Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) issued a statement on Tuesday after news outlets reported that he got into a physical altercation with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) last month when the two Georgia Republicans moved to force votes on competing resolutions to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).
“I understand why there would be a lot of raw emotions following the censure vote given that her censure was tabled and mine passed. My intention was to encourage her by making a friendly gesture. I said to her, ‘at least we can have an honest discussion,’ to which she said she did not appreciate that. For that I immediately apologized and have not spoken to her since,” McCormick said in a statement.
first reported on Tuesday that, during a meeting with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) last week, Greene accused McCormick of grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking her amid the drama over the Tlaib censure resolutions, per multiple sources familiar with the matter.
According to Politico
, the interaction took place in early November on the House floor. The outlet, citing two people familiar with the matter, also reported that McCormick “put his hands on her shoulders, shook her, and said he could at least have an honest conversation with her.”
Tuesday’s accounts come after CNN
reported on Sunday that Greene had concerns about a “very serious situation” that took place between her and a “male Republican of the conference,” who she did not identify. When Politico asked Greene what she was referencing in the CNN story, she said “assault,” adding that a man should not put his hands on a woman.
The Hill also reached out to Johnson’s office for comment.
The alleged altercation took place in the wake of a push to censure Tlaib for her criticisms of Israel after Hamas’s deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
Greene first moved to force a vote on her resolution rebuking Tlaib, which accused her of “leading an insurrection at the United States Capitol Complex” for her participation in an anti-war protest in October, organized by Jewish groups, which featured a number of arrests.
After Greene’s initial resolution failed, McCormick approached Greene on the House floor and said he wanted to tweak the “insurrection” language in her measure because he thought it was important to censure Tlaib, McCormick’s office told The Hill at the time. But McCormick’s office said Greene was not interested in working together to revise the legislation.
A source familiar with the floor interaction noted at the time that McCormick approached Greene after the resolution was tabled and did not voice his concerns to Greene ahead of the vote. The source also said McCormick wanted to introduce the revised resolution himself, which Greene was not interested in.
McCormick’s office, however, pushed back on that characterization, denying the congressman said he would have to introduce the revised resolution.
The two went their separate ways after the initial vote, crafting competing resolutions to censure Tlaib and moving within minutes of each other to force votes on them Monday.
“Nobody cares about Rich McCormick,” Greene said in early November. “Most people have no idea that he’s even doing this. Most people think it’s my resolution. He’s only doing it because he got his ego bruised because he got called out and people were mad at him last week.”
Rivers swell to dangerous levels and forces road and rail closures as rain relieves parched states of Washington and Oregon
An atmospheric river deluged the US north-west for a third straight day on Tuesday, swelling rivers to dangerous levels, forcing road and rail closures, and possibly killing two people who may have been swept up in floodwaters, officials said.
The rain has helped relieve the parched states of Washington and Oregon, which missed much of the historic rain that fell on California a year ago and ended that state’s extended drought. Much of Washington and Oregon still face severe or moderate drought, according to the US Drought Monitor.
A special issue of The Atlantic
, launching today, warns of the grave and extreme consequences if former President Trump were to win in 2024––building an overwhelming case, across two dozen essays by Atlantic writers, that both Trump and Trumpism pose an existential threat to America and to the ideas that animate it. With each writer focusing on their subject area of expertise, the issue argues that assuming a second term would mirror the first is a mistake: The threats to democracy will be greater, as will the danger of authoritarianism and corruption. A second Trump presidency, the opening essay states, would mark the turn onto a dark path, one of those rips between “before” and “after” that a society can never reverse.
The Atlantic has made covering persistent threats to democracy its top editorial priority. Editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg explains this focus in an editor’s note
to lead the issue: “Our concern with Trump is not that he is a Republican, or that he embraces—when convenient—certain conservative ideas. We believe that a democracy needs, among other things, a strong liberal party and a strong conservative party in order to flourish. Our concern is that the Republican Party has mortgaged itself to an antidemocratic demagogue, one who is completely devoid of decency.” Goldberg recounts a meeting at the White House with Jared Kushner, who said of his father-in-law: “No one can go as low as the president. You shouldn’t even try.”
In the lead essay, “The Revenge Presidency
,” David Frum writes that a restored Trump would lead the United States into a landscape of unthinkable scenarios. “In his first term, Trump’s corruption and brutality were mitigated by his ignorance and laziness. In a second, Trump would arrive with a much better understanding of the system’s vulnerabilities, more willing enablers in tow, and a much more focused agenda of retaliation against his adversaries and impunity for himself. When people wonder what another Trump term might hold, their minds underestimate the chaos that would lie ahead.
