Wake Me When It’s Over

With 39 days left until Joe Biden takes the Oath of Office, the unspeakably ignorant Sean Hannity of Fox News is already calling for his impeachment!  I have cussed more in the last month or two than in all my 69 years before.  In this age of frivolous lawsuits, my case against the Republican Party and Donald Trump for loss of sanity should be able to make it onto the docket of the Supreme Court, don’t you think?  This morning I have good news/bad news …


America’s biggest bully

Donald Trump ordered Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to either approve the Pfizer vaccine yesterday or else submit his resignation.  This, my friends, goes entirely against all good sense, goes against the entire purpose of having the FDA in the first place!  This is unconscionable!

It is not … I repeat NOT up to the Oaf in the Oval Office to decide whether the vaccine is safe or not … that is why we have experts like Stephen Hahn, Dr. Fauci and others who actually know what they are doing, unlike Donald Trump!

At this point, I have decided that I will NOT take the vaccine within the next six months, for it has not gone through the full approval process and is approved only by Donald Trump, who I wouldn’t let within 50 yards of my person for fear of contamination.

Isn’t it funny that Trump has completely ignored the fact that the U.S. is now seeing right around 3,000 deaths per day from the coronavirus, but yet he’s hellbent and determined to force approval of the vaccine before the FDA is confident of both its safety and its efficacy?

Yes, a reliable, proven vaccine is part of the solution, but it is not the entire solution.  First, the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has warned against the Pfizer vaccine for people who are prone to serious allergic reactions, which means about 20% of the population.  Second, the vaccine will not be available to the average person until mid-to-late 2021, and many people have said they will not take it, for one reason or another.  Meanwhile, we could all wear masks, stay home as much as possible, forego such things as dining out and unnecessary shopping, and wash our hands or use sanitizer frequently whenever we are outside our home.  GASP!  What simple things, yes?  And yet, approximately half the population of the United States are stubbornly refusing to wear a mask because they say it goes against their civil rights.  Never mind that the fools don’t understand that by going maskless, they are taking away OUR rights!

But back to my point … this was unconscionable on the part of Donald Trump, the person who will leave the Oval Office in just 39 days.  I wish I could report that Hahn and the entire staff of the FDA resigned and walked off the job last night, but no … he caved to Trump’s wishes and now we are all a little bit less safe than we might otherwise have been.  Another one of Trump’s crimes against the people of this nation.

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On a brighter note …

The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit I told you about yesterday, the one filed by Ken Paxton and supported by far too many republican officials at both the state and federal level.  The court’s unsigned order was short, and it denied Texas’s request to sue Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin over how they conducted their elections.  Texas has not shown it has a legal interest “in the manner in which another state conducts its elections,” the order said. It dismissed all pending motions about the case.

“The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution. Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot.”

Justices Alito and Thomas were the only two who did not think the court had the authority to simply reject a state’s filing, but they said they would not have granted Texas the remedy it sought, which was to disallow the electors from those four states.  When I first heard the news, I let out a bit of a WHOOP!!! What surprised me the most was that there was no dissent from any of the three Justices appointed by Trump – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and what’s-her-name Barrett.

Interestingly, Trump did not immediately take to tweeting, but instead apparently stayed in his room and pouted, refusing to even make an appearance at the White House Christmas party last night.  Good ‘nuff … let him pout … maybe he’ll pack his bags and run away from home.

Your Afternoon Dose of Snarky

I’m back with just a few more short snippets … it seems that in the time it takes me to make a cup of coffee, there are at least five ‘breaking news’ events!  How I long for peace.


Time Magazine Announces …

Time Magazine has just announced their 2020 Person of the Year!

Person-of-the-Year

Except … it’s actually two people … President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris!  Time‘s choice to name Biden and Harris over Trump, who was also on the short list, marks the first time a president-elect and vice president-elect have appeared together on a Person of the Year cover.

According to Edward Felsenthal, Time’s Editor-in-chief …

“If Donald Trump was a force for disruption and division over the past four years, Biden and Harris show where the nation is heading: a blend of ethnicities, lived experiences and worldviews that must find a way forward together if the American experiment is to survive.”


Jobs for useless people

kellyanneWith only forty days left of his term, Trump is handing out jobs like they were candy.  The one that first caught my eye was Kellyanne Conway, his right-hand bootlicker until she resigned in January.  She will now serve on the board of visitors of the U.S. Air Force Academy.  I’m not sure what that entails, or what the pay is, and I suspect it’s more of an honorary thing, like most of the rest of the jobs he’s handing out.

