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erronis's Journal
erronis's Journal
July 11, 2024

Perlstein FTW


The NYT detailing 90 reporters onto the Biden deathwatch reveals yet another American civic institition in its glaring failure to stand up to the stress test of imminent fascism. Alas, it falls into agenda-setting elite political journalists’ narcissicism sweet spot: it makes themselves the center of the universe, while denying they have any political agency at all…

…Also, lets them preen in their version of virtue, which is “balancing” all the bad stuff they had to say about the GOP.

Akin to how they puffed up and domesticated the Tea Party, to “balance” the way they puffed up Obama.

…oh, and, bottom line, they’re all so jacked up over the prospect of a ten-way contest of Boar on the Floor. (The Peter Bakers are, yes, the Logan Roy in this scenario.)

Perlstein is exactly right. The Big Foot media are dying for an open convention where they can watch a Democratic shit show — and blame Biden and the administration for being losers.
July 10, 2024

No One Is SafeNo One Is Safe - No, not you either --- Digby

Machetes collected after the Rwandan genocide. Photo: James Nachtwey

Women across the U.S. learned in 2022 that they’d lost control of their bodies when the conservative majority on the Supreme Court overturned Roe. Remember when the prospective justices pledged fealty to stare decisis in their Senate confirmation hearings? Right? Their statements under oath were and are worthless. Because the ends that justify the means with this crowd.

Since Donald Trump lost the presidency in 2020, conservative reactionaries have dropped the coy act. They’re saying out loud what they plan to do to America — to you — when they regain control of the White House. SCOTUS just promised Trump king-like immunity for whatever crimes he commits under the color of official acts. He’s drooling.

The Lincoln Project is made up of former Republicans. They know their former allies. They created a primer on what’s ahead. Yes, they mean to scare you straight. Straight to the voting booth.

Donald Trump’s plan for America is no secret. Beating Trump this November is the only mission. The Lincoln Project invites you to take a peek at the terrible future Donald Trump would impose on America. pic.twitter.com/XyynK48FG6
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) July 8, 2024

John Yoo authored the infamous Bush administration memos that justified torture of prisoners in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Torture wasn’t about the mythical ticking time-bomb scenario. It was about exacting revenge on suspected terrorists in the wake of the September 11 attacks. In the conservative Matrix, laws are bent to justify criminal acts, revenge, and retribution.

Jonathan Chait wrote recently about Yoo’s concern for norms and his vision for twisting the laws to exact Republican revenge on Democratic enemies:

John Yoo, the former Bush administration lawyer (who himself escaped prosecution for his role in constructing legal justifications to torture detainees, many of whom turned out to be held wrongfully in the first place), has an essay in National Review arguing for revenge prosecutions. The imprimatur of Yoo, a Berkeley law professor and fellow at two of the conservative movement’s least-insane think tanks (the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution), underscores the progression of “lock her up” from wild seriously-not-literally Trump-campaign demagoguery in 2016 to party doctrine in 2024.

“Repairing this breach of constitutional norms will require Republicans to follow the age-old maxim: Do unto others as they have done unto you,” urges Yoo. “In order to prevent the case against Trump from assuming a permanent place in the American political system, Republicans will have to bring charges against Democratic officers, even presidents.”

Like allegations of stolen elections and voter fraud, no evidence required. Republicans will lock up opponents for unspecified “crimes.”

July 9, 2024

The media has been breathlessly attacking Biden. What about Trump? -- Margaret Sullivan


As always, a good exposure of the media problem.

It’s possible for two conflicting ideas to be true at once.

And so it is with the mainstream media’s unrelenting focus on Joe Biden’s mental acuity, following his terrible debate performance earlier this month.

First truth: the president’s stumble and the political fallout that followed is a huge, consequential news story that deserves a lot of coverage.

Second truth: the media coverage is overkill – not only too much in quantity and too breathless in tone, but also taking up so much oxygen that a story even more important is shoved to the back burner.

That bigger story, of course, is the former president’s appalling unfitness for office, not only because he tried to overturn a legitimate election and is a felon, out on bail and awaiting sentencing, but because of things he has said and done in very recent weeks. As just one example, he claimed that he doesn’t know anything about Project 2025, the radical rightwing plan hatched by some of his closest allies to begin dismantling our democracy if he wins another term.

