Posted: April 29, 2021 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: morning reads | Tags: Harry Littman, Joe Biden, Joe diGenova, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Preet Bharara, Rudy Giuliani, Victoria Toensing |
Michael Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS
Last night President Biden gave his first speech to a joint session of Congress. For the first time, two women sat behind the president, Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. A couple of reactions to the speech:
Philip Bump at The Washington Post: In his first speech to Congress, Biden rejects autocracy — including from Trump.
There were two moments during President Biden’s address to the nation on Wednesday in which he obviously, if only indirectly, referred to the man who preceded him in his position.
The first came near the beginning.
“America is rising anew,” Biden said, “choosing hope over fear, truth over lies, and light over darkness.”
Only the second of those three pairings is immediately and obviously about Donald Trump; the former president’s indifference to accuracy is unparalleled. But by stringing the three together, Biden was similarly positioning Trump as the target of the other pejoratives. America under Trump, he’s saying, was a place of fear, dishonesty and darkness. That tracks with Biden’s past rhetoric and, frankly, Trump’s own: Biden warned the country last autumn that a dark winter was coming because of the pandemic (and Trump’s leadership failures), and Trump himself made fear a central part of his reelection bid.\But now, Biden argued on Wednesday night, all of that was swept aside.
“After 100 days of rescue and renewal, America is ready for takeoff, in my view,” he said. “We’re working again, dreaming again, discovering again and leading the world again. We have shown each other and the world that there’s no quit in America.”
From there, Biden turned his attention to an exhaustive list of policy priorities, one that, in its own way, differentiated his speech from any of Trump’s. Not only were his proposals robust and detailed in a way that was never Trump’s style, they were also progressive in a way that no Republican’s would be. It was an obvious difference and, of course, the most important one in terms of governance.
But it was also a reminder that Biden always ran on being a president who just sort of quietly went about presidenting, a promise that he has fulfilled in spades.
John F. Harris at Politico Magazine: Biden Just Gave the Most Ideologically Ambitious Speech of Any Democratic President in Generations.
President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session Congress was the most ambitious ideological statement made by any Democratic president in decades—couched in language that made it sound as if he wasn’t making an ideological argument at all.
Make no mistake that he was. He called for trillions in new spending in a robust expansion of government’s role in multiple arenas of American life in ways that would have been impossible to contemplate in Barack Obama’s presidency. He plunged into subjects—racial and class inequities, immigration, gun violence—that were rubbed raw until bleeding in Donald Trump’s.
Usually these issues are framed with a question: Which side are you on? Though rarely described as gifted orator, Biden’s speech was a remarkable performance in part because it didn’t soar and largely didn’t even try to. In plain-spoken language, he depicted a breathtakingly large agenda as plain common sense. Instead of imploring partisans to take sides, he projected bewilderment that any practical-minded person of any persuasion could be opposed.
Under a pose of guilelessness, Biden’s speech was in fact infused with political guile. The agenda he promoted to expand both free pre-school and community college, to subsidize the shift to a low-carbon economy, to fund a massive way of new public works construction by taxing the very wealthy, represented years of pent-up demand by progressives. But much of the money would be spent in ways designed to break up the Trump coalition, which was powered heavily by middle- and lower-middle class whites who do not have college degrees with contempt for many parts of the progressive agenda.
Referring to his infrastructure proposal, Biden argued: “Nearly 90 percent of the infrastructure jobs created in the American Jobs Plan do not require a college degree. Seventy-five percent don’t require an associate’s degree. The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America.”
The bet is that material gains—i.e., a recovery that produces lots of working class jobs, and allows families to more easily educate their children—can trump the cultural grievances that sent many of these people into the conservative movement over the past two generations, beginning with George Wallace’s hardhat supporters and later becoming a flood of “Reagan Democrats.”
A CNN poll found that public reaction to the speech was positive: CNN Poll: 7 in 10 who watched say Biden’s speech left them feeling optimistic.
