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June 13, 2022

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I've only watched snippets, work interferes.

But my (retired, very conservative and low-information, but not terribly tribal) mother was deeply effected by the hearings. She said she previously thought it was a bunch of random yahoos and Democrats were trying to tar everyone with them. She "had no idea" it was such a huge, organized affair. "It *was* an insurrection." was her summary.

The medium is still the message, in other words.

How many others are like her, I have no idea.

grumbles, let's hope there are many, many more like her.

I thought the first night was incredibly damaging for Trump, and I think the Republicans are afraid. I think today was incredibly damaging to the Big Lie. I would feel optimistic --except...

Republicans thought the news about Trump giving money to a porn star and his recent adultery would sink his campaign and it didn't.

None of the subsequent scandals changed his voters' minds either.

Trump said his voters would forgive him for anything, including murder.

So I have reduced my hopes to this: I hope the hearings doom the current liars who are trying to use the Big Lie to get positions in government.

But Trumpers? Well, I'm not optimistic about them.

But I don't think I've been optimistic about politics in decades. I'm pretty much gloom and doom.

Trump said his voters would forgive him for anything, including murder.

No real question that's true of all of his cultists. But of all of his voters?

Apparently the Republican establishment (such as it is any more) and Fox are terrified that it might not be. Otherwise they wouldn't be trying so hard to trash the hearings. They'd jusy be ignoring them.

I always have to factor in the era of negative partisanship. It's why cesspits like the site that rhymes with redhate can do nothing but feature clips about how incompetent Biden/Harris are and how everyone needs an AR to protect themselves from the left, which appears to be made up of China, Fauci, and the EU working through the Deep State under cover from Biden/Harris' weakness.

So it's really down to the swing voters and which side of the negative framing their intestinal flora are aligning with.

The message is getting through, but I don't know that it will reach its action potential.

I will be interested to see if the committee produces the names of the Congressmen who talked to the White House about preemptive pardons.** Especially if they manage to dragooon some of them into testifying as to why they thought something like that would be a good idea. Because it pretty well shows that they knew damn well that not only was what they were saying was not true, they knew what they were doing was criminal, too.

** Not that Trump ever shows any loyalty to those who do his bidding, so probably a lost cause. Unless, maybe, they could make a case that they could hurt him more if he didn't.

If there's a saving grace from a non-crazy Republican perspective, it's the witnesses, regardless of the composition of the committee. That and maybe being convinced that you parted with your money to support a nine-figure grift, though I imagine there's a smaller population of persuadable people on that score.

"I've been cheated!!!" can be a very motivating realization.

Finding that money you donated to challenge election fraud went to something else instead (that, in fact, the supposed fund never existed at all), could fall into that category.

But people hate the feeling of having been cheated because that makes them look dumb (in their own eyes too). So they are highly likely to deny it. These days it's of course cries of "fake news".

So they are highly likely to deny it.

Yes. The hope that remains in the denial cases, though, is that they are at least discouraged by doubt, even if they won't admit it, and they become less politically motivated.

Trump's appeal is to entitlement, the feeling some Americans have of being entitled to a position on a pedestal of their own making as the only real true Americans with real true American values. They love Trump because he is mean to everyone. He's their weapon against the rest of America in defense of their assumption that the rest of us are not legitimately citizens in the way they are.

Where did they get this fairy tale? From the Republican party. It's been their message for decades. Faux pumps the message out every day on their "news" and on their evening hater line up. THe "culture wars" is a narrative about good versus evil and the Trump base are people who have become infatuated with that narrative because they get to feel like their ordinary life is a heroic struggle. They get the ego thrill of participation in a heroic struggle without having to actually do any struggling.

It's pretty hard to get people to come down off a pedestal and give up the role of hero/victim, especially faux hero/victimhood where they got all the ego jollies without having to take any risks or make any sacrifices.

So in my opinion the most that we can expect is for them to think "Maybe Trump went a bit too far but I AM STILL THE ONLY REAL TRUE AMERICAN AND THE REST OF YOU SUCK ANYWAY!!!!!" and go out and vote for any creepy con artist or neofascist or creepy con artist neo-fascist running for office as a Republican.

THe "culture wars" is a narrative about good versus evil and the Trump base are people who have become infatuated with that narrative because they get to feel like their ordinary life is a heroic struggle. They get the ego thrill of participation in a heroic struggle without having to actually do any struggling.

Gosh, wonkie, I have never seen this better explained or expressed. Your explanation for staying away from here is, if you will excuse me, nuts.

And, on a related subject (related by Trump - Brexit - Farage - Arron Banks - Cambridge Analytica etc etc) I am happy to tell anybody interested that Carole Cadwalladr triumphed yesterday in the case where Arron Banks sued her for libel for her tweet and TED talk. Anybody who wants to know more details can find them here, but it is (at least until or unless he appeals) a triumph for public interest journalism.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/13/the-guardian-view-on-carole-cadwalladrs-libel-case-a-victory-for-journalism

These culture wars make narrative sense to the fanatics because they long ago bought into the apocalyptic narrative:

https://www.vox.com/culture/23033782/frank-peretti-this-present-darkness-piercing-the-darkness-cultural-influence-moral-panic

As an ex-evangelical who played D&D, I remember the Satanic Panic vividly. I also remember that at the same time Peretti was writing his Avengers/Pilgrim's Progress mashup, Mike Warnke was making a killing in the Christian media grifting hard on the coattails of the Panic with his lurid tales of having been a Satanic priest:

https://web.archive.org/web/20110629063019/http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss098/sellingsatan.htm">http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss098/sellingsatan.htm">https://web.archive.org/web/20110629063019/http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss098/sellingsatan.htm

(This latest season of Stranger Things has been emotionally affecting for a lot of metanarrative reasons.)

