…they know not what they do [DOT 3/4/22]

but somebody sure as hell does...

…it’s sunday…& I don’t much want to run through another litany of things to make people feel bad…because there’s more than enough of that going around

Kim Tingley has recently written for The New York Times Magazine about this phenomenon. And as the C.D.C.’s website outlines, anxiety and depression among children has increased over time, as the number of kids ages 6-17 “ever having been diagnosed with either anxiety or depression” has increased, “from 5.4 percent in 2003 to 8 percent in 2007 and to 8.4 percent in 2011-2012.”
I’m not suggesting that social media may not be part of why teenagers say they’re anxious, and have become more anxious over time. But as with any thorny issue or big change, there are likely multiple intersecting causes.

First, let’s be clear that the pandemic cratered a lot of people’s mental health, regardless of age, and there’s so much else going on in society right now, including inflation, gun violence and the war in Ukraine, causing people profound upset. The American Psychological Association has been conducting its “Stress in America” survey since 2007, and this year found that “Money stress registered at the highest recorded level since 2015.”

As The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan explained in a good article about why people are acting so weird right now, everybody is extremely overwhelmed, and it’s causing lots of adults to behave in uncivil ways on airplanes, in school board meetings and even at the Oscars. Watching adults fall apart probably isn’t helping teenagers cope with life, nor are a lot of other recent stressors. As Erin Anhalt, the mother of a 15-year-old girl in Maryland, put it to me on Twitter, her daughter says “she watched half the adults throw a fit about wearing a mask during a pandemic, they’re watching climate change play out rapidly, feels like no chance at an education without crippling debt, etc… of course they are anxious.”
So I do wonder if another reason for the uptick in teens saying they’re depressed and anxious is that they have the language for it now, and that there’s so much less stigma to admitting these feelings than there was even when I was a kid — which is something psychologists and psychiatrists I have interviewed for previous newsletters have pointed out. This would be difficult to demonstrate with a study, since we don’t have a time machine to go back and interview teens in 1992 to ask them about their knowledge of, attitudes about and exposure to mental health issues.
The internet, and our reliance on it as a tool, isn’t going away. We need to help our kids live with it in a way that protects their mental health, rather than freaking out about how it’s destroying them.

Teenagers Report Growing Anxiety. Maybe That’s Rational. [NYT]

…pretty sure it isn’t only teenagers who could claim to know that tune…so…like I say…I don’t want to make it worse when people are trying to carve themselves a little weekend peace…so…if that sounds familiar…I’d advise against checking out any of the coverage about bits of ukraine from which russian forces have retreated…it’s…well, it’s ugly…& that’s pretty much the point…one of them, anyway

The mass flight of refugees from Ukraine has created a humanitarian crisis that dwarfs anything Europe has seen since World War II. More than four million people have poured into neighboring countries, and as long as Russia’s savage war continues, millions more will flee. Already, the flow of refugees from Ukraine is far greater than the number from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq who fled to Europe in 2015, upending European politics.

[…] the scale of this crisis is staggering, and it is still in its early stages. Coping with it will demand more coordination, imagination, funds and determination both within Europe and by the United States and allies elsewhere. Existing refugee centers should receive far more assistance, and ways need to be found to encourage refugees to move on to countries that have more capacity to host them. Preparations should also be made now to help Ukrainians return home, should a lasting peace eventually take hold.

Opening the doors wide to European refugees raises an inevitable comparison to the treatment of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other countries. About 16,000 people remain in refugee camps in Greece, and many of them are going hungry because they lack the same rights that are being guaranteed to Ukrainians. But the answer to a double standard cannot be to close the doors to Ukrainians.

To put it in perspective, close to one million Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis crossed the Mediterranean Sea to seek refuge in Europe in one year, 2015. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, nearly one million people have left Ukraine every week. Barring a peace agreement, Russia will keep bombarding civilian infrastructure. Ukraine will keep fighting for its survival. Ten million people — roughly a quarter of the population of Ukraine — could end up leaving the country in the coming months.

Cities in Poland, Moldova and Romania have been transformed, putting pressure on schools, housing, hospitals and government assistance programs. Warsaw, a city of about 1.6 million people, is now hosting more than 300,000 Ukrainian refugees, many of whom are sleeping in hastily set up welcome centers. Overcrowded shelters for women and children are targets for human trafficking and criminal exploitation.