Meanwhile, what of Trump’s obvious cognitive decline, his endless lies, his shocking plans to imprison his political enemies and to deport millions of people he calls “animals”, his relationship with the late accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein?

“Sure, you can say, we’ve covered those things,” commented Norman Ornstein, emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a longtime observer of media and politics. But, Ornstein pushed back: “Where? On the front page above the fold? As one-offs before moving on? In a fashion comparable to the Defcon 1 coverage of Biden’s age and acuity?”

There really is no comparison in the amount or intensity of coverage. One journalist, Jennifer Schulze, counted New York Times stories related to Biden’s age in the week following the debate; she counted a staggering 192 news and opinion pieces, compared to 92 stories on Trump – and that was in a week when the US supreme court had ruled he has immunity for official acts.

July 9, 2024

Let The Chaos Begin -- Digby


Public Notice sees fallout from the SCOTUS decision to overturn the Chevron deference doctrine. It’s already heading to courts:

It’s been barely a week since conservatives on the US Supreme Court radically upended the balance of power between the branches of government, giving the federal courts the exclusive power to interpret statutes rather than deferring to agency experts. And we’re already seeing impacts on the ground.

Right-wingers have been in the habit of running to their preferred courts to get regulations overturned, but the decision in Loper Bright v. Raimondo, which officially destroyed agency deference, will make it easier — even routine — to block every Biden administration rule they don’t like.

Lawsuits to invalidate specific rules had been proceeding through the federal courts before Loper Bright, generally arguing that agencies exceeded their authority in promulgating a rule. These lawsuits exist in no small part because the Supreme Court made it clear they would destroy Chevron deference for years now, with Justice Neil Gorsuch having led the way well before his appointment to the Court.

Trump appointee Sean Jordan, who sits in the reliably hard-right Eastern District of Texas, was so eager to block a Biden administration’s overtime rule that he dropped his decision the same day Loper Bright came out. It runs 36 pages and mentions Loper Bright multiple times, which means either Jordan was so confident of the Supreme Court decision that he either wrote it in advance or he hurried to stuff Loper Bright into his already-written opinion.

Jordan’s opinion also rests heavily on dictionary definitions rather than expertise from the Department of Labor, which issued the rule. So now, the rule that would have made 4 million more Texas workers eligible for overtime, and thus more pay, is blocked thanks to a hurried read of a SCOTUS opinion and Webster’s Dictionary.

Lisa Needham concludes:

… rather than having a well-reasoned rule that applies uniformly across the country, courts will invalidate or uphold rules in a piecemeal fashion based on the whims of judges who are in no way qualified to interpret complex regulatory issues. Those judges, though, are extremely well-qualified to find a way to strike down regulations whenever conservatives demand it. The demise of the regulatory state is as grim as anyone could have possibly guessed, and absent court reform, there seems to be no way out.

How far might the fringe right take this? A gallon of milk or gas need no longer be a gallon. An inch is 2.54 centimeters. Or is it? How many eggs is a dozen? Depends now on how the judge feels today.
July 9, 2024

Biden Experiments - Timoth Snyder


A refreshing viewpoint!
The morning after the Biden-Trump debate, I had a good feeling. Perhaps it was the setting: I was in the woods, near a lake, away from the screens. I didn’t watch the debate live, but heard about it from friends. When I was asked by a stranger that day what I felt, I said that “this is a chance that has been given to us to think things over, a chance that we might not otherwise have had. And now we should use this chance.”

What would it mean to do that?

I could see how a bad debate could become a good discussion because I believe that Joe Biden is a decent and competent human being who cares more about his country than about his own feelings. This is far from just a personal impression. The NATO summit is this week: it is impossible to overstate how much trust President Biden has restored among our friends, and how much more the United States is now respected around the world than it was under Trump. Joe Biden’s record in domestic policy is unrivaled since FDR. He has made mistakes, but he has also learned, following his party, generally in the right direction. Unlike many of us, he has shown that he can change his mind. I trust that he will realize that what we face is a political question, not a medical or a personal one.

He then goes on to list four possible options in addition to just "staying the course." Well thought out.

Concluding -
People are nervous, which is understandable. Time is short. None of these choices is without risk. Operation Consistency is also involves risk. The question is: what is the least risky here? Which of these approaches is most likely to preserve the American republic? And which is most likely to generate a sense of hope and positive energy that will reach Americans in general? I think a President Biden who considered these options (or someone else’s better list) with his team, as part of a process, would make the right call.