Ol’ Elaine Chao, wife of obstructionist Mitch McConnell and outgoing Transportation Secretary, was also given a job as a member of the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, along with Lynn Friess, the wife of Republican megadonor Foster Friess.  Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a major bootlicker of Trump’s is to be named to the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board.

There are more than two dozen such relatively meaningless appointments including Pamela DeVos, the sister-in-law of outgoing Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos who will also serve on the Kennedy Center board of trustees.  The DeVos family made more than $14 million in donations to Trump and the Republican Party in the run up to the 2016 election.  The DeVos family, by the way, has a net worth of $5.6 billion … yes, that’s $5,600,000,000 … an obscene amount of money by any measure.

I have no idea why any of these people, all independently wealthy, even wanted these jobs, or why Trump is doling them out willy-nilly, but my best guess is simply to prove he can.  It might have been nice if he had spent as much time, and paid as much attention, to the approximately 3,000 deaths per day we are now registering as a result of the coronavirus, or if he had worked with his cabinet members to ensure a smooth transition for Biden and his team on January 20th.  In other words, if he had done any of the work for which we are still paying him.


An addendum to this morning’s post …

The case I mentioned earlier today, filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to ‘throw out’ ballots cast for Joe Biden and hand the election to Donald Trump seeks to throw out more than ten million votes!  Ten million of the people in those four states stand to have their votes negated if Paxton’s suit should see the light of day.  Fingers crossed that it won’t, but just the fact that it is a possibility should fill you with rage.  Ten million people stand to have their constitutional rights taken from them … and why?  To salve the ego of the ‘man’ who cannot stand to lose, even though he’s been losing all his life in the game of humanity.

Georgia:   2,473,633
Michigan:   2,804,040
Wisconsin:   1,630,866
Pennsylvania:   3,459,923
   Total:  10,368,462

A question I hadn’t considered, but that was mentioned in the comments is … if the Court were to order those votes to be thrown out, wouldn’t that include the other votes on the ballot … those for candidates for the House of Representatives, Senate, and state and local offices?  Talk about mass chaos!

The attorneys general for the four states involved have denounced Republican efforts to subvert the election and asked the Supreme Court to reject the lawsuit that seeks to overturn the victories in those states by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., calling the audacious effort an affront to democracy and the rule of law.

“The court should not abide this seditious [emphasis added] abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.  Let us be clear, Texas invites this court to overthrow the votes of the American people and choose the next president of the United States. That Faustian invitation must be firmly rejected.”

Even though Ohio is not one of the states named in the lawsuit, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a republican, expressed his concern, saying that “The Constitution means today what it meant a month ago.”

Earlier this year, Trump told supporters that if he lost the election, he would leave the country.  Well, Donnie boy … you lost, now GO!  Bye-Bye Donnie!  Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!

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In case you missed it …

In other news, the U.S. government was due to shut down at midnight tonight.  Normally, this story would have dominated the headlines for the past several weeks, but instead has barely received a page 36 below-the-fold mention!  But never fear …

The Senate on Friday passed a one-week spending bill that will prevent a government shutdown, giving the White House and Congress another week to negotiate a broader set of spending measures. The vote came just hours before a midnight deadline.

The bill had already passed the House of Representatives. The measure still has to be signed into law by President Trump, something a White House spokesman said Friday he is expected to do. — The Washington Post

So, a week from now it will be the same ol’ story … the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Yet Another ABOMINATION!!!

I am so sick and tired of the chaos in this post-election period.  I am sick and tired of being shown that we the voters are naught but pawns in a large game of corporate greed, and that our voices matter only so long as we agree with the corporate giants whose net worth is thousands of times higher than our own.  I’m tired of feeling my heart rate shoot through the roof because of my extreme fury with those who identify as republicans, when all they are is greedy monsters.  The latest that has raised my hackles …

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is a grade-A bastard.  On behalf of the State of Texas, he has filed a lawsuit against four other states:  Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  Apparently, I was right the other day when I said this is no longer the “United” States, for within a nation, states do not sue other states, especially for that which does not concern them!  It would be like me suing my daughter for wearing red shoes!