Refugees are not a design flaw of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. Indiscriminate bombing and shelling of civilian infrastructure is part of a broader strategy to demoralize the civilian population and drive residents into neighboring countries, where their presence can be destabilizing. […] Over time, resentment of Ukrainian refugees may grow. People who started off welcoming the refugees could turn against them, putting pressure on their governments to force Ukraine to end the war on Russia’s terms.
As the world enters a period of greater instability, its leaders can no longer ignore the need for a coordinated and humane response to all of those fleeing war and other desperate circumstances.


…so…I may not be a teenager…indeed haven’t been for longer than your average teen has been knocking around this mortal coil…but I’m not managing to find as much of an upside to the headlines as I’d like to be able to provide

It has now been 37 days since Vladimir Putin’s forces reportedly thought they could capture Kyiv within 48 to 72 hours. Many news reports describe the Russian invasion as “stalled,” but as I read the detailed analyses, that isn’t quite right: Ukrainian forces are counterattacking, and in many places Russia appears to be losing ground.

One thing Russia has managed to defend quite effectively, however, is the value of its currency. The ruble plunged in the days after the Ukraine invasion, but it has since recovered almost all of its losses
One thing worth noting is that Russia’s economic officials appear to be more competent than its generals. Elvira Nabiullina, the governor of Russia’s central bank — a role equivalent to that of Jerome Powell at the Federal Reserve — is especially well regarded by her peers abroad. Nabiullina reportedly tried to resign after the invasion started, but Putin wouldn’t let her leave.
But there’s a mystery here. No, it’s not puzzling to see the ruble recover given such drastic measures. The question is why Russia is willing to defend its currency at the expense of all other goals. After all, the draconian measures taken to stabilize the ruble will probably deepen what is already looking like a depression-level slump in Russia’s real economy, brought on by surprisingly wide and effective sanctions imposed by the free world (I think we can resurrect that term, don’t you?), in response to its military aggression.

Let’s take a brief excursion into economic theory here. One of the classic propositions in international economics is known as the “impossible trinity.” The idea is that there are three things a country might want from its currency. It might want stability in the currency’s value in terms of other currencies — for example, a stable value of the ruble in dollars or euros — to create greater certainty for businesses. It might want free movement of funds across its borders, again to facilitate business. And it might want to retain freedom of monetary action — the ability to cut interest rates to fight recessions or raise them to fight inflation.

The impossible trinity says that you can’t have it all, that you have to choose two out of three. You can, like Britain, have open capital markets and independent monetary policy, but that means allowing the value of the pound to fluctuate. You can, like countries that have adopted the euro, have free movement of capital and currency stability, but only by giving up monetary independence. Or you can, like China, have a stable currency and your own monetary policy, but only by maintaining capital controls. (Those controls, by the way, are one main reason the renminbi isn’t going to rival the dollar as a global currency for the foreseeable future.)

So what’s puzzling about Russia? Normally a country can choose two out of three legs of the trinity; Russia has decided to take only one. It has imposed severe capital controls, but it has also sacrificed monetary independence, drastically raising interest rates in the face of a looming recession.
Let me offer a speculation, with the clear proviso that it’s only a speculation, not based on any direct evidence. My guess is that the value of the ruble has become a crucial target not so much because it’s all important but because it’s so clearly visible.

Suppose that, as seems highly likely, Russia sees a huge surge in inflation and a plunge in gross domestic product in the months ahead. Will Putin’s government admit that these bad things are happening? Quite possibly not. Authoritarian regimes often try to suppress unfavorable economic data. Recently, for example, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, responded to reports of high inflation by sacking the head of his nation’s statistical agency.
If Russia’s economy deteriorates as badly as most expect in the near future, it seems all too likely that the nation’s muzzled media will simply deny that anything bad is happening. One thing they couldn’t deny, however, would be a drastically depreciated ruble. So defending the ruble, never mind the real economy, makes sense as a propaganda strategy.
So Russia’s defense of the ruble, while impressive, isn’t a sign that the Putin regime is handling economic policy well. It reflects, instead, an odd choice of priorities, and may actually be a further sign of Russia’s policy dysfunction.

Wonking Out: The Curious Case of the Recovering Ruble [NYT]

And then there was the threat to stop the flow of gas from Russia to Europe — which was set off by Mr. Putin’s demand that 48 “unfriendly countries” violate their own sanctions and pay for natural gas in rubles. It sent leaders in the capitals of Germany, Italy and other allied nations scrambling and showcased in the most visible way since the war began how much they need Russian energy to power their economies.

