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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 20, 2020 by Tony Wikrent If this is the last Wrap for a while, this is the reason: “Google, nobody asked for a new Blogger interface”  [TenFourFox Development, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-17-20]   “I’m writing this post in what Google is euphemistically referring to as an improvement. […]
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If I were Mitch McConnell

And my objective was to make sure the Republican Party had a lock on government for the benefit of my donors in perpetuity, would I even allow hearings on a Supreme Court nominee? How would that benefit my party?

The senate only has to advise and consent. With Pence’s tie breaking vote, why do I even need to put on a dog and pony show?

Also, there is a possibility, not remote, that the entire Republican Party is complicit in the Russian affair in one way or another. Do I really want that to get out? With the right judge in place, it doesn’t have to.

I guess I would have to worry about repercussions in November but there are a couple of things to consider:

1.) My Party wouldn’t have done anything to prevent Russia from meddling or even tampering with the elections. Just let it happen and ask for forgiveness later.

2.) If I make this appointment all about abortion, I can keep my base on my side. It’s NOT about abortion but my base doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking things through. Let’s pull at its emotional heartstrings.

3.) If the Democrats make a big stink about Trump trying to appoint a loyal judge who will prevent Mueller from doing him any harm, the base will think this is a political problem and will ignore it.

I might just pull a fast one, ram a justice through, not have any hearings, just a vote. I can always say that my caucus vetted him before Kennedy resigned and I don’t need the Democrats because all they’re going to do is obstruct.

By the time MoveOn organizes protests, it will be all over and there won’t be a thing Democrats can do about it but stew in their juices. The justice will be appointed as soon as Kennedy steps down and even if the Democrats take back both houses of Congress in November, they’ll be challenged on every piece of legislation that they pass and it will be done in by my ultra conservative, Trump loyalist Supreme Court.

That’s how McConnell thinks. His party pushed the envelope and the Democrats didn’t push back so it pushed even further the next time. It kept pushing because the Democrats and media have dismantled the Clinton coalition leaving a power vacuum. There is no one to push back now with any visibility or clout except for the women’s march and the #neveragain protestors.

Great job, Nancy and Chuck.

You guys better think of something quickly because when Mitch is ready, it’s going to happen so fast there won’t be time to react.

The word is craven

Just stumbled across this today from Mia Farrow, mom of Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow:

Was I the only one who shuddered when I read that? If it’s true, there might have been a time when Anthony Kennedy would have to recuse himself. So, Trump pushed him out?

Why wasn’t this public knowledge since day one of the Trump administration? Didn’t we have the right to know this?

Also, what the hell is going on with the Republican House Reps?? They sure want their hands on the documents that the justice department has. Could they be worried about the 4 million documents seized in the raids on Michael Cohen’s office? Cohen was the deputy finance chair of the Republican Party and worked along side that Broidy guy who is already a convicted felon and supposedly set up an abortion for his playmate mistress (no one actually believes Broidy knocked her up. They think it was Trump).

The picture that’s forming is really scary. It’s like the entire Republican Party is involved in this Russian scandal in one way or another.

If this was a fair world, the GOP would be declared illegal and disbanded. It would have to start over without all of its corrupt members. It would be very small.

Funny how there seems to be no line Republicans will not cross in their quest for unlimited power. And how Democrats will not cross any line no matter how awful their opponents are. It might be more virtuous to be a Democrat but it comes at such a high cost.

Snakes

I’m delighted to hear this morning that Democrats are finally ready to torch their powder now that it’s too fucking late. The idea that you’re going to be able to peel away one Republican Senator who will vote in the interests of ALL Americans and not just their wealthy donors is quaint and endearing. Yes, yes, let’s appeal to the better angels of their natures, these people who just gave away $1.5 TRILLION in tax cuts to their wealthy donors.

I don’t know if anyone noticed but in the last week, with Anthony Kennedy still on the court, we’ve gotten rulings that it’s more than Ok to discriminate against Muslims. Oh, sure, it looks like a national security issue but we all know this will only embolden Fox News watchers to keep an extra special eye on anyone who dares living while Muslim. I have to now watch out for people I know to make sure they’re not harassed. Why should any of us have to do that? Why must we live in a country that makes that necessary??

But it’s more than that.

The court also made it easier to disenfranchise voters. It made it harder for unions to bargain on behalf of labor.

In short, this was already an activist court before Kennedy announced his retirement. I’ve heard that Neil Gorsuch keeps in touch with the Trump White House. Indeed, Kennedy seemed to signal that something sketchy is going on at the court this week. He’s not so much resigning as giving up. And yet, he didn’t HAVE to join the other conservative justices. He chose to do it. I’ve never been a fan of Kennedy. He treasured his swing power too much. It inflated his ego. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that he let go of any principle so easily.

But if anyone out there thinks that Republicans are going to voluntarily do what is good for the American people and not their own party above everything, they should check out what happened in Pennsylvania when our state Supreme Court ordered the congressional district maps be redrawn. They Republicans threatened to impeach the judges. Why? Because apparently, they believe that a permanent Republican majority is their right.

