…reconcilable differences [DOT 6/2/21]

it's a start...

…not all differences are reconcilable…obviously

Several Democratic lawmakers gave emotional and harrowing testimony on the House floor on Thursday describing their experiences during the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an effort to personalize the trauma.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who helped organize the hour of testimonials with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, blasted those who demanded that lawmakers move on from the insurrection, “with little to no accountability for the bloodshed and trauma of the 6th.”



…but despite being a strictly limited option…there’s been a lot to say about the particular sort of reconciliation that can happen slightly less often than a blue moon in congress

Budget reconciliation reveals the truth of how the Senate legislates now. To counter the minority’s abuse of the filibuster rule, the majority abuses another rule, ending in a process that makes legislation systematically and undeniably worse. The world’s greatest deliberative body has become one of its most absurd, but that absurdity is obscured by baroque parliamentary tricks that few understand.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/04/opinion/democrats-senate-reconciliation.html [NYT]

Democrats agreed to limit direct checks for high earners but defeated several Republican amendments to a budget resolution key to passing the president’s $1.9 trillion rescue plan.

Senate Backs Biden’s Stimulus, But Rejects Quick Minimum Wage Increase [NYT]




…let’s face it…depending on who said what some checks are liable to be bigger than others


Filed in New York State Supreme Court, Smartmatic’s suit seeks at least $2.7 billion in damages. In addition to Mr. Murdoch’s Fox Corporation, Fox News and the three star anchors, it targets Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell, lawyers who made the case for election fraud as frequent guests on Fox programs while representing President Trump.

Smartmatic accused Rupert Murdoch’s network of promoting a false narrative about the 2020 election that damaged the company. [NYT]

Voting company sues Fox and Trump lawyers for $2.7bn over false claims of election fraud [Guardian]

…who knew lying about electoral probity had consequences?

Lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems have asked Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Parler to preserve posts about the company, even if the material was already removed for spreading misinformation.

The posts need to be kept “because they are relevant to Dominion’s defamation claims relating to false accusations that Dominion rigged the 2020 election,” according to the demand letters from Dominion’s law firm Clare Locke. Dominion sued Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell for more than $1.3 billion each in January, alleging that the lawyers defamed Dominion by saying the machines were used to steal the election from President Donald Trump.

Dominion asked each company to keep posts from slightly differing lists of people. Those included right-wing pundit Dan Bongino, Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and Powell. It also included news organizations Fox News, One America News Network and Newsmax and — in Twitter’s case — Trump.

Dominion warned in its letters to the social media companies that more lawsuits would be coming.


…anyone want to lay odds on the possibility of an out of court settlement?

McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s largest business consulting firms, has agreed to pay $573.9 million in a settlement with 47 states regarding its role in aiding drug companies during the opioid addiction epidemic.


The consulting firm has reached agreements with 49 states because of its sales advice to drugmakers, including Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin.

McKinsey Settles for Nearly $600 Million Over Role in Opioid Crisis [NYT]

…or do we think it’s more by way of one of those does-what-it-says-on-the-tin things?

The Securities and Exchange Commission claimed in a lawsuit that Mr. Parnas and a business partner duped investors in a start-up called Fraud Guarantee.

Lev Parnas, Giuliani Associate, Faces New Fraud Accusations [NYT]

…clearly sometimes the clue is in the name

Millions of Americans continue to actively participate in multiple conspiracy theories. Why?

The QAnon Delusion Has Not Loosened Its Grip [NYT]

…it’s an important question, one might think…given the context

An apparent bipartisan majority of the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday endorsed the idea of passing new laws to address domestic terrorism in the wake of last month’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, as experts warned such internal threats would plague the country for decades to come.


…but you do have to wonder if what’s really necessary is new law…or if the problem is more by way of how the ones that already exist get enforced

Prosecutors and defense attorneys sparred anew this week over the whereabouts of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old charged with homicide for shooting and killing two people amid unrest in Kenosha, Wis., last summer.

Their legal dispute, focusing on whether Rittenhouse violated his bond by not properly disclosing his address, marked the latest flash point in the high-profile case, which became a lightning rod dividing people who assail the 18-year-old as a dangerous vigilante and others defending him as a hero.




…but as we’ve had a dismal amount of proof to demonstrate.


