The K word

Nov 21st, 2020 11:51 am | By

Katherine Morgan says it’s white women’s fault:

The 2016 exit polls reported that 52 percent of white women had voted for Trump, though according to TIME, that number was closer to 47 percent.

The bookstore where I worked was similarly hectic in June: We received countless anti-racism book orders. And yet, despite all of the learning that supposedly took place via these books, in early November 2020 exit polls stated that among white women, Trump still held their support: An estimated 55 percent of white women voted for Trump. This is at least a two-point increase for this demographic since the previous election. As I sit with this number—more than half—I think about how one day at work I spent most of my eight-hour shift explaining to customers that we were out of So You Want to Talk About Race, because suddenly everyone wanted to talk about race, a subject that I had spent more than a decade talking about myself. It was suddenly essential, like the latest bag or pair of shoes. It had become an accessory, a badge of honor, proof of being a good white person. When I told one customer that her book was back-ordered, but there were an expected 20,000 books coming back into stock within two weeks to meet the unprecedented demand, she said, “But what I’m supposed to do now?” I wanted to tell her to read any other book—or, of course, to participate in any other active form of anti-racism—but I also needed my job.

Instead, I simply said, “We’re working on getting this sorted out. We appreciate your patience, and your eagerness to learn.” And I do appreciate their willingness to learn. The only question, especially given the continual support for Trump and other racist politicians by so many white women, is what do we do while we wait for it to sink in.

But why just white women? Why not men? Are men all voting Democratic?

As has been the case since 1980, women were more likely than men to vote for the Democratic candidate: 56% of women, compared to 48% of men, supported Joe Biden.

Well…ok…but white women are Karens. Case closed.



Sir we’re hanging up now

Nov 21st, 2020 11:26 am | By

Trump is SULking, na na na na nah.

Used to was, we couldn’t get away from him.

The outgoing US president held endless campaign rallies, verbally sparred with reporters on the way to his helicopter and spent so long on the phone to Fox News shows that even pliable hosts had to gently but firmly hang up.

He’s that guy. He’s that guy who never shuts up, that guy who has no interest in anyone else, that guy who thinks his every word is enthralling.

But now he’s hiding.

For critics, it is evidence of a monumental sulk as Trump contemplates his imminent loss of power and exit from the White House. In their view, it is also a staggering abrogation of responsibility as the coronavirus pandemic surges to new highs, infecting more than 158,000 Americans – and killing in excess of 1,100 – every day.

Yes, but he does less harm by doing nothing than by doing anything. When he’s busy he just breaks things.

Trump reportedly spends mornings in the White House residence bingeing on television. Then he goes down to the Oval Office in the afternoon, moving between it and an adjoining dining room which has a big TV. He broods there until night, conferring with lawyers in increasingly desperate efforts to overturn the election even as Biden nears a record 80m votes….

For many observers, Trump’s retreat is the primal instinct of a sore loser. Biographers have told how he was raised by his father to be a “killer” and regard losing as a sign of unforgivable weakness. The family attended a church whose pastor, Norman Vincent Peale, wrote the bestseller The Power of Positive Thinking with advice to “stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding”.

Michael Steele, a senior adviser to the anti-Trump group the Lincoln Project and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said: “It’s Trump being a little petulant boy who didn’t get his way and is not getting his way, so he doesn’t want to be out in public and he doesn’t want to play any more. He wants to take his toys and go hide somewhere or create mischief some other way.”

For this relief much thanks.



Dom Perignon at the Old Post Office

Nov 21st, 2020 8:55 am | By

Remember those two Michigan Republican legislators who visited Trump yesterday? One of whom sang a hymn rather than answer a reporter’s questions at the airport?

It seems they had a fun party at Trump’s hotel last night.

Also…

So, again, Trump puts money in his own pocket via government business…if it can even be called government business when the purpose of summoning the two loyalists was to steal the election. Nevertheless we know we paid for the whole thing, including their overnight in Trump’s expensive hotel.



Nonsense begets nonsense

Nov 21st, 2020 8:47 am | By

More of the same pious mindless glurge.

“Everyone should be able to love themselves and be loved for who they are,” she says earnestly. Really? Is that true? No. Should Trump be loved for who he is? No. Should he be able to love himself for who he is? No.

Funny how feminism never claimed this. Funny how no human rights struggle claimed this, until the trans hyperbole train rolled into the station. There is no Right to be Loved (except possibly children’s right to parental love). Human rights aren’t about love and they can’t depend on love. This is probably too obvious to bother saying, and I’ve said it before anyway.

