells its spyware only to governments that meet strict human rights standards and that it expressly requires customers to agree to use its spyware only to track terrorists or criminals.

But over the past six years, NSO’s Pegasus spyware has turned up on the phones of activists, dissidents, lawyers, doctors, nutritionists and even children in countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico.

Starting in 2016, a series of New York Times investigations revealed the presence of NSO’s spyware on the iPhones of Emirati activists lobbying for expanded voting rights; Mexican nutritionists lobbying for a national soda tax; lawyers looking into the mass disappearance of 43 Mexican students; academics who helped write anti-corruption legislation; journalists in Mexico and England; and an American representing victims of sexual abuse by Mexico’s police.


…I know we live in a world of twisted logic…but getting killed for trying to give humanity a decent shot at not wiping itself out has to be up there in the higher reaches of “makes no fucking sense”

Each year, we learn more about the climate crisis. The data flows: ever-rising heat, unprecedented deforestation, record rainfall. And once a year, we also learn more about the human impact of the crisis too, as data is released on the killings of land and environmental activists, the very people highlighting and protesting at the breakdown of our climate. In 2020, that number rose to a record 227 killings worldwide.
And they are at risk, in the end, not so much because of another local person who pulls the trigger or plunges the blade; they’re at risk because they find themselves living on or near something that some corporation is demanding. Like Fikile Ntshangase, the South African grandmother who led a spirited campaign against a coalmine in KwaZulu-Natal province and was shot dead in her home last year. Or Óscar Eyraud Adams, the indigenous activist who, during Mexico’s worst drought in 30 years, vocally advocated for his community’s right to water, as the authorities denied them and granted corporations ever more permits. Oscar was shot dead in Tecate last September.

The demand for the highest possible profit, the quickest possible timeline, the cheapest possible operation, seems to translate eventually into the understanding, somewhere, that the troublemaker must go. The blame rarely if ever makes its way back up to a corporation’s HQ. But it should. Especially since the people who inhabit these places never really share in the riches produced there: colonialism is still running strong, even if it’s dressed up with corporate logos or hidden with offshore bank accounts.

Meanwhile, the rest of us need to realise that the people killed each year defending their local places are also defending our shared planet – in particular our climate. The activities that flood our atmosphere with carbon – fossil fuel extraction and deforestation – are at the heart of so many of these killings. When people stand up to block a pipeline, or an illegal mine, or a new plantation slated for an old forest, they are also standing in the way of the activities that threaten us all. They make life harder for the oil companies and the timber barons, and in so doing strive to safeguard all of us from incessant temperature increases.


…& while we’re corkscrewing round the tortured logic circuit…then there’s this shit

The plywood has returned. The fencing is coming back. Capitol Hill is hunkering down again.
How we’ve changed in 20 years.

Who are those fences keeping out now?

They’re for the folks who call themselves American patriots — the disgruntled, bitter, hateful splinters of a nation that has turned on itself and left it utterly, hopelessly divided.

“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,” President George W. Bush said in an extraordinary speech at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Saturday.

“But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols — they are children of the same foul spirit,” he said, “and it is our continuing duty to confront them.”

Capitol Hill is preparing for another demonstration against the law and order and democratic process the protesters profess to love. This Saturday’s gathering is to decry the arrests of more than 600 people who breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.


…so…how do you suppose a certain someone reacted to a speech given on the anniversary of that fateful day in 2001?

Former president Donald Trump lashed out Monday at former president George W. Bush, saying his fellow Republican had “a failed and uninspiring presidency” and shouldn’t be “lecturing” Americans about the threat posed by domestic terrorism.

Trump’s comments came two days after Bush, during remarks on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which occurred during his presidency, warned that there is growing evidence that domestic terrorism could pose as much of a threat to the United States as terrorism originating abroad.


…& what was that asshole doing that day?

…that’s right…him & jr were providing the commentary for a boxing match that was over almost as soon as it started on account of the fact that one of the participants had no business getting back in the ring…don’t actually watch that clip…it’s only there because on the face of it the whole thing sounds too ridiculous to be believed…which I guess is solidly on-brand?