About half of Americans who watched President Joe Biden’s address to Congress had a very positive reaction to the speech, and 71% said they walked away feeling more optimistic about the country’s direction, according to a CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.
By a wide margin, speech-watchers said that Biden’s policy proposals would move the country in the right direction (73%) rather than the wrong direction (27%). In a survey conducted before the speech, the same people were a bit less bullish that Biden would lead in the right direction (67% right direction, 33% wrong direction), and that movement came from the independents and Republicans who watched the speech. Among Republicans, the share saying Biden’s policies would move the country in the right direction grew from 13% pre-speech to 27% post-speech, while among independents, that percentage rose from 61% to 73%.
That perception carries through to the major issues covered in the speech. More than 8 in 10 said Biden’s proposals on the coronavirus pandemic would move in the right direction (86%), and 74% said the same about racial injustice. Around 7 in 10 said the President’s policies on the economy (72%), gun laws (70%) and taxes (70%) were steps in the right direction. Slightly fewer said the same about immigration (65%).
And Biden’s focus on those issues appeared to hit the right mark for speech-watchers. Overall, 68% said Biden has had the right priorities so far as president, while 32% said he has not paid enough attention to the most important problems.
The other big news yesterday was that Rudy Giuliani’s home and office were searched by Federal agents. Some reactions:
From The Week, via Yahoo News: Federal investigators search Giuliani’s home and office, and experts say it means he’s in real trouble.
Federal investigators searched Rudy Giuliani’s home and office in Manhattan on Wednesday, executing search warrants as part of an investigation into his business dealings in Ukraine, reports The New York Times.
The former New York City mayor and personal lawyer to former President Donald Trump is being investigated over possible illegal lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian officials and his efforts to dig up dirt on Trump’s political rivals. “Executing a search warrant is an extraordinary move for prosecutors to take against a lawyer, let alone a lawyer for a former president,” writes the Times. “While the warrants are not an explicit accusation of wrongdoing against Mr. Giuliani, it shows that the investigation has entered an aggressive new phase.”
Experts agreed the search represented very serious stakes for Giuliani. Former U.S. attorney Harry Litman wrote that “this means that a magistrate judge has found probable cause to believe that [Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine] were criminal.” As the Times writes, “to obtain a search warrant, investigators need to persuade a judge they have sufficient reason to believe that a crime was committed and that the search would turn up evidence of the crime.”
Federal prosecutor and legal analyst Shanlon Wu called the search an “extraordinary step,” and wrote that “no amount of hot air and ranting is going to help Rudy Giuliani now.”
Litman continued: “I don’t know offhand the percentage of people whose [apartments] are searched by warrant who are then indicted … but it’s high, and given Giuliani’s profile, it has to be higher [because] they would be more careful and get lots of approvals.”
The search warrant was reportedly a long time coming, and politics may have slowed it down. The process was delayed for the presidential election so as not to sway voters, and Trump appointees at the DOJ reportedly managed to temporarily block the warrant while Trump was still in office.
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara agrees. Benjamin Hart at New York Magazine: Preet Bharara Thinks Rudy Giuliani Is in ‘Deep Trouble.’
I spoke with Preet Bharara, who served as the U.S. Attorney for the district from 2009 to 2017 — and whose podcast, Stay Tuned, was recently acquired by Vox Media — about Giuliani’s predicament and where the investigation might go next.
How significant is this move by the Feds from your perspective? How much legal danger does Giuliani face here?
I think it’s extremely significant. I’m not one to say that when routine subpoenas are issued or interviews are conducted, but here you have a very prominent person — not just the former lawyer to the president of the United States but also the former U.S. Attorney of the office that’s involved in the investigation. The fact that you execute a warrant on someone’s residence does not necessarily mean there will be a charge, but given the circumstances, given the identity of Mr. Giuliani, given what you have to show to get a judge to authorize the warrant and the search — that’s a sign that he’s in deep trouble. We saw this play out with respect to Michael Cohen and to Paul Manafort. Very prominent targets, very sensitive cases. Both of those men were charged.
