Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Bunker of Their Ignorance


I've never liked hearing liberals call the other side "stupid." Heaping ashes on my head, because in the last nine months I've heard that word come out of my mouth -- more often muttered than said aloud, though since the election I may have said stupid so that others could hear. (Or one other person, more like, since we've been consistently sequestered since the third week of March. She doesn't use that word either. She prefers "dumbasses.")

Calling someone stupid is usually class-based (these days, allied more with politics). I react to class prejudice like I do to open racism -- like a coward. When did I ever stop traffic to call someone out for alleging that because someone else is poor and uneducated they're also stupid? I should have, many times. But I didn't, and it's shameful because I came from dirt and learned the country ways of thriving, but as a teenager I felt shame about those ways, including our religion, and I wanted to put shame so far behind me that the opportunity for college -- and then the opportunity for a doctorate -- rocketed me into elitist environments far from home. And I never went back, except for short visits. Higher education didn't just change me. It alienated me from my roots, almost never for the better. 

I became my own type of educated snob, I guess. Snobs are stupid, I realize. To cure my stupidity, I try to remember myself every day -- what it meant to be a country boy who was used to shouting in church and didn't know a rumpus from a rumpus room but who did know automobiles that broke down constantly and the rest of the fine art of getting by by livin' poor.

What's on my mind is a national epidemic of ignorance -- lack of education that endangers all of us and the ecnomy, an ignorance which isn't necessarily nor automatically stupidity. Being uneducated can be merely the lack of dressing on top of totally random distribution of the human genes for native intelligence, for quick wittedness, for the perception of space and geometry. The numbers of very bright but uneducated people I've known are proportionally equal all over the deep countryside of this nation. The ranks of the uneducated contain plenty of super smart people. Some of the dumbest people I've known -- let's face it -- are overeducated idiots. Some of the smartest -- farmers and mechanics, who without any formal education have mastered their necessary arts.

But when ignorance metastasizes into stupidity -- that impresses me. Like during the last four years, when so many Trump loyalists decided to believe that "the media" -- all of it, some of it (there are notable exceptions) -- that the media is the enemy of the people and only tells lies that hurt President Trump. So they simply ignore the news that might actually protect them, because when you think the coronavirus pandemic is all a made up story to make people turn against Trump, ignorance has become self-destructive, and that's stupid.

A South Dakota emergency room nurse said the patients “that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real.” A nurse in El Paso, where the epidemic has been raging for two weeks, tweeted that when she checked in on an ICU patient who was “awake and alert,” he said, "I don’t think covid is really more than a flu.” An emergency physician and medical toxicologist at Cleveland’s University Hospital shared his "surreal" experience of treating a patient infected with coronavirus who refused to believe the virus was real. A local restaurant in Banner Elk defied all the guv's COVID rules, made fun of masks, and called the virus a hoax until their cook died of it. That's ignorance becoming stupidity, because stupidity is illogical and will do things to harm itself. Stupidity can kill.

Donald Trump worked hard to create that cancer, making (according to the WashPost) some 23,035 false or misleading claims in his 1,331 days in the White House (some of those days spent on golf courses, where he could still tweet nonsense on a whim). It's not just an ignorant 73 million people who potentially believe the election was stolen from Trump via fraud. It's now a potentially stupid 73 million people prepared to resort to self-destructive violence -- or to the further erosion of our national civic compact, which is also self-destructive -- to right a grievous wrong that their leader convinced them actually happened.

I don't know where this nation's headed. Maybe we're just ungovernable any more as "one people." Lot of educated citizens thought that in 1859 too. Many of them ended up being real stupid.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Is Fred Eshelman the Biggest Rich Dope in North Carolina?

 

If you were around in 2010 and watched a dark money group calling itself "Real Jobs NC" trash the reputations of our two representatives in Raleigh, the late Steve Goss and Cullie Tarleton, you probably don't remember that a major donor behind that trashing was Wilmington gajillionaire Fred Eshelman, a pharmaceuticals industry mogul.

Eshelman has made the news this week because immediately after the November 3rd election he gave $2.5 million to True the Vote, a Texas outfit run by Catherine E. Engelbrecht of Houston, who just knows -- has always known -- that when Republicans lose elections it's all because of massive fraud. Engelbrecht told Eshelman that she had a sure-fire plan to expose the fraud behind Trump's losses in seven swing states, so he immediately wired her all that money to fund her plan to expose election fraud.

Now he's suing to get it back because it turns out Engelbrecht was spouting nonsense and she can't/won't explain what she did with the money. She apparently filed trifling lawsuits in four states, which she voluntarily withdrew, and she's consistently offered no answers, or vague answers, to Eshelman's nagging questions. Short answer to all his questions: You might have gotten scammed! (The suit itself, linked above, makes for fun reading.)

I'm indebted to Juanita Jean over at The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc. in Texas for putting me onto poor dumb Eshelman's squandering of big money to help salvage Twitterman's reputation as a "winner." Juanita Jean knows Engelbrecht because they used to be neighbors and opposing political warriors, so she's especially enjoying the spectacle of one rich Republican suing another Republican over the failure to prove massive fraud in the recent election.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Culture Wars Update: US Supremes Rule That It's Okay to Spread the Virus at Church

 

Chief Justice John Roberts,
in the minority now
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York had imposed very tight restrictions on some church services in "hot spot" areas. As New York got the pandemic under more control, Cuomo relaxed those restrictions. But the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn sued anyway (later joined by Jewish temples), and just before midnight last night the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the governor couldn't impose those restrictions any more. Chief Justice John Roberts was one of those in the minority and wrote a dissent.

Roberts noted that while the case was wending its way to the court, Cuomo had eased the restrictions. So why would the court intervene now? “It is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” Roberts wrote.

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the court was intervening where it should not: “The Constitution does not forbid States from responding to public health crises through regulations that treat religious institutions equally or more favorably than comparable secular institutions, particularly when those regulations save lives. Justices of this court play a deadly game in second guessing the expert judgment of health officials about the environments in which a contagious virus, now infecting a million Americans each week, spreads most easily.”

But go ahead, brethren. Pack those pews! The best way to spread Christian cheer is singing loud for all to hear. The aerosols you share are witness to your faith.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

None of Biden's Cabinet Appointments Will Be More Important Than This One

 

I'm talking Attorney General, natch.

We need a person of the highest caliber to clean out and disinfect the Department of Justice from the Trumpian politicization pursued by William Barr. He who coddled Trump's buddies, dropping charges against Michael Flynn and intervening on behalf of Roger Stone. He who took the hint after Trump tweeted that people should "liberate" themselves from COVID-19 lockdowns in states and cities and who announced that the DOJ would formally begin reviewing and challenging state public health orders. He who approved of LGBTQ discrimination laws under a very capacious interpretation of "religious freedom" and who got himself into the Christian dominionists' neighborhood when he warned that “militant secularists” were behind a “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order.” He who actually asked Congress to give him the power to hold people in detention without trial indefinitely. That last one couldn't make it past a Democratic majority in the US House.

