Category Archives: Politics

This is How Trump Ends

Spread the love

Trump’s support comes from a minority of Americans who are true believers mixed with a similar number of individuals who support him out of either convenience or fear. Among those fearful of him, or more exactly, fearful of attacks or undermining by violent supporters or politically equipped sycophants, are elected or appointed officers of the state, including members of Congress and the likes of Supreme Court Justices. I’ll let this idea digest for a moment while I provide an important digression.

Consider the question, “What if Trump is convicted of a crime, are you not concerned about the violence that would ensue?” That is a self defeating and misguided consideration, and here is why.

We are concerned about violence, don’t want violence, and are thus compelled to consider options that reduce violence even if they involve putting aside justice and the law. This happened after the Civil War when Jefferson Davis and other luminaries of the defeated South were not put on trial for their obvious crimes. This may have happened when Nixon was pardoned by his fellow Republican after having crashed the Presidency with his crooked behavior. This happens whenever some kid hands over their lunch money to some bully to avoid a punch in the nose (even when the punch in the nose is extremely unlikely, since most lunch-money seeking bullies are weak weenies).

Consider these three possible scenarios implied by this question:

1) Trump becomes president
2) Trump loses the election to Biden
3) Trump is jailed or somehow kept out of the race because he is an insurrectionist, a massive fraud, and an unredeemable crook.

Which one of those three gets us violence? Let’s look at each case, in reverse order.

3) Trump gets busted out of the presidency, with some combination of state and federal prosecutors and administrative rulings taking him out. Trumpers attack various government buildings, maybe some people get shot, there is some threatening behavior, maybe violence, at polling places, and so on. We have a country of justice and laws, police and other entities to enforce those laws, and, when push comes to shove, a stalwart citizenry that loves democracy and will not stand for this behavior. A period of significant violence happens but ends in several weeks, and after that, we have mostly stern looks and the occasional bar fight.

2) Trump and his followers repeat the January 6th series of events, but this time their starting position is weaker and everyone is ready for them. There may be more violence than the last January 6th insurrection, but it is better contained. The level and kind of violence is much like option 3 (above), but with different timing, happening mostly after the election or inauguration, rather than mostly before.

1) If Trump wins, there will be violence. Reporters will be jailed, concentration camps will be built, the “justice” department will prosecute and detain Democrats across the board. Wars of convenience will happen, all the usual dictator stuff. There will be violence against all of us, INCLUDING Trump’s supporters. Democracy will end, a fascist state will be implemented, and even when Trump dies, that will continue under his replacements, for a hundred years or longer.

So which of those do you want? The squirming and whinging about violence, and avoiding it by doing the wrong thing rather than the right thing, gets us option 3. I assure you, you want option 1 or option 2.

Now, back to the point, how it ends.

Given the context I’ve provided above, that there are different categories of supporters of Trump, and different kinds of threats from Trump, I suggest the following may happen.

Right now, the Supreme Court is being handed an opportunity to affirm that Trump carried out insurrection. They do so. they are also given the opportunity to affirm that Colorado should not put Trump on the ballot because of the appropriate section of the Fourteenth Amendment. They do so.

But this is the Fourteenth Amendment of the US constitution, not the Colorado constitution. With this matter before them, SCOTUS also determines that Trump, insurrectionist that he is, can not be on any ballot. SCOTUS ends Trump.

The support within SCOTUS for Trump is not really support for Trump. It is a combination of conservative ideation, a power opportunity with Trump’s Republicans in charge of the narrative even if they are not in charge of the country, and fear. But that fear will become nightmare if Trump is elected. After his election, the Supreme Court will have to do exactly as Trump directs, with every decision, or they will be jailed or made moot. But, nobody has ever been able to follow Trump’s directives over the long term because he is an out of control nut-bag. The members of SCOTUS know that if Trump is elected, their lives are in danger, and their careers are over.

So, SCOTUS tears off the band-aid and takes Trump off the ballot in all 50 states with one swift unappealable but very appealing decision.

That is how Trump ends.

Spread the love

What’s a Governor To Do?

Spread the love

Let me start out by saying that I am neither an expert on, nor a fan of, the California political system. I sense that the Jungle Primary system has given the political process to the rich and famous, which is a very California thing to do. Living in what might be the grassiest and rootiest of the grass roots states (Minnesota), having been born in the state with the most pernicious perfectly political process (New York) and living for years in Massachusetts, the mother of Democracy (once married to the father of democracy, Virginia), I look at California, and go, like so many non-Calis, “huh?”, more often than not.

Nonetheless, I’ll venture to express my thoughts on the political process of a governor appointing a Senator writ large, as a feature of our democratic process. This is a 20,000 foot view, and it is a multi-decadal view. This is what I think governors across the nation should eventually settle on, so that it becomes traditional, expected behavior.

In short, a Governor should appoint the person who meets the following two criteria:

1) The person should be expected to become an excellent Senator to represent the state in the democracy we live in, to uphold the oath, and to do the job; and

2) The person should be the best political choice for the Governor’s party.

In other words, it is the job of the Governor to fill in for the people and enact what democracy would have done anyway, if democracy was perfect. If the governor happens to be bogus (someone who rose to that position un-elected or turned out to be corrupt, for example) then this is obviously not going to work out too well no matter what happens. But we should always strive for the ideal in our politics, and the two conditions I state above represent that ideal. So we try to put governors in state houses who will do the best we can hope for.

