The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – January 24, 2021

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – January 24, 2021
by Tony Wikrent

The Biden Transition and the Fight for Real Hope and Change This Time

The Biden Recovery Plan and the Disarray of Economic Theory: The pandemic had one good effect. It sidelined a lot of bad economic thinking.

Robert Kuttner, January 19, 2021 [The American Prospect]

….Among the many bad policy ideas of recent Democratic regimes, both as economic theory and as political strategy, was the conceit that public spending needed to be “paid for.” In other words, new taxes were required to finance all new spending once the Great Recession was over….

On the question of what changed in the economy to create long-term low inflation, and by extension low interest rates, most economists offer two basic answers. The first is that the economy had never fully recovered from the Great Recession when the pandemic depression hit.

The second explanation is the demolition of labor bargaining power and the rise of globalization. And of course the two are connected….

At some point, also, it would be smart to finance some of the public spending with tax reform, for the sake of greater income equality. Simply repealing the Trump tax cuts would provide about $2 trillion that would make the economy less unequal and provide funds for public investments—which would make it still more equal.

Economist Robert Pollin of UMass Amherst, a sometime adviser to Bernie Sanders, proposes that we raise some $300 billion a year from a financial-transactions tax, which could support urgently needed public outlays such as green investment.

With the Treasury paying just 1.837 percent to borrow money for 30 years, it also would make sense for the government to borrow a lot more money with longer maturities. That way, we could lock in very low interest rates….

A related question is whether the government can just keep borrowing as much as it needs, without interest rates rising. In the past century, we’ve had three tests of that proposition. During World War II, the Fed and the Treasury made a deal… In the wake of the financial collapse of 2008, the Fed again bought bonds to the tune of several trillions of dollars… The current borrowing to deal with the COVID depression is occurring in similar circumstances. Simon Johnson, the MIT economist who was formerly chief economist of the IMF, says, “The lack of a recovery is the problem, not the debt.”​​​​​​​

Here’s An Idea: Put People To Work & Print Money To Pay Them

[Heisenberger Report , via Naked Capitalism 1-22-21]

The nation’s infrastructure is in disrepair (to put it generously), food banks need staffing, vaccine rollout needs scaling up, testing needs to be expanded, and the health care system needs all the help it can get right now.

The point (in case it’s somehow unclear) is simply the following. There’s no shortage of critical jobs that need doing. There are millions upon millions of jobless Americans. And the US issues the world’s reserve currency.

You don’t need to be a quant to work out this equation. The federal government should just put people to work doing the jobs that desperately need to get done. You don’t have to worry about how to pay them, because you print money.

Hilariously (or not, depending on what you find funny) there are legions of economists and pundits out there who will tell you that isn’t feasible.

And what is their job? What do they do to contribute to society? Do they build bridges when the bridges aren’t sturdy anymore? Do they staff food banks when millions of families are lined up for miles because they’re starving? Do they go and help the government test and trace in an effort to bring an end to the worst public health crisis since the Spanish Flu?

In most cases, the answer is obviously “no.” Instead, they spend their days explaining to everyone else why something like, say, a federal jobs guarantee isn’t a viable proposition.

Why $15 minimum wage is pretty safe

[Noahpinion, via The Big Picture 1-20-21]

When David Card and Alan Krueger came out with a landmark study in 1994 showing that a big minimum wage hike didn’t cause unemployment (as most economists predicted), Card was actively shunned by many of his colleagues, who were deeply invested in the theory that minimum wage kills jobs

Highlights from Janet Yellen’s Confirmation Hearing for Treasury Secretary
Pam Martens and Russ Martens, January 21, 2021 [Wall Street on Parade]

Strategic Political Economy

Taiwan Invited To US Inauguration For First Time Since 1979

[Agence France Presse, via Naked Capitalism 1-21-21]

Mark Blyth: An End to Austerity Economics

Mark Blyth discusses how austerity politics has become the norm for parties across the globe and whether or not the incoming Biden administration will adopt a new economic program.

At the very least, listen to Blyth from about 14:00 to 14:50.

Vancouver Gave Its Homeless $5,800. It Changed Their Lives.

[reasonstobecheerful, via Avedon’s Sideshow 1-19-21]

A single infusion of cash helped recipients pay their rent, get to work — and put their lives back on track. […] Though the formal research has yet to be published, the early results are staggering. Half of the cash recipients moved into stable housing one month after they received the money, compared to 25 percent of the control group. ‘That was phenomenal,’ says Zhao. Almost 70 percent of them were food secure in one month. Like Ray, they spent most of the money on the essentials — food, shelter, bills. On average, the cash recipients spent a total of three fewer months in a shelter than those in the control group, whose days spent homeless increased. After one year, cash recipients reduced their spending on alcohol, drugs and cigarettes by an average of almost 40 percent, challenging ‘the widespread misperception that people in poverty will misuse cash funds,’ the report stated. At the end of the year-long study, participants had an average of $1,000 still left in the bank.”

Finland ends homelessness and provides shelter for all in need

[, via The Big Picture]

In Finland, the number of homeless people has fallen sharply. The reason: The country applies the ‘Housing First’ concept. Those affected by homelessness receive a small apartment and counselling — without any preconditions. 4 out of 5 people affected thus make their way back into a stable life. And: All this is cheaper than accepting homelessness.”

Information Age Dystopia

“Enter Sandbox: How Google is building an internet without cookies – and why publishers are concerned”

[Press-Gazette, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-19-21]

“The “cookie-less web” is nothing less than a total restructuring of the internet, which will spell the end of digital advertising as we know it with obvious ramifications for online publishers too…. With cookies marked for extinction, the question now is: what will replace them? Enter Google Privacy Sandbox…. Google’s Privacy Sandbox will keep data on a user’s browser, rather than storing it on servers, and use application programming interfaces (APIs) to share data on users with advertisers. These will be limited by a ‘privacy budget’ capping the number of APIs that can be ‘called’ by a site. Each call to an API will reveal more about a user. ‘Websites can call APIs until those calls have revealed enough information to narrow a user down to a group sufficiently large enough to maintain anonymity’, said [Google Chrome engineering director Justin Schuh]. Any further attempts will be blocked, however. Google Privacy Sandbox is being phased in and is currently in developer testing. It is expected to be completed in 2022.” • This doesn’t sound evil. But it’s Google. So there’s a catch.


Creating new economic potential – science and technology

After Alarmism The war on climate denial has been won. And that’s not the only good news.

