How Long?

Vasari writes,

My wife this on Facebook. So it must be true. 

A woman was driving past an early voting site. She saw a long line of people. She rolled down her window and asked, “How long have you been waiting?”

A man yelled, “Four Years!”

Everybody cheered and applauded.

The Main Thing About the Debate

Richard North Patterson. Beyond the Debate: Trump Is Running on Empty—Instead of ideas, the president offered lies, evasions, and weapons-grade exaggerations.

Gwenda Blair, How Norman Vincent Peale Taught Donald Trump to Worship Himself: The magnate’s biographer explains the spiritual guide behind his relentless self-confidence, Politico, October, 2015

Wikipedia, The Power of Positive Thinking

Yahoo News, Trump says ‘we’re learning to live with’ coronavirus. Biden says ‘people are learning to die with it.’

In this election, there are more significant issues than Carter has Little Liver Pills. Even if we limit our consideration only to issues of signal importance and great moment, there remain more of these issues than Carter has Little Liver Pills.

One might have thought that, chief among them would be whether or not the United States shall continue its 240-year experiment with Madisonian democracy, or whether we should just forget the whole thing. Because that issue is surely on the ballot.

But no.

Before we get to address self-government, there arises the issue of preservation of the self.

By now, we have spent several years plumbing the depths of Trump’s psychoses, and our efforts to understand have not yet been crowned with success. We do not know how much of his bullshit he believes all the time, how much of it he believes none of the time, and how much of it he believes on even numbered days but not on odd numbered days.

As best one can tell, he has long embraced some manic version of Norman Vincent Peale’s teachings, in which one succeeds by simply ignoring the obstacles that stand in front of you. Thus, his way of dealing with pandemic death is to ignore pandemic death, and to try to persuade everyone else just to ignore death from the pandemic. 

He is engaged in a psychotic social science experiment: leading his followers—and, if possible, the whole country—to disregard reality and behave in ways that put themselves, their families, and the whole of society at grave medical risk.

This is not normal. When I was a little racist redneck—as yet only knee high to a grasshopper—I learned to have a good laugh at the expense of the yet more backward redneck cultists who  handled snakes, in order to prove their religious faith.

And yet, I would think that one might learn how to handle snakes with a reasonable degree of safety, if you apply your learning and keep your eye on the ball. I would think that, in such circumstances, snake handling would be a great deal safer than attending a superspreader Nuremberg rally.

Common sense would tell us that elemental self-preservation would limit the appeal of mass suicidal behavior. But with a third of the country cheerfully drinking the Kool Aid, one may certainly be forgiven for entertaining the metaphysical possibility that the number of hidden death cultists is even larger.

At the same time, I will forgive myself for entertaining the possibility that those yearning for mass suicide probably don’t exceed about 35 percent of the population.

The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

In Case You Were Wondering

Nancy LeTourneau explains:

Josh Holmes, a McConnell advisor, … lamented that every news development activates Democrats, and “their default is to give $5 every time something angers them.” Conversely, when Republicans see something that angers them, “their response is to write something on Facebook.”  …

[P]erhaps the biggest obstacle Republicans face in replicating the Democrats’ success at small-donor fundraising is that, especially in the era of Donald Trump, their supporters think that winning is all about “owning the libs.” Just like their leader, they assume that a brutal attack on Twitter or Facebook is the end-goal because it feeds their emotional need for revenge. That’s a loser mentality that goes a long way towards explaining how Democrats are “owning the cons.”

**

Greetings to today’s readers (so far), who come from Canada, France, Germany, Kenya, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States. Here in the Disunited States of America, the big debate takes place in about an hour. If you live in another country, and have the chance to watch the show, it should provide many enlightening and instructive points on how not to run a democracy.

It All Depends

This morning, my posse, as always, has been focusing, laser-like, on the burning issue of the day. Today’s burning issue is, of course, What is going on in the above picture?

The consensus is that Rudy is adjusting his Depends.

Every Vote Counts

Jennifer Rubin, How big a Republican wipeout are we looking at?