The lawsuit, filed directly with the U.S. Supreme Court, asks that the voting results in those states be thrown out because of their changes in voting procedures that allowed expanded mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.  No allegations of widespread fraud or irregularities, simply because Paxton and Texas don’t like that these states allowed more people to vote by mail rather than standing in line being contaminated by a deadly virus!  And what the hell business is it of Texas what Michigan does???  NONE!

Note that these four were considered ‘battleground’ states, ones that might have gone either way.  Note also that Paxton didn’t file the suit against California, or New York, states that also allowed additional mail-in voting due to the pandemic, but which are traditionally democratic strongholds.

But wait … it gets even worse.  Yesterday, 106 republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the Texas case against the four other states.  In other words, 106 of the men and women in Congress who we elected to serve our best interests and whose salary we pay with our hard-earned tax dollars, want the Court to take away our voices, to negate our votes, simply because we mailed them instead of standing in line for hours and dying two weeks later!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Now, I don’t think it at all likely that the Court is going to accede to their wishes at this juncture – it would be a fool’s errand and would likely lead to an uprising the likes of which this nation has not seen in more than two centuries.  It would be unconstitutional, to put it quite simply.  But I am incensed that these assholes in Congress who are by law OUR EMPLOYEES, are seeking to cause us grievous harm.

Adding insult to injury, Donald Trump filed a motion with the court on Wednesday asking the justices to let him intervene and become a plaintiff in the suit!  This is all unprecedented, and in my book is treason against the people of the United States.  If my voice were strong enough, if my blog reached enough people, I would try my best to start a tax rebellion right now, urging people to continue paying their state and local income taxes, but not their federal.  These jerks, and I do include Donald Trump in that, do not deserve to get one more thin dime from We the Taxpayers!  Remember … well, we weren’t alive then, but we know the history … in 1776 when colonists rebelled against ‘taxation without representation’?  That, my friends, is precisely what Trump and the republicans are trying to do to us … keep taking our tax money, and stifle our voices, take away our constitutional rights to participate in free and fair elections.

Below is a table I put together, sorted by state to hopefully make it easier to check and see if your representative is among the reprehensible autocrats who support this vile movement.  If so, please take a minute to email or call them and tell them just what you think of their nefarious activities!

Rep. Bradley Byrne Alabama’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Mo Brooks Alabama’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Gary Palmer Alabama’s 6th Congressional District
Rep. Andy Biggs Arizona’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Debbie Lesko Arizona’s 8th Congressional District
Rep. Rick Crawford Arkansas’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Bruce Westerman Arkansas’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Doug LaMalfa California’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Ken Calvert California’s 42nd Congressional District
Rep. Tom McClintock California’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Ken Buck Colorado’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Doug Lamborn Colorado’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Daniel Webster Florida’s 11th Congressional District
Rep. Gus Bilirakis Florida’s 12th Congressional District
Rep. Ross Spano Florida’s 15th Congressional District
Rep. Matt Gaetz Florida’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart Florida’s 25th Congressional District
Rep. Neal P. Dunn Florida’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Ted S. Yoho Florida’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. John Rutherford Florida’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Michael Waltz Florida’s 6th Congressional District
Rep. Rick W. Allen Georgia’s 12th Congressional District
Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter Georgia’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Drew Ferguson Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Austin Scott Georgia’s 8th Congressional District
Rep. Russ Fulcher Idaho’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Mike Simpson Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Mike Bost Illinois’s 12th Congressional District
Rep. Darin LaHood Illinois’s 18th Congressional District
Rep. Jim Banks Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. James R. Baird Indiana’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Trey Hollingsworth Indiana’s 9th Congressional District
Rep. Steve King Iowa’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Roger Marshall Kansas’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Ron Estes Kansas’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Steve Scalise Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Clay Higgins Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Mike Johnson Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Ralph Abraham Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Andy Harris Maryland’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Jack Bergman Michigan’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Bill Huizenga Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. John Moolenaar Michigan’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Tim Walberg Michigan’s 7th Congressional District
Rep. Tom Emmer Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District
Rep. Trent Kelly Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Michael Guest Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Ann Wagner Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Vicky Hartzler Missouri’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Sam Graves Missouri’s 6th Congressional District
Rep. Jason Smith Missouri’s 8th Congressional District
Rep. Greg Gianforte Montana’s at-large congressional district
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Adrian Smith Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Lee Zeldin New York’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Elise Stefanik New York’s 21st Congressional District
Rep. Ted Budd North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District
Rep. Gregory Murphy North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Virginia Foxx North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. David Rouzer North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District
Rep. Richard Hudson North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District
Rep. Dan Bishop North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District
Rep. Brad Wenstrup Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Jim Jordan Ohio’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Robert E. Latta Ohio’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Bill Johnson Ohio’s 6th Congressional District
Rep. Bob Gibbs Ohio’s 7th Congressional District
Rep. Kevin Hern Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Markwayne Mullin Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Scott Perry Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District
Rep. Fred Keller Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District
Rep. John Joyce Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District
Rep. Glenn Thompson Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District
Rep. Mike Kelly Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District
Rep. Dan Meuser Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District
Rep. Joe Wilson South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Jeff Duncan South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. William Timmons South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Ralph Norman South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Tom Rice South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District
Rep. Tim Burchett Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. John Rose Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District
Rep. Mark Green Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District
Rep. David Kustoff Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Mike Conaway Texas’s 11th Congressional District
Rep. Randy Weber Texas’s 14th Congressional District
Rep. Bill Flores Texas’s 17th Congressional District
Rep. Louie Gohmert Texas’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Kenny Marchant Texas’s 24th Congressional District
Rep. Roger Williams Texas’s 25th Congressional District
Rep. Michael C. Burgess Texas’s 26th Congressional District
Rep. Michael Cloud Texas’s 27th Congressional District
Rep. Dan Crenshaw Texas’s 2nd Congressional District
Rep. Lance Gooden Texas’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Ron Wright Texas’s 6th Congressional District
Rep. Kevin Brady Texas’s 8th Congressional District
Rep. Rob Wittman Virginia’s 1st Congressional District
Rep. Ben Cline Virginia’s 6th Congressional District
Rep. Dan Newhouse Washington’s 4th Congressional District
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Washington’s 5th Congressional District
Rep. Alex X. Mooney West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Carol D. Miller

