Regime Change

The Mustache speaks:

Mustachs Speaks

If our side is going for regime change in Iran, maybe the Iranians will go for a little dose of regime change in the US of A.

Think about it.

Martin Longman writes,

Iran will feel duty-bound to exact revenge, and a commensurate level of revenge would involve assassinating a major American leader, such as a commanding general or member of Trump’s cabinet. …

With this decision, Trump has removed the solitary argument in his favor, which was that he was reticent to wage more war in the Middle East and Central Asia. He just created an almost unimaginable amount of danger for Americans and our allies. That’s precisely what a lot of his supporters did not want.

On Senility

senility

Martin Longman, On Biden’s Success and Gillibrand’s Failure

Mr. Longman checks his gut at some length and gives us a detailed report on what he finds. What he finds, in a nutshell, is that Democrats have such a thirst for winning in 2020 that they are not going to take a chance on a woman, a person of color, or a gay guy. He concludes, “I hear voters say that they don’t want to vote for another old white man all the time. But the less vocalized opinion is that they seem terrified of doing anything else.”

And now, having checked Mr. Longman’s gut, let me check my own. My own gut tells me that we are about to have a 2020 election featuring two old guys, both showing signs of mental deterioration.

My gut also tells me this is not a good thing.

**

I didn’t publish anything yesterday, but I see that I have some readers in Russia this morning. HELLOOOOO VLADIMIR!

What if Someone Just Ignores a Subpoena?

pollyanna

Last night Dr. Aardvark and I were sitting in connubial contentment watching the PBS Evening News when she asked, “What happens if someone just ignores a subpoena?” I am afraid that my top-of-the-head answer was not entirely complete or accurate.

These two posts provide lots of helpful insights into the question:

Philip Bump, How the Trump-Congress subpoena fight is likely to play out

Martin Longman, Congress Needs to Lock Up Non-Complying Witnesses

Pollyanna Speaks Again

The flavor of the day is gloom and doom over Trump’s ability just to stonewall and “run out the clock.” But I have talked this situation this over with my daughter, Polyanna Aardvark, and she has some helpful thoughts.

First, by signaling that he will oppose any and all subpoenas, Trump has weakened his ability to advance any plausible argument he may have that any particular subpoena suffers from some legal defect.

Second, stonewalling doesn’t make you look “strong.” It makes you look guilty.

The strategy will appeal to those who don’t care whether or not Trump has done this or that execrable act. And there are many such people. But, to those who were unsure, but might be inclined to give Trump the benefit of the doubt as to his wrongdoing—and there are lots of those folks, too—obstruction will not accrue to his advantage.

Third, Pollyanna’s sense is that the situation will be very strongly influenced by what Don McGahn decides to do, or not to do.

McGahn, the former White House Counsel, current six- or seven-figure Jones Day partner, and Mr. Pack-the-courts-with-rightwingers par excellence, sang like a canary to the Special Counsel. Any arguable executive privilege has long since been waived with respect to the topics about which he would testify to Congress. Any arguable attorney-client privilege, ditto.

Jones Day partners, upon receipt of a proper subpoena, do not tell the entity that issued the proper subpoena to go take a flying fuck. For one thing, if they did take that course of action, then the D.C. Bar Association would not take kindly to it.

Trump has already “punished” Jones Day by taking business away from it. He doesn’t really have a hold on McGahn or on Jones Day.

Pollyanna thinks it’s likely that McGahn will testify in public, reprising the role of John Dean—and of Martin Sheen playing John Deen in the movie.

She also thinks that Brett Kavanaugh, who owes his seat on the Court to McGahn, will sit up and take notice.

Finally, she thinks that, in the aftermath of the McGhan testimony, things are likely to really go pear shaped for the Trumpster.

I told Pollyanna that we are getting a little ahead of ourselves, but she might well be right.

In the immortal words of President Eisenhower, “The future lies ahead.”

Strategy? I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Strategy

strategy

Martin Longman, Trump Doesn’t Understand Game Theory

Longman explores the difference between chess and poker. A brilliant analysis.

Martin Longman, Donald Trump Doesn’t Know How to Negotiate:

We can see Trump’s failure as a negotiator anywhere we care to look. It’s most consequential on the international stage, particularly on the negotiations over denuclearization with North Korea, but also with Iran and trade negotiations with China. He doesn’t succeed because he doesn’t understand how to do the basics. You want all the information you can get. You need to know the rules and the motives of every player and all their possible moves. You need to give people a reason to do what you want, and if they have no such reasons then you have to create them. You need to understand whether you’re playing one-on-one or in a team game.

Needed: A Better and Wiser Set of Plutocrats

centrists

In The Billionaires Waited Too Long to Panic Martin Longman nails it. He develops an important theme that is often glossed over: the anomaly of elite support for the likes of Trump, in alliance with the likes of Roy Moore. I have emphasized the point in this blog, but have—perhaps foolishly—looked for a time when the billionaires would come to their senses and act out of enlightened, long term self-interest.

As the title of his piece indicates, Longman thinks they have waited too long.

He may well be right.

Longman writes,

The billionaires have been looking around for someone with the credentials of a Douglas MacArthur or a Dwight Eisenhower because, just as the Republican Party of 1952 was about as useful as teets on a bull, the contemporary version is a psychiatric wreck totally unsuited and unprepared to responsibly represent anyone’s interests. Alas, no war heroes of sufficient stature are available, and the Starbucks guy seems to be auditioning less for president than for most punchable face.

There were #NeverTrumper people who were kind of getting accustomed to having one foot outside of the Party of Lincoln until they got a load of Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax and puddles began to form around their ankles. They’re beginning to fear that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed 70 percent top marginal income tax rate is more popular than the idea of a President Michael Bloomberg.

Suddenly, Trump doesn’t look so bad. After all, he did build the Autobahn deliver on tax reform, regulatory rollbacks, and undermining Obamacare. He did withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. He is cracking down on the crazy socialists in Venezuela and Cuba. And look at all those Heritage Foundation judges!

I’ve long wondered why the billionaires have not gotten serious about building a replacement for the Republican Party. They could begin by denying the Republicans any funding. …

But the billionaires waited too long. California set sail and Texas is probably next. The people want someone to pay for the Great Recession. They want someone to pay for our hollowed out small towns and failing farms. They want someone to pay for the fact that we have a Russian agent in the White House and the Republicans won’t do a damn thing about it. They’re losing interest in the old arguments about why they can’t have nice things. …

So, now, at this late date the billionaires need to build a new party, but they can’t do it with intellectuals. They can’t do it with professionals. They can’t do it with the underclass or with the know-nothing Republican base.

At least Bloomberg understands the problem well enough to understand that to win back the suburbs the billionaires have to care about shootings in schools. But they also have to care about climate change and the environment. They have to care about people’s retirement security. They need to spend on roads and railways.

Aardvark’s Animadversion

The problem with lots of people who made lots of money is that they have spent their entire loves making money and, in consequence, have taken leave of their common sense.

Their common sense would dictate that only by halting the spiraling economic inequality can they survive, in the long run, to enjoy their economic good fortune.