ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points -- The House Does Its Duty

[ Posted Friday, January 15th, 2021 – 17:20 UTC ]

I have to apologize in advance, once again, because I feel that the dire and unprecedented nature of the past week must be directly addressed without the distraction of our other regular Friday Talking Points features. Or, to put it another way, here comes another extended rant, folks.

Next week should be better. Next week should be -- for us all, not just for this column -- a very real and long-awaited return to normalcy. I hope so, at any rate. By this time next week, we will have President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris running the government, and Donald Trump will be fading from the scene in a very big way (after we all endure his final swansong: his second impeachment trial in the Senate). We'll all have breathed a gigantic sigh of relief, and then we can start thinking about handing out awards and writing talking points for Democrats to use once again. But not this week. This week, we have to rant. So here goes.

 

Throughout his entire presidency, Donald Trump has continued to top himself in the category of "most intense week ever." Over and over again, people thought: "Well, that's it -- he'll never sink lower than this," only to have this turn out to be mere wishful thinking, when the following week turns out to be even worse.

So why was anyone surprised when Trump rolled out his "season finale" (and "series finale," one would like to hope) of his made-for-television presidency in the first week of January? We all knew that whatever the end would look like, it would be spectacular (or, perhaps, "spectacularly bad"). And here we are.

The House of Representatives has only ever impeached a president four times in all our history. And the most disgraceful president (in my lifetime, at least) wasn't even one of them, because Richard Nixon quit before the House could approve the articles of impeachment they had drawn up against him. I should qualify that, because Nixon will now be known as "the most disgraceful president until Trump came along." And as many have been pointing out, Watergate was bad, but at least it had no body count.

Impeachment has only happened four times in all of American history, and three of them have now happened in the last quarter-century. Two of them happened within roughly a year of each other, for the same president. To put it another way, history is going to remember this week forever. Just like the week before it, when the president of the United States egged on a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol while the Electoral College votes were being officially counted in a joint session of Congress to certify that Trump had indeed lost the presidential election.

This week, the House impeached him for this direct assault on democracy, on America, and on the U.S. Constitution. As it was duty-bound to do.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this isn't just a constitutional crisis, it is an existential crisis. Just imagine if things had turned out slightly worse on the sixth -- Mike Pence might have been assassinated. He was only hustled to safety mere minutes before the mob broke into the Senate chamber. And the crowd was chanting: "Hang Pence!" and they had already set up a gallows complete with a noose, right outside the building.

What would have happened if this had taken place? Or what would have happened if Nancy Pelosi had been murdered by the mob? Or any other member of Congress, for that matter?

What would have happened if the mob had taken even low-level congressional staffers hostage? Would we have had a standoff situation, complete with insane demands? What exactly would the police have done, at that point? For that matter, what would Trump have done? What would have happened if the mobsters had decided to light the House chamber on fire? What would have happened if the rioters had found the official Electoral College ballots (only two states had been officially accepted when the riot happened)? There are so many ways this could have gotten much, much worse. Once the building had been invaded, pretty much anything was possible. We are, in fact, extremely lucky that things didn't get any more horrendously bad than they did.

No thanks to Donald Trump, of course. When he could have demanded the mob obey him and leave the building, he didn't. He was silent. After hours of mob rule in the Capitol, he recorded a halfhearted video where he said he "loved" the rioters and anarchists, and that they were "very special." Which did nothing more than encourage them, really.

For all of it -- for pushing the Big Lie that he had won the election in a landslide for two solid months, for refusing to concede, for refusing to allow the transition to go ahead, for filing over 60 frivolous lawsuits, for heaping doubt on what his own administration called the most secure election ever (and then for firing the people who told the truth), for demonizing state elections officials and governors of both parties (which led to death threats from his followers), for continually believing and telling his rabid base that there was indeed some magical (and non-existent) way that he'd be announced the winner, for throwing his own vice president under the bus, for encouraging a mob to gather so they could forcibly change the results in Congress, for addressing that mob, whipping them into a frenzy, and inciting them to insurrection, and for doing absolutely nothing to change it in any way when it happened, while he gleefully watched it on television -- Donald J. Trump had to be impeached.

There really was no choice. The crimes were of such a high and egregious nature that the Constitution absolutely demanded that the House do so. It was, in a word, their sworn duty to do so.

So they did.

And 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump, along with every Democrat, making this the most bipartisan impeachment vote the House has ever taken (only five Democrats crossed the aisle to impeach Bill Clinton).

The arguments the rest of the Republicans (let's call them the "sedition caucus," shall we?) came up with were pathetic beyond belief. They are still out there attempting to make such arguments, in fact, laughable though they are. Which is why Democrats need to forcefully counter them all, in the coming weeks.