..some people literally vote to do nothing but make things worse for everybody


Party of Personal Responsibility Declines to Hold Person Responsible [NYT]

…although mercifully they might be outnumbered presently

Democrats pressed past Republicans’ objections to remove the Georgia freshman from her two committee posts in a vote without precedent in the modern Congress.

House Exiles Marjorie Taylor Greene From Panels, as Republicans Rally Around Her [NYT]


To McCarthy, the dual sagas involving Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), an unhinged freshman congresswoman, represented a chance to show his mettle. “You elected me leader,” he said during a private session with his membership. “Let me lead.”

What McCarthy actually demonstrated, however, was precisely the opposite of taking charge. The degree to which the Trumpist hard-right is in the driver’s seat became clear when the GOP rallied behind Greene.

Meanwhile, nearly 30 percent of the Republicans who voted — a surprisingly large bloc — ignored McCarthy’s pleas for unity and chose to oust Cheney from her leadership post.


After a private meeting Wednesday night of the House Republican conference meant to hold together an increasingly divided party, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) defended controversial freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). But as he lauded Greene’s apology to Republicans for her history of outrageous rhetoric on social media, McCarthy also claimed that the extremist ideology she supports was foreign to him.

“I think it would be helpful if you could hear exactly what she told all of us — denouncing Q-on, I don’t know if I say it right, I don’t even know what it is,” said McCarthy, referring to QAnon, a radicalized movement based on false claims that the FBI has deemed a domestic terrorism threat.

McCarthy’s comment set off immediate backlash, with critics pointing out that the minority leader has addressed QAnon before in TV interviews and at news conferences.
“You should just remind him next time you see him: Remember all those signs that the people were holding up as they savagely attacked our Capitol? Remember it said QAnon? That’s QAnon,” [Chris] Cuomo said Wednesday night after showing a clip of McCarthy’s comments

…they put that shit in a press release, even…so that’s not just some intern on the social media detail

…& when it comes to throwing a bit of shade it turns out the lady of the slow clap isn’t the only one who’s been taking a shot

Donald Trump caused an explosion in American government, and that detonation left behind a network of cracks and crevices, and by the laws of physics and nature, those crevices have begun to fill with ooze, and one trickle is Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spreads conspiracy theories, who once posted a gun-packing picture of herself threatening to “go on the offense” against congresswomen including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and who two years ago — in a Facebook post unearthed last week — speculated that California wildfires were caused by lasers from space.
And so on Wednesday, House Republicans again discussed how to mitigate the toxic Greene-House gas effect. The current pressing issue: her apparent perpetuating of the falsehood that the Parkland school shooting, which left 17 dead, was a “false flag” staged event (in 2018 someone had referred to it as such on Facebook; Greene wrote back, “Exactly!”).

Marjorie Taylor Greene is unlike any congresswoman we’ve encountered before, and it’s difficult to even figure out how to make sense of this person whose ravings, in healthier times, we would not have to think about at all.

She has expanded our taxonomy of noxious White women […] She doesn’t want to speak to your manager; she wants to speak to the many angry Americans who are willing to believe that your restaurant hosts a child-trafficking ring.

My grandmother’s name was Marjorie, so it gives me no pleasure to say this, but: If you are a woman with substantial power — whose utterances are covered as news — who is nonetheless yelling that you are being silenced and disenfranchised, then we need a new term for that, and the term for that is “Marjorie.”

The Greene-House gas effect is toxic. Republicans won’t crack a window. [WaPo]

Marjorie Taylor Greene Knows Exactly What She’s Doing [NYT]


In her Georgia district, voters saw Ms. Greene as a conservative voice that would be impossible to ignore. Now the revelation of past social media posts has unsettled some who backed her.




…of course some of those backers aren’t the sort to be ashamed of shameful conduct

GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn told a crowd before Capitol riots it had ‘fight in it.’ Now he says, ‘I don’t regret it.’ [WaPo]



For $150, Brad Holiday’s customers could purchase and download a package of dating tips and tricks he called his “Attraction Accelerator.” The batch of files featured advice from Mr. Holiday, a self-styled Manhattan dating coach, about things like the best facial serums and pickup lines, and his thoughts on the viciousness of the opposite sex.