Politico, Trump is doing worse than it seems—but reporters are afraid to say so

Stuart Stevens, A Message to Democrats from Your New Ally:

I sense a strange lack of confidence with Democrats, as if they have been juggling eggs for most of a marathon and can’t believe they actually might cross the finish in first place.

In these last two weeks, I would plead with Democrats to change that mindset and banish the timidity. If I ran the Democratic party, here’s what I’d be telling my troops:

We are going to crush Donald Trump and the sickness he represents. There are more of us than there are of them. We are right. They are wrong. This is our moment. This is our destiny. Walk with confidence. Do not falter. Victory will be ours.

That sounds terribly overconfident and a lot of Democrats can’t shake the nagging sense that overconfidence was one of the horsemen of the Trump 2016 apocalypse. But this is actually a misreading of history.

It wasn’t overconfidence that hurt Hillary Clinton. It was lack of urgency. The inability to imagine Donald Trump has always been one of his great advantages. Republican primary opponents couldn’t imagine that a bankrupt casino owner who talked in public about having sex with his daughter could win the Republican nomination. Many general election voters considered it an impossibility that America would elect Donald Trump and so didn’t bother voting, or voted for third-party candidates in what they thought was a safe protest.

But we don’t need to imagine Donald Trump anymore. We’ve seen the elephant. We can’t stop seeing it, no matter how much we want to. Trump has dominated our public life and intruded in our lives. One of the great virtues of a civil society with a functioning democracy is the ability to not think about politics. Trump has robbed us of that right because he has brought our democracy to the brink.

So to my Democratic friends: Let us go forward in this final stretch with the confidence that our mission is vital and our opponent is weak.

Do not hesitate to swagger. These last two weeks belong to you. Years from now you will look back on these last days as some of the best in your lives. An evil was unleashed in the country you love and you rose to smite it. You will slay this dragon.

Trump is collapsing and his allies of convenience are panicked.

Now is when you turn a victory into a rout. We are all tired, but the other side isn’t just tired. They are frightened and confused. As they should be. Because they are losing the fight for the soul of this country. And they know it.

Victory is near.

Lessons About Masculinity, Learned Far Too Late

Young man in pain.

Tragically, it is only now, in the midst of my eighth decade of life, that I have learned from Donald Trump that True Masculinity is best demonstrated by unmitigated whining about one’s unfair treatment by one and all.

If only I had become aware of this truth earlier in my life! Think of the excuses I could have made! Think of the infinite pleasure I could have derived from my victimhood!

The Commission on Presidential Debates has grossly mistreated El Caudillo. CBS News ha victimized him unmercifully. Tomorrow evening, he faces another shellacking at the hands of that terrifying witch, Kristin Welker.  

Last time, when he showed up at a debate, he took a drubbing at the polls. Possibly, this was related to his asshole jerk routine.

This week, Orange Man has a golden opportunity to demonstrate his superabundant masculinity but just cutting and running from Thursday night’s scheduled debate.

And, clearly, that would be his best bet, politically.

One hopes, nonetheless, that he will show up and act like a crybaby in the midst of an uncontrollable tantrum.

It will be a sight to see.

Provided he actually shows up.

The Show Must Go On

Some morning thoughts from someone named Brian Karem:

The Donald Trump Show Must Go On:

I once went hunting with my uncle as a young man. During our walk through the woods we encountered a raccoon that had become enmeshed in a small length of rusty barbed wire. The raccoon was trying to gnaw off its own leg while also alternately furiously attacking the barbed wire. The results were bloody and unsuccessful.

The image forever seared in my mind from that occasion reminds me now of Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.

In one of Trump’s potential superspreader rallies in the South over the weekend, he stunned no one by suggesting that his political opponent should be locked up for fictional crimin Donald Trump has little original programming left. He’s playing his “Best Of” reruns. The base is buying, but the base is dwindling and the president is floundering in a cesspool of tautologies and twisted, self-negating sentences.

He says he respects the democratic process—but won’t commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

He quotes Dr. Anthony Fauci as praising Trump—but trashes Fauci and calls him a “disaster.”

