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House GOP conservatives kicking off an Evangelical vs. Catholic cage match?

Conservative leader: Next House chaplain should have a family

“I’m probably looking for somebody more of a non-denominational background, that has a multicultural congregation,” said Walker, who is leading the search for a new chaplain with Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), a pastor, and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), an Air Force Reserve chaplain.

Some Catholic Democrats erupted upon hearing Walker’s comments. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said some lawmakers had surmised that Ryan’s move was designed to appease anti-Catholic sentiments in the GOP conference. Walker, Connolly said, “is now confirming our fears.”

I have to wonder how much the current Pope's vocal concern for social issues, the poor, refugees, responsible stewardship of the environment, and other stuff the GOP would like out of sight and out of mind is affecting this.

There are certainly plenty of hardcore troglodyte American Catholics, in Holy Orders and in the congregations, who are also unhappy with the shift in emphasis. But my Catholic friends and family report that there is a very definite propagation of a more "Red-Letter Gospel" approach. And there are plenty of very liberal clergy in the various Orders who are invigorated and encouraged.

If this kind of stupidity pries apart the religious conservative coalition, it may actually be a positive development for Democrats. But it will put many in a tough position, because with all the will in the world to embrace the more liberal social agenda, the hardline anti-choice agenda will not be going away.


An Escape Hatch for [Redacted]?

A couple of things I never forget:

Mueller, Rosenstein, and virtually everyone involved in the "main" investigation have been Republicans or substantially aligned with, appointed by, supported by, and generally supportive of Republicans, all their careers.

The Intell services and DOJ have never been liberal or progressive bastions-- their stake is in the Established Order of things. This includes consideration for the rule of law insofar as it supports a capitalist small-r republican democracy. It's about How Things Are Supposed To Be Done, both within their own sphere and in the larger geopolitical dance.

And their most fundamental value is SECRECY. Control of information is the bedrock of power.

With these realities in mind, I am getting what might be a wild-hair idea of how the Endgame is being shaped.

No question, the Old Establishment wants [Redacted] gone. He's far and away too uncontrollable, too unpredictable, and above all, too flappy-mouthed and loose-fingered on the Twitter Machine.

So they're doing their jobs very thoroughly and accumulating a motherfucking TSUNAMI of information about a borderless, multilayered web of financial and political skullduggery. It will tie in a cast of hundreds or even thousands of sleazy oligarchs and their tools. They are, indeed, "getting the goods" on the toxic, suppurating carbuncle that is the [Redacted] campaign and Administration.

But what I can't get past is this: These folks live and breath in the rarefied Cone of Silence that is predicated on We Know But We're Not Telling.

Using the information they're compiling in the Mueller investigation as the lever to dislodge [Redacted] would create way too many channels for that information to escape, leak, expose things they DON'T want exposed, etc.

And they may finally have realized that while such information might horrify and motivate an ordinary GOP elected official who wants to maintain the public illusion that they're in office for higher motives, it will all go straight over [Redacted]'s pasted-on skullmerkin. He won't believe anyone could care about him and his cronies selling out our democracy to establish an authoritarian kleptocracy, so long as he and the propaganda machine aligned with him can keep pandering to the hate and fear of the deplorables supporting them.

IOW, they're starting to see that the evidence they're collecting and documenting will elicit the equivalent of a "so fucking what?" from the wannabe Dictator for Life and his enablers. He doesn't have either the intellect OR the political nous to see how damning it is.

And that's where the Cohen raid comes in. Tabloid sleaze, [Redacted] gets. The kind of PR swamp he thrives in has rules, and the lines between "locker room talk" and a gathering weight of unassailable and click-baity sex scandal, cheapass payoff hustle, etc.-- those he DOES understand.

So my wild-hair notion is, they're working on amping that stuff up hard enough, and assembling a team of hardasses to meet quietly with [Redacted] and offer him an ultimatum:

Resign over the tabloid sleaze, and escape prosecution that would be required by the exposure of the Mueller investigation data. He loses some reputation, gets embarassed, but it's to some extent mitigated by the whole "too much of a horndog for the stuffy Washington Establishment" narrative he can spin post-resignation.