“By Election Day 2024, Donald Trump will be in the thick of multiple criminal trials. It’s not impossible that he may already have been convicted in at least one of them. If he wins the election, Trump will commit the first crime of his second term at noon on Inauguration Day: His oath to defend the Constitution of the United States will be a perjury. A second Trump term would instantly plunge the country into a constitutional crisis more terrible than anything seen since the Civil War.”
Frum’s is one of the first eight pieces from the issue publishing today, along with those by staff writers Anne Applebaum on NATO, McKay Coppins on Trump’s loyalists, Caitlin Dickerson on immigration, Barton Gellman on the Justice Department, Sophie Gilbert on misogyny, Zoë Schlanger on climate, and George Packer on journalism.
More essays will publish across the week from more Atlantic writers, each exposing the dangers a second Trump term poses to all aspects of American life. Megan Garber, an expert in disinformation, writes about how Trump’s falsehoods will challenge the public’s willingness to accept a shared reality. Clint Smith describes how Trump will suppress American history, including January 6, to align with a MAGA version of events. Helen Lewis writes that the American left can ill afford to be simply oppositional to Trump, that bad government demands persuasion and the seeking of converts rather than the hunting of heretics. Jennifer Senior writes about the daily psychic toll that another Trump term would entail. Adam Serwer writes that Trump will be better-positioned to fill the judiciary with judges who are not just ideologically conservative but who are dedicated right-wing zealots more committed to Trump than to the Constitution.
Coming Tuesday, December 5:
Sarah Zhang: “When Science Becomes a Slogan”
Franklin Foer: “Corruption Unbound”
Michael Schuman: “China Will Get Stronger”
Adam Serwer: “A MAGA Judiciary”
Coming Wednesday, December 6
Juliette Kayyem: “Extremists Emboldened”
Elaine Godfrey: “A Plan to Outlaw Abortion Everywhere”
Megan Garber: “The Truth Won’t Matter”
Clint Smith: “Trump Will Suppress American History”
Coming Thursday, December 7
Ronald Brownstein: “A War on Blue America”
David A. Graham: “Trump Isn’t Bluffing”
Vann R. Newkirk II: “Civil Rights Undone”
Spencer Kornhaber: “Trump Will Stoke a Gender Panic”
Coming Friday, December 8
Tom Nichols: “A Military Loyal to Trump”
Helen Lewis: “The Left Can’t Afford to Go Mad”
Jennifer Senior: “The Psychic Toll”
Mark Leibovich: “This Is Who We Are”
Please reach out with any questions or requests to interview the issue’s contributors.
Anna Bross and Paul Jackson | The Atlantic
The Supreme Court rarely hears tax cases, and tax cases rarely threaten to affect the public at large. Moore v. United States
, to be argued tomorrow, is that rare exception. The case raises an issue at once beguilingly simple and oddly difficult: What does income mean? This is a question with ramifications for virtually every area of American taxation; depending on how the Court answers it, Moore could produce a chaotic ruling that casts constitutional doubt on huge swaths of the tax system. But it’s also a question that the Court doesn’t need to answer, and one that it shouldn’t. The issue teed up in Moore may be so intellectually stimulating that nobody seems to have noticed that the case has been fundamentally misframed.
The story of Moore starts in 2017, when President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The law aimed to minimize the incentive for U.S. corporations to hoard money overseas by reducing certain taxes on foreign earnings. But, in exchange, U.S. investors would have to pay a onetime tax
on accumulated foreign profits going back several decades—the so-called transition tax. Charles and Kathleen Moore are among the Americans affected by the change. In 2006, they invested $40,000 in KisanKraft, an Indian company owned by a friend. They allege that they never received any payments from the company because all of its profits were reinvested. The transition tax nevertheless stuck the Moores with a $15,000 tax bill based on the company’s retained earnings. The Moores countered that the transition tax is unconstitutional because it exceeds Congress’s power under the Sixteenth Amendment. That amendment, ratified in 1913, explicitly empowers Congress to tax incomes. But the Moores argue that unrealized gains aren’t income at all.