Here's a list of how to do so:

There was no option. If Trump hadn't been impeached, it would have set the precedent that any sitting president can do anything they want, up to and including inciting a riot against the legislative branch of the government in his final weeks in office without worrying about any consequences whatsoever. That's not the way the Constitution works. We only have one president at a time, so there is no "two-week Mulligan rule" for the end of their term. Trump was still president and is still president, and he is obviously a clear and present danger to America and to American democracy. Thus, impeachment was imperative, immediate, and absolutely necessary. "No one is above the law, not even the president" is not just a catchphrase, it must have real meaning -- for every single day they sit in the Oval Office.

Because Trump is still a sitting president, impeachment is the only way to hold him accountable right now. Criminal charges can follow, once Joe Biden is sworn in, but that will be up to the Department of Justice. Congress simply could not shirk their duty to hold Trump accountable right now, no matter what legal jeopardy he may face once he's gone. A censure from Congress just is not severe enough for what Trump did. Far from it. A censure is essentially (and legally) meaningless.

The House didn't impeach Trump out of sheer vindictiveness. Far from it. They didn't impeach Trump just to stop Trump in his final week in office, either. They impeached Trump as a clear precedent for any future Trumps who happen to come along. They impeached Trump to send a very clear signal about what it is and is not acceptable for any president to do. Which is just another way of saying "they did their constitutional duty."

Likewise, there needed to be the strongest possible signal to all the yahoos in the mob how entirely unacceptable their actions were. This will be a deterrent for future nutjobs looking to raise a mob and try to violently intimidate an entire branch of our federal government. There's a word for doing this, and that word is "terrorism." Terrorism is using violence or the threat of violence to achieve political means. That is exactly what happened, or was attempted. And impeaching Trump is merely the first step in holding people accountable for this disgusting and criminal extortion attempt. This was not a "protest," it was a seditious attempt at insurrection. By domestic terrorists.

Trump's crimes were so egregious that they cannot be allowed to be swept under the historical rug. No commission or congressional committee hearings later will suffice to enter into the permanent historical record how truly dangerous and reckless what Trump did was. Impeachment is the only way to mark how outraged most of the country still is at what happened at the Capitol, and how our president aided and abetted it all. The historical record must reflect this, and by impeaching him, it is guaranteed that history will never forget.

A continuation of this thought -- impeachment and a trial are absolutely necessary for a very specific historical reason as well. All sitting members of Congress (Republicans especially) need to vote on the record, for the sake of posterity. Did they stand for our constitutional form of government, or did they stand with the mob? Did they vote to allow such terrorism to be excused, or did they vote to condemn it? Remember, this is an existential crisis, so it is time for all of them to either stand on the side of righteousness or forever be branded pro-insurrectionists and terrorist-enablers.

Yes, this was that bad. It wasn't just "Trump being Trump." It wasn't some random tweet that Republicans can conveniently claim not to have read. It was not hyperbole. It was not theoretical in any way. We all saw it. We all saw Trump tell the mob to attack the Capitol. And then we all saw them do so (far too successfully). And let's not mince words -- it was sedition. It was an attempt to overturn a free and fair election. It wasn't a "coup" in the sense of a radical faction taking over a sitting government; it was instead what historians call a "self-coup" -- an attempt to stay in power through the application of violence, rather than an attempt to seize power. Split all the hairs you want, and use whatever term you wish, but it still adds up to an existential and constitutional crisis, instigated by one man in the White House. That is as serious as it gets, and that is why it cannot be allow to pass unpunished.

Finally, the argument that "it won't matter, he'll be gone from office anyway by the time the trial happens" is just not valid at all. Impeachment isn't just for removing an official from power, it is also proactive, because Congress can also use the process to bar holding federal office ever again. Which is exactly what Trump deserves, right now. It would save us all the nightmare scenario of Trump running again in 2024, right from the get-go. Trump is very clearly unfit for the office of the presidency. That should be beyond debate, after what happened. Just because he'll be out of office by the time the Senate gets around to dealing with it doesn't mean that the equally-important penalty of forever banning Trump from office shouldn't take place. Congress can -- and should -- also strip Trump of his presidential pension and all his lifetime benefits. There is no reason on Earth that my (or anyone else's) taxpayer dollars should go into Trump's pocket for the rest of his life (to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars each and every year). Trump is not worthy of lifetime Secret Service protection, period. He just isn't, after mounting an insurrection. And since when has "it'll all be over soon" been a valid excuse for not doing your sworn duty right now?

The most laughable argument the Republicans are attempting to use right now is that the country is somehow crying out for unity, and that impeachment and a trial would somehow "divide us as a nation," therefore we must move on and begin to heal.