He says he doesn’t know much about QAnon—other than that “they like me very much, which I appreciate.”

These typically oxymoronic Trumpisms would make even Yogi Berra cringe.

On rare occasion, Trump does manage to sprinkle in a new gem—like when he mused on stage this weekend in front of his maskless, faithful followers that if Joe Biden wins the election, then Trump would have to leave the country. While it isn’t true that airline flights leaving from the nation’s capital to non-extradition countries the day of the inauguration instantly sold out, it also wouldn’t be surprising if they had.

That Trump spoke at one of his rallies about leaving the country should he lose is a reminder of just how unhinged he has become—well, that and the embarrassing video of him dancing without moving his feet. He seemed glued to the floortrying to dance to the Village People’s ’70s disco hit “Y.M.C.A.”

Some say Trump’s proclamation about fleeing the country is merely groundwork for once again escaping responsibility for his actions and deflecting the blame onto someone else. Maybe he’s joking, as his supporters maintain, about leaving the country. But would anyone be surprised to learn that political betting markets and mob bookies have found a way to wager on whether he’ll leave the country—or that Trump has managed to earn a percentage off the action? ,,,

At the end of the day, though, President Trump probably won’t even care if he doesn’t get re-elected. Losing in November would mean he could drop a load of responsibility he never wanted and has never handled well. He’d gladly remove it from his narrow, soft shoulders.

As long as The Donald keeps getting press, he’ll be happy. He may be in court, on the lam, residing with a friendly dictator, or hosting the new WWF Roller Derby Smackdown (is that a thing?), but as long as he draws breath, he’ll find a way to draw a camera. Whatever it takes—riding a unicycle in a large strawberry donut with sprinkles or trying to do the “Triple Lindy” off the pier in Jersey—Trump will manage to get himself on television. It is the only place he feels comfortable. It is the only place he can be himself. Trump almost doesn’t exist unless he’s on television playing the role of the mean insult comic. He thinks he’s Don Rickles, but he doesn’t have Rickles’s heart—only the insults.

Two Weeks to Go

Some of the state polls out this morning show a tightening of the race in some of the swing states.

Nationally, Biden is up by 8.6 points in the RealClearPolitics average. It’s just an arithmetic average, not a weighted average. In elections since 2004, looking at RCP 14 days from the election as compared with final results, we see errors ranging from 0.1 percent to 3.0 percent.

Over at fivethirtyeight.com, which does weighted averages, not plain vanilla arithmetic averages, Biden is up this morning by 10.3 points (52.2 to 41.9), a slight slippage from yesterday.

You will recall that, last time, Trump won the Electoral College because he managed to eke out slight victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Otherwise, he would have lost by 287 to 251, instead of winning by 306 to 232.

If Trump loses all three of those states this time, he will lose the election unless he carries some states that Hillary won in 2016, despite being down nationally by nine or ten points.

As I said, the very latest polls show tightening in Pennsylvania. Some of the talking heads this morning were bloviating about how they know-they just know—they just know—that the races in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin are tighter than the polls show.

You can make of that what you will.

As for myself, the only tools in my toolbox are data, interpreted in the light of common sense. Last time around, Trump successfully appealed to some voters’ concerns about factories moving to Mexico and similar concerns. This time around, Trump’s closing argument is all about Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me.

And, by the way, the factories haven’t come back, and he has managed by build 3.5 miles of new walls on a southern border over 1900 miles long. 

50 Retired Spooks Want to Bring a Few Key Points to Your Attention

Public Statement on the Hunter Biden Emails

October 19, 2020

We are all individuals who devoted significant por<ons of our lives to na<onal security. Some of us served in senior posi<ons in policy departments and agencies, and some of us served in senior posi<ons in the Intelligence Community. Some of us were poli<cal appointees, and some were career officials. Many of us worked for presidents of both poli<cal par<es.