Gonna take a person of impeccable character, someone strong on civil rights and the protection of the weak, someone totally committed to voter enfranchisement, someone to whom favoritism or presidential interference causes a gag reflex. I've been reading about the leading contenders.

Sally Q. Yates
Former US attorneyShe was deputy attorney general (the official who actually runs the department) from 2015 to the early days of the Trump administration. Wikipedia: Following the inauguration of Trump and the departure of Attorney General Loretta Lynch on January 20, 2017, Yates served as Acting Attorney General for 10 days. Trump dismissed her for insubordination on January 30, after she instructed DOJ not to make legal arguments defending Trump's Muslim ban (Executive Order 13769). Yates thought the order was neither defensible in court nor consistent with the Constitution. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld a revised version of the travel ban in a 5-4 partisan decision.

Before she pushed back on Trump's targeting of Muslims, she had warned the White House that National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI and was acting as a foreign agent in very close proximity to the president.

In other words, Trump had plenty of reasons to fire her. All of which makes her a model of virtue.

Following her dismissal, Yates returned to private practice.

She comes from legal royalty. Her grandmother was one of the first women admitted to the Georgia bar. Gran worked side-by-side with Yates's grandfather, also an attorney. Yates's father was an attorney and became a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals for a long tenure (1966-1984). Yates herself, as a US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, prosecuted political corruption (of which Georgia had its fair share) and she became head of the DOJ's Fraud and Public Corruption division. She was lead prosecutor of Eric Robert Rudolph, the notorious Atlantic Olympics bomber who successfully hid out in western North Carolina for months. 

Bonus points: She'll be good on TV.




Doug Jones
There'll be sentiment to give him a job after his loss of his Senate seat in Alabama.

US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 1997-2001, during which time he successfully prosecuted two Klan members for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four Black girls. (It's generally accepted that it was the wave of voting by Black women that got him the seat in the Senate.) He also had a hand in the Eric Robert Rudolph prosecution. It was Jones who secured the indictment against him for domestic terrorism.

In 2018 Jones won a longshot candidacy for Jeff Session's old Senate seat in a special election, beating connoisseur of teenaged girls Roy Moore by two percentage points. He lost that same seat two years later, like everyone predicted he would, to a blockhead coach with very little clue. Roll, Tide!

Considered a "moderate," Jones voted for Trump initiatives about 35% of the time, but he also voted for the conviction of Trump at his impeachment trial. All things considered, he's probably a little less "blue dog" than Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Jones would also bring a Southern accent to TV and could be as effective on that medium.

 



William K. Black
Wikipedia: Lawyer, academic, author, and a former bank regulator. Black's expertise is in white-collar crime, public finance, regulation, and other topics in law and economics. Black was litigation director for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) from 1984 to 1986, deputy director of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC) in 1987, and Senior VP and the General Counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco from 1987 to 1989, which regulated some of the largest thrift banks in the U.S. He was a central figure in exposing Congressional corruption during the Savings and Loan Crisis.

According to Bill Moyers, "During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L's in exchange for contributions and other perks. Bi-partisan enough for you? The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating — after whom the Senate's so-called "Keating Five" were named — he sent a memo that read, in part, 'get Black — kill him dead.' Metaphorically, of course. Of course." 

Black became very outspoken on the criminality behind the 2008 crash and 2009 recession. Black asserted that the banking crisis was essentially a big Ponzi scheme; that the "liar loans" and other financial tricks were essentially illegal frauds; and that the triple-A ratings given to these loans were part of a criminal cover-up. President Obama declined to prosecute the banks while Black thought that trying to hide how bad the situation was would simply prolong the problems. He fingered Obama's treasury secretary Timothy Geithner as engaging in the cover-up and claimed that Obama's team did not want people to understand what went wrong or how bad the banking situation was.

Given that past criticism of the Obama administration, Black is probably not a leading contender, though his appointment would make the Bernie forces happy ... which in turn would make McConnell very dyspeptic.

William K. Black


Jeh Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security for Obama's 2nd term. Previously the General Counsel of the Department of Defense from 2009 to 2012 during the first years of the Obama Administration. He is currently a partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and a member of the board of directors of Lockheed Martin Corporation and U.S. Steel. Johnson is a 2018 recipient of the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award, has debated several times at the Oxford and Cambridge Unions and is the recipient of ten honorary degrees. In private life, Johnson has been a frequent commentator on national and homeland security matters on NBC, MSNBC, FOX, CNN, ABC, CBS and PBS.

Too corporate for me but probably not for Biden.


Deval Patrick
Former Governor of Massachusetts for two terms, and before that served as the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton. He ran briefly as a vanity candidate for president in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.


Xavier Becerra
Currently Attorney General of California since 2017. He previously was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing downtown Los Angeles in Congress from 1993 to 2017. Becerra was Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus from 2013 to 2017. 

 

Lisa Monaco
Federal prosecutor who was the Homeland Security Adviser to President Barack Obama, the chief counterterrorism advisor to the president. In this capacity, she was a statutory member of the United States Homeland Security Council.

Monaco previously served as the Assistant Attorney General for National Security from 2011 to 2013, and as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department. In 2017, Monaco became a senior national security analyst for CNN.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Four More Members Named to the Biden Team

Alejandro Mayorkas, as secretary-designate of homeland security 

The first Latino and first immigrant (he was born in Cuba) to lead the Homeland Security Department. He is a former director of the department’s legal immigration agency and a former deputy secretary of homeland security.

According to Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Mayorkas was seen as the candidate who could best stabilize the department, which has spent much of the last four years in turmoil. The department has been cursed with vacancies and interim leaders, has been accused of bending to Mr. Trump’s political whims, whether that meant separating children from their families at the border, building a wall with Defense Department money, or pulling protesters from the streets of Portland, Ore.

Soon after his nomination became public, Mayorkas tweeted: "When I was very young, the United States provided my family and me a place of refuge. Now, I have been nominated to be the DHS Secretary and oversee the protection of all Americans and those who flee persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones."



Avril Haines, as director of national intelligence

First woman named to this job, Haines was also the first woman to be deputy director of the CIA and served as former President Barack Obama’s principal deputy national security adviser. Haines has worked with Biden for more than a decade.

According to Ben Leonard, she was born into a household of two scientists. While Haines was still a teenager, she became a principal caregiver to her mother, who was dying of tuberculosis. By the time she was 24, Haines had studied physics at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University after receiving a degree in physics from the University of Chicago. She then pursued and received a law degree from George Washington University.

In the mid-1990s she opened a book store in Baltimore with her future husband. She then clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit from 2002 to 2003. From 2007 to 2008, Haines served as the deputy chief counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Joe Biden chaired. In 2018, Haines was named a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Juicy factoid: While running her bookstore, she and her husband to be hosted monthly readings of erotic literature.