Why not appoint an interim senator? That would keep the governor out of the political process and allow democracy to take its course, right? Well, no. Here are the reasons to not do that.

1) The role of the governor is to appoint a senator under certain conditions. You can’t take the governor out of that process without breaking that commitment. This is what governor are for. In other words, we don’t actually want to take the governor out of the decision in order to preserve the political process, because a governor appointing a senator IS the political process we agreed to, and we all were fully aware of this (right?) when we elected that governor.

2) It is unethical to force any qualified person to agree to not run for an office for which they are qualified. The presumption of an interim appointee not running for election to that office violates this basic right.

2b) In some cases, as is happening now in California, the joint idea of appointing a person to increase diversity in the Senate (eg a black woman) who is then being instructed to not run for election to that office, is absurd and an even more severe violation of that person’s rights. This might be the situation in California right now, so it may not be a general rule, but this would not be the first or last time for this issue to come up.

3) Appointment of an interim senator breaks the political contract with the people. We pick our leaders and representatives to be leaders and representatives, using the power of the ballot box. In most instances, we then continue to use the power of the ballot box to hold those individuals responsible. An interim senator is not bound by this usually -in-effect power of the people.

4) The Teddy Roosevelt Effect. Say an interim person is appointed, and turns out to be a G.O.A.T. The interim status of that person requires that the people do not get to elect the Best Senator Ever because of some dumb arrangement made prior.

5) It makes the Senate a joke. There are only 100 Senators, and each of us is represented by only two. But if you are in a state with an interim senator, then you are only represented by one-point-something senators, because a senator appointed for a short time can not act, yield power, make deals, and otherwise perform as a true senator. A place holder is merely a place holder.

I would recommend that Governor Newsom chose among those who have already declared their candidacy, and make that decision based on the criteria noted above, which can easily include issues of the person’s diversity*, experience, and the things they are already promising to do. Polls this early in a process are shades of future truth, but why not also look to see which candidates have more election-wise oomph. Taking all these things into consideration, it is the job of the governor, not merely the prerogative, to chose the best person. Choosing an interim senator is a bad idea.

There is an election coming up soon. The chosen senator would have a presumed advantage. The job of the governor is to appoint the best senator possible. If that gives an advantage over some of the other viable candidates, so be it.

Personally, I’d have a hard time choosing among several of the amazing individuals who have already indicated that they are running for this office. This is why I am not governor of California. In case you were wondering.

*A person does not have diversity but you know what I mean.

Spread the love

Trump, by design, is above the law

Spread the love

Every now and then a person of privilege, who has done something seriously wrong, gets popped and spends some time in prison. They pay fines all the time, and spend piles of money on lawyers, so “justice” is served against those offenders, but that justice is milquetoast at best. For the most part, the privileged are above the law. Worst case scenario: drug and rape numerous women over several years, and spend three years in prison for it (Bill Cosby).

You know this is true, and you know why it is true. It is true because the system was designed by the privileged to put the privileged above the law. Duh. Of course.

I say this to help you become a happier person. Trump will never see the inside of a prison cell, or if so, such a stint will be a short one. He can’t be imprisoned because he will avoid, delay, and appeal, until each of his legal problems goes away, or he dies, whichever comes first. It will be a combination of both, almost certainly. During this period, the “Justice” Department, and various state Attorneys General, will chug along making sure the rest of us see justice, while a much smaller number of individuals, Trump included, stay free, live free, and die free, no matter what offense they do.

There are exceptions. Sometimes a person of privilege fucks up some other people of privilege, and those offenders can go to jail forever. Bernie Madoff went to prison forever, for taking 36 billion dollars from a wide range of people. I assume some of his victims were individuals of power. Plus, he failed to pay billions in taxes. That is a world apart from anything Trump ever did, as far as messing up the privileged goes. Minnesota’s Denny Hecker went to prison forever, well, for 10 years, for defrauding a third of the suburban middle class of Minnesota. So of course he’s brought to justice. But he is one of dozens (hundreds?) of similarly crooked people selling and trading and conniving who are all free, and who will will remain free. By and large, a working class stiff, especially if a person of color, can get months or years in prison for voting in the wrong place, putting their kid in the wrong school, jay-walking across the street, or sneezing too loud, and that is a good day for such an individual, because at least they were not blasted to kingdom come by the cops. A thousand people will be shot or maimed by cops, a million bilked by scammers, and tens of millions ripped off by landlords, for every privileged person who truly gets justice. Trump will never get justice.

So how does this make you a happier person? Because I’m giving you permission to stop worrying about Trump. Worry about other things. Worry about clean elections, clean cars, clean energy, clean water, and clean air, and forget about our filthy, stinking “system of justice.” Respect each other, respect our collective activism, respect our occasional successes, and and feel good about all that. Accept the fact that Trump will die an old man with no friends at his golf course in Florida, and don’t worry about what he gets or does not get in the way of justice. He is above the law, more than any individual has been, but not that much more, and he is not alone. Just learn to stop worrying, and love the injustice, as it were. You and I have better things to do.

