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November 14, 2019

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Nigel: well, well.

According to a report by MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle, Bolton said that he believes there is a “personal or business relationship dictating Trump’s position on Turkey.”

And, for anyone who, like me, has limited bandwidth for all the details at the moment:

For those who don’t want to wade into this particular Trumpian Black Sea, the tl;dr is:

Trump enabled a despot who has significant leverage over his business in a brutal ethnic cleansing of our ally, cutting an opaque sweetheart deal negotiated by the sons-in-law of Erdogan, Trump, and Trump’s business partner.

Meanwhile, Erdogan has empowered Trump’s business partner, making him Turkey’s key man in Washington, which gives him inordinate influence on the administration and ensures that the financial interests of all involved are maintained.

Since I see that The Bulwark is a conservative organisation, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the rest of the media.

From Nigel's link:

John Bolton, the moustachioed one, the unlikeliest of potential #Resistance heroes, left another clue about his knowledge of President Donald Trump’s corrupt dealings during an investment event at Morgan Stanley.

Bolton won't talk to the House committees unless they subpoena him, which will of course result in the purchasing of second (or third or fourth) homes by every lawyer in greater Washington DC.

But he'll share this bit of information with the folks at Morgan Stanley.

A true patriot.

Apologies to anybody here who's bored of references to Clive James, but in the hope that there are some who might be interested, there's a terrific obit in the Telegraph, headed "A Tribute to Clive James, the Greatest - and Funniest - Critic of our age". It's well worth reading the whole thing, but here are some extracts:

The Observer hired him to write its own TV column in 1972. For the next 10 years, he was the best-loved TV columnist – perhaps even best-loved columnist full stop – in British newspapers.

“It felt straight away, and still feels now, almost illegal to be paid for having such a good time,” he wrote in 1977, introducing Visions Before Midnight, the first collection of his TV columns.

“There were (there still are) plenty of wiser heads to tell me I should avoid lavishing my attention on lowly ephemera, but I couldn’t see why I shouldn’t, if I felt like it. It wasn’t that I didn’t rate my attention that high – just that I didn’t rate the ephemera that low. Television was a natural part of my life… I watched just about everything, including the junk, which was often as edifying as the quality material and sometimes more so.”

That last is a key sentence: Clive James was one of the first critics in England to see that no choice needed to be made between “high” art and “low”; he loved both, and he wrote about both, never patronising his reader either way. He was also among the first critics to see that preferring the former didn’t somehow make one a better, or even a more intelligent, person than preferring the latter.

In 1982 he gave up writing about TV to spend more time being on TV himself. (“It is time to quit my chair,” he wrote in his valedictory column, “before I find myself reviewing my own programmes.”) But he continued to write literary criticism, the best of which can be found in Reliable Essays, Even As We Speak and The Meaning of Recognition.

And earlier, on his style, which the writer rather brilliantly compares to Chandler's Philip Marlowe :

But the pleasure came not only from the jokes. It came also from the style. Most journalists batter out their copy in a deadline-crazed shower of typos. Clive James refined his prose as though it were poetry. And how it showed: read any article he wrote, and hear the satisfying click with which each succeeding sentence slots inevitably into place. The following line was one of his own favourites, the conclusion to a magisterial essay on George Orwell.

“To write like him, you need a life like his, but times have changed, and he changed them.”

Look at that. Two aphorisms in four clauses. Both punchlines doubling back on their respective set-ups. The wit, the precision, the balance. So easy to read. So difficult to write.

Bolton is, an always has been, an arse.
The upside is that he might make a more convincing witness if dragged along unwillingly to the Senate trial.

A fine essay on the necessity of impeachment.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/stop-saying-that-impeachment-is-political
...This, for Burke, was a mortal sin in government. No one could act by “whim” or desire outside a framework of fixed and transparent law. “Law and arbitrary power are in eternal enmity,” he told the Lords. “Name me a magistrate, and I will name property; name me power, and I will name protection. It is a contradiction in terms, it is blasphemy in religion, it is wickedness in politics, to say that any man can have arbitrary power. In every patent of office, the [idea of] duty is included.” All power is bound by duty; no magistrate—or President—can act badly and then just say that they do so by right. Impeachment is not a substitute for politics; it appeals to the principles of law and duty that make politics possible.