Well, here we go again:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/14/roger-stone-michael-flynn-distorting-christianity-reawaken-america

Another round of tax-exempt Satanic Panic grift:

The ReAwaken tour’s pro-Trump political messages mixed with Christian nationalism was on display at a two-day gathering in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in May that drew Flynn, Stone, Eric Trump and the rightwing pastor Mark Burns, who is running for a House seat in the state.

Stone revved up the crowd with at times bizarre conspiratorial claims. “There is a satanic portal above the White House, you can see day and night. It exists. It is real. And it must be closed. And it will be closed by prayer,” he said.

The “portal”, Stone told a rapt crowd, first appeared after Joe Biden “became president and it will be closed before he leaves”.

Here's the statement about this latest flooding of shit into the zone from the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty:

https://bjconline.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Christian_Nationalism_and_the_Jan6_Insurrection-2-9-22.pdf

We have absolutely seen the likes of this before in the religious wars of the late middle ages, and the authoritarian tensions and ties to Orthodoxy and to reform theology show that there is a very energized contingent trying to undo the hard-won liberalism, secularism, and religious toleration of the Westphalian order.

Here we go again.

That Wayback Machine link to the Cornerstone Magazine article about Warnke should be:

https://web.archive.org/web/20110629063019/http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss098/sellingsatan.htm">http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss098/sellingsatan.htm">https://web.archive.org/web/20110629063019/http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss098/sellingsatan.htm

Don't know what happened to that URL during posting.

Sigh...

http://www.cornerstonemag.com/features/iss098/sellingsatan.htm

Is the URL to plug into the Wayback Machine at www.archive.org

::mumblegrumble::

Is this the article you're trying to link to?

"Known as “America’s Number One Christian Comedian,” Mike Warnke has sold in excess of one million records. June 29, 1988, was declared “Mike Warnke Day” by the governor of Tennessee. The Satan Seller has, according to its author, sold three million copies in twenty years. His 1991 Schemes of Satan quickly climbed the best-seller list. Mike Warnke’s press material includes credits for appearances on “The 700 Club,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Larry King Live,” “Focus on the Family,” and ABC’s “20/20.” Mike has won numerous awards from the recording industry, including the 1992 Grady Nutt Humor Award. He continues to perform two hundred live shows a year. He is truly a figure of national prominence."
Selling Satan: The Tragic History of Mike Warnke

Yes. That's the one. Thanks.

Never try to format a Wayback URL while in the middle of submitting final grades.

Here we go again.

Truth. I think if we could understand that they're more accurate than "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice" (sorry, but really), we might be able to plan better for reality.

Armchair theory, worth what you paid for it.

"they're more accurate" -> those words are more accurate

Trump should go to jail. I'd look forward to that.

Arguably, he is guilty of treason, and if so, could be sentenced to death. I would not look forward to that, because a lot of other people would end up dead as well.

In any case, none of that will happen. IMO.

The hearings may peel a small but significant percentage of Trump's base. They'll probably still be conservative (R)'s but I can live with that.

If they achieve that, I'll call it a win and be happy. Or, you know, happy-ish.

Absolutely freaking amazing what we've come to. And I don't mean that in a good way.

What I have a hard time understanding is the utter lack of sense of responsibility that man has, even after having been the POTUS. The forces he's willing to unleash, or is just willing to risk unleashing, as the nation's leader, with all the power that comes with that, is unfathomable. He's missing some significant pieces as a human being.

OK, this is going to be my go-to source for polling on public opinion as the hearings go on:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/videos/can-the-january-6-hearings-change-public-opinion/

people hate the feeling of having been cheated because that makes them look dumb (in their own eyes too). So they are highly likely to deny it.

Deny it? Sure.

But still reluctant to fall for the same scam (the one that they won't admit, even to themselves, they got taken by) again. It might be nice if they could admit they blew it. But if they just decline to do it again, that is, pragmatically, enough.

But if they just decline to do it again, that is, pragmatically, enough.

Gotta overcome the sunk cost and culpability factor first. They are going to hang on to their self image until the last possible moment, and continue to justify it and hedge for a good long time afterwards.

Trump should go to jail. I'd look forward to that.

Arguably, he is guilty of treason, and if so, could be sentenced to death. I would not look forward to that, because a lot of other people would end up dead as well.

Nope. What Trump did was sedition, not treason.
https://thelawdictionary.org/article/treason-vs-sedition/

Treason has a very narrow meaning, per the US Constitution:

Article III, Section 3, Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.
The two are equally heinous, IMHO, but different as a matter of law.

/pedantic nit picking

What I have a hard time understanding is the utter lack of sense of responsibility that man has, even after having been the POTUS

He had the title. But since he wasn't doing the job** (not least because he's incapable of the responsibility required), the extent to which he was President is debatable,

** Which is the danger of some Trump wannabe (DeSantis, Hawley, Abbott, etc.) getting the job. They can't match his sheer incompetence, so they could do lots more damage.

