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Fri Dec 11, 2020, 08:23 PM

Friday Talking Points -- Donald Trump Loses... And Loses... And Loses...

President Donald Trump, as we all know full well by now, has truly become the thing he hates the most: a total loser.

He's lost the 2020 election so many times, it's hard to keep track of them all. First, he lost when all the votes were counted. Then he lost after he demanded they recount the votes. Then he lost when all the states certified their results. Then he lost when all the states named their electors to the Electoral College. Monday, he's going to lose the biggest one yet, as the Electoral College votes 306-232 for Joe Biden.

And throughout it all, Trump's been the world's biggest sore loser. He's been filing dozens of flimsy lawsuits, and then repeatedly losing them in court. [link:tps://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/04/donald-trump-in-court-443010|Over] and over and over again. Pretty much every single argument the Trump clown car of lawyers has made has been duly laughed out of court -- even by judges Trump himself appointed.

As of this writing, the final big case has not yet lost in the Supreme Court, but it will soon. Of that we have no doubt. This was a Fantasyland case that managed to argue that Texas should somehow have veto power over other states' election process because Texas didn't like who won there. It was likely filed just so the state's attorney general could butter Trump up in order to get a pre-emptive pardon for all the things the F.B.I. is investigating him for.

It's the last legal crazy train to leave the station (as it were). Over 125 Republicans in the House of Representatives and plenty of other state attorneys general have also signaled their approval for this harebrained legal scheme. The list grows by the day, although the Washington Post has as full a list as we've yet seen of them all, just for future reference. The introduction to this list sums things up pretty well:

This suit, which Trump has called "the big one," is a mess legally and rhetorically, one state attempting to get a court to reject other states' determinations of how they allocates [sic] their electors. It's an action that any court is exceedingly unlikely to take, particularly given the "evidence" [the] suit presents, a mishmash of speculation, debunked charges and laughable statistics.

But the lawsuit is something else for Trump: It's a flag planted in the ground, a locus for members of the Republican Party to demonstrate their fealty to his worldview. It's the emperor, in the last month of his reign, demanding testimonials to his luxurious attire while knowing full well that he is naked as a jaybird.

That analogy, of course, underplays what's being asked. By centralizing his efforts to reject the actual will of the voters, Trump is asking politicians to elevate loyalty to MAGA over loyalty to America's system of electing leaders. He's turning his allies' anti-Democratic sentiment into an anti-democratic one. He's asking for an endorsement of the idea that votes are less important than the determination of nine judges, three of whom he appointed. In anodyne but not insignificant terms, he's asking elected leaders to ignore their oaths to protect the Constitution.

Republicans are lining up to do so.

George Conway (husband of Kellyanne) also had a pretty good rundown on what is going on in the Washington Post.

That's because Trump and his allies have lost just about every lawsuit they've brought to try to keep him in office. By one Democratic election lawyer's count, they have just one win and 55 losses to show for their efforts (a ratio that would be even more lopsided if he counted multiple losses in each case). Adding insult to injury, the Trumpistas' solitary victory was a piddling, technical one that affected just a tiny number of ballots, nowhere near enough to change the result. Sad!

Trump and his litigation boosters have lost every which way, and everywhere. In state courts and federal courts. In trial courts and appellate courts, intermediate and supreme. Before Democratic judges and Republican ones. In Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada -- every state that could possibly matter. On substantive grounds and procedural ones, on the facts, and on the law.

They've already lost a case in the U.S. Supreme Court -- and are about to lose there again very, very soon.

It's hard to imagine that any alliance of litigants and lawyers has ever lost more cases for more reasons -- and in less time -- than this sorry bunch has.

Their problem is they have nothing to sue about, and never did. The words of a Trump-appointed member of the federal appeals court in Philadelphia pretty much sum things up: "Calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here."

. . .

And what relief does the Texas suit seek? For the court to declare that the 62 electoral votes of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin "cannot be counted." That's a quote.

That any member of any bar, let alone a member of the Supreme Court bar, could file such flimsy tripe in any court, let alone the Supreme Court, is an embarrassment to the legal profession. For public officials such as [Texas Attorney General Ken] Paxton and his fellow Republican attorneys general to call for the wholesale disenfranchisement of the people of four states is an affront to the rule of law, an insult to an independent judiciary and a contempt of democracy.

