The bill is coming due

Jan 16th, 2021 7:11 am | By

What Trump can expect starting next Wednesday:

[N]ow, finally, the end is at hand. Trump is suffering a series of wounds that, in combination, are likely to be fatal after Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20. Trump is obviously going to surrender his office. Beyond that looming defeat, he is undergoing a cascading sequence of political, financial, and legal setbacks that cumulatively spell utter ruin. Trump is not only losing his job but quite possibly everything else.

… Many of his sources of income are drying up, either owing to the coronavirus pandemic or, more often, his toxic public image. The Washington Post has toted up the setbacks facing the Trump Organization, which include cancellations of partnerships with New York City government, three banks, the PGA Championship, and a real-estate firm that handled many of his leasing agreements. Meanwhile, he faces the closure of many of his hotels. And he is staring down two defamation lawsuits. Oh, and Trump has to repay, over the next four years, more than $300 million in outstanding loans he personally guaranteed.

Lots of expenses, not much income.

If this were still 2015, Trump could fall back on his tried-and-true income generators: money laundering and tax fraud. The problem is that his business model relied on chronically lax enforcement of those financial crimes. And now he is under investigation by two different prosecutors in New York State for what appear to be black-letter violations of tax law. At minimum, these probes will make it impossible for him to stay afloat by stealing more money. At maximum, he faces the serious risk of millions of dollars in fines or a criminal prosecution that could send him to prison.

Chronically lax enforcement of financial crimes will continue, just not for him.

The assumption until now has always been that Trump wouldn’t really be convicted of crimes or sentenced to prison, despite the fairly clear evidence of his criminality. American ex-presidents don’t go to jail; they go on book tours.

That supposition wasn’t wrong, exactly. It rested on the understanding of a broad norm of legal deference to powerful public officials and an understanding of the dangers of criminalizing political disagreement. But what has happened to Trump in the weeks since the election, and especially since the insurrection, is that he has been stripped of his elite impunity. The displays of renunciation by corporate donors and Republican officials, even if they lack concrete authority, have sent a clear message about Donald Trump’s place in American society.

At noon on January 20, Trump will be in desperate shape. His business is floundering, his partners are fleeing, his loans are delinquent, prosecutors will be coming after him, and the legal impunity he enjoyed through his office will be gone. He will be walking naked into a cold and friendless world. What appeared to be a brilliant strategy for escaping consequences was merely a tactic for putting them off. The bill is coming due.

Here’s hoping.

A world of fantasy

Jan 15th, 2021 5:36 pm | By

Isaac Chotiner at the New Yorker talked to Eric Foner about the attempted insurrection.

These events have drawn comparisons to coup attempts around the world, but also to the Reconstruction era, when white mobs inflicted violence on citizens and legislators throughout the South.

To better understand the lessons of Reconstruction for our times, I recently spoke by phone with Eric Foner, an emeritus professor of history at Columbia, and one of the country’s leading experts on Reconstruction.

He literally Wrote the Book on the subject.

Foner: I guess the sight of people storming the Capitol and carrying Confederate flags with them makes it impossible not to think about American history. That was an unprecedented display. But in a larger sense, yes, the events we saw reminded me very much of the Reconstruction era and the overthrow of Reconstruction, which was often accompanied, or accomplished, I should say, by violent assaults on elected officials. There were incidents then where elected, biracial governments were overthrown by mobs, by coups d’états, by various forms of violent terrorism.

There was the Colfax Massacre, in 1873, in Louisiana, where armed whites murdered dozens of members of a Black militia and took control of Grant Parish. Or you can go further into the nineteenth century, to the Wilmington riot of 1898, in North Carolina. Again, a democratically elected, biracial local government was ousted by a violent assault by armed whites. They took over the city. It also reminded me of what they call the Battle of Liberty Place, which took place in New Orleans, in 1874, when the White League—they had the courage of their convictions then, they called themselves what they wanted people to know—had an uprising against the biracial government of Louisiana that was eventually put down by federal forces. So it’s not unprecedented that violent racists try to overturn democratic elections.