What tripe! What utter hogwash! What moose poop!

Donald Trump has led the Republican Party for the past five years on a mission of absolute hatred. He has demonized everyone and anyone who didn't agree with him. He was the biggest proponent of "cancel culture" imaginable, because anyone who said anything even slightly critical of Trump was immediately banished, excoriated, and thrown under the Trump bus. This even included his own cabinet members -- no one was safe from his wrath. Just ask Jeff Sessions, he'll tell you. Trump was actually pleased that the mob he had incited made Mike Pence its target. Think about that for one moment -- Pence has been the ultimate Trump toady for four long years, has never said a discouraging word against Trump, has rationalized any and all horrendous behavior Trump did, and he still got thrown under the Trump bus. George W. Bush proclaimed himself "the decider" when he was president, but Donald Trump was unquestioningly "the divider." He whipped his followers into a frenzy against Democrats, who he continuously (and without a shred of evidence) predicted would destroy America if given half a chance; against the free press, who Trump called "the enemy of the people" (an Orwellian phrase if ever there was one); and against Republicans who were insufficiently worshipful towards Trump. Everything was black and white to Trump. Anyone who questioned him or worked against him was The Enemy, and he let his followers know this in no uncertain terms. We have just been through a Republican orgy of divisiveness and now they have the absolute chutzpah to sanctimoniously talk about "unity" and "not dividing the country" and "healing"? Puh-leeeeze.

Democrats need to counter this false piety with a direct challenge: "You want unity? You want to end the divisiveness? Well, you can start by publicly announcing that Joe Biden won a free and fair election, and that Donald Trump lost, fair and square. You've got to denounce the Big Lie before unity is even possible, for starters. Then you can do your constitutional duty to convict Trump of the high crimes we all saw him commit, and you can vote to forever ban him from federal office again, because he is so patently unfit for duty. And then you can sit down and work with President Biden and the Democrats in Congress to pass emergency legislation to combat the pandemic which is currently killing 4,000 Americans a day and infecting a quarter-million people per day. Then -- and only then -- the country will become unified and begin to heal. But not before, because you and the leader of your party simply have to atone for the four years of divisiveness you've been revelling in and encouraging for far too long." That should really be the only answer to fake sanctimoniousness, from Democrats.

But I'd like to end on a positive note today. Because ironically, even his historic second impeachment won't be what truly brings Trump to his knees. Taking away his pension and his Secret Service detail will be satisfying, but it won't be what diminishes him the most. Because that's already happened.

You know what has made the past week quieter than the week before it? Trump can't tweet any more. His megaphone has been confiscated, and he's never going to get it back. For most of us, and even for most politicians, this wouldn't be a fatal blow, but for Trump I suspect it will be.

He's lying low right now -- in fact, since the Capitol Insurrection, he's been quieter than he's been at any point in the past four years, when you think about it. It's not just the Twitter ban, Donald Trump has all but disappeared from public view. He hasn't really tried to get his message out any other way, other than a few of those "hostage video" presentations that his lawyers and aides have forced him to do (in the hopes of avoiding criminal responsibility, later on).

But sooner or later (probably just after Biden takes office), Trump is going to attempt to re-emerge. He'll try to influence public opinion once again. But how will he do so? Probably by calling in to Sean Hannity's show, or any of his other favorite Fox News programs. He'll ramble on at great length, and tell us all how he is actually the victim here. You just know this is coming, right?

But how effective is it going to be? Even the highest-rated Fox shows only pull in (on a good day) maybe 5 million viewers (3 million is closer to reality, these days). On Twitter, Trump had almost 89 million followers -- people he could directly reach and talk to at any hour of the day or night. That's a big change, and it's one that not too many people have really thought about yet.

The political news (outside of Fox and the rest of the right-wing media echo chamber) is going to have moved on almost entirely to Joe Biden and his first 100 days in office. My guess is that the difference between a Biden administration and what we have now is going to be the difference between day and night. All of a sudden, medical experts will be unmuzzled. Truth will be told to the American people. Solid federal plans will appear and thousands will leap into action. Fear of petty political retribution from the man-baby-in-chief will disappear. And that is what everyone's going to be talking about, not whatever whiny complaints Trump is making.

But beyond the media is where the real dimming of Trump's power will take place. Think about it -- up until now, what has kept other Republicans in line, bowing down to lick Trump's boots upon demand? Fear. The fear of his followers. The fear of the grip he held over the Republican base voters.

But how was this fear activated? By Trump writing nasty tweets about some hapless Republican who had annoyed him. Not so much from the hard work of primary challenges or campaigning or any of the other normal political tools. Just by mean tweets.