Treason has a very narrow meaning

And sedition has a rather broad meaning which puts it at risk of being used as a political weapon.

For some perspective, I just saw a post on a social media platform extolling the truth(iness) of “2000 Mules.” FFS…

And sedition has a rather broad meaning which puts it at risk of being used as a political weapon.

Especially when someone *has attempted to use sedition as a political weapon*, along with pretty much everything else that can be weaponized for partisan advantage.

The other side prefers charges of treason to those of sedition to accuse their opponents of on a daily - strike that - hourly basis. They use 'seditious' for unruly children quoting from their favorite book they don't actually read.

I'd be more worried about the possibility of sedition being used for political purposes if it had had much use in the past (exclusive of TFG's administration, of course).

Sedition works for me.

Tax avoidance and fraud, likewise. If there were a way to jail someone for being a flagrant asshole, also fine with me.

Regarding treason, folks have been found guilty of treason in this country for mounting an armed resistance to what were arguably unfair tax regimes (Whiskey and Fries rebellions). IMO those events pale in comparison to the spectacle of Jan 6.

But jail time for sedition or seditious conspiracy (either one) would suit me just fine.

Since this is labeled an Open Thread, I was interested in this. (Perhaps Hartmut can comment further.)
https://www.dw.com/en/everything-you-need-to-know-about-germanys-9-euro-ticket/a-61978439

It seems that, as part of their effort to reduce their use of Russian oil, Germany is running cut price mass transit tickets all summer. Economic incentives aren't a magic bullet, but they can definitely help.

Germany is in a very tight spot vis-à-vis Russia. It's paying Russia about €200,000,000 a day for natural gas. Things would really be grim if, in the middle of next winter, Russia just shut the gas off.

But jail time for sedition or seditious conspiracy (either one) would suit me just fine.

And so, I suspect, say all of us.

Things would really be grim if, in the middle of next winter, Russia just shut the gas off.

What they're paying for in July is natural gas for industrial heat and as feedstock for the chemical industry. At least a couple of officials have said that if Russia just shut the gas off today, the recession would be deep and long as large chunks of industrial Germany would shut down. My understanding is such a recession would soon ripple across much of central Europe.

The scary thing for me right now is: (1) the 2024 presidential election will most likely be determined by narrow margins in a small number of states that swing the Electoral College; (2) the top election officials in most of those states are being chosen this year, 2022; (3) in some of those states the Republican candidate for top election official is a Big Lie believer; and (4) those candidates seem to be saying that they will cheat in 2024 if that's what it takes to produce EC votes for the Republican.

Even worse, perhaps... In 2020, the SCOTUS declined to let states challenge election results in other states. I see no reason today to believe that the same will hold true in 2024.

In 2020, the SCOTUS declined to let states challenge election results in other states. I see no reason today to believe that the same will hold true in 2024.

Unless, of course, it was other states challenging the refusal of those Big Lie believers to certify a Democratic win. They would naturally have no standing. Allowing Republican state officials to challenge other states, however, would not be a problem. Consistency not being a concern of political hacks.

Since it's an open thread... Today was one of the days when you say, "This is why I live in Colorado." Left home about noon, bicycled nine miles along the river to one of the tourist places for their burger and a local beer out on the deck, then back home. Temperature was about 82 °F, humidity about 7%, deep blue sky, and bright sunshine. The river level was up from the end of the snow melt, so nicely noisy. Saw egrets, a fox, and paused at a safe distance while the skunk crossed the trail. Watched the kayakers and surfers in wet suits play in the whitewater park for a while. The water is actually still kind of a mess, what with ash still washing down from the burn scar from the big fire two years ago.

Gorgeous description, Michael Cain. I drove to and later home from my daughter's so I could watch the grandkid for the day -- I stick to back roads as much as I can, which let me to having to stop for 3 wild turkeys who weren't in any hurry to decide which side of the road they wanted to be on; a deer that decided not to run out into my headlights a little while ago (thank goodness for that! I would definitely have hit it); and an osprey soaring high. June is a nice month here -- for me it doesn't pack the punch that April and May do, but it tends to have very nice weather preceding the heat of July and some of August.

I don't have a good sense for tone or presentation (as my contributions here can attest) but I haven't been all that impressed with the Jan 6 hearings so far. Maybe it's my northeastern ear, but Bennie Thompson - who I think is one of the good guys - has that languid southern accent with all the urgency of watching the world gone by. Very-disappointed-with-your-behavior Schoolmarm Cheney's lecture tested my attention span - and I've had this on my calendar since it was announced. Then a break. Then the milling about and call back to order. Finally, after over an hour, previously unseen footage! And it was powerful. Depressingly and particularly, "White Power"-ful. But my shock & outrage meter asploded way back when I saw gallows erected in front of the Capitol.

Can't wait for Day 2 of this completely sensible schedule:

Thursday, June 9, 8PM EDT
Monday, June 13, 10AM EDT
Wednesday, June 15, 10AM EDT (cancelled/postponed, for "logistical" reasons)
Thursday, June 16, 10AM EDT
Tuesday, June 21, 10AM EDT
Thursday, June 23 8PM EDT

So anyway, Monday was sober and methodical and matter-of-fact. After exhaustive investigation, no reasonable person could possibly believe that rampant election fraud was responsible for Biden's victory, the retroactively self-proclaimed voices-of-reason-in-the-room told the guy who wants to nuke hurricanes.

And then we get this gem:

“The January 6th Select Committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time."