One big difference, he goes on to say, is that they just straight up said it was white supremacy.

Let the white man rule, this is a white Republic. I mean, racism was totally blatant back then. Today, they talk about dog whistles or other circumlocutions, but back then, no, it was just that armed whites in the South could not accept the idea of African-Americans as fellow-citizens or their votes as being legitimate.

Chotiner asks, cautiously, about the absurdity of the whole thing.

Chotiner: But you see some of these guys, you see some of the things they’re wearing, you see them taking photos with statues, you see them with their feet up on desks. You see the fact that it was obviously not going to work. And I think some people say, “There’s something ridiculous about this”—as indeed there’s been something ridiculous, as well as awful in many ways, about the last four years. And I’m curious if that has any precedent in the Confederacy, too.

Foner: I think these people are living in a world of fantasy. That’s why it seems absurd. They thought, honestly, that they would be able to overturn the election. They thought that by seizing the Capitol, they would somehow get President Trump reëlected. I mean, President Trump has been living in a world of fantasy for the past couple of months, as we know, insisting that he won the election in a landslide and that the result was not fixed and could be overturned. And these are his followers, who have been soaking up his lies and fantasies for four years. So it looks ridiculous to us.

Trump has been living in a world of fantasy the whole time. He was playacting throughout. He was like a child wearing a parent’s work clothes, but not cute.

To fight for the right

Jan 15th, 2021 3:40 pm | By

His “right”?

Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey has slammed the AFL’s gender diversity policy and is preparing to take the league to court to fight for the right to play in Canberra’s first-grade women’s competition.

Above that lede is the familiar photo of Mouncey in action, twice the size of the woman next to him.

Mouncey, who was prevented from entering the AFLW draft in 2017 based on her “strength, stamina or physique”, is now unable to play in the ACT’s top female comp unless she meets certain criteria outlined in a new AFL policy released in October last year.

The 31-year-old said she had met with the AFL’s legal department since the release of the policy but has been left unsatisfied, prompting her to consider legal action.

“This is not a step I take lightly and not one which I have had any desire to take if it could be avoided, however I believe at this point I have no other option if I want to play football in the AFL Canberra First Grade Competition in 2021,” Mouncey wrote in a lengthy statement she posted to social media.

But he does have another option: he could seek to play on a men’s team instead of a women’s. He might not be good enough but that applies to a lot of people, and it’s not something a lawsuit can change. Trying to play against people who are significantly smaller than he is, with smaller bones that break more easily, is not really a justifiable way to guarantee he’ll be good enough to be chosen for the team.

That doesn’t get enough attention in these reports that focus on purported rights and their denial: men who are determined to compete against women are trying to give themselves a massive physical advantage, and it’s not at all certain that that’s not why they’re doing it. It’s framed as a matter of trans rights but it may be just a straight up cheat. My view is that that’s more likely than not, because if it were just a matter of “rights” or validation, they would surely be put off by the obvious unfairness, and decide to defend their rights in other ways.

From a community football standpoint, the new policy states that “transgender women may play in women‘s competitions, transgender men can play in men’s competitions and non-binary people can choose which competition to play in.”

Also at community level, the statement notes that “Gender diverse players may not be excluded for reasons of relevant competitive advantage over cisgender players in the competition.”

In other words “tough shit women, you lose.” Thanks a lot.

H/t Roj Blake

How about martial law?

Jan 15th, 2021 3:17 pm | By

Still struggling.

The Independent has more:

One of Donald Trump’s fiercest supporters, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, went to a meeting at the White House with notes suggesting “martial law if necessary”.

That’s the ticket. Just throw caution to the winds and get the military to lock us all up. During a pandemic: bonus points.

The notes, captured by a photographer as Mr Lindell entered the Oval Office on Friday, come after Mr Lindell tweeted then deleted calls for the president to “impost martial law” in the seven battleground states that won the election for Joe Biden.

  • Impose martial law
  • ???
  • Profit!