It was that dependency that caused the United States and Europe to exempt fuel purchases from the stringent sanctions they imposed on Russia at the start of the war. The European Union gets 40 percent of its gas and a quarter of its oil from Russia. A cutoff from one day to the next, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany warned this past week, would plunge “our country and the whole of Europe into a recession.”
Europe’s ongoing energy purchases send as much as $850 million each day into Russia’s coffers, according to Bruegel, an economics institute in Brussels. That money helps Russia to fund its war efforts and blunts the impact of sanctions. Because of soaring energy prices, gas export revenues from Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, injected $9.3 billion into the country’s economy in March alone, according to an estimate by Oxford Economics, a global advisory firm.
Mr. Putin’s feints and jabs — at one point this past week he promised to stop and continue gas deliveries in the same statement — have also kept European leaders off-balance as they try to divine his strategy and motivations.
In any case, the transition to other suppliers and eventually to more renewable energy sources will be expensive and painful. On the whole, Europeans may be poorer and colder at least for a few years because of spiraling prices and dampened economic activity caused by energy shortages.

And unlike in Russia, governments in these countries have to answer to voters.

“Putin has already demonstrated he’s willing to sacrifice civilians — his and Ukrainians — to score a win,” said Meg Jacobs, a historian at Princeton University. For European democracies, turning down thermostats, reducing speed limits and driving less is a choice, she said. “It only works with mass cooperation.”

But leverage, like gas, is a limited resource. And Mr. Putin’s willingness to use it now means that he will have less of it in the future. It will not be an easy transition for Russia either. Most analysts believe that Europe’s aggressive moves to reduce its reliance on Russian energy will have far-reaching consequences, however.

“They are done with Russian gas,” David L. Goldwyn, who served as a State Department special envoy on energy in the Obama administration, said of Europe. “I think even if this war would end, and even if you had a new government in Russia, I think there’s no going back.”
Security concerns aren’t the only development that has undermined Russia’s standing as a long-term energy supplier. What seemed surprising to economists, lawyers and policymakers about Mr. Putin’s demand to be paid in rubles was that it would have violated sacrosanct negotiated contracts and revealed Russia’s willingness to be an unreliable business partner.
When the allies froze the assets of the Russian central bank and sent the ruble into a downward spiral, the bank increased the interest rate to 20 percent, while the government mandated that companies convert 80 percent of the dollars, euros and other foreign currencies they earn into rubles to increase demand and drive up the price.
Mr. Putin’s demand that gas purchases be paid in rubles looked like another one of those interventions. Still, the insistence was puzzling. Russia could just as easily take the ongoing influx of euros and dollars paid by foreign governments and convert them to rubles.
For example, he may not be able to ensure compliance with his mandate that companies, including the natural gas producer Gazprom, repatriate 80 percent of the dollars and euros they earn and sell them to Russian banks.

The problem is that “the government cannot enforce this rule,” said Michael S. Bernstam, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. The “companies are cheating.”

“The only people the Russian government can trust is Western companies buying Russian natural gas and other commodities,” he added.
In a matter of weeks, Mr. Putin undercut business and trade ties between Russia and more wealthy economies that took decades to build after the demise of the Soviet Union. By one estimate, some 500 foreign companies have pulled up stakes in Russia, scaled back operations and investment, or pledged to do so.

“Russia does not have the capabilities to replicate domestically the technology that it would otherwise have gained from overseas,” according to an analysis by Capital Economics, a research group based in London. That is not a good sign for increasing productivity, which even before the war, was only 35 to 40 percent of the United States’.

The result is that however the war in Ukraine ends, Russia will be more economically isolated than it has been in decades, diminishing whatever leverage it now has over the global economy as well as its own economic prospects.


…prospects that…well…might not be headed in the direction they set out for

A tanker loaded with one million barrels of Russian oil set sail from Murmansk this month, headed for Philadelphia. Then, in the middle of the Atlantic, it did an abrupt U-turn.

