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10:15AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
11:00AM THE PRESIDENT holds a Cabinet Meeting; THE VICE PRESIDENT also attends
12:30PM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet for lunch
Wisconsin Republican Joseph R. McCarthy first won election to the Senate in 1946 during a campaign marked by much anticommunist Red-baiting. Partially in response to Republican Party victories, President Harry S. Truman tried to demonstrate his own concern about the threat of Communism by setting up a loyalty program for federal employees. He also asked the Justice Department to compile an official list of 78 subversive organizations. As the midterm election year got underway, former State Department official Alger Hiss, suspected of espionage, was convicted of perjury. McCarthy, in a speech at Wheeling, West Virginia, mounted an attack on Truman’s foreign policy agenda by charging that the State Department and its Secretary, Dean Acheson, harbored “traitorous” Communists. There is some dispute about the number of Communists McCarthy claimed to have known about. Though advance copies of this speech distributed to the press record the number as 205, McCarthy quickly revised this claim. Both in a letter he wrote to President Truman the next day and in an “official” transcript of the speech that McCarthy submitted to the Congressional Record ten days later he uses the number 57. Although McCarthy displayed this list of names both in Wheeling and then later on the Senate floor, he never made the list public.
Speech of Joseph McCarthy, Wheeling, West Virginia, February 9, 1950
Ladies and gentlemen, tonight as we celebrate the one hundred forty-first birthday of one of the greatest men in American history, I would like to be able to talk about what a glorious day today is in the history of the world. As we celebrate the birth of this man who with his whole heart and soul hated war, I would like to be able to speak of peace in our time—of war being outlawed—and of world-wide disarmament. These would be truly appropriate things to be able to mention as we celebrate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.
Five years after a world war has been won, men’s hearts should anticipate a long peace—and men’s minds should be free from the heavy weight that comes with war. But this is not such a period—for this is not a period of peace. This is a time of “the cold war.” This is a time when all the world is split into two vast, increasingly hostile armed camps—a time of a great armament race.
Today we can almost physically hear the mutterings and rumblings of an invigorated god of war. You can see it, feel it, and hear it all the way from the Indochina hills, from the shores of Formosa, right over into the very heart of Europe itself.
The one encouraging thing is that the “mad moment” has not yet arrived for the firing of the gun or the exploding of the bomb which will set civilization about the final task of destroying itself. There is still a hope for peace if we finally decide that no longer can we safely blind our eyes and close our ears to those facts which are shaping up more and more clearly . . . and that is that we are now engaged in a show-down fight . . . not the usual war between nations for land areas or other material gains, but a war between two diametrically opposed ideologies.
The great difference between our western Christian world and the atheistic Communist world is not political, gentlemen, it is moral. For instance, the Marxian idea of confiscating the land and factories and running the entire economy as a single enterprise is momentous. Likewise, Lenin’s invention of the one-party police state as a way to make Marx’s idea work is hardly less momentous.
Stalin’s resolute putting across of these two ideas, of course, did much to divide the world. With only these differences, however, the east and the west could most certainly still live in peace.
The real, basic difference, however, lies in the religion of immoralism . . . invented by Marx, preached feverishly by Lenin, and carried to unimaginable extremes by Stalin. This religion of immoralism, if the Red half of the world triumphs—and well it may, gentlemen—this religion of immoralism will more deeply wound and damage mankind than any conceivable economic or political system.
Karl Marx dismissed God as a hoax, and Lenin and Stalin have added in clear-cut, unmistakable language their resolve that no nation, no people who believe in a god, can exist side by side with their communistic state.
Karl Marx, for example, expelled people from his Communist Party for mentioning such things as love, justice, humanity or morality. He called this “soulful ravings” and “sloppy sentimentality.” . . .
Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity. The modern champions of communism have selected this as the time, and ladies and gentlemen, the chips are down—they are truly down.
Lest there be any doubt that the time has been chosen, let us go directly to the leader of communism today—Joseph Stalin. Here is what he said—not back in 1928, not before the war, not during the war—but 2 years after the last war was ended: “To think that the Communist revolution can be carried out peacefully, within the framework of a Christian democracy, means one has either gone out of one’s mind and lost all normal understanding, or has grossly and openly repudiated the Communist revolution.” . . .
Ladies and gentlemen, can there be anyone tonight who is so blind as to say that the war is not on? Can there by anyone who fails to realize that the Communist world has said the time is now? . . . that this is the time for the show-down between the democratic Christian world and the communistic atheistic world?