John F. Kerry, as the presidential envoy for climate

Kerry is (of course!) a former secretary of state, senator, and Democratic presidential nominee. He will lead the country’s reentry into global climate politics in a new role that will elevate climate change as a priority of President-elect Biden. [What follows comes from Brady Dennis et al.]

Kerry has continued to work on climate-related issues since the end of the Obama administration. Last year, Kerry launched World War Zero, a coalition of scientists, celebrities, world leaders and other activists to push for more aggressive climate action around the globe. The group describes its mission as “uniting unlikely allies with one common mission: respond to the climate crisis now.”

Earlier this year, Kerry co-chaired a climate task force with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) set up by the Biden campaign to make policy recommendations and bring supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) into the fold after Biden secured the Democratic nomination.

Catherine Coleman Flowers, an environmental activist in Montgomery, Ala., and a Sanders surrogate on the panel, said Kerry helped smooth over disagreements involving nuclear energy and other issues during Zoom meetings.

“He was quite the diplomat in terms of trying to make sure that all sides were represented and that we could reach compromises that we could all live with,” she said. “He had a good understanding of the climate crisis.”


Janet Yellin, as secretary-designate of the Department of the Treasury

First woman nominated to lead Treasury in its 231-year history. Also the first woman to head the Federal Reserve.

According to Michael Crowley and Jeanna Smialek, "Biden is turning to a renowned labor economist at a moment of high unemployment, when millions of Americans remain out of work and the economy continues to struggle from the coronavirus.

"Ms. Yellen, 74, is likely to bring a long-held preference for government help for households that are struggling economically. But she will be thrust into negotiating for more aid with what is expected to be a divided Congress, pushing her into a far more political role than the one she played at the independent central bank.

“ 'While the pandemic is still seriously affecting the economy, we need to continue extraordinary fiscal support,' Ms. Yellen said in a Bloomberg Television interview in October."

That's a Hell of a Piece of Graceless Denial that Emily Murphy Wrote

 

The head of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, the formerly anonymous Federal employee who has the power to launch the presidential transition, wrote her "letter of ascertainment," and it might supply endless grist for psychological profiles for years to come.

She says that the law gives her sole power to open the Federal government to Biden's transition teams. (She never addresses him as "President Elect," by the way.) Sole authority. It's all her decision. No one pressured her to delay the ascertainment. No one ordered that she issue her letter yesterday. No one in the executive branch or in the White House. No one.

It's Trump-world speak for "I know that I must deny being terrified of existential annihilation."

Immediately, Twitterman tweeted that he ordered her.

Her letter is actually not only a Federal lie of remarkable proportions but also tawdry, as she lapses into whining about the abuse she's taken from a public unamused by her stonewalling.

Deal with it. You chose to lie down with that dog.


Monday, November 23, 2020

Biden Building Out His Foreign Policy Team To Rebuild US Prestige Abroad

 

Biden is reportedly going to name Linda Thomas-Greenfield as his UN Ambassador. Gotta fall back on Wikipedia here:

[She] is an American diplomat who served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the United States Department of State's Bureau of African Affairs from 2013 to 2017. Thomas-Greenfield has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (2004–2006), Ambassador to Liberia (2008–2012), and Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (2012–2013). In 2017 she was terminated by the Trump administration as part of a "purge of senior State Department officials and career professionals over nearly four years."

Love it that she's one of the career diplomats purged out of the State Department in the early days of the Trump administration.

Jake Sullivan will reportedly be named National Security Advisor:

Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan (born November 28, 1976) is an American policymaker who was a senior policy advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential election campaign, with expertise in foreign policy.

At present, Sullivan is the Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and a senior fellow and Master in Public Policy faculty member at the Carsey School of Public Policy.

Sullivan was also a senior advisor to the U.S. government for the Iran nuclear negotiations and a visiting professor at Yale Law School.

Prior to teaching at Yale, Sullivan worked in the Obama administration as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. He also served as the Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State, and as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Prior to this, he was deputy policy director on Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential primary campaign, and a member of the debate preparation team for Barack Obama's general election campaign. [Wikipedia]

 

Biden Makes His Pick for Secretary of State

 

Tony Blinken has the best hair.
Photo Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President-Elect Joe Biden has chosen his Secretary of State, Antony (no aitch) "Tony" Blinken, who has long and deep experience. The following from Wikipedia:

"...served as United States Deputy Secretary of State from 2015 to 2017 and Deputy National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2015 under President Barack Obama. He previously served as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2001–2002), Democratic Staff Director of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (2002–2008), and a member of the Obama–Biden presidential transition, active from November 2008 to January 2009, among other positions. From 2009 to 2013, Blinken served as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President. From 2002 to 2008, he served as the Democratic Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. During the Clinton Administration, Blinken served in the State Department and in senior positions on the National Security Council staff."

He's not looking to blow up the world, and he speaks fluent French. His parents survived the Holocaust.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Two Brave Republicans: Chatfield and Shirkey

 

You know you're in a fix when you need to praise two Michigan Republicans for not being intimidated into overturning an election for partisan control.

Lee Chatfield on the left with Mike Shirkey beside him. 
Photo Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press
See, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, they got summoned to the Oval Office by the President of the United States, who just wanted a friendly chat about what the chances were that they could make the Michigan state legislature overturn the election results and name Trump electors for the Electoral College vote on December 14.

Instead, Messrs. Shirkey and Chatfield said no thank you and instead hit the president up for Federal aide to combat the coronavirus. Then they issued a press statement that was the equivalent of a door-slammin':


"We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election."

There was more -- a deliberate slap at Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani (and by implication a slap at Twitterman himself):

"Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation. Allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and if proven, prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And the candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan's electoral votes. These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections.”

Now, I judge those two guys about the bravest elected Republicans in the nation right now. Also strategic operators, like many Midwesterners, as they took command of the meeting for an opportunity to get some help for Michigan in this COVID crisis. "...They focused on COVID-19 assistance, not the president's ongoing efforts to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election." Michigan's virus spike is straining every resource. On the very day that they visited the president in his den, Michigan reported 9,779 new cases and 53 additional deaths.

So imagine the scene: Trump, who by reputation usually does all the talking and expects people to snap to, gets shut down by these two gentlemen from Michigan -- they either used the actual word "No" or otherwise indicated they weren't there to play. Instead, they grab the moment to plead for help for their beleaguered state. Trump sits there, steaming. But the gentlemen are ready and have a definitive printed statement on "threats and intimidation." 

Has Trump trashed them yet on Twitter? Dunno. Will find out by and by (see footnote).

In the meantime, I put Messrs. Shirkey and Chatfield up against Lindsey Graham and just laugh.

Footnote

I went and looked at Twitterman's Twitter feed. At 8:15 this morning, he retweeted the Shirkey/Chatfield press release with the bizarre comment, "Massive voter fraud will be shown!" How, where "massive voter fraud" gets outed -- that's unexplained, along with what the fraud consists of. One wonders if he actually read the press release before he retweeted it. 