But Trump can no longer tweet.

That could signal a sea-change in the Republican Party, beginning with the impeachment trial in the Senate. Astonishingly, Mitch McConnell seems to be actively encouraging his fellow Republicans to vote to convict Trump. Not openly -- his public statements have been carefully noncommittal -- but the fact that he's even leaking hints that he thinks what Trump did is indeed impeachable speaks volumes (according to journalists who know such things, McConnell's office never leaks). Reportedly, there are already perhaps five Republican senators who will vote to convict Trump. Add in McConnell and you get six. This means that if every Democrat votes against Trump in the Senate trial, Mitch will only have to bring 11 other Republican senators with him as he crosses the aisle. And Mitch's power in this regard is well within motivating 11 GOP senators.

Especially when they all timidly peer our of the holes they've been hiding in and truly realize that the "mean Trump tweet" days are gone forever. Trump calling in to a Fox show every few days just is not going to have the same impact as a tweetstorm of demonization from Trump to his 89 million followers. Barring Trump from Twitter may turn him into the ultimate paper tiger, in other words.

That's pretty optimistic, but you'll have to forgive me for such positive thinking. Because as I write this, there is less than a week before a sane adult human being will be sworn in as president, and our long national Trumpian nightmare finally comes to an ignoble end. And that's reason enough for a little positivity, I think.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

71 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- The House Does Its Duty”

  1. [1] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "We'll all have breathed a gigantic sigh of relief..."

    Not those of us that know that all we are doing is going from the frying pan into the fire.

    "Next week should be... a very real and long-awaited return to normalcy."

    Is that the normalcy that gave us Trump in first place? Why would anyone be waiting for that? That is the last thing we need.

    On the plus side you said next week you could start thinking about handing out awards and writing talking points for Deathocrats to use once again.

    Now THAT is something that has been long-awaited.

    If you do actually think about handing out awards and writing talking points for Deathocrats and you are thinking clearly then you will realize that handing out awards and writing talking points for Deathocrats is not doing anything to imporve our country or what a responsible, respectable and credible journalist would do. It is in fact just the opposite.

    Wake up. Wise up. Rise up.
    Get Real.
    Get Credible.

  2. [2] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Well ranted. I agree with everything you say.

    I especially like the idea of telling Republicans they can have unity by apologizing in public about the election, and by voting to convict Trump. As I've said before in the past few weeks, those who don't should be on the permanent White House s*** list for at least the four years of this administration, with every possible obstruction to their enjoyment and performance of office raised by the executive branch against them.

    And that's for those who don't get expelled for fomenting rebellion in the form of obstructing the legal electoral vote count, under the long-dormant clause of the 14th amendment.

    And I wait with bated breath to see if the FBI is really going to be able to show that two or three of the Republican Reps actually conspired with the mob to attack the Capitol and lynch the liberal leaders and the vice-president.

    Meanwhile, Talking Points alert, Uncle Joe is already showing what a pro-active and intelligent president and administration can do to mobilize and activate the nation's resources to fight the plague, the recession, and the sagging morale of its people. As you say about people waking up and realizing the president is no longer an insane and incompetent nihilist, Joe shows already that he has plans, people under him who know how to execute plans, and a vision that the plans are designed to get to.

    Unbelievably refreshing, even if none of it turns out as well as hoped. Just the effort shows what a difference this next president is going to make.

  3. [3] 
    andygaus wrote:

    Perhaps the first thing the country will notice once Biden is inaugurated is that all of a sudden there is a comprehensive plan to deal with the pandemic. If Biden gets his relief bill passed, of course, people will notice the check in their bank accounts. But I think it will be even more noticeable, and sooner apparent, that instead of leaving everyone to die the federal government is actively trying to help and has a plan to do so.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    How many votes in the Senate would it take to convict Trump? Is it a two-thirds majority? Does it follow from a conviction that Trump would automatically be prohibited from ever running for public office or would that require another congressional vote?

    I just listened to the whole interview that BBC Newsnight did with Director Comey and not just the clip of him saying that Biden should consider pardoning Trump for the sake of the country being able to move on and deal with the critical challenges it faces and not having the dysfunctional media culture and news cycle focused on a federal prosecution of the former president, day in and day out for the duration of Biden's first term.

    Comey has a point. The media - all parts of it - would be able to focus on nothing else. Try to imagine having to endure that, 24/7. Thanks, but, I think I'll pass.

    Further to the notion of considering a pardon, Comey was not talking about pardoning the president for inciting an insurrection but rather for any other federal prosecution that may be undertaken against Trump. And, he said that if Trump actually pardons himself, that would set in motion a DOJ prosecution because the validity of a self-pardon would have to be tested.