The two people you just cited also both went to prison. Is that where this could be going?
I used to head that office, and there are search warrants that get executed on people’s premises and their offices, and no charges follow. That happens, and Giuliani is presumed to be innocent. But what’s likely is that there has already been substantial investigation. The reporting was that they tried to execute these searches when Trump was in office, and they were stymied by higher-ups in the Justice Department. Bear in mind, they’re probably far along, given what showing they have to make of probable cause to do these searches in the first place. They likely already have a lot of Rudy Giuliani’s communications. You don’t need to have his devices in your possession to have email records; those are obtained from third parties, and they probably have all of that. It’s anyone’s guess what the charges will be and when they will come. But in my experience, when you do something like this, that you know will have a reputational effect on the subject, you’re usually thinking there’s a good likelihood of a charge.
It hasn’t been as widely reported, but it’s also significant that the Feds searched the home of another Trump-associated attorney, Victoria Toensing. Nicholas Reimann at Forbes: Feds Search Giuliani’s, Toensing’s Properties As Part Of Ukraine Investigation.
Federal investigators searched Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan apartment on Wednesday and later searched the home of attorney Victoria Toensing as part of a probe into whether Giuliani acted on behalf of Ukrainian oligarchs to illegally lobby the Trump Administration, according to multiple reports, with investigators said to have seized electronic devices.
A bit more from The New York Times:
F.B.I. agents also executed a search warrant on Wednesday morning at the Washington-area home of Victoria Toensing, a lawyer close to Mr. Giuliani who had dealings with several Ukrainians involved in the hunt for information on the Bidens, according to people with knowledge of that warrant. The warrant was for her cellphone.
Ms. Toensing, a former Justice Department official, has also represented Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch under indictment in the United States whose help Mr. Giuliani sought.
More stories to check out:
Susan Glasser at The New Yorker: Biden’s Speech Offers an Alternate Reality for Democrats to Love, After Four Years of Trumpian Fantasy.
Wall Street Journal: Stocks Are Off to Best Start to a Presidential Term Since Great Depression.
Newsweek: Rudy Giuliani Voicemail Hints at Cause of Federal Search Warrant.
The Los Angeles Times: FBI director says Capitol riot was ‘domestic terrorism.’
The Washington Post: Trump supporter found guilty of threatening to kill members of Congress after Jan. 6 insurrection.
Politico: Trump’s Battle to Win the First 100 Days.
CNN: US investigating possible mysterious directed energy attack near White House.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Feds plan to indict Chauvin, other three ex-officers on civil rights charges.
CBS News: In India, a scramble for scarce vaccines as COVID deaths top 200,000.
CNN: India’s Covid-19 crisis is a problem for the world.
That’s it for me today. What’s on your mind?
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Posted: December 3, 2020 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: Afternoon Reads, U.S. Military, U.S. Politics | Tags: Donald Trump, election fraud claims, GOP election officials, Ivanka Trump, Jim Inhofe, Joe diGenova, Mike Pence, narcissistic supply, newsstand art, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Nixon, Trump crimes, Woodrow Wilson |
Painting by Paul Renard
On Tuesday, I asked if we will ever be free of Trump and his demands for narcissistic supply–even after we pry him out of the White House. At The Atlantic, two writers argue that Trump is already losing his battle to remain the center of attention.
David A. Graham: Trump Is Rapidly Becoming Irrelevant.
To a remarkable degree, people have already stopped paying attention to the 45th president.
The past few weeks have offered a preview of what Donald Trump’s post-presidency might look like: The president fulminates at length, playing pundit, but is a practical nonfactor in policy discussions. He can still command the affection of millions—and raise millions of dollars from them—but the balance of the country has already moved on and tuned out. Trump’s ability to command the news cycle has been eclipsed by the virus he couldn’t be bothered to stop and the rival candidate he couldn’t beat.
Graham notes that we still must be alert to Trump’s efforts to damage our democratic institutions and policies.