So maybe the meeting went like this: "Massive fraud will be shown!" Chatfield and Shirkey: "Call us when you've got something real. Now, we have this other thing going on...."

For Trump it's massive "fraud" when Black people vote in large numbers.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

I'm Thinking of Becoming a Shallow Person

 

Because keeping up and caring about all this stuff is so exhausting.

I mean, I loved "The Apprentice," especially "Celebrity Apprentice," and I think having such an ingenious -- he came up with all those tasks every week -- and decisive president is what people I follow on Twitter say we need right now. Anyways, when is the election exactly?

I've heard of socialism. It's bad. I will avoid it like I avoid looking like a slouch when I go out of the house.

I don't even know what the state legislature does. Something about naming post offices, I think. No, I've never heard of Phil Berger or Tim Moore. Were they on "The Apprentice"?

I keep hearing about a big party in Georgia pretty soon after New Year's, and if there's live music I want to go sooo bad. The travel problems -- not just the weather in January, but have you ever been in traffic in Atlanta? Plus people look at you hard about those masks. This flu everybody's talking about -- I've had the flu before and it's no biggie. Besides, I had my flu shot. And how come the lines at the drive-throughs are miles long? Who's playing in Georgia, anyway? If I had a list of the performers, I could see if it's really worth the effort. Maybe I should try to get others to help drive and share the gas.

I don't know a thing about student debt, about why all those Black people are protesting, about "unemployment benefits and relief packages for the middle class," about Afghanistan and Iraq and the rest of "foreign policy" (yuk!), about some chick at the GSA (whatever that is?), about whether or not the climate is changing for the bad ... so don't even. Don't even ask me. I have heard about maybe North Carolina's legalizing marijuana, and I'm interested in that.

I keep hearing that The Donald is burning something in Washington, or "burning it down." That makes me a little nervous. Maybe it's the National Christmas Tree they're talking about, but we always waited until after New Year's to burn ours. That's why I'm a little nervous, not knowing what they're talking about.

Anyhow, I hear "The Crown" is terrific, and I mean to get to it as soon as I finish bingeing on all ten seasons of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Body Count -- Christopher Krebs


A Reoccurring Feature on Who's Getting Pushed Off Luxury Liner Trump

The petty vindictiveness of impeached loser Donald J. Trump found a new victim in Christopher Krebs yesterday, head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the Department of Homeland Security. There's no practical reason for the firing, which was done by Tweet, other than to inflict revenge on an official who dared to contradict Twitterman -- there was no fraud in the national election.

Earlier yesterday, Krebs in a tweet refuted allegations that election systems were manipulated, saying that “59 election security experts all agree, ‘in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.’ ” Krebs’s statement amounted to a debunking of Trump’s central claim that the November election was stolen.

Trump’s acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf also forced Krebs' deputy to resign.

After his firing, Krebs responded from his personal Twitter account: “Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow. #Protect2020.”

The Cost of Defeating Trump at All Costs

 


Guest Blogging: Drayton Aldridge

Around this time last year, the Democratic Party was in the midst of a heated debate over the direction the party needed to take to defeat Donald Trump and move the country forward. Early on, it was an exciting primary campaign defined by ideas. Bernie Sanders appealed to young and working-class voters with a bold agenda centered around economic, social, and environmental justice. Elizabeth Warren released a string of proposals that balanced progressive ideals with pragmatic solutions. Andrew Yang built a small but devoted following around his Freedom Dividend, a proposal to ease economic anxiety and spur innovation by giving every American $1,000 a month. And it wasn’t just the anti-establishment wing of the party offering big ideas. Democratic stalwarts like Jay Inslee and Julian Castro also got in on the fun with ambitious proposals on the environment and immigration.  

 

In the end, however, this campaign was never going to be about big ideas or any ideas at all. With a deranged psychopath occupying the White House and terrorizing blue America with every tweet, many Democratic voters simply were not interested in debating the intricacies of healthcare or tax policy, much less bringing about a political revolution. They wanted one thing and one thing only: to defeat Donald Trump at all costs.

 

Joe Biden decided to seek the presidency in the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He promised to restore character and decency to the White House and heal the country after four years of bitter division. He offered Democrats a politically moderate, demographically low-risk (i.e., older white male) candidacy bolstered by strong poll numbers against Trump and the good will engendered by eight years as Barack Obama’s right-hand man. Other candidates had more buzz, more inspiring platforms, and stronger debate performances, but the Biden campaign bet correctly that most Democratic voters would forgive all of this if he could convince them of his electability. Biden’s nomination was not a foregone conclusion, and for a few weeks in February of 2020 it looked as if Democrats might get behind the far more revolutionary candidacy of Bernie Sanders. But by early March the party faithful had coalesced around Biden and before long his nomination was assured.

 

Democrats decided on a candidate but they never decided what kind of party they wanted to be. The big ideas were shelved and the soul-searching was postponed indefinitely. Instead, they focused their efforts on the singularly important task of defeating Donald Trump. To Biden’s tremendous credit, he delivered. Though the margin was considerably closer than the blue team had hoped for, Biden rode his message of character and unity to an electoral college victory. But this message came at a cost.

 

At the core of Joe Biden’s campaign was the idea that Donald Trump is an aberration from the great bipartisan tradition of American politics. This message implicitly cast Trump as separate from other Republicans and made those Republicans out to be decent enough people. Biden reinforced this message by playing up his own unique ability to work with political adversaries such as Mitch McConnell. Again this painted an unhelpful picture of Republicans as statesmen willing to compromise for the good of the country. The narrative worked well enough for Biden’s prospects but at the cost of letting the most dangerous Republican Party in American history off the hook. With messaging like this, it’s little wonder so many Americans voted for divided government.  

 

Joe Biden’s campaign did little to lift the Democrats down ballot, but the Democratic Party didn’t do much to help itself either. In what should have been an all-hands-on-deck year of record voter registration and get out the vote efforts, the party significantly pulled back its in-person voter outreach because it didn’t want to confuse its messaging on Covid-19. Instead, the party confused its messaging on whether it has any interest in winning elections. The party failed to articulate a meaningful agenda aside from being anti-Trump, and it failed to take Republicans to task for their damning record of treachery, corruption, and failure. Instead, in this most momentous of American elections, Senate and House candidates ran on such insultingly vacuous ideas as “access” to healthcare and “following the science” on climate change. Most of them lost, and they deserved to lose.  

 

There must be a better way. Surely the Democrats have the capacity to defeat a historically disastrous Republican Party all the way down the ballot while also championing a popular humanitarian agenda. If not it’s going to be a long and agonizing slide into the abyss. I’m not sure how many more of these victories the Democratic Party can take. 