It is the unprecedented gravity of our moment, still perhaps insufficiently felt, that makes this confrontation essential, whatever the political consequences. Pelosi, too, now acknowledges this fact. As she told The New Yorker in September, about Trump, “He has given us no choice. Politics has nothing to do with impeachment, in my view.” The political consequences of impeachment are no longer the primary or even the secondary issue at stake; more important is the survival of the principle of the rule of law against the unashamed assertion of arbitrary power.....

The upside is that he might make a more convincing witness if dragged along unwillingly to the Senate trial.

If.

We can hope.

I'm thinking that, whatever the merits (slim to none) of the arguments for ignoring subpoenas from a House committee considering impeachment, once there is an actual trial in progress in the Senate those are gone.

Not that this necessarily means that Trump won't try anyway. But I expect the Chief Justice to rule that the witnesses (and documents) must appear. Not to mention that, whatever their views otherwise, Senators are likely to take their own prerogatives to hear witnesses and see documents quite seriously. Never pays to irritate the jury if you are the defendant.

But I expect the Chief Justice to rule that the witnesses (and documents) must appear. Not to mention that, whatever their views otherwise, Senators are likely to take their own prerogatives to hear witnesses and see documents quite seriously.

I dunno, maybe I should bow to your greater expertise as a longtime observer and an American, but this strikes me as quite naive in the new dispensation of "My leader right or wrong". And it's always wrong, and that never makes a difference.

this strikes me as quite naive in the new dispensation of "My leader right or wrong"

That seems to be characteristic of legislators, and of politicians generally. But the Chief Justice has shown a lot of resistance to what he sees as attacks on the Judiciary -- even when Trump was making them. Which leads me to expect that he wouldn't take kindly to the kind of snub of a subpoena that Trump is making. Especially in what is, in part, HIS courtroom.

wj, we can only hope you prove right.

I agree with wj on this.
There are no good legal reasons for ignoring the House’s subpoenas, but the arguments would get dragged through the courts, taking considerable time. That would simply not happen with a trial in the Senate.

None is so convincing that the GOP can’t ignore.

"None is so convincing that the GOP can’t ignore."

Very true. And yet I hope that doing so will turn out to be a performance of suttee for the lot of them.

I'll bring matches.

Which leads me to expect that he wouldn't take kindly to the kind of snub of a subpoena that Trump is making. Especially in what is, in part, HIS courtroom.

A courtroom where, under the current Senate rules for impeachment proceedings, any of his rulings can be challenged by any Senator and overturned by a simple majority. I think it would be terrible optics, but that's me. Subpoenas matter only if the Republican majority let them.

My standard rule of thumb for the Chief Justice doesn't apply here. That is, CJ Roberts will rule in favor of large established corporate interests, as he sees them. That leaves me with wj's thought -- Roberts still seems to care about "his" court's place in history and will work hard to avoid looking like he's on a side.

Who has the power to subpoena witnesses to a Senate trial?

For an impeachment trial, the Senate sets its own rules. They may have codified rules, but can decide to alter them for a particular trial -- either in advance or even on the fly.

For example, normally both the House members presenting their case and the defendant would have some ability to call witnesses. But the Senate could decide that one side could subpoena (compel) witnesses, while the other could only ask nicely. Likewise for introducing documentation.

Fairness of the rules, if any, is entirely up to a majority of tne Senators. The "optics" may be terrible if the rules are skewed enough, but they can do it.

I'm hoping for a "Trial by Combat".

I'm hoping for a "Trial by Combat".

Not an option. Bone spurs, you know.

(And intellectual combat is a non-starter for obvious reasons.)