The four states Texas sued were even more blunt, in their filings in response to the suit:

"The Court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated," Pennsylvania said in a 43-page brief signed by Attorney General Josh Shapiro and his deputies.

"In support of such a request, Texas brings to the Court only discredited allegations and conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact," the attorneys wrote. "Accepting Texas's view would do violence to the Constitution and the Framers' vision."

Throughout this entire process, Trump has been acting like nothing short of a mob boss. He's been calling up any Republican he can in the states' governments, urging them to break the law, do things the law does not allow, and generally ignore their sworn oaths to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Trump has also been subverting (and perverting) democracy by calling up Republicans who have already refused to break the law, trying to talk to (and threaten) them into somehow hand their state's votes to him on a silver platter. Trump is also riling up his base against these Republicans who won't do his patently illegal bidding, since they obviously aren't sufficiently worshipful of the Dear Leader. This is tinpot dictator stuff, folks, and yet the Republican Party (for the most part) has merrily joined in the fun -- out of abject fear of their own voters.

On one level, it's all pretty pathetic and funny. But on another level, this is a direct attack on a bedrock foundation of America. There's just no other way to put it. And precious few Republicans are willing to say so. Mitt Romney, to his eternal credit, is one of them: "It's just simply madness. The idea of supplanting the vote of the people with partisan legislators is so completely out of our national character that it's simply mad.... This effort to subvert the vote of the people is dangerous and destructive of the cause of democracy." He's right, but he's an awfully lonely voice crying in the Republican wilderness.

We are entering dangerous territory, make no mistake about it. Democrat James Clyburn wasn't shy about pointing out exactly what was going on, in a tweet:

This is an attempt to overthrow our government.

You may not call it a coup, but this is an attempted coup.

Some people say Trump is trying to steal the election.

He is not trying to steal the election.

He is in your face trying to overthrow the will of the people.

Consider just how far down the rabbit hole we've gone. The Democrats on the committee in Congress responsible for the Inauguration Day proceedings tried to get the three Republicans on the committee (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Sen. Roy Blunt) to agree to a resolution simply stating that Joe Biden was the president-elect. The Republicans refused.

The Washington Post went to the trouble to poll every single GOP member of Congress, and only 27 out of 249 -- or less than 11 percent of them -- admitted that Biden had won the election.

The "states" of "New Nevada" and "New California" just filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the Texas case, further beclowning the proceedings.

Rush Limbaugh walked right up to entertaining the idea of secession on his show, this week. Because, you know, why not?

And in statehouses across the country, extra security is being laid on to guarantee that the meeting of the Electoral College will safely happen on Monday without violence. Think about that one for a minute. The electors who vote for president might actually be risking their lives to do so.

Violence and threats of violence have already been happening, so the fear is already real. A plot to kidnap and kill the Democratic governor of Michigan was foiled already. Michigan's secretary of state recently had an armed mob appear outside her house, threatening her and her family.

"They shouted baseless conspiracy theories about the election, and in videos uploaded to social media, at least one individual could be heard shouting 'you're murderers' within earshot of her [4-year-old] child's bedroom," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy (D) said in a joint statement on Sunday. "This mob-like behavior is an affront to basic morality and decency."

They added that "terrorizing children and families at their own homes is not activism."

Vitriolic rhetoric has led bipartisan leaders to warn that Trump's baseless attacks on the election are endangering election officials' lives. Multiple Michigan officials have reported being threatened and harassed over the election results, as have officials in Georgia, Arizona, Vermont, Kentucky, Minnesota and Colorado.

A Black lawmaker in Michigan dared to question Rudy Giuliani's outlandish election fraud logic, and is now getting racist threats about lynching.

The Florida data scientist who was fired for refusing to somehow make the coronavirus numbers look better had her house raided today. She's been running her own "dashboard" of truth, putting out the real data so Florida citizens can see it, so of course they took all her computers away. Here's how they served the warrant, according to Rebekah Jones: "They pointed a gun in my face. They pointed guns at my kids." Not to belabor the obvious, but this is a data scientist, not some Wild West desperado.