The Sixteenth Amendment itself was a response to a constitutional controversy. The original text of the Constitution requires that “direct taxes” be “apportioned” among the states. If you’re wondering what “direct tax” means, you’re in good company: James Madison’s notes on the constitutional convention suggest
that the drafters didn’t know what those words meant, and Alexander Hamilton later considered it
“a matter of regret that terms so uncertain and vague in so important a point are to be found in the Constitution.” But “apportioned” is clear. It means that the burden of a tax must be proportional to each state’s population, in the same manner that congressional representatives are apportioned. A state with a quarter of the national population should pay no more and no less than a quarter of the national burden of any “direct” tax. In 1895, in a case called Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Company
, the Supreme Court held that the federal income tax was, in fact, direct—and, because it wasn’t apportioned, unconstitutional. Indeed, an apportioned income tax is hard to imagine: It would require higher tax rates in poorer states. (Just think of two states with exactly the same population—so they must pay exactly the same aggregate amount—but with hugely unequal incomes. To produce the same amount of revenue, the percent rate would have to be higher in the state where incomes are lower.)
The Sixteenth Amendment effectively overruled Pollock by giving Congress the power to collect income taxes “without apportionment.” But the Moores contend that the transition tax isn’t really a tax on “income” at all, because they personally never realized any income from KisanKraft. The company might have become more valuable over time, but the cash was retained and reinvested in the firm. If there’s no income, they argue, the Sixteenth Amendment doesn’t apply, and the tax can’t be imposed unless it’s apportioned among the states. The potential sweep of this claim is hard to overstate. The United States already taxes a great deal of business profits, regardless of whether those dollars are distributed to individuals. Partnerships and S corporations are taxed this way, and such businesses now earn trillions of dollars
each year. None of those tax regimes is, or plausibly could be, apportioned. So a victory for the Moores could suddenly jeopardize much of the federal government’s ability to raise revenue.
Luckily, the Court can easily avoid that result without even touching the income question. This is because the Constitution gives Congress a separate power to enact unapportioned taxes: It can impose “duties” and “excises” under Article I Section 8
. The duty-and-excise power is far less famous than the Sixteenth Amendment, but it has long been the unsung workhorse of American taxation. The gift tax
, estate tax
, and corporate tax
, for example, were all upheld by the Supreme Court not as taxes on income but as a duty or excise. And that is by far the best way to frame the transition tax at issue in Moore. The Supreme Court has long held
that the duty-and-excise power extends to cases in which the government taxes the “doing of business in a certain way,” and the transition tax is fundamentally a tax on a certain kind of business activity—namely, doing business through a foreign firm.
This isn’t some 21st-century rationalization guaranteed to alienate originalists on the Supreme Court. In 1794, for example, Congress imposed a special duty
on retailers of “foreign distilled spirituous liquors.” Our economy has come a long way since the Whiskey Rebellion, but the principle remains the same. Long before the great legal showdown over the personal-income tax, Congress had been taxing business owners and operators in all sorts of ways, largely without controversy. Even in Pollock, the Supreme Court blessed
the many cases in which “taxation on business, privileges, or employments has assumed the guise of an excise tax and been sustained as such.” (I explore this argument at greater length in a forthcoming article
in the journal Tax Notes.)
And yet the government has barely mentioned this history in its defense of the transition tax. It devoted only one paragraph to an “excise” theory in its court-of-appeals brief and a few short pages at the very end of its Supreme Court brief
, almost as an afterthought. This has created the unsettling impression that the Court needs to say something about the income question. But the Court shouldn’t decide a more difficult constitutional question with sweeping and unpredictable consequences when a narrower and more solid path is available. Rather than upset the applecart, the Court should send the case back for the lower court to consider the transition tax as akin to every other federal tax on business activities: justified not since 1913 as a tax on income but since 1789 as a commercial duty or excise.
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For the second consecutive time, the Oxford English Dictionary crowned an internet-slang term its word of the year. This year’s choice—rizz—is meaningful only to the extent that it reminds us of the dictionary’s role as a responsive, living object.
First, here are four new stories from The Atlantic:
The reason I know what rizz means is so inane, it’s not even worth getting into. It involves a TikTok video, and a tweet about the video, and an explainer article I read to try to decrypt the meaning of the sentence “Livvy rizzed him up; Livvy even hugged Baby Gronk” over the summer. Rizz, which refers to someone’s ability to flirt by being charismatic, was never a word I thought all that much about. But the fact that it was just crowned the word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary is a reminder that a dictionary is a dynamic corpus, evolving right alongside language and capable of responding even to internet phenomena that are just entering the mainstream.