The ship, Beijing Spirit, had apparently lost the buyer for its oil. It removed “Philadelphia” as its listed destination, according to to the global maritime data provider MarineTraffic, and listed its new destination as “For Orders,” which indicates that the oil on board is for sale. The tanker then veered back toward Europe before spending several days bouncing round the Mediterranean, “presumably hoping to offload in more ‘friendly’ territory,” said John van Schaik, an oil-industry expert at the energy information company Energy Intelligence.
Overall, more than 20 tankers that have departed from Russian ports since the invasion — together carrying almost 8.5 million barrels of oil — now list their status as “For Orders” or “Drifting,” which indicates a lack of destination, according to the Russian Tanker Tracking Group, an initiative led by the Ukraine government to observe Russian oil sales. Other tankers now list final destinations like “ZZZ.”
It’s not always possible to know where the oil will end up, he said, but traders could quietly sell it to refiners that cared less about their reputation than about price. “Once you put the crude somewhere in a tank on land, it is anonymous,” Mr. van Schail said. “You blend it with some other crude, load it on another tanker and sell it as European Sour Blend and nobody knows its origin was Russia.”

At the same time, at least seven tankers are still sailing toward the United States to offload their shipments before the U.S. ban on Russian oil takes full effect on April 21.
But in fact, Russia — the world’s third largest oil producer behind the United States and Saudi Arabia — is still exporting plenty of oil. Despite the global condemnation of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Russian exports of oil and oil-derived products have yet to show a significant decline, according to data from Kpler, the commodity data and analysis firm.

Some countries, like India, Singapore and Turkey, have sharply increased their receipts of Russian oil in the weeks since the invasion, according to a separate tally by a Ukraine-led effort to investigate the companies and countries that continue to buy and sell Russian oil and gas.

[…] A port loading schedule obtained by Energy Intelligence shows that major Russian ports plan, at least on paper, to export almost 2.9 million barrels of oil a day in April, up significantly from both the previous month and from the same period last year.

Much of that demand is expected to come from Asia. India’s purchases of Russian oil, in particular, has jumped more than 700 percent in the five weeks since the start of the war in Ukraine compared to the previous five weeks, according to data from the Russian Tanker Tracking Group.


…& speaking of lacking a clear destination…I don’t want to get all bogged down in the stuff suggested by that insurrection-shaped void in a certain call log…but…by way of an illustrative example of the degree of competence involved in creating it

The official call log shows Trump’s last call on record, with Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), ending at 11:06. Annotations on his daily calendar, though, shows the call at 11:17 a.m. with Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). This is where the “gap” starts

…& it’s a long gap…right?

though the calendar also notes a call with Vice President Mike Pence at 11:20 a.m. This call would become rather infamous.


…there’s a non-logged call still recorded all of 10mins after the “official log”…you know…the one that’s a mandatory requirement where presidential phonecalls are concerned…peters out…but they start the clock on this gap before the call with pence?

…I must be missing something here…besides the part @bryanlsplinter pointed out before…& even if we suppose that for the chunk of time he was out rabble rousing with that speech the only people he might have wanted to talk to were all basically on hand…once he got back to the white house

the first quiet period began — though, here too, we do know some of what happened.

When he arrived, the Capitol had not yet been breached, but thousands of people were surrounding the building. At 2:24 p.m., shortly after the first rioters got inside, he tweeted an excoriation of Pence: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

Two minutes later he used a White House line to call Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), though he was trying to reach Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.). It’s not clear why this call wasn’t in the log or the diary. He was connected to Tuberville, who would later recall he told Trump that Pence had been evacuated.

…why even try to leave that out?

[…]at 2:44 p.m., Ashli Babbitt was shot near the House chamber, an incident audible to those inside. At some point between then and 3:05 p.m., Trump spoke with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). (McCarthy mentioned the call during a Fox News interview at 3:05 p.m.)

Costa and Woodward described the call, during which McCarthy told Trump that someone had been shot.

“Trump did not seem to grasp the gravity of the situation,” they write. “He never asked about McCarthy’s safety. And one remark stood out: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.’ ” This comment was later confirmed by a Republican member of Congress.

…he tweets a few more bits of garbage…records a couple of shanky video clips…generally spins his wheels & fails to do anything that might have contributed to a restoration of order…& then

Eventually, Trump went upstairs to his private residence.
About half an hour after returning upstairs, the call log resumes with his trying to reach Dan Scavino, the adviser who handled his social media feed. At 7:01 p.m., he called White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

At 7:10 p.m., the second video was released. Ensconced safely in the White House, Trump spent the next several hours on the phone.


…& this is as good as they can make that look?

According to a leaked account of the call to the New York Times, Trump cajoled Pence with the immortal words: “You can either go down in history as a patriot, or you can go down in history as a pussy.”