But why is it that the trans movement leans so heavily on this kind of emotive glurge? Maybe because it’s so unreasonable to begin with, to the extent that it demands belief and avowal that men are women if they say they are. Once you go for the quack bullshit assertion you might as well add more, I guess. “We are literally women because we say so, and you have to love us.”



An elegantly dressed gentleman reading a newspaper

Nov 20th, 2020 5:45 pm | By

From Brenda is a Sheep to Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, courtesy of Project Gutenberg:

Listen to the story of Jemima Puddle-duck, who was annoyed because the farmer’s wife would not let her hatch her own eggs.

Her sister-in-law, Mrs. Rebeccah Puddle-duck, was perfectly willing to leave the hatching to some one else—”I have not the patience to sit on a nest for twenty-eight days; and no more have you, Jemima. You would let them go cold; you know you would!”

“I wish to hatch my own eggs; I will hatch them all by myself,” quacked Jemima Puddle-duck.

So she went into the woods to do so.

Jemima alighted rather heavily, and began to waddle about in search of a convenient dry nesting-place. She rather fancied a tree-stump amongst some tall fox-gloves.

But—seated upon the stump, she was startled to find an elegantly dressed gentleman reading a newspaper.

He had black prick ears and sandy coloured whiskers.

“Quack?” said Jemima Puddle-duck, with her head and her bonnet on one side—”Quack?”

Gentleman Reading

So she made him a grass lasagna breakfast, and he ate her the next day.

Just kidding. She lost all the eggs though.

H/t Tim Harris



The old rugged cross

Nov 20th, 2020 5:29 pm | By

Michigan Senator thinks he doesn’t have to answer questions.

She’s not joking; he really did that.



Guest post: The meanings of “legitimate”

Nov 20th, 2020 4:20 pm | By

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey on He knows he lost but.

“Legitimate” is a tricky word — it means a lot of different things to different people. Regardless of how political scientists might define it, the average voter might mean any of the following:

1. “I understand that it is the will of the people that X is going to be president, and under our system he’s entitled to assume the office, but I consider him unworthy and therefore don’t personally think he is a ‘real’ president.”

2. “I understand that X ‘won’ the election under the rules in place (the Electoral College), and under our system he’s entitled to assume the office, but I consider those rules anti-democratic and therefore don’t consider him to be a legitimate reflection of the will of the people.”

3. “I understand that it is the will of the people that X is going to be president, and under our system he’s entitled to assume the office, but I think the voters were influenced by improper and/or criminal acts that mean he doesn’t fairly reflect the will of the people.”

4. “I understand that X is going to be president, and under our system he’s entitled to assume the office, but I think there was some voter fraud (or voter intimidation or vote suppression) that draw into question whether or not the result actually reflects the will of the people.”

5. “I don’t think that X is entitled to assume the office of president and think that courts and other institutions should not allow him to do so.”

There are slight differences among 1-4, but a huge difference when you get to 5. That’s why I question some of the recent polling about what percentage of Trump voters consider Biden “illegitimate.” There’s a big difference. I think very few Democratic voters were in #5 in 2016, and no elected official that I can remember.

In terms of how Democrats reacted, you can also compare to 2004, where some Democratic supporters circulated theories about Diebold voting machines “stealing” Ohio for Bush, etc.

But in both 2004 and 2016, actual Democratic officeholders didn’t go around saying that Bush or Trump should not be inaugurated, transition funds should be denied, etc. etc. Kerry and Clinton both conceded promptly.

This is a recurring pattern — Democrats reject their conspiracy-minded supporters, while the GOP not only embraces them, it elects them to office. (Compare how Van Jones had to resign from an Obama admin position because of his associations with 9/11 Truthers, while the GOP is going to have a Q Anon lunatic in the House.)



Certified

Nov 20th, 2020 4:14 pm | By

Georgia certifies the vote, dragging its feet and kicking and screaming.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Friday that [he] will “follow the law” and sign the paperwork that officially grants the state’s 16 electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden.

Well, nice of him not to announce that he will break the law, I guess.

State law requires Kemp, a Republican, to award Georgia’s electoral votes to the certified winner of the presidential election. A federal judge on Thursday rejected a last-ditch lawsuit that tried to block certification, and Biden’s victory was certified Friday afternoon by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Friday afternoon eastern time – so the GSA should be able to certify the election and release the funds today.

“Earlier today, Secretary Raffensperger presented the certified results of the 2020 general election to my office,” Kemp said at a news conference. “Following Judge Grimsberg’s ruling yesterday, state law now requires the governor’s office to formalize the certification, which paves the way for the Trump campaign to pursue other legal options and a separate recount if they choose.”

