Reason Roundup

Mick Mulvaney Wants a Federal Judge to Tell Him If He Has To Testify Before Congress

Plus: Bolivia's socialist president resigns, Germany marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Bernie Sanders criticizes mandatory gun buybacks

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On the impeachment front… Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney wants to get in on a lawsuit that could prevent him from being forced to testify before Congress on the unfolding Ukraine scandal.

On Friday, Mulvaney asked to be added as a plaintiff in a separation-of-powers lawsuit first filed by Charles Kupperman, who served as deputy to former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

In late October, House Democrats subpoenaed Kupperman to testify about President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to launch a corruption investigation into Hunter Biden, son of former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden. The younger Biden had been paid $50,000 a month to sit on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

White House lawyers argued that current and former senior presidential advisors, including Kupperman, could not be compelled to testify before Congress. Unsure whether to abide by Congress's will or the president's, Kupperman sued, hoping that a federal judge would tell him which branch's orders take precedence.

Last week House Democrats subpoenaed Mulvaney, prompting his request to join Kupperman's lawsuit.

"Mr. Mulvaney, like Mr. Kupperman, finds himself caught in that division, trapped between the commands of two of its co-equal branches—with one of those branches threatening him with contempt," wrote Mulvaney's lawyers.

The suit's outcome could be crucial to Democrats' impeachment efforts. Not only might it determine whether Mulvaney ends up testifying, but it could also determine whether the House hears from Bolton too. According to a Saturday Axios report, Bolton kept detailed notes of his meetings with Trump and other officials.

Charles Cooper, a lawyer for both Bolton and Kupperman, said in a recent letter to House Democrats' lawyers that Bolton has knowledge of relevant meetings and conversations regarding Ukraine that have not been made public, but that his client would only testify about them if ordered to by a judge.


FREE MINDS

Bolivian President Evo Morales has resigned following mass protests and accusations that he rigged a recent election. That vote saw him elected to a fourth term as leader of the South American country.

On Sunday, the Organization of American States (OAS) published a report finding "clear manipulations" of the October 20 presidential vote. The group called for a deeper investigation to determine who was responsible for the election tampering.

The report capped off weeks of street demonstrations that have so far left three protestors dead

The head of Bolivia's military had also on Morales to resign, and police in the country mutinied and declared solidarity with the protestors. Morales has described the effort to remove him as a right-wing coup—a line take that's been eagerly picked up by many left-wing American journalists. That opinion isn't unanimous, though. Another leftist journalist, Zeeshan Aleem, notes that opposition to the president and his alleged vote-rigging spans the political spectrum and includes the country's largest trade union.

Given the chaotic situation, it is probably best in the near term to hold off on embracing any group's grand pronouncements on Morales' resignation and who is responsible for it.


FREE MARKETS

Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The iconic moment in world history serves as a marker for the collapse of Soviet-style communism across Eastern Europe.

Germans celebrated the anniversary by tearing down replicas of the wall at soccer matches and holding parades of horrible East German–manufactured cars.

As Gerard Baker notes, the spread of civil liberties, democracy, and freer markets to former Eastern Bloc countries has brought not only personal and political freedoms, but also immeasurable economic benefits:

In less than 30 years, gross domestic product per capita has increased more than fivefold in Poland, sixfold in Hungary and almost eightfold in the Czech Republic. Eastern Germany may still lag the affluent west, but economic performance there has been markedly better too.


QUICK HITS

  • Seattle's lone socialist city councilmember, Kshama Sawant, has won a narrow reelection victory after early returns showed her losing to a more business-friendly challenger.
  • Police in Hong Kong have shot two protesters and fired tear gas at office workers in the city's central business district.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) has said a mandatory gun buyback program would be unconstitutional.

  • Coffee shops in the San Francisco Bay Area are renting out glass jars and giving discounts to customers who bring their own mugs in an effort to cut down on their use of to-go coffee cups.
  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the killing of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi Arabian government was a "mistake" akin to the trouble his company has had with self-driving cars, one of which struck and killed a pedestrian. He's since backtracked.
  • A bar owner in Sydney, Australia is promising patrons free drinks if the city's overbudget, overdue light rail line manages to open as promised in December.

NEXT: Williams College Students Urge Boycott of the English Department, Claiming It Promotes Racist Violence

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  1. A bar owner in Sydney, Australia is promising patrons free drinks if the city’s overbudget, overdue light rail line manages to open as promised in December.

    It should be illegal to gamble on your government’s inevitable failure.

