Aardvark Ends Bid for the White House

Keeping you abreast of the latest news:

Avenatti announces that he will not run for president in 2020:

Avenatti, best known for representing porn star Stormy Daniels, said the decision came after consultation with his family. “I do not make this decision lightly — I make it out of respect for my family. But for their concerns, I would run,” Avenatti, a father of two teenage girls and a 4-year-old son, said in a statement.

Aardvark Ends Bid for White House

Inspired by Michael Avenatti, I have decided that I, Arius A. Aardvark, will suspend my bid for the White House.

This decision is inspired primarily by a need to spend more time with my old friend Jose.

Iraq Offers to Help Establish Democracy in North Carolina:

BAGHDAD (The Borowitz Report)—The government of Iraq announced on Tuesday that it would seek to build an international coalition to establish democracy in the state of North Carolina.

Speaking to reporters in Baghdad, the Iraqi President, Barham Salih, said that Iraq had reached out to regional powers including Canada and Mexico to launch a military invasion of North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District to “protect the North Carolinians’ right to self-determination.”

While many in the international community commended Salih’s desire to bring democracy to North Carolina, some critics warned that the effort could wind up destabilizing other American states.

“If North Carolina gets democracy, it’s only a matter of time before the people of Wisconsin, Georgia, and other failed states demand it as well,” Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi politician and cleric, said. “Iraq could find itself in a quagmire with no exit strategy.”


The Evil That Men Do Lives After Them. The Good is Oft Interred with their Bones.

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Jonathan Chait writes,

[The 1988] campaign came when post-1960s cultural- and racial-backlash politics were in full bloom. Bush and his allies elevated the crimes of one black rapist wildly out of proportion to their relationship to sentencing policy, tapping into primal racial fears. He associated his opponent, Michael Dukakis, the ultimate earnest do-gooder, with what he sneeringly called “Harvard Yard’s boutique,” and smeared his patriotism by elevating the pseudo-issue of mandatory Pledge of Allegiance recitation. The whole 1988 campaign was an extended exercise in dunking the nerd’s head in the boys’ room toilet.

Bush was known to subscribe to an old belief, frequently attributed to his old-line Wasp sense of entitlement/noblesse oblige, that campaigning was an inherently dirty business with no necessary connection to how one governed once safely ensconced in office. The trouble for Bush is that his campaign collided with his governing in a way he was never able to fully reconcile.

Don’t Get Ahead of the Facts, Don’t Explain the Significance of a Document You Haven’t Seen and Read

be sure you're right


Michael Tomasky: Planning with a Straight Edge Ruler, Assuming the Continued Viability of the Cult of Trump

Right now, I have the sense that some of my progressive brethren and sistern are thinking as if they have been lobotomized. Over in the left brain, careful, fact-based conversations are going on, trying to project conditions into 2020 and beyond, on the assumption that nothing much will have changed by 2020 and beyond, and we will still be divided into the same warring tribes, of nearly equal sizes, each trying to vote the other into submission.

The latter phrase I owe to a fine article I just read. It’s by Michael Tomasky, it’s titled The Midterms: So Close, So Far Apart, and I believe it’s behind the pay wall of The New York Review of Books. (But then, if you don’t subscribe to The New York Review of Books, then you really should remedy that oversight.)

Tomasky does an excellent job of laying out a very guardedly optimistic picture, and includes some good thoughts on what Democrats might do to remedy the tribalism and gain some needed votes over in Trumpland. He focuses on agriculture, rural and small town development, and the opoid crisis. I would add in a coherent immigration policy.

But Tomasky, like many other left-brained thinkers, ignores whatever new crises are coming Trump’s way. Tomasky thinks House Democrats should investigate and expose all of Trump’s misdeeds, but should eschew impeachment, on the ground that it would surely fail in the Senate, and do more harm than good to progressives.

I, myself, have been of this view, until recent days. But recent developments, I believe, should cause us to begin to rethink this view. Cautiously, prudently, but fearlessly, where the facts take us.

Opining on an Unseen Document

My headline urges, Don’t [Try to or Pretend to] Explain the Significance of a Document You Haven’t Seen and Read. That document would be Trump’s written interrogatory response to Mueller, a document on which vast numbers of talking heads have opined, though none has seen it.

If Trump lied in writing to Mueller, on a matter where he clearly knew the truth but chose to prevaricate, then Trump would have committed a clear criminal violation. And that would be a significant change in the situation.

But did he lie? To have a fully informed opinion, we would need to see the exact words of the questions and scrutinize the exact words of the answers. The answers may have been carefully framed and they may have been ambiguous. We just don’t know till we read the document.

Wait for the Facts—But Think Ahead, Contingently

More generally, don’t get over your skis. Wait for the facts.

That said, it’s OK, it’s prudent, and it’s highly appropriate to think ahead about what to do if the facts turn out to be as clear and as damning as they probably will be.

So let’s not make a prediction. Instead, let’s do a thought experiment and assume, solely for the sake of the discussion, that the facts turn out to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that

  • Trump has acted in such a way as to supply kompromat to the Kremlin,
  • Putin has used that kompromat to affect Trump’s behavior, and that, accordingly,
  • Trump has willfully placed his personal business against ahead of American national interest,
  • Trump has committed perjury, e.g., in his written responses to Mueller, and that, as a general matter,
  • the Trump Organization is a criminal enterprise, engaged in money laundering and other felonious conduct.

then here’s what I say.

I say the House of Representatives has a duty to draw up articles of impeachment and to force a trial and a vote in the United States Senate.

And if there are senators who want to gaslight, who want to defend treason and financial corruption, and  want to cast a wholly unprincipled vote against impeachment, then they can just go ahead and do it.

Make my day.

For one thing, I think about one tenth to one fifth to one tenth of the 44.9 percent of our population who voted Republican in 2018 are not in the Cult of Trump, but voted Republican for other reasons.

Will that minority of the minority put up with Trump’s vile behavior? Yes, they will. Will they go for financial crime? Not so sure. How about proven treason? I don’t think so.

We need to peel those people off. And if we do peel those people off, then Republican voters are no longer 44.9 percent of the population. They are maybe 40 percent, maybe 38 percent, maybe even 35 percent.

And we vote them into submission.

Not forgetting, of course, to add in the rural redevelopment and opoid addiction treatment programs.

Then and Now: R.I.P., Bush the Elder

R.I.P., George H.W. Bush.

This is the difference between then and now. THEN, the blue bloods ginned up the racists, but had the good taste to feel bad about it afterwards.

NOW, they bring on the racism reflexively, overtly, gleefully.

Only to be shocked, shocked at the result: Inside the GOP’s California nightmare: The party lost big in the state’s November House races, and Republicans didn’t see it coming.

Cause, meet Effect