Pence went down in history as a patriot – by doing his constitutional duty and certifying the legitimate result. But that phone call marked an important point in the chronology of Trump’s coup attempt: it amounted to a point of no return – his last move to hang on to power through political persuasion.

Had Trump strayed beyond that point, he would have entered much darker territory. As [Charlie] Sykes [columnist at the Trump-resistant conservative outlet the Bulwark.] put it: “When he got off the phone to Mike Pence, who did he call next? Once he knew the vice-president was not going to do his bidding, what next?”


…that’d be the same charlie sykes who earlier in that piece says, “A gap like this doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a coincidence[…]There is no innocent explanation here – somebody made the decision to rip up the record for the crucial hours of January 6 and there has to be a reason why.”…& it doesn’t take a stable genius to figure out that if the missing detail were exculpatory it likely wouldn’t be missing…why, you might be tempted to take to the streets about that sort of thing

Republican judges are waging a bizarre war against the First Amendment right to protest [Vox]

…I’m sure that’s an innocent coincidence…well…a coincidence…either way it’s more coordination than the alleged administration ever seemed to be able to command…although…I guess they know their audience…or something…because here’s a nice bit of “look over there” with surely no hint of an ulterior motive or a dodgy narrative…sympathy’s a funny thing

…leaving aside the part where 20 grand is to many people anything but a “very small amount“…why do you suppose that little bid for sympathy for the convicted might have made the cut for that speech?

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., was convicted Thursday of lying to federal authorities about an illegal campaign contribution in 2016 from a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire.

…illegal campaign contributions…who among us hasn’t…oh, wait…that’d be all of us…hmmm

A federal jury in Los Angeles found Fortenberry, who is in his ninth term, guilty of one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, as well as fines.
Fortenberry, a member of the Appropriations Committee, was charged in October with lying to the FBI about a $30,000 contribution to his 2016 re-election campaign from Gilbert Chagoury of Nigeria. Foreign nationals are prohibited from contributing to federal candidates in U.S. elections.

Prosecutors said Chagoury used “straw donors” to make contributions equaling $30,000 to Fortenberry’s re-election campaign during a Los Angeles fundraiser in 2016.

Chagoury entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office in 2019 and came clean about providing about $180,000 that was used to make illegal contributions to four candidates in U.S. elections.

Prosecutors successfully argued at Fortenberry’s seven-day trial that he lied to investigators on two occasions when he was asked in interviews what he knew about the illegal donation.

Fortenberry, 61, also failed to file an amended report with the Federal Election Commission.

“After learning of illegal contributions to his campaign, the congressman repeatedly chose to conceal the violations of federal law to protect his job, his reputation and his close associates,” U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said in a statement Thursday. “The lies in this case threatened the integrity of the American electoral system and were designed to prevent investigators from learning the true source of campaign funds.”
Fortenberry falsely told investigators he was not aware that one of Chagoury’s ties — Toufic Joseph Baaklini — was involved in illegal campaign contributions when he spoke with investigators in March 2019, after having learned about the illicit contribution, prosecutors said. They also said Fortenberry claimed that all donors at the 2016 fundraiser were publicly disclosed and that he was not aware of any contributions from a foreign national.

In a second interview two months later, Fortenberry denied awareness of any illicit donation made during the 2016 fundraiser or that he had been told that Baaklini provided $30,000 in cash at the fundraiser, prosecutors said.


…weird, huh…sympathy from the guy who preferred people who didn’t get caught…but

A Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire has resolved and two of his associates have agreed to resolve a federal investigation that they conspired to violate federal election laws by scheming to make illegal campaign contributions to U.S. presidential and congressional candidates, the Department of Justice announced today.

Gilbert Chagoury, 75, who presently resides in Paris, France, paid $1.8 million to resolve allegations that he, with the assistance of others, provided approximately $180,000 to individuals in the United States that was used to make contributions to four different federal political candidates in U.S. elections.


…so…that “very small amount“…not 20 grand but 30…& to be fair…that is substantially smaller than either $180,000 or the $1.8 million “to resolve a federal investigation“…but…we’re talking about illegal campaign cash…related to the 2016 election…& it doesn’t say “scheming to make illegal campaign contributions to U.S. presidential or congressional candidates“…it says “and“…so…yeah…mystery solved?

