Kevin McCarthy Went to Wall St. To Sell His ‘Debt-Ceiling Hostage-Taking’ Scheme – It’s Not Going Well
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy traveled to Wall Street on Monday, the financial capital of the world, to deliver a speech at the New York Stock Exchange demanding President Joe Biden negotiate with him on the debt ceiling while he unveiled what is being called his latest “scheme” – taking the debt ceiling “hostage,” failing to produce his long overdue budget, and revealing that it will include a requirement that people who use food stamps to survive will to have to work to get them.
It hasn’t been well received.
In fact, most aspects of his speech, and even his choice of venue, have been thoroughly lambasted, discredited, or just mocked over the past 24 hours.
“Kevin McCarthy literally going to the New York Stock Exchange to pitch cutting food stamps for poor people is… well, there’s a reason why people think Kevin is an idiot,” tweeted Vox’s generally reserved Ian Millhiser.
“Today at the NYSE, Speaker McCarthy explained his scheme to slash food aid for low-income Americans to his true constituents: Wall Street and massive corporations who pay little to no taxes,” tweeted the New York Working Families Party.
“Delivering today’s speech threatening our economy at the New York Stock Exchange shows Speaker McCarthy is either in denial about the danger of his threats or intentionally hoping for market turmoil,” tweeted U.S Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA). “I’m not sure which is worse.”
It wasn’t just the venue. Far from it.
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Sentate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday railed against McCarthy’s speech: “I’ll be blunt, if Speaker McCarthy continues in this direction, we are headed to default.”
.@SenSchumer on McCarthy’s speech at the NYSE: “I’ll be blunt, if Speaker McCarthy continues in this direction, we are headed to default.” pic.twitter.com/VxThelPJok
— The Hill (@thehill) April 18, 2023
It gets worse for McCarthy.
Indeed, McCarthy’s “argument is out of date,” wrote noted author and professor of history Heather Cox Richardson overnight in her Substack newsletter.
“It’s time to get Americans back to work,” McCarthy on Monday declared, despite unemployment having hit a 54-year low, (and a new historic low for Black unemployment), as the Speaker blamed President Joe Biden, alleging he’s keeping Americans from obtaining employment.
McCarthy repeatedly promised he “will grow the economy,” as he promised to bring jobs back from China, while complaining that “there are more job openings than people who are looking for jobs.”
He touted House Republicans’ HR 1 legislation, the “Lower the Energy Cost Act,” that “makes us less dependent upon China, and it brings jobs back to America that will grow the economy,” he said.
Now, we should presume that McCarthy has an economist on staff, hopefully. But it does not appear so, because what he’s promising doesn’t actually work.
Economists tell us that inflation is still at higher levels because the economy is growing too fast – which is why the Federal Reserve keeps raising interest rates, literally to slow the growth so we don’t explode into a recession. And yet McCarthy wants to grow the economy which in theory will lead to higher inflation.
“I have full confident [sic] that if we limit our federal spending, if we save the taxpayer money,” said Speaker McCarthy, in his unique manner. “If we grow our economy, yes we will end the dependence on China, we will curve [sic] inflation, and we will protect Social Security and Medicare for the next generation.”
“In reality,” Professor Richardson observes, “the inflation that plagued the U.S. as it reopened from the worst days of the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed dramatically, making it clear that the policies of the Biden administration are working. As Jennifer Rubin noted yesterday in the Washington Post, the annual inflation rate for producers is 2.7%—the lowest rate in more than two years—while consumer price increases are at their lowest point since May 2021: 5%. Gasoline prices have dropped 17.4% since the high prices that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The overall declines mark nine months of slowing inflation.”
She goes on to deflate McCarthy’s claims.
“At the same time, labor force participation is at record high levels,” Richardson notes. “Real incomes—that is, incomes after inflation is factored in—have risen 7% for those making $35,000 a year or less and 1.3% across the whole economy. Meanwhile, the deficit has dropped more than $1.7 trillion in two years.”
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McCarthy also said he wants to create more job openings, while acknowledging that there aren’t enough people to fill the job openings we currently have.
Which is why, just like Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Iowa Republicans gutting child labor laws to allow America’s most vulnerable population to work adult jobs, Speaker McCarthy is looking for anyone (except the people staring him in the face: undocumented immigrants, and migrants from Central America) to fill those jobs.
Instead, McCarthy wants to put Americans to work, Americans who for many reasons need government assistance – food stamps – while ignoring that most families on food stamps already have people working at least one job.