    Let's see what happens with potential prosecutions of Trump and how it proceeds and then re-visit whether a pardon should be considered.

    Comey also asserts that Trump should be impeached AND convicted for incitement of an insurrection on the US Capitol, a symbol of democracy not only in the US but around the world.

    He also commented on the future of the Republican party by saying that he hoped it had none. Heh.

    Anyway, just for the record, here is the full BBC Newsnight interview with Comey,
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p093yr2d

  5. [5] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    [4]

    How many votes in the Senate would it take to convict Trump? Is it a two-thirds majority?

    As I understand it, it takes two-thirds of those present when the vote takes place.

    Does it follow from a conviction that Trump would automatically be prohibited from ever running for public office or would that require another congressional vote?

    It would require a separate, simple majority vote.

    The media - all parts of it - would be able to focus on nothing else. Try to imagine having to endure that, 24/7.

    It's not as if it has to take very long. The first impeachment was more complex and it was short. We all saw what happened on TV this time.

  6. [6] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    I think I'll pass.

    Lucky for us, the senate doesn't get that option. They have to have a trial once they receive the article of impeachment.

  7. [7] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Trump calling in to a Fox show every few days just is not going to have the same impact as a tweetstorm of demonization from Trump to his 89 million followers.

    Fox would be programming some very bad TV if they allow that. He is exceptionally stupid, boring, and repetitive. He doesn't want to talk about current affairs. He wants to talk about himself.

    How many of his "followers" were bots or foreigners?

  8. [8] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    I've had my enough of Bill Maher. He had lying liar Kellyanne Conway on his show this evening. There's no excuse for helping these cretins rehab their tattered reputations. She has nothing to say that's worth hearing.

    BTW- has anyone else noticed that Tuberville and Maher look like brothers?

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It's not as if it has to take very long. The first impeachment was more complex and it was short. We all saw what happened on TV this time.

    I wasn't talking about the senate trial. I was talking about what would happen if Trump were prosecuted by DOJ or SDNY - that could take forever or it would at least feel that way. :)

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I stopped watching Bill Maher a long time ago. I liked him when he had his Politically Incorrect show.

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Lucky for us, the senate doesn't get that option. They have to have a trial once they receive the article of impeachment.

    Again, I wasn't talking about the senate trial and, neither was Comey. We're talking about the criminal prosecutions Trump may face, especially if he tries to pardon himself ... in which case he would almost certainly be prosecuted.

  12. [12] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    I don't think that pardons have to be announced. We may not know who all has been pardoned until a prosecution is attempted.

  13. [13] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    We're talking about the criminal prosecutions Trump may face

    Pardoning him would not solve the problem you're concerned with. The media could just fixate on the NY prosecutions 24/7.

    Pardoning him would be injustice. He's the person least worthy of one. Biden should pardon all the people in prison for marijuana "crimes".

  14. [14] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    KayLie McEnany has apparently ditched her job but has not resigned. Grifters gotta grift.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Pardoning him would not solve the problem you're concerned with. The media could just fixate on the NY prosecutions 24/7.

    Precisely.

  16. [16] 
    dsws wrote:

    Taking away ... his Secret Service detail will be satisfying

    No. We don't announce that someone is fair game for any nutjob who wants to shoot him. Put him in jail, if a court convicts and sentences him. Fine him, likewise. But telling Kim Jong Un or whoever that it's open season, no.

  17. [17] 
    dsws wrote:

    the senate doesn't get that option. They have to have a trial once they receive the article of impeachment.

    The Constitution says the Senate shall have the power to try impeachments. It doesn't say they have to. If they thought an impeachment was devoid of merit, they could (as far as the actual text is concerned) simply ignore it.

  18. [18] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    dsws [16]-- I still think the person most likely to try to assassinate Trump would be a disappointed Trumpista.

  19. [19] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    JFC, Liz-
    Got to agree with you about Bill Maher.

    He always makes a big deal about having people like Kellyanne Conway, Ann Coulter or other Republikillers/right wing wingnuts on his program.

    My problem isn't with him having them on his program.

    My problem with Maher is that he never has anyone outside of the establishment Deathocrats and fake progressives on his program.

    How many years has it been since he had Ralph Nader or anyone that would challenge the establishment Deathocrats or call them out on their hypocrisy?

  20. [20] 
    TheStig wrote:

    What is McConnell’s primary motivation in this historical drama?

    Save his own political skin?

    Save his party?

    Save the Republic?

    I can’t figure him out - his political posture has changed a lot over his long career. He started out as relatively progressive. He probably knows the rules better than anybody else playing the game.