His election-related efforts are sputtering: Trump has watched while state after state certifies election wins for Biden. He has watched as dozens of judges have punted long-shot lawsuits out of court. He watched as dye ran down Rudy Giuliani’s face in a news conference that was somehow both jaw-droppingly insane and jaw-clenchingly dull. Having exhausted nearly every option, the Trump legal effort has now resorted to recycling old, failed gambits. With the Electoral College meeting on December 14, the end is in sight.
The relevant description of Trump’s role is “watching.” The president has long been an obsessive TV viewer, but without a campaign to run and with no events on his schedule, there is less to distract him from the tube—and his gripes about Fox News and praise for the network’s smaller rivals, Newsmax and One America News….
Paris in the Rain, by Dan McCole
He is now back to feeding his followers a steady diet of false and misleading claims about the election results, though it is difficult to tell whether he really believes his claims, is just processing his grief, is simply taking advantage of a lucrative fundraising opportunity, or some combination thereof.
This punditry will likely be the central element of Trump’s post-presidency. Armed with his Twitter following and perhaps a cable-news show or even channel, Trump will be able to spout off to his heart’s content….
Trump’s diminishing relevance over the past 10 days is a good preview of what to expect come late January. Trump won’t go away entirely, and he certainly won’t get quiet, but fewer Americans will listen to or care about what he has to say. They’ve voted with their ballots, and now they’ll vote with their attention.
Yascha Mounk: Why Trump Might Just Fade Away. Americans will soon grow tired of the president, despite his efforts to stay in the limelight.
Trump’s veneer of invincibility is fading. He lost his bid for reelection, and staged the most incompetent coup attempt since Woody Allen’s Bananas. He can rant and rave about what happened in November, but he can’t keep his followers from seeing Joe Biden inaugurated in January. Fear of what he might attempt next is giving way to laughter. He looks weaker and more scared by the day.
When Oprah Winfrey left her show to start her own network, she was the biggest star on television. Many analysts predicted that her new venture would be a huge success. At the time, some press reports even suggested that bosses at the main broadcast networks were seriously worried about the competition.
Contrary to these expectations, the Oprah Winfrey Network struggled to find an audience. In the first years of its existence, it bled tens of millions of dollars. Today, OWN has established a stable niche for itself, and even makes a little profit. But with an average viewership of fewer than 500,000 people in 2018, it plays in a completely different league from the four major networks and the most commercially successful cable channels.
This should serve as a warning to anybody who is now fielding pitches to invest in the Trump News Network. If Trump follows the lead of other authoritarian populists like Hugo Chávez and hosts a regular television program, he can undoubtedly induce his most devoted fans to tune in. But to be commercially viable, his channel would have to expand that core audience, recruit other hosts who are capable of sustaining the public’s attention, hire journalists who can actually cover what is going on in the world, and attract advertising from run-of-the-mill corporations.
Mounk argues that Republicans are unlikely to supports Trump’s plans for another presidential run in 2024, even if he is capable of carrying if off four years from now and it’s likely that most Americans will be sick of his antics by then, if they aren’t already.
Times Square Station, by Louis Ebarb
Another Atlantic writer, Timothy Noah suggests that we may learn much more about Trump’s time as “president” after he leaves office: The Trump You’ve Yet to Meet. Just because we know bad things about the 45th president, don’t assume that there’s nothing bad left to find out.
How well do we know Donald Trump? Pretty well, it would seem. Nobody has ever accused the outgoing president of possessing a complex personality. His behavior in office confirmed the common view, barely disputed even by his allies, that he is a shallow narcissist, blind or indifferent to common decencies, with poor impulse control and a vindictive streak. His futile attempt to litigate away electoral defeat may appall you, but it probably doesn’t surprise you.
Still, just because we know bad things about the 45th president, don’t assume that there’s nothing bad left to find out. Journalists like to pretend that we know everything about a president in real time, but our information is never close to complete. There’s always more to learn, and it’s seldom reassuring.
