• A good piece by Ezra Klein, writing in the NYT: Democrats, Here’s How to Lose in 2022. And Deserve It. Lots of work to be done, little time to do it, and the big question of what to do about the filibuster.
Maybe now America can begin to breathe again.
Tom Friedman, writing in the NYT: “President Donald J. Trump: The End – This terrible experiment is over.”
One can only hope.
• Jennifer Senior delivers an excellent read in her NYT opinion essay Good Riddance Leader McConnell. One delightful and fitting except re. McConnell:
“So if hitching his wagon to a sub-literate mob boss with a fondness for white supremacists and a penchant for conspiracy theories and a sociopath’s smirking disregard for the truth meant getting those tax cuts and those conservative judges … hey, that’s the cost of doing business, right?”
Katz, Lu, and Sanger-Katz, writing in the NY Times, provide some perspective on what the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has meant in the US; using mortality data from the CDC, there were some 400,000 more deaths than normal from March 15, 2020 through December 26, 2020. Researchers from USC and Princeton estimate that average US life expectancy has declined by 1.13 years to 77.48 years, the lowest since 2003. Reductions for Black and Latino populations are 3-4 times more than for Whites.
• From John Gruber’s excellent Daring Fireball, quoting George Orwell, who was writing in 1946:
“The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”
Direct quotes from an executive order issued by the currently sitting president on June 26, 2020 :
“Section 1. Purpose. The first duty of government is to ensure domestic tranquility and defend the life, property, and rights of its citizens. Over the last 5 weeks, there has been a sustained assault on the life and property of civilians, law enforcement officers, government property, and revered American monuments…In the midst of these attacks, many State and local governments appear to have lost the ability to distinguish between the lawful exercise of rights to free speech and assembly and unvarnished vandalism. They have surrendered to mob rule, imperiling community safety, allowing for the wholesale violation of our laws, and privileging the violent impulses of the mob over the rights of law-abiding citizens. Worse, they apparently have lost the will or the desire to stand up to the radical fringe and defend the fundamental truth that America is good, her people are virtuous, and that justice prevails in this country to a far greater extent than anywhere else in the world. Some particularly misguided public officials even appear to have accepted the idea that violence can be virtuous and have prevented their police from enforcing the law and protecting public monuments, memorials, and statues from the mob’s ropes and graffiti.
My Administration will not allow violent mobs incited by a radical fringe to become the arbiters of the aspects of our history that can be celebrated in public spaces. State and local public officials’ abdication of their law enforcement responsibilities in deference to this violent assault must end.
Sec. 2. Policy. (a) It is the policy of the United States to prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law, and as appropriate, any person or any entity that destroys, damages, vandalizes, or desecrates a monument, memorial, or statue within the United States or otherwise vandalizes government property. The desire of the Congress to protect Federal property is clearly reflected in section 1361 of title 18, United States Code, which authorizes a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment for the willful injury of Federal property… Civil statutes like the Public System Resource Protection Act, section 100722 of title 54, United States Code, also hold those who destroy certain Federal property accountable for their offenses. The Federal Government will not tolerate violations of these and other laws.
(b) It is the policy of the United States to prosecute to the fullest extent permitted under Federal law, and as appropriate, any person or any entity that participates in efforts to incite violence or other illegal activity in connection with the riots and acts of vandalism described in section 1 of this order. Numerous Federal laws, including section 2101 of title 18, United States Code, prohibit the violence that has typified the past few weeks in some cities. Other statutes punish those who participate in or assist the agitators who have coordinated these lawless acts. Such laws include section 371 of title 18, United States Code, which criminalizes certain conspiracies to violate Federal law, section 2 of title 18, United States Code, which punishes those who aid or abet the commission of Federal crimes, and section 2339A of title 18, United States Code, which prohibits as material support to terrorism efforts to support a defined set of Federal crimes. Those who have joined in recent violent acts around the United States will be held accountable.”
I wonder how well it will be enforced?
We should not forget these 6 senators, who on January 6, 2010 chose to act in their own self interest rather than in the interest of the country by continuing to support the lie that there was some serious voting irregularity in the November 2020 elections; this despite evidence of the harm they are causing that could not have been plainer.
Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)
And a special negative shout out goes to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and minority whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who cynically encouraged Republican house members to oppose certification of the election with no basis in law or fact (138 went on to do so), this vote after the insurrectionists’ occupation of the Capitol.
On January 5, 2001, Congress met to certify the Electoral College vote for the office of President. Al Gore had won the 2000 election’s popular vote by a margin of over 500,000, but lost the Electoral College vote by 271 to 266 (one elector pledged to vote for Gore did not cast a vote). The deciding state was Florida, where of almost 6 million votes cast there was a margin that wavered between recounts, but one clearly less than 1000 votes (<0.016%). There were multiple recounts and bitter challenges, and hand recounts were still taking place when the Supreme Court ruled they must stop; George W. Bush was then awarded the win, and with Florida’s electoral votes the presidency, by the slender margin of 537 Floridian votes. In a widely praised speech, Mr. Gore subsequently said “for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.” As the current Vice President, he then had the unenviable task of presiding over the ceremonial congressional certification that awarded the presidency to his opponent, Mr. Bush. He gaveled down some Democratic House challenges to the Bush victory because no Democratic senator supported the challenges. Mr. Gore concluded his brief speech documenting the tally (and his loss) with these words: “May God bless our new president and new vice president, and may God bless the United States of America.” The stark difference could not be more crystal clear.