I do grow weary when justice commenters, many of whom I adore and am addicted to listening to, come back to that old line: “No one is above the law.” Sorry, Arlene, Rachel, Chuck, Jill, Heather, Kimberly, Barb, Joanne, Neal. Just stop saying “Nobody is above the law” when talking about Trump. It makes me sad when you say that. He is above the law. You need to reconcile that and learn to live with it.

Or, maybe somebody prove me wrong.

Spread the love

NPR Political Bias Annoys Blogger

Spread the love

Damn, I am annoyed. But I see hope.

On this morning’s “Weekend Edition” report on Monday’s expected US House January 6th referral of former President Trump for criminal charges, NPR’s national political correspondent Mara Liasson repeatedly referred to Trump’s effort to “Stop the Steal” as though there was a “steal” to stop.

Mara Liasson, NPR Correspondent.
Mara Liasson, NPR Correspondent.
“… when the former president encouraged his supporters to go up to congress to stop the steal, he was trying to stop congress from doing it’s official duty…”

“… according to the committee, not just sending his supporters up to stop the steal, but also to …”

Most of the rest of the words used by Liasson were appropriate, placing Trump’s actions in a framework that clearly indicated they were wrong. But the term “stop the steal” was not used in radio-scare-quotes, or with any ironic contextual verbiage. The term was used as though it was fact, that there was a “steal,” and Trump was trying to stop it.

You may think I’m nitpicking here, but I’m not. A statement that implies that Trump’s engineering of a violent insurrection was in any way appropriate or routine should burn in someone’s ears and nauseate in someone’s mouth. I hate to Godwin the discussion, but imagine saying something like “Hitler was well known for his efforts to address the Jewish Problem,” or words to that effect, and imagine saying that two or three times while summarizing Hitler’s biography. One would not do that. With reference to Trump’s efforts to overthrow democracy and reverse the legal outcome of a legitimate election, one should also not do that.

It was a mistake by Liasson that was allowed because she lives in a particular linguistic environment engendered by the specific journalistic culture of NPR in which all efforts are made to maintain the sense of balance, of false balance, regardless of the issues being discussed. This religious adherence to false balance is part of the reason that Trump’s insurrection could happen to begin with. The right wing rhetoric of Fox News and Infowars has gotten somewhere over recent decades because it took off from a platform of presumed equivalence and legitimacy of all perspectives. NPR maintains the “Overton window” in just the right position that the view out that window includes equal parts QAnon and Bernie Sanders.

Ayesha Rascoe, Host, Weekend Edition and Up First, on NPR.
Ayesha Rascoe, Host, Weekend Edition and Up First, on NPR.
After reporter Liasson made this mistake twice, NPR reporter Ayesha Rascoe provided a corrective. “And we should say ‘Stop the Steal’ is Trump’s term, that was what he was trying to do.” Liasson acceded to this correction and restated with reference to Trump trying to stop a free and fair election.

Liasson has been with NPR since 1985, and is part of the old guard there. She is one of the journalists involved in proving NPR to be an out-front, excellent, and fair reporting agency, back in the day. But over the years, I think she was also part of the NPR squad responsible for a rightward shift in reporting style and bias, which I’ve always assumed was the the result of bullying of the news agency by right wing elements in Congress.

Ayesha Roscoe is a relative newcomer, having joined NPR only four or five years ago. She is well known for her coverage of the Deepwater spill and the Fukushima disaster, and she covered the Obama White House for Reuters. Perhaps this impressive diversity of journalistic service immunized her from the NPR rightward slide that has caused many of us to withdraw perennial financial report from the organization.

Or, perhaps, as a newcomer correcting veteran Liasson, Roscoe will be put in her proper place in some quiet, back room manner. I hope not.

I hope Ayesha Roscoe is the future of NPR, and not just a thorn in the side of a bad journalistic culture. I’m watching, and at some later time, I’ll reconsider my boycott of support of NPR and it’s coven of whataboutist false-equivalencers.

Spread the love

Inflation was a right wing plot

Spread the love

Crank up prices, bilk customers, get rich, and strike fear in the heart of voters nation-wide; price fixing and gouging is good business. I don’t know why industrialists and business owners in all areas and at all times love Republicans, but they do, and they did cause the inflation bubble of 2022, in order to skew the election red. Didn’t work this time.

Source: Star Tribune 12/14/2022

Can we do something please about the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

Spread the love

Please eschew the Twitter-Virtue Olympics

Spread the love

Please eschew the Twitter-Virtue Olympics.

As Musk sullies up the place, and Trump throws his tantrum, and the Nazis, anti-Semites, racists, and other slobs throw their vacuous weight around, many people are considering leaving Twitter, or have already left. Others have chosen to stay until some threshold is reached, and still others don’t have solid plans to leave, and that lack of planning is often intentional, they’ve just decided to stay for one reason or another.

As intentions are declared, we sometimes see a virtue-based argument advanced, and in one out of five* of those cases, the virtuous justification for staying/waiting/leaving comes along with an urgent plea or even a demand that other so the same.

Stop doing that shit, please.

A friend told me he’d had enough, with Trump coming on (which he hasn’t actually done yet) and he can’t stomach being there. I get that. I have similar intestinal reactions. Today I had lunch with someone in the voting biz, who said, “I can’t leave Twitter, because so much of the election protection community is operating there, it would be irresponsible.”

