Monday, February 1, 2021

Last Call For The Winter Of Our Discontent

The New York Times has put together a definitive timeline of the events between Election Day and Inauguration Day, and how Donald Trump was enabled and encouraged to bring a coup against the United States government, Joe Biden, and the American people. It's a coup he will continue to defend in his Senate impeachment trial this week, and there's near absolute certainty that he will be acquitted by the GOP not out of merit, but out of cowardice and fear of the monsters Trump has unleashed.

A New York Times examination of the 77 democracy-bending days between election and inauguration shows how, with conspiratorial belief rife in a country ravaged by pandemic, a lie that Mr. Trump had been grooming for years finally overwhelmed the Republican Party and, as brake after brake fell away, was propelled forward by new and more radical lawyers, political organizers, financiers and the surround-sound right-wing media.

In the aftermath of that broken afternoon at the Capitol, a picture has emerged of entropic forces coming together on Trump’s behalf in an ad hoc, yet calamitous, crash of rage and denial.

But interviews with central players, and documents including previously unreported emails, videos and social media posts scattered across the web, tell a more encompassing story of a more coordinated campaign.

Across those 77 days, the forces of disorder were summoned and directed by the departing president, who wielded the power derived from his near-infallible status among the party faithful in one final norm-defying act of a reality-denying presidency.

Throughout, he was enabled by influential Republicans motivated by ambition, fear or a misplaced belief that he would not go too far.

In the Senate, he got early room to maneuver from the majority leader, Mitch McConnell. As he sought the president’s help in Georgia runoffs that could cost him his own grip on power, Mr. McConnell heeded misplaced assurances from White House aides like Jared Kushner that Mr. Trump would eventually accede to reality, people close to the senator told The Times. Mr. McConnell’s later recognition of Mr. Biden’s victory would not be enough to dissuade 14 Republican senators from joining the president’s last-ditch bid to nullify millions of Americans’ votes.

Likewise, during the campaign, Attorney General William P. Barr had echoed some of Mr. Trump’s complaints of voter fraud. But privately the president was chafing at Mr. Barr’s resistance to his more authoritarian impulses — including his idea to end birthright citizenship in a legally dubious pre-election executive order. And when Mr. Barr informed Mr. Trump in a tense Oval Office session that the Justice Department’s fraud investigations had run dry, the president dismissed the department as derelict before finding other officials there who would view things his way.

For every lawyer on Mr. Trump’s team who quietly pulled back, there was one ready to push forward with propagandistic suits that skated the lines of legal ethics and reason. That included not only Mr. Giuliani and lawyers like Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, but also the vast majority of Republican attorneys general, whose dead-on-arrival Supreme Court lawsuit seeking to discount 20 million votes was secretly drafted by lawyers close to the White House, The Times found.

As traditional Republican donors withdrew, a new class of Trump-era benefactors rose to finance data analysts and sleuths to come up with fodder for the stolen-election narrative. Their ranks included the founder of MyPillow, Mike Lindell, and the former chief executive Patrick Byrne, who warned of “fake ballots” and voting-machine manipulation from China on One America News Network and Newsmax, which were finding ratings in their willingness to go further than Fox in embracing the fiction that Mr. Trump had won.

As Mr. Trump’s official election campaign wound down, a new, highly organized campaign stepped into the breach to turn his demagogic fury into a movement of its own, reminding key lawmakers at key times of the cost of denying the will of the president and his followers. Called Women for America First, it had ties to Mr. Trump and former White House aides then seeking presidential pardons, among them Stephen K. Bannon and Michael T. Flynn.

As it crossed the country spreading the new gospel of a stolen election in Trump-red buses, the group helped build an acutely Trumpian coalition that included sitting and incoming members of Congress, rank-and-file voters and the “de-platformed” extremists and conspiracy theorists promoted on its home page — including the white nationalist Jared Taylor, prominent QAnon proponents and the Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio.

With each passing day the lie grew, finally managing to do what the political process and the courts would not: upend the peaceful transfer of power that for 224 years had been the bedrock of American democracy.
Everyone on the GOP side either capitulated or miscalculated. It almost led to a violent terrorist massacre of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. It is not just Donald Trump who needs to be held accountable, but the people who allowed this travesty to get this far.

Every single one of them must be made to pay.

Vaccination Nation

The people refusing the vaccine out of choice are misguided at best and dangerous superspreaders at worst, but the people preventing other people from getting the vaccine by blocking vaccine sites are about as morally repugnant as you can get, and apparently here in 2021 we have to put up with this utter nonsense now.

Dodger Stadium’s mass COVID-19 vaccination site was shut down Saturday afternoon as about 50 protesters gathered at the entrance, stalling hundreds of motorists who had been waiting in line for hours.

The Los Angeles Fire Department closed the entrance to the stadium — one of the largest vaccination sites in the country — for about an hour starting just before 2 p.m. as a precaution, officials said.

The demonstrators included members of anti-vaccine and far-right groups. While some carried signs decrying the COVID-19 vaccine and shouting for people not to get the shots, there were no incidents of violence.

“This is completely wrong,” said German Jaquez, who drove from his home in La Verne and had been waiting for an hour for his vaccination when the stadium’s gates were closed. He said some of the protesters were telling people in line that the coronavirus is not real and that the vaccination is dangerous.