It paves the way for Trump to sit down and shut the fuck up, that’s what it paves the way to.

Kemp later added, “As governor, I have a solemn responsibility to follow the law, and that is what I will do.”

Duh. It’s not something to brag about, it’s your damn job.

Biden won Georgia by 12,670 votes, or 0.26% of the nearly 5 million ballots cast statewide, according to final certified results from the Georgia Secretary of State.

Trump won Michigan by 0.23% of the vote in 2016.

Certifying election results is typically a formality, but the process has become the latest battleground in Trump’s longshot attempt to cling onto power. His campaign is trying to block or delay certification in key states in hopes of overturning Biden’s victory through the Electoral College.

The scheme essentially becomes impossible if key states certify their presidential results before December 8, which is known as a “safe harbor” deadline under federal law. Now that Georgia has certified its results, the state has met the deadline and Congress is required to respect these results.

But there’s a catch.

Kemp has until 5 p.m. ET Saturday to sign the paperwork that officially grants Georgia’s 16 electors to Biden, according to state law.

Why has he not already done that?



Willingness to set fire to democratic norms

Nov 20th, 2020 12:55 pm | By

More crazy with every day.

[I]nstead of softening or coming to terms with his defeat, a reclusive Trump has been escalating his dark and corrosive efforts to undercut American democracy. As his legal options fizzle and some aides seek to convince him to come to grips with reality, Trump has only entrenched deeper into debunked conspiracy theories.

Trump’s aims seem scattershot. He has told some allies that he knows he lost. But he has also admitted to at least one interlocutor that he is delaying the transition process — and aggressively trying to sow doubt in the election — as retribution for Democrats who questioned the legitimacy of his own election in 2016.

Instead of searching for new votes, Trump now appears focused on convincing Republican legislators in closely-contested states to intervene during the Electoral College — an extraordinary gambit demonstrating Trump’s willingness to set fire to [d]emocratic norms in the hopes of grasping to power. On Friday, Trump will meet with Republican state lawmakers from Michigan at the White House, though it’s unclear his overtures will be successful. Trump has also considered getting in touch with Republican legislators in other states as their certification deadlines near, hoping to delay or prevent Biden’s win, people familiar with the matter said.

In private conversations, Trump has dismissed concerns his efforts could undermine the very system of democracy he is claiming to be protecting through his efforts, suggesting he is concerned more for his own future prospects. The President, one source said, “doesn’t see” how damaging his efforts could be for the country and for democracy itself.

Of course he doesn’t see it, and he wouldn’t care if he did see it. The two are much the same thing. Everything is about him, and only about him, and he is all that matters. He’s an abnormal, broken, poisonous human being.

And despite growing horror among some on his team at the antics of his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani — whose sweaty news conference Thursday at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee drew a mix of mock[ery] and exasperation from other Trump associates — Trump is enthusiastically encouraging the former New York City mayor to proceed in his false and outlandish attempts to discredit the election.

Former NYC mayor and former top prosecutor, turned clown with hair dye running down his face.

Trump’s focus on contesting the election has consumed any remnants of actual governing. He did not appear at a briefing with his coronavirus task force on Thursday, and has not appeared interested in the raging pandemic. He’s scheduled to deliver remarks on lowering prescription drug prices on Friday afternoon at the White House and participate in an early morning session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. But organizers of this weekend’s G20 summit have yet to hear from the White House whether Trump will participate, as every US president has since the annual summits began in 2008.

They should probably hope he doesn’t. If he does he’ll only babble about voter fraud.

[F]ew in the GOP are speaking out against Trump’s attempt to steal the election.

A wide swath of House Republicans say that they believe Trump should take the battle as far as he can, with some embracing a long-shot strategy for states to delay certifying their results to help Trump win the Electoral College — and essentially ignore the will of voters in key battleground states and subvert the democratic process.

Asked if his state should delay certifying the election, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar said: “I believe it should.” Gosar also said the “state has the ability” to name its own electors to the Electoral College if the results aren’t certified as part of the “system set up by our founders.” And when asked if he would support the state legislature naming its own electors, Gosar said: “I do.”

We’re slow-walking off a cliff.



Overt pressure on state officials

Nov 20th, 2020 12:34 pm | By

As the coup attempt continues

Two Republican senators, Utah’s Mitt Romney and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, have added their voices to the growing chorus of disapproval – admittedly mainly coming from Democrats, as many Trump loyalists keep their counsel – toward the White House’s continued efforts to question or overturn the election results that will leave Donald Trump as a one-term, impeached president who is under criminal investigation, Edward Helmore and Joanna Walters write from New York.