 


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Election Isn't Won Until This Woman Says It's Won

 

Emily Murphy, head of the
General Services Administration

Ascertainment. It means discovery. Emily Murphy must issue a "letter of ascertainment" about the election of Joe Biden (elected by the same "landslide" of 306 electoral votes that elected Trump in 2016) before the transition of presidential power can begin.

Emily Murphy, more afraid of Trump and the threat of purge than she is afraid of the judgment of history, hasn't been able to discover that Biden has been elected.

It's however been discovered that she's actively looking for another job that might ideally start in, say, late January 2021.

She's a Trump peach. Until she releases her okay, Biden's team is barred from moving into government offices, "including secure facilities where they can discuss classified information. The teams cannot meet with their counterparts in agencies or begin background checks of top cabinet nominees that require top-secret access" (Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, and Michael Crowley). She's a one-woman blood clot.

Like everything else about Twitterman's administration, this refusal to act is not just unprecedented. It's toxic. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Dr. Scott Atlas Is Just Plain Evil

 

Dr. Evil
In an administration headed by Twitterman, it's hard to pick out malfeasance even bigger than his, but we see that Trump's new COVID-19 Czar Dr. Scott Atlas has stepped up.

With the virus infection rate soaring in Michigan (as it is almost everywhere else), its governor Gretchen Whitmer issued new protocols which included halting in-person education in high schools and colleges for the next three weeks, along with stopping indoor dining, attendance at movie theaters, sporting events, and throwing away money in casinos.

To which Dr. Atlas responded by tweeting, "The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp."

Michigan has its own right-wing, armed militia -- probably several of them -- only too willing to polish up their AKs and push their paunches into public spaces to defy that woman. Atlas is trying to incite something not only unsanitary but life threatening. Some doctor!


Sunday, November 15, 2020

I'm Part of the Problem


They were warning us when I was a kid that television was going to dumb us down. They were right about that. But it's also made us meaner. We love to see people tortured, don't we? That's what "reality" shows are all about. Torturing people. Embarrassing them. Watching them squirm, make denials, plead for acceptance. The people who sign the legal waivers to be on reality shows -- Judge Judy alone has humiliated thousands of them for profit for decades -- they willingly serve themselves up as snacks for the rest of us who obviously enjoy starring at the pain of others -- pain as public performance. Do we get validation of own superiority from watching it? Yes. Like the Romans who enjoyed a good afternoon at the Coliseum, we're mollified by the humiliation of others. When it's on TV, it hardly even registers. It's just a show. 

Is it a human gene, or a suite of genes, triggered by some mysterious stimuli (like feeling kept down by forces you resent), to side with a bully? Why would over 70 million people, scattered in every state but concentrated in some, watch four years of Trump's cruelty -- his petty meanness on Twitter, his caging of kids, his farting in the face of democracy (and decency), his using foreigners as scapegoats, his persecution of certain religions -- and want four more years of that, or 12 more years, or hell! let's make it forever? Those voters liked the cruelty of Trump, the end-stage symptom of a wounded soul looking for vindication and revenge. Imagine Walder Frey had seized the Iron Thone and hosted a Red Wedding for liberals. (See what TeeVee has done to me!)

The performance of meanness. Isn't that what the Proud Boys are all about? The guys in gimme caps in the big new trucks, muscling the big flags through traffic? The people with big guns marching into peaceful settings, just for the hell of owning the libs and scattering the cucks? The spoiling for a fight, the eagerness to bust heads, the need to touch other flesh violently? It's what's been unleashed by Trump. And he's its biggest fan:

ANTIFA SCUM ran for the hills today when they tried attacking the people at the Trump Rally, because those people aggressively fought back. Antifa waited until tonight, when 99% were gone, to attack innocent #MAGA People. DC Police, get going — do your job and don’t hold back!!!
It's a show to him. It's a show for them. And we're all watching it too and commenting because it's what's on in the must-see primetime of our lives.

We've so doomed.

Friday, November 13, 2020

The Body Count -- Valerie Boyd and Bryan Ware

 

A Reoccurring Feature on Who's Getting Pushed Off Luxury Liner Trump

The White House has forced out two top Department of Homeland Security officials as part of a widening purge of anyone suspected of lacking complete loyalty to Trump: Valerie Boyd, the top official for international affairs at DHS, was asked for her resignation, as well as Bryan Ware, a senior policy aide at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The requests came from the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office, whose 30-year-old director, John McEntee, has recently intensified efforts to purge appointees who have failed to demonstrate sufficient fealty to the president.

Cheri Beasley Is Now Winning the Chief Justice Race

 

Sitting Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is now leading Rumpelstiltskin-in-a-former-life Paul Newby for the privilege of running the court. The vote is currently 2,685,809 (Beasley) v. 2,684,691 (Newby), a lead of 1,118 votes.

The deadline for Absentee-by-Mail ballots was yesterday, and the counting of those votes into last night, along with several thousand provisionals across the state, account for Beasley's sudden reversal of fortune. She was trailing on election night, and some of us thought that she had sure nuf lost, an eventuality that hurt as much as the Cal Cunningham trainwreck.

Newby, currently an associate justice on the NC Supreme Court, is known for extreme partisan views mixed with dominionist religiosity (and possibly the ability to spin gold out of straw).

If that thousand-vote lead holds, Beasley will be presiding over a 5-2 Democratic majority on the state's high court. Phil Berger Jr., whose main talent appears to be upward mobility, beat Lucy Inman for Newby's open seat by 69,417 votes (1.3%), and Republican Tamara Barringer beat Democrat incumbent Mark Davis by almost 128,000 (2.4%). All the Democratic candidates for the Court of Appeals lost to Republicans, but all those races were close. The Republicans generally won with a 2.5% edge. But the Court of Appeals is going to be a tough venue for certain kinds of justice for the foreseeable future.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Ignore The Hot Takes: Georgia And North Carolina Are Both Purple States


Guest Blogging: Drayton Aldridge

Election 2020 is drawing to a close, and the same pundits who predicted a Biden landslide are churning out their pieces on the momentous Democratic victory in Georgia, as well as the red wave that swept through states like North Carolina. There’s no doubt that Georgia showed up this year, and Democrats across the country owe tremendous gratitude to the efforts of organizers and volunteers throughout the state. 

Carolyn Bordeaux
As of this writing Joe Biden appears poised to win Georgia’s 16 electoral votes and turn the state blue for the first time since 1992. Democrats also flipped a suburban Atlanta congressional seat in one of their few pickups of the night (Carolyn Bordeaux in the 7th CD). Georgia may even rescue Democratic hopes of a Senate majority in the January runoff elections. 

Meanwhile North Carolina Democrats once again lost to Donald Trump, blew an eminently winnable Senate race, lost every competitive congressional election, lost crucial judicial races, and came up short in their efforts to flip the state legislature before next year’s redistricting. Particularly due to the ramifications of that last point, Democrats in North Carolina are feeling deeply dispirited as they begin to assess their daunting path forward.