  21. [21] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    dsws [16]

    Although I agree removal of Secret Service protection is an extreme punishment for an ex-president, I doubt Trump would be unprotected as a result. He is, he assures us, a multibillionaire who can afford the absolute best people to protect him and his family.

    And of course once convicted and jailed, he'd get excellent state or federal protection 24/7 for years and years.

    I doubt Biden would do it, all the same, primarily to avoid the risk of Trump becoming a martyr if he actually was assassinated in retirement. (Not that he isn't already playing the martyr, of course - but losing the election actually isn't the same as being killed.)

  22. [22] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Stig (20)-
    Must have been a long time ago when McConnell started out as relatively progressive.

    But maybe we can look at McConnell to get a glimpse of where CW will be in the future.

    When I first came here in 2015 CW was writing about Bernie and believed in trying new ideas. Relatively progressive.

    But after the 2016 primary CW became (or returned to being) an advocate for protecting and promting the status quo big money establishment Deathocrats.

    What is CW's primary motivation?

    Keeping his big money contributors happy?

    Saving his party from progressives and people that do not want the Deathocrats to take big money?

    It can't be saving the Republic because advocating and promoting the big money establishment Deathocrats is what is destroying the Republic.

  23. [23] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    McConnell got his start as county judge executive (essentially mayor) here in Jefferson County. It's a very blue county. We are represented by John Yarmuth in the House. McConnell did/said what he needed to in order to be elected.

    He's a lot like the orange one. He doesn't have any core beliefs. Two things matter to him - himself and winning. His lifelong target position was always senate majority leader and he attained that. His primary motivation at all times will be to get it back.

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Dan,

    If there is one thing I've learned about the US Constitution, then it is that 'shall' means 'do it if you're the one with the power to do it!' Heh.

  25. [25] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    More off-topic rambling from the resident economic authority.

    You guys pushing the $2000 checks for everybody need to realize that currency inflation is nothing more nor less than an alternative to conventional taxation as a means of financing the gov't. It amounts to a de-facto tax on savings, and when the nation's savings run out, the monetary system (the dollar) collapses.

    Get ready, it's coming.

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm so glad you are here, CRS! Heh.

  27. [27] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    The End is near.

  28. [28] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    CRS [25]

    Most of the commentary I'm reading suggests that relief checks in a pandemic are very different from stimulus checks in a recession, not to mention increasing the money supply during an economic boom.

    There's plenty of supply but no demand because 1) a heck of a lot of people are out of work or on short hours, making less or no money than they were last year; and 2) people with money, including those who get these checks who don't really need them, have far fewer ways to spend it as all public entertainment and travel is shut down. The checks and boosted unemployment benefits, in short, tend to artificially replace normal productivity during an enforced lockdown that has nothing to do with economic factors.

    Inflation wasn't a problem for the past 20 years during regular economic ups and downs; there's no reason to think it will be a problem if the Biden folks follow the Trump folks in drip-feeding, rather than jump-starting, the economy for another year or so.

    As to the nation's savings running out, whatever that means, I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

  29. [29] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @jfc,
    From the angle of McConnell wanting the most possible power for himself, turning on trump when he's down makes perfect sense. With Donald out of the way, mitch becomes the most powerful Republican in the country.
    JL

  30. [30] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    JMfC [28]

    It's a matter of total indifference what the Fed Res Bank money is devoted to. As long as the gov't is spending Fed Res money (as opposed to tax money or money borrowed from anybody OTHER than the Fed Res bank), the results are identical, meaning a reduction in the purchasing power of all the pre-existing money. Law of economics.

  31. [31] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    JL [29]

    I think it would be in his best interests to exorcise the orange demon, but that doesn't mean that Mitch is making that same calculation. He seems physically feeble and it's hard to imagine him running again in six years when he's 84. He doesn't want to just be the most powerful Republican, he wants to be majority leader again in two years and I'm sure he's running through all the senate race possibilities. He's not going to risk doing anything that he thinks will increase the Dem majority.

    I don't know what that means as far as his calculations, but I don't think I'd bet any money on him voting to convict. It wasn't that long ago that he voted against a bill that he introduced. Watch what he does, not what he says.

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    He's not going to risk doing anything that he thinks will increase the Dem majority.

    Well, what might look good now may not turn out to look so good two years from now. And, I don't think he has a crystal ball. So, doing the right thing just may be the way to go for him.

    And, as far as how he intends to proceed as minority leader, well, Biden has a few things to say about that ... along with the American people.

    But, watch what he does, indeed.

  33. [33] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @jfc,

    if republicans take the majority in 2022 anyway, with trump out of the way and biden bottlenecked by the senate, mitch would literally be the most powerful person in washington, no?