West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District
Rep. Tom Tiffany Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District

Bits ‘N Pieces of Snark

What, I wonder, would it be like to wake up one morning and find nothing to snark about in the news?  What would I do?  What would I write about?  Who would I curse under my breath as I go about my household chores?  Hmmmm … I wonder if that day will ever come … I think not likely in my lifetime.


Obstruction of transition

Remember that sigh of relief we all breathed when finally, Emily Murphy of the General Services Administration (GSA) released the funds for Joe Biden’s transition team to begin its work?  Hold that thought, for it’s not going quite as it should.  News today is that ‘Trump loyalists’ are interfering with the transition.  What a surprise, eh?

It was only this week that the transition team was allowed into the National Security Agency, and they are still being denied access to the Agency for Global Media, parent of Voice of America.  Typically, transition meetings take place between the civil service staff who currently hold the positions within the various agencies, and members of Biden’s team who will oversee or hold those positions.  But this time, Trump’s hand-picked political appointees are sitting in on meetings, often directing what information can or cannot be shared.

One glaring example is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which, under Trump, has been severely gutted and no longer serves much useful purpose.  Trump’s politicos have sat in on every single meeting between EPA staff and Biden’s transition team and have directed what could be said about such things as climate change and scientific research.  Meaning, that the people who fill positions in the EPA in Biden’s administration will likely have to start from the ground up.  It can be done, but it shouldn’t have to be … members of Trump’s administration and Biden’s should ALL be acting in the best interest of this nation, not of one leader or the other.  This is naught but blatant obstructionism on the part of Trump and his lackeys.


The Court says “nope”

The appointment of three Supreme Court Justices by Donald Trump has been weighing heavily on my mind, and probably yours too.  We like to think the Justices are fair men and women, well-versed in the law and who will vote according to the law, rather than their own prejudices, but we weren’t quite sure.  Yesterday, however, the Court did the right thing … apparently unanimously.

In the shortest ruling in the history of the Court, they refused a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state:

SCOTUS-ruling

Most rulings, even on simple things, are 20 pages or longer, so just the brevity of this one speaks volumes.  Trump and his allies have lost all but one of the 50+ lawsuits they have filed attempting to still the voices of We the People.  And, the one they won threw out about 600 votes, not for fraud, but only because the ballots had such minor issues as an address spelled differently than on the registration, etc.  My fear had been that once a case reached the Supreme Court, with the latest addition of the highly unqualified Amy Barrett, the Court might rule against their conscience and in favour of Trump, but as there were apparently no dissenters to yesterday’s opinion, I am once again breathing a sigh of relief.  The courts, our last line of defense in maintaining a government of, by, and for the people, seems to be holding … so far.