We are all also individuals who see Russia as one of our na<on’s primary adversaries. All of us have an understanding of the wide range of Russian overt and covert ac<vi<es that undermine US na<onal security, with some of us knowing Russian behavior in<mately, as we worked to defend our na<on against it for a career. A few of us worked against Russian informa<on opera<ons in the United States in the last several years.

Perhaps most important, each of us believes deeply that American ci8zens should determine the outcome of elec8ons, not foreign governments. All of us agree with the founding fathers’ concern about the damage that foreign interference in our poli8cs can do to our democracy.

It is for all these reasons that we write to say that the arrival on the US poli<cal scene of emails purportedly belonging to Vice President Biden’s son Hunter, much of it related to his <me serving on the Board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, has all the classic earmarks of a Russian informa<on opera<on.

We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal aSorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement — just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.

If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this elec8on, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.

There are a number of factors that make us suspicious of Russian involvement.

Such an opera<on would be consistent with Russian objec<ves, as outlined publicly and recently by the Intelligence Community, to create poli<cal chaos in the United States and to deepen poli<cal divisions here but also to undermine the candidacy of former Vice President Biden and thereby help the candidacy of President Trump. For the Russians at this point, with Trump down in the polls, there is incen<ve for Moscow to pull out the stops to do anything possible to help Trump win and/or to weaken Biden should he win. A “laptop op” fits the bill, as the publica<on of the emails are clearly designed to discredit Biden.

Such an opera<on would be consistent with some of the key methods Russia has used in its now mul<-year opera<on to interfere in our democracy – the hacking (via cyber opera<ons) and the dumping of accurate informa<on or the distribu<on of inaccurate or misinforma<on. Russia did both of these during the 2016 presiden<al elec<on – judgments shared by the US Intelligence Community, the inves<ga<on into Russian ac<vi<es by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the en<rety (all Republicans and Democrats) on the current Senate Intelligence CommiSee.

Such an opera<on is also consistent with several data points. The Russians, according to media reports and cybersecurity experts, targeted Burisma late last year for cyber collec<on and gained access to its emails. And Ukrainian poli<cian and businessman Adriy Derkach, iden<fied and sanc<oned by the US Treasury Department for being a 10-year Russian agent interfering in the 2020 elec<on, passed purported materials on Burisma and Hunter Biden to Giuliani.

Our view that the Russians are involved in the Hunter Biden email issue is consistent with two other significant data points as well. According to the Washington Post, ci<ng four sources, “U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that Giuliani was the target of an influence opera<on by Russian intelligence.”

In addi<on, media reports say that the FBI has now opened an inves<ga<on into Russian involvement in this case. According to USA Today, “…federal authori<es are inves<ga<ng whether the material supplied to the New York Post by Rudy Giuliani…is part of a smoke bomb of disinforma<on pushed by Russia.”

We do not know whether these press reports are accurate, but they do suggest concern within Execu8ve Branch departments and agencies that mirrors ours. It is high 8me that Russia stops interfering in our democracy.

Signed by,

Jim Clapper
Former Director of Na<onal Intelligence
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
Former Director of the Na<onal Geospa<al Intelligence Agency Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Mike Hayden
Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director, Na<onal Security Agency
Former Principal Deputy Director of Na<onal Intelligence

Leon PaneSa

Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency Former Secretary of Defense

John Brennan
Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Former White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Former Director, Terrorism Threat Integra<on Center
Former Analyst and Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Thomas Finger
Former Deputy Director of Na<onal Intelligence for Analysis
Former Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research, Department of State Former Chair, Na<onal Intelligence Council

Rick LedgeS
Former Deputy Director, Na<onal Security Agency

John McLaughlin
Former Ac<ng Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director, Slavic and Eurasian Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency

Michael Morell
Former Ac<ng Director, Central Intelligence Agency Former Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Agency Former Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency

Mike Vickers
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Former Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Doug Wise
Former Deputy Director, Defense Intelligence Agency Former Senior CIA Opera<ons Officer

Nick Rasmussen
Former Director, Na<onal Counterterrorism Center

Russ Travers
Former Ac<ng Director, Na<onal Counterterrorism Center
Former Deputy Director, Na<onal Counterterrorism Center
Former Analyst of the Soviet Union and Russia, Defense Intelligence Agency