The page is curved and not fully visible, but the heading is titled something like “[illegible] taken immediately to save the [illegible] constitution.

It references a “cyber” attorney and “Kraken” attorney Sidney Powell, while recommending “Kash Patel to acting CIA”.

“Insurrection Act now as a result of the assault on the… martial law if necessary upon the first hint of any…”, it read.

“… foreign interference in the election trigger [ineligible] powers. Make clear this is China/Iran.”

Sounds promising, but who is going to join in? The reporters are telling us the building has emptied out, and Trump is in there alone throwing ice cream at the walls. Nobody is going to execute his cunning plan.

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With horror and disgust as a crime

Jan 15th, 2021 2:45 pm | By


Play the clip. It’s quite astonishing.

They’re talking about dilation, by the way, not “dialation.”

Mr Arbeit macht frei

Jan 15th, 2021 10:57 am | By

Wednesday’s news but still worth noticing.

A man who wore a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt during last week’s insurrection at the Capitol was arrested by US Marshals in Virginia on Wednesday.

Robert Keith Packer, 56, was booked into Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk on federal felony charges.

Multiple internet sleuths — including former colleagues and neighbors — had identified Packer in recent days after photos of him wearing the white supremacist sweatshirt went viral.

He wore it around town too, so lots of those neighbors were able to recognize him.

He was practically foaming at the mouth

Jan 15th, 2021 10:35 am | By

What it was like:

A Washington DC police officer who tried to stop Trump-supporting insurrectionists from attacking the Capitol on 6 January has revealed that some rioters shouted “‘Kill him with his own gun!” as he lay injured on the ground.

The police officer, who has spent almost 20 years on the force, endured several Taser shocks in the back of his neck before things got worse. “Some guys started getting a hold of my gun and they were screaming out, ‘Kill him with his own gun,” he said.

Fanone, who works as a plainclothes narcotics detective, put on his uniform and rushed to the Capitol with his partner. He was among the dozens of officers injured while trying to keep insurrectionists, many of whom were armed, from storming the building.

“We were getting chemical irritants sprayed. They had pipes and different metal objects, batons, some of which I think they had taken from law enforcement personnel. They had been striking us with those,” Fanone said. “And then it was just the sheer number of rioters. The force that was coming from that side … It was difficult to offer any resistance when you’re only about 30 guys going up against 15,000.”

Another Metropolitan police officer, Christina Laury ,told CNN she arrived at the Capitol around 12.30pm and tried to keep anyone from breaking through the line.

“The individuals were pushing officers, hitting officers. They were spraying us with what we were calling, essentially, bear Mace, because you use it on bears,” Laury said.

“Unfortunately, it shuts you down for a while. It’s way worse than pepper spray … It seals your eyes shut … You’ve got to spray and douse yourself with water. And in those moments it’s scary because you can’t see anything and have people that are fighting to get through.”

“They were getting hit with metal objects. Metal poles. I remember seeing pitchforks. They’re getting sprayed, knocked down,” recalled Laury, who luckily was not hit with anything.

Officer Daniel Hodges, who was seen in video getting crushed in a doorway while fighting back rioters, told CNN: “There’s a guy ripping my mask off, he was able to rip away the baton and beat me with it.”

“He was practically foaming at the mouth so just, these people were true believers in the worst way,” said Hodges, who like Fanone and Laury rushed to help defend the Capitol.

All for the cause of…Donald Trump?

The murder beat

Jan 15th, 2021 10:17 am | By

What was the plan?

Capitol rioters intended “to capture and assassinate elected officials”federal prosecutors have claimed in a court filing. Prosecutors were asking for one of the rioters, Jacob Chansley, to be detained, stating that he left a note for the vice-president, Mike Pence, warning that “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming”. Prosecutors and federal agents have started to bring more serious charges against the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol, including charging a retired firefighter with throwing a fire extinguisher at a police officer’s head, and another with beating an officer with the pole of an American flag.

They will probably pay a higher price than the guy who told them to do it ever will.