While the wins and losses in both states are very real, the narratives forming around them are mostly hogwash. When all the votes are counted, Georgia will very narrowly go for Biden and North Carolina will very narrowly go for Trump. Results from other statewide races reinforce the fact that both states remain closely divided.

Looking ahead to the future, both states will be central to Democrats’ path to the presidency in the next election, taking the place of traditional swing states like Ohio and Florida that are clearly trending red. North Carolina’s Senate election will be one of the marquee races of the 2022 midterms, as will Georgia’s senate race and gubernatorial election. Both states are highly competitive and changing quickly, yet continue to be dominated by ultra-regressive Republicans who lie, cheat, gerrymander, and vote-suppress their way into power. So far this has worked swimmingly for Republicans and it will continue to work for them until it doesn’t. Take a look at Virginia if you want to know how this story eventually ends.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Democrats in the NC House Can ALSO Still Sustain the Governor's Veto

After watching what I considered devastating losses for Democrats in NC House races, I leapt to the wholly inaccurate conclusion that the Democrats had lost their ability to sustain Governor Cooper's vetoes. Thanks to reader scharrison who commented below, I'm correcting the record.

Democrats will now have 51 members in the NC House. (Going into November 3rd, they had 55.) They need 49 votes to sustain a veto (assuming all 120 members of the House are present and voting). In the new House, Democrats will have 2 votes to spare for sustaining a Cooper veto.

In other words, Republican super-majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly are still shredded.


The Body Count -- Richard Pilger


A Reoccurring Feature on Who's Jumping Off Luxury Liner Trump

Yesterday, minutes after Attorney General William Barr waded into Trump’s unfounded accusations of widespread voter fraud and told federal prosecutors that they were allowed to investigate “specific allegations” of voter fraud before the results of the presidential race are certified, Richard Pilger, the Justice Department official who oversees investigations of voter fraud, stepped down from his position.

“Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications,” Pilger wrote to his colleagues, “I must regretfully resign from my role as director of the Election Crimes Branch.” 

Barr’s directive ignored the Justice Department’s longstanding policies intended to keep law enforcement from affecting the outcome of an election.

“It would be problematic enough if Barr were reversing longstanding Justice Department guidance because of significant, substantiated claims of misconduct — that could presumably be handled at the local and state level,” said Stephen I. Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “But to do so when there is no such evidence — and when the president’s clear strategy is to delegitimize the results of a proper election — is one of the more problematic acts of any attorney general in my lifetime.” 

In the meantime, the act of a career Department of Justice official in charge of investigating election crimes is one of the more honorable decisions we've witnessed this month.

Monday, November 09, 2020

The Body Count -- SecDef Mark Esper

A Reoccurring Feature on Who's Jumping Getting Pushed Off Luxury Liner Trump

Donald Trump tweeted today, “Mark Esper has been terminated." It makes zero sense to replace the Secretary of Defense at this point in his presidency, except for the pure joy of satisfying his cruelty and lack of class.

It is the first time in the modern era that a president seeking reelection has removed his Pentagon chief after Election Day. Presidents who win reelection often replace Cabinet members, including the secretary of defense, but losing presidents have kept their Pentagon chiefs in place until Inauguration Day to preserve stability in the name of national security. Esper's firing is unsettling for the Pentagon and a source of concern for international allies and partners.

Esper’s strained relationship with Trump came close to collapse last summer during civil unrest that triggered a debate within the administration over the proper role of the military in combatting domestic unrest. Esper’s opposition to using active duty troops to help quell protests in Washington, D.C., infuriated Trump, and led to wide speculation that the defense chief was prepared to quit if faced with such an issue again.

Democrats in the NC Senate Can Still Sustain the Governor's Veto


Phil Berger,
boss of the NC Senate

If the current numbers hold, Democrats will retain 22 out of the 50 seats in the NC Senate. Democrats actually gained a seat. (I know! It's maybe the brightest news for North Carolina Democrats from an election that wiped out the aspirations of many other good people.) It takes 30 votes to override a governor's veto. The Republicans will be two votes short, if all the Democrats stay true and if my math isn't wrong. The House Democrats' ability to sustain a Cooper veto got vaporized on November 3rd, but not the Senate's.

But one major area of legislative action -- redistricting -- remains bad lousy, wretched, and wrong for Democrats for the next ten years. The governor has no veto authority over redistricting maps, and the Democrats in both houses of the General Assembly will have no leverage for negotiation. The Republicans will do their worse, the courts will sort it out, and people with progressive ideas can take an old cold tater and wait.

In the past, both Republicans and Democrats have advocated fair redistricting reforms, giving the map-drawing power over to an independent, non-partisan commission:

One of those reform bills in 2019 was so popular that more than half of the members of the N.C. House signed on as co-sponsors, virtually guaranteeing it would pass at least one chamber. However, it did not, since GOP leaders never allowed it to come up for a vote.

That redistricting reform bill, stuck in committee purgatory, was HB 140 or the FAIR Act. In addition to its broad bipartisan support at the legislature it was also backed by the group North Carolinians for Redistricting Reform, which boasts numerous prominent political insiders from both parties on its board of directors. [Will Doran]

You seriously think Phil Berger gives a fig? He doesn't. He doesn't hear any of it. He doesn't intend ever to give away the power that so intoxicates him:

"Where we've seen these commissions in other states, they end up being populated by folks who are partisans of one sort or the other," Berger said. "So I think if you're going to have folks who are partisans, they at least ought to be elected by the people of the state."

Impeccable logic, that, if maintaining power is your drug.


Sunday, November 08, 2020

Mark Your Calendars: Trump Gets Dunked Again in Georgia 4 Days After New Year's

 

On January 5th, the voters in Georgia will need to go back to the polls for a crucial run-off election. There's some thought out there that it'll be another referendum on Trump (I add to that thought below against my will because I want so much to be done with him). Those voters in Georgia also done with Trump will need to come out on January 5th with greater force than they mustered last Tuesday, which was a lot, because control of the US Senate is on the line. My peeps in Georgia need either to vote early (early voting will go on for 3 weeks and will start just a month from now -- yikes!), or request an absentee-by-mail ballot, or plan to show up appropriately dressed at a local poll on January 5th -- to select not one but two US Senators. Both Republican Kelly Loeffler's seat (she was just appointed this year and has to run in her own right by state law) and Republican David Perdue's seat (he's finishing his 1st term) are on the line. They're forced into runoffs because neither received 50% + 1 of the vote last Tuesday. Loeffler got 25.9% in the three-way special election, trailing Democrat Raphael Warnock by over 341,000 votes, while Perdue is currently leading Democrat Jon Ossoff with 49.8% of the vote, not 50% + 1. Currently, because the count is still going on in Georgia. Perdue leads Ossoff by 90,274 votes. 

My main political ops contact down there told me this:

Yes, there is a chance [Democrats could win those seats]. 

However, Blacks are historically iffy on participation in runoffs. That it’s in January is a problem, too. 