“Our proposal will also restore work requirements that ensure able-bodied adults without dependents, earn a paycheck, and learn new skills that will grow our economy and help the supply chain. Right now there are more job openings than people who are looking for jobs. You know why? It’s in part because of the Biden administration weakened work requirements,” McCarthy claimed. “Incentives matter. And the incentives today are out of whack. It’s time to get Americans back to work. Don’t believe anyone who says our plans hurt Americans’ social safety net.”
Kevin McCarthy, speaking at NYSE, proposes work requirements for government benefits pic.twitter.com/0Bh3CVnTSo
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 17, 2023
“We are very generous nation,” McCarthy claimed, ignoring that most industrialized nations provide far more services, like universal healthcare. “A hand up, not a hand out,” he said invoking Ronald Reagan, but just the parts that fit his narrative, not the main focus of his speech.
What was the main focus of his speech?
The debt ceiling. And his desire to negotiate over it — or, as many are saying, holding the nation hostage to fringe House Republicans’ demands.
“McCarthy is trying to hide the Republicans’ own bumbling disarray,” tweeted Richardson. “Congress negotiates over the BUDGET, not the debt ceiling, which simply pays for bills already rung up in large part by the Republicans themselves. But they can’t agree on a budget, so are screaming about Biden.”
Pointing to his Morning Memo titled, “This Is The Dumbest Debt Ceiling Fight Ever,” Talking Points Memo executive editor David Kurtz tweeted, “Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has such a tenuous grip on his own conference that the debt-ceiling hostage-taking he is attempting to pull off has all the hallmarks of the bumbling kidnapping capers you see in the movies.”
Professor Richardson actually had a lot more to say about Speaker McCarthy in her newsletter.
“McCarthy has not offered a budget proposal because the Republican conference cannot agree on one,” she says, noting he is “trying to use the threat of national default to extract the cuts extremist members of his conference want. The Biden administration has made it clear that it will not negotiate over paying the nation’s bills, especially since about a quarter of the debt was accumulated under former president Trump, $2 trillion of it thanks to tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. In those years, Congress raised the debt ceiling three times. Biden presented his own long, detailed budget, full of his own priorities, as a start to negotiations in March, and he says he is eager to sit down and hammer out the budget once McCarthy produces his own plan. McCarthy is trying to deflect from his inability to do that but is confusing the issue, suggesting that he has the right to negotiate instead over whether or not to pay our bills.”
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House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ spokesperson, Christie Stephenson, on Monday blasted “Speaker McCarthy’s refusal to produce a Republican budget,” and his New York Stock Exchange speech:
“A speech is not a plan. Extreme MAGA Republicans continue to treat the full faith and credit of the United States as a hostage situation while their so-called budget proposal remains in the witness protection program. As always, we will evaluate any legislative text when and if House Republicans can ever agree with themselves about how much they want to devastate American families in order to finance tax cuts for the wealthy, well-off and well-connected.”
Watch video of Speaker McCarthy’s speech below, Majority Leader’s Schumer’s remarks above, or both at this link.
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‘Leaning Into Weird’: DeSantis Presidential Launch Panned Before It Starts Because Who Even Knows What Twitter Spaces Is?
Some time this evening Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to finally announce he is running for president, an announcement that has been seen for years as all but inevitable. NBC News broke the story Tuesday afternoon that not only would the far-right authoritarian, anti-LGBTQ, anti-woke, anti-social justice warrior finally throw his hat into the ring, he would do it with Big Tech billionaire Elon Musk in a Twitter Spaces chat.
While some saw it as an interesting move initially, 24 hours later the decision to announce in a Twitter Spaces chat is being widely panned, for many reasons including that even regular, active users of Twitter have little to no idea what Twitter Spaces is, or how to access it.
More importantly, most Americans don’t use Twitter, so they will not bother to tune in. Nor – since Twitter Spaces is audio – is there expected to be video, and certainly not live video.
Former Republican and former U.S. Congressman from DeSantis’ home state of Florida, David Jolly, sums up what many seem to be thinking.
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“The DeSantis decision to announce with Musk is a serious miscalculation. A launch with three missteps,” he tweets. “1. He’s leaning into the ‘weird’. 2. He’s doubling down on being the candidate who needs a safe space. 3. He’s promoting his association with regressive ideology.”
“Dumb move,” he concludes.
Political strategist and Lincoln Project senior advisor Jeff Timmer agrees with Jolly.