Republicans who voted with the Democrats to impeach Trump are reportedly hiring armed escorts and buying body armour. “Our expectation is that somebody may try to kill us,” said Peter Meijer,a Michigan Republican who was one of 10 from his party to vote to impeach Trump on Wednesday.

All normal.

The academic mission of testing controversial opinions

Jan 15th, 2021 9:26 am | By

Kathleen got my attention.

So I had to read the explainer to see if it’s all that bad. It’s all that bad and worse. It doesn’t read like grown-up university policy writing at all, it reads like homework.

How it’s filed:

Home > Equality, Diversity and Inclusion > Student EDI Learning Resources > Learn More > Trans and/or non-binary > What is Transphobia?

The definition:

Transphobia is the hatred, fear, disbelief, or mistrust of trans and gender non-conforming people.

Key word there – disbelief. If we don’t believe every single thing a self-declared trans person tells us about xirself, we are transphobic.

That’s telling, because it’s not generally part of the definition of misogyny or sexism or racism or homophobia or contempt for the working class. Belief doesn’t generally come into it, because it’s all a matter of “you are a woman / a person of color / not straight / a worker and therefore you are beneath me and deserving of persecution.” In this context trans is radically different, because it’s not about “beneath me,” it’s about truth. We’re required to believe, and if we can’t we are branded as “transphobic” and thus beneath everyone and deserving of persecution.

To the explaining part:

Trans and non-binary people have always existed within all societies and there are documented instances from at least 4500 years ago. 

Nonsense. People have messed around with gender in various ways probably forever, but being what is called “trans” or “non-binary” is a new invention.

In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of transphobia in the mainstream and social media, which has fuelled increased transphobic hate incidents in society…This increased transphobia been particularly severe for trans women, who have been the target of high-profile, celebrity campaigns that deny the trans experience and deliberately suggest trans women pose a threat to cis women by distorting statistics of male violence to imply it is a characteristic of trans women.

Nobody “denies the trans experience.” That’s fatuous. We don’t know what goes on in other people’s heads, and that’s the end of it. What we deny (or question or doubt or analyze) is the claim that people can be literally the other sex because that’s what they feel like in their heads. I, for one, don’t believe that feelings in the head can change one’s body to the other sex. I can’t believe it. I can mouth the words (but I refuse to), but I can’t actually believe it. That’s not denying anyone’s experience, it’s being aware that there’s a material world outside people’s heads and that thoughts aren’t magic.

And we don’t “deliberately suggest” that trans women pose a threat to women, we say very clearly that we can’t know which trans women will be violent toward us and which won’t. We don’t “distort statistics of male violence to imply it is a characteristic of trans women,” we say very clearly that male violence is male violence and we can’t tell in advance which males will indulge in it.

There’s more, but you get the idea.

Three times more likely

Jan 14th, 2021 5:55 pm | By

In related news

Police in the United States are three times more likely to use force against leftwing protesters than rightwing protesters, according to new data from a non-profit that monitors political violence around the world.

In the past 10 months, US law enforcement agencies have used teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and beatings at a much higher percentage at Black Lives Matter demonstrations than at pro-Trump or other rightwing protests.

As we saw just last week.

The statistics, based on law enforcement responses to more than 13,000 protests across the United States since April 2020, show a clear disparity in how agencies have responded to the historic wave of Black Lives Matter protests against police violence, compared with demonstrations organized by Trump supporters.

Barack Obama highlighted an earlier version of these statistics on 8 January, arguing that they provided a “useful frame of reference” for understanding Americans’ outrage over the failure of Capitol police to stop a mob of thousands of white Trump supporters from invading and looting the Capitol on 6 January, a response that prompted renewed scrutiny of the level of violence and aggression American police forces use against Black versus white Americans.

Not a pretty story.

An issue that has simmered in the military for years

Jan 14th, 2021 5:25 pm | By

Surprise surprise, there’s a surge in trumpish ideologies in the US military.

The Pentagon is confronting a resurgence of white supremacy and other right-wing ideologies in the ranks and is scrambling to track how acute the problem has become in the Trump era.