Nearing the finish line …

The last two states have finally managed to certify their elections, and the final tally is, just as we expected …

final-tally

The Electoral College will meet next Monday and are predicted to vote as above.  Then, the last step is for Congress to certify the electoral vote and it will be official … no more bullshit from Trump & Co.  Right?  At this juncture, any slate of electors certified by states must be considered valid by Congress and the courts, according to federal law.  It’s a done deal.  Right?

With nearly all congressional republicans continuing their wall of silence, unable or unwilling to accept the fact that Joe Biden won the election and will take the Oath of Office on January 20th, chaos is likely going to continue for the foreseeable future.  In my mind, this nation no longer can be called the United States of America, for there are two distinct nations here … the “Republican Nation” and the “Everyone Else” nation.  Unfortunately, there is no nice, clean geographical line of demarcation such as the Mason-Dixon line back in the 1800s, so we have to live side-by-side with those who do not seem to share our values at all.  This nation is in a sad state, my friends.  I don’t know if Joe and Kamala, or ANY person can bring us together.


Something new

I had never heard of ‘Slate Political Gabfest’ before today.  It is a political podcast hosted by Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz, where they discuss ongoing political issues.  Not got your interest yet?  Take a look at this clip with the three hosts and Stephen Colbert … some interesting discussion and thoughts on the subjects of Trump’s pardons and whether investigations should be opened into what has taken place ‘behind the curtain’ over the past four years.

I typically do not listen to podcasts, because there is no video and no closed captioning, meaning I’m not going to be able to hear well enough to understand what is being said, but each of the Gabfest podcasts also comes with a transcript, so those of us with hearing issues can follow along.  I’d still rather see them in person, see video, but they cover some fascinating topics, and I might just start following this one.

The Week’s Best Cartoons: Thanksgiving 2020

Okay, okay … I’m a little late re-blogging TokyoSand’s latest cartoons … but other things have been occupying both my mind and my space here (no, I did not say there was space inside my mind, though likely there is).  Anyway, as usual, TS has scoured the ‘Net for the best political ‘toons of the past week, many Thanksgiving-themed, as you might have guessed.  Thank you, TS, for providing us with a wealth of talented cartoonists!

toon-1toon-2toon-3

View the rest of the ‘toons

A Surprise From A Conservative View

I’ve made a few forays into republican/conservative territory in recent months, partly out of curiosity, and partly because I think it’s important that we not confine our worldview to a single ideology.  If we are to ever come to a meeting of the minds, find a middle ground, then it’s important to try to understand how the other side thinks.  I find most conservative ‘news’ sites too filled with … shall we be nice and say falsehoods, half-truths, but there is one that I sometimes find to be factual, fair and relevant.

National Review (NR), founded by William F. Buckley in 1955, did not endorse Donald Trump either in 2016 (they endorsed Ted Cruz) or in 2020, when they did not endorse any candidate.  Respected journalist George Will is on their list of contributors, and the ignoble Dinesh D’Souza was removed after making inflammatory remarks and promoting conspiracy theories.  National Review refused to engage in the ‘birther’ theory promoted by Donald Trump, and in fact urged President Obama early on to release his birth certificate to put the rumours to rest once and for all.

To be sure, there are things I do not like about NR, such as their continuing denial of climate change and the fact that they are supportive of Michael Flynn’s pardon, but today I came across a piece in NR that I applaud, and I was actually quite surprised to see this condemnation of Trump and his antics in such a conservative venue.  Take a look …


Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

By The Editors

November 30, 2020 6:30 AM

President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14.

This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to Joe Biden on November 3.

Behind in almost all the major polls, Trump stormed within a hair’s breadth in the key battlegrounds of winning reelection, and his unexpectedly robust performance helped put Republicans in a strong position for the post-Trump-presidency era. This is not nothing. But the president can’t stand to admit that he lost and so has insisted since the wee hours of Election Night that he really won — and won “by a lot.”

There are legitimate issues to consider after the 2020 vote about the security of mail-in ballots and the process of counting votes (some jurisdictions, bizarrely, take weeks to complete their initial count), but make no mistake: The chief driver of the post-election contention of the past several weeks is the petulant refusal of one man to accept the verdict of the American people. The Trump team (and much of the GOP) is working backwards, desperately trying to find something, anything to support the president’s aggrieved feelings, rather than objectively considering the evidence and reacting as warranted.

