Thursday, December 31, 2020


I wish I could agree with Ruth Marcus about the upcoming congressional challenge to the Electoral College results:
... while irresponsible, [it] is not necessarily a terrible development. It forces a vote that will have the salutary effect of requiring [Republican members of Congress] to decide — and to put on the record — whether their loyalty is to President Trump or to the Constitution. Better to know than to guess. Better to inflict some accountability rather than to enable dodging.

Put another way: Any vote that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fervently wishes to avoid is one I’m for. Put every member of the House and Senate on the record, and let them reap the consequences, for good and for ill, in the short term of political fallout and in the long view of history. Those who vote against certifying Biden’s victory can explain it to their grandchildren.
The problem is, they anticipate no negative consequences, and they're probably right:

Maybe the numbers will be lower in the Senate. We can hope. I'm not optimistic.

Meanwhile, in the streets...
Protests planned in support of President Trump on Jan. 6 are multiplying by the week.

Four seemingly competing rallies to demand that Congress overturn the results of the presidential election, which their participants falsely view as illegitimate, are scheduled on the day Congress is set to convene to certify electoral college votes....

Formal rallies are planned most of the day and will draw pro-Trump demonstrators to the Washington Monument, Freedom Plaza and the Capitol. But online forums and encrypted chat messages among far-right groups indicate a number of demonstrators might be planning more than chanting and waving signs.

Threats of violence, ploys to smuggle guns into the District and calls to set up an “armed encampment” on the Mall have proliferated in online chats about the Jan. 6 day of protest. The Proud Boys, members of armed right-wing groups, conspiracy theorists and white supremacists have pledged to attend.
Do we know that Trump won't participate? It's true that on November 14 he just drove by the lightly attended "Million MAGA March" on his way to the golf course. But this is different.

This is a comment that was posted here a few days ago:
My prediction? Pence opens the ballots, Biden is elected president. There will be a floor show, of course (two drink minimum, btw), there might be some zany hijinks, but Biden is president-elect and everyone goes home....

And you know something? Come 2024, no one will remember this nonsense....
I hope it's forgettable -- although we should never forget what the Republicans are doing. I hope turnout in the streets is small, violence is isolated and contained, and the protest in Congress looks like a sore losers' hissyfit.

I hope there's some accountability, as Ruth Marcus expects. But I can't imagine a single Republican losing support for this act of sedition, because so many voters in red and purple states consider it an article of faith that Democrats are the dangerous radicals, and that a vote for Republicans is a vote for patriotism, normality, and stability.

I've grown tired of waiting for Americans to grasp the extent of the GOP's radicalism. I've grown tired of waiting for Democrats to make a habit of pointing out that radicalism. The most I can hope for is that we get through the vote-tallying process with minimum damage to our country.


It isn't described as a deal in this Washington Post story, but it looks like a deal to me:
When [Senator Josh] Hawley first publicly advocated for direct [COVID relief] payments in early December, he was virtually alone among congressional Republicans....

Both he and [Senator Bernie] Sanders, however, argued that checks were an essential part of any relief package. By Friday, Dec. 4, Sanders’s staff was in touch with Hawley’s staff about potentially joining forces, and the two senators spoke the next morning. They agreed to jointly advocate for the same checks that had been included in the Cares Act passed in March — $1,200 per individual and dependent child.

That night, Hawley spoke to Trump as he returned from the Georgia rally. He said he urged Trump to be more vocal about his wishes: “I urged him to say he’d veto it” unless checks were included.

Trump ... never publicly delivered that ultimatum — or engaged much in the negotiations at all, at least not until the bill had already been passed.
Trump demanded $2000 checks on December 22. Eight days later, Hawley -- beating know-nothing populists such as Tommy Tuberville and Rand Paul to the punch -- agreed to be the senator who'd endorse challenges to Joe Biden's electors.

The quid pro quo is that Hawley gets to be seen as Trumpier than other Republicans who have 2024 ambitions because he and Trump agree on relief checks and because he's now leading the "fraud" parade in the Senate

And because our mainstream political press is awful, Hawley gets all this without sacrificing any of his mainstream credibility. Even though he's taking a sledgehammer to American democracy, the Post article I've quoted is a wet kiss. Hawley is given credit for the $600 checks in the bill Trump signed.
... the checks — and the surprising Republican support for boosting them further — mark a signal legislative victory in Hawley’s first Senate term. Whether it heralds a broader GOP shift toward a populist approach more in line with the increasingly working-class nature of the party’s electorate is unknown.

But that is a shift Hawley is eager to accelerate — not only by backing hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus checks, but by taking Trump’s loose platform of restricting immigration, attacking free trade and cracking down on big tech companies and developing it into what Hawley calls a “worker-focused approach” to Republican policymaking.

“There’s a lot of work to be done there building that out,” he said in an interview last week. “It needs to carry over into lots of other areas of social and economic policy. But I just think that the current crisis crystallizes it because the working folks in this country, working families, have borne so much of the economic pain of this downturn.”

Hawley’s efforts have captured attention across the political spectrum, including by many on the left who are watching his emerging populist agenda with at least some degree of intrigue, if not outright admiration.

“There’s some real rethinking going on on the right, and he’s at the center of it,” said Matt Stoller, research director at the American Economic Liberties Project and a leftist scholar of populist political movements. “This is a conservative Republican who just happens to be a populist and does not like libertarians, and, philosophically, that brings him a lot closer to Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren in his approach to corporate power. And that is a real threat to the Democratic Party and the left wing.”
Hawley is now a 2024 GOP front-runner if no Trump runs for president, with likely support from the crazy base and the world of Beltway insiders. Being seen as an enemy of democracy was a very small price to pay.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020


There you go:
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said on Wednesday that he will object during Congress's counting of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, becoming the first GOP senator to back the effort by House conservatives.

The decision by Hawley would ensure a debate and vote in the House and Senate on the Electoral College results.

“I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws," Hawley said in a statement.
Two thoughts:

First, remember this moment just after the Electoral College voting on December 14?
Breaking with President Trump’s drive to overturn his election loss, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Tuesday congratulated President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on his victory and began a campaign to keep fellow Republicans from joining a doomed last-ditch effort to reverse the outcome in Congress.

... his actions were a clear bid by the majority leader, who is the most powerful Republican in Congress, to put an end to his party’s attempts to sow doubt about the election.

He was also trying to stave off a messy partisan spectacle on the floor of the House that could divide Republicans at the start of the new Congress, forcing them to choose between showing loyalty to Mr. Trump and protecting the sanctity of the electoral process.
Was McConnell sincere about trying to contain the crazy? Or was he just trying to fool the mainstream media and the public into believing that the "real" GOP is reality-based and doesn't want to challenge the results, all the while knowing that a challenge by at least one senator was inevitable?