And they never have to expose all the dots they're connecting with the special investigation. They can go right on pulling strings from behind the scenes with it all.

They'll hold a Sword of Damocles over Pence's head to keep him from upsetting the applecarts they care about, and do little or nothing to interfere with two years of deadlock between him and a split Congress with Dems in control of the House.

Everybody happy with that?

'Cause to me, that looks like what they're planning to have go down.

Oddly enough, if this is their plan, I don't think it'll succeed. [Redacted] won't play.

So they're in as much of a cleft stick as they think they have him pinned in.

We live in fucking interesting times, and I for one could use a little more tedium.


Parsing the Ryan Retirement

Short summary: The GOP has largely conceded the House in the 2018 election cycle. They'll still throw effort and money into some key races, but by and large they're reorganizing as the prospective Minority Party in the Senate. The bulk of Koch money and what's left of Russian hacktools will be diverted into expanding their control of the Senate.

In a little more detail:

GOPpies have always been more comfortable monkey-wrenching government than actually running government, for which they lack all the essential qualifications. Their qualifications in the area of "nuisance value", on the other hand, continue to accrue and expand. They're still (essentially) the party of "Oh, hell no!" and they're damn' good at that.

Ryan's pretense of being able to actually govern will be no longer needed as a Minority Leader. Believe it or not (I know it's hard!) they have WAY more effective bomb-throwers than Ryan, many from districts that will remain safe no matter what.

Ryan can now retire and take up his lucrative "consulting" practice, selling influence, promoting sleazy treason from behind the scenes, and providing media cover for the ongoing genocide of poor and disadvantaged Americans. His government pension and retirement benefits are safe, the consulting cash will be lagniappe.

The role of the GOP House Minority will morph into feeding red meat to the base via Sinclair and Faux, with leadership chosen for its rhetorical skills and extremist "policy" ideas.

However, look for them to throw money into, and work hard to defend, some relatively low-profile, pseudo-moderate "establishment" Congresscritters whose long experience and backroom infighting skills will still be necessary to stall committees, waste time with specious amendments, and employ every trick the House Rules allow to keep responsible legislative action from ever happening.

In the mean time, watch the targeting on key Senate races, looking for large influxes of money and a huge media slime machine to focus on vulnerable incumbent Dems. The Kochs have earmarked $300 million, I'm guessing more than two-thirds of that will be expended, one way or another, to defeat four or five Democratic incumbents.

They are also counting on the Democratic base to "write off" some Dem incumbents, including Donnelly, McCaskill, Heitkamp, and Manchin, who have all done things to piss off the most-progressive wing of the Party, making it hard to mobilize the grassroots fervor that will protect some of the others up for re-election.

It's a viable strategy, when you're increasingly vulnerable, to shrink your defensive perimeter and make strategic offensive selections.

Ryan's "retirement" is just the beginning.


What would a world be like...

What would a world be like, where no one had to worry that strangers would take advantage of their vulnerability?

Where an elderly person could answer the phone and not be afraid that the person on the other end was a scammer focusing on people like him?

Where an adult with Down's Syndrome whose last close relative dies wouldn't have to fear that no one would be 'on my side' in trying to live the best life possible?

Where a young woman with dreams of a better life could seek a job or schooling in a far-away place and never have to worry they'd end up trafficked into sex slavery?

What if you could choose a neighborhood to live in, a place to live, based entirely on your own needs, without concern about whether you were too "different" to "fit in" and might be at risk?

If you were traveling in a place you'd never been before, and your rental car broke down by the side of the road, and you felt nothing but relief and confidence when someone stopped to help?

How about a world where a kid might want to 'take a sick day' from school because they didn't do their homework-- but never because they worried about being a new kid and getting bullied?

What would that world be like?

Where we could trust each other because we're all human, rather than fear each other for the same reason?

Sometimes, I just wonder.

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