But tucked between videos denigrating women and reviews of height-boosting shoes were other guides: how to defeat Communists, expose what he claimed were government pedophilia cabals, and properly wield a Glock.

On Jan. 20, F.B.I. agents arrested the man, whose real name is Samuel Fisher, outside his apartment on the Upper East Side in connection with his involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Stashed in his Chevrolet Tahoe, parked on East 88th Street, investigators found a shotgun, machetes and more than a thousand rounds of ammunition, according to court records.

Samuel Fisher left a long trail of videos and social media posts that reflect the views of a fringe faction of disgruntled men who became fixated on President Donald J. Trump. [NYT]

Arrested in Capitol Riot: Organized Militants and a Horde of Radicals [NYT]

Did the Proud Boys Help Coordinate the Capitol Riot? Yes, U.S. Suggests

In court papers, prosecutors have painted a picture that indicates planning among members of the extremist group on Jan. 6. [NYT]

…or to look squarely at whose company their conduct puts them in

As the executive branch undertakes a nationwide manhunt to hold members of the mob accountable, Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virgina, said it would be vitally important for the influential committee to do a “significant dive” into antigovernment extremism in the United States, the ties those groups have to organizations in Europe and Russia’s amplification of their message.

Senate Intelligence Committee to Examine Antigovernment Extremists [NYT]

…let alone the sort to spare a thought for the staff


…or…well…this kind of thing

In 2019, a source came to us with a digital file containing the precise locations of more than 12 million individual smartphones for several months in 2016 and 2017. The data is supposed to be anonymous, but it isn’t. We found celebrities, Pentagon officials and average Americans.

It became clear that this data — collected by smartphone apps and then fed into a dizzyingly complex digital advertising ecosystem — was a liability to national security, to free assembly and to citizens living mundane lives. It provided an intimate record of people whether they were visiting drug treatment centers, strip clubs, casinos, abortion clinics or places of worship.
Now, one year later, we’re in a very similar position. But it’s far worse.

A source has provided another data set, this time following the smartphones of thousands of Trump supporters, rioters and passers-by in Washington, D.C., on January 6, as Donald Trump’s political rally turned into a violent insurrection. At least five people died because of the riot at the Capitol. Key to bringing the mob to justice has been the event’s digital detritus: location data, geotagged photos, facial recognition, surveillance cameras and crowdsourcing.
The data we were given showed what some in the tech industry might call a God-view vantage of that dark day. It included about 100,000 location pings for thousands of smartphones, revealing around 130 devices inside the Capitol exactly when Trump supporters were storming the building. Times Opinion is only publishing the names of people who gave their permission to be quoted in this article.

About 40 percent of the phones tracked near the rally stage on the National Mall during the speeches were also found in and around the Capitol during the siege — a clear link between those who’d listened to the president and his allies and then marched on the building.

While there were no names or phone numbers in the data, we were once again able to connect dozens of devices to their owners, tying anonymous locations back to names, home addresses, social networks and phone numbers of people in attendance. In one instance, three members of a single family were tracked in the data.

The source shared this information, in part, because the individual was outraged by the events of Jan. 6. The source wanted answers, accountability, justice. The person was also deeply concerned about the privacy implications of this surreptitious data collection. Not just that it happens, but also that most consumers don’t know it is being collected and it is insecure and vulnerable to law enforcement as well as bad actors — or an online mob — who might use it to inflict harm on innocent people. (The source asked to remain anonymous because the person was not authorized to share the data and could face severe penalties for doing so.)
In the hands of law enforcement, this data could be evidence. But at every other moment, the location data is reviewed by hedge funds, financial institutions and marketers, in an attempt to learn more about where we shop and how we live.

Unlike the data we reviewed in 2019, this new data included a remarkable piece of information: a unique ID for each user that is tied to a smartphone. This made it even easier to find people, since the supposedly anonymous ID could be matched with other databases containing the same ID, allowing us to add real names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other information about smartphone owners in seconds.

The IDs, called mobile advertising identifiers, allow companies to track people across the internet and on apps. They are supposed to be anonymous, and smartphone owners can reset them or disable them entirely. Our findings show the promise of anonymity is a farce. Several companies offer tools to allow anyone with data to match the IDs with other databases.