Another person told me they’d prefer to leave behind Musk and Trump, but she also didn’t believe that Musk will own Twitter for much longer. Others have noted that they don’t want to be here but also want to see it collapsing from the inside. No one can turn away from the train wreck. This may be a unique opportunity to watch the train crash from inside the train.

Some have made the argument that their data will be stolen if security lapses. There’s a good argument there, if Twitter has your credit card, but I’m not sure how leaving protects the information they already have. So maybe that isn’t a good argument.

I’m simply asking people to note that there is a very small chance that your particular decision as to what to do with Twitter is the absolutely correct decision, and that the argument you are making to justify your choice is the best possible argument. One in five chance you have it right*. So when you make the argument, and then attach to it an admonition to others who have a different argument that you are doing the right thing and they are not, you have a four in five chance* that you are being obnoxious, not wise. So, the smart money is on stating your case but with a framework of openness to other ideas, rather than using your decision to signal your virtue and smartness.

*These are of course totally made up numbers, but you get the point.

Spread the love

This is what a red wave looks like; a preliminary analysis of the Nov 2022 election*

Spread the love

Republicans told us they expected a red wave in this year’s election. There was absolutely no rational reason to say that, but they said it, and since they said it, the so-called but not-really “liberal” press reported it as fact.

So, since the Republicans, who only lie and would not know the truth if it bit them on the ass (which it frequently does in fact do) said it, and the New York Times verified it in breathless scary headline speak, let us assume it is true. There was a red wave on November 8th. Given this, we can now define what a red wave looks like.

  • Democrats hold their slim grasp on the senate.
  • Repbulicans will win the house as all out-of-white-house parties do, but by one of the slimest margins in history (and they could actually not win, not all the votes are counted yet).
  • Democrats won gubernatorial races that were either flips or serious threats against incumbents in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, Maryland, and Massachustts.
  • Democrats flipped the legislatures in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania.
  • Abortion rights were enshrined in the constitutions of California, Michigan, Vermont.
  • Kentucky rejected an abortion ban.
  • Missouri and Maryland legalized Marijuana.
  • Nebraska raised the minimum wage.
  • South Dakota expanded medicaid.
  • There is evidence that the November 8th election is the death knell for Donald Trump’s relevance. Finally.

So, that is what a red wave looks like! We love red waves! All hail the red wave!

So, how did it happen? Because all politics are local, and I’m not talking about pot-hole local, but local as in each election is in fact an independent thing.

  • Independents voted with Democrats.
  • People were not tricked into voting for odious candidates because Trump told them to.
  • For the first time in history other than 2002, the in-the-white-house party almost cleared the table.

I suspect that the places where the Democrats did less well, they were hampered for these reasons, depending on the race (and this is mainly in the house):

  • Highly focused gerrymandering by Republican governors.
  • Trump failed to zero in on a particular candidate, so they were less likely to be rejected in an election that, in part, was a repudiation of Trump and MAGA.
  • In a few places, highly privileged white supremacists are simply in too high a number to ever do the right thing.
  • Inflation and other economic issue blunted Democratic support in some cases.

Analyses are still being done, but keep this in mind: it appears that Republicans outperformed Democrats in many areas in voter turnout (R+4). Republicans showed up to protect their MAGA nuts, and Democrats did not show up to protect democracy in as large a number. It was the Independents showing up that saved us, especially independent women, especially in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. So, when Democrats say over the next two years “there are more of us than there are of them” and “we just have to turn up” tell that person to STFU and get to work on actually turning out Democrats and not just pretending Democrats turn out. Because they don’t. If they did not in this election, Democrats are proven unreliable.

Preliminary exit polling shows that abortion was the second most important issue across the board for most voters, and the most important issue for most Democrats, more so in certain states where the issue was more on the table in local legislation.

*Most of the data presented here, and much of the opinion, is stolen directly from Pod Save America, “You Vetter Believe It!” podcast.

Spread the love

This is not the West Wing: Listen to Dan Pfeiffer spill his guts

Spread the love

This is a take that gets a blog.

I direct you to a five minute portion of the November 3rd episode of Pod Save America, “Last Call for Democracy.”

Pfeiffer is correct, and you have to listen to his rant on Pod Save America. This is a brilliantly articulated version of what rolls around in my head all the time.

Starts at 25 minutes and 15 seconds (to include John Favreau sigh). Ends at 29:20

“Last Call for Democracy.”

Listen to all of it, please. Then report back in the comments.

Walk out your fucking door, and touch some grass.

Spread the love

Local Liberal Press Produces Mild October Surprise

Spread the love

An unusually upbeat (in a sense) day in our local paper, just before the election.

Star Tribune headline tells us that the MAGA extremist running for Governor has a tax plan that would ruin the economy. Tope headline of the paper.

Lower down on the same page: Jan 6 panel subpoenas Trump, with a pic of Bannon being shuffled off after sentencing. Trump has a November deadline.