    1. That offer hardly qualifies as a gamble – – – – – – – –

    2. Hello.

      Judging by the crowd at the Sounders game, they look like a woke bunch so no surprise they voted in a socialist.

      smh.

    3. If the outcome is certain, it’s not gambling.

  2. He’s since backtracked.

    Like his self-driving cars would fail to do after parking on top of pedestrians?

  3. …in an effort to cut down on their use of to-go coffee cups.

    No way. Choke those Nazi turtles with your discarded cups!

    1. I thought it was the frogs.

    2. Starbucks has been giving a discount for using your own cup since at least when I started working there in the 90s

  4. So killing the guy wasn’t a mistake?

    1. Pretty sure it was deliberate.

  5. “…It means I am going to walk in your house and take something whether you like it or not.”

    Now if you word it so he’s simply seizing the means of the production of projectiles…

    1. It means I am going to walk in your house and take something whether you like it or not”

      don’t taxes fall into the same catagory of taking whether you like it or not. hence FYTW

      1. Nah, with taxes, they mostly steal it before it gets to your house.

    2. That’s pretty hilarious.

      But joking aside, is anyone else really surprised that Bernie would be the guy to look at that particular measure and express constitutional concerns? I mean, he’s very definitely correct that a mandatory buyback is almost certainly unconstitutional, but there’s so much other bonkers stuff he wants to do I’m shocked he sounds like a very moderate democrat here. And it’s not like he’s been afraid to be radically left – he’s almost single-handedly dragged the whole field onto the leftward precipice with him, thence to fall into the abyss of electoral irrelevance.

      Are the others also balking at this? I’d be real surprised if Warren was backing down on that one, though I could see Biden taking the same stance.

      1. Vermont, despite being crazy left, has permissive gun laws

  6. Yeah, that lawsuit is going to SCOTUS. See you in 2021, after the election.

    1. Democrats already dropped the first lawsuit. They know they’d lose.

  7. Police in Hong Kong have shot two protesters and fired tear gas at office workers in the city’s central business district.

    The NBA takes a knee during the Chinese national anthem.

  8. Seattle’s lone socialist city councilmember, Kshama Sawant, has won a narrow reelection victory after early returns showed her losing to a more business-friendly challenger.

    The ballot market has spoken.

  9. Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Walls work!

    1. Interesting point.

    2. That one worked in the way it was intended.

  10. …and holding parades of horrible East German–manufactured cars.

    How did they find enough volunteers to push them?

  11. Bolivian President Evo Morales has resigned following mass protests and accusations that he rigged a recent election.

    HEAR THAT, TRUMP?

    1. Military withdrew it’s support for him.
      Don’t think that’s happening with Trump

  12. The younger Biden had been paid $50,000 a month to sit on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

    ALLEGEDLY.

    1. Dude, you are on a roll!

        1. Oh. Well, thanks for *your* service!

  13. Mr. Mulvaney, like Mr. Kupperman, finds himself caught in that division, trapped between the commands of two of its co-equal branches…

    Co-equal. The two of them should be held in contempt for making jokes in a lawsuit.

  14. “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) has said a mandatory gun buyback program would be unconstitutional.”

    Besides his absurd comment that open borders is a right-wing scheme to depress wages, this is another reason Sanders has never been in my top tier of 2020 candidates. He needs to be educated by longtime libertarian activist Michael Hihn on the necessity — and constitutionality — of common sense gun safety measures.

    #BanAssaultWeapons
    #UnbanMichaelHihn

    1. Nothing says common sense like unconstitutional government seizures of private property.

      1. Really?
        Please provide a detailed explanation of the difference between asset forfeiture without convictions or even charges and gun confiscation.

        1. *** rising intonation ***

          And what about income taxes?

          1. Gun confiscation is the price we pay for civilization.

            Or perhaps I should say “thivilithation.”

            1. You are doing it wrong.
              Gun confiscation is the price we pay for freedom!

  15. The suit’s outcome could be crucial to Democrats’ impeachment efforts.

    The inevitable acquittal can be blamed on it!

  16. Slow news day today.

    1. Non histrionic editor for the round up.

  17. Anybody else think the “Mr. Rogers” movie was put into production with the idea that Tom Hanks would be the DNC savior and run for president, with the movie serving as his main campaign ad?

    Nah, probably crazy talk…

    1. But one has to wonder what the market for that movie really is?

      1. Hsst. Watch it *backwards*.

        1. I’d guess it’ll still be incredibly boring.
          Looks like Forest Gump without any of the interesting aspects

          1. Unfortunately most humans come with a nostalgia button. When pressed, money just pours out of them.

          2. “”I’d guess it’ll still be incredibly boring.””