I assume it's the latter. And this is nothing new: Going at least as far back as the days of the Vince Foster conspiracy theory and the Clinton Body Count, Republicans have encouraged the spread in the right-wing media of tinfoil-hat nonsense, which is extremely effective at building Republican (or at least anti-Democratic) tribal loyalty, while posing as respectable, responsible right-centrists whenever mainstream journalists are paying attention. It works. It's worked for decades. Heartland white voters who aren't conspiracy nuts continue to regard the GOP as a party of sober, sensible patriots, even as the lunacy Republicans encourage consumes more and more of the debate. McConnell surely knew he could allow the challenge to happen without most journalists ever asking whether his party is rotten to the core -- all he'd have to do was create the illusion that the party was against it.

Second thought: Now that the dam has been breached, how many Republican senators will join Hawley?

I assume that answer is "Most of them." Perhaps only a handful (Tommy Tuberville, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz) will formally object along with Hawley -- but when the two houses of Congress vote on the challenges to the state electors, I assume a majority of Republicans in both chambers will go full MAGA and declare the real electors to be illegitimate. What choice do they have now, if they want to remain viable in their party? And more important: What's the downside?

In a healthy country, Donald Trump's war against democracy would have caused his poll numbers to plummet. Instead, they've barely budged: On Election Day, according to Real Clear Politics, Trump's job approval rating was 45.9%; now it's 44.1%. His disapproval was 52.5%; now it's 53.1%. At Five ThirtyEight, Trump's his job approval has dropped from 44.6% to 42.7%, while disapproval has increased from 52.6% to 53.1%. These are barely perceptible shifts -- and we know that huge majorities of Republican voters believe Joe Biden stole the election.

So it's clear that this craziness alienates few if any voters who are gettable for Republicans -- but resisting the craziness would. So expect a lot of Republicans in the Senate and House to go for it.


Terrible story:
Congressman-elect Luke Letlow ... 41, died at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport from “complications from COVID-19,” his spokesman, Andrew Bautsch, said in a statement.

... Letlow is survived by his wife, Julie Barnhill Letlow, and two young children, Bautsch said.

He was in critical condition but had recently shown signs of improvement when he "apparently suffered a cardiac event this evening that was refractory to all resuscitation efforts," said Dr. G.E. Ghali, of LSU Health Shreveport.

Ghali previously said Letlow was being treated with the antiviral drug Remdesivir and steroids. Asked if Letlow had any underlying conditions that would have made his death more likely, Ghali said in a text message, "none. All COVID related."
I wondered what our conservative friends were saying about this in right-wing comments sections. I didn't find as much wholesale denialism as I expected, and I even found some comments like this, at Breitbart:
Could you please come on my face book and tell my family it's real and not a Hoax. That stupid Narrative needs to stop. God Bless his Family an those dying alone as well. Hope 2021 is much safer an better for the United States.
Which prompted this response:
Everyone knows COVID is real, the trick they are playing in over inflating the numbers of infected and dead.

I have never heard anyone deny that the disease does not exist. This is simply a straw horse the left sets up to cover up how much they have over stated the effects of COVID.

It is disgusting how the Democrats have used a disease as an excuse to take away basics rights and freedoms.
That seems to be what much of the right-wing rank-and-file believes now: The virus is real, it can do real harm, but it doesn't kill as many people as the libs claim, and they're using it as an excuse for social control. (As a Newsmax commenter puts it, "No one says the disease itself is a hoax. That's why Donald the Magnificent delivered the Trump vaccine in record time. It's the dem lockdown and economic destruction for political purposes that's the hoax.")

But plenty of them do think the disease itself is a hoax. From Breitbart:
LSU just made 9k from the Feds blaming his death on COVID. It's a hoax and a boon to hospitals and health districts to blame deaths on COHOAX 19. Turn off the federal subsidies and this fraud will end. Just like H1N1.


This stinks. THIS is why I won't go anywhere near a hospital anymore. This whole covid hoax wouldn't be possible without their help. I cannot, and do not, believe that an otherwise healthy 41yr old person, could have this outcome. I certainly wouldn't put it past the communist party, IN AMERICA, to eliminate a rival this way. This hospital should be investigated THOROUGHLY for their ties to the leftists !!
And have other suaspicions as well:
He was transferred from a catholic hospital to a college hospital.

I see the potential for a massive malpractice lawsuit.


With plenty of "diversity-hire" doctors too


I know for a fact that the democrats would have executed him for his seat.if possible
At Gateway Pundit, the skeptics really let their freak flag fly:
maybe they convinced him that he needed a ventilator--that's how they killed a lot of people in NYC hospitals (according to 3 whistle-blower nurses).


I wouldn't put it past Deep State to murder this guy as an example to the rest to tow the line. It wouldn't be the first time.


Sadly, my first thought is he was intentionally infected and killed.

Look at the beating the democrats just took in the House and remember what the democrats are capable of.


The SAME people who are telling us that JOE BIDEN was elected fair and square are TELLING US THAT THERE IS A PANDEMIC.


This is insane what Democrat Communist Fascists are doing. We are still trying out Medicare for All, using the China virus as the excuse for all deaths so that hospitals make more money AND we are in lockdown & have long wait times to see drs., get MRIs, surgery, etc.

And even if you get a "free" China virus vaccine, you still paid Big Pharma with your tax money.


I agree--whenever they need to turn up the fear (like when people start waking up to the BS, or start protesting or opening up their businesses, or when they want people to take the DNA-altering vaccine), they can easily do something like this. This guy would probably still be alive if he stayed at home. I think they want to turn up the fear right now, probably to convince people to take the bioweapon injection. I think that's why they are pushing the latest BS about a new more deadly strain of covid. US media is 100% propaganda


I think he was murdered too.


Were the Clinton's in town?


The sane ones list a fatal motorcycle accident as Covid. The insane and mentally ill question it. Right out of the Bolshevik playbook.


There was a story on Tucker Carlson tonight from Michigan, I think, about all the patients being classified Covid when they weren't. One guy had three bullet wounds, but was classified as Covid. Car accidents, too.


The CDC is now saying that only 6% of the 330k deaths were due to Covid alone. That's 20,000 max. Year over year deaths consistent for the last decade and even lower this year than last. The Covid crisis is baloney.


And the annual flu season magically disappeared.


So have deaths from cancer, leukemia, strokes, and other causes.