Almost nothing that the Trump team has alleged has withstood the slightest scrutiny. In particular, it’s hard to find much that is remotely true in the president’s Twitter feed these days. It is full of already-debunked claims and crackpot conspiracy theories about Dominion voting systems. Over the weekend, he repeated the charge that 1.8 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania were mailed out, yet 2.6 million were ultimately tallied. In a rather elementary error, this compares the number of mail-ballots requested in the primary to the number of ballots counted in the general. A straight apples-to-apples comparison finds that 1.8 million mail-in ballots were requested in the primary and 1.5 million returned, while 3.1 million ballots were requested in the general and 2.6 million returned.

Flawed and dishonest assertions like this pollute the public discourse and mislead good people who make the mistake of believing things said by the president of the United States.

Elected Republicans have generally taken the attitude that the president should be able to have his day in court. It’s his legal right to file suits, of course, but he shouldn’t pursue meritless litigation in Hail Mary attempts to get millions of votes tossed out. This is exactly what he’s been doing, it’s why reputable GOP lawyers have increasingly steered clear, and it’s why Trump has suffered defeat after defeat in court.

In its signature federal suit in Pennsylvania, the Trump team argued that it violated the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution for some Pennsylvania counties to let absentee voters fix or “cure” their ballots if they contained an error while other counties didn’t. It maintained that it was another constitutional violation for Trump election observers not to be allowed in close proximity to the counting of ballots. On this basis, the Trump team sought to disqualify 1.5 million ballots and bar the certification of the Pennsylvania results or have the Pennsylvania General Assembly appoint presidential electors.

By the time the suit reached the Third Circuit, it had been whittled down to a relatively minor procedural issue (whether the Trump complaint could be amended a second time in the district court). The Trump team lost on that question, and the unanimous panel of the Third Circuit (in an opinion written by a Trump appointee) made it clear that the other claims lacked merit as well. It noted that the suit contained no evidence that Trump and Biden ballots or observers were treated differently, let alone evidence of fraud. Within reason, it is permissible for counties to have different procedures for handling ballots, and nothing forced some counties to permit voters to cure flawed absentee ballots and others to decline to do so.

Not that it mattered. The court pointed out that the suit challenged the procedures to fix absentee ballots in seven Democratic counties, which don’t even come close to having enough cured ballots to change the outcome in the state; the counties might have allowed, at most, 10,000 voters to fix their ballots, and even if every single one of them voted for Biden, that’s still far short of Biden’s 80,000-plus margin in the state.

The idea, as the Trump team stalwartly maintains, that the Supreme Court is going to take up this case and issue a game-changing ruling is fantastical. Conservative judges have consistently rejected Trump’s flailing legal appeals, and the justices are unlikely to have a different reaction.

Trump’s most reprehensible tactic has been to attempt, somewhat shamefacedly, to get local Republican officials to block the certification of votes and state legislatures to appoint Trump electors in clear violation of the public will. This has gone nowhere, thanks to the honesty and sense of duty of most of the Republicans involved, but it’s a profoundly undemocratic move that we hope no losing presidential candidate ever even thinks of again.

Getting defeated in a national election is a blow to the ego of even the most thick-skinned politicians and inevitably engenders personal feelings of bitterness and anger. What America has long expected is that losing candidates swallow those feelings and at least pretend to be gracious. If Trump’s not capable of it, he should at least stop waging war on the outcome.

Grim SCOTUS

Most religious groups are no doubt applauding the latest Supreme Court ruling, but when you dissect it, the ruling is actually one of the biggest blows to religious freedom in the history of this nation. Clay Jones of Claytoonz has an excellent cartoon and accompanying commentary on the SCOTUS ruling …

claytoonz

cjones11292020

The biggest takeaway from the Supreme Court’s ruling that churches in New York can remain open, because placing restrictions on them is infringing upon their Constitutionally-protected religious freedom, is where the court will be years from now.

The court ruled on similar cases just a few months ago, and ruled 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberals, that the government can place restrictions on churches. On Wednesday night, it was another 5-4 ruling, this time in favor of the churches and again, with Roberts joining the liberals.

The big takeaway here is that Amy Coney Barrett was the vote putting it over the top. The last time the court voted on this, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on the court and actually understood the case.

The argument here is that New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, was being harder on churches than places like retail businesses. But the thing is…

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Five to Four

Our friend Nan wrote the post that was in my mind, but hadn’t yet reached my fingertips (spent the day cooking, y’know). In short, the United States Supreme Court ruled that religionists’ rights supercede our rights to be as safe as possible. Nan’s post is great, but the ensuing comments and conversation adds depth to the topic. Thank you, Nan, Vic, and others for your insight!