…& that poor guy he’s so keen his crowd sympathize with is someone who repeatedly won his elections…just sayin’…not that whatever part of fortenberry’s little donor mishap that might have triggered the reference to a presidential candidate in that election cycle is likely to be more than the thin end of the wedge where mango unchained might be concerned…but…priorities, I guess…particularly ones that might not choke before the whole verdict part?

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) can cite almost verbatim the first rule of congressional conduct.

“Members shall behave at all times in a manner that reflects creditably upon the House,” he said, unprompted, during a Wednesday interview, forgetting just one extra “shall” in the opening clause of the House’s Code of Official Conduct.

…which sure does sound like a quaint idea

The past year has brought a number of examples: Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) claimed in a podcast interview in late March that respected Washington leaders had invited him to an orgy and that he had watched them do cocaine, which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said was a lie. Last November Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) posted a violent animated video depicting the killing of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and a violent attack on President Biden.

…& in the interests of even-handedness they also cite maxine walters for the part where she suggested it might be appropriate to “get more confrontational” if they found geroge floyd’s killers not to be guilty…but…if you ask me one of those things is not like the others…& not because the lady plays for team D…anyway

None of these matters have received scrutiny from the Ethics Committee, according to its members, as the panel has remained focused on more traditional corruption allegations.

…well…when they could spare the time

a large chunk of their time is being spent being the chamber’s mask police, as the committee has had to handle violations of a rule requiring lawmakers to wear a mask while on the House floor. Over the last three months the committee has issued 20 statements about cases it was handling and 14 of them involved doling out fines to Republicans who refused to wear a mask.
Now in his eighth year as the top Democrat on the committee, Deutch chooses his words carefully on ethics matters. He projects confidence that staff are focused on the most important investigations but acknowledges the mask police is not his favorite use of committee resources.

“That was a responsibility that was given to the Ethics Committee,” he said. “Has it taken a lot of time? Yes.”

If Deutch and other Ethics Committee members had their way, they could take up more matters related to member behavior, but both political parties have to agree to initiate a probe. And party leaders seem to have abandoned any hope this panel could properly police such behavior.
Outside ethics experts often criticize the panel for both a lack of transparency and slow-moving investigations that can take years before there’s any outcome. Its subpoenas are issued secretly and sometimes cases are closed with no public reckoning. Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), in 2010, was the last lawmaker to face a committee censure recommendation, and James Traficant (D-Ohio), in 2002, was the last member expelled following an ethics investigation.

The chairman cites a very basic math problem that limits the committee’s scope if one party decides it doesn’t want to investigate one of its own.

“The committee is evenly divided, five-five, anything that the committee does requires a bipartisan vote. We need six votes,” Deutch said.

In Deutch’s time on the committee, most investigations have centered on some version of financial impropriety, such as using campaign funds for personal purchases, abusing taxpayer-funded staff with demands that they run personal errands or inappropriate use of the annual funds given to each office for official expenditures.

…& you know…it’s odd…but as the post kept trotting out examples…somehow it didn’t sound like they’d had much time for that business of focusing on “more traditional corruption allegations“…unless that was supposed to mean a different “tradition” entirely?

Deutch, 55, found the toughest, most difficult phase of his ethics tenure a few years ago when the panel investigated a slew of sexual misconduct cases. Eight House members — five Republicans, three Democrats — either resigned immediately or did not seek reelection.

“You realize that, if what you’re trying to do is uphold the integrity of the House, and you find at that point so much really bad behavior, you realize how tall an order it can sometimes be to do that work,” Deutch said.
“If members are doing things that are abhorrent, then it should certainly trigger a conversation about clause one,” Deutch said. “Again, the broadest interpretation of that rule is what is required.”


…it’ll have to be someone else, though…if I read that right he’s had enough after eight years & plans to “resign later this year to take over the American Jewish Committee“…which is another thing I expect some things could be said about

…still…although they’re beyond my limited means this morning…I’m sure “les mots justes” are out there somewhere…you just need to know who to ask?

