News Bits for Juneteenth 2024

Happy Juneteenth. Here is a history-nerd reminder that chattel slavery hadn’t completely ended in the U.S. on the first “Juneteenth” in 1865. Slavery remained legal in Delaware and Kentucky until the 13th Amendment went into effect in December 1865. But we’ve got enough holidays in December already.

On to the news: Matt Gaetz must really be in trouble.

After he was ousted as House Speaker last year, Kevin McCarthy claimed that Representative Matt Gaetz led the effort to depose him as revenge for a House Ethics Committee investigation into the Florida congressman. For his part, Gaetz has insisted that his motivations for giving McCarthy the boot were purely based on policy concerns. But if he was hoping the end of McCarthy would mean an end to the investigation, he was apparently sorely mistaken!

In a statement released on Tuesday, the ethics panel—which is notably controlled by Republicans—said that it has not only continued its investigation into Gaetz, but it has expanded the probe.

That other House Republicans would do this to Gaetz in an election year seems remarkable to me. Maybe he’s such an insufferable jerk they can’t stand him, either. Or maybe they’re trying to get ahead of something really awful that’s bound to come out sooner or later. This is from the Committee’s statement:

… Based on its review to date, the Committee has determined that certain of the allegations merit continued review.  During the course of its investigation, the Committee has also identified additional allegations that merit review.

Accordingly, the Committee is reviewing allegations pursuant to Committee Rules 14(a)(3) and 18(a) that Representative Gaetz may have:  engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, accepted improper gifts, dispensed special privileges and favors to individuals with whom he had a personal relationship, and sought to obstruct government investigations of his conduct.  The Committee will take no further action at this time on the allegations that he may have shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe or improper gratuity. 

The most recent word on Gaetz is from ABC News: Witness tells House Ethics Committee that Matt Gaetz paid her for sex: Sources.

Yesterday was primary day in Virginia. The House VA-05 Republican primary was between two horrible men. Incumbent Rep. Bob Good is chair of the House Freedom Caucus and in most respects is as MAGA as they come, but for one thing: He endorsed Ron DeSantis back when DeSantis still looked viable as a presidential candidate. So Trump ordered Good to be primaried. The primary challenger is state Sen. John J. McGuire III. Josh Marshall calls McGuire a “Trump fanboy stooge.” Trump endorsed McGuire and looked to a McGuire victory as revenge against Good. And apparently all signs pointed to a McGuire win. But as of noon EST Wednesday, the race is too close to call.

Josh Marshall: “This is nonstop popcorn. Two election denying freaks in a too close to call race in which the true may not be known for some time. Karma.” It also perhaps says something about the value of Trump’s endorsement, even among Republicans.

Speaking of Trump, now he’s saying that business executives should be fired from their jobs if they don’t support him for POTUS.

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that business executives and shareholder representatives should “be 100% behind” him or face termination.

“Business Executives and Shareholder Representatives should be 100% behind Donald Trump! Anybody that’s not should be FIRED for incompetence!,” the former president wrote in a post on his social media website, Truth Social.

His post referred to an article from The Wall Street Journal on Monday comparing corporate tax rates between the Biden and Trump administrations. In another post, Trump quoted the article as saying, “Corporations won tax cuts during Trump’s first term, and they would benefit if he wins again.”

Of course, Trump also said the stock market would crash if Biden were elected in 2020. It, um, didn’t.

The business execs might also consider that Trump’s stupid plan to replace income taxes with tariffs would kill the economy.

There’s a new book called Apprentice in Wonderland about how Trump’s time on The Apprentice not only made him POTUS but also colors his worldview to this day. The author, Ramin Setoodeh, interviewed Trump six times at length about his Apprentice years. The first interviews were in 2021 and continued over several months. Setoodeh is saying now that Trump has “severe memory issues.”

I’ve said earlier that I’m not sure Trump always understands questions he is asked or what planet he’s on at least part of the time. He’s still bragging about the cognitive test he took in 2018 and allegedly aced. He seems to think this was some kind of intellgence test, when of course it was just a screening test for dementia. One wonders if he would “ace” it now.

11 thoughts on “News Bits for Juneteenth 2024

  1. I’ve said earlier that I’m not sure Trump always understands questions he is asked or what planet he’s on at least part of the time.

    He definitely does not. And he definitely sometimes flies into rages and has no idea what he's saying, which means his denials later are sincere, if still lies.

    And Tom Nichols, who is Someone (not me, who is No One so no one cares that I've been saying this since 2020), pointed out earlier this week Trump's habit of reading something off the teleprompter and saying "so true, so true," like it's the first time he's seen the words (which it probably is).

    Of course, to the Peter Bakers and Joe Kahns of the world, the fact that Joe Biden is three years older means he must be in even worse mental shape. He just must be — no evidence required.

    As for the tariff "plan," Paul Krugman points out that it will just be shrugged off as another one of those crazy, out-of-the-box Trump ideas. I wish people would realize that there is no evidence to support the underlying assumption that once Trump is told his idea is stupid he'll drop it.