Those are all just different strains of Covid... There's the 'Heart Attack' strain, the 'Car Accident' strain, the 'Leukemia' strain, the 'Stroke' strain, etc.


And the most frequently contracted of all, the quasi common cold strain.

Oh but now there's two new "super strains" that are 70% more contagious than the original version. I'm SOOOOO terrified. Ha-ha ! Please Mr. CONvid, infect me. I want to demonstrate to the believing clowns out there how stupidly needless their fears are.


There is so much truth out there about this PLANdemic. There's no excuse for people to be ignorant. We have the internet - the biggest educational resource in the world - at our fingertips. Research in the right places and you'll soon find it's all a globalist con game.


If they didn't prevent him access to HCQ or other treatment like corticosteroids, he would probably still be alive. Medical establishment is run by mass murderers.
So I don't think the conversation will change. Not every right-winger is a conspiratorialist skeptic, but many are, and the rest are consumed with hatred for us because they think we're stealing their freedoms.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020


Poor Senate Republicans! I feel so sorry for them! The president has put them in an impossible position!
The prospect of $2,000 COVID-19 stimulus checks reaching Americans is just a Senate vote away — and the situation poses an agonizing choice for Republicans.

The House, powered by its Democratic majority, on Monday passed a bill to increase the $600 checks in the $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill to $2,000. President Donald Trump unexpectedly called for the larger checks last week.

Following the House vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, pledged in a statement to bring it to the Senate on Tuesday — putting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who decides the order of business, in a sticky position.
Is this really "an agonizing choice for Republicans" and "a sticky position" for McConnell? He apparently doesn't think so:
The fate of President Donald Trump's call to increase pandemic aid checks to $2,000 was in doubt Tuesday as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Democrats' initial attempt to approve increased payments.

... the GOP leader outlined three priorities the president demanded Congress examine, linking the increased payments with Trump's calls to repeal Section 230 that allows big tech companies legal immunity and an examination of election integrity after Trump's unproven claims of voter fraud after his defeat.

"Those are the three important subjects the president has linked together. This week, the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus," McConnell said on the Senate floor.
It's so much easier to be a Republican than a Democrat. If you're a Republican, you've persuaded your voters that the purpose of government isn't to make ordinary people's lives better -- government just screws up everything it touches anyway, right?

GOP voters elect GOP candidates for one reason only: to own the libs. They want Republican officeholders to prevent the Black Lives Matter socialist Antifa Chavista LGBT gun-grabbing baby-killing elitists from destroying America, and they want Democrats insulted and humiliated on a regular basis. They also want to be able to blame every government failure on the libs.

McConnell has that teed up very nicely. All he has to do is attach national voter ID legislation to the COVID checks, or offend the tech industry (which gives more money to Democrats than Republicans) by attaching Section 230 repeal to the checks, and then it will be Democrats' fault that the checks didn't happen. And GOP voters won't say, "Why did McConnell attach these poison pills to the bill? It's his fault!" They'll see right-wing media blaming the Democrats. They'll see the mainstream media blaming "Congress" or "gridlock" or "partisan bickering" -- or blaming the Democrats. So they'll blame the Democrats.

And because they don't expect to get anything from government except validation of their hatred of liberals and the Democratic Party, they'll be fine. They won't care that the checks didn't go through. They'll still vote for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the Georgia Senate runoffs. They won't punish Republicans for this in any upcoming elections.

I wish this were agonizing for Republicans. But nothing ever is.


This is who Democrats and Republicans are, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey:
Democratic voters say by a 10-percentage-point margin that they’d like [President-Elect Joe] Biden to compromise in order to work across the aisle rather than stick to his positions even if it means not coming to an agreement. Republican voters, by a 29-point margin, say Republicans in Washington should stick to their positions.
This is what Republican politicians and media figures have persuaded their voters -- and many swing voters -- that Democrats are:
Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler called Georgia's Senate seats a "firewall" against socialism, claiming that Democrats would usher in "radical" change to the U.S. if opponent Reverend Raphael Warnock wins the state's runoff election.

"Everything's at stake in this election," said Loeffler during [an] interview on Fox News. "The future of our country is on the ballot on January 5 right here in Georgia...We know that if [Senate Democratic Leader] Chuck Schumer gets his way and says, 'Now we take Georgia then we change America,' they would fundamentally and radically change America for the worse."

The incumbent Georgia senator continued: "We are not going to let that happen. We are the firewall to stopping socialism in America, right here in Georgia."

Loeffler then called Warnock a "radical change agent," in Georgia's runoff race.
Democrats support popular ideas that most voters believe are mainstream: universal healthcare coverage, a $15 minimum wage, raising taxes on the rich, preserving Roe v. Wade, taking climate change seriously, requiring background checks for all firearm purchases. In the last two years, the Democratic House has passed a lot of legislation in these and other areas; it's all died in Mitch McConnell's Senate, but most Americans don't even know the bills existed.

If anything, Willis understates the problem. He says Democrats "pass message bills" and "talk about them after they pass them," briefly. I'd say they barely do that.

And with Republicans, it's gotten to the point where they don't even talk about their positions on issues. What they "relentlessly market" is their opposition to us. They relentlessly market their embrace of "real American" cultural signifiers. Kelly Loeffler -- the wife of the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange -- campaigns in a trucker hat. President Trump pumps out ads depicting military flyovers and his own literal embrace of the American flag.

There's a simple counternarrative available to Democrats: Here's what Democrats stand for. Here's what Republicans stand for. Here are some Democratic proposals. Here are the unpopular Republican alternatives.

But Democrats don't try. And so here we are: The party of Rudy Giuliani, Louis Gohmert, Sidney Powell, and Donald Trump is seen by much of America as the party of normality and stability -- even after Trump threatens democracy, nearly shuts down the government (again), and vetoes the military budget (while telling us in the ad above that he "stands for our military might") -- while the party of Joe Biden is seen as the party of radical upheaval.

Monday, December 28, 2020


It isn't just Louis Gohmert who believes it's Mike Pence's job to steal the election for Donald Trump....
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and President Donald Trump's defeated electors from Arizona may force Vice President Mike Pence to publicly pick a side in Trump’s bid to overturn his 2020 election loss.

Gohmert and a handful of the would-be electors sued Pence in federal court on Monday....

The lawsuit asserts that the 1887 law known as the Electoral Count Act ... unconstitutionally binds Pence from exercising total authority to choose which votes to count.

"Under the Twelfth Amendment, Defendant Pence alone has the exclusive authority and sole discretion to open and permit the counting of the electoral votes for a given state, and where there are competing slates of electors, or where there is objection to any single slate of electors, to determine which electors’ votes, or whether none, shall be counted," the suit contends.
And it isn't just the Rasmussen polling firm in addition to Gohmert....