Andy Liepman
Former Deputy Director, Na<onal Counterterrorism Center Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

John Moseman
Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director of Congressional Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency Former Minority Staff Director, Senate Select CommiSee on Intelligence

Larry Pfeiffer
Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency Former Director, White House Situa<on Room

Jeremy Bash
Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Chief of Staff, Department of Defense
Former Chief Counsel, House Permanent Select CommiSee on Intelligence

Rodney Snyder
Former Chief of Staff, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director of Intelligence Programs, Na<onal Security Council Chief of Sta<on, Central Intelligence Agency

Glenn Gerstell
Former General Counsel, Na<onal Security Agency

David B. Buckley
Former Inspector General, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Democra<c Staff Director, House Permanent Select CommiSee on Intelligence Former Counterespionage Case Officer, United States Air Force

Nada Bakos
Former Analyst and Targe<ng Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

PaSy Brandmaier
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Deputy Associate Director for Military Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency Former Deputy Director of Congressional Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency

James B. Bruce
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Na<onal Intelligence Council

Considerable work related to Russia

David Cariens
Former Intelligence Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency 50+ Years Working in the Intelligence Community

Janice Cariens
Former Opera<onal Support Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Paul Kolbe
Former Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency Former Chief, Central Eurasia Division, Central Intelligence Agency

Peter Corsell
Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

BreS Davis
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Deputy Director of the Special Ac<vi<es Center for Expedi<onary Opera<ons, CIA

Roger Zane George
Former Na<onal Intelligence Officer

Steven L. Hall
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency Former Chief of Russian Opera<ons, Central Intelligence Agency

Kent Harrington
Former Na<onal Intelligence Officer for East Asia, Central Intelligence Agency Former Director of Public Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Chief of Sta<on, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

Don Hepburn
Former Senior Na<onal Security Execu<ve

Timothy D. Kilbourn
Former Dean, Sherman Kent School of Intelligence Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer to President George W. Bush, Central Intelligence Agency

Ron Marks
Former Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Twice former staff of the Republican Majority Leader

Jonna Hiestand Mendez
Technical Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Emile Nakhleh
Former Director of the Poli<cal Islam Strategic Analysis Program, Central Intelligence Agency Former Senior Intelligence Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

Gerald A. O’Shea
Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Served four tours as Chief of Sta<on, Central Intelligence Agency

David Priess

Former Analyst and Manager, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer, Central Intelligence Agency

Pam Purcilly
Former Deputy Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Director of the Office of Russian and European Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer to President George W. Bush, Central Intelligence Agency

Marc Polymeropoulos
Former Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Ac<ng Chief of Opera<ons for Europe and Eurasia, Central Intelligence Agency

Chris Savos
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Officer

Nick Shapiro
Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Director, Central Intelligence Agency

John Sipher
Former Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Deputy Chief of Russian Opera<ons, Central Intelligence Agency

Stephen Slick
Former Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, Na<onal Security Council Former Senior Opera<ons Office, Central Intelligence Agency

Cynthia Strand
Former Deputy Assistant Director for Global Issues, Central Intelligence Agency

Greg Tarbell
Former Deputy Execu<ve Director, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Analyst of the Soviet Union and Russia, Central Intelligence Agency

David Terry
Former Chairman of the Na<onal Intelligence Collec<on Board
Former Chief of the PDB, Central Intelligence Agency
Former PDB Briefer to Vice President Dick Cheney, Central Intelligence Agency

Greg Treverton
Former Chair, Na<onal Intelligence Council

John Tullius
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

David A. Vanell
Former Senior Opera<ons Officer, Central Intelligence Agency

Winston Wiley
Former Director of Analysis, Central Intelligence Agency
Former Chief, Counterterrorism Center, Central Intelligence Agency

Kris<n Wood
Former Senior Intelligence Officer, Central Intelligence Agency Former PDB Briefer, Central Intelligence Agency

In addi<on, nine additional former IC officers who cannot be named publicly also support the arguments in this letter.