Nan's Notebook


As many of you have probably heard or read by now, the U.S. Supreme Court just gave Religion a vote of confidence. Of course, for many of us, this comes as no surprise since we knew Ms. Amy Coney Barrett was going to be an influencing factor in church/state decisions.

However, what was surprising – and gratifying – is that Chief Justice John Roberts took a much more egalitarian approach to the issue. A good sign, hopefully, of things to come … although we should never get too confident.

The entire matter is addressed in this article.

Beyond the fact the decision favored the churches in this case, I found the overall reasoning lacking in so many ways. It was Justice Neil Gorsuch’s comments, in particular, that really stood out to me.

He noted that other businesses, such as bicycle repair shops, did not have similar restrictions and went…

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Presidential Vandalism

Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat graciously is certainly no surprise.  The ‘man’ does not know the meaning of the word gracious.  Still, though I am not surprised by his antics over the past week since it became clear that Joe Biden has won the presidential election, I find it deeply disturbing.  That so many people in and out of government are playing along with his little game, either out of fear or because they have no respect for the founding principles of this nation, is even more disturbing.  Never before in the history of this nation have We the People been treated with more disdain and disrespect by the top elected official than we are today.

Yesterday, I came across the following OpEd by Nickholas Kristof reminding us how other presidents have accepted their defeat.  No matter what you thought of Hillary Clinton, you have to admit her response to her loss was far more dignified and professional than any we’ve seen since then.


When Trump Vandalizes Our Country

The president should grit his teeth and repeat Hillary Clinton’s line from 2016: “We must accept this result.”

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

Nov. 11, 2020

As it became clear that she would lose the 2016 election and news organizations called the race for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton spoke to her supporters.

“We must accept this result,” she declared. “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

She did not boast that she had won 2.9 million more votes than Trump. She did not file lawsuits to try to reverse thin margins. And she did not offer evidence-free allegations of voter fraud — as Trump did, even though he had won. Rather, she buttressed the norm in American electoral politics of the loser acknowledging the winner.

This norm is as traditional as it is wrenching for the losers. In conceding the presidential race in 1952 and sharing how he felt, Adlai Stevenson recalled what Lincoln supposedly said after losing an election: “He said he felt like a little boy who had stubbed his toe in the dark. He was too old to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh.” Still, Stevenson resolutely called on his backers to support Dwight Eisenhower in the presidency.

In 2000, after the Supreme Court effectively ended Al Gore’s quest for the presidency, Gore likewise admitted his heartache but urged voters: “I call on all Americans — I particularly urge all who stood with us — to unite behind our next president.”

Trump might study the particularly eloquent speech by John McCain as he conceded to Barack Obama in 2008. McCain said: “I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together.”

President Trump’s pattern instead has been to scrape the wounds opened during campaigns, for he has been a sore loser as well as a sore winner. In 2016, when Trump lost the Iowa caucuses, he claimed that “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it.”

Today Trump is not simply saying that we should wait for every vote to be counted in the 2020 election. Rather, he is fabricating election fraud and falsely claiming that he won, sowing doubts within his base about American democracy itself. A Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 70 percent of Republicans don’t believe the election was free and fair.

Republican officials have, with some noble exceptions, joined Trump in this dangerous charade, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserting — perhaps jokingly — that “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

The blunt truth is that there is zero evidence of widespread fraud or impropriety, and in any case, the average statewide recount over 20 years has resulted in a shift of just 430 votes. There is no realistic chance for recounts to shift enough votes for Trump to win a second term.

Yet Trump is denying reality and impeding a lawful transition in ways that diminish the United States before the world, that make our country less governable and that risk inciting violence. This is presidential vandalism.

Can America heal?

The most likely course ahead, I believe, is that reality will gradually take hold: Trump’s litigation will fail, voting results will be certified and the Trump administration will grumpily accept the inevitable and cooperate with a transition.

But I may be wrong. If Republicans egg Trump on, rather than try to rein him in, might he try to block the transition in ways that would be comparable to an attempted coup d’état?

Sean Wilentz, the historian, told my colleague Thomas B. Edsall that if Trump were to deny the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election, “It would be an act of disloyalty unsurpassed in American history except by the Southern secession in 1860-61.”