Chris Krebs, who ran the federal 2020 election security office and dared to tell the truth (that it had, in fact, been the safest and most secure election ever), wound up getting fired for doing so. He has now filed a lawsuit, because a lawyer for the Trump campaign said, in an interview, that Krebs should be: "drawn and quartered" or perhaps just "taken out at dawn and shot." The lawsuit revealed that Krebs's 10-year-old child asked: "Daddy's going to get executed?"

The Republican Party of Arizona tweeted out two frightening messages this week as well, both suggesting that it might just be time to put your life on the line, all to assuage Trump's bruised ego. One showed a clip from a Rambo movie which contained the line: "Live for nothing, or die for something." The other commented on a clip from a GOP rabble-rouser who said he be "willing to give my life for this fight." The official Twitter account of the Arizona Republican Party responded by retweeting it with the comment: "He is. Are you?"

John McCain is spinning in his grave -- because to add insult to sedition, the Arizona GOP did this on Pearl Harbor Day -- when the U.S.S. Arizona was sunk by the Japanese.

Once again: this is all dangerous, dangerous stuff.

So how is Trump taking all this losing? As you'd expect -- rather badly. The New York Times ran a story about Trump's rage on their front page:

Moody and by accounts of his advisers sometimes depressed, the president barely shows up to work, ignoring the health and economic crises afflicting the nation and largely clearing his public schedule of meetings unrelated to his desperate bid to rewrite the election results. He has fixated on rewarding friends, purging the disloyal and punishing a growing list of perceived enemies that now includes Republican governors, his own attorney general and even Fox News.

The final days of the Trump presidency have taken on the stormy elements of a drama more common to history or literature than a modern White House. His rage and detached-from-reality refusal to concede defeat evoke images of a besieged overlord in some distant land defiantly clinging to power rather than going into exile or an erratic English monarch imposing his version of reality on his cowed court.

Axios has a different take on Trump finally figuring out he has lost:

Trump isn't just accepting pardon requests but blindly discussing them "like Christmas gifts" to people who haven't even asked. Trump recently told one adviser he was going to pardon "every person who ever talked to me," suggesting an even larger pardon blitz to come.... Trump has also interrupted conversations to spontaneously suggest that he add the person he's speaking with to his pardon list.... The offers haven't always been welcome. One source felt awkward because the president was clearly trying to be helpful but the adviser didn't believe they had committed any crimes. The adviser also believed being on the list could hurt their public persona.

Ya think?


OK, we are just going to pre-empt the rest of this introduction this week to report what is currently breaking news as we write (to end on a very happy note, as it were).

The Supreme Court has just firmly rejected the Texas lawsuit, in an incredibly terse statement. Translated from legalese, it essentially says: "Um... no... we're not going to do that. And may we politely ask what it is you've been smoking?"

Can't wait to see Trump and the MAGA-world's reaction, tonight!

There's really only one way we can go this week, since Time magazine saw fit to elevate both President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris to "Person Of The Year" status.

On Monday, this will be official. Joe Biden won the presidency by an overwhelming margin of 7-plus million votes. He rebuilt the big blue Democratic wall across the Midwest. He flipped two other states -- Arizona and Georgia -- which were seen up until now as a pretty deep shade of red.

Kamala Harris will make history as the first female vice president. Not exactly breaking the presidential glass ceiling that Hillary Clinton tried to shatter, but as close as anyone has come to date. She will be well-positioned to make her own bid for the presidency in either 2028 or 2024 (if Biden decides not to seek re-election).

We find we cannot improve upon the judgment of Time this week. So we have to add our own paltry Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award to all the other accolades they are getting.

[We could not find official contact information for President-Elect Joe Biden, sorry, but if you'd like to congratulate Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris you can do so on her Senate contact page, to let them know you appreciate their efforts.]

We have two Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week awards to hand out this week, for very different reasons.

First, the House. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (remember her?) is still in Congress for a few more weeks. So to firmly cement her legacy, she reverted to form in a very ugly way:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) introduced legislation in the House on Thursday that would bar schools from receiving federal funding if they allow transgender girls and women and non-binary people to compete on sports teams consistent with their gender identities.

The bill -- co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma -- was met with immediate outrage from transgender activists and allies who labeled the legislation "blatantly transphobic."

. . .

"Tulsi Gabbard is now introducing a blatantly transphobic piece of legislation aimed at trans and non-binary young people," civil rights activist Charlotte Clymer wrote on Twitter of the bill.