In addition to those folks, they're also getting a tad overheated at Gateway Pundit and similar sites. Apologies for quoting GP twice in one day, but the language here is really over the top:
“You Have a Rendezvous with Destiny, Mr. Vice President” – On January 6th Vice President Pence Will Choose the Direction of the World for Years to Come – Like Thomas Jefferson Did Centuries Ago

VP Mike Pence has the unique opportunity in world history where he can keep the nation and its people free or he can sentence the world to generations of slavery in a matter of minutes on January 6th.

Ron at CodeMonkeyZ tweeted this iconic article from NeonRevolt today:

Neonrevolt was all over the fraudulent Mueller investigation. He was so effective that Jack at Twitter censored him and kicked him off his site. But Neonrevolt did not go away. He now has written an excellent piece regarding VP Mike Pence’s duties on January 6th. His efforts can save the country and the world or damn all of us and all future generations into slavery. Neonrevolt ends his piece on Pence’s opportunity with this:
You have a choice, Mr. Vice President. Either you will rise up with courage and become the hero who saved the Republic, or you will spend the rest of your days reviled in ignominy as your children, and your grandchildren, and their descendants end up as little more than chattel on the global plantation.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating the stakes. Go with God, Mr. Vice President. Fight for the people on that day. Strike the giants, and cut off all their heads. If you can be entrusted with this immense and Constitutional power – to safeguard the Republic on that day when our enemies would snatch it away from us – we, the people, will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can trust you in 2024 and beyond.

I've been saying this for a few days, but it's obvious now: Pence simply can't go to Congress on January 6, do his constitutional duty by ratifying the electoral vote count, and then expect to have even a slight chance at the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. If he does that, members of the GOP may very well introduce articles of impeachment against Pence on January 7, or whenever the vote is ratified. Pence won't be impeached, obviously, with Democrats in charge and two weeks left in his term, but he'll become one of the most hated RINOs in America.

So he has to make trouble -- or skip the ceremony altogether and let someone else act as the president of the Senate, as I explained yesterday. Yes, in theory he could sacrifice his political career, in the interests of preserving faith in American democracy -- he's in his early sixties and could easily just retire -- but he still wants to be president, so we know he won't do that.

So expect a shitshow in Congress next week.


Politico Playbook is right, obviously:
THAT’S IT? President DONALD TRUMP made all this noise about the Covid relief and government funding bill only to sign it and get nothing in return?

TRUMP got taken to the cleaners.

WHAT A BIZARRE, embarrassing episode for the president. He opposed a bill his administration negotiated. He had no discernible strategy and no hand to play — and it showed. He folded, and got nothing besides a few days of attention and chaos. People waiting for aid got a few days of frightening uncertainty.

ZIP. ZERO. ZILCH. If he was going to give up this easy, he should’ve just kept quiet and signed the bill. It would’ve been less embarrassing.
He made a lot of demands, but he won't get what he demanded:
Even as he acquiesced to bipartisan pleas to sign the legislation, the president issued a series of demands for congressional action, though lawmakers showed little immediate eagerness to embrace them with just six days left in the session.

“I will sign the omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed,” Mr. Trump said in a statement late Sunday, saying he would send a formal request asking for some of the funds to be removed. But the 25-day time frame for considering such a request will collide with the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Jan. 20, and House Democrats said they do not plan to vote on the request....

Mr. Trump claimed in his statement that the Senate would “start the process for a vote” on legislation that would increase direct payments and address a provision that would repeal a legal shield for social media companies that he has tried to force into a sweeping military policy bill. The president ... also claimed that Congress would take up the issue, a certain nonstarter for Democrats, who control the House.
I've been looking at right-wing comments sections to find out what Trump fans think about all this. One of my first stops was Breitbart. We've been asking for years what could possibly make Trump's base turn against him. Some of the Breitbart comments suggest that the answer might be signing this bill.
Why??? You were right the first time. This bill is a disgrace.


Why? His outrage was false and he truly didn't care. A man of conviction does not cave so easily.


Trump cucked. SMDH... a sad end to this awful year.


Trump just made a YUGE mistake.


Pakistan thanks you Mr President... So do all the illegals.

Americans not so much....


Not very reassuring.

Why do I feel like we’ve just been conned?


President Trump had his strengths, he had his weaknesses.

This big government-spending is Trump at his absolute worst.

Oh, well.

My grandchildren who don't exist yet thank you all in the Federal Gov't for foisting the debt onto them.
But elsewhere, many commenters think he's a victim. Here's a Free Republic comment:
The greatest president in my lifetime is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. All the forces of deep state, corrupt politicians on both sides of the aisle, propaganda media, social platform censorship of the 1st amendment, crooked cops at the FBI/DOJ...and now some of his supporters.

Damn...the guyz been stabbed in the back enough. He has done more for America and American citizen than any president since Ronald Reagan.

He had little choice. President Trump held out as long as he could to try to get a better deal and the whole weight of D.C. was against him. So, on man held his cards close to his vest for you and I.

God speed Mr. President. Thank you for taking so many punches...for me, for us. You’re a good guy in my book!
Other Freepers agree: It's everyone else's fault.
To the Democrats the national debt means nothing and they would continue to print, tax and spend our money. The $2000 they want to give away to everyone means nothing to us but debt for future generations.


He needs republicans in congress to do the right things.


It is possible Mark Meadows snowed him....
Some similar responses at Newsmax:
Don't forget Republicans and Democrats who voted for this bill. From now on Americans should vote them out.


I can not believe the statement "the bill is not perfect"!!! It is nothing but imperfect a a give away to other country's, which should at this time NOT get one penny of "MY "money"! It should only be relief for American's First! I hate Pakistan ,China, Russia, and most rag head counties! The ARTS, give me a break!! We need to keep Trump and wipe out the swamp which includes Republicans and Democrats!!!


all foreign funding came from Pelosi's lobbyists........
One Freeper thinks he's figured out Trump's plan:
The only way to interpret this action is that he is 100% certain that he is going to prevail in this election fiasco and get his second term.
Some Newsmax commenters agree:
Never count Trump out, he has plans to make it right in his 2nd term. Trolls will be in a rolling spin.


