Friday, December 04, 2020

DAMAGE CONTROL

It's more and more clear that Trump not only won't go away graciously -- he is determined to do as much damage as he can before he exits
 
 
Conservative Pundit Fears Now Is ‘Most Dangerous’ Part Of Donald Trump’s Presidency
 
[NB: If he can't win, he will pull the temple down as he leaves.]  

The Enablers

There are only two possible conclusions from listening to this folly: either the President actually believes what he is saying, in which case he is crazy, or he does not, in which case he is engaged in the most cynical attack on American democracy ever to come from the White House. . . . The temptation is to look away, to move on, to cringe and avert your gaze. That is exactly what the Republicans in the Senate, who have stood by Trump through impeachment and other ignominies, have done this week, pivoting so seamlessly into bashing the new Biden Administration that they never even stopped to acknowledge its existence. Like the vast majority of his G.O.P. colleagues, Senator John Cornyn, of Texas, has yet to publicly admit that Biden won. Nonetheless, he gave a speech on the Senate floor decrying Biden’s choices for top posts. “I will not support any nominee who doesn’t provide full transparency into their work on behalf of a foreign government. I will not do it,” Cornyn said. Never mind, in other words, the past four years of the Trump Administration, when a President and his children profited every single day off undisclosed foreign business arrangements. . . .     Do Republicans think they have a free pass to pretend that the past four years never happened? Do they think they can simply return to the partisan status quo ante, complaining about nasty tweets and potential conflicts of interest, without anyone bringing up the current President? I don’t think this was what Biden meant when he said, during the campaign, that his Presidency would mark a return to normal. Meanwhile, not a single Republican senator had a word to say about Trump’s insane remarks from the White House on Wednesday, notwithstanding the President’s insistence that it was the most important speech of his tenure. In many ways, the post-election period has revealed once again the shamelessly craven nature of the Trump-era G.O.P. in Washington . . . [read on]

The fundamental incompetence of the Trump administration is most evident in their inability to handle the coronavirus -- and their rhetoric and policies (or non-policies) that have made it much worse. But another clear illustration is the census: a large, complex, and crucially important endeavor that they have completely botched. The good news is that their half-assed approach has also undermined their efforts to exclude immigrants from the count

 
Bid to Exclude Immigrants from Census Appears Doomed
 
Trump still refuses to talk about the virus -- all he wants to talk about is reversing the election 
 
 
It will be good to have a real president again 
 
Biden to urge wearing masks for first 100 days in office
 
Fauci Will Be Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser 
 
Sabotage
 
 
How Dozens of Trump’s Political Appointees Will Stay in Government After Biden Takes Over

Trump Rewards His Cronies and Bundlers With Plumb Posts on His Way Out the Door

Trump wants to pardon 20 allies and associates
 
 
The Case for Not Panicking About Trump’s Pardons

The pay-for-pardons scandal story now has names attached to it

 
Ivanka's deceptive testimony on the inauguration
 

The rats are jumping off a sinking ship

WH Communications Director Resigns

In election lawsuit news . . .   
 
Oh, to be a fly on the wall
 
President Trump and Attorney General William Barr had a “contentious,” lengthy meeting inside the West Wing this week after Barr told The Associated Press that the Justice Department had uncovered no evidence of fraud that would change the election outcome . . .
 
President Trump said Thursday he is disappointed in Attorney General William Barr for saying that the Justice Department had not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Trump pushed back on the comments Barr made in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week . . . 
 
Asked whether he still has confidence in Barr, Trump hesitated, before responding: "Uhhh... ask me that in a number of weeks from now." . . .
 
Tensions between Trump and Barr seem to be rising
 
A White House liaison at the Justice Department has been axed from the building over claims that she was trying to collect insider information to pass on to the White House, The Associated Press reports. A few months into her appointment at the Justice Department, Heidi Stirrup, an ally of top Trump adviser Stephen Miller, was requested to leave the premises after top officials uncovered her plot to pressure workers into giving up information about ongoing cases, election fraud and other sensitive matters. Additionally, Stirrup allegedly also gave out job offers to political allies for top Justice Department positions without getting approval from higher-ups or the White House counsel’s office. . . . 

 
Cross off another one . . .
 
The Wisconsin Supreme Court won’t hear President Trump’s election lawsuit, likely dooming state court case seeking to overturn loss . . .

These Trump/Giuliani election challenge events have been clown shows
 
Giuliani Annoys MI GOP Legislators With Plodding Hearing Of Wacky Fraud Claims
 
Trump 'Voter Fraud' Witness Says Voter ID Needed Because 'All Chinese Look Alike'
 
 
 
Lindsey F. Graham wants Trump's election lawyers to come up with a better case -- ignoring the obvious implications of why they haven't


In other news . . .    