Maybe his opponent could be Boris Johnson (who is an expert in hiding his actual capacities).
Otherwise I'd recommend Rod Blagojevich, so their hairpieces could be their individual champions.
Or a cage fight between Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton (after checking that the former had no secret martial arts training to protect her from daddy's lust).

An Ivanka/Chelsea fight wouldn't be a Steel Cage Death Match. It would be bikini mud wrestling.

And thus do I endumacte Hartmut about the finer points of American "culture".

Looked up "endumacte" in pursuit of my ongoing ObWi education on e.g. acronyms etc, and no luck with the exception of an incomprehensible semi-googlewhack! However, I'm guessing Snarki might have meant "edumacate", hitherto unknown word now known (contradiction happily welcomed):

Edumacated: The term used commonly to poke fun at someone who has made either a spelling or gramatical error whilst trying to appear as a person of intelligence. This is emphasised with the intentional mispronounciation of the word "educated".

Yeah, keep getting an error on my posts:
%SYS-F-TMFONK, Too many fingers on the keyboard

%SYS-F-TMFONK

SYS F TmFonk. We want the Fonk.
SYS F TmFonk. Gotta have the Fonk.

Crikey, I've just watched HRC being interviewed on Graham Norton, with Chelsea, to publicise her book. She said she hasn't absolutely ruled out running again for 2020! I had no idea - lots of you probably did. Jesus, she has guts. But I hope she doesn't do it, partly because I just couldn't stand it if Trump beat her again. It would make another four years of Trump even worse, hard though that is to imagine.

She said she hasn't absolutely ruled out running again for 2020!

For the love of god, Hilary, give it up.

wrs

If Hillary is the ham sandwich, I'll order it.

I wonder if she isn't just messing with Trump's head here....

Let's hope wj is right

By the way, just saw that in countries without easy access to guns, bad guys with knives can be disarmed by good guys with narwhal tusks and fire extinguishers.

No Republican Senator is willing to chair the Ethics Committee...
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/471936-the-job-no-gop-senator-wants-id-rather-have-a-root-canal

Further to which, in these Brexit obsessed times I cannot resist posting this, tweeted by someone called Jakub Krupa:

2017: a Romanian baker throws crates at terrorists at Borough Market

2019: a Polish chef chases a terrorist down London Bridge with a narwhal tusk

Oh, these awful Eastern European migrants.

If Hillary is the ham sandwich, I'll order it.

Likewise.

please, think of the narwhals

just think, if narwhal tusks were legal to possess, more people could wield them. crime would cease to exist.

if narwhal tusks were legal to possess, more people could wield them. crime would cease to exist.

Never happen. Narwhal tusk manufacturers (i.e. narwhals) don't have a wealthy advertising (and lobbying) operation....

They had once when their tusks were successfully marketed as unicorn horns throughout Europe. There was, alas, a whistleblower and spoilsport (Jón lærði Guðmundsson) who destroyed the whole business by spilling the beans to the Ol' Worm of Denmark.

I wonder if she isn't just messing with Trump's head here....

I hope that's what she's doing. And I'll vote for her if the Democratic party is unwise enough to nominate her, because four more years of the Rs running the country will be the end of the country as we have known it, and/or want it to be. It isn't hard for me to see myself crossing a border permanently in that case, if anyone will have me.

But.

An analogy. (Long-winded, sorry.)

My 96-y.o. mother was taken to the hospital from her little apartment in an over-55 "village" a couple of weeks ago. A few days later she was sent to "rehab." She is blind (macular degeneration), deaf (hearing aids help), frail, and increasingly confused, plus there are the health problems that sent her to the ER in the first place.

She will never go back to that apartment, she will either stay in the nursing home after the rehab period is over, or, if a miracle happens, she may be accepted into a small assisted living apartment in the same facility.

That's the background.

For several years running, she had said to me, on my annual fall visit, "Well, this is probably my last winter at [name of where she lives]." (Implication: she knew she should move to assisted living. More hidden implication, which she will never talk about: she may be gone before she has to make that decision.)