Americans had no idea until after he left office how completely Woodrow Wilson depended on his wife, Edith, after he suffered a stroke in September 1919; she waited two decades to admit in her memoirs that, on instructions from Wilson’s doctors, she’d winnowed his written communications with Cabinet members and senators, digesting and reframing “in tabloid form those things that … had to go to the president.”
Nor did Americans learn until a decade after his death that John F. Kennedy, a much less devoted family man than Life magazine let on, shared a mistress (sequentially if not concurrently) with the Chicago Mob boss Sam Giancana, whom the CIA recruited in one of several harebrained plots to assassinate Fidel Castro.
Then there’s Richard Nixon. Americans knew many shameful things about Nixon thanks to the Watergate investigation that prompted his resignation. But only after he left office did we learn, for instance, that Nixon ordered an aide to compile a list of Jews who worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics so he could demote some of them.
Noah lists many possibilities for how we will learn more about Trump and his time in the White House. I hope you’ll read the whole thing. Some possible sources of information and questions to be answered:
Trump, for all his talk about loyalty, has never commanded much from the people who work for him. No visible bonds of affection or respect bind Trump to his employees, leaving fear the sole motivation for keeping the troops in line. (See Cohen, Michael.) Most of that fear will evaporate by January 20, by which time trade publishers may be turning away proposals for tell-all books lest they create a market glut. Unlike the previous two administrations, which were somewhat difficult for reporters to penetrate, the Trump White House leaked like a sieve. Après lui, le déluge….
Digital art by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.
How close did we come to war with North Korea when Trump threatened to rain “fire and fury” on Kim Jong Un? After Trump decided instead to become the first president to meet with Kim, how close did Trump come to agreeing to remove U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula?
Exactly how much revenue did Trump properties collect from the federal government during his presidency? How much from people seeking to influence Trump’s presidency?
Who has received promises from Trump that they’ll be pardoned? Did Trump promise in advance to commute Roger Stone’s sentence?
What were the domestic arrangements in the Trump White House? Can Melania and Barron really be said to have lived there, or did they spend more time in their New York apartment, or at her parents’ house in Maryland, where Barron went to school?
Did White House aides observe signs of mental decline in Trump related to aging?
Some stories from today’s news that suggest Trump’s power to control the narrative and intimidate fellow Republicans is fading:
The Daily Beast: Mike Pence Backs Away From the Trump Election ‘Fraud’ Train Wreck.
Vice President Mike Pence has been a go-to fundraising draw for the president’s campaign, and since October, no more than a day passed without his name emblazoning a fundraising email for the Trump reelect.
But that changed late last month. Since Nov. 25, not a single fundraising email from the Trump campaign or its Republican National Committee fundraising account has featured Pence’s name in the “from” field. And this week, that Republican National Committee joint fundraising committee, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, made another subtle change: a handful of its emails swapped out the official Trump-Pence campaign logo for one featuring just the president’s name….
Newspaper Kiosk in Bologna, Italy, photo by Fillippo Carlot
Several high-level sources say that the graphics change, along with Pence’s disappearance from the headers of President Donald Trump’s increasingly frantic and conspiratorial pleas, are not actually coincidental. According to four people with knowledge of the matter, they reflect an effort by the vice president and his team to distance Pence from some of the president’s more outlandish claims about a conspiracy to undermine the election and illegally deny him a second term in office.
“It is an open secret [in Trumpworld] that Vice President Pence absolutely does not feel the same way about the legal effort as President Trump does,” said a senior administration official. “The vice president doesn’t want to go down with this ship…and believes much of the legal work has been unhelpful.”
Axios: Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told President Trump on Wednesday he’ll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: “This is the only chance to get our bill passed,” a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.
Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump’s threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.
The backstory: Inhofe leveled with Trump — over speakerphone while walking through the Senate’s Russell Building — that the bill won’t meet his demand to repeal liability protections for tech companies, or block efforts to re-title military bases named for Confederate figures.
The Washington Post reports on the public disgrace of a Trump sycophant: Joseph diGenova resigns from Gridiron Club after saying fired cybersecurity official should be shot.