It’s an issue that has simmered in the military for years, but is now front and center following signs that former military personnel played a role in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

In another sign of the challenge, the Army on Monday announced it was ousting a junior officer who was investigated for posting a video to his 3 million TikTok followers joking about Jews being exterminated in Nazi concentration camps.

These are the people with the weapons.

Trial by combat

Jan 14th, 2021 1:07 pm | By

Giuliani did his bit to rile up the insurrectionists.

Donald Trump has fallen out with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and is refusing to pay the former New York mayor’s legal bills, it was reported, with the president feeling abandoned and frustrated during his last days in office.

Giuliani played a key role in Trump’s failed attempts to overturn the results of November’s presidential election through the courts. The lawyer mounted numerous spurious legal challenges, travelling to swing states won by Joe Biden, and spread false claims the vote was rigged.

Claims he has to have known were false.

Trump’s refusal to pay Giuliani’s bills is another blow to the former federal prosecutor. Giuliani is already under fire for his own alleged role in inciting Trump supporters to storm the Capitol building.

Addressing Trump’s Save America rally in Washington last week, Giuliani said: “I’m willing to stake my reputation, the president is willing to stake his reputation, on the fact that we’re going to find criminality there.” He pointedly added: “Let’s have trial by combat.”

Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney for Washington DC, is investigating the riot. He has said he is looking at numerous participants. They include those who instigated the Capitol invasion, a category that might implicate Trump and Giuliani.

Ya think?

Because he was wearing gloves

Jan 14th, 2021 12:48 pm | By

They’ve found the guy with the treason flag.

A man who carried the Confederate battle flag into the U.S. Capitol as part of an invasion by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump surrendered with his son Thursday after arrest warrants were issued for their roles in the riot, the FBI said.

Kevin Seefried, who was carrying the flag that he later told authorities had been displayed outside his Delaware home, and his son Hunter Seefried are expected to be arraigned later Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

They helped with the breaking and entering part.

The document also says that video footage on Twitter shows Hunter Seefried punching out glass in a window at the Capitol after it was smashed by others with a wooden two-by-four.

“Kevin Seefried confirmed to law enforcement agents that Hunter was asked by an individual unknown to the Seefrieds to assist with clearing the window because Hunter Seefried was wearing gloves,” the document said. “After Hunter Seefried complied, people from the crowd outside, to include the Seefrieds, were able to access the interior of the Capitol building.”

I wonder what they were thinking. That this was all just high spirits, and no one would punish them for it? That everybody was doing it, so everybody would be let off with a mild rebuke?

The royal toilets

Jan 14th, 2021 12:32 pm | By

The princess and prince don’t let underlings use their toilets. So what do underlings do? Hold it, of course. Yes for eight hours! What are you, some kind of bleeding heart do-gooder?

In a multi-bylined article one of America’s top investigative news outlets has chronicled in leg-crossing detail the apparently extreme difficulty that the Secret Service detail assigned to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have had in finding a place to go to the bathroom.

According to the Washington Post the president’s daughter and her top White House adviser spouse have apparently exiled the squad of men and women assigned to keep them from harm’s way from using the toilets in their sprawling Washington DC mansion.

“Instructed not to use any of the half-dozen bathrooms inside the couple’s house, the Secret Service detail assigned to President Trump’s daughter and son-in-law spent months searching for a reliable restroom to use on the job,” the paper reported, citing neighbors and law enforcement official.

Cry me a river; you can’t expect royalty to let just anyone use their toilets!

It added that Secret Service members in the couple’s detail who were desperate to relieve themselves had resorted to a porta-potty, as well as bathrooms at the homes of Barack Obama and Vice-President Mike Pence.

I’d be tempted to pee in a bucket and then pour it somewhere they wouldn’t want it poured.

Where we can focus

Jan 14th, 2021 12:07 pm | By

How about no?

As in, no, no, no, no, NO.