Warnock proved to be a great surprise and would have won outright if only Lieberman’s kid and those other bozos dropped their vanity campaigns [7 other Dems were on the ballot with Warnock including former Senator Joe Lieberman's son]. Still the key to victory for either or both will be GOTV.

The other factor is the sheer power of the Republicans to galvanize quickly around bozos and, in the case of Loeffler, bozettes. Clearly, she can be beaten because she's still pretty easily baited. Perdue just hides. I doubt he’ll do a real interview or open town hall type thing through the process. Point is, it will be tough, but I think it can be done.

I personally know three people in Watauga and Caldwell counties who plan to go down and volunteer their time and shoe leather to Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight org, which has been a major mover of the Black vote and which can be totally credited if Joe Biden ends up carrying Georgia (which seems likely). Currently, Biden leads Trump in Georgia by 10,196 votes.

There'll be hundreds, if not thousands, of Democratic activists heading from all over the nation to Georgia, from now through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Guest-housing is going to be at a premium. And money's gonna gush on both sides. You know McConnell will turn on the hose and so should Democratic money-bags. If you (not that you're a money-bag) want to donate to Fair Fight, go here.

Will the Runoff Be a Referendum on Trump?

You betcha.

From the looks of it, Trumpists are prepared to deny reality going into the next millennium. Trump has every intention of fanning those flames. Will their resentments and lust for revenge drive even more Trumpists to the polls on January 5th? Or will they get over it by then? Doubtful the latter, reasonably to be expected the former (although maybe by January 5th they'll still be hungover from the combo of bust-head and fantasy scenarios of mass extermination). Isn't it likely that Trump, still in performance mode as King Lear, will bestow his blessing on both Loeffler and Perdue to keep his legacy alive in the Senate?

Because if both Loeffler and Perdue lose, the US Senate goes to a 50-50 split with Kamala Harris empowered by the Constitution to break ties. Now that's a prospect -- unlikely as it may be -- to galvanize volunteers and electrify a voting population historically accustomed to losing but now transformed by Stacey Abrams' amazing energy. The new majority will be looking to nail some pelts to the old smokehouse door.

About the 50% + 1 Rule in Georgia

In most other states -- the vast majority not below the Mason Dixon Line -- a plurality of votes in a primary wins even if 50% + 1 didn't choose the winner. The 50% rule is popular in the South because ... well, think about it. Loeffler has a runoff with a Black candidate:

Georgia’s runoff law was created in the 1960s as a way to preserve white political power in a majority-white state and diminish the influence of Black politicians who could more easily win in a multicandidate race with a plurality of the vote, according to an Interior Department report.

Since the 1990s, Democrats have won only one of seven statewide runoffs in general or special elections, according to Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political newsletter. [Luke Broadwater]


The Two Democrats

I've written about Ossoff multiple times, but this is probably the money shot. No, this is the money shot, courtesy of YouTube -- the moment in Ossoff's one debate with Perdue when Ossoff called him a crook to his face and Perdue had no defense nor denial. This is the moment when many woke up to the possibility that Ossoff is a Democratic bad-ass and therefore worthy as a standard-bearer. Perdue canceled a follow-up debate.

 



wrote about Raphael Warnock back in August. I was impressed with his introductory video, and he clearly has the personal magnetism to move voters:




Friday, November 06, 2020

Biden Should Govern Like a Republican


Joe Biden will get nothing through the US Senate as long as Mitch McConnell is running it. Joe Biden needs to take a page from George W. Bush, who won no mandate in 2000 -- it took the Republicans on the US Supreme Court to hand the presidency to him -- but he governed like he was surfing forward on a massive tidal wave of approval from the American public.

Or Biden could take a similar lesson from his immediate predecessor. Trump was always a minority president, but he governed like he had the biggest mandate on the block (White House insiders whispered that his mandate was really very small, well below average). Even after he lost his Republican majority in the US House, Trump still acted like nothing stood in his way.

There's some important things Biden can do by executive order, like first of all reversing all those Trump executive orders. Hey, Joe, govern like you have a pair. Impress the folks in the cheap seats.


Thursday, November 05, 2020

I've Got To Get Hold of Myself

 

Okay, I'll confess. After the Ray Russell loss in the NC House District 93 race Tuesday night, I went to bed for 24 hours. Didn't necessarily sleep. Turned off all electronic devices, including WETS, but still developed a throb in my temples. Hugged my pillow and shrugged off Jake, who wanted a walk bad. Finally, this a.m., I still ain't pretty to look at, but at least I'm standing on my feet.

Researching in depth this morning what went down in North Carolina (see previous post down-column), it's like body blows to see that Christy Clark and Sydney Batch lost their House seats and J.D. Wooten and Terri LeGrand couldn't quite win their Senate races. (Setting aside for the moment the many other body blows we sustained in both Federal races and statewide in Council of State contests.) I've spent over three years researching and writing about the brave Democrats -- those folks I just mentioned and many more -- who were breaking into the Republican pods in our General Assembly, or trying to break in. It's demoralizing to see what gerrymanding continues to dish up.

It ain't just gerrymandering. Of course, maps count, but the larger fact is that overwhelming majorities in some locales, not all, have watched the Phil Berger/Tim Moore regime in Raleigh (I'll get to the Trump regime below) and consciously asked for another big helpin' of it. They're perfectly okay with the strangling of public education and the back-handing of the unemployed, the poor, and the sick. They're super okay with the coddling and the privileging of the rich at the expense of the middle class. They're just fine with the power-grabs, the deliberate suppression of black and young voters, the petty vendettas against a Democratic governor, and the attempted manipulation of the mechanics of voting to maintain their power. Worst of all perhaps, they're partisan enablers of a pandemic, libertarians with the public health. That's the government the people around me want (actually, more the voters in the County of Ashe -- the prime movers in Ray Russell's loss -- cause Watauga's blue). That majoritarian reality dominates many isolated progressives marooned in many other North Carolina counties.

Our local reality in North Carolina is one thing. Nationally, the shit is even deeper, even if Biden ekes out a win. Largely, in fact, because Biden ekes out a win. You think Trump goes away at all, or goes away without a big public stink? It'll be like trying to induce an unwilling spider monkey back into his cage. He ain't going until he's caused a big enough spotlight to guarantee the financial success of his next commercial enterprise, perhaps his own television network to rival Fox. The charm of a snake-oil drummer will not go wasted, along with the inherent gullibility of low-information voters, who also ain't gonna take losing gracefully. 

Trumpism is here forever. It's always been here, truth to tell. Trump has just awakened it with pure blarney -- "The hatreds and resentments you feel are the right hatreds and resentments to feed, and I'm here to help puff you up by insulting your enemies. Listening to me proves how smart you are!" Selling that line of bullshit takes the unmitigated skill of the carnival barker. Once hooked, the gulls are entertained by the spills and thrills of Trump's immorality and cruelty. "Owning the libs," dissing this media, and torturing illegal immigrants is great rippin' sport. 