 

A Guest Post: Judge Barrett Nomination–Too Little Too Late, or, Are Any Senators Listening?

 

BY Lobo Loup

It’s now widely acknowledged that no Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee could lay a glove on Judge Amy Barrett’s qualifications and competence to be a Supreme Court Justice:  that she was polished, scholarly, unflappable and unquestionably qualified from a judicial point of view.  The Senators gave their speeches, maybe scored some political points, such as on the need to protect the Affordable Care Act, highlighted for the public the influence of Dark Money on judicial appointments (thank you, Senator Whitehouse!), and all the while presumably stewed in their own frustration at being able to do nothing to stop this train.  And the Republicans looked on with glee and, yes, smug satisfaction.  There was simply nothing the Democrats could do to seed doubts about Judge Barrett’s qualifications for the job, regardless of her extremely conservative and religiously steeped views and proud originalism in judicial interpretation.  She took the Ginsburg Rule to an extreme, refusing to acknowledge as ‘super-precedent’ certain cases that even then-Judge Roberts himself, in hearings on his nomination to the Court, so acknowledged.  Judge Barrett, to take a seasonal metaphor, easily shedded potential tacklers all the way down to the 1-yard line, where she now stands, awaiting the next play for a touchdown.  And to charges that she has been chosen to carry out Trump’s agenda on Roe, regulations, the Affordable Care Act, gay rights, and more, Judge Barrett clearly announced that she thinks for herself and is “no one’s pawn.”  And we surely want that in a judge, don’t we?  And so the Democrats folded, quite reasonably concluding, despite Judge Barrett’s assurances, that she will indeed follow in Judge Scalia’s path as a strong originalist and impose her extreme conservative views on the law.

Nothing could be done.  Nothing.  Not by the Senators, not with the research from the Minority legal staff.  Nothing. They all told us so.  The media told us so.

Wait.  — Really??

Consider another line of questioning, which could have gone something like this:

Dem. Senator (DS):  Judge Barrett, we applaud your statement that you’re no one’s pawn and your assurance that you will think entirely for yourself.  Of course that is exactly what we want and that the country deserves in any judge.

Barrett (JB): Thank you, Senator.

DS (preferably with a drawl, channeling former Sen. Howell Heflin of Alabama):  Now I’d just like to ask you something, Judge Barrett.  We’ve heard a lot about your judicial philosophy and so forth but I think the public would be interested in something else, and so we can get out of the clouds for a moment about all this substantive due process, originalism and other judicial doctrines. 

JB:  [Cautiously, her guard up] – Yes – thank you, Senator.

DS:  Good.  Now is it correct that you tested positive for Covid this summer?”

JB:  Yes.  But of course I’m negative now.”

DS:  Right, and we’re glad for that.  Now, there was a nomination ceremony that President Trump held for you at the Rose Garden a few weeks back.  And you were the star attraction at that ceremony, isn’t that right?

JB:  Well, I don’t know that I’d characterize . . . . [scoring points for humility].

DS:  And you were both outdoors and indoors at that ceremony, and also shook hands with people indoors at least – is that correct?

JB:  Well, I don’t recall where I shook hands with people.

DS:  Fine. Fine.  Now tell us, Judge Barrett – did you wear a mask at that ceremony?

JB:  No, Senator, I did not.

DS:  Well, then, I wonder if you could tell us, and the American people, why you did not wear a mask?

JB:  . . . [mumbles indistinctly]

DS:  Well, let me put it this way, Judge Barrett:  if President Trump had directed everyone at that ceremony to wear a mask, would you have worn one?

JB:  Well, I can’t speak hypothetically . . . .

DS:  Judge Barrett, I’m not asking for your judicial opinion here.  So I’ll put it this way:  you wouldn’t have NOT worn a mask, contrary to his direction and with everyone else wearing a mask, if he gave out instructions to wear masks – would you?

JB:  Well, that would still be hypothetical, Senator . . .  [trailing off].