            Then it would fit Mr. Rogers well.

      2. Perhaps the millions of people who grew up with great affection for the man?

        1. I grew up with great affection for (not Tom Hanks) Mr. Rogers.
          Who the fuck would watch a movie about it

          1. Judging from the previews, Tom Hanks playing Mr. Rogers is just creepy.

            1. Right?
              The preview is super creepy

          2. I don’t know. People watch all kinds of stuff I’m not interested in. And I’m interested in a lot of stuff that most people seem to find boring.

    2. Tom Hanks is an amazing actor with a passion for social justice. But the Democrats already have stronger and more diverse candidates like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Hanks can better serve the country by endorsing one of them. And maybe doing some campaign appearances with them.

      1. We have no use for another aging white male. Ugh!

      2. And, you’re right, Hollywood producers would never, ever coordinate with the Democrat Party.
        And even if, circa 2017, a certain actor were mentioned as a potential presidential candidate, a movie portraying him as one of the most beloved and benign figures of the majority voter demographic’s childhood would be a totes bad way to market said actor/candidate

        1. Overturn Citizens United to prevent such overt propaganda!!

    3. No, they’re not positioning Hanks for any kind of political run.

      The Mr. Rogers nostalgia push is basically an effort by the ultra-woke to lament the lack of “kindness” in society that they were front and center in destroying to begin with.

      1. I don’t think they are now.
        When Sony bought the rights to the documentary in January 2018?
        Not so sure.

        “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a 2019 American biographical drama film directed by Marielle Heller and written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, inspired by the 1998 article “Can You Say… Hero?” by Tom Junod, published in Esquire. The film stars Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Chris Cooper. It depicts Lloyd Vogel (Rhys), a journalist for Esquire who is assigned to profile beloved television icon Fred Rogers (Hanks).”

      2. Or maybe they are just trying to make a high-brow bio-pic.

    4. Run, Tom, run!

  18. Mr. Mulvaney, Mr. Kupperman, I give you a brief history lesson.
    “I have no recollection of those events as you have described them.”

    Eric Holder did OK, even after being found in contempt.
    So go to the hearings, make a constitutionally protected hand gesture to the chair, and repeat the above mantra.

    1. make a constitutionally protected hand gesture to the chair

      And fart in the chair’s general direction.

      1. Refer to Howard Hughes for how it’s done.

  19. I’ll give ENB credit here for writing a neutral summary of the subpoena lawsuit.

    Wait, let me check the by line. Ahh. Makes sense.

    1. I always thought the issue of executive privilege was that you could question the actions of the executive but not the means by which he reached the decision to act. If what he did was legal, it’s none of your damn business why he decided to do it. So as far as Mulvaney being questioned, I don’t think he can claim a blanket immunity from being questioned at all, but the scope of the questions he would even be allowed to answer would be fairly restricted. The executive privilege being invoked wouldn’t be Mulvaney’s it would be Trump’s, Mulvaney has no authority whatsoever to waive the privilege.

      1. The main problem in the lawsuit for Democrats is that based on the Nixon precedent, they can only force executive in the case of a crime. Nixon’s team committed B&E. For trump they’d have to convince a judge that asking a foreign country for something is a crime, and democrats dont want that answer settled.

        Likewise the courts have upheld wide discretion on how the president chooses to pursue foreign policy, which means his discussions with other states is largely solely in the purview of the executive. All congress is allowed per the constitution is to weigh in on treaties and other documented agreements.

        There is a reason Democrats quickly pulled their subpoena.

  20. More bad economic news.

    Charles Koch current net worth: $61.9 billion

    It’s heartbreaking to watch Mr. Koch’s self-made fortune stagnate during his twilight years. But that’s what happens in the high-tariff / low-immigration #DrumpfRecession.

    #HowLongMustCharlesKochSuffer?

  21. HAVE A GOOD VETERAN’S DAY

    Thank you to those that served and are serving.

    reason would rather cover the laughable impeachment nonsense coming from the House of Horrors.

      1. Wasn’t FDR the first sitting president?

    1. Couldn’t they just wiggle the barrels?

      1. Or put daisies in them.

      2. They were going to yell bang, but that was considered offensive too.

    2. Jefferson spins in his grave.

  22. Terminator: Dark Fate continues to suck at the box office.

    https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2484369/ouch-terminator-dark-fate-had-a-huge-second-weekend-drop

    I would have never guessed that casting a 60 year old grandma as an action hero star would be a disaster.

    1. *Spoiler Alert*

      The surprise twist is due to a broken hip.

