Friday, July 17, 2020

Last Call For Retribution Execution, Con't

As the Trumptanic heads for disaster, Republican rats in Congress are scampering across the decks, cheering the oncoming iceberg as a bold, manly path to show that frozen bitch who's boss. They'd rather face the slim chance that some of them will survive the disaster in November than the guaranteed butchery by their angry orange captain and his horde of cult followers should they try to jump ship now. Susan Glasser at the New Yorker explains:

One of the enduring mysteries of this most unusual of campaign seasons is why Trump’s precarious reĆ«lection bid has not affected his standing with the Republican politicians who will be on the ballot alongside him. In the past, a historically unpopular President plummeting in the polls would have caused a slew of panicking pols to distance themselves. In July of 1980, when Jimmy Carter’s popularity sank into the low twenties and he hovered just under forty per cent in the polls in his race against Ronald Reagan, Carter even gave a speech in which he volunteered to stay away from Democratic members’ districts if they thought that his campaigning for them would hurt their chances. It didn’t work, of course, and when Carter was defeated by Reagan his party lost twenty-nine seats in the House and control of the Senate. 
But the vast majority of Republicans this time are not abandoning Trump; some are even choosing to double down on their embrace of the President, a political choice that speaks loudly to the current moment. Part of it is that Trump is an unusually vengeful politician, one who is obsessed with loyalty and who does not hesitate to go after members of his party who cross him. On Tuesday night, Trump and his inner circle crowed when his former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was soundly defeated in a Republican primary in Alabama, a humiliating end to his bid to win back the Senate seat that he gave up to serve in Trump’s Cabinet. Sessions, who committed the unpardonable sin—to Trump—of recusing himself from the Russia investigation, had been the first senator to endorse Trump, back in 2016. Even after being fired by the President, Sessions continued to publicly suck up to Trump during his comeback bid. A few weeks ago, when Trump’s mid-pandemic return to the campaign trail, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, bombed, Sessions blithely praised the President for his “masterful” performance and “winning message.” But that was not enough for Trump, who endorsed Sessions’s opponent and bad-mouthed his former A.G. as “a disaster who let us all down.” After the vote, Trump exulted in Sessions’s defeat. So did Trump’s close adviser Stephen Miller, the young immigration hawk who owes his career to Sessions. Asked on Wednesday about Sessions’s loss, as he strolled across the White House driveway, Miller called it a “great victory for the country, a great victory for the President.” 
Fear alone, however, does not explain what’s going on with Republicans. Not every state is Alabama, where Trump will win in November no matter what. Trump has been sagging even in reliably red states, such as Georgia and Texas—a Democratic Presidential candidate has not won the latter state since Carter, in 1976—where surveys now show Biden more or less even with Trump. The Dallas Morning News wrote the other day that “Trump represents a bigger threat to fellow Republicans than any GOP nominee in forty-four years.” As coronavirus cases spike in Texas, the crucial suburban voters in Dallas and Houston, who have long been the G.O.P.’s bedrock in the state, appear to be souring on the President. Yet Senator John Cornyn, a mild-mannered Republican-establishment type never previously seen as a Trumpite, has chosen to respond to his increasingly uphill reĆ«lection challenge in Texas by becoming one of the President’s more ardent public defenders. He’s tweeting more. He’s trolling. He told Texans to go out and drink some Corona beer and not to panic about the disease. Democrats are now calling him Mini-Don. There are plenty of other Republican officeholders like him. 
The best, or at least most vivid, explanation for this phenomenon that I’ve seen is a recent piece in Rolling Stone by the Republican strategist Tim Miller, an adviser to Jeb Bush’s doomed 2016 Presidential campaign who became a fervent Never Trumper. Miller asked nine G.O.P.-consultant friends who are still welcome in the Party why the “dumpster fire” that is the Trump 2020 campaign has not caused their Republican candidates to abandon the President. “There are two options, you can be on this hell ship, or you can be in the water drowning,” one told Miller. Miller’s report from the U.S.S. Hellship suggests that the trapped sailors are well aware of how badly Trump is faring but are unable to bail out—especially in competitive elections, where the Party can ill afford to lose any Republican votes. In rural Texas, one of Miller’s informants pointed out, “Trump gets like Saddam Hussein level numbers here.” Cornyn desperately needs those Trump superfans in order to win statewide. Loyalty to Trump among such voters now outweighs any policy position, which means that catering to them requires Cornyn to strike a hard pro-Trump line, even if it further alienates the suburban moderates now wavering on the President. “No dissent is tolerated,” a consultant in another state told Miller. And, besides, another strategist told him, the election is all about Trump—there’s no use pretending otherwise. Their observations are strikingly similar to a conversation that I had last month with a veteran Republican pollster, whose clients are running in competitive states. I asked him whether, given the bad and worsening poll numbers, we might soon see his candidates running away from the President. “I don’t think so,” he said, citing the Trump Twitter curse. “He stirs up his base all the time, so you can’t take a position to reach out to the independents who have trouble with his persona, because the Republican Trump base will turn on you in a second.” And so the Hellship sails on.