More like this, please
 
Trumper Lin Wood: Loeffler And Perdue Have Not Earned Your Vote, So Don't Vote 
 
 
 
Roger Stone's specialty is often called "ratf---ing." Here's how it is done
 
Roger Stone Falsely Claims North Korea Helped Biden 

Lou Dobbs, king of the dead-enders

Lou Dobbs Is Now A Hub For Pro-Trump Election Conspiracies
 
How Trump is using election fraud lies to rake in big bucks 
 
 
In 2000, Trump joked, "It's very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it." Maybe he wasn't kidding. . .
 
VP Mike Pence, who has definite plans of his own for 2024, is jumping off the Trump circus wagon

 

Bonus item: Jimmy Kimmel on Giuliani's wacky witnesses -- and a great re-edit of Trump's speech

 
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Thursday, December 03, 2020

THUMBS UP!

Biden has already won his biggest victory

Biden on beating Trump: 'I feel like I've done something good for the country'

Biden sticks with Neera Tanden, for now
 
President-elect Joe Biden suggested in an interview published Wednesday that outrage from Senate Republicans over his pick for White House budget director is hypocritical and insincere . . . The remarks from Biden came in an interview with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, during which the president-elect was asked whether “nasty tweets” — Tanden has been sharply critical of Republican officials on social media — should be disqualifying for potential nominees to his incoming administration. “That disqualifies almost every Republican senator and 90 percent of the administration,” Biden said. “But by the way, she’s smart as hell. Yeah, I think they’re going to pick a couple of people just to fight [over] no matter what.” 

Anticipating Senate bottlenecks, Biden races to fill agency jobs
 
Biden plans to keep on FBI Director Christopher Wray (if Trump doesn't fire him first)
 
 
Biden jokes
 
Biden Jokes That Barr Called For ‘Witness Protection’ After Denying Voter Fraud Claims
 
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday predictably deployed the Trumpian tactic of deflection when pressed on whether President Trump maintains confidence in Attorney General Bill Barr . . .
 
More on the "pay for pardon" scandal starting to bubble up (Trump calls it "fake news," which is usually a pretty good indicator that he's worried about it)

 
Bill Barr Hid Evidence of a Bribery for Pardon Investigation During the Election 
 
Sabotage
 
 
Coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths hit new highs: over 3000 dead in one day
 
 
 
How Trump plans to cash in once he's out of office
 

If Trump runs in 2024, he will face some opponents who aren't afraid of him

 
 
Ivanka gets deposed in a lawsuit over shady inauguration funding
 
 
One blessing is that the Russia scandal dumped Michael Flynn out of Trump's administration before he could do any harm. This guy is creepy

Last night, fresh off his pardon for past crimes, retired General Mike Flynn endorsed a call for President Trump to suspend the constitution and declare martial law. It came in a tweet in which Flynn tweeted and endorsed a manifesto calling on President “to immediately declare a limited form of Martial Law and temporarily suspend the Constitution and civilian control of these federal elections for the sole purpose of having the military oversee a national re-vote.” 
 
Flynn Says Trump Won In a ‘Massive Landslide’
 
Flynn Says Country Won’t Accept Biden 

[NB: Remember that Sidney Powell, who was deemed too crazy to be part of Trump's election legal team, was Flynn's lawyer during his case.]

The investigations into the origins of the Russia probe have taken longer than the original probe . . . with no end in sight
 
 
Trump keeps threatening to veto the Defense billl . . . but probably won't
 
 
Section 230, which offers legal immunity to a wide range of online companies. But his Tuesday night tweet was just the culmination of a series of efforts by the president to weaken protections for the tech platforms that fact-checked, filtered or blocked some of his messages during the months before his defeat at the polls. . . . [read on] 
 
In election lawsuit news . . .   
 
Trump, in what he calls "the most important speech I have ever given," offers 45 minutes of lies about the election process. He claims evidence -- "so much evidence" -- none of which has held up in court. But, of course, he has a few other things to get off his chest too

 
“Escalating his attack on democracy from within the White House, President Trump on Wednesday distributed an astonishing 46-minute video rant filled with baseless allegations of voter fraud and outright falsehoods in which he declared the nation’s election system ‘under coordinated assault and siege’ and argued that it was ‘statistically impossible’ for him to have lost to President-elect Joe Biden.”
 