[New Yorker, via The Big Picture 1-22-21]

Total eclipse: How falling costs will secure solar’s dominance in power

[Wood Mackenzie, via The Big Picture 1-23-21]

Renewables are the proven zero-carbon technology where much of the capital funding the energy transition will be invested. Over the next 20 years, we expect more than 4 terawatts (TW) of wind and solar power to come on stream globally, taking renewables’ share of the world’s power capacity to 30% from 10% today. Of this new capacity, some 2.6 TW will be solar.

America on a new fast track to fusion energy

[Asia Times, via Naked Capitalism 1-19-21]

A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Global Digital Economy

[Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, via The Big Picture 1-23-21]

For America to remain the global leader in IT, the U.S. government must formulate a grand strategy grounded in a new doctrine of “digital realpolitik.” The first priority should be advancing U.S. interests by spreading the U.S. digital innovation policy system and constraining digital adversaries, especially China. This will entail working with allies when possible—and pressuring them when necessary.

“Joe Biden names top geneticist Eric Lander as science adviser”

[Nature, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-19-21]

“US president-elect Joe Biden has chosen decorated geneticist Eric Lander as presidential science adviser and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). In what would be a first for this position, if Lander is confirmed by the US Senate, he will serve as a member of Biden’s cabinet… Lander was a key leader of the Human Genome Project — the race to sequence the human genome, which ended in 2003 — and is president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He will be the first biologist to run OSTP…. One major question is what parts of science policy Lander and his office will be responsible for. Biden has already established a separate, high-level team to lead the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a team to drive forward his climate agenda. With COVID-19 and climate tasked to other groups, it remains to be seen what science issues OSTP will be able to take the lead on.”

Conservative / Libertarian Drive to Civil War

Most House Republicans Did What the Rioters Wanted: The most dangerous thing that happened Wednesday occurred after the mob dispersed.
Zeynep Tufekci [The Atlantic, 1-13-2021]

You can skip the first half if in a hurry, but the second half makes some important points, including how Republicans are, once again, distorting history.

A line must be drawn. The increasing entrenchment of minority rule and democratic backsliding in almost every level of government was terrible enough, but now we’ve even moved past that. Throwing out an election isn’t like disagreeing on tax policy or stimulus checks. It’s not something to move on from or forget. If no line is drawn, the attempt will surely be repeated, quite likely without the mob, by the polite legislators in suits and ties insisting that they want fair elections as they vote to gut what remains of our democracy. If anything, the unruly mob on January 6 may have made it a bit harder for them, by exposing the nature of the whole attempt. Republican representatives are already openly lamenting how the mob and the “illegal breach of the Capitol … destroyed two months of debate and work” on “election theft” that was supposed to play out in the House and the Senate. All of this is happening right in front of our eyes, and Trump, now on his way out, is perhaps the least of our problems.

Quelling Our National Riot: The attack on the U.S. Capitol was decades in the making from a Republican Party that treats the opposition as an enemy.

David Dayen, January 19, 2021 [The American Prospect]

It’s easy to point to the haplessness of the Capitol Riot and laugh at how short it fell of a real fascist coup. But the Beer Hall Putsch, an early Nazi uprising, never even got past a police cordon blocking one of Munich’s main squares. The threat was neutralized, and Hitler and his conspirators were apprehended. It wasn’t until a decade later, when the Nazis were elevated to power, that it became clear that the putsch was a beginning rather than an ending. Revolutions, coups, and insurrections often fail before they succeed….

The immediate aftermath saw an end-of-the-movie roundup of the conspirators, a simple task given the ubiquity of images of the riot. Within three days, 25 domestic-terrorism cases were opened. The zip tie guy, the guy with the horned fur hat, the guy who ran off with Nancy Pelosi’s lectern, and other assorted figures were arrested. This response reveals two important things. First, we have all the tools we need right now to bring lawbreakers who mean to tear down democracy to justice without further corroding civil liberties. And second, the brutally efficient machinery of the state has yet to be turned on those who truly led the uprising, rather than those who followed it. Only accountability up the ladder, not down, will stop short the escalating unrest, and the fracturing of the union….


But even keeping the spotlight on Trump’s responsibility for stirring up a mob doesn’t tell the whole story. Hatred and demonization of the other has been the trade Republicans have trafficked in for more than 50 years. In the 1990s, they took a centrist Democratic president and impeached him over infidelity. In 2000, they threatened insurrection to stop a vote count and had the Supreme Court turn over power to an unelected candidate. They deemed the next Democratic president unfit to serve because he was a foreigner, according to a conspiracy theory to which large sections of the party gave credence. (As recently as 2019, 56 percent of Republicans believed that the statement “Obama was born in Kenya” was either definitely or probably true.) And just this January, the majority of Republicans in Congress signaled Biden’s illegitimacy with their votes to baselessly reject an electoral count. The overwhelming evidence is that the Republican Party, not just its most extremist faction, believes that it’s illegal for a Democrat to win the presidency….

….a right-wing media machine that treats the opposition as an enemy. It’s funded by a network of billionaires and corporate titans who tolerated the eliminationism so long as it led to low taxes and deregulation. It’s sustained by a sprawling network of “think tanks” and operatives and campaign strategists, who skillfully use racism and xenophobia to maintain a grip on power….

Despite the arrests of the Capitol insurrectionists, there’s been no parallel effort against those who spent decades teaching the rank and file to hate, and provoked the inevitable by-product of that hatred….

We now have every possible tool necessary to fight sedition and conspiracy and attacks like the Capitol Riot. President Biden has talked about prioritizing a domestic-terrorism law, which has been in the works for a while. Such a statute would be completely unnecessary, however, as the immediate rolling up of the main rioters directly responsible for the violence makes strikingly clear.


Attack on Capitol was the beginning of an American insurgency, counterterrorism experts warn

[Yahoo, via Naked Capitalism 1-19-21]

Lessons From the 6 January Insurrection

[CounterPunch, via Naked Capitalism 1-19-21]

….the events of January 6th should be viewed as the point U.S. political dysfunction reached its breaking point. While the country still appears to remain economically powerful, it has become politically weak and socially fragile in ways characteristic of a society in decline.  The focus on the relatively small group that broke into the Capitol as a result of lax security is akin to focusing on the Beirut blast wreckage to the exclusion of all else. Far more significant are the surveys of representative samples of Americans that reveal deepening mistrust of the core institutions and a growing commitment to sectarian interests which have, in many parts of the nation, superseded commitment to the republic itself.