I don’t fear this election. I think people will work hard and the right side will win. My concern is this: that the people on the right side, motivated by fear, will miss their chances. Giving the president options is an act, after all, of loyalty rather than disloyalty: to the man, to the office, to the legacy, and to the country.
July 8, 2024

Cheers and Jeers: Monday - Bill in Portland


Good agenda for this coming week:

Monday Today is International Town Crier's Day. Also known as Lindsey Graham every day.

In the middle of a press conference during which he insists President Biden must step aside for health reasons, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell freezes up yet again due to a formaldehyde deficiency and has to be wheeled off on a dolly.

Tuesday The conservative Supreme Court justices celebrate the end of their wrecking-ball session by getting together at John Roberts' summer place to play a few rounds of Stare Decisis Jenga. The first one to cause everything to collapse into a pile of smoldering fascist rubble wins. (Sam Alito abstains, as he and his wife consider the forces of gravity demonic.)
Also Wednesday: the James Webb space telescope gives us our first glimpse of the creator of the universe.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene undergoes emergency surgery after accidentally getting a verified fact stuck in her skull cavity. Ironically, the removal procedure is performed by a Jewish doctor with a laser.

Wednesday The Mortgage Bankers Association releases its "mortgage purchase applications index." As usual, half of the applicants signed where they should've initialed, and initialed where they should've signed, and it's such a mess that all the bankers give up and go out for martinis.

In the middle of a press conference during which he insists President Biden must step aside because his brain isn’t functioning properly, House Speaker Mike Johnson starts speaking in tongues and then launches into a tirade about how all the gays and abortion doctors need to be fed to the kraken WHICH TOTALLY EXISTS!!!

Thursday Democrats in Congress work to get more Americans health care, help Ukraine defeat Russia, fight domestic terrorism, protect women's abortion rights, raise the minimum wage, lower gas prices, and make it easier to vote. Republicans try to get fewer Americans health care, help Russia defeat Ukraine, encourage domestic terrorism, lower the minimum wage, keep gas prices high so they can blame it on Democrats, and make it harder to vote. Today’s top story in The New York Times: why aren’t Democrats doing enough to help real Americans?

Friday The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is released. America's mood registers an uptick from "inflamed" to "toaster strudel." (It's a weird index.)

For yet another week, the only one to make good on a promise of delivering change to the planet is the climate.
July 8, 2024

50 Years Ago Today, I Argued 'U.S. v. Nixon.' The Supreme Court's New Ruling on Presidential Immunity Appalled Me.


WHAT A DIFFERENCE FIFTY YEARS MAKES: Half a century ago, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the president was subject to the laws of the United States that apply to every other citizen. But a week ago, a splintered Court voted 6–3 to create a unique prerogative for presidents to commit federal crimes with impunity.

Fifty years ago today, on July 8, 1974, I walked up the steps of the Supreme Court along with Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski to present oral arguments. I remember feeling confident that Monday morning, arriving at the Court in my best blue suit, not the formal cutaway that government counsel normally wear before the Court; Jaworski, a Texas trial lawyer, told me that he would not be comfortable in a formal outfit. This was not my first case before the Court—I had previously been a deputy solicitor general—and I was once again arguing in the name of “the United States,” although this time in opposition to the president.

Jaworski and I argued that, even as president, Richard Nixon could be required to comply with the duty of every other citizen to produce material evidence—in that specific case, tape recordings made in the Oval Office—that would show whether serious federal crimes had been committed.

The issue in United States v. Richard Nixon was whether the president and his closest aides had conspired to obstruct justice in the Watergate break-in coverup.

Just sixteen days later, the Court concluded that, while Nixon could claim a limited privilege for some confidential communications, that privilege could be overcome by the overarching public interest in prosecuting federal crimes. Thus, the people of the United States, in whose name all federal criminal proceedings are brought, prevailed.
July 6, 2024

Traveling through upstate NY in the last couple of days - perhaps 3 trump signs

This is Stephanik territory which is pretty damned RW.

Of course the signs are affixed to some of the "better" properties on the back-roads - the ones with lots of vehicles in need of some R&R. Not one bumper sticker that I saw.

I don't think the enthusiasm is there as it was in 2020. Perhaps the RNC is not spending enough - too much getting siphoned off by the family grifters.

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