Thank you Mr President Donald J Trump. You have shown your outstanding leadership once more. Thank you for your letter explaining why you signed the Bill and pointing out all the many deficiencies formally that must be addressed by congress. Every last one of them are in the best interest of us citizens. We are fortunate to have you as President. Voter Fraud will be overturned and you will get the second term you rightfully won. Biden will not succeed in Stealing this election. Should he continue tell Jude Roberts his fears will multiply exponentially if he does not do his sworn duties. Patriots have their limits.
And finally, here's my favorite comment, at Gateway Pundit:
He was actually smart. Doing what he did, ensures Congress can not override his veto. They are required to follow per that Act everything he lays out and it forces them to do their jobs. He's a lot smarter than people give him credit for. He basically bent Congress over a bench.
Yes, he really pulled a fast one on Congress, which can't override his veto and make the bill law ... because he made the bill law by signing it. Now Congress is forced to "follow ... everything he lays out" -- except, as noted above, Congress can just refuse to take up all the changes he proposed.

Sunday, December 27, 2020


Me on Twitter earlier today:

I was imagining that he'd use the government shutdown as a constitutionally dubious excuse to claim that the vote counting shouldn't take place, even though a government shutdown, assuming one happens, shouldn't shut Congress down.

Here was one response to my tweet:

The linked article says:
The Electoral College formally selected Biden as the next U.S. President on December 14 when each state’s electors publicly cast their official votes. There is no mechanism for reversing these votes, and on Jan. 6, the House and Senate will meet to count those votes. Under the 12th Amendment, Pence is constitutionally mandated to preside over the joint session of Congress which will accomplish the task.
But Pence isn't constitutionally mandated to preside over the joint session. The 12th Amendment says,
The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted....
The vice president is the president of the Senate, except when he's absent, which is most of the time. Then the job falls to the president pro tempore, who at this time is the oldest Republican in the Senate, Chuck Grassley; when he's not presiding, he designates another senator to be president pro tempore, customarily a junior member of the GOP delegation. (These roles would fall to the Democrats if the Democrats won control of the Senate.)

So here's a refinement of my doomy tweet above. It's a scenario that can't really take away Joe Biden's win, but might take place simply because Mike Pence and many Republicans in the Senate are scared of Donald Trump's voters:

Pence might refuse to take part in the counting of the ballots. The Constitution designates the president of the Senate as the presiding officer for this count. I see no constitutional reason that Pence has to be the Senate president for the purposes of this ceremony.

McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans could also boycott the seesion. And Grassley could break with tradition and designate a Democrat as president pro tempore -- Chuck Schumer, perhaps, or maybe new senator Mark Kelly, who, because he ran in a special leection, has to run again in a purple state in 2022. In Republicans' eyes, doing this would mean ensure that Democrats own the process of ratifying Biden's win. The Republicans can stay out of it altogether, except for the few (Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, and so on) who intend to endorse the legitimate electoral votes, as well as any GOP senators who insist on ratifying the House Republican challenges to the swing-state electoral votes.

Inevitably, the Democratic House will vote to uphold all the real electors. The Senate Democratic caucus plus Romney, Toomey, and probably Ben Sasse, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins will give the Biden electors a majority in the Senate, too. Biden's win will still be upheld.

But this way, Republicans intending to run for reelection in 2022 (or for president in 2024) can do so without having soiled themselves by participating in the ratification process. Also, Trump's team can claim the process was tainted and sue again, though I assume that suit will also fail in the courts.

Though this won't change the outcome if it happens, it will permit Republicans to sustain the myth of a stolen election -- and allow those Republicans who know the myth is nonsense to pretend they're with the Trump program. Oh, and it will damage America's faith in democracy a lttle bit more. But when have modern Republicans chosen country over party?


In The New York Times, Jim Rutenberg, Nick Corasaniti, and Alan Feuer declare that Donald Trump's election allegations have been definitively disproven.
President Trump’s baseless and desperate claims of a stolen election over the last seven weeks — the most aggressive promotion of “voter fraud” in American history — failed to get any traction in courts across seven states, or come anywhere close to reversing the loss he suffered to Joseph R. Biden Jr. ...

After bringing some 60 lawsuits, and even offering financial incentive for information about fraud, Mr. Trump and his allies have failed to prove definitively any case of illegal voting on behalf of their opponent in court — not a single case of an undocumented immigrant casting a ballot, a citizen double voting, nor any credible evidence that legions of the voting dead gave Mr. Biden a victory that wasn’t his.
And yet somehow the myth of an election stolen by Biden persists!
The false notions have lived on in Mr. Trump’s Twitter and Facebook feeds; on the television programming of Fox News, Newsmax and One America News Network; and in statehouse hearings where Republican leaders have contemplated more restrictive voting laws based on the rejected allegations....

After declaring outright that high levels of voting are bad for Republicans, [Trump] persuaded his base that the election system is rotten with fraud, and to view that fiction as a bedrock party principle. Several recent polls have shown that majorities of Republicans think the election was fraudulent, even as election officials across the country report that it went surprisingly smoothly even in a pandemic, with exceptionally high turnout and no evidence of fraud aside from the usual smattering of lone wolf bad actors or mistakes by well-intentioned voters.
How did Trump manage to do this? He did it by being relentlessly on message for nearly two months, backed up by many surrogates who are also perpetually on message. He did it by giving the public easily absorbed, seemingly detailed examples of fraud -- for instance, the notorious (and debunked) story of the suitcases allegedly full of Biden votes in Georgia, which shows up in a lie-filled Trump video that's been removed from other sites but remains available on Facebook:

But where are the TV and social media ads from Democrats that compellingly rebut these and other allegations? Where are the ads from the Democratic National Committee? Or the Lincoln Project? Do those folks assume -- the way well-educated liberals and moderates so often do -- that everyone in America is fully aware of all the details of all the relevant stories? Do they assume that no one needs to be told why Trump's allegations are (as every mainstream news story puts it, usually with little explanation) "baseless"?

I'll give Rutenberg et al. their due: They provide quite a few details in the second half of their Times story. But these details need to be restated by Democrats and their allies in a punchy, emotionally compelling form on multiple media platforms. It would be helpful in non-conservatives could be posting them to social media, rather than allowing Trumpist conspiratorialists to frame the discussion there. From the Times story:
For instance, in pressing their cases across the country, Republicans have referenced data analyses by a cybersecurity executive and one-time Texas congressional candidate named Russell J. Ramsland Jr. One of his reports alleged that various Michigan counties had vote tallies that exceeded their populations, implying their totals were padded with illegal ballots; the counties in question, it turned out, were in Minnesota, not Michigan.
That's a social media ad right there.
Likewise, several specific accusations that people illegally cast ballots in the names of dead people have been born of amateurish data analysis that later proved faulty.