Unless we face this fact, we shall pay the price that must be paid by those who wait too long.
Six years ago, . . . there was within the Soviet orbit, 180,000,000 people. Lined up on the antitotalitarian side there were in the world at that time, roughly 1,625,000,000 people. Today, only six years later, there are 800,000,000 people under the absolute domination of Soviet Russia—an increase of over 400 percent. On our side, the figure has shrunk to around 500,000,000. In other words, in less than six years, the odds have changed from 9 to 1 in our favor to 8 to 5 against us.
This indicates the swiftness of the tempo of Communist victories and American defeats in the cold war. As one of our outstanding historical figures once said, “When a great democracy is destroyed, it will not be from enemies from without, but rather because of enemies from within.” . . .
The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores . . . but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this Nation. It has not been the less fortunate, or members of minority groups who have been traitorous to this Nation, but rather those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest Nation on earth has had to offer . . . the finest homes, the finest college education and the finest jobs in government we can give.
This is glaringly true in the State Department. There the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones who have been most traitorous. . . .
I have here in my hand a list of 205 . . . a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department. . . .
As you know, very recently the Secretary of State proclaimed his loyalty to a man guilty of what has always been considered as the most abominable of all crimes—being a traitor to the people who gave him a position of great trust—high treason. . . .
He has lighted the spark which is resulting in a moral uprising and will end only when the whole sorry mess of twisted, warped thinkers are swept from the national scene so that we may have a new birth of honesty and decency in government.
Joseph McCarthy to President Harry Truman, February 11, 1950
In the Lincoln Day speech at Wheeling Thursday night I stated that the State Department harbors a nest of Communists and Communist sympathizers who are helping to shape our foreign policy. I further stated that I have in my possession the names of 57 Communists who are in the State Department at present. A State Department spokesman promptly denied this, claiming that there is not a single Communist in the Department. You can convince yourself of the falsity of the State Department claim very easily. You will recall that you personally appointed a board to screen State Department employees for the purpose of weeding out fellow travelers—men whom the board considered dangerous to the security of this Nation. Your board did a painstaking job, and named hundreds which had been listed as dangerous to the security of the Nation, because of communistic connections.
While the records are not available to me, I know absolutely of one group of approximately 300 certified to the Secretary for discharge because of communism. He actually only discharged approximately 80. I understand that this was done after lengthy consultation with the now-convicted traitor, Alger Hiss. I would suggest, therefore, Mr. President, that you simply pick up your phone and ask Mr. Acheson how many of those whom your board had labeled as dangerous Communists he failed to discharge. The day the House Un-American Activities Committee exposed Alger Hiss as an important link in an international Communist spy ring you signed an order forbidding the State Department’s giving any information in regard to the disloyalty or the communistic connections of anyone in that Department to the Congress.
Despite this State Department black-out, we have been able to compile a list of 57 Communists in the State Department. This list is available to you but you can get a much longer list by ordering Secretary Acheson to give you a list of those whom your own board listed as being disloyal and who are still working in the State Department. I believe the following is the minimum which can be expected of you in this case.
1. That you demand that Acheson give you and the proper congressional committee the names and a complete report on all of those who were placed in the Department by Alger Hiss, and all of those still working in the State Department who were listed by your board as bad security risks because of their communistic connections.
2. That you promptly revoke the order in which you provided under no circumstances could a congressional committee obtain any information or help in exposing Communists.
Failure on your part will label the Democratic Party of being the bedfellow of international communism. Certainly this label is not deserved by the hundreds of thousands of loyal American Democrats throughout the Nation, and by the sizable number of able loyal Democrats in both the Senate and the House.
|Picture||Movie Total||Overall Total||Name||Method|
|1||1||Art Galt||Fall from helicopter onto rocks|
|Rambo throws a rock at the cockpit of the helicopter, causing the pilot to lose control of the chopper and Galt, who was firing from the open door, to fall off from the chopper to the rocks below|
It is unknown if Will Teasle died from his injuries at the hands of Rambo's M60 or if there were any police officers killed in the car chase with Rambo's commandeered National Guard truck. It is likely in both cases that Teasle and at least some police sustained injuries, but all made it out alive, though Teasle's injuries may have contributed to his likely death from natural causes or illness later on.
Buying power of $5 since 1997
Below are calculations of equivalent buying power for Milk, over time, for $5 beginning in 1997. Each of the amounts below is equivalent in terms of what it could buy at the time:
|Year||USD Value||Inflation Rate|
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Treasury established several programs under TARP to help stabilize the U.S. financial system, restart economic growth, and prevent avoidable foreclosures.