  1. Because everyone is obsessed with the fall of Emperor Andreus Marcus Maximus, it is important to note that the Jeffrey Sachs quoted in the first item, from WaPo, is not the longtime friend-of-Handsy Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, with whom Handsy has been bunking. Jeff was a member of the wedding party when Handsy wed Kerry Kennedy, and when the two broke up, and it’s amazing there were no fatalities given that it was a Cuomo/Kennedy clash, Jeff let Handsy crash at his apartment “near the United Nations” (that means, the tony and insular Turtle Bay area.) Jeff is also the godfather to one of Handsy’s daughters.

    Now, Handsy is once again reunited with Jeff, at the latter’s Southampton home. 

    Sometimes modestly described as “a Long Island dentist,” and yet the possessor of an apartment in Turtle Bay and a Southampton retreat, he:

    Sachs was on Cuomo’s New York State Medicaid Redesign Team in 2011 and he runs the Sachs Policy Group, which advises health care leaders on the direction of health care policy, according to his bio

    He also served as senior health and human services advisor to Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

    As Hoboken’s favorite son once put it:

    • My mind kept doing front- and back-handsprings because I assumed it was some other Jeffrey Sachs being quoted, not the economist. 
      I’m taking it you’re aware of this snafu by the NY Post

      They’ve confused former longtime Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs with perennial Cuomo family pal Jeffrey Sachs, a dentist from Long Island who’s been involved in state government since Andrew became governor. He now has a firm called Sachs Policy Group

      Here’s some third-degree of connection goss on the economist: I’ll admit I am ashamed to have fallen under the spell of his 2005 book, The End of Poverty.* He was by then at the same place I was doing graduate studies, and he was quite the big name on campus. I went to an event hosted on campus in honour of this book’s release, saw him speak, and got the book signed. I even recommended one of my relatives go to an event where they were in grad school, because they were studying global health. Shortly afterward, my research advisor attended a faculty dinner and sat between him and another professor, who had recently become a Nobel laureate. She mentioned this to a group of us during a drinks do later and said “talk about the clash of egos”.  They were apparently at each other’s throats all evening and competing for the table’s attention. They barely acknowledged that she was sat between them in their tantrums. If you’ve ever seen him get testy and argue with someone on his cable appearances, you’ll get the idea. He and Niall Ferguson should just go ahead and either get married or pull each other’s hair out. 
      It was easy to let go of any admiration afterwards. Then I learned more about his actual work before he went on his “let’s end extreme poverty” kick… 
      *But then I read it after the signing and quite early on he says garment factories in places like Bangladesh are a necessary step on the economic ladder for countries in the global south. According to Sachs, you shouldn’t oppose this exploitative model that also creates harm up and down the supply chain and wreaks havoc on the environment. Rather, he writes, you should advocate for better working conditions in the factories, but he would still promote them as steps in the transition from developing economy to emerging market. I didn’t bother with the rest of the book.  

  2. Although, to give credit where credit is due (to be fair, in other words), the WaPo Jeffrey Sachs is a pretty unsavory character himself, and was instrumental in Russia’s conversion from a strange Communistic command autocracy economy of the Soviet Union to the modern and breathtaking kleptocracy it is today, through “shock therapy.” This is a long read, and we avoid meeting Sachs for a while, but eventually he shows up. Putin no doubt thinks of him often, and fondly:


  3. Amy Comey Barrett’s statements were programmed to test whether the press has gotten any more skeptical since the right wing tossed Roe v. Wade. They haven’t.
    ACB was voted in when the political press shrugged off McConnell’s full bore hypocrisy in filling RGB’s seat under the exact same “rule” that blocked Garland. She got a round of positive press when the right threw a couple of bones before gutting rhe Voting Rights Act.
    The latest stenography failing to note *where* she talked about nonpartisanship and who invited her shows the status quo holds. The press cares nothing about reality, just statements.
    The NY Times just ran an article credulously claiming the Supreme Court had its hands tied by the Texas anti-abortion law, and simply couldn’t do anything else.
    The reality was the law was written to give them an alibi, but had no actual power to usurp the US Supreme Court’s review. But why would Michael Schmidt care about reality? He had some conservative’s assurances, and that’s good enough for him and his editors.