Still on front cover:

Iran, China intelligence among seized documents

Calls for (MAGA Extremist) Sviggum to resign (from UMN regents) intensify (after he says that what may be the whitest of our campuses in Minnesota is too diverse! He refuses to resign, by the way, so this is going to be an interesting fight.)
Biden Touts Falling Deficits

Inside the paper:

  • Emmett Till statue unveiled
  • Good news for Ethiopian refugees
  • First woman (Eve?) PM of Italy
  • Page A5: Bannnon gets 4 months
  • PA Man gets 34 months for attacks on press, cops, on Jan 6
  • Seized (Trump) document describes Iran nuke program

Today’s Strib editorial excoriates MAGA republicans for being insane, mentions litter boxes and bat-boy myths.

Piles of amazing infrastructure news.

DFL AG Ellison’s big GOTV push at UMN

GOP donor in sex trafficking case tapdancing

Weekend weather in the 70s.

Spread the love

The End Of Democracy As We Know It. Coming soon to a polling place near you.

Spread the love

As if you care.

There is new polling, extensive and high quality polling, that seems to make clear one small problem we have in the United States.

Nobody really gives a hoot about key issues such as abortion rights or democracy. People will get mad, there will be demonstrations, but when large percentages of Democrats (yes, I said Democrats) tell us that they prioritize gas prices over democracy, and polls show, as they do, that if the election were held today, Republicans would take over the US House and possibly the Senate, then we have to admit that we are a Republican nation, a nation not in favor of freedoms or democracy. We are an anti-abortion nation, a back ally nation, a nation where we are ready and seemingly even happy to let a right wing fascist government control our lives.

I see it day to day. I see people who in the past helped Democratic candidates not showing up, not donating money, letting someone else do it. But there is no “someone else.” When Democrats lose this rare two-year trifecta on November 8th, and a Republican House is sworn in come January, we will begin a two or four year long deconstruction of this country. Enough election deniers will be in the power positions in key states that the republican party will be able to “elect” (but not really elect) whomever their party puts up for 2024, probably Donald Trump. There is a good chance that at the same time Trump is sworn in, a Democratic house will be sworn in, but with only the slimmest majority. Then two years after that, Democrats will stay home again, and there will be a Republican (Trump) in the White House, a Republican Senate (with McConnell in charge), and a Republican House with who knows which monster in charge.

The only pertinent details will be which of the old men who are bent on turning us in to a fascist country die of natural causes earlier than their plans ideally require. But that is just a detail. Others are eager to step in.

I partly blame the left. We removed the possibility of empathy as part of our way of being when we shouted down anyone who claimed it, in our rush to blame our allies for everything that our enemies are actually doing. We threw out half our good messaging when it failed to come from a repressed group, even if it was about repression. We developed and deployed abysmally bad messaging and wore it as a chip on our shoulder, a guaranteed recipe for losing any argument. We let our identity politics undermine our pro equity efforts. Then, after doing that for about a decade, we stopped showing up. We explicitly put “self care” as our number one priority, then forgot to move to number two after a suitable recovery peirod.

I thought 2016’s election was depressing, but that was just the beginning of the end. The elections of 2022 and 2024 will be the actual end, and we are letting it happen. Making it happen. Choosing for it to happen. When the Republicans take the majority, we will simply have to admit that this is a MAGA Republican country. We are a democracy that is about to vote out democracy, democratically.

This is my third or fourth missive declaring our failures, but in the previous ones, I also asked for help, asked for people to step up. I now see that as too unlikely. Nobody stepped up, and the polls show that nobody will.

Spread the love

Christian Conservatives: Just don’t vote.

Spread the love

Being a conservative means that if you vote, you must vote for a rapist, a liar, a violent offender, a person with anti-Christian values seeping out of their pores. Being a Christian means that you know you will go to hell if you support the smashing of half or more of the Ten Commandments. Being a conservative means you can’t vote for the empathetic, intelligent, humanistic Democrat. Being a Christian means you should vote for the progressive, liberal, or centrist candidate. But you are a conservative so you can’t.

So, there is only one thing you can do and save your soul: Sit out this election.

The extremist MAGA Trump Base has spoken. It is the tail that wags the Republican dog. The base has picked the candidate you get to support, or not, and the base has decided that power is more important than democracy, winning is more important than truth, hate is more fun than love, aggression and bullying is better than empathy and thoughtfulness.

And that is what you’ve got, that is all you’ve got. That is what you are voting for (or not).

Is this you? Are you that bad of a person? Or not????

Spread the love

Fascism coming to America? Already there in the judicial branch.

Spread the love

When I was a kid, I got in trouble (a couple of times, but there was this one time…) In truth, I had done nothing wrong, but I got caught up in a drug deal I had nothing to do with. The damaging evidence was planted by the police (I witnessed that and reported it to my public defense lawyer, who told me that’s how it works). In public, the judge was judgmental and stern, but reasonably well behaved. But there was a moment where I was sentenced, unofficially, to get a stern talking to by him in his chambers, instead of a severe actual sentence. In his chambers, he was a pompous ass. He stood to pace in his opulent office while lecturing me, and decided to re-tie his perfectly tied shoe. When he lifted his foot up to the seat of a chair, his robe fell open, and exposed … the handgun strapped to his leg. What an ass.

A couple of other times, such as in an unemployment dispute for example, the judge was an ass. In my life I learned that low level judges tend to be assholes. Perhaps that is my bad luck and not truly representative, but my experience shapes my opinion. I’ve never had the pleasure of standing in court, or in chambers, before a higher level judge. Maybe the higher level judges are not assholes, who knows.