    JL

  34. [34] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Interesting piece, Joshua ... I'll have more to say tomorrow!

  36. [36] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    I don't think he has a crystal ball.

    Having one would be great, but handicapping a horse race doesn't require one. He's been around a long time despite his unpopularity. He's going to trust his instincts, not ours. We can only hope they align on conviction.

  37. [37] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    mitch would literally be the most powerful person in washington, no?

    In some ways.

  38. [38] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua,

    The Big Lie. How to confront and counteract it? The comparison to Hitler is wholly apt and should strike a chord with all people who love justice and believe in principles of fairness and equality and in the promise of America.

    And, what about the Republican party? I agree with James Comey and others who hope that this Republican party has no future. But, that's not enough of an answer.

    Mass disinformation has to be countered in everyway and over a sustained period of time - by anti-extremism and anti-racism efforts and education campaigns extending from childhood civics classes right through to retirees. Given that these kinds of efforts have already been undertaken in one degree to another only confirms that this needs to be a stepped up, continuing and sustained effort.

    I do agree with David Gergen, though, that it would be a good start if all Republicans who stand against the Big Lie - at the national, state and local level - do so in public, often and vociferously. And, if they don't, they should be constantly reminded of the parallels between an at-all-costs allegiance to Trump/Trumpism and the Hitler years in Germany.

    Trump's hardcore followers won't be persuaded but they aren't the biggest part of the intended audience.

    Will the Biden administration be able to begin cutting through the vicious hate, nationalism and white supremacy by simply acting in the best interests of all Americans? I thing a big part of that answer will center around how effectively they will be able to communicate with the American people.

    Hopefully, the art of persuasion isn't a lost one.

  39. [39] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Fat Donny is telling his marks that he needs to raise two billion dollars for his library.

  40. [40] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    The military has refused Dear Leader's request for a North Korea style parade as we kick him to the curb.

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Outrageous!

    Thank the gods!

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Note to Biden administration: stop talking about expecting 500,000 or 600,000 or 700,000 more deaths in the near future and start talking about what individuals need to do and what communities need to do and what governments need to do to break the chains of transmission and while doing so, try not to say vaccines and don't let it be JUST about masking up!

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Let's have a discussion about what the national plan - and, continental plan, for that matter - to shut down a virus needs to look like!

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It's never too late to do the right thing!

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It's never too late to put in place a comprehensive national strategy to fight a deadly virus that can be adapted and implemented with all of the necessary resources at local and community levels and that involves all of the public health measures to break chains of transmisison that have been at our disposal since the beginning of the pandemic and that have been proven. time and again, to work.

    If we throw our hands up and rely soley on vaccines, the we are all in for a lot of hurt in the coming months ...

  46. [46] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, tonight, my Saints are in a fight of their lives and, consequently, I'll be late to the CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party.

    So, don't have too much fun without me. Heh.

  47. [47] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Here's one for Osama bin Orange:

    It Won't Take Long to forget you
    Time it passes fast
    It'll all be over in a minute
    You'll be in the past

  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    As it turns out, the game wasn't so great.

    Nice start to our little soiree this evening, JFC!

    So, I'm in the mood for a little fun ...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWphbRxtAgE

  49. [49] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I see it's gonna be all Stones, all night long. That's fine by me. :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LQlLTaaOAs

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I've always loved this Rolling Stones tune, I'm talkin' 'bout the midnight rambler ...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRot9IjNSso

  51. [51] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    How's about we play one for Chris, the name-sake of our little weekly shin-dig. Thanks to CW, I'm becoming a fan of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia's guitar playing.

    Speaking of Garcia's guitars, he had some very cool ones custom made by Doug Irwin, two in particular were Wolf and Tiger.

    I've learned that after Garcia's death these two guitars were willed to Doug and after some legal battles with the band, the will held up and Doug got Wolf and Tiger. Then, after being a victim of a hit and run and falling on very hard times, Doug auctioned off these guitars in 2002 with Wolf going for $790,000 and Tiger for $950,000. Then, in 2017, the owner of Wolf put it up for auction with $1.9 million dollars going to charity. All of that just goes to show how well-respected the guitar playing of Garcia was - Rolling Stone ranked him at 13th top play of all time.

    Looks like Jerry is playing Tiger in this video of the Grateful Dead doing Franklin's Tower

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3Kzp2DRcak

  52. [52] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    It took over 12 weeks for the US to go from 200,000 deaths from the COVID-19 virus to 300,000 deaths...

    It took less than 5 weeks to go from 300,000 to 400,000 deaths.

    Please, get immunized and stay home unless you HAVE TO GO OUT in public.

  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That should definitely be part of the national and continental plan.