 
[NB: I don't know why anyone would sit through 45 minutes of this. Not a single word is new or informative. It is a litany of familiar lies, conspiracies, and grievances, repeated over and over. And, if this were "the most important speech," why is it posted on Facebook and not broadcast live on television?]
 


Trump is "livid" with AG Bill Barr for saying there is no evidence of widespread election fraud

 

What IS this? Is this a "legal" event?
 
 
[NB: One after another, made-for-TV events that keep stirring the "election hoax" narrative. But in court, where it matters, they keep losing.]

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House
 
Rudy Attempts to Shush Unhinged ‘Witness’ During Election Fraud Hearing
 
Trump 'Fraud' Witness Also Believes Ghosts Are Haunting His Family 
 
Here is some ACTUAL voter fraud (and it's by Republicans)
 

In other news . . .
 
Why we like Stacey

“I’m nothing special. I’m just — I’m kind of relentless.”
           — Stacey Abrams, in an interview with Rolling Stone, on what she did to turn out the vote and turn Georgia blue for the first time in 30 years.
 
The understatement of the year
 
Parscale Blames Trump’s Lack of Empathy for His Loss
 
A bipartisan group proposes a new stimulus plan -- and Mitch McConnell is blocking it
 

[NB: This is Mitch's MO as majority leader. We have an impending govt shutdown, no Defense bill, and a continued failure to address the need for a coronavirus stimulus bill. The Republican majority can't --- or won't -- govern. All eyes on Georgia.]
 
Biden says he can reach deals with McConnell

Will shady stock trades sink the two GOP Senate candidates in Georgia?
 

You know, we just don't spend enough time here kicking around Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

 
 
Bonus item: Colbert on Trump's "impotent" speech

 
***If you enjoy Progressive Blog Digest and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com) with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!  
 
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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

CALL SCREENING

Trump has spent much of his time after the election attacking Republican governors for not doing more to help him steal the election. But he has no real power to move them -- and they know it

 
 
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appeared to have ignored a phone call from President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence while he was certifying the state’s election results on Monday. In viral video below, the Republican governor is shown receiving a call on his cellphone while he signs documents to validate President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state. With “Hail to the Chief” playing on the ringtone, Ducey pulls the phone from his pocket, glances at the caller ID and places the phone on his desk. He quickly gets back to the paperwork. Ducey bragged in July that he had set his ringtone to “Hail to the Chief” whenever Trump or Pence called because he had so much direct contact with them . . .
 
And it's not just the governors
 
Georgia’s Republican lieutenant governor on Monday warned that President Trump and the GOP risk “alienating voters” ahead of the state’s January Senate runoff elections and beyond with false claims of voter fraud and election malfeasance. . . .
 
Georgia’s Republican voting system manager unloaded on President Trump on Tuesday, accusing him of provoking violence against officials and election workers with his baseless claims of voter fraud and calling on him to accept his loss in the presidential race. . . “Mr President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We’re investigating, there’s always a possibility, I get it. You have the rights to go to the courts. What you don’t have the ability to do – and you need to step up and say this – is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get killed, and it’s not right. It’s not right.”
 
Ohio GOPers want to impeach their Republican governor
 

[NB: Trump is close to fomenting a civil war within the Republican party -- completely and only driven by loyalty to him and his outrageous election claims.]

Trump's pardon of Michael Flynn for everything he did, might have done, thought about doing, or might some day be accused of doing, looks pretty all-encompassing. Marcy Wheeler says it doesn't go far enough to protect him from future prosecution

https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/12/01/trump-attempts-to-invalidate-the-mueller-investigation/
 
We expected a wave of pardons from Trump -- Flynn, Manafort . . . even perhaps trying to pardon himself or his kids. But here is a name we haven't heard

Rudy Giuliani


[NB: Yes, you heard that right -- Trump might have to pardon HIS OWN LAWYER. I think it's interesting when you hear about pardons for people who haven't even been charged with anything yet. What have they been doing?]
 
It certainly raises the question of whether -- as with Flynn and others -- a pardon is the quid to repay Giuliani for certain illegal quos we haven't learned about yet
 
The problem is simple: how do you issue a pardon without giving away the act for which you’re providing clemency? Legal experts told TPM that while Trump is safely within his powers to issue pre-emptive pardons, he could face some issues regarding how specific he wants those pardons to be. [read on]
 
And now this
 
Trump has discussed possible pardons for three eldest children, Kushner
 
Ah, a new phrase for the lexicon: "Preemptive pardons"
 
 
 
The DOJ is investigating a bribe someone gave to get a presidential pardon (names are redacted . .  for now)
 


The Repubs affirm their commitment to a principle they never applied to Trump

Sen. Cornyn: "I will not support any nominee who doesn't provide full transparency into their work on behalf of a foreign government. I will not do it. The American people deserve to know if these or any future nominees are beholden to anything other than our national interest."