When the right wing Trump/McConnell stacked supreme court ruined the Constitution and started America on its retraction of human rights long held and hard fought for, a lot of people were surprised. I think everyone expected the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, but I’m not sure most people expected them to lay out a road map for the retraction of most personal rights, which would be a necessary condition for the deployment of a full-on fascist government led in two years from now by Donald Trump, the real estate robber baron. (With the Proud Boys as his palace guard and Q-Anon as his brown shirts.) But I wasn’t that surprised, because I already knew that the judicial branch at the lowest levels had more assholes than the Russian Army.

Why do we revere our judicial branch? Our criminal justice system is unjust and has been for the entire history of this country. The judicial branch has been run by judges this entire time. Seems to me like this makes judges, by and large, even those with nice personalities, essentially assholes.

The most widely disseminated and widely listened to opinions about how judges are worthy of praise, trustworthy, important centers of civilization, etc, come from lawyers. Lawyers are self selected, then further culled by law school, many if not most spend almost no time in the presence of judges, so there is a great deal of further selection among them that do. Those litigators are a subset of people further subsetted, further subsetted, further subsetted, to work with, appreciate, and live by virtue of the existence of … judges. So of course lawyers say of judges what fish mongers may say of fish. Meanwhile there are fish that are complete assholes, and there are judges that are complete assholes. More, percentage-wise, judges than fish, I would judge.

The Republican Revolution is the takeover of our legislative branches by assholes. Started with Gingrich, continuing today, and with Trump, likely joined soon enough by the Executive branch. If and when Trump wins the presidency in a couple of years, and the Senate and House go Extremist Asshat, like is about to happen according to some polling, the executive branch and the legislative branch will join the judicial branch to become a trifecta of imperfection, a triumvirate of terror, a trinity of self-centered fascist demagogues.

One could argue that the judicial branch has been most of the way there all along, and this has been one of America’s best kept secrets. The transition of judges to moderators of a Gestapo-state will require the removal of those remaining judges who still believe in democracy, but judges take care of their own, and they will figure out a way to do that.

Keep this in mind: The courtroom is the opposite of a democracy. A courtroom is ruled with an iron fist. In their own courtroom, each judge has the final word, and can choose whom to give voice, and can choose what they may say and not say. Find a definition of fascism and apply it to a courtroom. It will fit nicely. The lawyers, observers, others, who work in that context and extoll the virtues of judges as fair, thoughtful, whatever, are to this fascism what the fish is to the water: they don’t realize that part of their world exists, so they don’t point it out, they don’t criticize it.

The judicial branch will be the first of three, not the third of three, branches of our government to turn full on Mussolini.

Mussolini was an asshole.

Spread the love

Republicans Eschew Voters, Democracy

Spread the love

Last night I attended a local League of Women Voters campaign forum to which candidates running for the Minnesota Senate and House from my local district (SD 42) were invited. Full disclosure: all three DFL1 candidates are my friends, and I support them politically. They are, Senate candidate Bonnie Westlin, House Candidate Ned Carroll, and House Candidate (and my own house rep) Representative Ginny Klevorn.

The forum was held in the well-appointed digs of the City Council, up the hill at City Hall. I note that my friend Ned, running for House but currently a city council member (at large) got to sit in the Mayor’s seat. All three candidates were asked questions collected from the public over the last several days, and at the venue just prior to the start of the forum. All of the candidates gave straight forward, excellent, well thought out answers to all but one of the questions2

DFL Candidates Westlin, Carroll, Klevorn. They showed up.

Sixty people attended, about eight or so questions were asked and answered, by all three candidates. Which, if you think about it, does not add up. Three positions, three candidates, means only one candidate per position!

That’s right, folks, the Republicans did not show up. The campaigns were informed on the night before the debate that two of the candidates would not would not attend, and rumors that the third candidate would also fail to show came along as the day progressed.

The point of these forums is to provide a non partisan setting for members of the electorate to have direct access to candidates, and for candidates to stand or stumble on their positions on the issues defined by the voting public, and moderated by a fair third party (the LWV). This is something, apparently, that Republicans don’t want, or perhaps, can’t handle.

This is part of a trend3. Across the country, “Candidates, mostly Republican, skip debates, bar press during midterm campaigns.” Not only debates, but press conferences are being shunned by Republicans. This is happening by routine when races are close. Republcian campaiging is a game of duck, duck, grey duck, but instead of actual ducks, ducking debates.

Empty Chair
Empty chair. AKA Republican candidate not appearing at a fair and open forum.
The controversial pullouts from presidential debates are well known and well documented. There are way way too many examples to cite here without running out of links. I only have so many links to give. And yes, skipping LWV forums is very much part of this anti-democracy trend. This has been going on since at least 2018, but is much more widespread this year.