“This is the wrong message,” Jaquez said. “I’ve been waiting for weeks to get an appointment. I am a dentist; I am taking a big risk being around patients. I want to be safe for my patients and for my family. The vaccine is the only way to beat the virus.”

A fire department official said the vaccination site reopened a few minutes before 3 p.m. The site is usually open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A post on social media described the demonstration as the “SCAMDEMIC PROTEST/MARCH.” It advised participants to “please refrain from wearing Trump/MAGA attire as we want our statement to resonate with the sheeple. No flags but informational signs only.

“This is a sharing information protest and march against everything COVID, Vaccine, PCR Tests, Lockdowns, Masks, Fauci, Gates, Newsom, China, digital tracking, etc.”

A live-streamed video of the gathering shows a group of protesters walking on a sidewalk as cars navigate cone-lined lanes toward the stadium, which served as a COVID-19 testing site for months.

Several of the protesters carried signs that read “Save Your Soul TURN BACK NOW,” “CNN IS LYING TO YOU,” “RECALL GAVIN NEWSOM,” and “TAKE OFF YOUR MASK,” and others handed out pamphlets to motorists who had their windows down.

Some cars blared their horns as they drove by and protesters spoke through bullhorns.

“Turn back while you can,” one man said. “You’re a lab rat.”

Public officials swiftly weighed in expressing their frustrations.

Deputy Mayor Jeff Gorell, who oversees public safety for Garcetti, tweeted a Times article about the closure, writing “Its back open, but ..” and adding a face palm emoji.

The Dodger Stadium incident marks the latest of several protests by small groups opposed to basic coronavirus safety measures such as mask wearing.

Following local demonstrations by anti-mask groups at shopping malls, grocery stores and homeless encampments, the Los Angeles City Council earlier this month bolstered restrictions and subjected some violators to financial penalties
At this point I expect abortion clinic style harassment to continue and even for vaccination sites to be attacked by domestic terrorists. it's inevitable, frankly.

I hope security is going to be increased, but that's going to slow down vaccinations as well. But that's the hell we're living in, apparently.

Susan Collins Holding The Football

I suppose it's a sign of a return to wretched normalcy: a group of Republican senators led by Maine's Susan Collins has proposed a counteroffer to the Biden admin's COVID-19 relief plan, and of course it's less than one-tenth of the proposed Democratic spending plan.

A group of Senate Republicans is requesting a meeting with President Joe Biden to begin bipartisan negotiations on the next coronavirus relief bill, even as Democratic leaders are prepared this week to go down a path that could pass a new $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package with all Democratic votes.

In a letter to Biden sent on Sunday, 10 Senate Republicans informed the president that they are working on a counterproposal focusing on spending $160 billion on vaccines, testing, treatment and personal protective equipment. Led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the senators said that if Biden signs off on their framework, “we believe that this plan could be approved quickly by Congress with bipartisan support.”

“In the spirit of bipartisanship and unity, we have developed a COVID-19 relief framework that builds on prior COVID assistance laws, all of which passed with bipartisan support,” the senators wrote to Biden. “We request the opportunity to meet with you to discuss our proposal in greater detail and how we can work together to meet the needs of the American people during this persistent pandemic.”

The letter is a clear attempt to head off Democratic efforts to pursue budget reconciliation as the pathway to the next round of coronavirus aid. This week, Democrats in both chambers are planning to pass budget resolutions allowing the party to approve Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan without GOP votes.

Still, that path has little room for error: All 50 Senate Democrats would need to be on board, and House leaders could afford few defections. And Republicans in a bipartisan negotiating group have urged Biden to squash the effort to move forward without them, though Democrats are skeptical they will ever come on board with the large spending plan they say is needed to revive the economy.

The Biden administration said it would see what the Senate Republicans had to offer. “We’ve received the letter and we certainly will be reviewing it over the course of the day,” Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Deese elaborated on NBC's "Meet the Press": "We've been engaging with members of Congress from both parties and both houses over the course of the last week or two. We’ll continue to do that as we go forward. And the president has said repeatedly he is open to ideas, wherever they may come, that we could improve upon the approach to actually tackling this crisis. What he's uncompromising about is the need to move with speed on a comprehensive approach here."

The Republican senators will release more details of their plan Monday, according to a Republican aide. Sunday’s letter indicated it will also extend unemployment benefits that expire in March, match Biden’s request for nutrition assistance and send a new round of payments to “those families who need assistance the most, including their dependent children and adults.” It will also address child care, small business aid and school funding.
Again, this is the whole "We're the ones in charge now, here's what we'll let you have" plan from the Obama days. Obama fell for it and it cost the Dems the House and in a catastrophic 2010 midterm, followed by the Senate in a 2014 midterm disaster where turnout was the lowest in generations...and then the White House in 2016.

The phenomenal gall of these bastards.

No, Biden should ignore this, and Schumer and Pelosi should press on and get 100% of what they proposed through budget reconciliation, and Dems should have a good laugh. If they fall for this, which will turn into a delay of months followed by no bill because the GOP will yank the football away, Dems will be right back to where they are now, only after having wasted 60 or 90 days or more.


Screw 'em and take the win, guys.


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