People tend to think of the dictionary as old and fusty, which is partly why the dissonance of seeing it address slang—the dictionary knows what rizz is?—makes us laugh. But the job of a good dictionary is to keep up closely with new interventions in how we talk. The selection of the word of the year differs a bit from a dictionary’s everyday work; Jonathan Dent, a senior editor at Oxford English Dictionary, described it in an email as a chance to “take a snapshot of a particular aspect of language use,” noting that it remains to be seen whether rizz “sticks around long enough” to make it into the OED’s dictionaries. The project of naming a word of the year highlights the dictionary’s role as a descriptive project rather than a prescriptive one, my colleague Caleb Madison, The Atlantic’s crossword editor (who has worked at OED), told me.
Especially in the digital age, dictionaries have many tools to trace how people use language. Because language changes so quickly on the internet, those who compile and update the dictionary turn to the public for information: What words are people searching for, or using in online conversations? That participation is literal during the selection process for the word of the year: Since 2022, OED has asked the public to narrow down a provided shortlist of words of the year to four finalists, before editors make the ultimate call. Think of a dictionary less like a natural-history museum and more like a zoo, Caleb suggests. Its role is not just to teach us about the past and what is settled but to explore what is happening now, in the wild.
Rizz emerged on internet and gaming platforms before it seeped out toward a wider audience (Tom Holland seemingly helped matters by using the word
in an interview). The word is distinctive for linguistic reasons: abbreviations are not usually pulled from the middle of a longer word. Rizz, which is derived from the word charisma, joins the small but distinguished company of words such as fridge in this regard. Also, Caleb noted, “a double-Z ending is funny and fun to say.” (Z, he added, is a 10-point Scrabble letter.) Other organizations have taken notice: Rizz was a runner-up for the American Dialect Society’s word of the year in 2022, losing out to the suffix –ussy
. In September of this year, Merriam-Webster announced
that it had added rizz to its dictionary, alongside goated, cromulent, and bussin’, and it also noted rizz
as one of the year’s top words.
For decades now, dictionaries have been naming words of the year in an apparent effort to capture the zeitgeist and get people talking about words (OED began doing so in 2004). Reading a list of past OED words of the year offers a portal to moments in language: We can recall a recent era when terms such as GIF and podcast felt novel. Sometimes, the words capture the dominant political tensions of the time: climate emergency in 2019, and post-truth in 2016. In 2020, no single word was chosen, and in 2021 it was vax. Last year, the term was borrowed from internet culture too: goblin mode. As Caleb wrote
at the time, going “goblin mode” is to look inward and indulge our private weirdness. “As we emerge from our caves after that long hibernation, our goblin-selves lurk somewhere deep inside us, beckoning us back home to vibe out,” he wrote. This year’s term (along with finalists such as Swiftie and situationship) is more social
and reliant on turning toward others, perhaps a reflection of a shifting societal mood.
A dictionary is not prescriptive, but the word-of-the-year designation can help reify a word’s presence in popular culture. It can also risk making it uncool. Slang terms inherently run counter
to mainstream vocabulary and the lexicon of those in power, but crowning something the word of the year thrusts it further into common parlance. Rizz, used online by Gen Z—and even the next generation, Gen Alpha
—has now been pushed into the consciousness of people who read the dictionary (as well as news reports, and newsletters like this one). The word of the year provides a temperature check on how people are using language—or, at least, how the people who work at the dictionary see us using language, Caleb said. But when it comes to a slang term’s cool factor, he said, “I tend to think of it as a gravestone … Here lies rizz.”
Two weeks before chaos hit St. Luke’s hospital in Boise, Idaho—before Ammon Bundy showed up with an armed mob and the hospital doors had to be sealed and death threats crashed the phone lines—a 10-month-old baby named Cyrus Anderson arrived in the emergency room.
The boy’s parents, Marissa and Levi, knew something wasn’t right: For months, Cyrus had been having episodes of vomiting that wouldn’t stop. When he arrived in the ER, he weighed just 14 pounds, which put him in the .05th percentile for his age. Natasha Erickson, the doctor who examined him, had seen malnutrition cases like this in textbooks but never in real life. Cyrus’s ribs were clearly visible through his chest. When he threw up, his vomit was bright green.
Erickson hooked the baby up to an IV and a feeding tube, and he slowly started to gain weight. But Levi and Marissa were anxious to leave. They were members of an anti-government activist network that Bundy, the scion of America’s foremost far-right family, had founded, and they shared his distrust of medical and public-health authorities.