    2. The action slows down at nap time.

    3. And a Dylann Roof look-alike as your STRANK WAHMAN avatar.

    4. A 60-year old grandma? I’ll bet Arnold could still kick your ass.

      1. Haha, someone has been living under a rock.

    5. Never say “terminator” to an old person” – Aunt Blabby

  23. “Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney wants to get in on a lawsuit that could prevent him from being forced to testify before Congress on the unfolding Ukraine scandal.”

    I’m surprised.

    Why doesn’t he want to appear before an inquisition run by partisan fanatics?!

    I’ve read that the Republicans submitted a list of witnesses they want to appear before the tribunal, as well. They asked for the Whistelblower to testify, which was shot down by the Schiff. Obviously, the whistleblower can’t be called to testify about the allegations he’s made because he’s a whistleblower. Then Republicans want Hunter Biden to appear before the committee, too, but obviously the Democrats won’t let the Republicans call him as a witness because his father is running for president! Sometimes, it almost seems like the Republicans have no idea how fanatical partisan inquisitions work!

    So far, we’ve had allegations made by anonymous source at the CIA, which turned out to be contradicted by the facts of the transcript of the phone call. We have a misstatement of fact made by someone in the Trump administration, which was contradicted by subsequent texts–after President Trump had set him straight about there being no quid pro quo. And we have leaks from secret hearings in which the Democrat leader instructed witnesses not to answer questions put to them by Republicans. Add to that, the Republicans aren’t being allowed to call their own witnesses to testify?!

    I don’t understand why the Republicans are participating in this at all. They should refuse to attend hearings, refuse to be in the room when testimony is given, and refuse to participate in any way. The Democrats are just using them as window dressing to make it appear that these hearings and this attempt at impeachment is legitimate, and just like a principled non-voter, they should withhold their participation for exactly that reason. If you can’t ask questions and can’t call your own witnesses, why carry water for the Democrats?

    If they want to have a fanatical partisan witch hunt of a public hearing, give them all the rope they need to hang themselves–alone.

    1. Because when you ask for witnesses only to be shot down, it reinforces the partisan nature. The current fight isn’t impeach or not, it’s a fight for legitimacy and the dems are not wining.

      1. Was the typo ‘winning’, or ‘whining’?

        1. winning.

    2. I don’t understand why the Republicans are participating in this at all.

      Not participating would be ceding the entire battlefield to the Dems, who already have the Mass Media Complex acting as their unpaid PR firm for this effort. You can’t allow the enemy to completely set the terms of combat.

      Additionally, even with the limitations being placed on them, there’s still ways they can resist (heh) this kabuki show and render it farcical to the point that it’s just seen as a waste of time. Ultimately, this is all to try and motivate Democrats to flip the Senate in 2020 and impeach him the following year, because their Presidential candidates are so pathetic and uninspired that Trump may actually increase his electoral vote total from 2016.

      1. “Not participating would be ceding the entire battlefield to the Dems”

        The outcome is predetermined. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can’t afford to anger swing voters with partisan bullshit. The burden is on the Democrats, and so far, they’ve failed to achieve anything.

        They’re on a fishing expedition, and they’ve already decided that they’re going to pretend to have caught a fish. They just want the Republicans there to pretend that they were there and they saw the Democrats land the fish.

        A partisan witch hunt–if it’s attended only by Democrats–crushes the legitimacy of the impeachment when it’s voted on. Is it partisan? Of course it’s partisan, and the impeachment will be dead on arrival.

        1. The outcome is predetermined.

          Of course it is. That doesn’t mean the Republicans shouldn’t put up as much of a fight as they’re capable of doing.

          If they just rolled over and removed themselves entirely from the process, they’d get crucified by their own constituents. You have to introduce as much friction into the gears as possible, like indicating that Schiff is going to be called as a witness and showing that Vindman’s edits were rejected by his colleagues, in order to deflect the Dems’ star chamber tactics.

          1. They’d put up a bigger fight by not participating.

            They want to overturn the 2016 election because they’re Democrats, and nothing would expose the partisan nature of their fishing expedition like only Democrats participating.

            1. Ken….I think Red Rocks has the better argument. I get what you are saying, and where you are coming from. This impeachment thing is a fucking charade. You’re right about this.

              But you still need someone from Team R in there to ask pointed questions, so they are a part of the official records that historians can read a century from now.

              1. They won’t let them call their witnesses.

                You can’t ask pointed questions to witnesses if they can’t make the witnesses show up to the hearing.

                It was the same thing during the secret hearing. When Schiff told the witnesses to ignore questions asked by Republicans, the Republican should have stood up and left. You can’t have a legitimate hearing under those circumstances, so why help them with their charade?

