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You Knew It Was Bad, But...
Choose your adventure: alarming; stupid; fascist-adjacent; bat-sh*t crazy; leaky; or inspirational.
You knew it was bad, but not this bad…. Slate’s Jim Newell had a disturbing conversation with California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who apparently doesn’t remember that she’s been gone.
When the fellow reporter asked her what the response from her colleagues had been like since her return, though, the conversation took an odd turn.
“No, I haven’t been gone,” she said.
“You should follow the—I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working.”
When asked whether she meant that she’d been working from home, she turned feisty.
“No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting,” she said. “Please. You either know or don’t know.”
After deflecting one final question about those, like Rep. Ro Khanna, who’ve called on her to resign, she was wheeled away.
ICYMI: She, in fact, has been gone for two and a half months, which meant that California (population 39.2 million) has had half the representation in the US Senate as Wyoming (population 579,000). On both Earth 2.0 and 1.0 this would seem to be a problem.
You knew he was dumb, but…
Asked about the Durham probe’s damp squib, America’s dumbest senator offered his deepest of deep thoughts:
“If people don’t go to jail for this, [said Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville], the American people should just stand up and say, ‘Listen, enough’s enough, let’s don’t have elections anymore.”
Comments Tom Nichols: “A U.S. Senator says people should rise up and do away with elections unless the State punishes law enforcement officers for doing their job. A word I rarely use, but: This is pretty fascist stuff.
“On the other hand, I doubt Tuberville is intelligent enough to realize it.”
You knew he was bat-shit crazy, but…
(Texas police have confirmed the shooter had Nazi tattoos.)
You knew the Heritage Foundation had a soft spot for authoritarianism, but…
“This is our moment to demand that our politicians use the power they have. This is the moment for us to demand of companies...that you listen to us....This is our time to demand that you do what we say. And it’s glorious.” —Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts
David French comments: “Sounds like Kevin Roberts needs to read the pocket Constitution that Heritage used to distribute.”
You knew Nikki Haley was capable of cynical pandering, but…"Nikki Haley says Daniel Penny should be pardoned over NYC subway chokehold death.”
Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley called Daniel Penny’s arrest an “injustice” and urged Gov. Kathy Hochul to pardon the former Marine charged with manslaughter over the chokehold death of Jordan Neely.
During a Tuesday interview on WABC’s “Cats & Cosby” show, the former South Carolina governor defended Penny, saying he was trying to commit a “good deed” by protecting other straphangers.
Nikki was actually following the lead of Ron DeSantis who called Penny a “Good Samaritan” for choking the man to death, which suggests that neither Haley or DeSantis quite understand the meaning of the term. (FYI: The original “Good Samaritan” did not stop by the roadside to administer a chokehold.)
You knew the Secret Service was a bit leaky, but…
The U.S. Secret Service is investigating how a man entered the home of President Biden’s national security adviser in the middle of the night roughly two weeks ago without being detected by agents guarding his house, according to three government officials.
The Case for Ukrainian Victory
On Tuesday’s podcast I talked with Anne Applebaum about her cover story (with Jeffrey Goldberg) in the latest edition of the Atlantic.
In the article, Applebaum and Goldberg argue that “the future of the democratic world will be determined by whether the Ukrainian military can break a stalemate with Russia and drive the country backwards—perhaps even out of Crimea for good.”
Instead of focusing merely on defeating Russia, or settling for a stalemate, they ask us to envision what a Ukrainian victory would mean for the free world.
In Western capitals, preoccupation with the consequences of a Russian defeat has meant far too little time spent thinking about the consequences of a Ukrainian victory. After all, the Ukrainians aren’t the only ones hoping that their success can support and sustain a civilizational change. Russia, as it is currently governed, is a source of instability not just in Ukraine but around the world. Russian mercenaries prop up dictatorships in Africa; Russian hackers undermine political debate and elections all across the democratic world. The investments of Russian companies keep dictators in power in Minsk, in Caracas, in Tehran.
A Ukrainian victory would immediately inspire people fighting for human rights and the rule of law, wherever they are. In a recent conversation in Washington, a Belarusian activist spoke about his organization’s plans to reactivate the Belarusian opposition movement. For the moment, it is still working in secret, underground. “Everyone is waiting for the counteroffensive,” he said.