The Daily Beast:

In an interview with BBC News to promote his new book Saving Justice, former FBI Director James Comey said President-elect Joe Biden should “consider” pardoning his predecessor Donald Trump when he takes office on Jan. 20th.

No, he really shouldn’t. Not for a second.

Asked if Biden should take a page from Gerald Ford, who pardoned Richard Nixon in 1974, Comey replied, “I don’t know. He should consider it.” While he said he’s not sure Trump—who has reportedly floated the idea of pardoning himself—would accept such a pardon, he added, “As part of healing the country and getting us to a place where we can focus on things that are going to matter over the next four years, I think Joe Biden is going to have to at least think about that.”

Ford should not have pardoned Nixon, and Biden absolutely should not pardon the rat from Queens.

I frankly can’t imagine why Comey thinks otherwise.

Not a civil liberty

Jan 14th, 2021 11:38 am | By

Chase Strangio is explaining how sex is a matter of choice and decided in the head rather than the body.

To situation? I suppose she meant ” to situate” but that’s a stupid word for that too. “To describe” would have done the job perfectly well. She’s straining to sound authoritative and scholarly, but the “scholarship” here is bogus. Anyway – yes there damn well is a threat. There’s a threat of women not being able to claim anything for ourselves any more.

The “and white supremacy” is telling. It has nothing to do with white supremacy, but throwing it in there polishes up the progressive credentials, which otherwise tend to look very tarnished.

None of that is even slightly true.

Strangio knows perfectly well why and what.

Trained to recognize suspicious activity

Jan 14th, 2021 7:59 am | By

There may have been some collaborationist activities from some legislators the day before the coup attempt. Investigations are under way.

More than 30 House Democrats are demanding information from Capitol security officials about “suspicious” visitors at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 5 — a day before violent insurrectionists swarmed the building — that would only have been permitted entry by a member of Congress or a staffer.

“Many of the Members who signed this letter … witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), in a letter to the acting House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, as well as the acting head of the Capitol Police.

The lawmakers, some of whom “have served in the military and are trained to recognize suspicious activity,” noted that Capitol tours have been prohibited since March as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and they said the tours were so unusual that they were reported to security on Jan. 5, ahead of the following day’s violence.

“The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day,” they wrote. “Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex. The presence of these groups within the Capitol Complex was indeed suspicious.”

I’m wondering what “appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day” means. “Appeared to be in town for the rally scheduled for the next day,” maybe. Perhaps they were in the usual pro-Trump costuming. Or maybe it means “in retrospect, it appears they were in DC for the rally the next day.”

Sherrill first raised alarms Tuesday that some members of Congress may have provided “reconnaissance” tours to would-be insurrectionists.

“I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him — those members of Congress who had groups coming through the capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day — those members of Congress who incited the violent crowd, those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy, I’m going see that they’re held accountable,” Sherrill said.

She’s overstating it, but if she’s right…well, there are too many collabos in Congress.

Meanwhile, a better person than the seditionists:

Too odious to defend

Jan 14th, 2021 6:36 am | By

The Post reports that Trump is in a bad mood. You don’t say.

With less than seven days remaining in his presidency, Trump’s inner circle is shrinking, offices in his White House are emptying, and the president is lashing out at some of those who remain. He is angry that his allies have not mounted a more forceful defense of his incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol last week, advisers and associates said.

Really. All he wanted to do was slaughter all the Democrats in Congress and install himself as dictator. What’s the big deal?

He’s in a rage at Pence, and souring on Giuliani.

Trump has instructed aides not to pay Giuliani’s legal fees, two officials said, and has demanded that he personally approve any reimbursements for the expenses Giuliani incurred while traveling on the president’s behalf to challenge election results in key states. They said Trump has privately expressed concern with some of Giuliani’s moves and did not appreciate a demand from Giuliani for $20,000 a day in fees for his work attempting to overturn the election.

It’s outrageous; only Trump is allowed to rip people off like that.

He’s mad that no one is defending him – not even McEnany! Not even Prince Jared! The Post doesn’t say what Princess Ivanka is doing.