            2. If the GOP refuses to go along, then it will be the same as Obamacare. “You don’t get to complain now. You had an option to work with us during the process, but you refused. So now live with the consequences”.

              The Media will carry water for the Dems no matter what. If the GOP just disengages, they will say the GOP had a chance to call their witnesses and cross examine, but declined. At least in this process, the GOP can force the Dems to go on the record with their obstructionism.

            3. “Not participating” is something the Bush-era Republicans would do. Trump got picked by the rank-and-file in large part because he’s constantly pushing back and trolling the left.

              That’s why religious conservatives don’t care about his infidelities or gross behavior. Lincoln’s assessment of the booze-swilling, blunt-force generalship of Grant comes to mind. “I cannot spare this man; he fights.”. The “honorable losers” of the McCain wing have all either died or been marginalized by their own base.

            4. They want to overturn the 2016 election

              And they still haven’t figured out that that’s not how it works.

    3. I think you misunderstand. Mulvaney and Kuperman have been ordered by Trump to not testify. Mulvaney joining the lawsuit give him legal cover to either comply or not. He doesn’t need to join the lawsuit to follow Trump’s orders. His joining of the lawsuit is Mulvaney showing he either disagrees with Trump, or at the very least, is not sure whether Trump has a right to prevent his testimony.

      1. Or perhaps they know executive privilege is a real thing, and want a judge to rule if it applies in their situations.

  24. <iUnsure whether to abide by Congress's will or the president's

    “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

    1. *** gets coffee ***

    2. You can’t ride two horses with one behind.

      1. In the case of the federal government, it’s more like one horse, that’s 100% ass. It has no idea where it’s going, has trouble getting anywhere, and always makes a mess along the way.

        1. When I was a kid, I read the Dr. Doolittle books and learned of the Pushme-pullyou, a quadruped with two heads, one on each end. I wondered about what happened to the other ends. Then I grew up and saw the government in action, and I no longer wondered.

  25. “A mandatory buyback is essentially confiscation which I think is unconstitutional. It means I am going to walk in your house and take something whether you like it or not.”

    When an unapologetic communist shows more criticism of government oppression than a privileged Irish Taco like Robert Francis O’Rourke.

  26. It means I am going to walk in your house and take something whether you like it or not.

    Comrade Bernie, defender of property rights.

    1. What does it say about the democrats when Sanders issues the strongest statement of the lot regarding gun rights and personal property.

      1. Is so-called personal property a special kind of property that is immune to confiscation? Is a syringe filled with heroin condisdered personal property? Is a person’s income?

    2. *Crosses fingers behind back *

  27. “Trump’s GOP defenders employ mishmash of impeachment messages”
    https://www.sfchronicle.com/nation/article/Trump-s-GOP-defenders-employ-mishmash-of-14824277.php

    In reply to a mishmash of allegations, perhaps?

  28. “If you can’t call Hunter Biden and you can’t call the whistleblower, that’s sort of a sham. That’s not really even a trial,” said Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/11/10/republicans-want-hunter-biden-impeachment-testimony/2554571001/

    I think they’re making a mistake here. They should have Hunter Biden on the list since he’s the center of this, of course, by why isn’t Joe Biden on the Republicans’ witness list?

    1. “Recounting a trip to Kyiv in late 2015, Biden described telling the then-president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, that he had to fire the prosecutor general or the US would not release $1 billion in loan guarantees. “I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours,’” Biden told the crowd, taking a long look at his watch for effect. “‘If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch.” Here the audience laughed. “He got fired.”

      Video of his statement quickly ricocheted around Ukraine and Russia. On January 24, the day after the event, it appeared on Russia Today, the Kremlin’s main external propaganda channel and a feeding house for rightwing conspiracy in the US. One week later, it was on Sputnik. Back then, it was presented as evidence of US meddling in the internal affairs of another country. Over the next 19 months, it morphed into a central pillar of a baseless conspiracy theory pushed by President Donald Trump and his allies that says Biden ordered the prosecutor’s firing because his son, Hunter, was on the board of a company the prosecutor was investigating.”

      —-BuzzFeed

      https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/miriamelder/joe-biden-ukraine-hunter

      Wade through all the partisan bullshit, and even BuzzFeed sees that Joe Biden is bragging about having the prosecutor that just happened to be investigating his son fired–under the threat of withholding $1 billion in loan guarantees.