Then, for the past couple of years, she got very angry if assisted living was brought up, and refused to talk about it. This fall she furious with my sister and me for trying to butt in and get her more help in the apartment where she has lived for the past 13 years. She said she'd get more help herself, and we left her to it, and the result of that was the situation she's in now, which is basically what we knew would happen. She could not manage on her own any more, even with the fair amount of help that she had, and she refused to admit that.

In hindsight, the change from "this will be my last winter here" to "I'm not leaving here and I won't talk about it and by the way I'm furious at you for even bringing it up" was a signal that she was losing her ability to assess her situation realistically.

I hope wj is right that Hillary is just pulling Trump's chain, because I think a decision on her part to run again would be analagous to my mother's transition: from being somewhat realistic about her place in the polity to being so wrong-headed that it would be disqualifying for the presidency if any conceivable R alternative weren't far worse.

Among other things, it would be an arrogant slap in the face to the candidates who have already been at this for months, and among whom there are several whom I'd be delighted to see as the nominee, and most of the others of whom I'll vote for happily enough.

So much to say in response to Janie's post, and excellent analogy (with which I only partly agree) and not enough time to say it in. There's only enough time to say I'm sorry you're having tough family times, Janie, and hope they resolve soon with the best possible outcome.

For anybody still interested, there is a wonderful piece in today's Observer by Rachel Cooke (who herself wrote beautifully about Larkin) headed Clive James: The Last Interview, in which they discuss Larkin, among other subjects. An extract from the set-up (bold bit one of my favourite ideas in life):

Claerwen [James's daughter] and I walked into a room to find Clive listening to Joan Sutherland singing Bellini’s opera Norma. He was in a state that seemed to me to be close to sexual ecstasy: legs apart, head thrown back, a look of pure bliss on his face. I knew nothing of opera then, but as he translated her words for us – he sprang out of his chair to do this – I thought to myself: I’ll have what he’s having, thanks. That recording of Norma was the first opera I ever owned on CD, bought that very week. Clive’s enthusiasm, as bright and as powerful as a Klieg light, could make you want to read, listen to, watch or look at almost anything.

He was – this has already been said – very, very clever and very, very funny; he had a way of making you see that something could be both ridiculous and magnificent, and ever since I first learned this from him, I’ve always borne it in mind. He had, too, a sybaritic side that I adored. He could squeeze such pleasure from things. I’ve never seen anyone drink a bottle of Jacob’s Creek with so much enjoyment as him; it might as well have been Château Lafite in his glass. I thought of him, always, as deeply generous.

he had a way of making you see that something could be both ridiculous and magnificent

That pretty well sums up what an Iron Maiden concert is like.

That pretty well sums up what an Iron Maiden concert is like.

lol

That pretty well sums up what an Iron Maiden concert is like.

Made me laugh too.

With a bit more time at my disposal: I suppose my only point of disagreement with Janie is that although she may be right that HRC's assessment of "her place in the polity" is spectacularly wrongheaded (mainly, in my opinion, because unbelievably underestimating yet again the extent of the hatred for her among large swathes of the electorate), I don't see this as disqualifying her for POTUS, if only she could be elected (I realise this is a pretty circular argument). I feel personally that since she is clearly very smart, very competent and very experienced she would be a perfectly good (maybe even a very good) POTUS. Not to mention able to observe the norms through which Trump has cut such a wide and destructive swathe. I also think her kind of policy preferences would be pretty good for the US. But my problem is it would be way too risky, given Trump's rocksolid base, and the amount of Clinton hate there is out there, ready to be fanned into flame at the drop of a hat.

As for Janie's last paragraph, about the disrespect it would show to the current D field, this is true, but if she were able to beat Trump more easily than they are, it would be worth it.

So I also think she shouldn't run, but mainly because it would weight the result too much in Trump's favour.

What GftNC said re Clinton.