I am fortunate to live in a district that has shifted, since I’ve lived here, from red to blue. Indeed, the very first local person I met when moving here4 was then-candidate Ginny Klevorn. I was in my newly purchased driveway moving stuff into my newly purchased house, and this lady I did not know came along and gave her pitch for her candidacy. Naturally, my internal dialog was “is this person a Democrat or a Republican, hard to assume in this red town.” I was eventually to learn that Ginny is a DFLer, and an excellent one, and over time we became good friends, but equally important, she became an excellent representative. I’ve always been able to talk to her about issues, make suggestions, or more often, learn the nuances of current policy debates. Ginny would go on to lose that first year to the incumbent Republican, as was normal and common in this district, but the next year she took the seat, and every cycle after that, she has won more and more decisively. These days, when a person tells me they would like to run for office (I’m on committees that seek out candidates, so this is a frequent conversation for me), one of the first things I tell them is, “Look at everything Ginny Klevorn does, copy her, and you’ll have the best possible campaign.”

I admit the Republicans in this district are justifiably fearful of their DFL rivals. They should be scared out of their socks. Last weekend’s Plymouth Parade demonstrated why. Each of our candidates had very large crowds of supporters marching with them, each in a different part of the parade. Meanwhile, the Republicans, MAGA extremists every one, had to gather together into one group just to look like they had any support at all. There were more lawn signs attached to the hokey trailer they were dragging than there were supporters.

My community is one of those places where for years, many citizens went along in life avoiding politics, just voting for the incumbent, until one day he who shall not be named (to avoid sullying this post) got elected and there was a great awakening. There are still Republicans in Plymouth, Minnesota, but they seem to know their worth5, and have retained a modest sense of shame. So they don’t show up for debates. I’ll be they won’t show up to vote either.

Please, vote. Also, here are the links you need to donate to my three candidates, which you should also do.

Klevorn Carroll Westlin

By the way, they are all strongly pro-choice, and we need more pro-choice legislators in Minnesota, in both houses. We lack a clear majority, so your donation will be extra meaningful.


1The Democratic Farmer Labor Party is the Minnesota version of the Democratic Party, founded in 1944 by a committee with Elmer Kelm, Elmer Benson, and led by the up and coming Hubert Humphrey. So it is mostly the Elmer Party and it glues together farmers, union folk, mostly urban progressives, Native folk, LGBTA and kin, poc, the Woke, a diversity of faith-based communities, non-libertarian suburban Conservatives, traditional Democrats, and so on and so forth.

2No one I spoke to after the forum considered it a valid question. It might have been the headline and sub-head of a Star Tribune editorial followed by a phrase amounting to: “yeah, so what about this, huh?” An unfortunate choice especially for the closing question of the evening.

3I thank my friend Audrey Britton, for sending me this Google search.

4I knew many people in Plymouth MN before living here, having married into a family of Plymouth folk, and having worked on several Congressional campaigns centered here, but this is the first local person I met AFTER moving in, a fine but important distinction.

5A small value.

Spread the love

And in today’s news …

Spread the love

Rethink The Police

Attempts at police reform, or more accurately, policing reform, are stalled by right wing tactics that paint any sort of critical examination as pro-crime, and centrists and “persuadable” tend to buy what the right wingers are selling. This pattern is common in many areas of progressive change. Then, along comes some other aspect of reality and bam, upside the head, anti reformers! Change happens anyway.

One area of reform is to curb the cowboy in the cop and limit high speed, high risk chases, which often have negative side effects. Like the one in St Ann MO, where a chase of a car with expired tags led to the permeant disablement of Brent Cox, who happened to be in a nearby car that was slammed into by the errant driver. When asked to limit dangerous overdone car chases, the chief told the press they would drag his car chases out of his cold dead hands. Well, not really. He said “St. Ann will chase you until the wheels fall off.”

Then the insurance agency stepped in and put him down. From reporting in the Washington Post (this is Washington Post Day on Greg Laden’s Blog, by the way): “….an otherwise silent stakeholder stepped in. The St. Louis Area Insurance Trust risk pool — which provided liability coverage to the city of St. Ann and the police department — threatened to cancel coverage if the department didn’t impose restrictions on its use of police chases. City officials shopped around for alternative coverage but soon learned that costs would nearly double if they did not agree to their insurer’s demands.”

Sometimes reform is just the natural organic thing that happens in a free market. Rarely, but savor the moment when it does.

The New York Time Is Biased

I had two headlines in my morning email:

“White House reaches tentative agreement to avert national rail strike”


“Railroad unions and companies reach a tentative deal to avoid a strike”

The former from Wapo, the latter from the NYT. Leave it to the NYT to understate Biden. They have a reason. Everybody loves a close horse race, so keep the horse race close and the value of your add space rises. I only subscribe to the NYT because when I told them to bugger off a few months ago they bribed me by offering a super cheap subscription (like a dollar a month or something crazy) so I kept it. You should try that! Just call to cancel and they’ll give you a great deal.

The Wisdom of Linsey Graham …

At first I was only getting snippets and I was confused. Lindsay Graham will ban abortion in 15 weeks. So hurry up and get yours. No, no, Lindsay Graham will ban abortion FOR 15 weeks. Like a moratorium? No, no, Lindsay Graham will ban abortions AT 15 weeks. For reference, that is 15 out of 40.

The truth is more like this: Lindsay Graham got drunk again.

One of the most common terms that comes to my mind when I think of Lindsay Graham, other than “lush”, is “bone-headed.” This morning, I was pleased and amused to wake up and find Ruth Marcus saying (in Wapo, not in my apartment), “Graham’s move might be politically bone-headed, coming less than two months before a midterm election in which voters already appear angered and energized by the court’s action. But it is just the opening salvo.” Nice.