  2. Once upon a time in American politics, the republican party had a facade at least of competence and respectability.  Sure, there was Eugene McCarthy and the John Birchers. but I and many others saw the hidden ringmasters in control of the fringe elements and a pipeline of political talent.  Not only that but they could be trusted with highly sensitive information regarding national security and other things and be vigilant in its maintenance.  

    Lately it has become apparent not even fragments of a facade of competence and respectability remain.  Now I doubt hidden ringmasters have control, though some individual power brokers seem to have a working puppet or two.  If, in fact, Matt Gaetz was able to even temporarily divert or deflect investigations, in what seem to be quite serious ethical and criminal activities, the party is wallowing in problems.

    As for Trump, it is but days until the debate.  I am under the impression he is in that angry phase of dementia before any acceptance of diminishing cognitive skill starts to register.  Trump is not the reflective self-critical type to say the least, so acceptance may never happen.  Needless to say, he is surrounded by more distorted feedback than one gets in a circus house of mirrors.  

    Oh, the whispers that must be going on.  The games of who can I trust.

    Will Trump show at the debate?  Is he too far gone to even present a facade of competency?  Will he get lucky and be in one of those times of relative remission?  It could be up to planetary alignment or in the cards, but it does seem his deck is becoming more and more stacked against him.  Now who was that White House Doctor with the great pill cabinet?  The one with the pill for every ill.  


  3. Re Juneteenth: I read an interesting if somewhat frightening account of a white teacher in FL from a mostly black elementary school. She had a BLM flag up in her classroom which she refused to take down. She was removed to non-teaching duties for a time, then fired. The state went after her teaching credentials which a court has determined was invalid. So she might be allowed to teach in a private school. 

    Black people are still trying for equality and it's still a struggle. White people (some of us) believe in the ideal and some woke white people are willing to pay the price for standing up to bigotry. In effin' 2024.

    Matt and Marjorie are unwelcome everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer pair of ambitious, bigoted, idiots. IMO, their sins are not what they believe but the insufferably ignorant and brassy presentation. Gaetz was too stupid to conceal drug-fueled parties with underage female entertainment on the menu. MTG proved herself to be a moron with the Jewish Space Lasers post and hasn't learned to conceal her stupidity since. (Bobbert getting caught on cam in public fondling the privates of her date who happened to be a Democrat – ya can't write stuff that good.)  Mind you, if any of those three could learn to be discrete, they'd survive. But they are all determined to be on TV chasing every camera in sight. More experienced crooked politicians are embarrassed by them – McCarthy has friends.

    I'm just not sure if the business community has the good sense to realize that Trump has proposed to put THEM on the collar end of a leash that Trump intends to hold and jerk when a CEO objects. DeSantis and Disney come to mind, but at a federal level. Is Jamie Dimon gonna jump through hoops for a nitwit like Donald Trump?  Fascism implies a marriage between corporations and the state. Under the current system of corruption, business is in charge. Under Trump, the power reverses. 

    Is anyone in power in the Democratic Party capable of pointing out to the oligarchs that the current system of corruption is a better deal for them?

  4. Louisiana has required every school to post a list of all the rules Trump has violated except for Reagan's 11th.  What an embarrassing omission.  How are we expecting students to learn when we give them incomplete information.  

  5. I really wonder what it was that DOJ decided not to prosecute, that Greenberg told them about. 

    I'm thinking that history will not be kind to the memory of Merrick Garland.

  6. Off Topic: Fox news is reporting in their poll of registered voters that Biden is up (by 2 points) for the first time since last year. Other polling suggests there is no change with Democrats or Republicans but there is a distinct shift with independent voters. The race is still tight in the battleground states, where it counts. Trump seems to be mucking up WI by badmouthing the site of their convention. 

    I see four opportunities to amplify the trend. First, the debate next week. Second,  Trump's sentencing two weeks after. Third, the GOP convention especially if Trump looses his stuff over the sentence. Fourth, the Democratic Convention. Each occasion can put a little more bend in the curve. Somewhere in there the USSC will have a written majority decision. Hopefully, they will authorize Biden to use Seal Team SIx on Trump.

  7. Still OT and being annoying: All hell's about to break loose. Next week the USSC should have the Trump Immunity decision. They can't affirm immunity, but how they deny it will be interesting. No matter what, the DC trial should proceed as a result. The debate happens on Thursday, possibly after the decision. If so, there may be a question on it. I'm curious how closely people will watch the debate. If people tune in, it should be good for Biden. The more people see Trump outside of circumstances he can stage, the more people will drift away. Bannon will be reporting to prison next week, a fact that needs to be amplified, along with the demise of Infowars and Rudy Giuliani. If Biden pushes Trump on the legitimacy of the J6 commission and Jack Smith and the integrity (factual accuracy) of their findings, Trump may lose it very publicly. But a bunch of stuff is coming to a head this week, with sentencing to follow.

  8. Get ready for Trump wins the debate hands down.  The noise machine has it all scripted and ready to go.  They have the audience ready to hear the message.  They have cultist ready to drink the cool aid.  They are screened and are certified truth resistant if not negative.

  9. Little known fact — Mississippi did not ratify the 13th Amendment ending slavery until 1995 (and not a by unanimous vote). Then they "lost" the paperwork and did not certify the decision until 2013.

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