Although Congress initially authorized $700 billion for TARP in October 2008, that authority was reduced to $475 billion by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). Of that, the following amounts were committed through TARP's five program areas:
- Approximately $250 billion was committed in programs to stabilize banking institutions ($5 billion of which was ultimately cancelled).
- Approximately $27 billion was committed through programs to restart credit markets.
- Approximately $82 billion was committed to stabilize the U.S. auto industry ($2 billion of which was ultimately cancelled).
- Approximately $70 billion was committed to stabilize American International Group (AIG) ($2 billion of which was ultimately cancelled).
- Approximately $46 billion was committed for programs to help struggling families avoid foreclosure, with these expenditures being made over time.
The authority to make new financial commitments under TARP ended on
October 3, 2010. As of October 31, 2016, cumulative collections under TARP, together with Treasury's additional proceeds from the sale of non-TARP shares of AIG, exceed total disbursements by more than $7.9 billion. Treasury is now winding down its remaining TARP investments and is also continuing to implement TARP initiatives to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.
TARP helped prevent the collapse of the American auto industry, saving more than a million American jobs.
Bank Investment Programs
TARP helped stabilize America's banking system during the financial crisis.
Credit Market Programs
TARP helped restart the secondary credit markets which are essential to keeping credit flowing to households and businesses.
Treasury issued standards governing executive compensation at financial institutions that received assistance under TARP. These standards are implemented and are overseen by the Office of the Special Master.
TARP helped prevent avoidable foreclosures and keeps families in their homes.
Investment in AIG
The Federal Reserve and Treasury took action to stabilize AIG because its failure during the financial crisis would have had a devastating impact on our financial system and the economy.
The GRI Standards create a common language for organizations – large or small, private or public – to report on their sustainability impacts in a consistent and credible way. This enhances global comparability and enables organizations to be transparent and accountable.
The Standards help organizations understand and disclose their impacts in a way that meets the needs of multiple stakeholders. In addition to reporting companies, the Standards are highly relevant to many other groups, including investors, policymakers, capital markets, and civil society.
The Standards are designed as an easy-to-use modular set, starting with the universal Standards. Topic Standards are then selected, based on the organization's material topics – economic, environmental or social. This process ensures that the sustainability report provides an inclusive picture of material topics, their related impacts, and how they are managed.
Download the GRI Standards
Access individual Standards or the entire consolidated set for free, provided in English and 11 other translations
Access the Resource Center
Search and find documents, reports and publications to help you make the most of the GRI Standards
Telecommunications companies worldwide, with the support of governments, are poised within the next two years to roll out the fifth-generation wireless network (5G). This is set to deliver what is acknowledged to be unprecedented societal change on a global scale. We will have “smart” homes, “smart” businesses, “smart” highways, “smart” cities and self-driving cars. Virtually everything we own and buy, from refrigerators and washing machines to milk cartons, hairbrushes and infants’ diapers, will contain antennas and microchips and will be connected wirelessly to the Internet. Every person on Earth will have instant access to super-high-speed, low- latency wireless communications from any point on the planet, even in rainforests, mid-ocean and the Antarctic.
What is not widely acknowledged is that this will also result in unprecedented environmental change on a global scale. The planned density of radio frequency transmitters is impossible to envisage. In addition to millions of new 5G base stations on Earth and 20,000 new satellites in space, 200 billion transmitting objects, according to estimates, will be part of the Internet of Things by 2020, and one trillion objects a few years later. Commercial 5G at lower frequencies and slower speeds was deployed in Qatar, Finland and Estonia in mid-2018. The rollout of 5G at extremely high (millimetre wave) frequencies is planned to begin at the end of 2018.
Despite widespread denial, the evidence that radio frequency (RF) radiation is harmful to life is already overwhelming. The accumulated clinical evidence of sick and injured human beings, experimental evidence of damage to DNA, cells and organ systems in a wide variety of plants and animals, and epidemiological evidence that the major diseases of modern civilization—cancer, heart disease and diabetes—are in large part caused by electromagnetic pollution, forms a literature base of well over 10,000 peer-reviewed studies.
If the telecommunications industry’s plans for 5G come to fruition, no person, no animal, no bird, no insect and no plant on Earth will be able to avoid exposure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to levels of RF radiation that are tens to hundreds of times greater than what exists today, without any possibility of escape anywhere on the planet. These 5G plans threaten to provoke serious, irreversible effects on humans and permanent damage to all of the Earth’s ecosystems.