I'm not clear on exactly why so many people hate her so much. (Straight misogyny, while doubtless a factor, seem inadequate to explain the depth and breadth.) But there's no question they do.

a generation of people have been raised on myths that cast HRC as pure evil. and now, all growed-up and stuff, they're writing the second volume of myths using the older stuff as canon.

a generation of people have been raised on myths that cast HRC as pure evil. and now, all growed-up and stuff, they're writing the second volume of myths using the older stuff as canon.

I agree. The Clinton hatred is unaccountable, and would be funny if it wasn't so tragic e.g. people who are outraged by how "corrupt" she is (no proof given, no evidence ever found after investigation), yet perfectly happy to accept the extraordinary sinkhole of corruption in the White House. But nonetheless, a very substantial percentage of the population believes this stuff, and will be voting.

a generation of people have been raised on myths that cast HRC as pure evil. and now, all growed-up and stuff, they're writing the second volume of myths using the older stuff as canon.

I agree. The Clinton hatred is unaccountable, and would be funny if it wasn't so tragic e.g. people who are outraged by how "corrupt" she is (no proof given, no evidence ever found after investigation), yet perfectly happy to accept the extraordinary sinkhole of corruption in the White House. But nonetheless, a very substantial percentage of the population believes this stuff, and will be voting.

a generation of people have been raised on myths that cast HRC as pure evil

The same generation, over the same period of time was inculcated with Saddam Hussein being pure evil, and look how that turned out.

Hillary should count herself lucky, I guess.

No excuses for either; I really dislike the idea of a 'hereditary presidency'.

The crescendo of the culture wars has been building for nearly a quarter of a century when Bill Clinton, the avatar of the hippie boomer generation (and his feminist wife) stole the presidency from GHW Bush in 1992. This was also the period of the ascendancy of take no prisoners scorched earth GOP politics as embodied by Newt Gingrich.

Clinton beat those assholes, and they have never gotten over it.

The hatred has endured to this day.

My impression is that in American politics one can be either impolitic or triangulating, but one should not be both. The Clintons are both, and the sexism of our culture ensures that Hillary bear the brunt of it for both of them.

The one thing we know for sure about Hillary is that she lost to Trump. She has no business running again.

Bill Clinton . . . stole the presidency from GHW Bush in 1992

"stole"???

Unless you think Clinton put Perot up to running, I'm hard pressed to see how that verb applies. (Much as I personally would have preferred Bush to be reelected.)

With mordant irony, I think, wj.

As far as Clinton being ’evil’ is concerned, it’s axiomatic only to these folks...
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/11/majority-republicans-trump-better-president-lincoln-poll.html

With mordant irony, I think, wj.

LOL...thanks, Nigel. Republicans and irony...still strangers after all these years. Apologies, wj, but I could not resist.

AOC on fire.

A bit more of this, and maybe Hillary could have prevailed...who knows?

speaking of "Read My Lips":

We've been due for a recession, and it will come. Sadly, it will be exacerbated by Trump's trade war and the Fed's war on interest rates, resulting in huge corporate debt.

If D's win the election, and the recession hits afterwards, D's will pay for what Trump has done.

I was/am horrified/freaked out by Trump. But things are going to get better only where we look for it, because a lot will get worse generally, no matter what happens.

I was/am horrified/freaked out by Trump. But things are going to get better only where we look for it, because a lot will get worse generally, no matter what happens.

By the way, all of this was predictable in 2010, although some of us held out hope that if all "liberal" or "progressive" people supported Democrats, the worst wouldn't happen. Sadly, no. For the folks here who were wondering what I was on about, it was this. Sorry! My tone was wrong.

Republicans and irony...still strangers after all these years. Apologies, wj, but I could not resist.

No offense taken.

One of the tragedies of the current day, IMHO, is that it's so hard to tell what is sarcasm vs. what some moron means seriously. (No offense intended. Less of a problem here than most places.)