Sen. Cruz (emphatically):  Mr. Chairman!  This is getting out of hand.  I object to this line of questioning.  It’s got nothing to do with Judge Barrett’s qualifications to be the next Supreme Court Justice!

DS:  Mr. Chairman, then I’d just like to ask my distinguished colleague what Judge Barrett’s piano playing has to do with the issue before us today.

Sen. Cruz:  A lot!  It shows what she does off the bench, that she lives, does and can understand other things besides the law.

DS:  Absolutely, and I congratulate my distinguished colleague for that point, which I’d like to continue right now.

Sen. Graham:  Go ahead.

DS:  Now, Judge Barrett, would you agree that reason and common sense inform any judge’s judicial reasoning – and that in fact they are three-quarters of the law?

JB:  Well, Senator, I couldn’t say what proportion of the law they are, but yes, of course they inform our judicial reasoning – and mine.

DS:  Well, that’s fine, and I’m glad to hear that.  And even as you’re ‘just calling balls and strikes’, as Chief Justice Roberts puts it, your understanding of what’s reasonable and what’s common sense surely informs your thinking, right?

JB:  That’s a fair statement.

DS:  Well, then, Judge Barrett, were you exercising independent thinking when you chose not to wear a mask at the ceremony?

JB:  Well, Senator . . . [thinking]

DS (interrupting):  Or did you not wear a mask out of deference to President Trump, when you saw that he wasn’t wearing one, or maybe because the word went out beforehand that you should not wear one, or any other officials?

JB:  . . .

DS (interrupting):  And in deferring to President Trump, were you displaying the independent thinking that you’ve told us you exercise as a judge and would exercise as a Supreme Court Justice?  And you know now, or at least public health officials have told us, that the ceremony was a ‘super-spreader’ event.

JB:  [affirmatively] Senator, I regret what I did but I can assure you that I think independently as a judge and I’m no one’s pawn.

DS:  [pose:]  I would like to believe that, Judge Barrett, and I do.  So let me ask you this:  do you believe it was reasonable for you not to wear a mask, given the physical proximity of the participants, the fact that you also were indoors shaking hands with people and that almost no one was wearing a mask?

JB:  [Mumbles about not deferring to Trump.]

DS:  So if your decision not to wear a mask was not out of deference to President Trump, because you think for yourself, independently, and exercise reason and common sense, then presumably you did not wear a mask because you decided, based on your reasoning and common sense, that that was an acceptable and indeed correct thing to do – is that right?

JB:  Well, Senator, I said I regret what I did.  [getting slightly less unflappable]

DS:  I appreciate your answers and time, Judge Barrett.  Because, you see, I think it’s interesting for the American public to hear from a judge about the importance of what it means to be ‘reasonable’ and to use common sense in her judicial decision-making.  And so I think the public would like to know, we would like to know:  if your exercise of judgment could be so different from what common sense, reason and the facts would tell most of us who understand how infectious and potentially deadly this disease is, then how are we supposed to assume that you will exercise sound reason and common sense in your judicial decision-making?  And of course, what you say as a Supreme Court Justice ‘goes’, assuming you’re in the majority on any case decision, and will affect millions of Americans. 

JB:  Well, Senator, that’s very general and as I’ve said a number of times in response to questions about how I would judge, that would be hypothetical and so I can’t answer that sitting here before you today.

DS:  Yes, indeed, Judge Barrett.  You’ve been very helpful.  We understand, completely.  And now I hope the American public does, too.  And we’re sure glad to hear that you think independently, that you’re no one’s pawn, and that you will exercise reason and common sense in your decision-making on the bench, as you’ve told us.  That is very reassuring.  [‘Heflin’ drawl dripping with irony.] I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.

**

Would this line of questioning have stopped the train?  No.  Would it have educated the public, exposed the holes in Judge Barrett’s Teflon and, so, given the lie to her assurances?  Maybe, just maybe. – And they don’t call them goal-line stands for nothing.