Sasse focused his attention on Rudy Giuliani, the Trump loyalist-lawyer who held a bizarre press conference on Thursday during which he presented a list of far-fetched claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

“Rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets,” Sasse said, again via Twitter.

At least we hope we are.



Some mollification for your giant

Nov 20th, 2020 11:57 am | By

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk in the past few days about a children’s book called Brenda is a Sheep. The book won a book award.

Amy Sousa reads along and discusses the story:

Her video is entertaining as well as instructive.

The book itself is ridiculously confusing. It’s a sort of Little Red Riding Hood turned on its head, but…what? What’s her point? That wolves, however hungry and toothy and eager to eat you, will be so touched and pleased that you made them a vegetarian breakfast that they won’t eat you until lunchtime? If that’s the point, what’s the point of such a point?

Now maybe the point is meant to be something like…this is not easy…something like if there is a ferocious predator in your midst, the thing to do is be very very sweet to it, to gain a little time in which to THE END. That’s the best I can do. The story doesn’t explain why or how a [spoiler alert] breakfast of grass lasagna will make any difference in the long run. That matters because it’s the whole issue, isn’t it. We can flatter Putin over breakfast and no doubt he will flatter us back, smiling in his wolfish way, but that doesn’t change anything. Trump can be mollified in the moment by pouring oil on his throbbing ego, but Trump’s moments are, shall we say, disconnected. The mollification doesn’t last.



But is it criminal?

Nov 19th, 2020 5:07 pm | By

Lindsey Graham appears to have committed a felony.

On Monday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger—who, like Graham, is a Republican—told the Washington Post that Graham asked him if he could throw out all mail ballots from counties with a high rate of signature mismatch. Raffensperger later clarified that he believed Graham wanted his office to throw out valid, legally cast ballots. The senator has contested this account.

Graham’s alleged request is unseemly and corrupt. But is it criminal? In short, yes, according to multiple Georgia election law experts. If Raffensperger’s account is true, there is virtually no doubt that Graham committed a crime under Georgia law.

But nothing will happen to him as a result.

It might be tempting to dismiss Graham’s alleged interference as unscrupulous strategizing blown out of proportion. But Georgia has a sordid history of prosecuting putative voter fraud involving far more innocent conduct. Graham does not deserve a pass simply because he is a wealthy white senator.

More the opposite, I would think – because he’s a rich white senator he has far more power and opportunity to steal an election than your random citizen. It’s not more forgivable because he’s a senator, it’s much much much less so.



Place your bets

Nov 19th, 2020 4:06 pm | By

Something to keep in mind as you eat your grilled chicken breast:

Supervisors at an Iowa Tyson Foods, a major US meat processor, placed bets on how many workers would become infected with coronavirus as an outbreak raged through the plant this spring, a wrongful death suit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed this week by the son of an employee who died with Covid-19, claims the company demonstrated “wanton disregard for worker safety”.

Isidro Fernandez, who died in April, was one of more than 1,000 workers infected amid the plant’s outbreak.

Meatpackers are notoriously terrible at worker safety. The company said it was ever so upset to hear it, but I don’t believe them. As I said – meatpackers are horrendous at worker safety. The conditions are appalling.

According to court records, the company was advised by the county sheriff to shut the plant as infection spread this spring, but it did not. Tony Thompson, the Black Hawk county sheriff, said the facility’s working conditions “shook him to the core”, the filing said.

See? This is what I’m saying. The workers have to cut up the chicken or pork or whatever it is at lightning speed, with very sharp tools. It’s one of the most dangerous jobs there is.

In its statement on Thursday, Tyson said its “top priority” was the health of its employees, and said it had invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” in its US facilities since the start of the outbreak, putting protective measures like temperature scanners and workstation dividers in place.

No, its top priority is making money.



Unlike Trump’s

Nov 19th, 2020 3:50 pm | By

The Beeb is reading Obama’s memoir.

A Promised Land sold nearly 890,000 copies in the US and Canada in its first 24 hours – a record for publisher Penguin Random House. It is expected to become by far the biggest-selling presidential memoir in history.

Ahhh Trump’s not going to like that.

The Beeb dishes on what Obama thought of various counterparts. Putin?

Mr Obama said the Russian leader reminded him of the political barons he encountered during his early career in Chicago. He writes he was “like a ward [district] boss, except with nukes and a UN Security Council veto”.

He continues: “Putin did, in fact, remind me of the sorts of men who had once run the Chicago machine or Tammany Hall [a New York City political organisation] – tough, street-smart, unsentimental characters who knew what they knew, who never moved outside their narrow experiences, and who viewed patronage, bribery, shakedowns, fraud, and occasional violence as legitimate tools of the trade.”