Joseph diGenova, the Trump campaign lawyer who had been a fixture in Washington legal circles for decades, resigned under pressure Tuesday from the elite Gridiron Club after an uproar over his comments suggesting a former government official should be executed.
DiGenova later said he was joking when he made the comments about Christopher Krebs, the federal cybersecurity official who was fired by President Trump after asserting that the 2020 election was secure and free of widespread voter fraud. “Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs . . . .” diGenova said on the conservative “Howie Carr Show” on Monday. “He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.”
Still, the White House denounced the statement, Krebs said he would consider legal action — and the 135-year-old Gridiron Club asked diGenova to step down.
Painting by Vlad Yeliseyev
Ivanka in legal trouble? CNN: Ivanka Trump was deposed Tuesday in DC attorney general’s inauguration lawsuit.
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Posted: December 1, 2020 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Chris Krebs, Christmas stuff, Donald Trump, Doug Ducey, Joe Biden, Joe diGenova, Lou Dobbs, Melania Trump, Sidney Powell, Trump grifting |
Turn in the Road, by Paul Cezanne
The election has been over for weeks, but Trump is determined to continue making our lives miserable until the bitter end. He plans to troll Biden’s inauguration, and begin running for president again as soon as he leaves the White House. We may not be rid of him until the day he dies.
I have been having trouble sleeping again, despite feeling exhausted. I’m tense much of the time, worried about what is going to happen next. I think it’s likely that millions of Americans are going to be suffering from PTSD for some time after the years of abuse we have suffered at Trump’s hands. Even formerly loyal Republicans are getting sick of his whining.
Talking Points Memo: AZ’s GOP Gov Appears To Get A Call From Trump As Biden’s Win Becomes Official In The State.
President Trump, who still refuses to concede to President-elect Joe Biden despite how his legal battles contesting the legitimacy of the election process have fallen flat, appeared to call up Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) as the governor certified the battleground state’s election results on Monday.
Arizona’s certification of its election results on Monday handed the state’s 11 electoral votes to Biden and cemented the swearing-in of Senator-elect Mark Kelly, a Democrat who defeated Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), this week.
Ducey, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel (all of whom are Republican) witnessed secretary of state Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, certify the state’s election results as required by state law….
Last July, Ducey told reporters that he changed his ringtone to “Hail to the Chief” to alert him when the White House is calling.
Resnik noted that specific ringtone was heard while Ducey was in the middle of certifying the state’s results. The Arizona governor appeared to silence the call.
Raw Story:‘It’s over’: Joe Biden’s win is certified in all key states — and Donald Trump can’t handle the truth.
Since Nov. 7, the result of the 2020 presidential race has been clear: Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump by a substantial enough margin that the outcome has never really been in doubt by serious observers. But on Monday, the results met a new official threshold as Arizona and Wisconsin became the final decisive swing states to certify their votes.
“All six key states have now certified their election results with Joe Biden as the winner,” said attorney Marc Elias, who has been involved in key election law cases for the Democratic Party. “Trump and his allies remain 1-39 in court.”
In addition to the newly certified swing states, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, and Georgia have also certified Biden as the winner. Georgia is still undergoing a recount, but it is not expected to affect the result, especially since the state has already conducted an audit of the ballots, carried out by hand, that affirmed a margin for Biden of more than 12,000 votes. Trump also funded recounts of two counties in Wisconsin, which likewise reaffirmed Biden’s win. Certifications are also being carried out in swing states Trump won and states where the presidential election outcome was never really in doubt.
Road in a Forest, by Claude Monet
Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post: Trump is an ego monster. Republicans, don’t let him consume you.
Maybe it’s not pure, unadulterated cynicism. Maybe soon-to-be-former President Trump is having a genuine existential crisis. I’d feel sorry for the friends and family who have to be around him right now, if they weren’t such sycophants and grifters. It must be a bumpy ride.
In his desperation to avoid being forever labeled a loser, Trump is pursuing a futile course of action that only causes him to lose to President-elect Joe Biden again and again. Trump was declared the loser slightly after Election Day; he loses repeatedly and decisively in court; he loses in recounts and then demands re-recounts, which he will also lose. So much losing!