Wealthy bankers and businessmen plotted to overthrow FDR. A retired general foiled it.

[Washington Post, 1-13-2021]

The consternation had been growing in the months between Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election and his inauguration, but his elimination of the gold standard in April 1933 infuriated some of the country’s wealthiest men. Titans of banking and business worried that if U.S. currency wasn’t backed by gold, inflation could skyrocket and make their millions worthless. Why, they could end up as poor as most everyone else was during the Great Depression.

So, according to the sworn congressional testimony of a retired general, they decided to overthrow the government and install a dictator who was more business friendly. After all, they reasoned, that had been working well in Italy…. “The nation has never been at a potential brink as it was then up until, I think, now,” said Sally Denton, author of the book “The Plots against the President: FDR, A Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right.”



The Money Trail to the Siege at the Capitol Leads to Charles Koch and Koch Industries

Pam Martens and Russ Martens, January 20, 2021 [Wall Street on Parade]

Every Republican Senator who refused to certify the election results on January 6 received funding from Koch Industries PAC…. The money to these 14 Senators from Koch-related entities has been documented by Alex Kotch and David Armiak in a January 5 report at the Center for Media and Democracy. Kotch and Armiak also note that Koch-funded Super PACs boosted the election chances for Blackburn, Daines, Hawley and Marshall, writing that Americans for Prosperity Action has “spent $11.9 million” to promote those candidates.

The authors also note that the Koch-backed Freedom Partners Action Fund, “dropped nearly $3 million into the Wisconsin Senate race to support Johnson and attack his liberal opponent, Russ Feingold.”

….At least three of the “nonprofit” groups that fomented the Big Lie that the election had been stolen and actively solicited thousands of people to turn out for the January 6 event were funded by Koch Industries or its front groups.

Koch Industries, through its ownership of i360, was deeply entangled in the campaigns of members of Congress who voted against certifying the votes for Joe Biden.

McConnell, Heavily Funded by Wall Street, Is Blocking Seating of Democrats as Senate Committee Chairs
Pam Martens and Russ Martens, January 22, 2021[Wall Street on Parade]

….Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island and an expert on the dark money that has corrupted Washington, appeared last evening on the MSNBC news program, All In With Chris Hayes, to explain what McConnell was up to. (A YouTube video of that interview appears below.)….

This is a sampling of the fat donations that McConnell’s campaign committee and Leadership PAC received from big Wall Street firms in the 2019-2020 election cycle: Blackstone Group, $124,193; Apollo Global Management, $98,547; KKR, $80,978; JPMorgan Chase, $62,867; Goldman Sachs, $61,179; Bank of America (parent of Merrill Lynch), $40,634. (That data comes from the Center for Responsive Politics, using filings from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The monies come from the Wall Street firms’ PACs or employees and their family members, not the corporation itself.)

Our search of FEC records turns up the following: The Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, personally contributed to McConnell’s re-election bid, providing $2800. Leon Black, the controversial Chairman and CEO of Apollo Global Management, whose reputation has taken a beating from his ties to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, contributed the maximum $5600 to McConnell ($2800 for his primary bid and $2800 for the general election). Henry Kravis, Co-Chair and Co-CEO of KKR, contributed $5,000. KKR’s other Co-Chair and Co-CEO, George Roberts, chipped in another $5,000 to McConnell.

This Is Us: Why the Trump Era Ended in Violence: The Capitol insurrection was born of a violent minoritarian tradition that is as American as apple pie—and it isn’t done yet.

Rick Perlstein, January 20, 2021 (The New Republic]

When Barry Morris Goldwater, six weeks after casting his vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, won the Republican presidential nomination at the party convention in San Francisco, one of his exuberant delegates from Texas blurted out to a reporter the most resonant insight about the soul of modern American politics ever uttered: Goldwaterites had “taken the Mason-Dixon line and shoved it clear up to Canada.” That fall, the original Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond celebrated by joining Goldwater’s Republican Party.

The Democratic Party’s purge of Thurmond’s brand of reactionary minoritarianism had been merciless in the first half of the 1960s. In 1961, in one of the greatest unsung accomplishments of constitutional hardball in American history, the Kennedy administration was able to successfully expand the size of the House Rules Committee and pack it with liberals. Without the evisceration of that ancient chokepoint—the South’s hold on key committee chairmanships—none of the progressive legislation of the following decade would have been conceivable. Between 1962 and ’64, a series of Supreme Court rules struck down state-level malapportionment schemes like Georgia’s county unit rule. Then, of course, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which extended the franchise to African Americans and cemented the Democratic Party’s identity as the party of civil rights and democratic rule….

[Goldwater] Activists like these conspired to win their man the Republican nomination openly using minoritarian techniques. In his book on how they did it, organizer F. Clifton White proudly explained that he borrowed his tactics from the crooked techniques Stalinists had used to take over liberal organizations in the 1940s, allowing the Goldwater faction to prevail in the backroom meetings by which convention delegates were frequently chosen before the presidential nominating process was reformed in the 1970s.

Click through for excellent short history of the sordid origins of Republican Party leaders such as Mike Huckabee and the late Justice William Rehnquist.

Who will be called to account?

How Twitter, on the front lines of history, finally decided to ban Trump

[Washington Post, via The Big Picture 1-20-21]

How to Hold Social Media Accountable for Undermining Democracy 

[Harvard Business Review, via The Big Picture 1-18-21]

While the blame for President Trump’s incitement to insurrection lies squarely with him, the biggest social media companies — most prominently my former employer, Facebook — are absolutely complicit. They have not only allowed Trump to lie and sow division for years, their business models have exploited our biases and weaknesses and abetted the growth of conspiracy-touting hate groups and outrage machines.


Letters from an American, January 21, 2021: Return of the Fairness Doctrine? 
Heather Cox Richardson, January 21, 2021

The January 6 attack on the Capitol made Americans acutely aware of the danger that disinformation poses to our democracy. Evidence indicates that the people who stormed the Capitol were radicalized by online QAnon conspiracy theories and by Republicans who pushed the lie that the 2020 election had been stolen. In the face of this disinformation, many different voices are now talking about the 1987 lapse of the Fairness Doctrine, which required companies that held broadcast licenses to present issues honestly, giving equal time to opposing opinions. People are talking about how its principles might be restored even in an era when modern technology means that we no longer need broadcast licenses to share news.