The market is doing its thing on climate change:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/02/coal-power-becoming-uninsurable-as-firms-refuse-cover
The number of insurers withdrawing cover for coal projects more than doubled this year and for the first time US companies have taken action, leaving Lloyd’s of London and Asian insurers as the “last resort” for fossil fuels, according to a new report.
The report, which rates the world’s 35 biggest insurers on their actions on fossil fuels, declares that coal – the biggest single contributor to climate change – “is on the way to becoming uninsurable” as most coal projects cannot be financed, built or operated without insurance…

https://rmi.org/press-release/massive-investment-in-battery-technology-accelerating-the-energy-transition/
…Battery cost and performance improvements are quickly outpacing forecasts: Increasing demand for EVs, grid-tied storage, and other emerging applications are further fueling the cycle of investment and cost declines in batteries and setting the stage for mass adoption. Total manufacturing investment, both previous and planned until 2023, represents around $150 billion dollars, and analysts expect the capital cost for new planned battery-manufacturing capacity to drop by more than half from 2018 to 2023.
These improvements spell trouble for natural gas and internal combustion engine vehicle markets: As batteries become cheaper and make renewables-plus-storage more competitive, legacy energy infrastructure will struggle to keep up. RMI finds that new—and soon, existing—natural gas plants are likely to be out-competed by clean energy portfolios as early as 2021, leading to a much greater risk of stranded assets. This mirrors a similar risk for traditional ICE vehicles….

it won't be fast enough without a great deal of government intervention and money, but it does point out the idiocy of fighting the energy transformation, even if you are a capitalist climate change denier.

Just wait for the GOP to propose a public option for coal insurance.

Just wait for the GOP to propose a public option for coal insurance.

The more usual tactic is to act at the state level -- where most insurance is regulated -- and make it illegal to discriminate against a particular class of large corporate customer. There's always a risk that all the insurance companies will walk away from the state, but it's relatively small.

I suspect that the world is still a good way from the peak number of coal plants. The Chinese will build them around the world in spite of what anyone else does.

The more usual tactic is to act at the state level -- where most insurance is regulated -- and make it illegal to discriminate against a particular class of large corporate customer.

The fallback, for the insurance companies, is to simply set their insurance prices/rates high enough that coal companies can't afford them. (Which is likely what Lloyd's rates would be as well.)

So we get to government insurance (or subsidies), just with an intermediate step. And since states where coal mining is big tend not to be particularly wealthy, they will push for a Federal solution. No matter what their proclaimed views on Federal intervention in state affairs.

No one is going to build new coal plants in the US.
Even if Trump is re-elected, a five year timescale doesn't begin to pay back the investment - and the risk is that they might be inoperable after that.

China is a conundrum. They have more new coal capacity planned than anyone else, but it might not get built.
Currently plant utilisation is lower than the rest of the world already:
https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-global-coal-power-set-for-record-fall-in-2019

A world habitable for our grandchildren is on a knife edge.

Barr is a sick joke.
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/472720-barr-rejects-key-finding-in-report-on-russia-probe-report

God knows what will be left of the justice system should Trump gain another term.

When neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table....

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/02/why-trump-cant-take-yes-an-answer/
Trump and his allies complained about secret proceedings. The proceedings were made public.

They complained that there was no formal impeachment resolution. A formal resolution was passed.

They complained that deposition transcripts weren’t released. The transcripts were released.
And still, no cooperation.

They complained that Democrats should hurry up and “move on” from impeachment. But as Democrats work to wrap up impeachment quickly, Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, complained Sunday that “we’re rushing this.”

Now, we have the president’s lawyer complaining that Trump “was allowed absolutely no participation” — and yet refusing to participate when invited. It’s a bit like the administration blocking senior officials from testifying and then complaining that those who did testify lacked “first-hand” experience....

why?

it's theater for people who think pro-wrestling is real.

the thing is, the outcome is already known: the Senate will acquit. that gives Trump zero incentive to participate or to defend himself.

why bother with all that boring legal crap when you can do what you love to do: strut around and mock the Democrats?

and, if you think he's bad now. wait til he get acquitted.