The real issue is that Republicans know full well that Justin Amash, Jeff Sessions, and Richard Burr were all publicly executed from a political standpoint.  Amash was run out of the party and now faces obliteration. Sessions was put out to pasture like a broken racehorse as I mentioned earlier this week. And Richard Burr is most likely headed for prison and expulsion from the Senate, mysteriously the only person to be caught in the FBI's investigation of insider COVID-19 trading.

Trump doesn't just get revenge.  He breaks legs and breaks lives.  He can instantly turn 90% of Republican voters against anyone in the party with a day of tweets, and everyone in the GOP knows it. They are afraid of him because all of them are cowards.

But they'd rather be live cowards than dead heroes.

It's About Suppression, Con't

As I said two weeks ago, the fight for restoring voting rights to Florida felons who have served their time is far from over, and this week that fight took a dismal turn thanks to SCOTUS.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Thursday to overturn a federal appeals court’s decision that blocked some Florida felons’ eligibility to participate in elections — a major blow to efforts to restore voting rights to as many as 1.4 million people in the battleground state.

The decision lets stand a temporary halt by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit of a judge’s order that had cleared the way for hundreds of thousands of felons in the state to register to vote.

In early July, the Campaign Legal Center in Washington petitioned the high court to lift the stay, arguing that the appeals court decision had “thrown the election rules into chaos.”

But on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied that request. Three liberal justices noted their dissent, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing that the court’s decision “prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida’s primary election simply because they are poor.”

Paul Smith, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center, said he was “deeply disappointed” with the decision.

A spokesperson for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said earlier this month that his office would not comment on the ongoing legal matter until there is an appeals court ruling.

Although it's an unsigned order, it's clear that Chief Justice John Roberts, who has been openly hostile to voting rights since his appointment by Dubya 15 years ago, has again sided with the court's conservatives to maintain Florida's poll tax on Black felons.

Because that's what this is, a poll tax on Black felons.

Kentucky Goes Viral, Con't

As I expected, Kentucky's GOP Attorney General Daniel Cameron has now filed for an immediate injunction and motion to void all of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's COVID-19 orders, leaving the state operating at 100% normal, pre-pandemic capacity and putting Kentuckians entirely at the tender mercies of the state's Republican lawmakers and the cornoavirus.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a motion Wednesday to block all of Gov. Andy Beshear's past and future executive orders under the current COVID-19 state of emergency, alleging that the governor's actions are arbitrary and violate Kentuckians' constitutional rights.

The motion was filed in Boone County Circuit Court, where a judge recently issued a restraining order against Beshear's public health orders related to auto racetracks and daycare centers.

The governor on Wednesday asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to uphold his emergency public health orders in this case and a related one involving agritourism businesses in Scott County, following a ruling against his COVID-19 orders by an appellate judge Monday.

Cameron's motion seeks a temporary injunction to prohibit the governor from "issuing or enforcing any executive order or other directive" under Kentucky's state of emergency statute, calling Beshear's past orders "an arbitrary and unreasonable burden" and a direct violation of citizens' constitutional rights.

Beshear fired back at Cameron in two tweets Thursday morning, stating he had just learned of the motion that, if granted, would "void every COVID-19 rule or regulation, and prevent any future orders needed to respond to escalating cases."

"With no rules, there is no chance of getting kids back to school, we will lose over $10 billion in our economy, and many Kentuckians will die," Beshear tweeted. "I hope everyone understands how scary and reckless this is."

Cameron knows exactly what he's doing too, neutering Beshear, putting 4.5 million Kentuckians at risk, and forcing the governor to call a special session of the state legislature so that Kentucky lawmakers can finish the job of removing all power from him.

In a series of tweets two hours later, Cameron responded by criticizing Beshear for not collaborating with his office and Republican legislators on his public health orders.
"Judges at every level have found constitutional problems with his orders," Cameron wrote. "Instead of collaborating with our office and the General Assembly to fix these issues, he’s pointing fingers."

Cameron's 31-page motion took aim at the rationale of Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, behind the COVID-19 orders, saying a recent deposition by Stack revealed they were based on "values-based judgment and ad-hoc rationalization."
"Although there are nearly 4.5 million people in Kentucky, and state government is composed of three branches of government, with a general assembly composed of 38 senators and 100 representatives, right now nearly every aspect of the lives and livelihoods of those 4.5 million Kentuckian is purportedly governed by one man, and his political appointees: Gov. Andrew Beshear," stated Cameron's motion.

Cameron is also attacking the notion of even needing any of these orders in the first place, all but taking up the reprehensible Rep. Thomas Massie position on health emergency orders, that the government has no business in protecting Americans from health problems.

This is horrific news.  If Cameron is successful, Kentuckians will suffer like never before.

And he knows it.


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