Immediate measures must be taken to protect humanity and the environment, in accordance with ethical imperatives and international agreements.
›› June, 2021 calendar
Today is Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021. It is the 174th day of the year, and in the 25th week of the year (assuming each week starts on a Monday). There are 30 days in this month. 2021 is not a leap year, so there are 365 days in this year.
September 12, 2013 Day 236 of the Fifth Year - History
For the last few weeks, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been getting all the attention, as people wondered exactly what he will, or will not, support when it comes to voting rights, infrastructure, and changing the filibuster. It would seem that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) did not like it that Manchin was getting all the headlines, because she published an op-ed late on Monday that reiterates her views on the filibuster.
The headline, which many will roll their eyes at, is: "We have more to lose than gain by ending the filibuster." Sinema did not write the headline, of course, but she did write the body of the piece (or, at least, she approved it being published in her name). Here's the key passage:
It's no secret that I oppose eliminating the Senate's 60-vote threshold. I held the same view during three terms in the U.S. House, and said the same after I was elected to the Senate in 2018. If anyone expected me to reverse my position because my party now controls the Senate, they should know that my approach to legislating in Congress is the same whether in the minority or majority.
Once in a majority, it is tempting to believe you will stay in the majority. But a Democratic Senate minority used the 60-vote threshold just last year to filibuster a police reform proposal and a covid-relief bill that many Democrats viewed as inadequate. Those filibusters were mounted not as attempts to block progress, but to force continued negotiations toward better solutions.
And, sometimes, the filibuster, as it's been used in previous Congresses, is needed to protect against attacks on women's health, clean air and water, or aid to children and families in need.
My support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy. It is based on what is best for our democracy. The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles.
To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to pass the For the People Act (voting-rights legislation I support and have co-sponsored), I would ask: Would it be good for our country if we did, only to see that legislation rescinded a few years from now and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law or restrictions on voting by mail in federal elections, over the objections of the minority?
It's a fine argument, though it does frame things in the way that is most favorable to the Senator's point of view. That is to say, it's much easier to say that you want to keep the filibuster because of positive outcomes A, B, and C that it has had. The question gets a little harder, however, when you frame it something like this: Getting rid of the filibuster is going to do harm, but restricting voting rights will do harm, too which harm is worse? Or, if you'd like that in sound bite form: Which is a more important thing to protect, the voice of the minority, or the voices of minorities? Also helpful to her argument, Sinema overlooks that the Senate functioned just fine without a filibuster for 100 years or so, and with a very limited use of the filibuster for another 100 or so.
As is the case with Manchin, we don't really know what to make of Sinema's statements on this question. Actually, she's probably a little harder to figure out, since she doesn't have the argument that she's the only Democrat who can get elected in her home state, while Manchin does. Further, her state is purple (not ruby red) and many of her past supporters are getting restless, so it's less clear that her assertive centrism (conservatism?) is actually helping her, politically. All of this said, we will point out that the whole op-ed very pointedly focuses on eliminating the filibuster, and is essentially silent on changing the filibuster. So, if in a month or six, she "grudgingly decides" that it's necessary to make the filibuster a "talking" filibuster again, or to do something else that keeps the option available but makes it more onerous, she's left herself an out that would not require repudiating this entire op-ed.
One tacit assumption that Sinema and Manchin are making is "If we play nice, the Republicans will play nice." We really question this. Suppose the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and the Republicans win the White House and both chambers of Congress in 2024 or 2028. Then Congressional Republicans draw up a bill to outlaw abortion nationally and the Democrats filibuster it. Then the Republicans try to sneak that into a reconciliation bill but Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough says: "Nope." So the only way to pass the law is to abolish the filibuster. If you believe that the Republicans will say: "We appreciate your not abolishing it in 2021 when you could have passed your entire program, so we won't abolish it now," then we would be happy to sell you an NFT of today's posting for the bargain price of only $10,000. Want it? The Democrats would be extremely foolish to refrain from abolishing the filibuster now without some ironclad guarantee that the Republicans won't abolish it in the future. Probably the only "guarantee" that might be enforceable would be to pass a constitutional amendment right now requiring 60% of the Senate to approve all legislation. That would be hard to undo later when Republicans wanted to abolish it. (Z & V)
Polling News, Part I: Adams Remains the Favorite
Today is the day that New Yorkers will choose the Democratic nominee for mayor, and thus, Mayor Bill de Blasio's (D) successor. Things have grown exceedingly nasty, as candidates desperate to claw their way to the top have turned on one another and accused each other of all sorts of unpleasant things, whether it's being a lousy and ineffective co-worker (Maya Wiley), or engaging in voter suppression (Andrew Yang and Kathryn Garcia), or income tax evasion (Eric Adams).