    • …it’s possibly also motivated because I believe she’s up for ruling on a case that involves lockheed martin…which I think her father was vice president of for a decade or two?

      …either way she’s testing the waters…& not any more convincingly

      • Her dad was with Shell, which is facing a climate change case.
        I think her ideology is so slanted that even if he worked for a solar energy company that would make a mint if Shell went bankrupt, she’d still back Shell. It’s not really about the money for these people. She wouldn’t be a federal judge if it was, she’d be a corporate attorney. She’s there because she wants to do evil.

  4. Meanwhile, in Florida, where the Republican Death Cult still reigns:
    Baby dies of COVID-19, a first for Orange County
    Pro-life, my ass. 
    It’s paywalled, so here’s an excerpt:
    The baby’s death was among 56 from COVID-19 reported to Florida health officials over the past four days, raising the pandemic’s death toll among Orange County residents to 1,780, including 337 in August, the deadliest month so far, [Raul Pino, state health officer in the county] said at a briefing Monday morning with reporters.

    • …I saw somewhere that de santis let someone stand in front of the state seal with every appearance of being officially condoned by the state & spout a bunch of horseshit about how mRNA vaccines rewrite your genetic code

      …I don’t think there’s a depth to which that guy won’t stoop at this point

      • A couple of weeks ago the NY Times ran a front page article claiming DeSantis ran an aggressive vax campaign in Florida, and how, alas, the brave Guv couldn’t prevail.
        Of course the reality is that he’s done everything in his power to stop employers from requiring vaccines, thrown roadblocks in front of schools trying to vaccinate employees and students, and considering its demographics, Florida has a bad vaccination rate.
        Every time the Times sees things through the lens of politics, they screw up reality.

        • …to be fair (as the letterkenny crew might say) what the NYT says in one piece isn’t necessarily all it says on a subject…haven’t a particular link to hand on the subject of de santis…but much like the WaPo one I quoted somewhere up there this one more or less opens with where “justice” barrett was shooting her mouth off about being non-partisan


          …I guess it depends on the byline…for all I know sometimes brett stephens says setting that isn’t completely asinine…but I figure life’s too short to read stuff with that name attached to it…I could totally see him penning the kind of pro-de-santis nonsense you refer to?

          • The thing about that Times article is that it doesn’t actually report it so much as suggest a thesis in a defensible and deniable way. Which is not how they choose to make clear cut statements when it suits them.
            They have reporters who are very good at what they do. But the hallmark of the Times is the way political desk reporters and editors are stovepiped from the better side of the paper. The politics desk is almost always biased, inconsistent and unreliable, and there is no requirement from Times management to reflect the better reporting done by their colleagues.

            • …while that may be true my point had more to do with the part where in the first few paragraphs it states both where her remarks were made & who introduced her at the event…which in your previous comment you cited as a thing the press failed to do 

              …personally I’d assume that most people would view that short description from the NYT as fairly clearly implying her statement is full of shit…& that it does so in large part by placing it in a context simply by stating a few facts…so I guess I’m overly distracted today & missing something…what would the thesis be?

              (…if you have a minute, obviously…it’s not of any great consequence either way…I’m just curious as to what I’m not picking up on)

  5. It’s incredible how thoroughly the right-wing propaganda machine has won on economics in this country. You can’t even raise taxes to the point where Reagan lowered them to and put us on our trajectory to economic ruin.

    Notorious centrist Joe Biden is pushing for things that Dems haven’t taken on in 50 years. This is good, and frankly, more than I would have expected. The problem: The economic discussion in America is so far off the rails toward the libertarian right that he comes off sounding like a radical Trotskyite. And unlike Afghanistan, where he basically said “I don’t give a crap” to conventional wisdom and media screeching, he’s gonna struggle to get the votes because Joe Manchin would literally prefer his constituents to suffer.

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