…it’s a thread…& seriously, do check it out…because it goes both ways

…anyway…I’m off to find more coffee…& tunes…here’s hoping today goes your way



  1. So I do wonder if another reason for the uptick in teens saying they’re depressed and anxious is that they have the language for it now, and that there’s so much less stigma to admitting these feelings than there was even when I was a kid — which is something psychologists and psychiatrists I have interviewed for previous newsletters have pointed out. This would be difficult to demonstrate with a study, since we don’t have a time machine to go back and interview teens in 1992 to ask them about their knowledge of, attitudes about and exposure to mental health issues.

    well…now i’m confused….are all these fucking whiney teens just fucking whiney…or have i repressed all my issues for years?

    yeah yeah i know

    • …I feel you…as the kids allegedly say…but I can’t help wondering about various parts of that quandary…I mean, sure, there’s maybe some terminology we didn’t have back in the day…but…I feel like the bulk of the stuff they cite has been hanging over more than the most recent crop of teens

      …it’s not like they only just now got around to the concept of mutually assured destruction…or the less than promising trajectory of climate change…or graduating with the kind of debt to service than once upon a time came with a house…or…damn it…I’m just making it worse…& I was trying not to do that?

      • i think if we had been allowed to complain about all our issues….we would have as well

        soo…this is not a mental health issue

        its a parents not slapping around their kids enough for fucking whining issue!

        hmmm….yeah…..lets go with that

        • …well…I’m not saying I’d condone that sort of thing…but…I do have a sister-in-law who’s been known to mention that her brother listens to her noticeably more than mine seems to listen to me…& her reasoning is based on a very similar logic?

          …less facetiously, though…I have considerable sympathy for the idea that suggesting it’s poorly balanced stuff inside people’s heads that’s the problem when it often seems to come down to seeing some of the crazy shit out there in the world a little clearer than seems compatible with the avoidance of anxiety about the future…might be barking up the wrong tree

          …but then wonko the sane is arguably a personal hero of mine?

          • tbh…i think its a good thing almost everything is safe to be whined about nowadays

            im still gonna call it whining,…and likely will to the day i die

            coz im jealous i didnt get to

            and in any event…theres no point in worrying about the future

            we dont have much of one….best make the most of now…coz its dowhill from here

            • …you might not be the first to reach that conclusion?

              …for that matter they wouldn’t even have been the first to play that tune…but I was trying not to depress everyone…&…well…I’m not sure whistling past the graveyard is gonna cut it on that score?

              …just remember…he’s not the messiah…he’s a very naughty boy

    • I was a pretty/very optimistic teen when I was growing up but I don’t think I would be nowadays. Maybe I would. I’m not on any social media except sites like this so maybe teen me living in 2022 would have also shunned Facebook and Instagram and TikTok and all the other peer-to-peer sites. I doubt it though.


      • …I don’t think I’d have described myself as an optimist based on my recollection of life as a teen…I tend to feel like my claims to optimism took some concerted effort before I could contextualize my outlook in a way that seemed compatible with that sort of thing

        …but with the benefit of hindsight…there was definitely some stuff I looked on less pessimistically as a teenager than subsequent events would suggest was warranted…which I think is why I read that sort of thing about contemporary teens & their perspective on the future they see before them…because aside from the part where most everyone wants their kids to be happy & worries when they suspect they might not be…there’s historically been a pretty strong element of youth & optimism going hand in hand…we literally talk about “youthful optimism” in contrast to the sort of world-weary cynicism that comes with experience

        …but once again that’s a train of thought that is liable to take the shine off your day if you follow it much further…you know…@luigi-vuoto was right the other day…I kind of suck at the providing grounds for optimism thing

        …I blame whatever misbegotten child of misery decided to repeatedly set off the buzzer for my door about 03:00 this morning…after all…it can’t be me, right?

      • I noted the other day that I’m often accused of being “negative” when I point out facts. Even my friends make jokes about it.

        Meh. Reality is neither positive nor negative, it just IS. I won’t lie to myself just to feel better. It doesn’t work anyway, because I know I’m lying.

        • Exactly. Either you face reality head on or stick your head in the sand and let reality kick your ass.

          I’m all for optimistic thinking except when it becomes delusional (like a lot of corprate types tend to be.)

          Been called a cynical asshole, but I prefer guarded realistic optimist.

  2. Russian economics proves that Vlad isn’t an omnipotent super-genius. He can’t artificially prop up the ruble for long (20% interest? Holy shit!). It’s going to drive their economy into depression.

    The article about oil tankers suggests, to me anyway, that those “for sale” tankers would be paid less money for their cargos. I sure would want a price reduction knowing that their backs are against the wall and I’m taking all the sanctions risk.

  3. The Tweet link was superior!  I am now following that person. I can use both the cool speak and the corporate speak in real life. Thank you kindly.