“Every single thing about the DeSantis campaign has been a stupid not-ready-for-primetime misstep,” he writes. “Every. Single. Thing. The paper tiger has feet of clay and a glass jaw. The most overrated stock in the history of POTUS campaigns.”
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So why Twitter Spaces?
The Atlantic’s David Frum, the Bush 43 speechwriter who reportedly came up with the 2002 State of the Union phrase “axis of evil,” served up an on-target take not even mentioning the Twitter Spaces event.
Criticizing a DeSantis pre-launch video (below), Frum wrote: “Fascinating how every DeSantis message raises some barrier between the candidate and the target audience. In previous ads, the candidate’s face was mediated through screens; here, somebody else’s voice is substituted for the candidate’s own. He himself is always missing.”
America is worth the fight… Every. Single. Time. pic.twitter.com/lWNQ3DIXgp
— Casey DeSantis (@CaseyDeSantis) May 23, 2023
That’s a good description of how it will likely be on Twitter Spaces.
Attorney, former Republican, former DeSantis administration official, former federal prosecutor Ron Filipkowski mockingly tweeted, “With a couple of dynamic personalities like Musk and Desantis, the audio-only announcement tonight should be real compelling.”
There’s been a lot of criticism, from Democrats, independents, and yes, Republicans.
“This announcement is a symptom of thinking random conservative Twitter personalities are the GOP base,” a Republican strategist who is “working with a rival campaign” told the website Semafor.
Another told them, “I couldn’t think of a more terrible way to spend my time than watching two socially awkward introverts talk about themselves.”
As it turns out, according to this two-year-old Twitter “how to” on Spaces, it is only available on iOS – Apple’s iPhone and iPad platform – so if DeSantis was hoping for a massive draw, he’s unlikely to get that. (Turns out Twitter didn’t update that How To — it’s also available on Android and in a web browser.)
There’s also been remarkably little effort via Twitter or the DeSantis campaign to promote the event. If you are a Twitter user you may not have even seen anything about it.
Even scrolling on my Twitter app, I see absolutely nothing about the event.
Earlier today I tweeted, “I’m not a marketing expert, but I am on Twitter a lot, and I have no idea what time Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis [are] going to be on Twitter ‘Spaces,’ I have no idea how to access it, and I’ve seen nothing telling me about it, other than it’s supposedly happening.”
Two people responded, one of them later pointing me to a USA Today article apparently originally titled, “How to watch: Gov. Ron DeSantis announces presidential bid on Twitter.” The current title, since it’s audio, reads: “Elon Musk will host Ron DeSantis on Twitter Spaces. How to listen on iPhone, tablets or desktop PC.”
Oh, and it is slated to start at 6 PM ET.
After I complained it was “just bad execution from Musk, as usual here,” the other person who responded wrote, “It’s such loser behavior all around.”
Watch the video above or at this link.
Twitter’s New CEO Sure Seems a Bit Like Elon Musk
Back in December, amid tremendous outrage from users over how the social media platform’s new owner was managing Twitter, Elon Musk posted a poll asking if he should step down as CEO and hire a replacement. The results were overwhelming: 57% of the 17.5 million users who responded said “Yes,” with some begging him to go away entirely.
The man who scraped together $44 billion to purchase and take private what is arguably the most impactful and influential place on the internet was not about to quit – as owner or CEO. It took six months, but on Thursday he tweeted an announcement.
“Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!”
“X” is now Twitter’s parent company, one of several owned by the disruptive 51-year old South Africa native who until recently was the richest person on the planet.
Musk, by his own admission, has crashed Twitter’s value. If it was worth $44 billion when he bought it, it no longer is. Musk recently admitted Twitter – which he gutted, allegedly to cut costs –is now worth less than half of what he paid: a mere $20 billion.
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Experts can argue why the man who is the head of Tesla, the Texas-based electric vehicle and energy storage company, and SpaceX, the spacecraft and satellite company, can’t seem to just keep the social media platform running smoothly. In addition to losing more than half its value, it’s lost users and advertisers.
“Twitter lost more than 1.3 million users in the week after Elon Musk bought it,” a USA Today headline from November read.
Last month The Washington Post reported, “Twitter has been dramatically transformed under Musk and few — even among some in the billionaire’s corner — say the changes have been for the better.”
“Advertisers have fled in droves over Musk’s policy changes and erratic behavior on the site, causing advertising revenue to recently drop by as much as 75 percent, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share sensitive internal information,” The Post reports. “Rounds of layoffs have left Twitter operating with a skeleton staff of 1,500 — an 80 percent reduction — and so riddled with bugs and glitches that the site goes down for hours at a time.”