      One of the central defenses of Trump if and when he’s impeached might be that Trump was entirely justified in seeking to have Hunter Biden investigated–given the fact that Joe Biden is bragging about what amounts to withholding aid in order to quash a perfectly legitimate investigation into his son. If there is any error here, it might be that the FBI should have been investigation Joe Biden after his remarks–and I still don’t understand why they aren’t.

      Donald Trump make a phone call to the new Ukrainian leader, in which he does not initiate a quid pro quo–and anonymous sources at the CIA are making allegations and leaking to the press about it. But when Joe Biden brags on live television about quashing an investigation into his son by threatening to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees, no one at the CIA or the FBI even notices? Does neither the CIA nor the FBI monitor Russia Today?

      Yes, at some point before the House takes a vote on impeaching President Trump because he called an improper investigation into Hunter and Joe Biden, both Hunter and Joe Biden should be made to explain themselves–so we can confirm whether or not the investigation Trump sought was actually improper. If a cop were put on trial for shooting a bank robber, at some point, he should be given the opportunity to ask the bank robber if he was, in fact, in the middle of robbing a bank when he was shot.

      1. And when did everyone agree to start spelling “Kiev” as “Kyiv”?

        1. I don’t know what that’s about.

          Is that like a Beijing/Peking thing?

          We have names for places that don’t exist in other languages–why do we need to change them?

          They don’t call it “Austria” in Austria. They call it “Osterreich”. Cologne is “Koln”, Munich is “Munchen”, Bavaria is “Bayern”, and they don’t call it “Germany” either. They call it “Deutschland”.

          Are we changing the pronunciation of those cities, too? Why should I have to learn German in order to speak English–but not only that, now I need to learn to speak all the local languages of the world in order to call places by their local names, too? That’s bullshit.

          If the people of Massa-fucking-chusetts are offended when the rest of the world doesn’t pronounce it, “Wooster”, they should change the spelling.

          1. When I was in Mexico, the people there referred to anything German as, “Alemannian”. I guess they were a Germanic tribe back during the Roman Empire, but the term is preserved as a defined move in square dancing–as seen here in one of the greatest country music songs ever:

            Well here comes Johnny
            With his pecker in his hand
            He’s a one-ball man
            And he’s off to the rodeo

            It’s an Allamande left
            And Allamande right
            C’mon you fuckin’ dummy
            Get your right step right
            Get offstage you goddamn goof
            Y’know

            You piss me off
            You fucking jerk
            Get on my nerves

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5JSUUTO_9I

          2. It is a little silly. But who cares? I’m happy to know how places are pronounced by local people.
            In the case of Worcester, don’t people know about Worcestershire sauce? Or does everyone pronounce that wrong too? It is an English name, so it being foreign isn’t an excuse.
            And it’s more “Wuster” than “Wooster”.
            And I’m not from Mass.

            1. Richard Wagner.

              I don’t care how he pronounced his name, I speak English and I’m pronouncing it Wagner. If you’re one of those who insist his name is pronounced Vogner, I’m going to punch you in the mouth if you’re not pronouncing his first name Rickhart.

              1. I pronounce it the German way, but I fully admit that I sound like an douche when I do. Maybe it’s cause I took German all through high school, but it feels weird to say it American-style.

          3. Ahem. That’s “Woustah.”

          4. I moved near Mass recently, and the first time I heard it said “Wooster” I was genuinely taken aback. I thought that was the sort of shit only the Brits got away with, but I guess it’s New England for a reason.

        2. It happened a few years ago. You are also not supposed to say “The Ukraine”, just “Ukraine”.
          I think “Kyiv” is just a more accurate transliteration closer to the native pronunciation.

          1. Actually, I remember hearing an explanation from Michael Malice about that. Ukrainians prefer just “Ukraine” because “The Ukraine” is the Russian/Soviet way of referring to it as a region (the subtext being that it’s a region within Russia/the USSR), rather than an independent nation. Admittedly, I’ve never done any research to confirm that. Maybe I’ll do that later today.

            1. Netherlands and Congo disagree.

              1. He’s saying that it is specifically a thing Russia tries to do to Ukraine. Which is true, to the extent that Russian language style guides after about 2010 will feature this rule prominently. As to the specific motivation behind it, that’s harder to prove, but it’s not an unreasonable theory.

        3. It’s to signal that you’re an insufferable dickwad, Obama calling ISIS, “ISIL”.

          1. ISIL was that jv squad he was talking about. ISIS is the varsity squad he sold guns to and provided air support for.

    2. I’d like to see Hunter Biden testify. (Don’t care about the whistleblower, as the whistleblower isn’t important to the case.)

      Of course, this isn’t a trial yet. That will happen in the Senate, and it’s very likely it will never get that far.

