“As Any Father Would”: Who Among Us Has Not Obstructed Justice To Protect Our Family Against Accusations Of Collusion With Foreign Powers?

According to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the President, of course, “weighed in” on a public statement that misled (that’s polite language) the public about his son Donald Jr.’s meeting with Russian and Russian-American operatives (spies, perhaps).  Trump Sr., reports say, dictated a very inaccurate statement, “as any father would.”

So, to retrace, 1) no collusion; 2) uh, maybe we talked about adoptions; 3) oh, OK, we tried to collude but so what because we failed; 4) who among us would not collude! #MAGA!

Points for consistency, though: it’s all in the Family, which liberal snowflakes don’t understand, and quibbling about obstruction of justice is disloyal and ungodly.  How dare anybody question the legitimacy of #45?  The big issue for August, so far, seems to me to be whether the Senate will go into official recess and thus let the president fire and replace his loyal but not bada-beep loyal enough Attorney General.


Democrats Should Extend At Least The Same Courtesies To Trump That Mitch McConnell Gave Obama

And I am trying to remember just what Senator McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said about President-elect Barack Obama in January 2009. Some words about making sure he would be a “one-term president,” among other words, if I recollect.

So the Senate Democrats should be at least as courteous to President Trump. Concerned that Senate Republicans will abolish the filibuster altogether? If McConnell turns the Senate into the House, and no cooling of the saucer remains, that will be on him. Trump and McConnell and Ryan own the economy along with all three branches of government. Constructive cooperation where it benefits the whole country is one thing; acquiescence, however, is not the answer, especially with the Supreme Court. Trump said women in some states will just have to drive to another state if they want an abortion.

Some have asserted that Trump in his campaign avoided insulting American citizens unless they stepped into the arena and opposed him. That’s very dubious, but be that as it may, now Trump has announced, on 60 Minutes, that he is right and millions of women are wrong–that is, women who decide to seek an abortion, depending on where they live, must go in many cases hundreds of miles out of their way. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of those women were definitely not in the arena and many of them voted for Donald Trump. It could be that some will say “Father Trump knows best” and vote for him again anyway in 2020. But if Democrats won’t filibuster Trump’s Supreme Court pick (or try to, and let McConnell be the one to go nuclear if he wants) what would they resist?

Does Moral Poverty Impede Political Functioning?

Poverty impedes cognitive function, according to Mani, Mullainathan, Shafir, and Zhao (Science magazine, 30 August 2013). The researchers “experimentally induced thoughts about finances and found that this reduces cognitive performance among poor but not in well-off participants.” Their evidence was gathered “from shoppers in a New Jersey mall and from farmers in Tamil Nadu, India.”

This blog will now reveal that research is in progress on a follow-up project interpreting the impairment in political functioning caused by utter spiritual and moral poverty. Evidence is being gathered from persons walking through the Ohio clock corridor outside the Senate chamber, Washington, D.C. Unbeknownst to passersby, the clock–commissioned in 1815, stopped since 12:14 Wednesday due to government shutdown–is equipped with 21st-century monitoring equipment. We might be willing to release video and transcripts for $980 billion or so.

OK, I’ll just tell you the truth for free: 78 per cent of House Republicans and 52 per cent of Senate Democrats are guilty of extreme inability to recognize the right, the good, and the true. The cognitive incapacity, moreover, associated with spiritual and moral meagerness of this magnitude appears to be preventing our elected representatives from functioning even at the most basic level of voting on “clean” bills that would prevent debt default and government collapse. Many Representatives appear to be actually incapable of grasping the very idea of “clean.” Any rallies in equity markets, it should go without saying, ought to be evaluated in light of a sober assessment of the moral solvency of the traders in Greenwich and Stamford.

The Defiant Majority

Last week, in another installment of his “False Equivalence Watch,” James Fallows of The Atlantic called out the NYT for an untenably ignorant portion of its account of Congressional paralysis: “in both the Senate, controlled by Democrats, and the House, under the rule of Republicans, the minority is largely powerless to do anything but protest.” The Times did later change the story, but without issuing any sort of correction or indication of a change, to reflect the actual asymmetry between the House Democrats and the “Senate Republicans (who) at least have the power to filibuster…” A minor point, perhaps, except that it is part and parcel of the reflexive world-weary conventional wisdom of “a pox on both your houses.” True often enough, but in this case it is pertinent that there were 16 filibusters between 1840 and 1900, and over 130 in just 2009 and 2010. Fair-minded reporting cannot evaluate Mitch McConnell and his fellow Senate Republicans’ record as anything but a wild deviation from all historical norms, in response to a President and Senate in many ways at least as conservative as the Republican norm of the 1970s and even 1980s.

Today’s NYT has a headline referring to Harry Reid as “defiant and uncompromising.” For what, exactly, bearing in mind he is the Majority Leader of the Senate? For “pushing through a rules change to end filibusters of executive branch nominations” by ensuring up-or-down-votes on a twice-elected President’s capacity to select the staff he wants? This is not even about Supreme Court nominations or lifetime federal judgeships, nor about any laws that would help prevent, heaven forbid, gun violence.

The Times notes correctly that “in recent decades, both parties have escalated the use of the filibuster and other delaying tactics,” and acknowledges that “since Mr. Obama became president, Senate Republicans have gone especially far with the filibuster.” That is quite a bland way of admitting the truly remarkable and unprecedented way Senator McConnell and his Republican colleagues have ground Senate actions very nearly to a halt.

Does any of this matter to regular people? Only if you work for a living. You do not need to belong to a union, for example, to have some stake in the existence of a fuctioning National Labor Relations Board, not to mention a Consumer Protection agency with real authority.

As demographic changes continue, expect to see more sly, sh-t-eating references to the “defiant” majority.