So Musk has finally hired, he says, a new CEO.
Not surprisingly, someone who appears to have similar – right wing – tastes.
“NBCUniversal’s head of advertising, Linda Yaccarino, is in talks to become the new chief executive of Twitter, according to people familiar with the situation. NBCU said Friday morning that Ms. Yaccarino was leaving the company, effective immediately,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Musk (just as this article was being published) confirmed it is Yaccarino.
Journalist Yashar Ali puts it this way: “In Linda Yaccarino, Elon Musk gets a CEO who is a seasoned ad executive who generally shares his political leanings. But she’s also the Chairman of a World Economic Forum task force so she can comfortably liaise with Twitter’s current investors and advertisers around the world.”
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CNBC reported the news on-air.
NBCUniversal global advertising chief Linda Yaccarino resigns as sources say she’s in talks to be the new CEO of Twitter. @JBoorstin reports. https://t.co/6yUqcoe8fW pic.twitter.com/HMF1qUSF12
— CNBC (@CNBC) May 12, 2023
So who is Linda Yaccarino? Twitter users were quick to want to know.
When the Yaccarino rumor started Thursday evening, as usual, Twitter users went to work.
What they found is someone who appears to “like” and “follow” arguably some of the worst yet popular, right-wing elements on Twitter. Some who Musk seems to have embraced.
Max Berger, a liberal activist whose bio says he co-founded two organizations, did some digging.
(A tweet from May of 2022 that Berger pinned to the top of his account reads: “Elon Musk is really doing an incredible job educating the public about how capitalists end up aligning with fascists to maintain their wealth and limit the power of the working classes.”)
“Linda Yaccarino,” Berger wrote Thursday night, “the woman who is reportedly the new CEO of Twitter, follows: – Chaya Raichik – Jesse Watters – Michael Shellenberger – Ron DeSantis – The Babylon Bee – Giorgia Meloni – Maye Musk – Catturd – Vivek Ramaswamy – Tulsi Gabbard – Bari Weiss.”
“New Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino seems like a certified MAGA supporter,” he adds. “She also follows: – Sidney Powell – Lin Wood – Jack Posobiec – Libs of TikTok – Ian Miles Cheung – Andrew Sullivan – Richard Grenell – Tim Scott – Mike Pompeo.”
Columnist and former Obama administration official Brandon Friedman writes: “This long list barely scratches the surface. There’s a lot more. She’s ingesting a fire hose of content from the absolute worst people in the world every time she opens the app. And, as Max notes, she’s a former Trump appointee.”
Many of those names are likely familiar, but some are not.
For those who don’t know, Chaya Raichik is the founder of the far-right extremist social media account Libs of TikTok.
“Libs of TikTok reposts a steady stream of TikTok videos and social media posts, primarily from LGBTQ+ people, often including incendiary framing designed to generate outrage,” The Washington Post last year reported “Videos shared from the account quickly find their way to the most influential names in right-wing media. The account has emerged as a powerful force on the Internet, shaping right-wing media, impacting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and influencing millions by posting viral videos aimed at inciting outrage among the right.”
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More recently, the suspected Allen, Texas mass shooter who slaughtered eight people, reportedly wrote one of his posts on a Russian social media site was “inspired by Libs of TikTok.”
Jesse Watters is a far-right, incendiary, misogynistic Fox News propagandist deemed a “Racist, Sexist Frat Boy.” He’s also rumored to be in the running to replace the now-fired white nationalist Tucker Carlson.
“Catturd” is the anonymous pro-Trump pro-Musk Twitter account with 1.7 million followers that Rolling Stone calls “the Sh-tposting King of MAGA Twitter” – and who “Elon Musk likes to talk to on Twitter.”
Vivek Ramaswamy? An “anti-woke” GOP presidential candidate whose tweets (or, at least one tweet) Yaccarino has “liked.”
Yaccarino also follows a lot of right-wing media people, including Sean Hannity, Ben Shapiro, Dan Bongino, Sebastian Gorka, and Michelle Malkin.
And she follows Franklin Graham.
But she also follows Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Marc Benioff.
Some may say it’s unfair to judge someone by their Twitter likes and the folks they follow on social media. That depends.
(If you look at mine you’ll probably see a lot of right-wingers who I follow because I often write about the extreme right. And because in the days of early Twitter I used an auto-follow bot that followed anyone who followed me.)