On Tuesday, Shepard Smith, a reporter who worked at the Fox News Channel until 2019 and who now has a show at CNBC, explained to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour why he left his job at the FNC. ” I believe that when people begin with a false premise and lead people astray, that’s injurious to society,” Smith continued, “and it’s the antithesis of what we should be doing.”

“I don’t know how some people sleep at night,” Smith said, “because I know there are a lot of people who have propagated the lies and have pushed them forward over and over again, who are smart enough and educated enough to know better. And I hope that at some point, those who have done us harm as a nation — and I might even add as a world — will look around and realize what they’ve done. But I’m not holding my breath.”

Over the years, people fed up with the Fox News Channel have organized boycotts of businesses advertising on one show or another, but a big source of FNC’s income is not advertising, but rather cable fees. FNC is bundled with other channels, so many people who do not want it pay for it. Today on Twitter, lawyer Pam Keith noted that a simple regulatory change ending this sort of bundling would force FNC and similar channels to compete on a level playing field rather than being able to survive on fees from people who might not want to support them.

And the problem of the Senate filibuster (includes good short history):

What’s at stake here is actually quite an interesting question. While the new Senate is split evenly—50 Democrats, 50 Republicans—the 50 Democrats in the Senate represent over 41.5 million more people than the 50 Republicans represent. The filibuster means that no legislation can pass Congress without the support of 10 Republicans. Essentially, then, the fight over the filibuster is a fight not just about the ability of the Democrats to get laws passed, but about whether McConnell and the Republicans, who represent a minority of the American people, can kill legislation endorsed by lawmakers who represent quite a large majority.

We are in an uncomfortable period in our history in which the mechanics of our democracy are functionally anti-democratic. The fight over the filibuster might seem dull, but it’s actually a pretty significant struggle as our lawmakers try to make the rules of our system fit our changing nation.

Disrupting mainstream politics

“Can Joe Biden Succeed Where Barack Obama Failed?”

David Sirota [Newsweek, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 1-20-21]

The quote to end all quotes: “Obama would later write that he avoided a crackdown on Wall Street because that might have ‘required a violence to the social order.’” That reverence for the status quo—and deference to Wall Street after the financial crisis and housing meltdown—ultimately helped create the backlash conditions for the rise of Trump. One data point suggested a direct linkage: In one-third of the counties that flipped from Obama to Donald Trump, there had been an increase in the number of residents whose home mortgages were underwater in 2016, according to a study by the Center for American Progress.”

Bernie Sanders: This is the agenda Democrats should pursue under Biden’s leadership

Senator Bernie Sanders [CNN, via Naked Capitalism 1-21-21]

….Failure to adequately respond to the economic desperation in America today will undermine the Biden administration and likely lead Democrats to lose their thin majorities in the US House of Representatives and US Senate in 2022. Democrats suffered significant loses in 1994, two years after President Bill Clinton’s victory — and, in 2010, two years after President Barack Obama’s victory….

We must not repeat those mistakes.
The danger we face would not be in going too big or spending too much but in going too small and leaving the needs of the American people behind. If Republicans would like to work with us, we should welcome them. But their support is not necessary. In 2010, Sen. Mitch McConnell was willing to sabotage the economy to advantage Republicans, doing everything he could to make Obama a “one-term president.”
We cannot let him play the same games again.
The Senate’s 60-vote threshold to pass major legislation has become an excuse for inaction. But let’s be clear: We have the tools to overcome these procedural hurdles. As incoming Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, I will use a process known as budget reconciliation that will allow us to pass comprehensive legislation with only 51 votes….
When the Republicans controlled the Senate during the George W. Bush and Trump presidencies, they used reconciliation to pass trillions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations. They also used reconciliation to try and repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017. Today, Democrats must use this same process to lift Americans out of poverty, increase wages and create good-paying jobs.
A spatial analysis of campaign finance data reveals a 2020 statehouse landscape awash in cash as Democrats tried new efforts to win seats ahead of redistricting.
Restoring balance

My own personal fireworks on 1/20 happened at just after 7pm

Homer J [DailyKos 1-21-2021]

Don’t know about anybody else, but for me, the 7pm White House press briefing was a highlight of a most memorable day. In a thirty-plus year career in network broadcast news, I covered and monitored thousands (yes, thousands) of White House press briefings. They were part of the rhythm of my life for decades. Something that I took for granted….

For four years, those of us who spend our lives trying to fulfill our roles in a free society by reporting on the actions of our elected officials and government were attacked as “enemies of the people,” and manufacturers of “fake news.” Finally, on January 6th, some were physically attacked and their equipment attacked and destroyed….

For the past four years, the occasional press briefings were airings of imagined grievances, insult sessions, and dispensaries of newtold lies. And that’s on the rare occasions these follies were held…. The daily White House press briefing is back. And I will never again take it for granted.

The origins of Trump’s lies about the election and how they came to have a life of their own

Episode 1. A premeditated lie lit the fire: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated.

Jonathan Swan, Zachary Basu [Axios, via The Big Picture 1-17-21]

….As Trump prepared for Election Day, he was focused on the so-called red mirage. This was the idea that early vote counts would look better for Republicans than the final tallies because Democrats feared COVID-19 more and would disproportionately cast absentee votes that would take longer to count. Trump intended to exploit this — to weaponize it for his vast base of followers.

His preparations were deliberate, strategic and deeply cynical. Trump wanted Americans to believe a falsehood that there were two elections — a legitimate election composed of in-person voting, and a separate, fraudulent election involving bogus mail-in ballots for Democrats…. He started choreographing election night in earnest during the second week of October, as he recovered from COVID-19.

His former chief of staff Reince Priebus told a friend he was stunned when Trump called him around that time and acted out his script, including walking up to a podium and prematurely declaring victory on election night if it looked like he was ahead….

It was shortly after 1 a.m. on Nov. 4 when Trump finally came down from his living quarters to the main corridor on the second floor of his private residence. His inner circle met him halfway. This was the first time most of them had seen the president that night. About a dozen aides and relatives huddled around Trump as he dictated an improvised speech. Stephen Miller sat on a couch furiously typing the president’s stream-of-consciousness thoughts. Aides rushed to print out screenshots of cable news graphics showing Trump’s illusory early leads in the key Midwest states. By 2 a.m., Trump wanted to know why he couldn’t just say he had won and be done with it.