It does not appear that all this mud-slinging has moved the needle much. In what will presumably be the final poll of the race, Ipsos has Adams maintaining his commanding lead, with 28% of the vote. Following him are Yang (20%), Garcia (15%), Wiley (13%), Scott Stringer (8%), Shaun Donovan (5%), Ray McGuire (also 5%), and Dianne Morales (1%), while 6% of respondents expressed no preference. That adds up to 101% because of rounding. Simulating the progression of the ranked-choice voting, Ipsos predicts that Adams will triumph over Yang in the 7th round of balloting, 56% to 44%.
It is clearly Adams' race to lose, then, and most New York political insiders think he'll be the next mayor. That said, the ranked-choice voting is a wildcard, particularly if non-Adams voters decide to put the focus on strategy rather than what is in their hearts. We should know what happened. sometime this month? Well, unless they import a bunch of Democratic officials from Iowa to run the show. (Z)
Polling News, Part II: DeSantis for President?
There are many, many groups of conservative activists out there, and they love to meet and talk shop. This weekend, one of those groups, the Western Conservative Summit, had its annual confab, and conducted a straw poll asking which folks the attendees would be willing to support for president. They could vote for as many or as few as they liked. Here are the percentages of the vote for each potential presidential candidate:
|Donald Trump Sr.||71.43%|
|Donald Trump Jr.||24.8%|
|None of the above||1.08%|
Before we talk about the numbers, let's start with some important caveats: These sorts of straw polls are extremely unreliable, because they involve small sample sizes, and an unrepresentative selection of True Believers&trade. They are the kind of thing designed for the Ron Pauls and the Pat Buchanans of the world to win, and do relatively little to indicate who is electable nationally, or even who has broad support in the Republican Party.
On the other hand, the folks voting in this (or any other) straw poll are the sort of activists that a candidate really needs, particularly if they are running in the far-right lane. The folks who attend these conservative conferences and summits have an outsized role in the Republican Party, because they donate their time and money and they have influence over other Party members. In other words, their support may not be sufficient to win the GOP nomination or the election, but it probably is necessary, in particular—once again—for someone running in the far-right lane.
And now, a few observations:
- Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) continues to look like the frontrunner if Donald Trump Sr. does not run. Indeed, if Trump is badly damaged (say, he's on his way to prison) and he still tries to mount a run, it's not impossible that DeSantis could decide to challenge him directly, and could dispatch him. It's clear that for many Republican voters, the Governor offers many of the upsides of Trumpism without all the baggage.
There will be a lot of these straw polls in upcoming weeks and months, as summer is a popular time for these sorts of shindigs. And the trendlines will be interesting to see. (Z)
Trump's Risky Endorsement Strategy
Actually, "risky" is one word for it. "Careless" might work just as well. Since the start of this year, Donald Trump's political power has shrunk dramatically. He egged on an insurrection, he lost his social media, he exited the White House, his legal problems are mounting, and, if the poll above is to be believed, his grip on the Republican Party is slipping. The main thing he's got left is his power over the cult. er, the base, and his (theoretical) power to play kingmaker. If his endorsements can make or break a candidate, then he still has a seat at the Republican table.