In a federal case the Trump campaign brought seeking to delay certification of the results in Michigan, the specific mention of a ballot cast by a dead voter was incorrect: No vote was cast through the dead man’s registration. Rather, a man with his same exact name voted legally. (Mr. Trump’s team pulled that case from the docket as Michigan moved forward toward certification.)
That's another one.
In several other instances, the “dead voters” in whose names the Trump campaign said ballots were cast proved very much alive.
That's another one.
This past week in Pennsylvania, authorities did make one arrest based on an accusation the Trump campaign first leveled in November. Delaware County prosecutors said a man named Bruce Bartman cast an absentee ballot in his deceased mother’s name — for Mr. Trump.
That's another one -- and in fact, as Pennsylvania's Democratic lieutenant governor has noted,

Democrats need to be putting this narrative -- the truthful narrative -- before the public in an easily absorbed, compleling way. They need to be pulling the most damning sentence or two out of the rulings in the failed Trump legal cases, especially those decided by judges who are Republican appointees, and getting them before the public. They need to be contrasting the claims of evidence by Trump and his lawyers with the complete absence of evidence in those lawyers' filings.

In addition to ads, every Democratic officeholder who appears in the media needs to make this case in this way.

We have the facts. Why aren't we making full use of them?

Friday, December 25, 2020


Sorry not to be blogging, but I'm having some infrastructure issues. I should be back to normal tomorrow or Sunday. Hope you're having a lovely Christmas. See you soon.

Thursday, December 24, 2020


We've established that congressional Republicans will do anything for Donald Trump. They'll defend him against impeachment charges. They'll agree that the 2020 election was stolen from him even though no one can find solid evidence.

But now Trump says he wants Americans to receive larger pandemic relief checks than the ones Congress agreed on. So congressional Republicans have no choice, right? They have to agree! Don't they?

House Republicans shot down a Democratic bid on Thursday to pass President Donald Trump’s longshot, end-of-session demand for $2,000 direct payments to most Americans as he ponders whether to sign a long-overdue COVID-19 relief bill.

... House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, sought the unanimous approval of all House members to pass the bill, but GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who was not present in the nearly-empty chamber, denied his approval and the effort fizzled.

The optics appear terrible for Republicans....
The optics are fine for Republicans.

Sure, they're denying desperately needed cash to voters and defying the president, but "Always be loyal to Trump" is a rule that has one exception: It's okay to defy to Trump if your defiance owns the libs.

Throughout Trump's term, we've all wondered what it would take to get Trump's superfans to turn against him. I think the answer is obvious: He'd have to agree with liberals on something. He'd have to back an assault weapons ban or climate change legislation or Medicare for All or a tax increase on rich people. They probably would have turned against him if he, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer agreed on an infrastructure bill.

I don't think Republican voters will reject Trump for agreeing with Pelosi et al. on the need for larger stimulus checks. But the support of Democrats gives Republicans in Congress -- and the two GOP senators running in Georgia -- cover to reject the idea. If we're for it, it's fine to be against it, no matter what it is.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


We're being told that President Trump shivved Mitch McConnell last night:
Trump released a video criticizing the $900 billion coronavirus relief package that congressional lawmakers passed on Monday and demanding they increase the checks....

This leaves the next move to McConnell, who has for months insisted on a smaller stimulus package and has rejected Democratic proposals for $1,200 checks.

He now has two undesirable options:

* He can cave and accept a larger stimulus figure after fighting for months to keep it down.

* He can block the larger checks and take the political heat for it.
The conventional wisdom is that he and his party will be in trouble if the larger checks don't happen, because it's now clear to voters in the Georgia runoffs -- who want more government aid -- that what's holding up that additional aid is the Republican Senate.

I'm with Joshua Holland on this:

My take:

And lo and behold:

If Trump doesn't back down and sign the bill as is -- and despite his grumbling, he might -- McConnell will just add a poison pill or two, then blame Democrats when his bad deal is rejected.

I also believe that the impact of this on Georgia Senate voting is being greatly overstated. Reports on early voting in Georgia say that, yes, Black turnout is strong, but so is turnout among older voters, who tend to be more Republican. And this is without any stimulus checks.

I expect the runoffs to be close, but I think GOP voters will turn out for the same reason they always do: Because they've been told for decades that Democrats are evil. Anti-Democratic negative partisanship didn't just cease to exist when Trump started complaining about Republicans who won't help him steal the presidential election.

If Democrats win the runoffs, it won't be because of GOP infighting or because checks don't arrive. It'll be because they countered a healthy GOP turnout with strong turnout of their own.


CNN recently reported:
Conspiracist lawyer Sidney Powell, disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, onetime chief strategist Steve Bannon, hawkish trade adviser Peter Navarro and the eccentric founder of the retail website Overstock have all recently found themselves in the Oval Office or on the telephone advising Trump on new last-ditch efforts to reverse his loss.
But what else are they talking to him about -- particularly Bannon and Navarro, Bannon's fellow anti-globalist? I think I detect their influence in Trump's attack on the coronavirus relief bill:
President Trump on Tuesday night asked Congress to amend the nearly $900 billion stimulus bill passed just one day before, describing the legislation as “a disgrace” and suggesting he would not immediately sign off on aid for millions of Americans.

In a video posted to Twitter, Trump called on Congress to increase the “ridiculously low” $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 and outlined a list of provisions in the overall package of legislation that he described as “wasteful spending and much more.”
Here's the video:

Most reporting on the video has focused on the demand for larger checks, which makes the president seem, at long last, like the potential ally to the Democrats that the mainstream media has always wanted him to be. But note how Trump begins his speech:
Throughout the summer, Democrats cruelly blocked COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme left wing agenda and influence the election. Then a few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently needed help to the American people. It’s taken forever. However, the bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace.

For example, among the more than 5,000 pages in this bill, which nobody in Congress has read because of its length and complexity, it’s called the COVID Relief Bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID. This bill contains $85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia, $134 million to Burma, $1.3 billion for Egypt and the Egyptian military, which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment. $25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan, $505 million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
It's a classic paleoconservative complaint about the very existence of foreign aid.

These provisions are in the bill because Congress folded COVID relief into a larger spending bill. The New York Times reports:
The president ... seized on congressional leaders’ decision to pass the relief bill by combining it with a broader spending plan to fund government operations and the military.
That implies that a well-informed Trump critiqued Congress for putting COVID relief in a larger bill. There's no evidence that Trump actually understands that that's what happened. As far as I can tell, he just thinks Congress called it a COVID bill and then loaded it up with unrelated goodies.

Trump went to complain:
$40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, which is not even open for business. $1 billion for the Smithsonian and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art. Likewise, these facilities are essentially not open.