With Trump, it’s generally wise to assume the basest motives. Maybe he is actually trying to bully Republicans into nullifying the election and helping him stage what would amount to an authoritarian coup d’etat. Maybe he is spitefully trying to make life as difficult as possible for the new administration by delegitimizing Biden’s victory in the eyes of many voters. Maybe he is reinforcing his cult-leader control over his followers in what amounts to a massive act of hostage-taking, hoping to use them as human shields against potential criminal investigations or prosecutions — or as sources of ongoing profit.
But perhaps, on some level, Trump simply cannot accept that in an election that saw Republicans do well overall — gaining seats in the House, retaining control of statehouses, winning Senate seats that polls indicated they would almost surely lose — the man at the top of the ticket got creamed by more than 6 million votes.
“So I led this great charge, and I’m the only one that lost?” Trump tweeted Sunday. “No, it doesn’t work that way. This was a massive fraud, a RIGGED ELECTION!”
But yes, it does work that way. And no, of course the election wasn’t rigged. What happened was that voters turned out in record numbers for the specific purpose of kicking Trump out of the White House. It was a massive act of rejection, a clear message sent by more than 80 million of Trump’s fellow citizens: Go away.
But it looks like he will never go away until he either dies or his dementia advances to the point where he can no longer tweet or call in to right wing TV and radio.
Road at St Paul (Var) 1922 Felix Vallotton
Trump may actually want to overturn the election, but he’s also using his ridiculous legal “strategy” to wring more money from his cult followers.
The New York Times: Trump Raises $170 Million as He Denies His Loss and Eyes the Future.
President Trump has raised about $170 million since Election Day as his campaign operation has continued to aggressively solicit donations with hyped-up appeals that have funded his fruitless attempts to overturn the election and that have seeded his post-presidential political ambitions, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The money, much of which was raised in the first week after the election, according to the person, has arrived as Mr. Trump has made false claims about fraud and sought to undermine public confidence in the legitimacy of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.
Instead of slowing down after the election, Mr. Trump’s campaign has ratcheted up its volume of email solicitations for cash, telling supporters that money was needed for an “Election Defense Fund.”
In reality, the fine print shows that the first 75 percent of every contribution currently goes to a new political action committee that Mr. Trump set up in mid-November, Save America, which can be used to fund his political activities going forward, including staff and travel. The other 25 percent of each donation is directed to the Republican National Committee.
A donor has to give $5,000 to Mr. Trump’s new PAC before any funds go to his recount account.
Still, the Trump campaign continues to urgently ask for cash. On Monday, Mr. Trump signed a campaign email that breathlessly told supporters that the end of November — nearly four weeks after Election Day — represented “our most IMPORTANT deadline EVER.”
More details at the NYT link.
Meanwhile, Trump’s “legal team” and his media sycophants are becoming more and more unhinged.
Tim Miller at The Bulwark: Trump Lawyer: Former DHS Senior Official Should Be Executed.
On Monday President Trump’s campaign lawyer and former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova said that fired Trump cybersecurity chief Chris Krebs should be executed for saying that the election was the “most secure in United States history.”
Country Road, 1890, by Vincent van Gogh
DiGenova, appearing on the Howie Carr show, which simulcasts on Newsmax, took aim at Krebs as an aside during a wheels-off segment full of false claims about how the United States election had been rigged.
“Anybody who thinks that this election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity [for Trump]. That guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot,” diGenova said.
This is not just a random Parler troll trying to get attention. This is an attorney speaking on behalf of the President of the United States’ re-election campaign. And while it may read like a macabre joke, the direct nature of diGenova’s comments make it impossible to interpret as anything other than a real wish/threat against a public servant for offering truthful testimony.
Joe diGenova should get a visit from the FBI.
And then there’s Lou Dobbs, suggesting on live TV that Trump must take “drastic action.” Media Matters: Lou Dobbs calls on Trump to take “drastic action” over non-existent election fraud.