The challenge for any politician who might hope to wield their influence in this way is that, like picking stocks or winning sports bets, it's hard to actually have an impact. Some races are hopeless for a party, and others are slam dunks. That means that there are only a small number of swing-y elections where an aspiring kingmaker might demonstrate their influence. The theory with Trump, of course, is that he has such power over his base that he can swing a primary, or even a close general election, simply by granting (or withholding) his blessing. However, that theory was not really sustained while Trump was in office. Let's take a look, for example, at his general election Senate endorsements for 2018:
|Endorsed Incumbent Winner||Deb Fischer (NE), Ted Cruz (TX), John Barrasso (WY)||3|
|Endorsed Challenger Winner||Mike Braun (IN), Rick Scott (FL), Kevin Cramer (ND)||3|
|Endorsed Open Seat Winner||Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mitt Romney (UT)||2|
|Endorsed Incumbent Loser||Dean Heller (NV)||1|
|Endorsed Challenger Loser||John James (MI), Karin Housley (MN), Matt Rosendale (MT), Bob Hugin (NJ), Jim Renacci (OH), Lou Barletta (PA), Evan Jenkins and Patrick Morrisey (both WV), Leah Vukmir (WI)||8|
|Endorsed Open Seat Loser||Martha McSally (AZ)||1|
As you can see, overall, he was on more losers than he was winners. And nearly all the winners that he was on were shoo-ins the only winner he might have helped pull over the finish line was Rick Scott, who won a barnburner. Meanwhile, it's possible he dragged Dean Heller and/or Martha McSally down enough to push them into the "loser" column. It's a little harder to evaluate his impact on the 2018 Senate primaries (or on House races), because he tended to be somewhat vague in his pronouncements, and he often "endorsed" when it was all over but the shoutin'. However, nearly all of the folks above would surely have been the Republican nominee with or without Trump. The only ones who might plausibly have been "crowned" by him are Marsha Blackburn, Matt Rosendale and Jim Renacci.
Here's the same information for his 2020 Senate endorsements:
|Incumbent Winner||Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Bill Cassidy (LA), John Cornyn (TX), Steve Daines (MT), Joni Ernst (IA), Lindsey Graham (SC), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Jim Inhofe (OK), Mitch McConnell (KY), Jim Risch (ID), Mike Rounds (SD), Ben Sasse (NE), Dan Sullivan (AK), Thom Tillis (NC)||14|
|Challenger Winner||Tommy Tuberville (AL)||1|
|Open Seat Winner||Bill Hagerty (TN), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Roger Marshall (KS)||3|
|Incumbent Loser||Cory Gardner (CO), David Perdue (GA)||2|
|Challenger Loser||John James (MI), Jason Lewis (MN), Corky Messner (NH)||3|
|Open Seat Loser||Kelly Loeffler (GA)||1|
Trump's overall record was better in 2020 than in 2018, but that's due to his propensity to endorse incumbents, along with the fact that Republicans were defending so many seats. In races where a boost was needed, he actually did worse than in 2018. The only GOP win where Trump might have mattered is in North Carolina. Meanwhile, he failed to save any of the seats that he might have saved, most obviously the two in Georgia. His impact in the primaries was also muted he gave Tommy Tuberville, Roger Marshall, and Bill Hagerty a leg up, but that was largely a matter of deciding what kind of Republican would be representing a very red state.
Anyhow, the point is that Trump's track record isn't at all impressive he might be able to swing a primary here or there in a red state or a red district, and he might be able to influence a very close general election in a purple-to-red state, but that hardly makes him a kingmaker. And note that all of this was with the patronage and the bully pulpit of the presidency at his disposal, not to mention social media.
These days, Trump has none of those things. Further, in his desperate desire to remain relevant and to retain influence over the Republican Party, he's pursuing a much riskier approach to endorsements for 2022. Yes, he's still on some Republican incumbents who are overwhelming favorites to win. That list currently has five entries: John Boozman (AR), Jerry Moran (KS), Rand Paul (KY), Marco Rubio (FL), and Tim Scott (SC). Those folks are all going to win if Trump backs them, opposes them, or says nothing.
In the four other races where he's endorsed, on the other hand, the former president has lined up behind a considerably less safe candidate. To start, there is Wisconsin, where Sen. Ron Johnson is all-in on Trump and Trump is all-in on him. It's not yet clear that Johnson will violate his 2010 campaign promise and run again, but if he does, it could blow up in the face of both Trump and the GOP. The Senator is pretty unpopular with many Wisconsinites these days, something he was reminded of this weekend when he appeared at Milwaukee's Juneteenth celebration and was roundly booed.
Beyond Johnson, there are three races where Trump has picked a candidate other than the one favored by the establishment. One of those, as we noted yesterday, is Alaska, where Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is a strong favorite to win reelection. However, she also refuses to accept the Big Lie, and she voted for conviction during the second Trump impeachment. So, she's persona non Trumpa, and he's backed MAGAphile Kelly Tshibaka (R) instead. Meanwhile, in Alabama, outgoing Sen. Richard Shelby (R) is behind his former chief of staff Katie Britt (R), while Trump likes the much Trumpier Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) instead. And in North Carolina, outgoing Sen. Richard Burr (R) is telling anyone and everyone who will listen that former governor Pat McCrory (R) is the only person in the Party who can hold the seat, but Trump is behind the ultra-Trumpy Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC).