"Remember when Tulsi Gabbard tried to convince us she was an LGBTQ ally? We knew she was a liar, a fraud," wrote Zeke Stokes, former chief programs officer of LGBTQ rights organization GLAAD.

Gabbard faced scrutiny last year after homophobic remarks she'd made in 2004 surfaced. At least twice that year, the Democrat had publicly called the LGBTQ community and same-sex marriage supporters "homosexual extremists."

She later told HuffPost in a statement that she regretted "the positions I took in the past" and noted her more recent support for legislation "that ensures equal rights and protections on LGBTQ+ issues." In 2017, for instance, she backed a bill targeting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Guess she was... you know... lying about that change of heart, eh?

Seriously, she's counting the days until she's out of Congress, and she does this for her swansong? For shame, Tulsi, for shame.

Meanwhile, over in the Senate, we find that our earlier opposition to the decision by Senator Dianne Feinstein to run for another term (she will be over 90 by the time it is over) a few years back was entirely justified. From the New Yorker this week comes an exposť of just how far Feinstein has recently slipped. Obviously, her short-term memory is completely shot. She repeats herself, and has to be told things over and over again because she just flat-out forgets them immediately afterwards. The most embarrassing story in the whole piece was:

[Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer had several serious and painful talks with [Senator Dianne] Feinstein, according to well-informed sources. Overtures were also made to enlist the help of Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum. Feinstein, meanwhile, was surprised and upset by Schumer's message. He had wanted her to step aside on her own terms, with her dignity intact, but "she wasn't really all that aware of the extent to which she'd been compromised," one well-informed Senate source told me. "It was hurtful and distressing to have it pointed out." Compounding the problem, Feinstein seemed to forget about the conversations soon after they talked, so Schumer had to confront her again. "It was like Groundhog Day, but with the pain fresh each time." Anyone who has tried to take the car keys away from an elderly relative knows how hard it can be, he said, adding that, in this case, "It wasn't just about a car. It was about the U.S. Senate."

Feinstein has since stepped down from chairing the Judiciary Committee, but she has not resigned her Senate seat.

The people of California deserve better. We deserve to be represented by two senators who are both fully compos mentis. Feinstein has, quite obviously, is no longer capable of doing her job.

She never should have run for this final term in office. She should have gracefully stepped down when she could influence who would replace her. Now, she seems to be beyond even that. She ran for another term even though she got a strong Democratic challenger, and won.

But it's time to go, DiFi. The people of California deserve better than this. For not resigning your seat immediately, Feinstein earns another Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award. Please, someone, convince her to do the right thing....

[Contact Representative Tulsi Gabbard on her House contact page (but you'll have to do it soon, since she'll be leaving at the end of the month), and Senator Dianne Feinstein on her Senate contact page, to let them know what you think of their actions.]

Volume 599 (12/11/20)

Program Note: This may well be the final Friday Talking Points of the year, since both Christmas and New Year's Day fall on Fridays this time around. At some point (either starting next Friday or possibly the Wednesday after), thought, we'll have our annual year-end awards columns instead, for your amusement. If you'd like to make nominations for the huge list of categories, you can do so as a comment to an article we ran earlier this week. Just to warn everyone in advance.

As befits such a grim week, we've got more than one grim talking point this week. But then we had to throw in one at the very end just for fun (everyone got their shopping done?). Enjoy, as always.

Quibbling over terminology

We've noticed some in the press are busy splitting hairs, and by doing so largely missing the bigger picture.

"I've seen a big debate recently about what precisely to call what President Donald Trump is doing right now. Some make the case that it should be called an 'attempted coup.' Some say it's straight-up treason. Others prefer to call it sedition. But whatever you want to call it, the president of the United States is actively subverting democracy and blatantly breaking the oath of office he swore four years ago. If we've gotten to the point where the people who make up the Electoral College fear that they'll actually be met with violence while attempting to carry out their constitutional duty -- with the president and most of his party egging such violence on -- then we have reached a very dark day in American history no matter what word you want to use to describe it."

Each and every day

Meanwhile, we keep right on surpassing the grimmest of milestones.