The “anonymous” mobile advertising ID can be matched across databases, creating a new deanonymized database.
Smartphone users will never know if they are included in the data or whether their precise movements were sold. There are no laws forcing companies to disclose what the data is used for or for how long. There are no legal requirements to ever delete the data. Even if anyone could figure out where records of their locations were sold, in most states, you can’t request that the data be deleted.
The location-tracking industry exists because those in power allow it to exist. Plenty of Americans remain oblivious to this collection through no fault of their own. But many others understand what’s happening and allow it anyway. They feel powerless to stop it or were simply seduced by the conveniences afforded in the trade-off. The dark truth is that, despite genuine concern from those paying attention, there’s little appetite to meaningfully dismantle this advertising infrastructure that undergirds unchecked corporate data collection.

This collection will only grow more sophisticated. This new data set offers proof that not only is there more interest in location data than before, but it is also easier to deanonymize. It gets easier by the day. As the data from Jan. 6 eerily demonstrates, it does not discriminate. It harvests from the phones of MAGA rioters, police officers, lawmakers and passers-by. There is no evidence, from the past or current day, that the power this data collection offers will be used only to good ends. There is no evidence that if we allow it to continue to happen, the country will be safer or fairer.

In our previous investigation, we wrote that Americans deserve the freedom to choose a life without surveillance and the government regulation that would make that possible. While we continue to believe the sentiment, we fear it may soon be obsolete or irrelevant. We deserve that freedom, but the window to achieve it narrows a little more each day. If we don’t act now, with great urgency, it may very well close for good.

They Stormed the Capitol. Their Apps Tracked Them. [NYT]

…instead you have spats about this kind of thing

As Minneapolis braces for the murder trial next month of the former police officer filmed with his knee on George Floyd’s neck, a debate has erupted among Minnesota lawmakers over who should foot the bill for security costs.


…which does seem like it’s missing the point


…although to be fair some cases haven’t been entirely without encouraging precedents of late

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, whose 27-year tenure on the U.S. District Court in Washington helped shape prosecutors’ obligation to disclose evidence in criminal trials and was capped by politically explosive cases involving Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, will retire from full-time duty.

Sullivan notified President Biden by letter Thursday that he will step back April 3, allowing Biden to fill a vacancy on the influential court that oversees the nation’s capital.

U.S. judge in Flynn case retires, joining wave of jurists allowing Biden to name successors [WaPo]

…& if that doesn’t sound like an encouraging precedent…I’d encourage you to look a little further afield for comparisons

Russian anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, whose return to Russia and jailing triggered the toughest crackdown on peaceful opposition dissent since Soviet times, appeared in court for the second time in a week Friday. He faced a criminal libel charge, three days after a court handed down a penalty of two years eight months Tuesday.

The charge carries penalties ranging from a steep fine to two years’ jail. It is not his only legal case: he faces another case for embezzlement, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years.

More than 8000 riot police flooded central Moscow after Tuesday’s jail verdict, according to Telegram channel Baza, making the city look like a war zone. In distressing scenes, they corralled young protesters into corners and against walls before moving in, beating them with truncheons and dragging them away.

Riot police have detained more than 10,000 protesters taking part in peaceful demonstrations in more than 100 cities across Russia to call for Navalny’s release. Police cells are so full that there is nowhere to put the detained protesters, with independent local media reporting that some were kept in police vans lacking food and water for two days.





…I don’t want to quote the whole thing…but the piece he had published in the NYT is worth checking out

Vladimir the Poisoner of Underpants [NYT]

…but…well…it’s saturday…so at least you can check out the brain drain shortly…& then find something to check out while you…you know…check out…because it’s the weekend & I think we all deserve it?



  1. That tweet from Speaker Nan was priceless. Of course Qevin (Q-CA) knows what QAnon is. A lot of his district is the Sequoia National Forest (even hermits and giant centuries-old trees deserve representation) and its big population center is less-than-idyllic Bakersfield, home to all sorts of political sentiment unknown and unknowable to most of us. I can just imagine what gets discussed when he has constituent meetings. 