      1. I mean, I’d also like to see Hunter Biden testify (as I’m curious what exactly he’d try to say in defense of his life of shameless political grift) but I’m not sure it’s really relevant here. The facts that Hunter Biden scored a sinecure position due to his family connections, and that his father withheld aid money from the Ukraine in order to shield him from a corruption probe are not really in dispute. I mean, the characterization of those facts has been disputed, but the events they describe have been stipulated to.

        So, sure, Trump is being investigated for “allegedly” (read: definitely) doing something that Joe Biden bragged about having done himself. Like, in a eerily similar way, actually, and shockingly Trump’s version is the somewhat less slimy one. I mean, restarting a corruption probe into someone who in all likelihood was quite corrupt seems like a net public benefit no matter the partisan reasons for which it was reached, but eh. However: “but mom, he did it first!” is not and never has been a valid legal defense, and it seems pretty damned likely that Trump violated a statue designed to restrain officials from doing precisely the thing he did.

        Now, for those of us who care about restraints on government power, impeachment (and probably removal) follows pretty reasonably from there. Expecting any congresscreature to value principle over partisanship is a laughable exercise in futility though. So, if they’d move this show along to its eventual impeachment and eventual defeat in the Senate, I’d appreciate it.

  29. > Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    I remember where I was. In the teachers’ break room. Someone came in and announced it. I went back into class and I explained to the students what happened, and we celebrated freedom.

    It was a private school, of course. Can’t celebrate freedom in a government school.

  30. I would subpoena Mulvaney, not wait for the court but continue the case. If in the end the subpoena is upheld I would prosecute Mulvaney. If I get a conviction I would recommend community service and then have Nick Mulvaney picking up trash on the DC Mall every Saturday from now until hell freezes over.

    1. Fighting to squash a squash a subpoena is not a crime you fascist half wit.

    2. This is the left’s version of moderation huh.

    3. Thanks for the DNC take.

  31. Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite internet project, is releasing another flurry of satellites into orbit, even as I type. There are so many cool things about this project, it’s hard to know where to start.

    How ’bout the lack of expense to the taxpayer?

    If this solves the wireless broadband problem in rural America, it makes my homestead in the wilds of Idaho (or wherever) even more doable.

    They’re doing this to create a revenue stream they can tap to finance the colonization of Mars–again, not at the expense to the taxpayer.

    NASA’s cost of a single launch of the SLS weighs in at $2 billion. Prorate the development costs, and it that’s coming out of the taxpayers’ pockets to the tune of $5 billion a launch–not that they’ve ever launched an SLS. Despite starting development years before SpaceX even existed, they’re still only at the test firing stage. Meanwhile, the cost of a SpaceX launch is only $150 million.

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-does-not-deny-the-over-2-billion-cost-of-a-single-sls-launch/

    From a libertarian standpoint, replacing government with private enterprise is kinda what libertarian capitalism is all about.

    When I see the consumer choice and cost cutting being brought our way through, say, the streaming revolution and the creative destruction it’s bringing or the way SpaceX and others are not just solving our problems (like rural broadband) but chasing our dreams–like colonizing Mars–and not by soaking the taxpayers . . . I don’t know how people can both live amid this and think that socialism is the solution to our problems. You gotta be blind!

    The more discretionary income Americans have, the more entrepreneurs can afford to develop for our consumption. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that socialist programs were the way to improve our standard of living and fulfill our dreams.

    1. I read the other day that Musk thinks that launching the Starship will cost around $2 Million all in. That is fucking insane. Consider that people pay today around $70 Million for a single Falcon Heavy launch.

      I really don’t see how Musk needs a revenue stream if that is the type of margins he can make. But he is welcome to go for those other revenue streams. For me, what is amazing is what happens as competition forces the cost of launches closer to cost.

      At around $5 Million/launch, payloads on the Starship will be around $15 – $20 per pound. We are talking Fedex costs now.

      1. “I really don’t see how Musk needs a revenue stream if that is the type of margins he can make.”

        It’s about volume and leveraging whatever multiple investors are willing to put on a steady revenue stream.

        In terms of volume, there is a limited quantity of satellites that need to be launched in any given year–even as the cost of launching them dwindles. If they make a 90% margin on those, it’s still limited by the quantity demanded.

        SpaceX can launch their own satellites and charge other people to launch theirs–that means that customers are essentially paying for the cost of SpaceX to launch their own internet service–and if the only limitation is that they need to be in the northern Hemisphere, then he’s got a huge market of internet service customers he can win. Once that revenue stream is established, if the market is giving his revenue stream a p/e of 10, then he can raise a huge chunk of change in public offering to finance a Mars colony.