$7 million for reef fish management, $25 billion to combat Asian carp, $2.5 million to count the number of amberjack fish in the Gulf of Mexico. A provision to promote the breeding of fish in federal hatcheries, $3 million in poultry production technology, $2 million to research the impact of down trees, $566 million for construction projects at the FBI.
These are old-fashioned right-wing complaints about the very existence of government spending. Only after this do we get a complaint about the size of the checks, and it's folded into Bannonesque (or possibly Stephen Miller-esque) immigrant-bashing.
The bill also allows stimulus checks for the family members of illegal aliens, allowing them to get up to $1,800 each. This is far more than the Americans are given. Despite all of this wasteful spending and much more, the $900 billion package provides hardworking taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments and not enough money is given to small businesses.
Bannon postures as a populist. (Remember 2017, when he was a White House adviser and he let it be known that he favored raising the top marginal tax rate on rich people from 39.6% to 44%? And then it dropped to 37%?) Bannon is a cultural nationalist. Bannon wants everything blown up, because he's looking forward to some sort of historical "turning" that he expects to Change Everything.

I'm not saying that the entire video was Bannon's idea. One part of the speech seemed to come straight from Trump's heart:
And in particular, restaurants, whose owners have suffered so grievously. They were only given a deduction for others to use in business, their restaurant, for two years. This two year period must be withdrawn, which will allow the owners to obtain financing and get their restaurants back in condition. Congress can terminate it at a much later date, but two years is not acceptable. It’s not enough.
But I suspect Bannon was a major influence.


ON THE OTHER HAND: There's this:
On Tuesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) stated that the coronavirus relief bill “should be vetoed” by President Donald Trump via a pocket veto, “and I’m hoping it will be.”

Biggs said, “Well, I — this is the worst bill, and it typifies the swamp. Because it’s terrible, both from a process and a substantive point of view.”
Biggs is one of several House crazies Trump has been meeting with in his efforts to get the election results overturned. I'm sure they all hate the bill and have told him it's bad. But I don't think any of them would recommend larger stimulus checks.


UPDATE: I'm probably wrong to ascribe this to Bannon. The list of foreign aid appropriations seems to have been making the right-wing rounds for a couple of days. Here's a Monday post in the comments section of a Breitbart story that provides a different list of foreign aid recipients:

And also from Monday, in the comments for an AP story in Maryland's Free Lance-Star:

Cambodia and Burma top these commenters' lists of outrages, as they top Trump's. I'm not sure where this ultimately comes from, though.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020


In case you had any doubts, CNN tells us that this is happening:
Alabama GOP Rep. Mo Brooks and fellow House conservatives met privately on Monday with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as the lawmakers prepared to mount a long-shot bid in January to overturn the Electoral College results that made Joe Biden the official winner of the election....

Pence's involvement in the meeting is significant because he will preside over the joint session of Congress that would count the electoral votes that day.
I told you Pence would join Trump in this. He has to. Sure, we all know he's not crazy enough to win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, even if no member of the Trump family runs, but for now he polls well when President Trump isn't included in the surveys. If Pence fails to back this challenge, his chances instantly drop to zero.

Also, as Axios reports, Trump is very focused on whether Pence will die on the "stolen election" hill:
A source who spoke to Trump said the president was complaining about Pence and brought up a Lincoln Project ad that claims that Pence is "backing away" from Trump. This ad has clearly got inside Trump’s head, the source said.

Trump views Pence as not fighting hard enough for him — the same complaint he uses against virtually everybody who works for him and has been loyal to him.

Pence’s role on Jan. 6 has begun to loom large in Trump’s mind, according to people who’ve discussed the matter with him.

Trump would view Pence performing his constitutional duty — and validating the election result — as the ultimate betrayal.
More from the CNN story:
Brooks told CNN on Monday night that they would seek to challenge the election in at least six battleground states....
"At least"? After Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan, all of which Biden won by less than 3%, where else could they challenge the results? The next-closest states were Minnesota and New Hampshire -- but Biden won them both by 7%.

It's likely that the challengers won't go beyond those six states, but I have a long-shot prediction for an additional state where they might issue a challenge:


No, really. After the 2016 election, Trump implied that the reason he lost the state (by 30 points) was fraud.

In September of this year, he suggested the same thing in an interview:
“I think I did win the popular vote in a true sense,” Trump told [Laura] Ingraham. “I think there was tremendous cheating in California. There was tremendous cheating in New York and other places.”
There was this a couple of weeks after the election:
“New reports claim that the real results of the 2020 U.S. election were found on a computer server that was seized by the U.S. military in Frankfurt, Germany,” an OAN personality said.... “In a recent tweet, a Virginia congressional candidate shared an electoral map that’s allegedly based on this data from that server. It shows a landslide victory for President Trump with a 410 electoral-college vote, including liberal strongholds California and Minnesota.”

Here is that “recent tweet” which constitutes one of the “new reports.”

And, of course, the conspiracy theorists believe that Smartmatic helped steal the election for Biden. Smartmatic actually had no involvement in the 2020 elections -- except for the fact that it helped Los Angeles County run its elections.

So while I don't expect a challenge of the California results (Trump lost by 29 this time), I won't be shocked if it happens, and I expect that at least one of the many speeches from the challengers will mention California (which has, y'know, all those brown people voting).

So who's likely to challenge? The CNN story tells us:
Brooks said the meeting was attended by a "double digit" number of lawmakers, but he wouldn't say if senators were part of the meeting....

Other GOP lawmakers have also confirmed their attendance at the meeting, including Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, who told CNN: "We talked about a lot of things."

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, a staunch Trump defender, said this when asked if Trump urged him to object to the election results at the meeting: "He didn't urge anything, he didn't need to, I've been planning on objecting all along."

Rep. Jody Hice, a Georgia Republican who attended the meeting, tweeted: "I will lead an objection to Georgia's electors on Jan 6."

Sources told CNN that other members were there, including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a prominent ally of the President who has been urging him to continue the battle.

So it'll be a big gang. And I bet they'll get at least one senator. CNN:
... several senators have not ruled out joining the effort, including Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rand Paul of Kentucky. And Trump has heaped praise on Alabama's incoming senator, Tommy Tuberville, for signaling he'd object to the results.

Another incoming senator, Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall, wouldn't say if he would join House conservatives' effort to contest a state's election results. Marshall was a signatory on the House GOP's amicus brief backing the Texas suit seeking to invalidate votes across several battleground states that the Supreme Court rejected earlier this month.
And this probably won't be resolved on January 6.
... if a House member and a senator object to six states' results, it would lead to at least 12 hours of debate, in addition to the time for casting votes on each of the motions, potentially prolonging the fight until the next day.
There's something to be said for empty, futile histrionics. They build tribal loyalty. They turn faits accomplis into permanent grievances. This dog-and-pony show will be obnoxious, but I wish Democrats had tried some of this tantrum-throwing during the past few years of judicial confirmations.