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

….On the day after the election, Nov. 4, top staff including Stepien, Clark, Miller, general counsel Matthew Morgan and Jared Kushner had gathered at Trump campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. They believed this would be a serious search for a path to 270 electoral votes through credible legal challenges.

Then Giuliani, Sidney Powell and a swelling conspiracy crew marched into the room — literally.

These two groups — the professional staff and the Giuliani cabal — filled in around one long, rectangular table in a conference room walled in by frosted glass. The pattern repeated itself the day after that and the day after that.

A bizarre routine set in. These meetings would begin with official staff raising plausible legal strategies. Then Giuliani and Powell, a lawyer with a history of floating “deep state” conspiracy theories, would take over, spewing wild allegations of a centralized plot by Democrats — and in Powell’s view, international communists — to steal the election….

Biden was declared the winner of Arizona on Nov. 12, by more than 11,000 votes, a margin that was uncatchable. At that point, the core campaign team told Trump his pathway was dead. In retaliation, Trump stopped listening to them. Giuliani was gaining influence, speaking directly with the president and demanding to be put in charge….

The following night — without notifying his campaign staff — Trump tweeted that he was putting Giuliani in charge of his legal challenges, along with pro-Trump lawyers Powell, Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing and Jenna Ellis.

Episode 3: Descent into madness … Trump: “Sometimes you need a little crazy”

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

….By the late summer of 2020, Trump and Barr were regularly skirmishing over how to handle the rising Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody. As the national movement unfurled, some protests had given way to violence and looting. Trump wanted the U.S. government to crack down hard on the unrest.

The president wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act and send the military into U.S. cities. He wanted troops in the street. Some hardcore outside allies, including Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, were egging him on. The thankless job of pushing back fell to Barr….

On Nov. 29, Trump told Fox News that Barr’s Department of Justice was “missing in action.” Barr was furious. In fact, the attorney general had jettisoned department precedent to speed up federal investigations of election fraud allegations. The Justice Department wasn’t missing in action — there just wasn’t any evidence of major fraud.

Barr gave an interview to the AP’s beat reporter, Michael Balsamo, making this clear on the record. It would bring things to a head.

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Episode 6: Last stand in Georgia

Also aboard were two key allies — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Club for Growth president David McIntosh, a former Indiana congressman who co-founded the Federalist Society and had studied law under the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Do Democrats realize the danger they are in?

Ryan Cooper [The Week, via Naked Capitalism 1-18-21]

Luckily, there are a great many legal and regulatory actions Biden and the incoming Democratic Congress could do to crush right-wing extremism. For instance, the far right runs on a flood tide of oligarch money — the app Parler, on which much of the putsch was organized, was funded by the notorious ultra-wealthy Mercer family — which could be taxed and regulated. As Alex Pareene suggests at The New Republic, “Rigorous audits and reclassification of 501 nonprofits would do more to disrupt right-wing organizing than any new domestic terror law as interpreted and enforced by our current security state.”



Open Thread


Will Bill Gates And mRNA Vaccine Monopolies Be Responsible For Millions of Covid Deaths?


  1. Thomas Golladay

    Joe Biden’s first act was to make Healthcare more expensive. He is going full neoliberal now that he successfully succeeded in stealing the election with the help of Establishment Republicans who made sure six cities were able to flagrantly violate election laws and prevented signature verification audits and forensic audits of machines.

    They were so blatantly obvious about it because the media and Left never held their feet to the fire over rigging the primaries in 2016 and 2020 to screw Bernie Sanders. This is why change will come from the right, not the left, because the Right will be primarying out the Establishment Republicans, while the Left will bootlick Pelosi’s and Schumer’s boots instead of booting them out.

    Moving on from here means acknowledging the Establishment rigged this election, worsen the pandemic response, and killed half a million Americans, all to get back to the status qou of endless war and corporate power.

    Only by acknowledging that and primarying out the Establishment and then throwing them in prison, can we move forward. Republicans understand this and moving in that direction, can the Democrats?

  2. Willy

    Speaking of hope and change and bad economic thinking…

    Will the simple act of “calling a spade a spade” ever become cool again? Can it, with all the shameless ignorant idiocy out there?

    I say only when doing ones own critical thinking homework becomes cool again.

    For example, everybody likes the heroic Bono of U2, that “philanthropic elitist leftist” well known to shame people who don’t believe that paying taxes can help the poor, and who fights climate change.

    But in private reality he favors tax havens, real estate speculation, and cruising his friends around in his massive yacht. Feel free to research what he’s really all about, and maybe learn a little about neoliberal psychology and power in the process.

  3. KT Chong

    A bit of fun and music , my Age of MAGA collections:

    🎵🔗 Age of MAGA Part 1: God, Guns, and Country:

    🎵🔗 Age of MAGA Part 2: Days of the Krakening:

    One of sad things about the end of Trumpism is that I won’t be adding any more new music to the collections. 😂

    I am trying re-arrange the music and split the two collections into three, so it will be a trilogy. Any suggestions are welcome!

  4. Hugh

    The Republican party is a minority party. It is also a fascist and racist party. It is why McConnell was hellbent on filling unelected federal judgeships. It is why he wants to keep the filibuster in the Senate. The Senate itself is an anti-democratic institution. The 26 lowest-population states constituting a Senate majority of 52 Senators comprise less than 18% of the US population. It is why we still have another anti-democratic institution the electoral college and why, even with it, when Trump lost so many Republicans were all in favor of him ignoring the election. It is why they started an insurrection. And it is why even now in red states the push is on to restrict voting rights, so blacks and browns don’t vote them out of office.

    On another topic, it undercuts the whole we need more surveillance and a domestic terrorism law when the FBI and DOJ are already want to bail and not charge hundreds from the Capitol Hill attacks. I guess it doesn’t hurt either that the uncharged are white.

  5. NL

    Biden and Johnson Strike Different Tones on Trade Deal in Call (Bloomberg)

    “The U.S. is already the U.K.’s largest single-country trading partner” but UK is only the 7th largest trading partner of the US, behind China, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Germany and South Korea and barely ahead of Switzerland, Taiwan and Vietnam.

    English have tribal instincts, and they will be disappointed in the US and the other so-called ‘eyes’.

  6. NR

    More verbal diarrhea from Thomas the Troll, I see. The fact remains that the election was not stolen, Biden won fair and square, and no amount of right-wing disinformation changes that fact. Unfortunately for right-wingers, repeating old debunked lies over and over again does not magically transform them into truths.