"For the first time, COVID-19 killed more people in a single day than either 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. Over 3,300 people died in one day, and the head of the C.D.C. issued a very grim warning indeed. For the next 60 to 90 days, America should expect to lose more people than died on 9/11 or were killed in Pearl Harbor each and every day. For at least the next two to three months. And President Trump continues to completely ignore the crisis. January 20th can't come fast enough."


Trump, of course, isn't the only one. But Florida state representative Anthony Sabatini decided he'd just go right ahead and poke some fun at all those people... you know... dying out there. Fun fact: at least 1 in 33 people have been infected in this man's own county. So here he is proving to all and sundry that the Republican Party has become nothing short of a death cult. Sabatini snarkily tweeted:


Another one bites the dust

Think "death cult" is too strong? We don't.

"In New Hampshire, earlier this month, Republican members of the state legislature held an indoor caucus gathering where -- like many such Republican meetings across the country -- few masks were seen. At the time, a Democrat chided them by stating: 'We know from past sessions many members of the Republican caucus do not take COVID-19 seriously.' This week, it was revealed that the newly-sworn-in speaker of the state house, Republican Dick Hinch, died as a result of COVID-19. One week after he had taken the oath of office. That's what you get for not taking a deadly pandemic seriously, folks."

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch

People are dying in droves, programs are running out, the deadline is almost here, and all Mitch wants to do is play more politics.

"Congress is broken. And let us be clear: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke it. Eight full months ago Democrats passed a pandemic-relief bill. The Senate has done nothing in all that time. Mitch hasn't even been involved with most of the attempts to get some relief to desperate Americans. At this time, almost 12 million renters owe an average of almost $6,000 in back rent and utilities. A moratorium on evictions will expire at the end of December, so tens of millions of people could soon quite literally be out in the cold, in the midst of the biggest public health crisis in a century. State and local governments in blue states and red alike have already laid off over a million people -- including firefighters, cops, teachers, and health professionals. But Mitch doesn't want to send them any help at all, for ideological political reasons. Over two dozen stimulus programs to help both workers and businesses expire at the end of the year. Unemployment will run out for millions on the day after Christmas. The country is facing a disaster of biblical proportions, and yet still Mitch does nothing. I sincerely hope the voters of Georgia are taking note."

Oh, the irony

This really got lost in the news shuffle this week, but it's worth pointing out, just for the sheer irony.

"A federal judge just unsealed documents showing that two whistle-blowers have accused Trump's border wall contractors of, quote, smuggling armed Mexican security teams into the United States to guard construction sites, even building an illegal dirt road to speed the operation, unquote. So the guys Trump hired to build his wall to keep illegal immigrants out not only used taxpayer dollars to smuggle fully-armed illegal workers in to the country, but they actually built their own convenient illegal smuggling road to make it easier to do so. Shhhh... nobody better tell Trump... he'd probably get just a little upset if he heard he's been using our money to build his own human trafficking organization on the border."

Get 'em while they're hot! Great stocking stuffers!

At least Rudy's made somebody some money....

"Remember Four Seasons Total Landscaping? The parking lot next to the sex shop, across the street from the crematorium, and down the road from the prison, where Rudy Giuliani outlined the legal strategy of Trump's 'crack legal team' -- or, better, Trump's legal team on crack -- and proved to the world that 'America's mayor' had truly lost his marbles? That Four Seasons Total Landscaping? Well, apparently they've been making money hand over fist ever since -- over a million bucks' worth and counting -- selling their own line of merchandise. Among the most popular products are shirts with the slogans 'Make America Rake Again' and 'Lawn And Order.' So if you're still wondering what to get that Democratic friend of yours for the holidays, consider a Four Seasons Total Landscaping shirt -- they make great stocking-stuffers!"

Chris Weigant blogs at: ChrisWeigant.com
Follow Chris on Twitter: ChrisWeigant
Full archives of FTP columns: FridayTalkingPoints.com

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Reply Friday Talking Points -- Donald Trump Loses... And Loses... And Loses... (Original post)
ChrisWeigant Dec 11 OP
Karadeniz Dec 11 #1

Response to ChrisWeigant (Original post)

Fri Dec 11, 2020, 08:41 PM

1. Thanks for the synopsis of all the events this week! I feel like an ancient Roman, fleeing Vesuvius'

Rocks pouring down, having only a pillow on my head for protection. We've been well and truly bombarded! But, whew! So far we're safe!

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