Sabotage
 

I hope this doesn't surprise you
 
“Trump is not expected to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden … He also does not plan to invite Biden to the White House or even call him.”
 
Biden's vote lead is now 7 million, and over 4 per cent
 
 
[NB: And still growing. . .] 
 
For Biden, the need to act fast



Biden's foreign policy challenges
 
 
Biden's economic team
 

Biden's nominee to be head of OMB tweeted criticisms of GOP Senators. Now is their chance for revenge
 


 
 
It's good news getting this guy off the FCC -- and giving Biden the chance to replace him
 
  
 
In election lawsuit news . . .   
 
Trump's lawyers take their threadbare case to the Supreme Court. Now we will see . . .
 
 
 
The only good thing Bill Barr has done as AG
 
Barr says DOJ hasn't uncovered widespread voter fraud in 2020 election
 
Crazy man Lou Dobbs is now calling BILL BARR part of the "Deep State" -- which clearly only means now, "anybody who disagrees with Trump"
 

Trump has raised over $170 million for his "legal expenses." Where is that money really going?
 
Of this haul, about $130 million has gone into a new leadership PAC, Save America, that’s essentially a Trump slush fund. There are few restrictions on what he can do with it, and it’s a good bet that practically none of it is going into his efforts to challenge the election. Trump just wants a big pile of money for his future use. [read on] 
 
In other news . . . 
 
Scott Atlas leaves with all the class and dignity with which he served
 
In what might be the most appropriate forum imaginable, Scott Atlas has resigned his spot at the head of Donald Trump’s “coronavirus task force” with a post on Twitter. As might be expected, Atlas’ exit letter contains a glowing amount of self praise for his brilliant handling of all things COVID-19 including a claim that he always worked from the “latest science and evidence, without any political consideration or influence.” . . . [read on]

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: You know, he understood something that really resonated with the president. He understood that it's easy to convince somebody that you're right when you tell them exactly what they want to hear. And that's what he did with the president. He told the president exactly what he wanted to hear. He told them that most of the folks in the United States were low risk. He advocated for herd immunity and promoted a really magical bogus notion that you could achieve it with maybe only 25 percent of the population getting infected. He told the president that we never should have had a goal to prevent college students from becoming infected, because they had no risk. He really completely ignored the fact that we live in multi-generational households, so he ignored the fact that the young who are at relatively low risk would kill their grandparents. He completely downplayed testing and basically said that if we tested asymptomatic people, we would destroy the work force. As you said, he questioned the efficacy of masks. He told the people of Michigan to rise up against restrictions and mask wearing, and just as a cherry on top, he gave an interview to Russian television. Other than that, it was a bravura performance in his three months in the White House.  
 
 
The CDC provides guidelines for who gets the vaccine first
 
 
AG BIll Barr makes the Durham investigation a special prosecutor, which will make it harder for Biden to end it 

 

Now Trump is threatening again to veto the Defense Bill, for another extraneous reason


A lot of finger-pointing about why the Dems did well at the presidential level, but not so at the congressional and state levels. To me the main factor is pretty clear: Republicans who turned out to vote against Trump (good) but voted GOP for the rest of the ticket (bad)
 
 
People are already talking about the 2022 midterms, which are historically bad for the President's party. Here's why it might not turn out that way



Can the Dems do better in rural America?


This is what bloggers get to do: Here is Kevin Drum's wish list of what HE would do with many of the major issues of the day. You might find it interesting. As usual, he is smart and data-driven, and I mostly agree


James O'Keefe, part right-wing muckraking journalist, part troll, has been eavesdropping on CNN's editorial calls for two months -- and he is going PUBLIC with what he learned. But the big revelations are . . . not much, really


Bonus item: In Fox World

Doocy said that Kansas looked at the scientific data. That's a first for these idiots. "In the month of July [Kansas] had a statewide mandate for masks!" 
 
Doocy continued, "The problem with Kansas was some counties would actually enforce it; in other counties they would not." "In the counties that enforced the mask mandate, the number of cases of coronavirus actually went way down. And in the counties where they did not enforce the mask mandate, it went way up," Doocy said in disbelief.
 
Ainsley Earhardt replied meekly, "Really?"  
 
"Yeah."
 
***If you enjoy Progressive Blog Digest and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com) with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!  
 
I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***