  4. A lot of freak outs and emotional issues especially in the west because a lot of those people especially in the west simply never faced actual adversity before.  If I hadn’t had gone through some of the things I did (self inflicted in a few cases like Cokehead Narcissist) then I might have been one of those folks throwing a tantrum.

    Moreso a lot of these very people had their own notions of the world shattered before their very eyes which is very tough to deal with.

    1. The super religious. Those folks have denied evolution in action for decades. Suddenly along comes CoVID out of the blue. Can’t blame god can they?  Nope they have to blame China. Then CoVID EVOLVES AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!  Now they can’t deny evolution because they’re watching it happen before their very eyes. Instead of trying to accept they’ve been horribly wrong, they’re screaming at the world and irrationally lashing out at anyone who gets in their way.

    2. Anti-vaxxers. It used to be “woo” lefty crowd, but somehow this idiocy became the domain of the group number 1. Vaccines are one of the things that saved us from worse fates. Anti-vaxxers can’t and won’t accept that the basic tenant of their lives (vaccines bad, vaccine companies evil/satan) is wrong (truth is vaccines mostly good, vaccine companies indifferent neutral).

    3. Free marketers. You would think that 2008 would have taught these motherfuckers a lesson.  Nope. The fact the worker bees are revolting against their ideals pisses them off with the labor shortage. The fact the governments around the world had to step in (again) and save the world economy (and their precious free market) from collapsing. A successful “free” market economy DEPENDS on rules and regulations (ie TRUST.)

    4. Libertarians. Similar to 3, but these are all alleged self made people.  They don’t need no one telling them what to do. A free man needs no societal rules. Still angry mommy made them potty train when they didn’t want to. They think they’re islands of liberty that are strong to withstand even a Chinese virus. The pandemic reminded everyone that only together as a society we can survive (libertarians hate that.)

    5. Ultra optimistic people who can’t deal with storm clouds. Life doesn’t only go one direction (up/good).  It can go sideways or down.

    6. Narcissists. They can’t deal with a world they can’t manipulate.  Masks and the threat of death by virus don’t help them at all.  Trump’s 2 year long temper tantrum over losing an election for example and now being cut off from Russian oligarch money that the oligarchs stole from Russia.

    7. American (and other nations) Exceptionalists.  Diseases happen to other nations not America/other nations. CoVID showed the weaknesses in the US system especially healthcare. These flag waving uncritical unthinking morons are also part of the above listed groups. What it showed is Americans (and most of the world) have a long way to go.

  5. I can understand the teen depression uptick and have watched it in real time.  The news is all bad news.  They lost two years of their youth to a pandemic with no end in sight (yes, we all did but it hits harder when your life has been shorter).  The future doesn’t look bright but dystopian with climate change, shitty job outlooks, cost of housing, broken politics, civil war,…etc.  My kids don’t want kids because they don’t want to bring life into this world. I can’t argue with that logic.  At least they are both trying to do something to make the world a better place with one going into environmental science and the other teaching.  It gives me a little hope that they are trying to make a difference but it is a constant struggle to stay positive for that generation.

    • way i see it…if the young were in charge……

      maybe we’d be able to fix shit

      but they arent…and the old fucks aint done getting richer yet

      bit of a shit that…..

      gotta suck needing the people currently profiting of making things worse to fix things before things get out of hand…after they die

      (obv an over simplification)


  6. I’m 38, and I am consistently impressed with the younger people than me. Gen Z has their brains wrapped around things that my generation took a lot longer to assess.

    I know this sounds atrocious but a not insignificant part of me was like “wow if covid takes out a fuckton of boomers and we give the kids the reins, shit could get done.”

    • I wish it was only Boomers, there are a fuckton of racist, nazi Gen Xers and Millennials out there. And private religious colleges are full of Right Wing evangelical Gen Zers waiting in the wings for their chance to lead the US further down the authoritarian path.Honestly, not even just religious colleges. I’m sure frats and sororities all over the country are full of bigots. They’re partying too hard right now to really be seen. Don’t forget that asshole smirking at the Native man in DC, and Rittenhouse 


      • That’s for sure, but I think proportionally more white boomers are fuckers than millenials or gen X. Like I know there are still absolute shitgoblins if a bunch of boomers are gone, but I think the percentage of younger generations which are complete shit is lower than the boomers. If nothing else, Gen X spent too many decades getting fucked by boomers to swallow the party line on things like “you’ll get more conservative as you get older” as thoroughly as their parents.

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