And he is right. Ukrainians are waiting for the counteroffensive. Europeans, East and West, are waiting for the counteroffensive. Central Asians are waiting for the counteroffensive. Belarusians, Venezuelans, Iranians, and others around the world whose dictatorships are propped up by the Russians—they are all waiting for the counteroffensive too. This spring, this summer, this autumn, Ukraine gets a chance to alter geopolitics for a generation. And so does the United States.
BONUS: On our weekly podcast for Bulwark+ members, Mona Charen and I discuss America’s Horniest Mayor, two damp squibs (Durham and Comer), and what DeSantis won't say.
Want to annoy the Russians?
My colleague Ben Wittes has a cunning plan. And it’s fabulous.
Carillon House, whose street address is 2500 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, sits immediately next to the Russian embassy compound in Washington DC. Its northern face looks over the compound from the South, and it was from the roof of this building that Avery and Matteo and I did the first #SpecialMilitaryOperation last spring.
I have had my eye on the upper-floor apartments along the northern wall of Carillon House for a while now, and I’m sure you can guess why: I want a permanent home for Himar the gobo projector and #LordLaser. I want to be able to operate them remotely, to turn them on any time I want, to keep the Russian spotlight operators up at night. You know, I want to be able to be an asshole more often and with less effort.
Last night, I noticed that two apartments that may be suitable for my purposes have become available—to wit, apartments 720 and 726. Both should be above the trees. Both should have a direct sightline on the main embassy building. Both are on an acute angle, though that should be manageable—particularly in the case of 720. I immediately wrote to the building’s management asking to see the apartments.
My idea is simple: I need the window of this apartment. I don’t need the rest of the apartment. Some Ukrainian refugee, however, does need an apartment.
You see where I’m going with this: I can kill two birds with one stone by renting the place, taking over a small area by the window, and letting someone else use the apartment itself. One of my neighborhood spies sent me a copy of the building’s lease, which I am currently studying to see whether the document prohibits shining bright lights with offensive messages onto neighborhood buildings. I suspect not, but you know, due diligence and all that jazz.
Here’s the thing, though: While I have never taken a dime of other people’s money to run #SpecialMilitaryOperations and have always been happy to pay for these myself, I actually can’t easily afford this one—which will cost something like $25,000 to do properly. I think it’s an investment worth making. It’s housing for some as-yet-not-identified refugee who doesn’t mind living next door to the enemy’s embassy. And it’s an opportunity to run an SMO every night.
Every single night.
The easiest way for me to collect money is simply to have people subscribe to #DogShirtDaily, so here is what I am going to do. While I figure out whether this is doable—which should take about a week—I am creating a special deal for people who want to support this scheme. If you are not already a paid subscriber, the below link gives a 30 percent discount on a year’s subscription to #DogShirtDaily. For people who want to make small contributions, feel free to subscribe for a month or two or three or six and then drop off.
If I raise enough money this way, I won’t do anything more. So err on the side of subscribing—which also gives you the subscriber benefits on #DogShirtDaily—and of giving subscriptions as gifts:
If I can’t raise enough money this way, I may scratch the idea, or I might set up a GoFundMe or something of the kind to fund it separately from #DogShirtDaily.
Exit take: I love it. Do it.
Heads up: We have a special Wednesday episode of “The Trump Trials” with Ben, where we do a deep dive into the Durham fiasco and the Giuliani Case.
A Ray of Bipartisan Hope in Wisconsin
In sum, the bills all seem to address real problems in sensible ways. They are not meant to favor one or the other political party, hence the support they are getting from both. But most importantly, they are being offered in the spirit of bipartisan collegiality, in an area that has been mostly occupied by partisan strife.
Why is this happening?
Given the vast majorities they hold in both legislative houses, Republicans have no need for Democratic support to pass any bills they’d like, although having Democrats on board will make it less likely that Democratic Governor Tony Evers will reach for his veto pen. As incredible as it sounds, there seems to be a genuine desire on the part of at least some GOP lawmakers to do something in this area of governing that is neither self-serving nor insane.