        At SpaceX’s competitive prices, using reusable rockets, they’re not just launching their own satellites at cost. Other people using SpaceX to launch satellites are paying for SpaceX to launch their own. They’re getting that Starlink service, effectively, for less than cost!

        There are some serious limitations to some of Musk’s models. Electric car production on the scale he’s gunning for may be limited by the amount of lithium available and I’m not sure what the allure for a Mars colony is after the novelty wears off. Both of those limitations may be evidence of my malthusian thinking, however, which always seems to be wrong. Regardless, I hope he’s wildly successful. One of the greatest things about capitalism is that entrepreneurs take massive risks that don’t really impact me if they fail.

        Yeah, I want Musk to figure out how to get people like me to vacations on Mars–safely and on the cheap–especially if I don’t have to pay taxes for him to figure out how to do it.

        1. Yeah, I am not really interested in a Mars colony. Why spend all this money getting out of a gravity well just to put yourself down in another gravity well? Living in a mostly-vacuum on Mars will require much the same equipment as living on, say, the moon or in an asteroid, but the ability to trade back with Earth is much higher if you don’t have to lift any payloads off of mars.

          So far, most of the Starlink satellites have been launched by SpaceX on their own. There was one set that launched as a part of a Falcon Heavy launch with an Indian company, but most of the rest have been private launches. I am curious to see how these do. I really do not think they are going to give the level of broadband people want once you factor in latency, but as I said above, it is fantastic that this is being tried out by Musk, and not on our dime.

          Overall, my point about the cost of launches was that if you can get payload launch costs down to $30 per pound, it will fundamentally change that market. Yeah, we only have so many satellites today, but that is because they are $250 Million bespoke electronics devices- largely driven by the high cost of launching. The market will react heavily to cheap lifting costs, just as the world changed when you could cross the US without spending a year in a covered wagon.

          1. Yeah, I’m personally in the lunatic crowd, in that I think some kind of moonbase (more likely, an orbiting station with some automated mining operations on the surface) is probably gonna do a lot more for a our short-term goals than a Mars colony. But I’m happy to let Musk chase that dream, since it not only costs me nothing, but also helps build the infrastructure that the lunar route requires anyways.

            I expect once the initial Earth orbit buildout is finished, there’s gonna be an explosion of VC in a variety of directions, of which Luna and Mars will be only some. Doubtless NASA would pay a pretty penny to get a distributed telescope system set up using Earth’s Lagrange points. There’s some interesting and potentially profitable near-Earth asteroids. All kinds of cool stuff, and despite the treacherous nature of the phrase, it seems about ten years into the future.

  32. If the House is going to insist that it has the power to compel testimony from members of the executive branch, under the threat of arrest, then Trump has the power send armed federal agents to walk Adam Schiff out in handcuffs right now for the seditious clown show he is orchestrating under the color of exercising his legislative duties.

    The sergeant-at-arms can hold Mulvaney in a cell, and Schiff can be held captive in a federal penitentiary. Each side can threaten to kill their hostages if a compromise is not had.

    Right? Because this is ultimately where things are going to end up if this ridiculous shit doesn’t stop.

    1. The House actually only has the power to compel testimony from members of the executive (and legislative) branches. They can request that other people show up, but if you’re not employed by the government you can blow them off without technically facing legal consequences (though when you’re pissing off people who make laws, there’s a pretty substantial amount of shit they can do to you indirectly). But government employees (and most especially any appointed positions that require confirmation) can definitely be required to show up and give testimony relevant to the discharge of their duties. Note that they can’t make you testify about something unrelated to your official duties, but that’s really not the case here however much the WH counsel might attempt to narrow that scope. Mulvaney’s case here is not one they expect to win, they’re just forum shopping for a friendly judge to give them a temporary injunction – long enough for this mess to blow over so he doesn’t have to choose between party loyalty and not perjuring himself. It seems like a pretty sensible maneuver on his part, really, but it suggests he knows something that might be tangentially damaging (or possibly directly, but I doubt it) to the president and does not want to have to talk about it under oath.

  33. “A mandatory buyback is essentially confiscation which I think is unconstitutional. It means I am going to walk in your house and take something whether you like it or not.”

    Unless its money being confiscated form someone he deems has too much of it

    1. Yeah, he really screwed the poodle with this one in the eyes of his adoring comrades.

    2. Well, money is printed by the Federal government and rightfully belongs to it, tovarisch. You’re just borrowing it from Comrade Sam.

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