Wednesday, September 30, 2020

"bad things happen in Philadelphia"

I turned on the so-called debate for about ten minutes last night. I have no idea how anyone could sit through the whole thing. But this morning all the locals in my Philly metro area are buzzing about the "bad things happen in Philadelphia" line. You can already order the t-shirt (although after wearing it once or twice, how many people will remember what it refers to?)

I realize President Blurt-Out-Whatever-the-Demented-Brain-Dements doesn't do strategy, but if he did strategy, it is not a bad strategy to try to win Pennsylvania by insisting that Philadelphia is a hell hole. It would lose him Philadelphia's votes but he is never going to get those votes. Probably most of the suburbs either. His only shot is to trigger an us-vs-them hysteria in the rest of the state for that scary urban area, and to also take advantage of the Pittsburgh-Philly rivalry to rally votes in the suburbs of that other urban area.

I'm not saying there is much method to Trump's madness. I really think it's mostly just madness. And I think he is probably going to lose PA whatever he does. But he might be blundering into the best shot he has to pull it off.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The first and only Trump-Biden debate of 2020

Does anyone else think that Trump won't show up for any other debates after tonight if tomorrow's press coverage of his performance isn't good?

I'm guessing tonight will be the usual Trump shit-show (as is every time that his non-diehard supporters get to see the unedited version of his completely incoherent speaking style), following by a bunch of "wow the President is a fucking moron" stories tomorrow, followed by Trump whining that the debate was unfair and demands that subsequent debates be done his way, followed by a no-show when inevitably those demands are not met.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Trump's GOP goes beyond stupid

The really weird thing about Florida's Governor taking the lead on policies that are sure to lead to a surge of cases in that state is that he leads a state that both has a large number of senior citizens, the segment of the population at the most at risk from COVID-19 and has an economy that is dependent on tourism when news stories about an out of control potentially deadly disease is sure to keep tourists away.

Florida politicians have even more incentive than the average American politician to take this illness seriously and to do whatever it takes to bring things under control. I never thought that Ron DeSantis was particularly bright, but even dumb politicians used to be responsive to their constituents and their state's basic economic interests. I guess ideology trumps all that stuff now.

Pun intended.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

They are totally going to let them get away with this

When Ginsburg died and Democrats demanded that Republicans keep the seat open until after the election, Chuck Schumer said that Democrats will use all the power they have if Republicans move forward to fill the seat.



Monday, September 21, 2020

If a looming battle of a Supreme Court seat, global pandemic, economic collapse, and the upcoming election isn't exciting enough for you...

...unless Congress passes a budget in 9 days, we will have a government shutdown.


Every once in a while he does something normal

Trump's short list to replace RBG are four women (and he vowed over the weekend to replace Ginsburg with a woman). If anyone else had been president of course that president would replace RBG with a woman, the seat Ginsburg was nominated to replace Sandra Day O'Conner. But Trump is such a sexist asshole norm-shatterer, on Friday night at least, it looked like there was a real possibility he would nominate some white dude.

So I guess there are limits with this guy after all. Or maybe some advisor just grabbed him by the penis and told him how dumb it would be to not pick a woman.


The beclowning of the CDC

This morning, the CDC finally acknowledged that COVID-19 was transmitted by air, something that has been widely understood by much of the world for months. But after posting the acknowledgment of the fact for just a few hours, the agency abruptly pulled down that post.

By pulling the post the only thing they have accomplished is putting another stake in the heart of the CDC's credibility. It really makes no sense at all. It's not like pulling the post is going to be evidence that the disease is not airborne. I'm guessing that either Trump or one of the morons close to him got wind of the CDC's post and ordered them to reverse it without considering the consequences beyond some vague idea that an airborne COVID is bad for Trump.


You can't convince Republicans to not fill Ginsburg's seat unless you give them a good reason to keep it open

The only scenario I see where the Ginsburg seat is not filled by President Trump is if the Democrats immediately announce that if the seat is filled before inauguration day, they will pack the Court by adding 4 seats to the Supreme Court if Biden wins and Democrats control Congress in the upcoming election.
Republicans already had a 5-4 majority on the Court before Ginsburg died. If they "give that seat to Biden" by not voting on a nominee before inauguration day they would still have a 5-4 majority at least in the near term. Some Republicans might view that as a better deal than having a 7-6 minority.

Look, Republicans don't care about hypocrisy. Why should they? If the last four years has taught us anything is that there really is no price to pay for being a hypocrite. Throwing the statements Republicans made during the Merrick Gartland fiasco has no real chance of getting anywhere. Republicans are more focused on power, so make the fight about power. What would they rather have? A continued majority on the Court or a Democratic power play that would fatally undermine the prospect of any Supreme Court majority in the near future? Give them that choice and maybe we will get somewhere. All we need is a small handful of Senators to waiver for that to work.

Well, we also need a clear majority of Democrats to publicly commit to a serious Judicial reform. I think that might be the hardest hurdle of all.



Friday, September 18, 2020

One massive omission

The NYT on China's current difficulty to cultivate ties to Europe:

Mr. Xi faced — and brushed aside — unusually harsh criticism on a variety of issues that reflected growing popular animosity toward China. The Europeans accused China of slow-walking promises to combat climate change. They criticized the new crackdown in Hong Kong and the longstanding one in Tibet. The Europeans also raised the imprisonment of a Swedish bookseller, the arrests of two Canadians in transparent retaliation for a criminal extradition case,and China’s unilateral moves in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

A variety of issues! What about a million people forced into concentration camps because of their ethnicity? It is possibly the worst organized violation of human rights on the planet right now and it can't compete with "disputed waters"?

I'm not sure if the omission in the article is the NYT's fault or the fault of the European governments. The weird thing is the article does allude to the systemic abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other minorities in Xinjiang provence later with this sentence: "Mr. Wang responded defiantly, echoing China’s position that Hong Kong is an internal matter, not subject to discussion, like the crackdown on Muslims in the far western province of Xinjiang."


Monday, September 14, 2020

How many will get Herman Cained this time?

It really seems shortsighted for the President to gather a bunch of his most dedicated supporters, bring them indoors without masks or social distancing, and get them all shouting to get that spittle flying as much as possible in close proximity to each other, in the middle of a pandemic just two months before he will need every one of their votes to carry a swing state.

Yes, the rally itself is appalling. But even if Trump views his supporters as nothing more than cannon fodder, this is a remarkably bad strategy in terms of making sure his supporters are able to vote for him in seven weeks.