Team DeSantis Can’t Run to Trump’s Nutball Right and Then Get Mad at Us For Noticing
Plus: Harlan Crow’s Weak Argument for Refusing to Cooperate with Senate Investigators.
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CHARLIE SYKES: “Congratulations to Kim Jung Un!” (sic)
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There is an incessant and increasingly tiresome debate raging within the pro-democracy coalition on the question of who constitutes a bigger threat to the Republic between the two leading GOP contenders, Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis. My view is that it is undeniably the former and that this debate itself only serves to undermine the gravity of the risk posed by his return to the White House.
This risk assessment is based, in part, on the record of both men in office. (You might recall that one has already attempted a coup.) But it’s also based on what Rummy called the known unknowns. How catastrophic would the staffing of a second Trump administration be? Would Kari Lake be VP? Might lunatic cult leader Mike Flynn control the military? Would Trump try to terminate the Constitution? Side with Putin in Ukraine? Similarly, the known unknowns for DeSantis tend to point in a less catastrophic direction. Would RD move to the center in a general election? (I don’t think so). Hire a more competent staff? (Certainly.) Is his personality less likely to inspire a rabid, violent death cult? (Clearly.)
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THE SUPREME COURT IS IN CRISIS. Rocked last year by the leaking—still unsolved—of its Dobbs ruling, still adjusting to the new majority’s burst of conservative judicial activism, facing greater public distrust than at any time in the past half century, the Court is now in the throes of an ethics scandal centered on Justice Clarence Thomas: from failing to recuse himself from 2020 election-related cases when his wife Ginni Thomas was working to thwart President Joe Biden’s win, to secretly accepting lavish trips from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, to keeping secret Crow’s purchase of multiple properties owned by the Thomas family in Savannah, Georgia, including the home of Thomas’s mother.
Congress is responding appropriately by holding investigative hearings, proposing a bicameral bill that would require the justices to follow a code of ethics, and sending letters requesting information from Crow and the various holding companies that own his private jet, his private yacht, and his private, invitation-only Adirondack resort, Camp Topridge.
AFTER DRONES mysteriously attacked Moscow late last month—were they from Ukraine, or from pro-Ukraine guerilla units inside Russia? were they a Russian false flag operation?—the reaction from the Russian side that got the most attention was not Vladimir Putin’s nor that of any of his TV propagandists. Rather, it was the colorful, angry, obscenity-laced tirade from Wagner Private Military Company head Yevgeny Prigozhin. In an audio message posted to his Telegram channel, Prigozhin did not lash out at the Ukrainians but at the “stinking animals” from the ministry of defense: “Get your assholes out of the offices where they put you to defend this country! . . . Why the fuck are you letting these drones fly into Moscow?” In an anti-elite jab that has also become his trademark, Prigozhin added that he didn’t care if the mansions in the super-wealthy Rublyovka suburb targeted by the drones went up in flames. It’s hard to say how many Russians heard his rant—Prigozhin is now blacklisted from the state-run television channels where most people in Russia still get their news—but quite a few probably shared the sentiment.
Happy Monday! Did you hear the sonic boom yesterday? A small jet went unresponsive before entering DC air space, prompting the Air Force to scramble jets to check on its intent. It’s believed that all occupants died before the plane crashed in rural Virginia due to decompressurization. One of the fighters flew directly over my house at 2,800 feet, making the visit to the community pool the second most interesting thing to happen.
In CA Senate race, earmarks become an issue.. Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter are running to take Sen. Feinstein’s seat, and one issue they clearly disagree on is earmarks: The LA Times reports that the mayor of Los Angeles asked their federal delegation to help secure money to combat the city’s homelessness problem. Schiff did, but Porter did not, as she is the only CA Democrat who doesn’t submit earmark requests. Will earmarks become a hot issue on the campaign trail? Will Porter stick to her pledge?
Murder, they wrote… I have never seen a more thorough nuking from orbit than I have of this popular #Resistance Twitterer.
Why is he so bad at this? If one of the last living WW2 veterans shows up at your rally, don’t do what Ron DeSantis did.
Why do all diners look the same? An architect explains.
How concert LED wristbands work… A peek behind the scenes.
Flood complicates Mar-a-Lago probe… Donald Trump is having server problems! Turns out the room where the logs were kept got flooded last year when the pool was drained, which is raising suspicions.
You hate to see it… Another brilliant, world-changing idea financed by SoftBank has gone kaput.
How the far right… Tore up one of the best tools to combat voter fraud. (I also wrote about this three weeks ago.)
Who wants this lighthouse? One of Cleveland’s lighthouses is up for auction.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. tests… the conspiratorial appetite of Democrats.
Gov. Stitt wasn’t kidding… When he said he was going to dedicate“‘every square inch’ of the state to Jesus.” The state(!) just opened taxpayer-funded online Catholic charter school.
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