  7. Ché Pasa

    So, I’m a strongly visual person. What I see often makes hash of what I read or hear. We’ve got narratives bouncing all over the place colliding with one another, but unfortunately it’s not like matter/antimatter collisions annihilating one another. Oh no, the narratives and the propaganda that backs them just go on and on and on.

    Some of the visuals of DC and the Capitol and the White House and so forth have been troubling me since the summer. It’s not just the Capitol Dustup… seems the new/ancien regime is dealing with crises well beyond those of the narratives we’re being fed.

    I’ve read that some of the barricades, fences and walls that went up around the White House during the summer to keep the rabble away have been taken down, but I haven’t seen evidence of it. They probably should stay up for the time being. The fencing around Capitol Hill, however has gotten more elaborate. The suspicion is that a more fortress-y version of the barriers already around many state capitols will eventually be emplaced, armed and uniformed guards all along the perimeter, snipers positioned on the rooftops. Access by the public largely denied.

    If you’re familiar with the White House interior, its condition during Biden events we’ve seen since the inauguration is shocking. I’ve seen events staged in the East Room, the Blue Room and what looks to be the State Dining Room, ie: the three main rooms on the State Floor of the White House. All have been stripped bare except for draperies and televisions, a podium, and in one case the “kid’s table” for signing and a little gold dining chair to sit on. Everything else is gone. And this happened before the Bidens moved in. Orange Man Bad was pretty much only using the Oval Office in the West Wing and the Diplomatic Reception Room (also stripped of furnishings) on the ground floor toward the end of his reign. Why either of them use mostly empty rooms in the White House at all is a question. Ms. Ché says the whole place should be demolished because it’s such a Covid hotspot. Apart from the exterior walls, nothing much of the structure is at all historic, the interior was completely gutted and rebuilt in the 1950s, so why not?

    The mistreatment of the NG troops has been visually shocking, but the outbreak of the virus among them is likely going to be deadly. Not just for them. WTF? Was this deliberately engineered by forces of insurrection?

    In addition to which, no one in DC can be sure of the loyalties of the various protective services.

    Everything right now looks very temporary, and the smoldering fires of rebellion are beginning to flare up again.

  8. Jason

    Things feel gloomy here. No one is really communicating on any serious level. Everyone just wants to get their two cents in.

    The old is dying and the new cannot be born.

  9. Willy

    Well the Qanon shaman seems to have repented. I worry that after release, he’ll be living out his days as a badly costumed NFL fan. Could he make money selling costumes for halloween? Perhaps. I remember the old days when protest-rebels like the Black Panthers dressed in far scarier uniforms. Maybe antifa still has a future.

  10. Hugh

    Jason, it is a period of transition, a post-Trump hangover. The Trumpers continue to beat their dead horse. There is no real focus yet on Biden or the post-Trump era. What mention there is of Biden is mostly reflex or sour grapes shade. There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about Biden from his 36 year Senate record and his 8 years as Obama’s VP, but with covid, the impeachment, and how the Senate will be organized, Biden is almost a footnote so far. Maybe when we see more about the makeup of Biden’s covid relief plan there will be more substance-based discussion.

  11. edmondo

    “The mistreatment of the NG troops has been visually shocking……”

    The National Guard troops have hotel rooms every night at the end of their shifts. The “lockdown” in the Capitol garage was when they were on their half-hour break from “guarding Nancy Pelosi” so she would never have to talk to anyone who hadn’t donated a couple hundred grand. The whole story really is all bullshit but thanks for falling for it.

  12. Mr Jones

    Mission Critical Situations:

    Miami Heat will use coronavirus-sniffing dogs to screen all fans at home games

    “If you think about it, detection dogs are not new,” said Matthew Jafarian, the Heat’s executive vice president for business strategy. “You’ve seen them in airports, they’ve been used in mission critical situations by the police and the military. We’ve used them at the arena for years to detect explosives.”

  13. Thomas Golladay

    Hugh and NR shill for the Establishment as usual. No surprise. Nevermind the Republicans have been electing more women and minorities as leaders lately and transforming into a multiethnic workers party while the Democratic Party is becoming an oligarchic party. Also Obama ran a fascist war state that was racists as hell. But facts don’t matter to them.

    Legal issues covered.

    Keystone Pipeline covered, though they fail to mention it was a faster and more environmentally friendly way to transport fuel and environmentalists as usual fail to realize that now more carbon emissions will occur to transport fuel where it needs to go via tanker trucks. Idiots.

    As for MMT:

    MMT is utter bunk and immoral. Confidence in money’s value is key to that money being accepted. Confidence requires backing, and the dollar’s backing is US Military Might and the willingness to use that might to control oil.

    For MMT to work, we must go to war in more countries to keep inflation down which in turn causes more violence as people fight back and disrupt trade routes, requiring more escalation of violence…

    Or we can simply default, withdraw from the world, and spend the near trillion dollars on the War Machine, right back into the US.

    The US’s main problem is massive misallocation of resources to war against foes who aren’t a threat and giving aid to other nations while our own need that aid first.

    It is entirely possible to do the things we need to do and have a balanced budget in the process. We need to get back to doing so and base our strength on our infrastructure and not our military which must return to a largely conscript force that is also paid way less then what it currently is.

  14. Plague Species

    Interesting observations, Ché Pasa. Something’s happening here, what is it isn’t exactly clear comes to mind. A lyric for the ages.

  15. Ché Pasa

    … The whole story really is all bullshit… per edmondo

    Yep. That’s narrative creation out of propaganda and vice versa. What’s really going on remains elusive always.

    I was writing about being visually oriented and was referring to the images of NG troops packed cheek by jowl on the marble floors of the Capitol as well as being rousted into the parking garage. We never see them chilling cozily in their hotel rooms in Maryland and Virginia, and that’s by design, isn’t it? From the visuals, the message is that no one who should have done so thought through their presence in DC, and from appearances still hasn’t. They are there in reduced numbers for… the Duration, no? And the Duration is liable to be… permanent.

    The Congress and Capitol were physically attacked, not for the first time. But this time, there is no certainty of the loyalties of the various protective services — including the National Guard troops — who are supposed to be guarding the safety of the Members and their staffs. Some participated in the Capitol Dustup and celebrate their Victory. No, they didn’t capture and hang Pelosi, Schumer, and Pence. But they put the Fear into them, all of them, and they successfully poisoned the idea of the legitimacy of our elections and the (Democrat) winners. There won’t be a recovery. Not soon anyway. Certainly not as long as the insurrectionists are serving in Congress. They are there and they are being given voice by the mass media as well as many alternative media outlets.