Ruth’s main point: “… it is not hard to imagine a moment when Republicans have the power to proceed [with such a ban], and use it.” But on the ground, in this year and at this time, the MAGA-trumps “…rattled by midterm polling, scurried to distance themselves from Graham’s proposal and talk up states’ rights.”

So to complete the sentence at the head of this comment: “The Wisdom of Linsey Graham … is drunk

Ken Star Is Dead

I will not here speak poorly of the dead. I did that on Facebook and it was pretty satisfying. That is all, have a nice day.

No, but seriously, Eugene Robinson has some things to say about Ken Star.

Sports sucks

I love this paragraph, that I found here:

The greatest threat to the integrity of pro sports is the unchecked, immoral owner. He slithers across all of these leagues, rich and toxic and indestructible, profiting from sports’ charm without upholding their virtue. You can expose his misdeeds, shame him and force him to answer to people who are supposed to have real power. He will escape, though. And those like him will multiply.

A few interesting things about the Queen’s death (long live the King)

They made the coffin 30 years ago.

In 1901, the horses carting Queen Victoria’s gun carriage (that’s what they use to parade the coffin around) broke free, so some British Sailors pulled Victoria’s cart for a while. Therefore, at some point during the ceremony, Royal Navy sailors will likely drag the carriage by foot for a while. This is how ancient traditions start.

You know what a plinth is. Well, a catafalque is a wooden plinth for a royal coffin. Now you know that too.

The queen’s Royal Sovereign’s Scepter is three feet long, bears one of the world’s most famous diamonds, and has a core of Unicorn tail hair taken from the same Unicorn as the Scepter wielded by the royal house of Freedonia.*

The Royal Orb … well, there is a royal orb. What the heck? It’s actual name is Globus cruciger, and it is really old, from back in the Age of Orbs I suppose.

The state hearse is a Land Rover. Therefore it will break down during the ceremony and the cost of repair will exceed the Royal Funerary Budget so the Queen’s coffin (did I mention the coffin was made 30 years ago) will have to be dragged the last few blocks.


*That part is mostly but not entirely made up

Spread the love

Democrats will make gains in both the House and Senate in 2022

Spread the love

If they work hard enough.

MAGA Extremist Don Bolduc’s win in NH is an example of circumstances that will lead to the the Democratic Party picking up, rather than losing, seats across the Congressional races. This race is for the Senate, but this most current (and last for the season) example of a primary illustrates a phenomenon being played out in both Senate and House races across the country.

Not only will the Democrats pick up seats in the Senate, but they will add, not lose, seats in the House.

By conventional wisdom the Dems will lose House seats (or not, but usually lose in a midterm year) based on the “Generic Ballot” which over the last several months, as is the case in most midterm election years, has the Generic Republican beating the Generic Democrat in Congress. The Senate is a little tricker because how the Senate seats go is more subject to local (state level) conditions, incumbents have more sticking power in some cases, and there are few enough seats contested in a given year that the effects of the Generic Ballot can be statistically swamped by those other factors.

The reason why the Generic Ballot does not work this year even in the house is because it assumes there are two parties, but there are actually three this year: 1) the Democratic Party (same as before, and more unified than in most years, and now including most Independents); 2) the much reduced in size Regular Republicans plus Independents not absorbed by the Democratic Party; and 3) MAGA Extremists.

When something like this happens:

“Election-denier Bolduc wins GOP Senate nomination in N.H. Contested GOP races divided party leaders, exposed differing positions on the 2020 election, and pit far-right candidates against more moderate rivals”

That makes the distinction between those three parties come into play.

Here is what will happen in this and many other races in the general election. All the Democrats will vote for the Democrat. The Independents absorbed by the Democrats will stay loyal to their new affiliation. Many of the Independents that went Red and the Regular Republicans will not vote for the Republican, with many may not voting at all in this race, a few voting for the Democrat. The MAGA Extremists will all vote for the Republican election-denier, if they can pull their heads out of their butts long enough to find the polling place. But there are not actually THAT many MAGA Extremists.

This is happening in races across the country. In many, perhaps most of these races, the Republican will still win because these races are happening in the stinking hell-holes known as Red Districts and Red States. But some are happening where the Red-Blue gap is X wide, normally, and the percent of the electorate either swayed or kept home is enough to close that gap. I’m not sure at this point what those numbers are, and local conditions will also matter a lot. For example, a candidate that, independently of being a MAGA Extremists, is an unmitigated ass, may get fewer votes just because of their losing personality. And, I’m pretty sure that will apply to most or all of the newly involved MAGA Extremists.

This last point applies to Bolduc. He has alienated himself from the mainstream Republican Party, which is wide and broad in New Hampshire, through a series of dumb-ass actions since 2002. He has made the claim that Covid-19 vaccines contain microchips. He accused former Governor Sununu as being a “Chinese Communist Sympathizer,” when we all know that if Sununu ever had a sympathy for anything (he doesn’t) it would be with Putin and the Oligarchy not the Chinese Reds.

On top of all this, note that at this moment, the Generic Ballot has shifted from its usual direction of the party in the White House, and the democrats are winning it. At this moment.

Speaking of Donald Bolduc, I made you a meme:

Spread the love