Wait til he doesn't get re-elected and can no longer dodge criminal charges.

Meantime, this raised a smile:
https://twitter.com/gtconway3d/status/1201588655204241415

God knows what will be left of the justice system should Trump gain another term.

I'm glad you used the term "gain" rather than "win" which would imply that he might win in a free and fair election. Although he might be defeated, we can be confident that his campaign is mired in illegitimacy.

This Washington Post graphic novel approach to recounting the Mueller report is interesting.

A splendid Jeremiad against the Republican religious hypocrites:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/donald-trump-modern-day-king-david/602830/
...It was part of the genius of the Founders of the United States that they understood that by acknowledging religion yet prohibiting its establishment, they were enhancing its moral power. When the faithful draw on their belief to help us see evil for what it is, to mobilize our consciences and steel our hearts to fight against it, they make their country stronger. When they use it to excuse or, worse, glorify their political patrons, they are, as it were, building altars on the high places to baal, and bringing the souls of their followers that much closer to the fires of Moloch.

Harris is out.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sen-kamala-d-harris-drops-out-of-presidential-race/2019/12/03/5ea01f3e-15f7-11ea-9110-3b34ce1d92b1_story.html

"Harris is out."

Bit of a disappointment...thought she would do better.

yeah. i generally liked her.

oh well, most of them are going to drop out eventually.

my goal is to not fall in love with any of them, so i don't get too disappointed if my guy/gal doesn't make it.

Nunes

https://www.thedailybeast.com/impeachment-investigators-got-rudys-phone-recordsand-theyre-quite-revealing?ref=scroll

i love it. the House Intel Com is digging up dirt on the dumbest of its own members.

I hope Lev flips hard.

I still like her.
Her campaign became a mess - not entirely her fault - but she’s talented, and I hope she will be back.

At a minimum, she'll be a Senator for another 4 years. And that's a good thing.

At a minimum, she'll be a Senator for another 4 years.

Fingers crossed, knock on wood. All the superstitious things that we should always do. Because apparently we haven't been taking those things seriously.

All the superstitious things that we should always do.

Hey, now. I stab my Trump voodoo doll everyday with a hat pin....sometimes more than that.

Hey, now. I stab my Trump voodoo doll everyday with a hat pin....sometimes more than that.

My bad! Obviously, I haven't been trying as hard as you.

Harris is out.

I always thought her early strategy had to be to grab the Hispanic vote and have a huge day in California and Texas on March 3. Then Arizona and Florida two weeks later. So far as I can tell, no one is really targeting the Hispanic vote -- almost everything I read about minority voting is about the black vote in South Carolina. Come the general election, no one is going to care about the black vote in SC, but oh, what GOTV for Hispanic voters in Florida could accomplish.

Come the general election, no one is going to care about the black vote in SC

Black voters nationally will care about outreach to black voters in SC and elsewhere.

It's absolutely true that reaching Hispanic voters everywhere (and getting them registered, mainly) would make a huge difference. But motivated black voters move elections. When they stay home, D's are sunk. Hispanic voters can make a similar splash, but they have to actually do so. We all do. Every single one of us.

I've thought from the beginning, even when donating to her campaign, that this was Harris' shakedown cruise for her next presidential campaign. She was a regional name and she needs to build infrastructure for a national run. Hoping her stumbles don't do too much damage to that infrastructure.

If Buttigieg can get past Biden for the role of top centrist in the campaign, he'd do well to nab either Harris or Booker as his running mate. I could see the same for Warren, to be honest.

The candidates could pick up some black votes if they told them that, just like upper-class white parents, they should also be able to choose the schools that their children go to.

if they told them that, just like upper-class white parents, they should also be able to choose the schools that their children go to.

They've been lied to many times. My guess is that they're on to it.

they should also be able to choose the schools that their children go to

and when everyone can't get into last year's highest-ranked local school?

and when everyone can't get into last year's highest-ranked local school?

