Thursday, October 19, 2023

Last Call For The House GOP Circus Of The Damned, Con't

House Republicans are abandoning a push to empower a temporary speaker, Rep. Patrick McHenry, after it faced fierce pushback within the party on Thursday.

As they left a nearly four-hour internal meeting about the idea, multiple Republicans said there was no virtually no path forward. The proposal, which may still come back for a vote at some point, would have allowed McHenry and the GOP to reopen the House after 16 days without a speaker.

Many Republicans view that task as critical, given pending deadlines on government spending and an imminent White House aid request for Israel and other nations in crises.

“It certainly does not have the support in conference and to bring it to the floor. It would have to survive with Democratic votes,” Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) said. “We’re currently sitting on a tinderbox. So to do that, it would set off the fuse that would certainly end in civil war within the GOP, and I don't believe that anybody wants to do that.”

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) summed it up succinctly: “The resolution is dead.”

It’s the latest setback for House Republicans who have foundered in near-total bedlam since eight Republicans joined with Democrats to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) 16 days ago. No member of their conference, including speaker designee Jim Jordan, currently has the votes to win over the speaker’s gavel.

The abrupt about-face on the McHenry resolution — after momentum behind it had grown steadily for days — leaves the GOP in yet another dead-end rut. Some Jordan allies suggested that he could force a third ballot on the floor, though multiple Republican lawmakers have warned that his opposition will only grow on another vote.

Talks are ongoing about a potential alternative approach that could accomplish the same goal as the resolution from Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio), but Republicans are warning against bringing anything to the floor unless it has a majority of the conference in support.

“The language that was being floated is dead. … mostly dead,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), a Jordan ally. “This can’t be one of those deals where we have Republicans voting no and hoping yes. It just can’t be, so we better have some resolve in how we’re doing it.”

Joyce insisted he is not entirely pivoting away from his plan. He pointed to pockets of the GOP conference that remain adamant about being able to move legislation on the floor in the coming days and weeks.

“I didn’t hear it was dead. I think there are some of these folks in there who wish it was dead. But I think the overwhelming majority of the people in there agree that we can't continue down in this paralysis when the world is on fire,” Joyce said.

Conservatives, in particular, praised Jordan’s decision not to pursue the idea of empowering McHenry — an idea that had emerged from the GOP’s more centrist wing.

“I think that's a good thing. The House of Representatives needs a speaker, not a Speaker Lite. I don't support using temporary powers for Mr. McHenry,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said.

Jordan doesn't have the votes, but McHenry has far fewer. At this point there aren't any Republicans that can win the Speaker's gavel right now.

And so the House GOP Big Top is currently burning, with the clowns arguing about which standardized water bucket size they need to use to put out the fire.

I'd be laughing my ass off at these idiots if it wasn't increasingly clear that no business will get done and that the federal government will come to a screeching halt in under a month while the Middle East is about to explode into a regional, maybe even a global war.

We're headed for a crack-up, and that's exactly what the GOP chaos monkeys want.

Fani Makes A Deal, Or, Sidney's Kraken Up

Looks like Fulton County, Georgia DA Fani Willis played Let's Make A Deal again, and I told you she would. Her contestant: Former Trump lawyer and oceanic cryptid enthusiast Sidney Powell, who just flipped on Trump in Fani Willis's Georgia election interference case.
Sidney Powell, a GOP lawyer who briefly represented Donald Trump, has flipped on the former president, striking a plea deal with Georgia prosecutors ahead of her trial on a slew of criminal charges.

According to court filings, Powell pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy to interfere with election duties.

She was one of over a dozen co-defendants — including Trump himself — in the Fulton County DA's office's RICO case, which accused Trump and his allies of violating the state's racketeering statute while working to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election results.

As part of the plea agreement, Powell — who pushed several conspiracy theories about the 2020 election results and vowed to release the "Kraken," purported evidence of widespread election fraud that never materialized — will have to testify at future trials and write a letter apologizing to Georgia citizens.

Powell's plea deal was announced at a court hearing on Thursday. As part of the agreement, she will also have to pay $2,700 in restitution to replace election equipment, as well as a $6,000 fine. She faces a maximum sentence of six years probation.

Powell was set to go to trial on Monday, along with co-defendant and former Trump campaign lawyer Kenneth Chesebro.
I don't use this language often, but Trump is fucked
We'll see if Kenny Cheseboro flips before his trial on Monday, but does Willis really need him at this point? The only bigger fish on this seafood buffet are Rudy, Mark Meadows, and the king marlin himself, Trump. At this point, unless Meadows or Rudy flips, the window for a deal has closed.

Expect another tirade as Trump gets closer and closer to prison.

Getting Drugged Out

With pharmacy chain Rite Aid filing for bankruptcy this week, and the other big pharmacy chains in CVS and Walgreens expected to close hundreds of locations, it's looking like the pharmacy may go the way of the video store by the end of the decade.
Drugstore chains for decades saturated US cities, suburbs and small towns with new stores.

Now, they are closing thousands of stores, leaving gaps in communities for medicines and essentials. Researchers find pharmacy closures lead to health risks such as older adults failing to take medication.

Rite Aid, the third largest standalone pharmacy chain, filed for bankruptcy Sunday and will reportedly close roughly 400 to 500 of its approximately 2,200 stores.

Rite Aid was undone by competition from larger rivals, its $3.3 billion debt load, and expensive legal battles for its alleged role in fueling the opioid crisis.

It comes amid walkouts by Walgreens pharmacists and technicians around the country and at CVS stores in Kansas City over low pay and understaffed stores.
Drug store struggles

Rite Aid’s bankruptcy reflects long-term struggles in the retail pharmacy industry.

The majority of drugstores’ sales comes from filling prescriptions. But their profits from that segment have declined in recent years because of lower reimbursement rates for prescription drugs.

The front end of drugstores, where they sell snacks and household staples, also face pressure.

CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid are eliminating some locations as they face rising competition for these items from Amazon, big-box stores with pharmacies like Walmart, and Dollar General in rural areas.

Although drugstores benefited during the pandemic from people getting Covid-19 vaccines, fewer consumers visited stores to shop and prescription volumes fell because people were getting fewer elective procedures.

“The pandemic was not a strong time for drugstores,” said David Silverman, a senior director at Fitch Ratings.

Theft has become a problem for drugstores in some locations, and some stores have resorted to locking up products to prevent theft. But this has made the customer experience worse.

“Theft appears to be hitting drug retailers more than other categories,” Silverman said.

Drugstores are trying to pivot into the more lucrative health care industry in recent years and become primary care providers. CVS acquired health insurer Aetna, and Walgreens took a majority stake in primary care network VillageMD.

But this strategy requires fewer brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Walmart and Target were always threats to drugstore chains, but Amazon is going to finish them off.  Cheap prescriptions that you don't have to pick up and the pharmacist doesn't run out of? Yeah, I can already see how this is going to go.
On the other hand, if the Supreme Court gets rid of by-mail abortion pills, I can certainly see brick-and-mortar pharmacy companies ganging up on Amazon.
On the gripping hand, if your local chain drugstore isn't careful, they may put themselves out of business too if Congress and/or SCOTUS decide pills by mail is too dangerous. I don't see that happening, but who knows with this Congress, and this SCOTUS?



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