Wat???!

Assuming there is indictable evidence (and I still don't understand what part of the Raffensperger call alone is not that), I would've gone with:

“Here’s a list of who we found to have engaged in [whatever criminal activity]. The following presentations will demonstrate how and why we have reached these conclusions.”

This would have given Garland and DoJ a full 2 weeks notice to formulate a plan on how they would go about doing nothing.

Instead we're getting a miniseries cliffhanger:

"Will they or won't they make... a recommendation! Don't miss (especially You, DoJ!) the must-see finalé to the Select Committee's Insurrection PowerPoint! Tune in Thursday, June 23 at 8PM ET!"*

*(Unless we have trouble embedding the video again, in which case, TBD. How's your Tuesday?)


I dunno. 20 million viewers is more than I expected. Maybe after 2 impeachments, this is the thing that moves the needle. Crammed in with inflation, Ukraine, mass shootings, your gas-informed 4th of July Staycation, and an imminent ruling to declare women** chattel from that building over there - the one past the gallows - I just don't know.

It all feels like a slow burn to nowhere. Again. And I am burnt the fuck out.


**To be fair, this ruling applies equally to all people with a uterus.

Today was one of the days when you say, "This is why I live in Colorado." . . . Temperature was about 82 °F, humidity about 7%, deep blue sky, and bright sunshine.

I take it you're being missed by the storm which has been flooding Yellowstone. (Although, if it had run south towards you, the Colorado River might be getting a much needed shot in the arm.)

The new McCarthyism.
https://www.propublica.org/article/georgia-dei-crt-schools-parents

Long and very depressing read.

Long and very depressing read.

So much energy put into absurd directions. It baffles me. If you're more concerned about CRT than, um ... let's say - just as a completely random example - Great Replacement Theory, you've lost it.

I take it you're being missed by the storm which has been flooding Yellowstone. (Although, if it had run south towards you, the Colorado River might be getting a much needed shot in the arm.)

We had the same late spring snows and the recent rain, but on a smaller scale. None of this helps the Colorado, since the Poudre locally and the Yellowstone up in Wyoming both drain into the Missouri River eventually.

Colorado is signatory to nine interstate river compacts, and subject to two more involuntary decrees from the SCOTUS, some dating back as far as 1921. None of them are going to age well under climate change.

So much energy put into absurd directions. It baffles me.

The (multi-great) grandchildren of the Confederates are sometimes still fighting their ancestors' battle. Lost Cause though it is -- or, at least, that we thought it was. Probably still is, but they are demonstrating that they still have the capacity to do damage.

Makes me want to teach The Crucible again.

We've been noting the impact (or lack of it) of the Jan 6 hearings, specifically on the Faux News audience. Simply because people hate to admit that they've been conned. Even if the evidence is extensive.

That said, consider the dramatic and unusual weather we're seeing this year (again).
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/06/16/drought-west-california-mountains/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/06/16/cattle-dead-kansas-heat-wave/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/06/15/heatwave-midwest-east-record-highs/

When it's impacting you personally, it ceases to be about rejecting experts who might inconvenience you. It's all about what's happening to you right now -- which you're reminded of first hand, day after day.

It occurs to me to wonder whether accepting that they've been lied to by climate change denialists might lower the threshold for accepting that those same people have been lying about other things. Like the 2020 election.

Day 3 of the hearings.

I am told by people deeper in the weeds than I am that Luttig is worshipped by the right in the US, which makes me very slightly hopeful that his opinion and testimony will have done Trump real harm. But then again, that would only be with the kind of people who are obsessed by all of this, as well as legal reputations, whereas most Rs, especially MAGAts of course, aren't paying any attention anyway.

His (Luttig's) delivery is hysterical - the pauses and circumlocutions are almost a parody of eminent judgeship. I'm guessing they may, just possibly, lead any Rs who were watching to speculate that he is going gaga, of which (when you finally heard his endless sentences out) there was no sign.

Well, they didn't go there on the Ginni Thomas stuff, but we can hope for the future.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/06/16/michael-luttig-jan-6-hearing-trump-gop/

Much of the GOP, Luttig will suggest, is still wedded to the idea that reversing the 2020 election might in some sense have been a legitimate or at least understandable mission. Many Republicans, he will say, have adopted the principle that a future overturned election might be needed “to accomplish that which the previous revolt failed to accomplish.”

Luttig warns this portends an era of dangerous democratic instability. He says only Republicans can end this madness: “Only the party that instigated this war over our democracy can bring an end to that war.”

wj, cynic that I am I'd say the next step after denying one has been duped is to find someone else to blame for it (ideally not the conman).
In politics it is 'the GOP maybe conned me but it's the Dems' fault, so I have no choice but to vote GOP again but not for the RINOs I got duped by* but someone more conservative like that nice lady Lucille Fooote Balle.'

In related news: baby formula shortage worsens because the plant that produces nearly all of it just got flooded by rogue weather event. What's the bet that this will be blamed on Biden and illegal immigrants again while we speak?
MTG probably still looking for a way to connect the alleged tampon shortage (that she now attributes to trans people) to Biden and the Illegals also (what type of band name is that btw?)

*and who did all the evil behind the back of our beloved leader in order to harm him, another proof of Dem perfidy.