One impediment to healing is that we now all have our own news ecosystems to feed our selection bias, reinforce our prejudices and dial up our outrage. In recent days I’ve been tuning to the conservative outlet One America News, and it’s the simplest way to travel to another planet: On that planet, Democrats are engaging in massive election fraud and trying to steal the election. If you live on that planet, with Facebook feeds that reinforce that fiction, you’re not inclined to sing “Kumbaya.”

Yet we have to try to heal and reassert norms of civility that are the lubricant that make democracy work. Biden has modeled those norms in his outreach to Trump voters, in empathizing with their disappointment, in quoting the Bible in his call for Americans to unite and heal. But it will take all of us, on both sides of this divide, to join him.

Republicans scoff that Democrats, after delegitimizing Trump for four years, now preach harmony. I take their point. But for the most part Democrats protested that Trump was a bad president, not that he wasn’t president at all. It is possible, imperfectly, to uphold norms both of acknowledging losses and of pushing accountability.

The day after the 2016 election I wrote a column saying that “having lost, we owe it to our nation to grit our teeth and give President-elect Trump a chance.” I now invite Republicans, having lost, to grit their teeth and give President-elect Biden a chance.

Just Two Tidbits

Just a couple of tidbits I wanted to weigh in on today sans snark … well, okay, maybe there’s just a tiny bit of snark …


Has Fox found a conscience?

I’m not sure what is going on over at Fox ‘News’, but it almost seems as if they are trying to become a legitimate news network!  First, they were the first of all the major networks to call Arizona in Joe Biden’s favour at 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday – election night.  Needless to say, Trump was not happy, and Jared Kushner actually called Rupert Murdoch to complain.

And yesterday evening, Fox actually cut away from a news conference with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany because she claimed without evidence that Democrats were inviting fraud and illegal voting.  WHOA!  This sounds like the work of an actual news station!  Has Fox fallen off the Trump bandwagon?

Fox’ anchor Neil Cavuto said, as the network cut away …

“Whoa, whoa, whoa … I just think we have to be very clear that she’s charging the other side as welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting. Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this.”

Cavuto is the same one who earlier this year found a backbone and said …

“Mr. President, we don’t work for you. I don’t work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you — just report on you.”

Another Fox anchor, Bret Baier, has also declined to fall in line with Trump’s claims of massive voter fraud, saying …

“Listen, we are not seeing any evidence of widespread fraud. We want to look into everything as well. But we just haven’t seen it. You know, it hasn’t been presented. There’s all kinds of stuff flying on the Internet. But when we look into it, it doesn’t pan out.”

Of course, Cavuto and Baier are on the news side of Fox.  The opinion people still play the game, with Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, and Sean Hannity claiming, without a shred of evidence, that Trump is right about massive voter fraud, and continuing to fawn over him.  If Rupert Murdoch intends to improve the credibility of Fox, then he needs to shut down the opinion side, or at least hire people who are not witless pawns.

It disappoints and disturbs me that some of the Fox staff have been receiving threatening calls and emails from people because they aren’t falling in with the Trump line of false rhetoric.  I always thought that the people of this nation were better than that, but over the past decade I’ve come to realize that a significant portion are not.


ACA – on the chopping block?

Maybe not.  I am pleased and somewhat surprised today to read that both Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts might not be so eager to strike down the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare.

As you will remember, the penalty for the individual mandate requiring every individual to have at least a basic healthcare insurance plan, was reduced to zero in December 2017, when Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which eliminated the individual mandate penalty, effective January 1, 2019.  The mandate itself has remained but is not enforceable without the penalty.  At issue is whether the mandate is constitutional or not, and if not, then does that render the entirety of the Act unconstitutional.  Some, such as the newbie Justice Amy Barrett, have been hyper-critical of the previous Court rulings that upheld the ACA, but today, as the Supreme Court is reviewing the case, it seems possible that ACA may weather yet another storm.

“It does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision and leave the rest of the law in place.” –  Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh

“I think it’s hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act.” – Chief Justice John Roberts

Along with the three-remaining liberal-leaning justices – Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Elena Kagan, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor – it appears likely that ACA will remain, saving tens of thousands of people from suddenly finding themselves left without health insurance.

That there is such a deep partisan divide in the Court goes against what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution in 1787.  The goal was to have a non-partisan Court with moderate, fair justices who decided cases based on constitutional law, not their own ideologies.  Today, we are about as far from that as imaginable, and yet sometimes it still works properly.