The wise thing for Trump to do would be to cool his jets, and wait to see how things play out, so he doesn't end up with his wagon hitched to candidates who are headed to big defeats, or who might have skeletons emerge from their closets. But The Donald is incapable of being patient, and never plays the long game. So, now he's placed bets on a bunch of candidates, and bets that are based on their loyalty to him, rather than their overall electability. In at least three of these cases, and possibly four (depending on what happens with Johnson), the former president is lining up against the GOP establishment. The problem is that the GOP establishment has the money, and the logistics, and a much larger megaphone (including social media), and is pretty good at knowing who is most electable. So, Trump is likely headed for a bunch of high-profile, embarrassing primary defeats.
Again, this is not to say that Trump can't swing the occasional statewide election, or House election, or race for dogcatcher. But one of these days, and that day may well be Wednesday, November 9, 2022, Republican politicians are going to look carefully at The Donald's track record, and are going to figure out that he can't really make or break their careers with a snap of his fingers. His endorsement won't be totally meaningless after that he can help voters identify the Trumpiest candidate, the way that Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez help voters identify the progressive candidate. But nobody is calling Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez "kingmaker," and nobody in Washington asks "How high?" when they say "Jump!" (Z)
Tucker Carlson, Male Prostitute
Those who have been watching "Saturday Night Live" for a very long time will recall that Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute was a loudmouth, dressed in garish clothing that was 10 years out-of-style, and was "available" to anyone and everyone who made it worth his time. We think that's a pretty good description of Tucker Carlson, as well, particularly after Monday's revelations about his cozy relationship with the "lamestream media."
On his show, of course, Tucker Carlson plays a bombastic, right-wing firebrand. If you didn't already know, you could watch a clip of him and one of Stephen Colbert (when he hosted "The Colbert Report"), and you might struggle to figure out which one was "real" and which one was parody (Poe's law in action). And part of the Tucker Carlson character, performed five nights a week on Fox "News," is a constant barrage of attacks on the media (which is presented as near-universally left-wing), and its shortcomings, biases, errors, unfairness to Donald Trump, etc.
As with Rush Limbaugh the radio-show character and Rush Limbaugh the person, there is clearly some distance between the TV Tucker and the real Tucker. It was The New York Times' Ben Smith who yesterday clued everyone into how big that gap just might be. It turns out that when he's off the air, Carlson is constantly on the phone, not only with Republican insiders (including Donald Trump), but also with the same "left-wing" reporters that he has described, on-air, as "cringing animals who are not worthy of respect." He often serves as a background source for stories about himself, about internal Fox politics, and about the Trump presidency (including some none-too-flattering stories about The Donald).
The motivations on both sides here are very clear. Reporters often rely on their "adversaries" for insider information, since you can only get insider information, by definition, from insiders. (The Times' Maggie Haberman, and her relationship with Trump, provide a good example of this.) Meanwhile, by talking to the media, even if it's usually off the record, Carlson gets to shape the narrative, while also giving himself some leverage over negative coverage of himself. If a reporter who gets good information from Carlson twice a week is thinking about an anti-Carlson hit piece, they might think twice about exactly how much they want to risk getting cut off.
Anyhow, although this is a standard, and ultimately unsurprising, arrangement, it undoubtedly looks and smells a little fishy to outsiders. Can the media be properly critical of Carlson if they are in his debt? Probably not. Can Carlson's pronouncements on the media (or anything else) be taken seriously if he so obviously does not practice what he preaches? Again, probably not. So, both sides will hope (probably correctly) that this revelation is quickly forgotten, so they can resume prostituting themselves out of the public's view. (Z)
Big News Times Two from the World of Sports
There were two very significant developments in the world of sports on Monday. Although neither has become a political football yet, they certainly could. So, for those who don't follow the sports pages or read ESPN.com, let's bring you up to speed.
First of all, one of the decisions lingering on the Supreme Court's "to do" list was in the case of National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston, et al. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is, of course, the governing body that oversees college sports. "Alston" is Shawne Alston, a former football player for West Virginia, who (along with his co-plaintiffs) felt the promise of "an education in exchange for your performance as an athlete" was not being fulfilled. Specifically, while universities provide room, board, tuition, and books to student-athletes, the NCAA forbids schools from paying for other education-related expenses, like laptop computers, personal tutoring, lab equipment, musical instruments, etc. This conveniently allowed member schools to shrug and say, "We'd love to help with these things, but we just can't!" So, Alston (and several other student-athletes) sued.