In related news: baby formula shortage worsens

Unless you've got some source that Google won't find for me, this is incredibly misleading. Here's the conclusion of an article from Ars Technica:

But, many parents may still be facing sparse or bare shelves. According to data from market research firm Information Resources Incorporated (IRI), reported by CNN, data from the week ending on June 12 found that about 24 percent of infant formula products were out of stock, up from about 22 percent the week before.

Okay, 24% out of stock is worse than 22% , but a month or so ago when I first heard about the problem, the shelves were 99% empty, if not worse. Maybe the Ars Technica article is getting it wrong somehow, but if not, then this new problem is a very small setback in a generally improving situation.

Given how much effort the administration seems to put into solving the problem (that they did not cause in any way), improvements are to be expected. But it will not stop the demagougery in any meaningful way. Same with 'Biden deliberately shortens supply of fossil fuel to force Americans to buy electric cars' while in reality the opposite is true (under Biden, to the chagrin of environmentalists, more drilling licences are issued than under Jabbabonk and production is up too) and Mr.Tesla is now shmoozing with Florida's despicable, fascist-in-all-but-name governor.

Of course they'll demagogue it, they'll demagogue *anything."

But your comment seemed to be directly asserting, as from you, that the crisis is getting worse. Not only that, I couldn't find any evidence via Google that anyone has even noticed the bit about the flooding. So the comment was confusing.

...that about 24 percent of infant formula products were out of stock...

This is one of those statements that I expect the writer used because the editor told them to be precise. It's not very helpful.

The similar one is "1% of the population dies from disease X". That's true if the situation is "everyone catches the disease, but 99% survive" or if it's "1% catch the disease, and they all die of it".

We're not supposed to take politicians at their word?!

“I Guarantee You We’re Going To End Fossil Fuels” —Joe Biden.

what I'm taking away from the hearings is that our process for electing the POTUS is FUBAR. it's overly complex and offers a disturbing number of opportunities for malicious interference and general f****ery. it relies on all parties acting in relatively good faith, which is demonstrably not something we can rely on anymore.

my solution is this: get rid of the god-damned electoral college. establish uniform national standards for who can vote and how they can vote. on election day, count up the votes, and whoever gets the most votes wins.

full stop.

not gonna happen, naturally. but this is not a difficult problem to solve in principle.

facilitate people's ability to vote. count the votes. the one who gets the most votes wins.

I'm listening to the hearings with great interest, but I'm also not at all confident that they are going to change much. At best, enough (R)'s will be sufficiently embarrassed by Trump and his minions that he'll never win an election again. which would be great, but in context it's incredibly small beer. It's like applauding the inability of an arsonist to try to burn your house down a second time.

Throw the mf in jail, along with Rudy and Eastman and all of the lesser members of Trump's insane clown posse. for years. crush the asshole fascist crews like the proud boys and the oath keepers like bugs. make it perfectly clear to them that their behavior is going to earn them years and years of jail time, so that all the wanna-be's think twice about trying any of this crap on, ever again.

help them understand what "personal responsibility" and "consequences of your actions" mean.

and get rid of the bizarre, antiquated, anti-democratic electoral college.

It's like applauding the inability of an arsonist to try to burn your house down a second time.

Cannot be bettered as a comparison. And, obvs, the rest of wrs.

Speaking of arsonists trying to burn your house down, this Ginni Thomas stuff is pretty interesting. Assuming the committee comes up with a lot more implicating her in efforts towards a coup, it will be fascinating to see how this affects her husband, and his tenure on the court. If I had to put money on it, I'd say no effect whatsoever, given the ongoing trashing of norms in the US (and of course, courtesy of BoJo) in the UK too.

On how successful the Rs were with Benghazi and other "no smoke without fire" propaganda.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/17/opinion/ginni-thomas-john-eastman.html

Not only did Ginni Thomas try to make herself a part of the effort to overthrow the government, but Justice Thomas was the only member of the court to vote in favor of Donald Trump’s attempt to shield his communications from congressional investigators, communications that would have included the messages between Mark Meadows and Ginni Thomas.

There is something suspect happening with the Supreme Court, and other constitutional officers have every right to criticize it. Democratic leaders in Congress should begin an investigation into Ginni Thomas’s activities and announce that they intend to speak to her husband as well. President Biden should tell the press that he supports that investigation and hopes to see answers. Rank-and-file Democrats should make a stink about potential corruption on the court whenever they have the opportunity. Impeachment should be on the table.

This probably won’t win votes. It could, however, capture the attention of the media and even put Republicans on the defensive. It is true that politics are unpredictable and that there’s no way to say exactly how a given choice will play out in the real world. But if the much maligned (and politically successful) investigations into Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s emails are any indication, real pressure might turn additional revelations into genuine liabilities for the Republican Party.

The easiest thing for Democrats to do, of course, is nothing — to steer away from open conflict and leave the controversy (and the questions) to the select committee. But if Democrats choose instead to act like a political party should, they would do well to remember that if the tables were turned, their opponents would not hesitate to use every argument, and every tool, at their disposal.

what I'm taking away from the hearings is that our process for electing the POTUS is FUBAR. it's overly complex and offers a disturbing number of opportunities for malicious interference and general f****ery.

It's actually an inventive way of dealing with national elections, back when high speed travel was on horseback. It's just that we never updated the process. Not for trains (which are substantially faster over long distances). Not for planes. Certainly not for electronic communications.

