Better than the Trump Lies Drinking Game

There has been a lot of online fun about the Trump Lies Drinking Game for today’s Oval Offiice joke session.

Here is a more constructive alternative, or perhaps addition.

Everyone in the group pledges on ActBlue, to donate, say, $5 to the Democrats, every time Trump lies in a major speech.

If this were, say 5 million people, can you imagine the negative incentive for the Republicans and their continued lies.

 

 

 

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You Can Figure Out Who has “Caused” a Shutdown

There has been a lot of blather about who “caused” the shutdown, a different question as to whether it is worth it.

Actually, the analysis s very simple.  When one party tries to change the status quo, and is willing to disrupt a larger system to obtain that end, that party is “causing” the crisis.  Trump wants one change in the status quo, hos wall, and is willing to disrupt a big chunk of government.  Even without his having taken ownership, to say that he is not the cause is simply ridiculous.   If the Dems were to try to change immigration policy by a shutdown, they would be causing a shutdown.  If they were using it to restore the prior status quo of a unilaterally changed policy, they would not.

Now whether it is “worth it,” depends on a balancing of harms, but there us a strong presumption against the legitimacy of using disruption to achieve narrow aims.

 

Kamala Harris on Health Care

Without making any endorsement, I want to encourage everyone to take a look at her health care essay, which seems authentic above all.

Logistics, alone, can be overwhelming. I remember that as my mother’s condition worsened, she needed more care than we could provide. I wanted to hire a home health care aide for her. But my mother didn’t want help.

“I’m fine. I don’t need anybody,” she would say, even though she could barely get out of bed. There was a fight to be had, but I didn’t want to have it. Her body was giving out. The medication was making it difficult for her to function, to be herself. I didn’t want to take her dignity away.

So, we muddled through. I cooked elaborate meals for her, filling the house with the smells of childhood, which reminded us both of happier times. When I wasn’t at the office, I was most often with her, telling stories, holding hands, helping her through the misery of chemotherapy. I brought her hats after she lost her hair, and soft clothes to make her as comfortable as I could.

At one point, one of her doctors pulled me aside. “How’s my D.A.?” the doctor asked, referring to my role as the elected prosecutor of San Francisco. The question caught me off guard. I had been so focused on my mother’s well-being, I hadn’t made room for anything else. I started to choke up. I was scared. I was sad. Most of all, I wasn’t ready.

How true it all rings  – not that I am anything like there yet., and indeed are somewhat stabilized on the eating.

By the way, there has not been anything like enough attention paid to the impact on th nomination of California’s newly early primary date, and its early voting.  Probably the first time ever.  So, no surprise if Harris builds an early unstoppable momentum.

 

 

 

Regardless of How the Votes Go, It’s Going to Be the Republicans Tax Code

As long as most of us have been alive, the Democrats have “owned” the tax code, being blamed for every trade off and decision.

Assuming for a sad moment that the Republicans manage to ram this monster of redistribution through, it will become “their” tax code.

We can run ads against every element.

We can do April 15 ads.

We can print and Photoshop copies of the 1040 with Trump’s, McConnel’s and Ryan’s photos superimposed.

Every time a Republican complains about anything to do with taxes we throw it back in your faces.  “You wrote the code, you rammed it through.  You own it now.  You pay the price.”

Of course, if they fail to pass their bill, then anything wrong with the code is still their fault, because they are too pathetic to have changed it.

Not the platform I would like to have to run on, but one I would love to run against.

 

Refusing to Move a Vice Presidential Replacement Would Be The Ultimate Garland Payback

It’s time to start speculating about a post-Trump 2019.  Supposing Trump is impeached, Pence moves up, and Congress starts to talk about replacing him as the investigation reaches Pence.

Then the Dems, now in the majority, citing the Garland nomination, refuse to approve a new VP.  “The people should decide.” (imagined quote).

When Pence is convicted, we get, glory of glory of glories, President Pelosi.  Pelosi, of course, re-nominates Garland, no longer subject to the filibuster.

 

The Deeply Disturbing Implications of the Washington Post Story of the Inadequate US Response to Russian Hacking, and a Long Term Proposal

It is almost impossible to force oneself to read the Washington Post’s brilliant reporting of the US failure to respond adequately to the Russian election-related hacking.

However, attention must be paid, and the implications go far further than judgements about the Obama administration, that I am sure will go well explored in classic blame the victim manner.

First,  I think we have to admit that the current situation of a largely unpunished and undeterred coup/attack on the US has to be broadly blamed on the entire political process in the US.  While the lack of response, either public or covert, is hard to defend either now, or then, it has to be seen as in part the product of the hyper-politicization of foreign policy.  The Obama administration was operating in a toxic environment in which any honest reporting or respect was, and would be thrown back in the face of the government and the electorate, without any concern for considerations other than short term victory.   The administration could not ignore the reality of that environment.

That must be recognized as a product of Trump active encouragement of hacking, of his trivialization of any reporting, and of his contempt for truth.  The enablers carry as much if not more of the blame.

Second, we must be honest about where we are.  We no longer can be confident that the American people control our own fates through the political process.  It was and has to be assumed to be about to be again, another Pearl Harbor.  (That the US has its own long bi-partisan history of interference in other counties electoral, and political processes, not to mention coups, does not make this any less serious, it only makes it harder to defeat.)  Given the massive reluctance of Trump to take this threat in any way seriously, or even to recognize the risks of the legitimacy this has already lost him, we can have no faith that the governmental system will protect us against more and worse future surrenders of control.  (If Trump is forced out, as I strongly believe he has to be, and will be, this last is no longer true, but issues of trust and legitimacy will long remain.)

Finally, we have to build a new layer of institutions that protect the integrity of our political system regardless of short term interest.  For a start, I can imagine a Commission led by prior presidents, with an independent staff, with direct access to the intelligent services.  The Commission would have a mandate to issue public reports, including on the credibility of challenges to our democratic electoral system, and to publicly and privately urge actions of all kinds, thereby making it easier for presidents to take needed actions without being effectively accused of putting partisan interests first.  While hacking will be one part of the charter of duties, all forms of foreign interference and collusion will need to be included.

The problem, as always, and as we learned in the cold war, is that is is almost impossible to give groups power that is not democratically constrained without then in fact surrendering democracy to those powers.  In the absence of the consensus of  the cold war years, the need is even greater than it was then, and the risks are far greater.

It is a measure of what Trump and his enablers have wrought, and what his opponents have failed to do, that we now face this choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does Trump’s Assetion That the Democrats Should Have Won the Election Mean?

Yesterday, in his astonishing interview with NBC News: (NYT link)

Mr. Trump told Lester Holt of NBC News. “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”

What on earth does that mean?

  • That the American people support Democratic policies,
  • That the Democratic demographic advantage is overwhelming,
  • That the Republicans do not have good candidates,
  • That he was an unappealing candidate?
  • That he did not expect to win,
  • That he knows he is unready to be President?

Or, I suppose, it could just be that he is getting inside their minds and saying that the Democrats think that they should have won.  Frankly, that’s a psychological distinction too far for me to attribute to Trump.

Anyway, as things spin more and more out of control, as I am sure they will, we will have many more opportunities to observe and analyze Trump’s mental functioning, perhaps as authorized under the 25th Amendment.