Hardy Har Har Har, or, What the Hell are These People Thinking

“Lock Her Up!” Hardy Har Har Har

Huffington Post, Lara Trump Defends ‘Lock Her Up’ Chants About Whitmer, Says Trump Was ‘Having Fun’

It wasn’t at all a joke. But say it was. Just exactly how many undecided Michigan voters does Orange Man think he’s going to swing, by humorously encouraging armed malitias to murder the governor?

“Let’s Make Fun of Her Funny Name!” Yuckity Yuck Yuck Yuck

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, David Perdue’s mocking of Kamasla Harris yields $1M haul for his rival

Per the latest information on Georgia demographics,

According to 2018 US Census Bureau estimates, Georgia’s population was 58.3% White (52.2% Non-Hispanic White and 6.0% Hispanic White), 31.6% Black or African American, 4.2% Asian, 2.9% Some Other Race, 0.3% Native American and Alaskan Native, 0.1% Pacific Islanderand 2.7% from two or more races.[21]

Many of the 52.2 percent of White Non-Hispanic Georgians are people whose ancestors came to the southern colonies in the 1600s and 1700s and whose descendents have “normal” names like Ann or Bob or Charlie or David. To many of these follks, other names are “funny”—both shameful and hilarious.

So, let’s do the math. Some portion—maybe a majority, but far from all—of the 52.2 percent of Georgians who are melanin-challenged will think Purdue’s witticism was funny. That leaves 47.8 percent of the Georgia population, most of whom have “funny” names themselves, as well as the sensible part of Georgia’s Honkey population, who are going to be royally pissed off by Purdue’s feeble humor.

It’s going to be a close race, and, if Purdue is going to win, he really needs at least a few of the people with names like Jaidev or Dierck or Nasrin or Sanjay to vote for him.

You would think he could figure that out.

Apparently not. Apparently, in addition to the moral leprosy, he’s also dumb as the Georgia dirt.

Most assuredly, David Purdue is not a credit to his race.

What the Hell are These People Thinking?

I actually don’t know the answer to my own rhetorical question. Occasionally, you can pretty much reverse engineer what someone is thinking. Most of the time, mind reading isn’t a very reliable exercise.

Objectively, though, they are acting as if they are trying to throw the election.

“Ka-MA-la, KA-ma-la, Kamala-mala-mala, I Don’t Know, Whatever.”

You may recognize the quote above, which comes from the unspeakable David Purdue, attempting to warm up the crowd for Orange Man’s superspreader rally in Nuremberg, Georgia.

As Paul the Apostle once had occasion to observe, when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, and I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.

When I was a little redneck, we mocked other ethnic groups, including their names, their accents, their preferred style of dress, their religion and their food.

In the fourth grade, the teacher had us do a class project—creating a cookbook made up of favorite family recipes. One of my classmates was the son of a World War II war bride. The recipe he brought was for Hungarian goulash. We mocked him unmercifully, until he cried in shame. We little idiots had no earthly idea what Hungarian goulash might be, but it sounded icky, and we sure as hell weren’t going to eat any of it.

Then, some of us grew up. Some of us learned not to mock what we had not experienced and what we didn’t understand.

Some of us put away childish things, but some did not.

Great Minds Think Alike

Further to my post on Orange Man’s future travel plans, here are some observations from a Daily Kos writer.

Trump’s assurance that he will ‘leave the country’ should be taken seriously:

Imagine the prospect of a U.S. president threatening to “leave the country” if he doesn’t win.

More than an hour into his latest rambling campaign rally speech in Macon, Georgia, on Friday night, President Donald Trump briefly imagined a future where he loses the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

“You know what? Running against the worst candidate in the history of American politics puts pressure on me,” Trump told the crowd. “Could you imagine if I lose? My whole life—what am I going to do? I’m going to say, I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics! I’m not going to feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country, I don’t know.”

Just stop and think for a moment, and imagine the absolute contempt for our Democracy that would lie behind this statement.

Believe the autocrat. He means what he says.

Imagine the contempt he has for our Constitution, for our government, for all Americans.

This thing knows it will lose, and it’s preparing the groundwork for its departure.

We all should assist it in its goal.