In a unanimous ruling, the Court sided with Alston and his fellow plaintiffs. The majority decision was written by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, and found that "full scholarship" means "all educational expenses" and not just tuition, books, and room and board. The absolutely scorching concurrence, which might as well have been penned by Bernie Sanders, was written by. Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, of all people. He went rather further than Gorsuch, calling the NCAA the cartel that it is, and making very clear that future, broader lawsuits are not likely to go the NCAA's way. Thanks to Monday's decision, student-athletes can now get laptops and such, and thanks to a previous decision, in O'Bannon v. NCAA, student-athletes must be paid when their likenesses are used. Kavanaugh's concurrence is basically an invitation to file a suit that will confront head-on the most sacred cow of college sports, namely whether or not student-athletes can be paid. If that suit is filed, and is successful, it will topple the NCAA's whole business model.
The Court's ruling is, in the end, not especially surprising. Liberals like to empower laborers (i.e., the student-athletes), while conservatives are fans of the free market. Further, the NCAA has abused its power and its position for a very long time. So, the new status quo, the one established yesterday, should not be especially controversial.
However, there are a lot of people in this country, particularly in the Midwest and in the South, who really love their college sports. And once some student-athlete takes Kavanaugh up on the implied suggestion in his concurrence, and that student-athlete turns the NCAA on its head, the effects are likely to be massive. Right now, the two most successful college coaches in the country (Nick Saban of Alabama and Dabo Swinney of Clemson) take home more than $8 million per year. If schools have to pay their players, then the math is going to get problematic very quickly. Some universities will cut a bunch of sports that aren't football or men's basketball (possibly putting those schools in violation of Title IX). Others will say that if they have to choose between having a big-time coach and a physics department, well, too bad for the physics department. Still other schools will decide that they simply can't support a Division I program anymore, and will drop down a division or two, where athletes don't even get scholarships. And all of this upheaval will be the result of a case that pits, to a greater or lesser extent, predominantly Black and Brown athletes against predominantly white coaches and administrators. So, there's potential for this to get very politically charged in a year or two or three.
Meanwhile, the other big news on Monday is that the NFL now has its first openly gay player. Carl Nassib, who plays on the defensive line for the Las Vegas Raiders, decided that he was willing to subject himself to. whatever may come of this, and so posted a brief video to Instagram in which he outed himself. "I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay. I've been meaning to do this for a while now," he explained, "but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest."
Some folks are already comparing Nassib to Jackie Robinson, though we wouldn't go quite that far. In Robinson's case, there were zero Black athletes participating in any major team sport when he broke baseball's color line in 1947, and the number of Black athletes of any sort who had been embraced by Americans by that time could be counted on one hand, with fingers left over (boxer Joe Louis, track and field star Jesse Owens, and. um. hmmm). By contrast, there are many prominent LGBTQ+ folks in American society, and in American sports (team and individual), and there have already been closeted gay players in the NFL (e.g., Jerry Smith) and out gay players in NFL training camps (Michael Sam).
All of this is to say that while Nassib is quite brave to put himself out there, this shouldn't be that big a deal. However, we also wouldn't have thought that a player or two kneeling during the national anthem would be a big deal, and look what happened there. Plus, many NFL players are quite conservative and quite religious, and have a propensity for speaking their minds, even when remaining silent might be the better play. So, we shall see what happens. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has already issued a statement supporting Nassib. We cannot find any definitive statement as to what Goodell's religion is, but if he's Catholic, we assume that the Church will issue a statement denying him communion sometime in the next week or so. (Z)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers (such as RO*TEL®)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1 cooked chicken, torn into shreds or cut into chunks
- 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
- 10 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Saute onion, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper in hot oil until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
Combine onion-pepper mixture, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, sour cream, cumin, ancho chile powder, oregano, and chipotle chile powder together in a large bowl and stir until sauce is well-combined.
Spread a few tablespoons of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Spread 1/2 the chicken over the sauce. Spread about half the sauce over the chicken and top with 1/3 the cheese. Spread a layer of tortillas over the cheese. Spread remaining 1/2 the chicken over the tortillas, and top with almost all of the remaining sauce, reserving 1/2 cup sauce. Top with 1/3 the cheese, remaining tortillas, the reserved 1/2 cup sauce, and remaining 1/3 cheese.
Bake casserole in the preheated oven until bubbling, about 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to broil. Broil the casserole until top is golden, 2 to 3 minutes more.