  2. Next time I get the side-eye for not having a smart phone I’m going to point to that article. I hate that electronic tether shit. Government spy, too? I know so many people who spy on their s.o. via smart phone that even though I don’t have an s.o. I’m paranoid as fuck about it. Well, y’all must know by now I have unhealthy attitudes about relationships, but nothing I hear or see convinces me otherwise.
    Last night I slept through bill maher, mercifully, so I am happy for the news recap @SplinterRIP!

      • It doesn’t seem to have GPS, it’s a prepaid flip phone so it is very basic. I mostly use it for an alarm clock. It’s discontinued though, so eventually I’ll have to get a new one, and now that my company has discontinued hard fobs for vpn, I told my boss he would have to approve a company phone for me, or I’ll just retire. The whole thing makes me uncomfortable. It’s like that episode of Dr. Who with the ear piece thingy.

  3. This opioid sales mess makes me loathe McKinsey even more than I did before.
    I’ve seen their world class bullshit up close and personal, not once but twice which is three times too many.
    At my previous career/job where their advice helped send us right into Chapter 7 and the current place where their “brilliance” was repackaging/rebranding Lean into their own version of Lean (basically taking old Toyota LEAN slides using find/replace Lean terms with their bullshit made up terms.)
    I had heard of them as a kid because I used to read business mags which had articles where they described their brilliance.  MBA geniuzes they claimed.  I didn’t realize this was marketing bullshit from McKinsey.
    At school I found out how.  They try to take the “best and the brightest” from each class.  No, I don’t consider myself bitter at them because I wasn’t considered by them to be the”best and the brightest” (I never applied because, well, I might have been a class dumbass, but I wasn’t fucking naive either.) They have a type, basically a bunch of golden retrievers or quasi Lisa Simpsons who are so needy for approval and no real world experience but not smart enough to figure shit out till it is too late.  They burn out these eager naive dumbasses for five or so years where the survivors make partner.
    Your mileage may differ if you did work for McKinsey, but that’s how I see it.

    • You could tell the difference in the quality of the top leadership at one place I worked by who went running to McKinsey and who didn’t. If McKinsey had any special insight it ought to be to tell boards to fire any CEO who hired McKinsey.

  4. Lou Dobbs getting canned at Fox is a sign things are getting serious. Rupert Murdoch is reported to have taken back the reins from Lachlan, although it’s not clear how much of this is the lawsuits and how much is sagging ratings and new competition.
    But dumping Lou Dobbs is a sign that his risks are as bad as the damage Beck and O’Reilly were causing in the end. Murdoch will try to settle before it gets to the testimony and evidence gathering stage, like he did with the Seth Rich suit. I have to assume the voting machine companies will take the money, but it would be hilarious if they didn’t and pushed ahead.

    • I read the story about the Dobbs getting canned one day after the lawsuit was filed.  The company line from Fox is that this was a long time coming, total coincidence, nothing to see here, blah, blah, blah.  Except you don’t shitcan your highest rated show, unless the liabilities outweigh the rewards–and the liabilities got a big boost with the lawsuit.  Also, people close to the Dobbs show were contacted for the story and they had zero clue that this was coming.  So, yeah, Rupert is trying to CYA, while at the same time lurching the company even further to the right to stop the bleeding of viewers to OAN and Newsmax.  At some point, something is going to have to give, because you can’t keep going full reality-averse psychopathic and fire every dipshit anchor who makes your company the focus of a lawsuit.  Those two things are in complete conflict with each other.

      • Murdoch has to be wishing he shut down Trump when he had a chance. For that matter, the whole Palin wing of the GOP. He could cut deals with the Karl Rove types all day long, but he made a mistake in thinking stupid people could be managed more easily. It’s pretty much impossible.

        • The Karl Rove types were all about the greed and manipulating the law for graft, so it’s easy to make deals with them.  These wingnuts, besides being irretrievably stupid, are True Believers, and there is no negotiating with that.

  5. My parents are getting older and more childish part MCMXXIII…
    Just got off the phone with mom.  Their furnace is on its last legs and we’re hitting a cold snap next week.  Instead of doing what I have repeatedly tell them, call the furnace guys I recommended to them, they’re not calling because of paranoid stupid reasons.  They’re afraid that the furnace guys are in league with home invaders to steal all their knicknacks. 
    I don’t want my parents to freeze to death, but this is a stupid reason to.
    Now I have to go there tomorrow to explain that the furnace is quite important during a Canadian winter.

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