It’s natural law, the divine right of kings. That’s the way the GOP, its donors and president operate. They are determined to never, ever let any majority of Americans dislodge them.

So, this ploy to get Mitch McConnell to abide by his own rules is going to fail. I’m just saying it right now. Even Collins and Murkowski will go along with an anti choice nominee if it means Republicans forever. Oh, sure they would. You know it deep in your bones. They’ll rationalize and say it should be up to the states to keep abortion legal and as long as its legal in California and New York, that will work for them. We’ll just go back to the days of the early 70s when pregnant women had to scrape together money to fly to the Empire State. They might even quote the notorious RBG about it when she said that maybe abortion law needed more momentum before Roe v Wade.

So, don’t expect that to work, people.

The Democrats did not put up enough of a fuss when Gorsuch was nominated. The media has slavishly covered the aggrieved white male Trump voter for two years now, ignoring everyone else. It still has learned nothing about how it was used. The people they are ignoring now are the majority of voters. It must be a great time to be an intrepid journalist but this is a very bad time to be a regular American.

In my humble opinion, which is routinely ignored, because, what am I but a blogger, this nomination must be treated like the existential threat to democracy that it actually is. And not just because it has the capacity to change the country forever in favor of the super rich but because it has the possibility of putting certain powerful people above the law.

That’s how the Democrats have the potential to win this thing. They need to ask whether the judge that Trump nominates is going to be loyal to him. We know what loyalty means to Trump. It means he gets away with whatever he wants.

So if you’re ok with more children being separated from their parents or having the loss of net neutrality concretized so there is no real free speech or that employers can just stop paying Social Security because it’s too burdensome on them or that Trump can get away with working with the Russians to turn the world’s greatest democracy into one in name only and in practice not, then go right ahead and try to hold McConnell’s feet to the fire on judicial nominations in an election year.

Yeah, see how well that goes.

They probably already have a plan to ram Kennedy’s replacement through. It’s going to be a blitzkrieg. Mark my words. These are people who recognize no rules and they aren’t going to cede one nanometer to Democrats unless they are forced to.

Anyone on the Democrats’ side who tries to convince you otherwise is not being honest.

The reason why Trump can’t appoint Kennedy’s replacement.

Regardless as to how you may feel about having an indefinite conservative lock on the Supreme Court, there is one very important reason why Donald Trump should not be allowed to appoint one:

He is under investigation by the special counsel for conspiracy with a foreign power, election law violations, money laundering and other crimes we don’t know about yet. If there is any possibility that the US Supreme Court has to render a judgement on the legitimacy of a subpoena or indictment or even as to Mueller himself, allowing him to pick and get another justice confirmed has the potential of putting a criminal president above the law.

I guess it’s always possible that the Sarandon Court would do right thing. But there is too much at stake as far as our elections going forward and our economy and foreign policy for us to allow Trump to appoint his own judge.

Now is the time for Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and others to take a stand.

*************************************

Yes, Duncan, Obama will go down in the history books as a phenomenally bad choice for president in 2008. It had nothing to do with his race and everything to do with the things he was willing to do to climb the ladder. He had no record of accomplishments before he ran. He had a lot of money pour into the DNC coffers from his wealthy donors to buy the nomination for him, and he did more to cripple the DNC than the Republicans could have done on their own.

It was all about Obama aspiring, Obama succeeding, Obama fulfilling dreams of his “New Coalition”. We didn’t have a messiah. We had a milquetoast. And all of us who saw it coming were called racists and pushed practically out of the party. He didn’t care.

I think someone owes us an apology. Specifically all those bloggers who tepidly supported Obama without uttering a peep about how bad he really was until he left.

Yeah, I’m not counting on it. Even bloggy pundits won’t ever admit they were wrong.

Morning Walk: What’s so funny, Jeff?

Jeff Sessions thinks those of us who hate the child separation policy live in an elite cloister or something:

He added, “These same people live in gated communities, many of them, and are featured at events where you have to have an ID to even come in and hear them speak. They like a little security around themselves, and if you try to scale the fence, believe me, they’ll be even too happy to have you arrested and separated from your children.”

Or you could just let some troubled teenager buy a semi-automatic weapon and get separated from your children. Either way, Republicans don’t seem to GAF how the separation happens.

Yes, we are the “lunatic fringe”.

A reminder

“Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.”

JRR Tolkien

The end of our story hasnt been written yet.

Morning walk: summer.

It’s summer. Picture a road trip with your canoe strapped to the top of your car with the radio on and your hair blowing in the wind.

Sigh.

I’m in a windowless cube farm and the weather is perfect outside.

Thanks to all for contributing to the blogger vacation fund. I have gas money and a night at the motel 6! I’ll take it. 😉

**************************************

Tweet du Jour. This one goes out to all the pearl clutchers who have lost all perspective on civility.

It’s still early

The Outrage du Jour hasn’t happened yet. But we have some interesting news from Lexington, VA where the owner of the Red Hen restaurant asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her party to leave after the cheese course.

