Following Up and Following Down: January 2023

It was probably okay to complain about the weather in the first month of 2023. To use a technical term, it sucked. Not that it did or will make any difference. Whatever the weather, it’s time for the monthly look back at stuff WC has written about, not written about or failed to notice earlier. With the Magpie Principle firmly in mind, and certainly without committing any journalism, let’s have a look.

In one of its last acts, the January 6 Committee released a batch of additional documents and transcripts, not included in the published Report. Among them were the text messages of White House Communications Director Hope Hicks. One of those text messages captures a perfect example of the utter selfishness of the Trump Administration:

All of us who didn’t have jobs lined up will be permanently unemployed…I’m so mad and upset. We all look like domestic terrorists now… This made us unemployable, untouchable. God, I’m so f***ing mad.

Trump WH Communications Director Hope Hicks’ post-Jan. 6 texts

Six people dead. Hundreds injured. The nation’s history of peaceful transitions of power in ruins. And Ms. Hicks is pouting because her personal choices and utter lack of self-awareness have given her a wholly-earned dose of karma.

How to summarize in one sentence the first four days of the new Congress? Kevin McCarthy (R, Unbridled Ambition), sacrificed most of the authority and control inherent in being the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives to buy the votes to get himself elected. After 15 attempts. History books written in the coming decades, under the index entry for “ineffectual,” will have a paragraph or two on this episode.

Readers will recall that the only road into Denali National Park was closed half way into the Park when the rock glacier under the road at the Pretty Rocks formation melted and collapsed. The construction contract has been awarded. The low bid was $102 million, about 2.5 times more than the National Park Service’s $40 million estimate. It’s a sign of things to come, folks: extremely expensive repairs as a consequence of anthropogenic climate change. And that’s likely not even the only major repair to the Park Road. You’ll be hearing more about the Bear Cave repairs soon. And Alaska still focuses its economy on fossil fuels.

WC has described Dr. Ryan Cole as an “awful human being.” And WC was being kind. WC suggested he needed to lose his medical license. The State of Washington has agreed. On January 9, 2023, the Washington Board of Health issued a 12 page Statement of Charges, alleging grave misconduct by Dr. Cole, and asking for imposition of sanctions under Washington law. It’s embarrassing for Idaho; it’s been shown that the Idaho Board of Medicine decided not to investigate allegations without bothering to look at the evidence. WC isn’t an Idaho or Washington lawyer, and is retired as an Alaska lawyer, but the stuff Dr. Cole has done would cost him his license to practice medicine, at a minimum, in Alaska.

Trump attorney and former law school dean John Eastman has a similar new problem. The State of California’s bar association has brought eleven counts of violations of California’s ethical rules, jeopardizing Eastman’s license to practice law. Eastman, though his attorney, is putting a brave face on it, but Eastman’s law license is toast.

WC has, probably too many times, warned that cryptocurrencies are for thieves, not investors. Another case in point would be Ruja Ignatova, the brains (if that’s the right word) behind OneCoin, a now worthless cryptocurrency. OneCoin turned out to be a total Ponzi scheme, designed by its promoters solely and specifically to fleece investors marks. The only way to make money on OneCoin today would be to find Ignatova; the FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to her arrest. She has about $4 billion in stolen money, which will buy a lot of cover for a long time. She makes the crypto thieves subsidizing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions – they’ve stolen $600 million – look like petty thieves. Cryptocurrencies; just say no.

Ammon Bundy – remember Ammon Bundy, serial criminal and embarrassingly dreadful Idaho gubernatorial candidate? – ended up copping a plea to his latest misdemeanor trespass charges, giving him his third trespass conviction. The deal gets him a slap on the wrist, but it is a third conviction and he will be on probation for a year. Will that make him a little less . . . meddlesome . . . for a while? Nope. In response to the civil case brought against him by the St. Luke’s Health System, he told The Daily Beast,

They’re suing me for defamation. They’re probably going to try to get judgments of over a million dollars and take everything they have from me. And I’m not going to let that happen. I’m making moves to stop that from happening. And if I have to meet ’em on the front door with my, you know, friends and a shotgun, I’ll do that. They’re not going to take my property.

He also told the Beast he is throwing away papers served and mailed to him. That’ll work, you betcha. Bundy has a long history of talking big and then folding in the crunch when his pattern of intimidation, threats and attempted martyrdom don’t work. Stay tuned.

Speaking of political wipeouts, remember Kelly Tshibaka, the Trump-backed opponent to Lisa Murkowski? She has decided that it’s the fault of Alaska’s ranked voting system that she lost the election. Another in the endless stream of Republican losers who cannot accept they lost because, you know, a majority of the voters didn’t like them. It has to be the fault of someone or something else. Tshibaka has decided to lead the charge for the repeal of ranked voting with her fellow loser, Sarah Palin. Because, she says, ranked voting is too complicated for the voters. As commenter akroper pointed out in response to a Dermot Cole article,

Good grief. If people can navigate the myriad choices at Cold Stone Creamery while constructing their choice of ice cream treat, or they can somehow choose from a surfeit of offerings for their 4-topping pizza, surely they can rank four candidates in their order of preference without suffering a mental collapse.

Perhaps Ms. Tshibaka is projecting. Again.

That’s a wrap. Bog knows there’s more, but WC’s blog posts have been trending longer and, on the remote chance Tshibaka is right, WC is done.