Now, it's going to be hard, probably impossible, to change significantly. Small states aren't going to go for straight popular vote (which would cut their influence). States where the state government might want to put up fraudulent electors won't go for straight popular vote. Etc., etc., etc. 100% political reasons; 0% technical reasons. Sigh.

But if the much maligned (and politically successful) investigations into Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s emails are any indication, real pressure might turn additional revelations into genuine liabilities for the Republican Party.

and if the tables were turned, their opponents would not hesitate to use every argument, and every tool, at their disposal.

I think this ignores the fact that the 2 parties are *not* alike, nor are they treated in the same way by the media. What works for Rs may backfire badly for Ds.

I guess I've gotten very, very cynical about all these people who know what the Democrats *really* ought to be doing. Comment is free and all, and worth what you pay for it most of the time.

sorry to be so grumpy.....there was a lot of interesting stuff in the passage GftNC quoted. And maybe it would be good for the Ds to be seen as coming out fighting more often, I don't have a clue.

Your grumpiness is totally understandable. But God knows the Ds have got to do something, so personally I'm open to suggestions.

Small states aren't going to go for straight popular vote

Is the POTUS the president of the people, or of the states?

I'm less concerned about the influence of RI and WY, and more concerned about the influence of the people who live in those states.

If you live in WY and want to vote for a (D) POTUS, you might as well stay home.

If you live in MA and want to vote for a (R) POTUS, you might as well stay home.

In both cases, your vote is of no practical consequence. None.

Is the POTUS the president of the people, or of the states?

The thing is, changing the Electoral College to a straight popular vote requires amending the Constitution. Which requires ratification by 3/4 of the states. Not the population, the state legislatures. That, for example, is where the Equal Rights Amendment died.

changing the Electoral College to a straight popular vote requires amending the Constitution.

yes, I understand that, and I have no expectation whatsoever that the EC will be eliminated or even changed in any substantive way. no expectation at all, full stop.

my comment was to challenge the idea that the interests of smaller population states should override those of the people as a whole. including the people who live in those smaller population states, whose interests are often overridden if they are not aligned with majority opinion in that state. even when they align with majority opinion nationally.

I recognize that it's not going anywhere, and I also maintain that it's a dysfunctional and actually harmful way to elect a POTUS. You can have a POTUS who *does not* have the support of the majority of the people in the country, and in fact that has happened twice so far in a generation.

The idea that the interests of smaller population states should override those of the people as a whole is a close relative of the idea that the interests of some people should override the interests of others.

I give you the Senate.

A resident of Wyoming, the least populous state, has 3.7 times the weight in Congress (counting both houses) of a Californian.

In the Senate, which is worth considering separately given its power to bring legislation and judicial appointments to a standstill, a resident of Wyoming has 68 times the leverage of a Californian.

How is this not fucked up?

But yes, it's not going to change without a reboot, a civil war, a miracle?

In the Senate, which is worth considering separately given its power to bring legislation and judicial appointments to a standstill, a resident of Wyoming has 68 times the leverage of a Californian.

Whereas, in 1789, a (free, white, male) resident of Delaware had merely 10 times the weight in the Senate as a resident of Pennsylvania or Virginia.

One other difference being that political parties, let alone voting a straight party ticket, were not part of the original plan.

One could almost suspect that the "wisdom of the founders" had some gaps.

I don't have time to hunt down more numbers right now, but the # of people represented by a house member originally was a small fraction of that # now. I don't know what that suggests, except that a country this big is unwieldy to govern by any means.

But then again, so is my town of 2,500 people.

January 6 is a niche issue, almost as much as Yemen or Palestine. ( Btw, there is now a truce in Yemen— I give little credit to Biden and think it is because the Saudis couldn’t defend themselves from Houthi missiles. The Saudis are not just bullies, but incompetent bullies, even with our help.)

I am exaggerating quite a bit— there are many more people who care about Jan 6 than the issues I rant about. But most of those people are hardcore Democrats and of course the never Trump Republicans. Maybe Democrats could make political gains if they yelled more about Trump’s obvious criminality and Justice Thomas’s wife, but I doubt it.

The economy, as is normally the case, is what is likely to decide the elections and it is likely to be too late to avoid a disaster in 2022. I have no idea what to do about 2024. But Dean Baker thinks that, as usual, the press is slanting the coverage of the economy in ways that hurt the Democrats. I don’t know what to do about that either, but it probably is worth thinking about—

https://cepr.net/will-cnn-put-donald-trump-back-in-the-white-house/

January 6 is a niche issue

I'm not following you on this.

A sitting president incited a mob to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, an even unprecedented in our history.

How is that niche?

The Saudis are not just bullies, but incompetent bullies

May all bullies be just so.

The economy, as is normally the case, is what is likely to decide the elections

Agreed.

Niche in the sense that the people who care about it appear to be the people who were going to vote against Trump anyway.

How is a genocidal war a niche issue? Because the majority of people don’t care and it had little effect on Presidential elections in 2016 or 2020.

Hell, the most important issue of all ( except nuclear war) is climate change and it is way down on the list of what decides elections. Gas prices matter far more. ( I can’t blame people for this— if transportation costs are a big part of one’s household budget of course it will loom very large.)

Niche issues are often extremely important. It doesn’t mean they have much effect on who wins an election.

Republicans use niche issues to increase turn out. Actually, they often us nonexistent issues to increase turnout, but the principle is the same: get your voters riled up about something they care about (even if no one else does) and they will show up. It can make the difference in the outcome of an election, particularly in the off years.