Meanwhile, the Trump show is the Republican Party, and its elected officials going forward will probably now be even more leery of bucking the Trumpists. McConnell is still king of the Senate (you think he won't treat Biden the way he treated Obama?). But the Republican Party is also now a co-respondent in an unhappy marriage with Qanon and the KKK, the Proud Boys and militia dudes everywhere. Kids in cages was not just Trump public policy. It was irresistible catnip for the bloody-minded -- validation and flattery for their grudges.

That's the harsh reality in 2020 for North Carolina. It'll be even worse for Democrats in the Midterms of 2022. 


No Blue Wave in North Carolina

 

Results below in NC Senate and House races of interest. The red or the blue indicate winners.

NC Senate

SD1 -- Democrat Tess Judge attempts to unseat Republican Bob Steinburg.

SD7 -- Democrat Donna Lake challenges Republican Jim Perry, who was appointed to the seat.

SD9 -- Democrat Harper Peterson is running to keep the seat he won in 2018. Republican Mike Lee, who lost in 2018, is running to regain the seat. [At the moment, Lee leads Peterson by 1,468 votes.]

SD11 -- Democrat Allen Wellons goes against Republican Lisa Stone Barnes for this open seat.

SD13 -- Democrat Barbara Yates-Lockamy is trying to unseat Republican incumbent Danny Britt.

SD16 -- Democrat Wiley Nickel is defending the seat he won in 2018 against Republican Will Marsh.

SD17 -- Democrat Sam Searcy is defending the seat he won in 2018 against Republican Mark Cavaliero.

DeAndrea Salvador (SD39)

SD18
 -- Democrat Sarah Crawford is favored against Republican Larry Norman in this redrawn district.

SD19 -- Democrat Kirk deViere is defending the seat he won in 2018 in a rematch with Republican Wesley Meredith.

SD20 -- Democrat Natalie Murdock is favored against Republican John Tarantino for this open seat.

SD24 -- Democrat J.D. Wooten is challenging Republican Amy Galey for this open seat.

SD25 -- Democrat Helen Probst Mills is trying again to unseat Republican incumbent Tom McInnis.

SD27 -- Democrat Michael Garrett is defending the seat he won in 2018 against Republican Sebastian King.

SD31 -- Democrat Terri LeGrand is challenging Republican incumbent Joyce Krawiec in this redrawn district.

SD36 -- Democrat Marcus J. Singleton is challenging Republican incumbent Paul Newton.

SD38 -- Democrat Mujtaba Mohammed defends the seat he won in 2018. He's favored to win easily against Republican Jack Brosch.

SD 39 -- Democrat DeAndrea Salvador is heavily favored in Sen. (now US Rep) Dan Bishop's former district, now redrawn. Salvador faces Republican Josh Niday

SD41 -- Democrat Natasha Marcus is defending the seat she won in 2018 against Constitution Party member Christopher Cole. No Republican filed to run.

SD48 -- Democrat Brian Caskey is challenging Republican incumbent Chuck Edwards.

SD 49 -- Democrat Julie Mayfield is favored to replace Sen. Terry van Duyn for this open seat against Republican Bob Penland.


NC House

HD1 -- Democrat Emily Bunch Nicholson is trying to unseat Republican incumbent Ed Goodwin.

Brian Farkas (HD9)

HD9
 -- Democrat Brian Farkas is trying to unseat Republican Perrin Jones, who was appointed to the seat.

HD12 -- Democrat Virginia Cox-Daugherty is running to unseat Republican incumbent Chris Humphrey.

HD19 -- Democrat Marcia Morgan is running against Republican Charlie Miller for this open seat.

HD20 -- Democrat Adam Ericson is running to unseat Republican incumbent Ted Davis.

HD22 -- Democrat Albert Kirby Jr. is challenging Democrat-turned-Republican incumbent Bill Brisson

HD25 -- Democrat James D. Galliard is defending the seat he won in 2018 against Republican John Check.

HD35 -- Democrat Terrence Everitt is defending the seat he won in 2018 against Republican Fred Von Canon.

HD36 -- Democrat Julie von Haefen is defending the seat she won in 2018 against Republican Kim Coley.

HD37 -- Democrat Sydney Batch is defending the seat she won in 2018 against Republican Erin Pare. [At the moment, Pare is leading Batch by 2,249 votes.]

HD43 -- Democrat Kimberly Hardy is running against Republican Diane Wheatley for a seat currently held by Democrat Elmer Floyd. Hardy beat Floyd in the March primary. [At the moment, Wheatley is ahead of Hardy by 1,448 votes.]

HD45 -- Democrat Frances Vinell Jackson is challenging Republican incumbent John Szoka. [At the moment, Szoka is ahead of Jackson by 763 votes.]

HD46 -- Democrat Tim Heath is challenging incumbent Republican Brendon Jones

HD51 -- Democrat Jason Cain is challenging Republican incumbent John Sauls.

HD53 -- Democrat Sally Weeks Benson is running against Republican Howard Penny Jr. for this open seat, recently vacated by disgraced Republican David Lewis.

HD55 -- Democrat Gloria Harrington Overcash is challenging incumbent Republican Mark Brody. 

HD57 -- Democrat Ashton Clemmons is defending the seat she won in 2018, against Republican Chris Meadows.

HD59 -- Democrat Nicole Quick is challenging Republican incumbent Jon Hardister.

HD63 -- Democrat Ricky Hurtado is challenging Republican incumbent Stephen Ross. [At the moment, Hurtado is leading Ross by 395 votes.]

HD72 -- Democrat Amber Baker is heavily favored to win this open seat against Republican Dan Lawlor.

HD74 -- Democrat Dan Besse is running against Republican Jeff Zenger for this open seat. [At the moment, Zenger is leading Besse by 1,245 votes.]

HD82 -- Democrat Aimy Steele is running against Republican Kristin Baker for this open seat.

HD83 -- Democrat Gail Young is challenging Republican incumbent Larry Pittman. [At the moment, Pittman is ahead of Young by 1,431 votes.]

HD93 -- Democrat Ray Russell is defending the seat he won in 2018 against Republican Ray Pickett.

HD98 -- Democrat Christy Clark is defending the seat she won in 2018 against Republican John Bradford in a rematch.

HD103 -- Democrat Rachel Hunt is defending the seat she won in 2018 against Republican Bill Brawley in a rematch.

HD104 -- Democrat Brandon Lofton is defending the seat he won in 2018 against Republican Don Pomeroy.

HD105 -- Democrat Wesley Harris is defending the seat he won in 2018 against Republican Amy Bynum.

HD113 -- Democrat Sam Edney is challenging Republican incumbent Jake Johnson.

HD117 -- Democrat Josh Remillard is challenging Republican Tim Moffitt for this open seat. 

HD119 -- Democrat Joe Sam Queen is defending the seat he won in 2018 against Republican Mike Clampitt in a rematch.