  54. [54] 
    TheStig wrote:

    LWYH-52

    The current 3rd wave of USA infections is going to top out above 500,000 KBI (killed by inaction). Chalk wave 1 up to unpreparedness. Waves 2 and 3 resulted from the fake notion that there was a trade off between public health and the economy.

    EM-53

    What plans? Promises are not plans. The US has a miraculous stock pile of newly engineered vaccines that cannot be distributed in a timely fashion. All this can be laid at Trump’s feet. Biden has inherited a twofer mess:pandemic + insurrection. American exceptionalism isn’t what it used to be.

  55. [55] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    This morning on Morning Joe they're talking about the buzz that McConnell delayed the senate trial because he anticipated that things would only get worse for the orange one as more details and videos from the terrorist attack emerged.

    Mitch is diabolical, but I'm skeptical. I do think he'd like to extract some revenge, but the GOP was/is complicit with the Big Lie.

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    TS,

    The plan to shut down the virus in your country and mine. We can wait for vaccines. Which, in any event, are NOT a some sort of silver bullet.

    I do agree with you, though, that promises are not plans. I do not wish to discuss promises. Wherever did you get that silly notion?

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    JFC,

    I do think he'd like to extract some revenge, but the GOP was/is complicit with the Big Lie.

    One hundred percent! Especially that last bit.

  58. [58] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    TS,

    The current 3rd wave of USA infections is going to top out above 500,000 KBI (killed by inaction). Chalk wave 1 up to unpreparedness. Waves 2 and 3 resulted from the fake notion that there was a trade off between public health and the economy.

    Indeed. The frustrating thing for me is to hear people, including Biden, seemingly resigned to the fact that the deaths will climb, inevitably with no end in sight.

    Nothing is inevitable about the horrible projections. We know what works to stop the chains of transmission - we just need to do it.

    But, once again, everyone now seems laser-focused on JUST the vaccines. First, it was JUST the masking up.

    In the words of the WHO director general for the last many months, "We need to do it all!"

    Couldn't agree more with you about public health and universal health care being intricately woven together with a resilent economy. Can't have one without the other. Hopefully, that is lesson number one that is learned from this pandemic so that we are ready for the next and more deadly one.

  59. [59] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    [56] EDIT: We CANNOT wait for vaccines ...

  60. [60] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    We're SO grateful that EM has stepped up and taken over the monopolization of this forum in the absence of Michale!!

  61. [61] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "...but the GOP was/is complicit with the Big Lie."

    As opposed to the Deathocrats that were/are complicit with the Big Lie?

    You do realize the Big Lie is that the Deathocrats and Republikillers are partners working for the big money interests and not opposition parties, don't you?

    If you are going to be commenting on the Big Lie you should at least know what the Big Lie is.

  62. [62] 
    SF Bear wrote:

    #60 C>R>S -- Here Here!

  63. [63] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Death Harris,

    If you are going to be commenting on the Big Lie you should at least know what the Big Lie is.

    . . . says the obsessive-compulsive troll who thinks that boring, idiotic, repetitive spam is gonna sell his scam.

    I need your advice like I need a hole in my head.

    If you are going to be a successful grifter, you should build a better mouse trap instead of trolling

  64. [64] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    CRS and SF Bear,

    You have the floor!

  65. [65] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Stucki,

    It's SO difficult to tell if "we're" refers to the voices in your head or all of Idaho or what!!

  66. [66] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    LizM,

    Have you maybe misinterpreted SF Bear's comment?

  67. [67] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Probably.

  68. [68] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    by the way, your [65] made me laugh out loud and left a smile on my face. :)

    Have I told you lately that this place is so much greater with your wit and darkly delicious sense of humour ...

  69. [69] 
    Kick wrote:

    dsws
    17

    the senate doesn't get that option. They have to have a trial once they receive the article of impeachment. ~ JFC

    The Constitution says the Senate shall have the power to try impeachments. It doesn't say they have to. If they thought an impeachment was devoid of merit, they could (as far as the actual text is concerned) simply ignore it.

    JFC is actually correct here. There are Senate rules regarding impeachment, of which the majority originated in the early 19th century. They contain a plethora of rules regarding what the Senate shall do when Articles of Impeachment are presented by the House, and (not surprisingly) choosing simply to ignore them isn't among the previously written Senate rules.

    https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R46185.pdf

    I suppose the Senate could endeavor to change the longstanding rules to include the "ignore the impeachment if we decide to" language... oh, who am I kidding? There's no way in Hell the Senate is going to change the longstanding rules to allow impeachments by the House of Representatives to simply be ignored by the Senate in power. *laughs*

  70. [70] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Party pooper!

  71. [71] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    oops ... wrong column

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