"But if Democrats choose instead to act like a political party should, they would do well to remember that if the tables were turned, their opponents would not hesitate to use every argument, and every tool, at their disposal."

The problem with the "Democrats must be careful or they will trigger Republican spite and vengefulness" argument is that Congressional Republicans are always spiteful and vengeful no matter what. That's how they please their base. THey only way to avoid their spite and vengefulness is to be a Republican and even that won't work if you don't toe the MAGGOT party line.

Part of the double standard in play in our culture is that Democrats are often assumed to be responsible or to blame for Republican behavior.

Niche issues are often extremely important. It doesn’t mean they have much effect on who wins an election.

cool, I follow what you're saying now. and don't disagree.

thanks Donald!

The problem with the "Democrats must be careful or they will trigger Republican spite and vengefulness" argument is that Congressional Republicans are always spiteful and vengeful no matter what. That's how they please their base. THey only way to avoid their spite and vengefulness is to be a Republican and even that won't work if you don't toe the MAGGOT party line.

Say rather that the only way to avoid it is to beat the spiteful and vengeful at the polls. Early and often. If it stops working to win elections, they willmay** move on to something else. But probably not otherwise.

** I wrote this originally as "will". Then I considered that the Republican Party in my state has stuck with an election-losing approach for over a quarter of a century now. But I really don't see any other strategy which seems likely to work.

I hadn’t thought of the turnout effect. That might work.

But my other point was the one Baker was making— the economy is often or usually the deciding factor and if all that anyone talks about is the inflation problem and this is solved by creating a recession, the Democrats are doomed. Baker seems to be suggesting that people stress the positive side of Biden’s record— very low unemployment.
And try to avoid creating a recession. I have no idea if this is useful advice.

Shades of Ted Cruz!
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2022/06/17/montanas-governor-on-secret-vacation-as-floods-rage/

At least Gov. Gianforte left before the disaster hit. But you have to wonder why his staff refuses to reveal where he's gone.** Other than that he's left the country.

** Update: he's been spotted in Tuscany.

I agree that the economy probably motivates more people than anything else. Most of the time. Republican voters are motivated by their resentment and grievance over imaginary threats and slights. Some Republican voters are motivated by their desire to create an oligarchy, the permanent Republican majority De Lay talked about.
Democrats like me are motivated by issues that rarely affect me personally. I'm pretty oriented toward abstract principles. I think that people like me are a minority even among Democrats. Independents usually aren't independent. THey usually vote predictably for one party or the other.
I'm not sure that elections have a whole lot to do with what conclusion voters have come to on an issue. I think it is more a matter of who shows up. Karl ROve understood this which is why he decided decades ago to use wedge issues and deliberately divisive us-versus-them rhetoric to create a base of voters who felt compelled to show and vote R regardless of all other factors.

One other difference being that political parties, let alone voting a straight party ticket, were not part of the original plan.

But the electoral protocols established in the Constitution pretty much made a two party split a statistical likelihood. The founders were good at political philosophy, but bad at game theory.

That the US has lasted this long is a miracle, and a testament to sunk cost. And if it lasts out my expected lifetime, it will likely be because people decide *not* to follow the Constitution in order to preserve the Constitution.

Our fate entirely depends on who holds power in that moment of exception.

Baker seems to be suggesting that people stress the positive side of Biden’s record— very low unemployment.

It is nothing short of amazing that the Democrats are not blanketing the airwaves trumpeting the unemployment rate. Complete with comparisons to unemployment under Trump.

And wouldn't it be amusing if they chose to run some of those ads on Fox? Especially on the shows of the twits like Carlson and Hannity. Get to the population which might care where they (for better or, mostly, worse) actually live.

if it lasts out my expected lifetime, it will likely be because people decide *not* to follow the Constitution in order to preserve the Constitution.

Ditto if it fails to last. Which is why we are facing a critical moment.

I just wish that Congress paid more attention to its Constitutional powers, and gave me a Letter of Marque to seize Russian Oligarch yachts.

I even have a Jolly Roger flag! Arrr!

I'll tell you one thing: Luttig might have sounded like a ridiculous parody of judicial pause and circumlocution, but the man can write. And write to the point. The opening paragraph (and sentence) of his written submission to the committee is as follows:

A stake was driven through the heart of American democracy on January 6, 2021, and our democracy today is on a knife’s edge.

I can't remember where I got this, but if it was here, forgive me for reposting. It bears rereading.

https://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/22061497/jml-final.pdf

Oh great, Assange's extradition approve by Patel - good times for investigative journalists and whistleblowers:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/17/britain-julian-assange-extradition-priti-patel-us

I agree with this piece (posted by Alan Rusbridger, retired editor of the Guardian) by Andrew Neil, (who whatever his ideological leanings is at least a responsible and respectable journalist). The headline (I haven't read the piece yet, the Mail not being on my usual to-do list) is:

Assange is a reckless narcissist - but he exposed the truth and should NOT rot in an American jail

https://twitter.com/arusbridger/status/1538100980595798016/photo/1

Another very well-known rightwing journalist on the Assange case:

Britain has approved Assange’s extradition – war criminals and murderers, rejoice - Priti Patel’s decision to hand over the WikiLeaks co-founder shows the price of investigative journalism anywhere the US holds sway

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/17/britain-julian-assange-extradition-priti-patel-us

The point of the Jan 6 commission is to salvage the Republican Party, the only organization with a hope of reining in the planned nullification of elections, and blunting the threat of organized violence against (some) voting and vote counting. That's the point of only Republican testimony.