    Trump may be temporarily silenced, but not his shock troops.

    The Reckoning is yet to come.

  16. Feral Finster

    I suspect that the Q Shaman repented soon after he found out that his hero, Trump, could not care less about mugs like him.

  17. Ché Pasa

    As for “QShaman”, dude is a performing artist, well known in Arizona, who has created a character to get attention. Given his mug splashed everywhere in the media — still — he’s been outstandingly successful. He doesn’t care about Trump, never did. If you believe his act, oh well. Dude is out for the attention. Period. If you ever heard any of his rants, his incoherent rants, you realize nothing he says means anything, yet he led the insurrectionists in “prayer” in the Senate chamber. LARPers and cosplayers need a leader. Jake Angeli is The One.

    Got to thinking about Jerry Rubin who pretty much invented this sort of street theater/political performance art way long time ago and used it much like the current crop of radicals and insurrectionists do, to bring media attention to The Problem and Their Demands. So what if Q is bullshit? This may have been the issue Jerry eventually realized. He was sincere about creating a better world, building a better future, ending the war, ensuring racial justice, and all those things that the libtards still care about. But he realized his tactics could work just as well for those who didn’t want what he did. And so we see that now. We can laugh at the apparent idiocy of the performers at the Capitol and elsewhere, but we shouldn’t. We should recognize what they’re doing, and what their goal is.

    Or see something like this:

    and recognize that this is part of the indoctrination of Our Troops right now. It’s not passive. This is active Dominionism.

  18. js

    What we see of Biden so far is in many ways more hopeful than I would have thought, though I don’t at all support all of it. Welp better and in many ways more radical than expected, well that sure doesn’t fit the narrative. Going way off script here …

    I know perfectly well there are plenty of reasons to put no great hope in Biden and the Dems 1) Biden’s history 2) Dem party’s recent history 3) probably the most important since the other two can change but this won’t: who funds them. But on #3 it’s unlikely but possible the fear of a right wing uncontrollable uprising put some fear even into the funders.

    But Biden could very well have an impressive first 30 days and do nothing worthwhile and be an endless suckage the rest of his term. Well I had no great hope for him, he was just not-Trump. But it is very hard to read those tea leaves now, other than that.

    Funny thing is I even gave Trump a chance early on. Though he would suck at many things but maybe get an infrastructure bill or something. LOL no he sucked at absolutely everything pretty much. I was just amazed anyone kept giving him the benefit of the doubt years into his term.

  19. Willy

    Everybody was hopeful that Trump would be at least some kind of change away from the usual culture of political corruption bonanza for plutocrats.

    I was at the skeptical end of that “hopeful”, because I did recognize strong sociopathic markers by the time of those Tony Schwartz interviews and the Republican debates.

    In December ’16 he made that infamous “That plays great before the election – now we don’t care, right?” quote about “Lock Her Up”. Then his Education Secretary began dismantling public education, and his Labor Secretary began dismantling labor rights, and his EPA dismantling environmental regs… so that We The People would become even more powerless.

    He went after China and Mexico because competition against American plutocratic elites was becoming a problem, and needing their support as power allies he reduced their taxes. He was raising the swamp. After his “hate the media for their fake news” mantra it should’ve been obvious that whatever he accused others of doing, he himself was doing.

    To strengthen his support from his loyal masses he curried favor with millionaire scamvangelists who knew the lucrative advantage of a public alliance with the President. No doubts the Founders were rolling in their graves over that one.

    Then time and time and time again he revealed his general incompetency at practically everything requiring expertise, with the lone exception of manipulating his loyal masses into a classic cult of personality. Very typical MO for psychopaths/narcissists/sociopaths.
    But even after he’d clearly proven himself, well documented by thousands of self-incriminating videos and policies, he had tens of millions of supplicants steadfastly slurping up his stanky shit.

    They came in all flavors for sure, but the capitol riots provided an excellent sampling of who these people were. Generally, the closer to the capitol the more violent and/or foolish, the further away the more easily conned into believing he was some kind of Godly tribal chieftain greatness to never be doubted. And amongst that crowd hardly a single leftist to be found.

    Hopefully respectable investigators will help those of us dedicated to social responsibility (let alone becoming wiser in our own personal responsibility), to further figure out who and why these sociopathic enablers were. There are many kinds.

  20. NL

    Your Stimulus Check Comes With a Moral Obligation
    Don’t need the money to pay bills? Instead of just saving it, spend it on a struggling business or give it to someone who needs it more.


    The above is an unAmerican moral perversion pushed on by someone called Sophia Campbell. America is a country of personal responsibility and financial freedom — I do whatever I want with my money. America works because we do not give about each other. Supporting failing businesses will only delay the needed creative destruction and emergence of profitable viable businesses. Remember this, by feeling pity for the failures you only get in the way of the winners. Some argue that the pandemic is somehow an unpredictable event. Well, everyone knows that bad things happen all the time – flooding, hurricane, twister, drought, pandemic — nature throws at us calamities — what is unpredictable here? Retail, restaurants, etc should have figured out by now that the virus is here to stay and figured out a way to adjust. I have and am working on figuring out the adjustments. Supporting these failures now is a path to nowhere.
    I always get repulsed and riled up by this kind of moralizing.

  21. Plague Species

    Everybody was hopeful that Trump would be at least some kind of change away from the usual culture of political corruption bonanza for plutocrats.

    Not everybody. I was never hopeful Trump would be that. I knew he wasn’t that and never could be that. I knew he was bad joke — a pulp fiction. And he was and is.

  22. Willy

    @ Plague Species

    So maybe you can shed some more light on the Trump dead enders? I mean, even the obvious cosplay loony toon Qanon shaman figured it out. Why do the ones we see here in this place seem so committed to their obliviousness?

  23. Willy

    Shorter NL: if sending your money/technology/jobs to China ruins American greatness to where China becomes the next world leader superpower example with its mixed economy Communism, then fuckem.

  24. Plague Species

    Willy, I believe it’s the result of delusion and ego/pride combined with filtering everything through a political partisanship lens.

  25. NL


    One question: why do you sound like a Trump wanna-be? Aren’t you like anti-Trumper, or something?