Lindsey Graham is one of the last remaining ass-kissers.

Graham traveled to Texas on Tuesday in what was Trump’s last scheduled presidential trip, spending hours with Trump aboard Air Force One talking about impeachment and planning how Trump should spend his final days in office.

Trump told Graham to lobby senators to acquit him in the future trial and Graham of course obliged.

During the flight home, Graham said, he tried to calm Trump after Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the No. 3 House GOP leader, announced she would vote to impeach.

“I just told him, ‘Listen, Mr. President, there are some people out there who were upset before and are upset now, but I assure you, most Republicans believe impeachment is bad for the country and not necessary and it would do damage to the institution of the presidency itself,” Graham recalled.

Cynical enough yet? Not a word about “Don’t worry, you’re innocent,” much less about the good of the country, about treason and attempted mass murder, about democracy and human rights, about how it’s not entirely admirable to try to overthrow the government by sending fascists to kill off half of Congress – just self-interested reason Republicans think impeachment would be inconvenient.

The Post points out that it’s striking that no White House people were out there defending him yesterday during the impeachment.

The president’s aides did not blast out talking points to allies. His press secretary did not hold a briefing with reporters. His advisers did not do television interviews from the White House’s North Lawn. His lawyers and legislative affairs staffers did not whip votes or seek to persuade lawmakers to vote against impeachment.

This is both because there was no organized campaign to block impeachment and because many of his aides believe Trump’s incitement of the riot was too odious to defend.

So even they have a Too Odious marker – it’s just that it’s a lot harder to reach than most people’s.

“I just think this is the logical conclusion of someone who will only accept people in his inner orbit if they are willing to completely set themselves on fire on his behalf, and you’ve just reached a point to where everyone is burned out,” a senior administration official said. “Everyone is thinking, ‘I’ll set myself on fire for the president of the United States for this, for this and for this — but I’m not doing it for that.’ ”

It took him until two weeks before the end to reach that point – and it took all of them that long too.

One of Trump’s only White House defenses came from Jason Miller, a senior political adviser. He did not defend the president’s conduct but rather argued that those who voted to impeach him would pay a political price.

There it is again, just like Graham – ignore the substance, just talk about the savvy politics. Tell us again exactly how hollow you are.

Constituents right outside

Jan 13th, 2021 5:39 pm | By

I guess this is making America great again too.

Guest post: The tossing of bones from the lord’s table

Jan 13th, 2021 5:16 pm | By

Originally a comment by Arnaud on 10 beans a day.

I am so angry that I… I don’t know what to say.

Every time this government acts, or fails to act far too often, I swear that they have reached rock bottom; surely they can’t go lower than this? And every time they do.

But in truth I mean, we should have been prepared for this fiasco, after this intervention by a Tory MP a couple of months ago complaining that food vouchers effectively went to crack dens and brothels! This was clearly preparing the ground for later moves!

In the wider scheme of things this is part of a trend to basically assess-strip the UK; the pandemic has given this government what they see as a clean mandate to act as they wish without all those pesky restrictions imposed by parliament and tradition. Hundreds of contracts totalling tens of billions have gone to private companies with links not only to the Tory party but often personally to ministers and influential MPs and party apparatchiks, not only to feed kids but also to provide PPE to the NHS and government agencies and to run testing programs. A lot of this money was just wasted as these companies had no track record and no capacity in the matter. One of those was run by Matt Hancock’s former local pub landlord, for fuck sake!

As Tim Harris says, it is all down to the Tories’ assumption that they are somehow vastly superior to the rest of us, that, even elected by us, whatever they do for the country is akin to a favour and we should be grateful for it. The tossing of bones from the lord’s table. That became obvious during the Brexit debates : every time a Tory grandee was contradicted by a member of the public you could see the outrage and contempt on their faces. It has not changed.

As i said to friends of mine this morning, this Tory government has done far more to radicalise me – and I suspect a lot of people – than anybody ever could. They should put themselves on the list of banned organisations alongside ISIS or the Real IRA!