If everyone from Trump to Coffee Boy Papadopalous is thrown in prison, you still have DeSantis and a dozen others standing by, only the Party as an institution can abandon sedition and violence, and stick to gerrymandering and ratfucking to steal elections. I suspect DOJ is focused on Proud Boys et al as a serious paramilitary threat outside any organization's control, easily capable of disrupting state and local election processes.

A completely different sort of question (strictly USAsian)... Geico Insurance has a series of commercials where people live in a wonderful home with a small problem. One of them has "an animal in the attic," which is Animal the Muppet and his drum set. One of them has "a clogging problem," which is a family of clog dancers that live upstairs. Today I saw one where the problem is that the Thors from Thor: Love and Thunder live next door. Electric lights flicker, the homeowners' dog chases the flying hammer, etc. Last few seconds of the commercial has a quick flash with publicity shots of Hemsworth and Portman.

So, who pays whom for a joint ad like that? Who even thinks up a joint ad like that?

"Who even thinks up a joint ad like that?"

Sounds like the product of a late-night brainstorming session, when inhibitions are down and imaginations run wild.

Alcohol may have been involved.

And further to RWNJ (or other) speculation as to the cause of Judge Luttig's ponderous delivery, the judge himself speaks. And again, speaks well. He was replying to a Vanity Fair writer who said:

"I like how this guy treats every line of his testimony like he's engraving it on a national monument. And frankly, he really *is* engraving it for history. And he seems to know it.

"I also respect, despite how halting he may sound, that Luttig is not setting himself up to be a mere soundbite maker. He's speaking to history, not TV". "His sobriety, his graveness, his hallowedness, is so foreign to our modern sensibilities - but that's the point. That is the precise point."

https://www.rawstory.com/michael-luttig-speaks/

"If everyone from Trump to Coffee Boy Papadopalous is thrown in prison, you still have DeSantis and a dozen others standing by, only the Party as an institution can abandon sedition and violence, and stick to gerrymandering and ratfucking to steal elections. I suspect DOJ is focused on Proud Boys et al as a serious paramilitary threat outside any organization's control, easily capable of disrupting state and local election processes."

I agree in part, but with a degree or two more cynicism. The Republican party leaders decided decades ago to end representative government in the US> Tom De Lay spoke of a one -party state way back during the Bush admin. THey all are focused on ending democracy as we know it. They want a government like Russia's: oligarchs in charge, fake elections, just enough shared prosperity to avoid revolution, total control over media.

The problem they have had with Trump all along has been their fear that he would throw a spanner in their works by making them lose elections. However, over and over Trump has shown that there is no low too low to go for Republican voters. The rank and file Republicans may not be pro-oligarchy, but they are completely fine with fascism.

The danger now faced by the Republican party leadership is that their dingbat hater based will nominate unelectable people and screw up local elections in an embarrassingly stupid way like the fiasco in Otero County New Mexico. They want to end democracy through the courts with tactics like this: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/justices-seem-poised-to-hear-elections-case-pressed-by-gop/ar-AAYCYqE?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=dbeacc2397284c4d9b42e84810f107aa&fbclid=IwAR0rGuAu0JyB2bmVRKauT_2Vs5-YOnVFt_13rHzt1DACZeLYDGOddUwfd2Y

We could probably save America if it wasn't for Manchin and Semina. The Republicans will not save us. They are committed to killing the US. And I think they will succeed.

That hasn't stopped me from trying. I am giving about two hundred and fifty dollars a month away to various candidates and GOTV campaigns. Through Vote Forward and other letter writing campaigns, I have written over five hundred letters and I do ten a day.

However, if I was young, I would emigrate to somewhere else.

IS there a way to edit a post after it has been posted? It seems to be a rule for me that I can't see typos until AFTER I hit post. Embarrassing.

There's no way to edit after the fact, sad to say. I'm the same way: even when I think I've proofread a comment, there are typos. Luckily, we aren't being graded. Or rated! ;-)

It generally takes me 3 passes thru Preview to catch most of my typos.

(Just watching a youtube video** where the slogan is "We do it right because we do it twice!" If only I was that good.)

** Actually, sort-of listening as my wife watchs it. Something like Fab Rats.

The danger now faced by the Republican party leadership is that their dingbat hater based will nominate unelectable people and screw up local elections in an embarrassingly stupid way

Assuming you meant "base" and not "based": FYLTGE.

But alas, I think this is more likely true:

We could probably save America if it wasn't for Manchin and Semina. The Republicans will not save us. They are committed to killing the US. And I think they will succeed.

If there was somewhere much better to emigrate to, I would encourage the ObWi commentariat to do so en masse.

But I am thinking more and more about political developments worldwide and anthropogenic climate change in the context of the Fermi paradox, and in particular about one of its hypothetical explanations: It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox#It_is_the_nature_of_intelligent_life_to_destroy_itself

Sorry to be quite such a downer! Put it down to Sunday afternoon syndrome...

If there was somewhere much better to emigrate to, I would encourage the ObWi commentariat to do so en masse.

I confess that I've got Western Australia** tucked away in the back of my mind. Hoping and praying (and working to make sure) that it doesn't come to that.

** In part because its climate is like what I'm used to,

Isn't Australia the most western province of China?...

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