    Another question is: do you think becoming a communist is the way to defeat communists? I admit I am assuming that your answer to “sending” jobs to China is Trump’s ill fated tariffs, bans on H1-B visas, the Mexican boarder wall and some such. But these are quintessential communist means of controlling production, innovation and entrepreneur spirit. Trump economic policy was totalitarian and autocratic, just like everything else about him. Doesn’t that repulse you?

    A more detailed answer is that we are not sending anything. It is a result of our failure to live to our principles and our convictions, as simple as that. America has always been about innovation, freedom, technology, entrepreneurial spirit. We do not ban them, we outcompete them because we are the best, the smartest, the most innovative, the hardest working (and these are not just words, there is a lot of truth to it, the country is highly diverse with lots of home and foreign talent). Some argue that tariffs and protection measure is what made America into an economic power. Trump loved that idea. But that has not been true for the US for at least a 100 years (I could argue that it had not been true for England either, and has never been really true). America has out-invented and out-created. It is really a result of our current failure to create new and productive economic sectors that would create jobs and push wages up. On the other hand, blaming China is used to stifle innovation and detract from reforms, thus intrenching the interests who want no change and want stagnation.

    In other words, I hope that those who sincerely blame China for our problems can at least dance better than they think.

  26. different clue


    I used to avoid the phrase ” calling a spade a spade” because I thought it had hidden racial-ist derivation.

    Then I read Charles Walters Jr. in the pages of Acres USA refer to someone as the kind of man who ” calls a spade a shovel”. And then I realized that the phrase might well have an agricultural derivation.

    Somewhere in there I discovered that a spade and a shovel are two different things.

    Here are some images of a “spade”.;_ylt=AwrE1yB3Vw9gF2kA2iRXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=digging+spade+images&fr=sfp

    Here are some images of a “shovel”.;_ylt=AwrJ7KEfVg9g8o8ApA9DDWVH;_ylc=X1MDMTE5NzgwNDg2NwRfcgMyBGZyAwRmcjIDc2ItdG9wLXNlYXJjaARncHJpZANIMVlNUENXMFFwMmI4NW8xejR2cFRBBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwM3BG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDMARxc3RybAMxMwRxdWVyeQNzaG92ZWwlMjBpbWFnZXMEdF9zdG1wAzE2MTE2MTgyMjM-?p=shovel+images&fr=sfp&iscqry=&fr2=sb-top-search

    See the difference?

    ( By the way, if it seems redundant to have had to search-type the words ” DIGGING spade images”, here is what I got when I just typed in ” spade images”.);_ylt=AwrJ61QBWA9g0EIAizFXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=spade+images&fr=sfp

  27. Stirling S Newberry

    It is just plain lying to people. That is, the first people to say it do not really believe it. Then you can have repeaters who will believe almost anything which does not work. That is why you have to get rid of science and scientific thinking. There are problems with scientific thinking but mostly they are manageable.

  28. Willy

    Maybe I go back to a time before Trump’s little China scam, back to when sane folks everywhere knew that “free trade” would mean more than just the bad jobs going away.

    Economic patriotism used to be more than just a progressive thing, back before progs were abandoned by their own party. Years later Bannon and his Breitbart gang saw their opportunity for advancing their flavor of “nationalism” and tried persuading desperate workers that they were going to be their new saviors, under the banner of neo-paleoconservatism, or some shit. And then Bannon persuaded Trump to go along, when Trump only saw an opportunity to sucker people for votes. He couldn’t care less about China outside of his ruse, since behind the scenes the Trump family does a lot of business with China. All of that information is easily found online.

    Most Trumpers I know personally are the same way. They bitch loud-n-proud about evil China, illegals, and the decline in Christian morality. And then I’ll catch them with Harbor Freight stuff, Home Depot parking lot labor, and nonsensical Trump slogan stickers. The only thing most conservatives really stand for anymore is sociopathic greed, as long as they’ve got somebody to “But Look Over There!” scapegoat. They used to be such principled people.

    That’s why when somebody preaches about the evil of moralizing I wonder what else the hell is wrong with them. I’m not aware of any laws telling us how we have to handle any stimulus checks. And free speech means anybody can moralize. Come to think of it, there are scamvangelists who I’m certain will be “moralizing” to their supplicants for that money to be “seed money” for God, otherwise known as the scammers personal bank accounts. Wasn’t Paula White Trump’s official spiritual advi$or? She pulls that kind of shit all the time.

  29. KT Chong

    Some observations:

    1. Right now, Democrats — centrists, liberals and progressives — are extremely united, and the morale and fighting spirit are very high.

    2. Something that is very unusual at this point in the election cycle: Democrats are already thinking about the 2012 midterm election. Dems are planning how and what to do to expand their majority in the Senate in the 2012 midterm. They are thinking about doing things and passing bills that will help them win in 2012.

    3. Senate Democrats have already decided to get rid of the filibuster.

    4. Schumer has given or will give McConnell a choice: either Senate Republicans convict Trump in the impeachment, or Democrats will get rid of the filibusters.

    5. The calculus is this: if McConnell agrees to get Senate Republicans to convict Trump in the impeachment, then the Republican Party will head right into an ugly civil war. Trump will go all out in his war on McConnell and split the GOP. Afterward McConnell will not be able to rally enough senate votes to block or filibuster much of anything. Either convicting Trump or nuking the filibuster will be a poison for McConnell; the choice is really to force him pick which poison to swallow.

    6. If McConnell continues to hold enough sway over the Senate Republicans afterward, then Democrats will still have the option to nuke the filibuster later.

    7. Biden is not serious about the “unity”. The fact that Biden is going to pass the immigration reform and legalize 11 million illegal immigrants shows that he really does not give a damn about “unity”.

    GOOD, because I was worried that Biden would actually try that “unity” BS with Republicans who deserve no mercy.

    8. There seems to be a “good cop-bad cop” routine going on with the Democrats. Biden is the “good cop” who says one thing to the Republicans in public, but he is working with Democrats (the “bad cops”) on something else in the background.

  30. bruce wilder

    “Democrats are already thinking about the 2012 midterm election. Dems are planning how and what to do to expand their majority in the Senate in the 2012 midterm. They are thinking about doing things and passing bills that will help them win in 2012.”

    All quite true — looking “forward” to 2012!

    And with all the realistic sense of purpose they brought to Russiagate and the two impeachments of Trump.

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