Axios reports that Donald Trump is trying to scare Republicans who might acknowledge his defeat by demonstrating his mighty power to sustain or destroy their politcal careers:
President Trump lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday night for acknowledging Joe Biden won the election, sending a slide to Republican lawmakers taking credit for saving McConnell's career with a tweet and robocall....

"Sadly, Mitch forgot,” reads the top of the slide sent to Republican senators by Trump's personal assistant, written in red for emphasis. “He was the first one off the ship.”

... While both the message and its delivery targeted McConnell, they also carried a subtle warning to other Republicans who may follow suit as the president grasps at the last straws of his election-fraud claim.
Here's the slide:

Trump's claim is that the polls in the race between McConnell and Democrat Amy McGrath were tight until June 19, when Trump sent this tweet:

The Kentucky Senate polls collected by FiveThirtyEight do show a tight race early on. As the Trump slide notes, a poll released June 9 by RMG Research showed McGrath with a one-point lead.

But a poll released on June 18 -- a day before Trump's tweet -- showed McConnell with a 20-point lead. That survey, from the liberal firm Civiqs, was conducted June 13 to 15. The numbers were McConnell 53%, McGrath 33%.

So no, Trump's tweet didn't save McConnell. It's Kentucky. McConnell was always going to win.

Monday, December 21, 2020


CNN reports that in addition to the White House meeting with President Trump that she attended on Friday night, "Kraken" lawyer Sidney Powell was also at the White House yesterday and the day before, although it doesn't appear that she met with Trump again. (If she didn't, who was she there to see?)

But there's more. In the Friday night meeting, which was also attended by General Mike Flynn, there was another celebrity guest:
They were joined by Patrick Byrne, the founder of, who tweeted afterward that he was disappointed in how Trump is being served by his White House team.

"President Trump is being terribly served by his advisers. They want him to lose and are lying to him. He is surrounding by mendacious mediocrities," Byrne wrote, adding later: "For the first time in my life I feel sorry for Donald Trump. He is standing up to his waist in snakes. Trust Rudy and Sidney only."
That would be this Patrick Byrne:
They met at a libertarian conference in Las Vegas in July 2015, where they discussed Milton Friedman, Anton Chekhov and John Locke.

He was the philosophizing founder and chief executive of, a publicly traded e-commerce retailer that sells discount furniture and bedding. She was an ambitious graduate student from Russia.

It was the start of a three-year relationship between the e-commerce executive, Patrick Byrne, and the young woman, Maria Butina, that became romantic at times. She is now serving 18 months in prison after being accused by federal prosecutors of trying to infiltrate powerful political circles in the United States at the direction of the Russian government. She ultimately pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Byrne claimed that the FBI had directed him to pursue a romantic relationship with Butina. He issued
a bizarre press release — “ CEO Comments on Deep State, Withholds Further Comment” — in which he claimed he was aiding the “Men in Black” in a “Clinton investigation,” and that he was the “notorious ‘missing Chapter 1’ of the Russian investigation.”

Naturally, investors weren’t thrilled, as company shares dropped by 36 percent over the next two days, sheering $317 million off Overstock’s market value. And they probably weren’t thrilled by his interview with the New York Times on August 15, [2019,] in which he ... said he was still “quite fond” of Butina ... and recommended that she “go home and be president of Russia one day.” On August 22, Byrne resigned....
I'm sure it's perfectly fine that this guy is advising the president of the United States. Right?


Back in June 2019, I wrote a post in which I tried to imagine a second Trump term. I assumed that if he managed to win reelection, he'd largely ignore the responsibilities of the job and focus even more than usual on golf, Twitter, and TV, while looking ahead to his legacy:
... he might start focusing on inappropriate honors. Where's my Nobel Prize? How do I get on Mount Rushmore? Do I have to be dead before they put me on money?
I thought of that post when I read this at the Daily Beast:
In the dying days of his presidency, Donald Trump has taken to asking some aides and advisers about the process of naming airports after former U.S. presidents, according to two people who’ve heard him recently inquiring on this.

... [One] knowledgeable source said that Trump had, at one point since the 2020 election, offhandedly asked what kind of “paperwork” was necessary to get an airport named after a former president....

Trump’s focus on airport namings suggests that his mind has begun to wonder towards the ceremonial elements that accompany life after the presidency.
I don't think this means that all of Trump's "election fraud" talk is an act. The human mind is complex -- we know that friends and relatives of people who commit suicide often say they were surprised because the person seemed to have been making a lot of plans for the future. I think Trump is thinking along parallel tracks in a similar way. Because he believes any crackpot theory that confirms his prior beliefs, he's certain he really won. Because he finds failure unbearable and shameful, he has to fight to the bitter end to establish the notion that he was the winner. (It's working, of course -- the vast majority of his base thinks he was robbed.) But part of him knows that no one with the power to do so has demonstrated a willingness to throw the election to him.
It also shows that his infatuation with having pieces of infrastructure emblazoned with his name hasn’t faded at all with his time occupying the single most powerful position in the world.
He's so obsessed with this that last summer I noticed he'd purchased the cleaning rights to a stretch of roadway in Manhattan, on the Upper West Side, where he's loathed, and where he didn't have a chance in hell of winning the state's electoral votes:

Another individual close to Trump told The Daily Beast that they could recall the president mentioning at least a couple times since early 2018 his desire for having a national or international airport in the United States named after “Donald J. Trump,” and that he hoped there would be an aggressive organized effort to do so....
You can laugh at this, but it will happen.

First, you don't have to be dead to have an airport named after you. Washington's National Airport was renamed in honor of Ronald Reagan in 1998, six years before Reagan died.

Beyond that, we can assume that fawning Trumpist governors and state legislators will be in a hot competition to see who can get an airport named after Trump first. I assume Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, and South Dakota's governor, Kristi Noem, will fight hardest to get this done. I'm sure Trump would prefer having a big international airport named for him, which would seem to give Florida the advantage, but it's a purple state, and the airports there are mostly in Democratic areas, so he might encounter less popular and legislative resistance in South Dakota.

Red America loves Trump. Many things will be named after him once he's out of office. There are Ronald Reagan Schools....

So I'm sure there'll be Donald Trump Schools in a few years.


UPDATE: I'm reminded that the Trump highway sign has been there for a while -- since 2007, although it was down for about a year after it was vandalized in 2017.