My guess is that "black votes" won't be going to scam artists.

Nothing here to astonish, but interesting nonetheless
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/12/03/krugman-americas-red-state-death-trip/

these law profs testifying are pretty spicy.

Is Bill Barr mobbed up ?
He certainly talks as though he is.
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/william-barr-communities-police-protection-show-respect

don't call them authoritarian, though. everyone know the liberals are the real authoritarians.

before election interference 2016: GOP says we shouldn't do anything about it, because of the election

after election interference 2016: GOP says we shouldn't do anything about it, because it would help Democrats win elections

before election interference 2020: GOP says we shouldn't do anything about it, because of the election

is anyone unsure about what they'll say after the 2020 election?

is anyone unsure about what they'll say after the 2020 election?

Sure. They'll say we absolutely have to do something about it because it helped the Democrats with the election. And it's flat out evil of the Democrats to have not done something about it before the election. ;-)

Hakeem Jeffries. Wow.

In his column, Max Boot:

The party’s transformation into a Russian lickspittle makes me sick; “GOP” might as well stand for “Gang of Putin.”
How far we have fallen, from "Evil Empire" to this.

I’m liking Professor Karlan.
https://www.vox.com/2019/12/4/20995296/pamela-karlan-doug-collins-impeachment-hearing-house-judiciary

"Ivory tower" will be a prominent feature of conservative discourse over the next few days.

FWIW, all of this is basically theater. It's not necessarily bad theater, or an illegitimate exercise because it's theater. But everybody in the room, and most people listening or watching, already knows what they think about all of this. Nobody's mind is being changed by the public hearings, they are purely to put information in the public record and establish legitimacy.

The House is going to bring articles of impeachment, on a party-line vote, most likely a 100% party line vote.

The Senate is going to decline to remove the POTUS from office, on a similarly party-line vote.

People who support Trump have basically always supported Trump, and will continue to support Trump.

People who don't, basically never have, and never will.

How that all plays out in 2020 is kind of a coin toss.

The lack of confidence and trust in national government and public institutions in general will persist, no matter who wins. The fact that Trump continues to command support from something like 40% of the country tells me this place is broken in much deeper ways than are going to be addressed or resolved by the impeachment, the subsequent trial in the Senate, or the 2020 election, no matter how any of those things turn out.

People who support Trump have basically always supported Trump, and will continue to support Trump.

You overlook those (e.g. Senator Graham) who loudly and vocally opposed Trump. Until he won. Not quite "always supported".

Also, I would bet that, by 2030, at least 2/3 of the 40% of voters who persist in supporting Trump today will maintain that they never supported him. (The rest, of course, will be like those who, even today, are true believers in the Lost Cause.*)

* For those outside the US, "the Lost Cause" is how those who still believe in it refer to the South in the Civil War.

The fact that Trump continues to command support from something like 40% of the country tells me this place is broken in much deeper ways than are going to be addressed or resolved by the impeachment, the subsequent trial in the Senate, or the 2020 election, no matter how any of those things turn out.

Of course, this is true. I do think it's a good moment to see how Democratic and Republican representatives are behaving, and to just keep in mind what's at stake here. No, impeachment won't fix it. It's unlikely the election will fix it, even if it goes well for us. But we have to begin the process of figuring out how to fix it. We do have to fix it, and we should start diagnosing the actual disease (not just the symptoms) and the possible cure.

I know we talk about tribalism, authoritarianism, propaganda, racism and other manifestations of the Republican disease. Although those things have always been with us, it seems that the lip service that used to be paid to democracy and democratic institutions kept us from falling off the cliff. Why have Republicans all but abandoned that? There's something that we just haven't identified yet that have put us in this frightening and unsustainable place. I don't think we're helpless to make things better, but it has to be a long and sustained effort with a lot of discipline. I think that Russia has moved the needle a lot more than we have acknowledged, which accounts for Graham.

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