Friday, October 23, 2020

I didn't think much of when the UAE and Bahrain recognized Israel, but Sudan is different

The "peace deals" between Israel and the UAE and Israel and Bahrain that were announced a few months ago were really just an official recognition of the informal cooperative relationship that had already existed between Israel and those two countries for more than a decade.

But this deal with Sudan is different. Unlike those two Gulf States, Sudan has not been unofficially cooperating with Israel in the recent past. Instead, the Sudan deal is a real change from the status quo. Essentially, Sudan has sold its willingness to recognize Israel in exchange for American aid. Although this Sudan development is different, I think it is related to the Bahrain/UAE deal. Before the Gulf States were willing to openly admit they had diplomatic relations with Sudan (and before Saudi Arabia, the most influential of the Gulf States also became a tacit ally of Israel in recent years), Sudan would not have risked doing this move. The Gulf States' public embrace of Israel have given Sudan the cover it needs to trade recognition of Israel for American cash. I wonder if other Arab countries will follow their lead.

I also think that the Trump Administration pushed this deal now as a ploy to win the Jewish vote. I doubt if that will work though. Trump is extremely unpopular among American Jews. I don't think any Arab-Israeli peace agreements can make up for all that Nazi stuff.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Going forward in a Biden-Senate win scenario

Thanks to how Mitch McConnell is handling the nomination and confirmation of Amy Covid Barrett, I have gone from thinking that expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court is a terrible idea to thinking that it is really the only path forward. But I also think that the public won't get solidly behind expanding the court until the Court issues a really unpopular decision. Don't get me wrong the Roberts Court with Barrett on it is sure to issue such a decision. It's just a matter of how long it takes. And if the decision doesn't come until after the time that Democrats control the White House and both Houses of Congress, the window would effectively close for enacting a court expansion plan.

So while I'm pro-court expansion right now, I also think it's a long shot. A shorter shot for reform, one which will make eventual expansion a bit easier, would be to admit DC and Puerto Rico as states. If Biden does end up in office with control of Congress, he would be pissing that away if he doesn't make it a top priority.

Should have made it a September surprise

Over 46 million people have already voted as of this writing, which is about 34% of the total number of people who cast a ballot in 2016. There's a good chance that turnout will be higher this time around so it might not quite be true that 1/3 of all voters in 2020 have already voted. But at this rate it does look like more than half the voters will vote before November 3. The outcome might already be a done deal no matter what shenanigans Trump tries to pull in the next two weeks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

They are all complicit

Any Republican Senator, except Collins or Murkowski, can get Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on a stimulus deal this week. All they would have to do is announce that they can't vote on a Supreme Court nomination before a COVID relief bill is passed. McConnell only really cares about shoving through as many judicial nominations as possible. With Murkowski and Collins announcing they won't vote to confirm prior to the election, he can't afford to lose any other Republicans. If any of the Republicans running in close reelection campaigns (e.g. Cornyn, Graham, Tillis) or who are retiring (e.g. Alexander, Enzi, Roberts) gave a single shit about COVID relief, they would have done that already.

On top of all the other things I don't get about Trumpsters, I don't get this

40-45% of my fellow United Statesians (or at least that percentage of the voting portion of USians) are totally fine having a President who can't handle an interview where the interviewer isn't spending the whole time kissing his ass.

(It is also worth noting that if the Lesley Stahl interview really went this badly, all Trump is doing is giving 60 Minutes a bunch of free publicity, which is sure to increase the viewership of the interview. I mean, I would have had no desire to watch the interview before, but now I really want to see what minor slight triggered this total meltdown. So add the fact that Trump is remarkably bad at hiding his embarrassing moments, of which he has more than is possible to count, to the list of reasons I don't understand Trumpsters)

Saturday, October 17, 2020

This has only a fifty percent chance of betraying my country, so why not?

I suspect that Rudy is downplaying the percentage a bit and feigning more ignorance than he actually has. But even if we took his words at face value, this shows an unbelievable lack of judgment.

Will anyone be able to stop him?

There's a small but greater than zero percent chance that by the end of January the Air Force One plane1 is in the possession of the Russian government. I really do wonder what the AF1 flight crew would do it on January 19, 2021 Trump, in his last 24 hours as President, orders them to fly the U.S. government-owned plane to Moscow.

(I thought I wrote a post like this a few months ago but I can't find it in my archives. Sorry if it is out there somewhere and this is a repeat)

1-Yes, I know that technically whatever plane the current President of the United States is on is designated as "Air Force One." But by "Air Force One plan" in this post I mean the main one that the U.S. President does, with all its fancy upgrades and classified defense systems.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

People gawk at car crashes

I predict that the Trump town hall will get bigger ratings than the Biden town hall. If I'm right that Trump will brag about the ratings "win" afterwards under the assumption that it means that he has more support than Biden. But actually more people will watch Trump because it's just more fun to watch demented lunatic give a train wreck of a town hall than a regular town hall with a politician trying to give normal answers.

UPDATE (10/16/20): I was wrong. Biden ended up ahead in the ratings, even after you add up the viewership of all the NBC channels (NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC), the viewership of the Biden town hall on ABC was ahead by about a million viewers.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Court unpacking

Hey remember when everyone though Hillary Clinton was going to win the Presidency and the Republicans proposed never letting her appoint any Supreme Court Justices by shrinking the size of the Supreme Court, and that prompted zero demands that any politician disavow such a radical policy?

Friday, October 09, 2020

Only a nightmare if you share the President's fevered dream

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the fact that there won't be a Durham Report before November 3 was have no effect at all on the outcome of the election. The only people who care about this report are the President's most die hard supporters, the ones who are already highly motivated to support him. No matter what the report says it would not change a single mind, largely because outside of the Trump bubble this administration has so little credibility. The fact that a GOP Congressional aide thinks the delayed report is a "nightmare scenario" just shows how completely out of touch Republican elites are from the rest of the country.

Must See TV

In case you had any doubts before, this Presidency is a total joke. That's true even if they leave out the rectal exam.

On the other hand, the fact that it will be "broadcast exclusively by Fox News" all but guarantees that it won't actually be live. I bet it will be prerecorded (and heavily edited) to make sure the Dear Leader doesn't accidentally show any "signs of weakness," like accidentally giving another sign of dementia or showing just how sick he is.