Merkel?

The German leader is referred to as “steady, honest, intellectually rigorous, and instinctually kind”. Mr Obama notes that she had, at first, been sceptical of him, because of his lofty rhetoric and speech-making skills. “I took no offence, figuring that as a German leader, an aversion to possible demagoguery was probably a healthy thing.”

That’s high praise. Nobody is ever going to say that about the current US president.



He knows he lost but

Nov 19th, 2020 3:32 pm | By

And no, he’s not going to stop.

I saw a segment on the BBC last night talking to Trump fans in the South, who regurgitated all these lies about fake ballots yadda yadda. It was unnerving.



Now they can find a new school

Nov 19th, 2020 12:19 pm | By

Speaking of the princess and school – they changed their kids’ school because they refuse to avoid super-spreader events.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and daughter, pulled their children out of their day school after other parents complained that the couple were not following coronavirus protocols, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Wednesday, citing multiple sources.

Three Milton parents told JTA that the couple withdrew their children after other parents complained that Kushner and Trump weren’t following the coronavirus protocols that the school had laid out for families.

Which means what? That Trump and Kushner were putting other children and school staff and all their families at risk. That’s nice.

According to JTA, which obtained a copy of those protocols, the school asked that families “avoid hosting or attending large gatherings where proper social distancing measures are not feasible.

“Kushner and Trump have both been photographed in recent weeks attending large gatherings and not following social-distancing guidelines.

Nice people. Considerate. Caring. Thoughtful.

A particular issue for parents, one mother told JTA, was the couple working closely with people who caught the virus at Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination event at the White House on September 26. Though Kushner and Trump were not at the event, they both work with people who were.

After the president announced on October 2 that he had tested positive for the virus, Milton school officials would not say when the children last had contact with their grandfather, the mother told JTA. (Kushner and Trump both tested negative following the news of the president’s diagnosis.)

“There was concern for the safety of children because it was very clear the Kushner parents were violating public health recommendations,” the mother told JTA.

Other people are just so much flotsam.



Provocation

Nov 19th, 2020 10:57 am | By

In Pompeo news:

Israel’s military occupation has received a symbolic US stamp of approval after Mike Pompeo toured an archaeological dig run by a far-right settler group and visited a settlement that farms grapes on land Palestinians say was stolen from them.

The trips on Wednesday and Thursday marked the first time a US secretary of state had officially visited settlements, a deeply provocative move that previous American administrations went to lengths to avoid.

And he does it weeks before they’re all kicked out. Charming. (I don’t think “went to lengths to avoid” is how you say that; I think it has to be “great lengths” or similar. Going to lengths just sounds meaningless.)

Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem on Thursday with the Israeli leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, Pompeo said the state department had historically taken “the wrong view of settlements”, which he claimed “can be done in a way that [is] lawful, appropriate and proper”.

A majority of world powers consider settlements as illegal under international law.

Pompeo later released a statement saying products from settlements could be labelled “Made in Israel”.

Word is Pompeo hopes to get Trump’s job next round. Let us hope not.



50 people in a small room

Nov 19th, 2020 10:38 am | By

Superspreader event.



Checking in

Nov 19th, 2020 10:29 am | By

More stupid games:

The Trump campaign said it is dropping a lawsuit in Michigan, after two Republican canvassers in Wayne county briefly declined to certify the county’s election results.

Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, said in a statement, “This morning we are withdrawing our lawsuit in Michigan as a direct result of achieving the relief we sought: to stop the election in Wayne County from being prematurely certified before residents can be assured that every legal vote has been counted and every illegal vote has not been counted.”

But, oops, the two Republicans stopped refusing, in response to pressure from an outraged public. Then they tried to go back to refusing but it was too late, the state board already has the certification.

Trump tried to intervene:

One of the Republican canvassers in Wayne county confirmed that Donald Trump called her shortly after she and a colleague tried to block the county’s certification process.

“I did receive a call from President Trump, late Tuesday evening, after the meeting,” Monica Palmer told the Washington Post. “He was checking in to make sure I was safe after hearing the threats and doxing that had occurred.”

Yeah sure, that’s why he was checking in. He’s known for being caring and concerned that way.



No plans to do so

Nov 19th, 2020 10:18 am | By

The Trump people confirm – oh no he’s not coordinating with Biden on the pandemic, good heavens no, what a silly idea.

Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat of Connecticut, said a Trump administration official confirmed the White House is not coordinating with Joe Biden’s transition team about the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine.

Oh well, it’s only life and death.