Senate Slowdown Monday, No Recess For Poor Performers, And More

If Senate Republicans insist on working on their health care bill in secret, Democrats will do everything in their power to protest this turn of events. Their limited, limited power…

Democrats can grind the Senate to a virtual halt, and that’s what they plan to do beginning Monday afternoon as they protest the GOP secretive push to revamp the nation’s health-care system.

Under the direction of Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Democrats will begin using parliamentary tactics to disrupt the ordinary business of the Senate, including blocking requests for unanimous consent to consider nominees and legislation and preventing committees from holding hearings that last longer than two hours. In the evening, Democratic senators will hold the floor to deliver speeches assailing Republicans for writing and debating their health-care bill behind closed doors.

Having accomplished little of value so far this year, Congress is considering cancelling its August recess.

Remember when liberals pinned their hopes on Ivanka’s moderating influence on her father because she’s a decent human being or something? LOL.

The only way to get the president to care about HIV is to temporarily rename the virus ‘Donald Trump’.

Have you ever wondered what anarchists will admit in private but never publically repeat?

Hail Satan.

Your monthly reminder from The Intercept to wet yourself in fear:

Indeed we should be prepared for security shocks to be exploited as excuses to increase the rounding up and incarceration of large numbers of people from the communities this administration is already targeting: Latino immigrants, Muslims, Black Lives Matter organizers, climate activists, investigative journalists. It’s all possible. And in the name of freeing the hands of law enforcement to fight terrorism, Attorney General Jeff Sessions would have the excuse he’d been looking for to do away with federal oversight of state and local police, especially those that have been accused of systemic racial abuses.

And there is no doubt that the president would seize on any domestic terrorist attack to blame the courts. He made this perfectly clear when he tweeted, after his first travel ban was struck down: “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system.” And on the night of the London Bridge attack, he went even further, tweeting: “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” In a context of public hysteria and recrimination that would surely follow an attack in the U.S., the kind of courage we witnessed from the courts in response to Trump’s travel bans might well be in shorter supply.

And now for some news that has nothing to do with America:

An orthodox priest allied with Vladimir Putin has a very special message about beard care. The Kremlin, meanwhile, has been dealing with the first concerted anti-corruption protests in five years.

Tunisia’s national railway has opened an investigation into whether a hungry conductor stopped his train to buy peaches.

China’s supercomputers are still super.

The Macaroon made out well in France’s parliamentary elections, though turnout was lower than the presidential elections now that the spectre of Lady Hitler has been vanquished.

It’s day one hundred and fifty-one in Donald Trump’s America…

Three Things To Watch Out For Today

Jeff Sessions’ public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Will Jeff come clean or lie under oath? What is the extent of his involvement in abetting the president in the obstruction of justice? Has he seen the new season of Orange Is the New Black, and if so, how does he think it holds up to previous seasons?

Whether Donald Trump actually plans to fire special council Robert Mueller. Yesterday the Donald’s personal friend and CEO of NEWSMAX Chris Ruddy revealed to PBS Newshour that in typical Trumpian fashion, the president is mulling sending Mueller his walking papers in the erroneous assumption that this would lift “the cloud” around his presidency. Doesn’t all this insane political drama remind you of House of Cards, which just released a new season on Netflix?

Any further clues about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. The latest: Russia may have hacked election systems in 39 states. It’s not unreasonable to consider that Russia may have actually handed Trump the keys to the White House, but much remains that we don’t know. If you’re still jonesing for slowly unfolding mysteries with a dark comic sensibility, why not give the 2017 adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events a spin?

This post has been sponsored by Netflix.

(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Forty-Five)

Dead Priebus Walking, Privatized Air Traffic, And More

Nobody likes Reince Priebus. The names of candidates for his replacement as chief of staff are bandied about openly, his boss doesn’t respect him as a peer, and he’s temperamentally ill-suited for the demands of the position. The only reason he still comes into work every day is

There are few takers for what might be an unworkable gig. He stays in the office until late at night and often toils away on the weekend with little control of what ultimately happens.

The orange goblin’s latest inane scheme involves attempting to privatize air traffic control.

Activists from other authoritarian countries have some advice for the anti-Trump resistance.

Surprise! Bill Maher says shitty things and constantly punches down on Real Time! That’s not really a surprise, is it?

Having survived the latest UK terror attack, Londoner Richard Angell will resolutely continue to drink gin and flirt with men.

Let’s put the myth of kindly old General Lee to rest.

Militants, hard left edition:

Redneck Revolt is just one among a handful of left-wing groups that have pledged to resist emboldened white supremacists and right-wing extremists through “direct action” that sometimes goes beyond nonviolent protest—including picking up arms. Some see themselves as the heirs of ’60s radicals like the Black Panthers, while others look to the antifa movement for inspiration.