LOU DOBBS (HOST): And as I said at the outset of the broadcast, Sidney, this is no longer about just voter fraud or electoral fraud. This is something much bigger. And this president has to take, I believe, drastic action, dramatic action to make certain that the integrity of this election is understood or lack of it, the crimes that have been committed against him and the American people. And if the Justice Department doesn’t want to do it, if the FBI cannot do it, then we have to find other resources within the federal government. We’ve got to rise above this because the nation itself — this is an assault on the core of a democracy, any democracy. Our ability to cast a secret ballot. Your thoughts, Sidney, as we wrap up here.
SIDNEY POWELL: That’s exactly right, Lou. It affects the bedrock of our democratic republic. It can’t be allowed to stand and, frankly, I’m about to think the entire FBI and the entire Department of Justice need to be hosed out with Chlorox and fire hoses.
As Trump whines about losing the election, his trophy wife has been busy doing something she hates: choosing ugly “decorations” for the White House for Christmas.
NBC News: Melania Trump unveils Christmas decorations for final holiday season in White House.
First lady Melania Trump on Monday morning revealed this year’s White House Christmas decorations and theme: “America the Beautiful.” The unveiling comes less than two months after secret recordings from June 2018 were aired by CNN, in which she complained about preparing for the holidays at the White House.
The first lady announced the decorations on Twitter with a 1-minute video showcasing the festive halls and rooms of the White House. The White House also issued the video and a press release about the reveal on Monday.
“During this special time of the year, I am delighted to share ‘America the Beautiful’ and pay tribute to the majesty of our great Nation,” the first lady tweeted. “Together, we celebrate this land we are all proud to call home.” [….]
This year’s decorations may just be the most anticipated of the Trump presidency, following the public release in October of the first lady’s expletive-filled 2018 complaints about planning for the holiday at the White House.
“I’m working … my a** off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a f*** about the Christmas stuff and decorations?” She said in the leaked audio that was secretly recorded by Trump’s former senior adviser and friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. “But I need to do it, right?”
Monica Hesse at The Washington Post: Everything we needed to know about Melania Trump is in those bewildering Christmas decorations.
It’s our final Christmas with Melania Trump, and we shall celebrate in the usual way: by accompanying FLOTUS on an annual tour of her White House decor, a one-minute video that also appears to serve as a trailer for a movie about a woman who wakes up in a castle one holiday season and goes searching for the person who spiked her eggnog with mushrooms.
The Louveciennes Road, by Camille Pissarro
And so here we are, following the first lady down colonnades and breezeways as she encounters rows of looming, florally festooned evergreens in the manner of someone who has never seen a tree.
The decor contains many roses, white lights and hanging ornaments — airplanes, speedboats — which Melania looks up at and beholds in wonder. There is a painting of a reindeer and another one of a fox; there is an ornament of an American flag and another one reading “Be Best,” referencing the first lady’s launch-failure of a signature initiative. There is a banner celebrating the 19th Amendment, which now comes across as fourth-dimensional trolling given that the majority of American women voters used their ballots to eject Melania’s husband from the White House.
Over the past four years Melania’s off-kilter Christmas decorations have become a reliable source of controversy. This began with her first holiday in 2017, when she unveiled a maze of icy, creepy branches that appeared to be a joint production created by the set decorator from “The Haunting of Hill House” and the Babadook. In 2018, she showcased giant blood-red trees onto which the Internet promptly Photoshopped white bonnets to turn them into extras from “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Last year’s decor, in a color palette of attractive creams, was considerably less terrifying, but it still contained the contradictory elements that have made each year perplexing.
Be sure to read the rest at the WaPo.
I can’t wait to get rid of this trailer trash family. They remind me of the Beverly Hillbillies.
That’s all I have for you today. I know I skipped the really serious stories, but I’m reaching the limit of how much horror I can handle first thing in the morning.
Take care Sky Dancers! We will get through this together some how some way.
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