Is Mike Johnson Cooked as Speaker of the House? - The Monday AM Quickie 4/1/24

The new Havana Syndrome stories don't contain any real evidence of a fantastical brain weapon or of actual attacks occurring – just like all the previous Havana Syndrome stories – so I'm not going to lend credence to this batch. -Jacob

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Rep. Mike Johnson May Not Last Much Longer as Speaker of the House

Rep. Mike Johnson's rocky tenure as Republican Speaker of the House is on the verge of creating strange bedfellows. Despite being a hardline right-wing theocrat, Johnson is not very popular with the party's MAGA and nativist contingents. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene already introduced a motion to try to oust Johnson, and several Republicans have now said that if tries to help Democrats pass more military aid for Ukraine, then they will force a vote on his possible removal. Others have expressed criticism of Johnson but worry about the chaos of another speakership battle. Matt Gaetz, a leader in the coup against then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, told CNN he wasn't sure he could guarantee that "we would not end up with a Democrat speaker of the House."

For his part, Johnson has said that the House will vote on foreign military aid – to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan – when it returns from Easter recess this week.

In the meantime, House Democrats will potentially unite with their hawkish Republican counterparts to pass Ukraine aid and then defend the speakership of their political enemy. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has said Democrats will support Johnson if he "does the right thing" on Ukraine. In recent days, some Democrats have spoken more openly about voting against any attempt to vacate Johnson as Speaker. On the subject of funding the war in Ukraine, at least, their fortunes are linked.

Netanyahu Promises to Ethnically Cleanse Southern Gaza, Then Smash Hamas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to insist that his military will somehow clear more than a million people out of Rafah – a supposed safe zone that Israel has repeatedly bombed – and then finish off the Hamas military battalions allegedly in the city. At a news conference, Netanyahu said that one million Palestinian civilians would be moved – how or to where was unclear – and provided with "sufficient aid," according to Bloomberg. Then the fighting would resume.

While the Biden administration has claimed that invading Rafah is a "red line," it has sent bombs and other weapons that will be used against the people in Rafah. The US and Israeli governments are going to hold a "virtual meeting" today that will supposedly present US alternatives for a catastrophic invasion targeting a besieged, starving people. But given the level of US support shown so far – politically, diplomatically, militarily, and with intelligence sharing – it's hard not to think that the Biden administration will do little to stop Netanyahu from following through on his deadly promise.

An Update on the Most Indicted Man in America

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over falsifying business records in connection with the attempt to pay off Stormy Daniels now has a start date: April 15. His three other criminal trials have yet to be scheduled, and it's possible that the Daniels case could also be delayed – indeed, that's been a core part of the former president's legal strategy.

Trump is still on the hook for a $175 million bond – reduced from $464 million – in the civil fraud case. His deadline to pay that is Thursday, or else the state of New York will make efforts to seize his properties and bank accounts. Trump and his allies have recently been making the rounds, soliciting support from other billionaires. Trump claimed that he would be able to come up with the $175 million, but, well, this is Trump, and that hasn't happened yet.


  • Some States Discourage Child Labor, Some Invite It As child labor booms in the United States, often involving migrant children working illegally in dangerous roles, some states are responding by strengthening laws against child labor. Some states are going the other way, reducing regulations and expanding the market. via WaPo.
  • Ukraine Spy Chief Acknowledges Assassination Program Lt. Gen. Vasyl Malyuk, who heads the Security Service of Ukraine, discussed how his government assassinates traitors and Russian sympathizers in Ukraine and abroad. It was the most detailed acknowledgement by a Ukrainian official that such a program exists. via Independent.
  • US Still Sending Weapons to Israel Despite expressing concern over humanitarian conditions in Gaza, the Biden administration has continued to ship weapons to Israel. “Conditioning aid has not been our policy," said a White House official. That much is clear. via WaPo.
  • Effects of Baltimore Bridge Collapse Felt Throughout Eastern US The destruction of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has affected port operations up and down the East Coast, as shipping firms, truckers, and railways work to absorb the traffic. Baltimore's port, the 17th largest in the country and the key entry point for importing vehicles, remains closed. via Bloomberg.

73 million

That's how many people had personal information in a leaked cache of AT&T customer information that recently appeared for sale on the dark web. AT&T gave conflicting statements about whether the data "originated" with them or with a contractor, and whether this data set was new or had been circulated previously, but in any case it appears to be authentic. The company said that customers' social security numbers were contained in the leak and that it decided to reset passcodes for 7.6 million accounts.


4/1: Happy Monday! Sam and Emma speak with Yanis Varoufakis, economics professor and former Finance Minister of Greece, to discuss his recent book Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism.


Rachel Maddow And The Election Denying Elephant In NBC's Green Room

Watch an experienced operator modestly critique and praise their employer in the same breath for making a horrible decision.

Google Robbing The Bank It's Already On Trial For Robbing

David Dayen, executive editor at The American Prospect, talks about the antitrust battles against big tech.


"We shouldn’t be spending a dime on humanitarian aid. It should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick."

-- Rep. Tim Walberg speaking at a town hall about Israel's war in Gaza. Walberg later claimed that he wasn't calling for the nuclear annihilation of hundreds of thousands of people but rather "the need for both Israel and Ukraine to win their wars as swiftly as possible, without putting American troops in harm's way."

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