Militants, alt-right edition:

In any crowd of far-right agitators, there’s probably a few who call themselves National Socialists or Klansmen—especially since David Duke has become a Twitter maven. But more prominent online and at the “Free Speech” rallies rippling across the United States are newer “identitarian” groups led by younger men. Identitarians claim allegiance to an ideology that originated in France and calls for an end to multiculturalism, as well as unity among people (and nation-states) of the same ethnic backgrounds. In practice, that looks a lot like racism and xenophobia, but hey, semantics.

The colorful headline of the day award goes to FoxNews.com for “Democrats behaving like drunks at a funeral“.

And now for something that that may affect your quality of life: It’s getting crowded in American cities.

It’s day one hundred and thirty-seven in Donald Trump’s America…

The Threat Of A Government Shutdown, Marxism v. IdPol, And More

It’s refreshing to see the Democrats being the ones to threaten a government shutdown for once. Unlike Obama-era Republicans, who were contented to use the abstract idea of federal debt as their justification, Dems have a good reason:

“If Republicans announce their intention to bring their harmful TrumpCare bill to the House Floor tomorrow or Saturday, I will oppose a one-week Continuing Resolution and will advise House Democrats to oppose it as well,” the No. 2 Democratic leader in the House, Steny Hoyer, said in a statement.

Do you want to read a Marxist critique of identity politics? Of course you do! It’s less stuffy that it sounds.

Marine Le Pen’s decision to temporarily step aside as head of the National Front ahead of France’s runoff election does not appear to have fooled anyone.

While we fretted about any number of other terrible things, Jeff Sessions has been quietly preparing to double down on mass incarceration.

What have you done to beef up your defense against far-right doxxing?

The Nation asks if neighborhoods can be revitalized without gentrifying them.

Ireland’s 18 – 34 population is ready to overthrow their government. Wouldn’t be the first time.

What ever happened to all those civil rights-era bigots? The answer may… not surprise you.

So America and NAFTA aren’t breaking up after all. Maybe. Ask again tomorrow.

The United States Senate isn’t taking its investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia seriously.

More than three months after the committee announced that it had agreed on the scope of the investigation, the panel has not begun substantially investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, three individuals with ties to the committee told The Daily Beast.

The investigation does not have a single staffer dedicated to it full-time, and those staff members working on it part-time do not have significant investigative experience. The probe currently appears to be moving at a pace slower than prior Senate Intelligence Committee investigations, such as the CIA torture inquiry, which took years to accomplish.

And now for something completely NBA-related: Russell Westbrook’s sensational season transcended wins and losses.

It’s day ninety-eight of year zero in Trump’s America…

The Gathering Storm, The “White Bloc”, And More

China wants the United States and North Korea to cut the crap.

In comments carried by China’s official Xinhua news agency, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said “storm clouds” were gathering … “The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent,” Wang said at a news conference after a meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Xinhua reported. “We urge all parties to refrain from inflammatory or threatening statements or deeds to prevent irreversible damage to the situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

If they allow war to break out on the peninsula, they must bear the historical responsibility and “pay the corresponding price,” Wang warned. In the event of war, “multiple parties will lose, and no one will win,” he said.

Richard Spencer is calling for like-minded racists to organize to fight the black bloc and other antifascist movements. He wants to call it the white bloc.

Obama-era student loan protections have been thrown out the window by DeVos’ Education Department.

His desire to sit at the popular table has turned Stephen Miller into Steve Bannon’s Brutus.

The NYPD reports that general crime is at an all-time low… but incidents of hate crimes are spiking.

If you haven’t read Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, this particular moment in history is a good time to start.

Butler seemed to be on the minds of many on November 8, 2016, as many watched in horror as conservative forces swept through the US electorate, taking the presidency and maintaining control of the House and Senate, with at least one Supreme Court appointment to follow. President-elect Donald Trump’s slogan, borrowed from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign, mirrored that of ultra-conservative presidential hopeful Christopher Charles Morpeth Donner in Parable of the Sower: “Make America Great Again.” There are other similarities. Donner dismantles the “‘wasteful, pointless, unnecessary’ moon and Mars programs,” and abolishes “‘overly restrictive’ minimum-wage, environmental, and worker protection laws.” He gives increasing power to big business, permitting gross labour-rights violations as long as workers are provided “training and adequate room and board.”

Before you start reading Butler, however, you need to set up a VPN. It will take about 10 minutes.

Hate in the Age of Trump: a photo essay by Johnny Milano.

Unless thousands of incarcerated individuals are conspiring to keep their stories straight without being in direct contact with each other, ICE prisons are turning detainees into slaves. A federal judge recently allowed a lawsuit filed in 2014 to reach class action status.

What about whataboutism?

Praising the president for state violence is not a cycle we want to encourage.

Obamacare hasn’t been repealed, but it was just modified to the detriment of everyday people.

And now for some-things completely different:

Cassette tapes are making a comeback for some reason.

Vice on the ongoing influence of Darlene Conner.

It’s day eighty-five of year zero in Trump’s America…