Now, I’m not necessarily a fan of denying people good food to make a political point. But it’s like, POTUS and his administration are awful corrupt people and no one is holding them accountable for the way they treat anyone who isn’t a straight white male.

We have to wait another 5 months before we can even attempt to get some of our power back. We are very impatient. And the actions of Trump have gone too far.

It’s like, would you want a pedaphile or drug dealer or murderer as a neighbor or customer? No, you wouldn’t. Being a Trumper ranks right up there with the worst people. Until they get it, I think it’s perfectly ok to tell them you don’t want to be associated or occupy the same public space. Please leave.

And to those who complain, let’s recall the doctors and staff that perform legal abortions who every single day worry about risking their lives to help desperate women because anti-choice zealots think it’s ok to harass, shoot and bomb them.

We’re being the polite ones at this point. Stop whining.

Tom Watson says the media are reaching for their smelling salts because:

I could see this happening, especially to the Maggie Habermans, Chris Cilizzas and anyone at any media outlet who went on about Hillary’s emails for two years. Yep. They definitely deserve public shaming. You know how they could avoid that?

1.) Repent, acknowledge it and apologize.

2.) Stop doing articles about snooty spoiled conservative women and the aggrieved white male Trump supporter while ignoring everyone else.

3.) Stop acting like a high school clique. Oh, I know everyone went to the same schools but, please, spare us the attitude and the gossipy reporting. And do 2 again. And again. And maybe stay out of Mexican restaurants.

*********************************

Walter Shaub sums up why we are disgusted:

**********************************

I had so much fun seeing Keith Urban Saturday night. The weather was kinda sketchy but you know you’re having a good time when you ditch your poncho and dance in the rain when everyone is singing:

Nicole’s baby can sing

Ah-mazing

Other things.

This week in Pittsburgh there were protests following the death of Antwon Rose. The unarmed teenager was shot to death in East Pittsburgh not too far from here. As you might have guessed, police shot him as he was running away.

Now, I’m not going to say Pittsburgh is a perfect place to live when it comes to this kind of thing, though this is the first I’ve heard of it in the 5 years I’ve been back. But I love this city and it’s diversity and it makes me really angry when I detect forces that are trying to drive a wedge between us.

For example, the owners of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette recently fired Rob Rogers, a cartoonist who had been on staff for 25 years. The reason? His cartoons reflected the reality of the Trump years a little too well. The owners withheld the cartoons he drew and told him to make changes. He refused. He was fired.

This is the same paper whose publisher insisted on defending Trump’s comment about “shithole” countries, essentially defending racism. The paper’s staff was horrified. But the owners feel confident that they’ll keep working there because where else are they going to go?

I don’t subscribe.

It’s so out of place in this city. This city went overwhelmingly for Clinton in 2016. We are a spot of bright blue in a sea of red (our blue is spreading since Conor Lamb won). Our city song is “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. You haven’t lived until you hear thousands of people singing it together on a chilly November evening when all the Christmas trees are lighted up.

To think there are newspapers and trigger happy police who are careless enough to bring that all down makes me really angry.

I took the week off because I felt a bit burned out and I have a bit of poison ivy and I’m tired and haven’t had a vacation since 2011. Sometimes, you gotta regroup. But I feel like I also have to be eternally vigilant because it’s my responsibility to keep the place from falling down. I’m sure some of you feel that too. You can’t just throw up your hands and walk away. It’s our collective conscience that keeps us together and focused on all the good things we are. The world is starting to condemn Americans but I refuse to accept guilt by association. The people who are doing this to our country are a minority that just happened to gain power by an electoral fluke. We outnumber them.

Nevertheless, next week is going to be even more eventful than this week when Congress tries to ram through a bill that cuts $1.5 Trillion dollars from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Congress has to pay for the tax cuts it gave to its donors. It’s going to come out of our deferred benefits that we paid for our entire working lives. The Republicans are determined to cut them.

Oh, yes they would. And if they are hoping for campaign money to run this fall, they’d better vote for it. They’ll just amplify their message about how it’s necessary because of the debt and what “we’re passing on to our children”. Commence the crocodile tears.

It’s just the tip of the iceberg. There will be more government dismantling. It might not affect you now, but it will eventually.

It’s an understatement to say that the Trump voters didn’t know what they were voting for. And as far as I know, Republicans have no qualms about stealing the vote this fall. They’ve done nothing to protect us from Russian meddling. I expect the Supreme Court to give the ok to Texas to keep African Americans and Hispanics from voting next week.

It will be up to us to convince every non voter we know to get registered because their votes really will count this fall. We can’t let them stay home this year. That’s what we have to work on this summer and fall. Focus on that and don’t let the heartache and outrage divert you from that crucial task.

In the meantime, put down your sword and shield this weekend and enjoy that which nature gives you for free and is available to everyone regardless of who they are and how much money they have.

We’ll be needed again soon enough.

********************************

I have a full day today. I’m going to see Keith Urban tonight. That’s right, I’m a little bit country. Go figure.