But there are patterns and looking at these landmarks at least offers insight into who and what they are looking at and interacting with.
And what’s clear is Yaccarino certainly seems to be all-in on Musk. She’s retweeted posts about Tesla, and even interviewed the billionaire earlier this year, an interview coincidentally posted to NBC Universal’s website.
So why does all this matter? Because what happens on Twitter directly influences what people who are and are not on Twitter see, read, hear, and ultimately think. It is an influencing platform. And it’s important to know that the person (rumored) to be the incoming head of arguably the greatest influence platform in the world is following the right.
This article has been updated to reflect Musk’s confirmation Yaccarino will be the new Twitter CEO
DeSantis Just Made It Illegal for Doctors to Refuse to Treat Unvaccinated Patients – But Legal to Refuse LGBTQ Ones
In Republican Governor Ron DeSantis‘ “Free State of Florida,” as of July 1 it will be illegal for physicians and other medical professionals to refuse to treat unvaccinated patients. It will be illegal to mandate vaccines. It will be illegal to mandate the wearing of masks. It will be illegal to require a “vaccine passport.”
But, also in Ron DeSantis’ “Free State of Florida,” it will be legal for a physician or other medical professional to refuse to treat a patient who is LGBTQ for a “specific health care service” if it violates their “conscience.” And legal for insurance companies to refuse to cover patients who are LGBTQ for a “specific health care service” again, if it violates their “conscience.”
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ COVID-19 policies will now be enshrined in state law as the Governor signed bills that will make permanent bans on vaccine and mask mandates as well as give a shield to doctors who deviate from other medical professionals,” Florida Politics reports.
“It is the intent of the Legislature to provide the right of medical conscience for health care providers and payors to ensure they can care for patients in a manner consistent with their moral, ethical, and religious convictions,” reads SB 1580, one of several bills DeSantis signed into law Thursday. “Further, it is the intent of the Legislature that licensed health care providers and payors be free from threat of discrimination for providing conscience-based health care.”
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That could mean it will be legal for physicians to refuse to prescribe contraception, or puberty blockers, or HIV medications, and for pharmacists to refuse to fill those prescriptions.
“A doctor could deny care, for instance, if they are ‘morally opposed’ to gender-affirming care, or if they don’t like that a patient is having premarital sex. And it’s not just doctors—under the law, insurance companies, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals, ambulances, and more could all also deny care,” The New Republic reports.
The Human Rights Campaign on Thursday said SB 1580 “creates a license to discriminate by allowing healthcare employers to discriminate in hiring, and it bars medical Boards from disciplining doctors for spreading misinformation.”
“This bill is a broad license for health care providers and insurance companies to refuse services to people. No one should be denied access to medical care,” Brandon Wolf, Equality Florida’s press secretary, said as the Pensacola News Journal reports.. “This puts patients in harm’s way, is antithetical to the job of health care providers, and puts the most vulnerable Floridians in danger.”
It’s not just SB 1580.
DeSantis has just signed a large package of laws he calls “Prescribe Freedom,” which, like most of DeSantis’ laws, prescribe “freedom” for some, but not for all.
A poster on the governor’s official website reads: “Prescribe Freedom,” and says, “Protecting Floridians from the ‘biomedical security state.'”
It also says DeSantis’ law “Permanently prohibits employers from hiring or firing based on MRNA jabs,” meaning, COVID vaccines.
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The poster also reads, “Protects medical professionals’ freedom of speech,” “Protects the right to disagree with the preferred narrative of the medical community,” and “Protects The Religious Views Of Medical Professionals.”
Florida Politics reports DeSantis’ new laws “give a shield to doctors who deviate from other medical professionals.”
In other words, more room for ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, and other quack “remedies.”
In fact, as Florida Politics reports, “Anders Croy, a spokesperson for the group DeSantis Watch, issued a statement calling SB 1580 ‘The Quack Act.'”
“The Quack Act is classic Ron DeSantis,” Croy’s statement says, “divisive nonsense that targets the rights of Floridians while serving as a shield for his real goal of enriching his billionaire and corporate elite donors. Time and again, Ron DeSantis has proven that he is an insurance industry shill who will do their bidding no matter the real-world cost to Floridians, whether it is allowing them to be price gouged through skyrocketing premiums or denied access to essential health care services.”
“When your insurance company or giant corporate employer refuses to cover the lifesaving care that you need, please be sure to thank Ron DeSantis for putting the needs of the donors who fund his political ambitions ahead of your freedom to be healthy, prosperous, and safe.”
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