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New Year's Eve Permanent URL to this day's entry

Last chance Permalink to this item

A little bit of snow falling this morning, and snow and rain forecast for the weekend. That's good weather this time of year, especially if you don't have travel plans. (We don't have travel plans.) Tonight and tomorrow there's "patchy fog" in the forecast, which is secret code for ongoing inversion, which, we've had our fun with that, thanks.

Hoarfrost on oak leaves, a moment of sun, Dec. 28

So, this morning, as 2021 sweeps westward from the dateline (now into China, Russia, Australia, etc.), just a few hours left to sum up the annus horribilis and wish everyone a brighter and better New Year. Covid-19-wise, I'll just recommend Lawrence Wright's magnum opus, 30,000 words, for almost a whole issue of the New Yorker: The Plague Year The mistakes and the struggles behind America’s coronavirus tragedy.

You'd think it would go without saying by now, but policy and political (and cultural) response can make an enormous difference. NPR reporter Josie Huang's tweet from her quarantine hotel in Taipei caught my eye with this statistic: on an island of nearly 24 million people, they've had 799 Covid-19 cases, and 7 deaths, for the whole pandemic, to date. As compared to, say, Idaho, with a population of less than 2 million, which had 1,340 new cases and 10 deaths reported yesterday.

For nearly everything else (and looping back into the pandemic, as the story must do), there is Heather Cox Richardson's penultimate daily Letter from an American (which could also be her last of the year, if she takes today off), a wrap on not just the year but the first two decades of our new millennium, in the context of the two before:

"In America, the twenty years since 2000 have seen the end game of the Reagan Revolution, begun in 1980.

"In that era, political leaders on the right turned against the principles that had guided the country since the 1930s, when Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt guided the nation out of the Great Depression by using the government to stabilize the economy. During the Depression and World War Two, Americans of all parties had come to believe the government had a role to play in regulating the economy, providing a basic social safety net and promoting infrastructure.

"But reactionary businessmen hated regulations and the taxes that leveled the playing field between employers and workers. ..."

She came in under 2,400 words, so that's an easier lift. The shorter version of the economic thread is that "money moved upward, dramatically." Those at the bottom of the economy cratered this year, sacrificing their livelihoods, and in many cases their lives for capitalism. It was a smashing, smashing success. The stock market will close out the year at record highs. Unbelievable highs!

Christmas, 2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Unpardonable Permalink to this item

We're all waiting to see what the Donald will put under the tree for himself. In addition to the gifts to his pals who knew how to keep their mouths shut (after they first said too much). Kind of a rocky road for campaign chairman and international grifter, the loose-tongued covfefe boy, the general who couldn't shoot straight, and the oleaginous dirty trickster, but a little stocking stuff for them after all the anticipation. It's like Christmas in Bizarro World, Satan Nick at the South Pole checking to see who's been naughty and nice, and rewarding all the bad boys and girls. (Have there been any girls yet? Haven't seen Ghislaine Maxwell's name pop up.)

Adapted from the San Diego Historical Society's archive image

Tim Naftali, for The Atlantic: Trump’s Pardons Make the Unimaginable Real. +rump's been making a lot of "unimaginable" real in his one and only term, and never as much as in this annus horribilis. There is comedy, but it all darkly tainted. See if the voluminous William Howard Taft can't bring a ho ho ho to the heart with his century-old opinion that "Our Constitution confers this discretion [of pardon] on the highest officer in the Nation in confidence that he will not abuse it."


"Executive clemency exists to afford relief from undue harshness or evident mistake in the operation or enforcement of the criminal law," Taft wrote, and yet here we are with the box opened for strife, care, pride, hatred and despair, and slammed shut on a little trace of hope for justice, where there was no undue harnshness, nor evident mistake.

"If it be said that the President by successive pardons of constantly recurring contempts in particular litigation might deprive a court of power to enforce its orders in a recalcitrant neighborhood, it is enough to observe that such a course is so improbable as to furnish but little basis for argument. Exceptional cases like this if to be imagined at all would suggest a resort to impeachment rather than to a narrow and strained construction of the general powers of the President."

"The pardons from this President are what you would expect to get if you gave the pardon power to a mob boss." – Andrew Weissmann

Yes, impeachment, we should try that. Naftali (and I suppose others) called it the "Taft doctrine," that as long as you don't provoke impeachment, you're golden. (Or gold-plated, as the case may be.) As Congress struggles to keep the lights on, the military funded, and to find some small sop to the restive masses devastated by this year's deadly pandemic, it is surely to late to impeach Donald J. Trump a second time, for as deserving as he is.

I shall sneak a peak under the lid of Pandora's Box, and consider the hope that justice may yet be served upon the most corrupt politician of our lives, a man who makes Richard Nixon seems upstanding by comparison. It would be a worthy endeavor to deconstruct this unfolding final act in +rump's obstruction of justice, and I suspect more than just Democrats will be game for it. Can even a fully cuckolded and quisling Republican Party contemplate just letting him go, to continue his campaign of its annihilation for another 4 years of campaigning? So many aspirations, I can't imagine they will let him shadow their future.

The clock is ticking on a fresh wave of prosecution for Individual-1, and perhaps for others with rap sheets far longer than what they've been convicted of so far.

22.Dec.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Playing catch-up Permalink to this item

UP show train, and 844 steam visit to Boise, Sept. 2010

Winter came in on the Pineapple Express yesterday, the temperature here in the upper 50s, and the clouds dissipating just in time for us to see the remarkable conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the evening sky. Nice day for outdoor tennis, not so nice for our local ski hill.

I've got three books out from the Library! just now: one done, one started, one on interlibrary loan with no renewals, I need to get after that one. The done one was ripe for adding to my reading list, James McCommons' 2009 Waiting on a Train. It didn't quite "change the way [I] see the world" as the cover blurb promised, but it was an enjoyable read, a good critical assessment, and made me want to see an update from him, a decade later. The Biden/Harris administration will surely be more beneficial to passenger rail than this previous one has been, but it's hard to see what would change the downward trajectory we've been on.

Update, Jan 1., 2021:
More of that going, going, gone feeling, aboard Amtrak's Crescent, surprising comfort and welcome seclusion, waiting on a train.

In the meantime, you can relive a couple moments of past glory in the September 2010 edition of the blog, when we had a dab of UP 844 live steam and a beautiful passenger consist in Union Pacific livery come to town. I didn't catch the train moving at or out of the depot under steam power, unfortunately, and one of the last people to crash my foamer video punctuates the audio with the unanswered question: Why were those passenger cars empty? Because Union Pacific couldn't be bothered to arrange marketing and tickets for a fan trip, which could have most certainly been sold out, I'd say.

Nick Valdez caught UP 844 in action, and just see if trains racing on the UP mainline triple track across Nebraska doesn't give you a thrill. Remarkable camera work, and how did he get such great audio shooting out of a car? (If you like all 15 minutes, you might be a foamer, too. If so, you'll love the departure from North Platte at sunrise video too. If you've read this far without taking a jump, watch the 2nd, "departure" video first.)

20.Dec.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

He's got high hopes Permalink to this item

Who says there's no accounting for taste? You can practically hear the $$$ spinning in Scot Ludwig's eyes as he gushes about his idea to put up a supersized Scrooge McDuck vault in the middle of downtown. BoiseDev is pretty gushing too, Former Boise city council member has high hopes (in the print headline yesterday), get it? High hopes! As in NINETEEN STORIES HIGH, woot.

“It’s a gorgeous architectural building, finally, in Downtown Boise,” Ludwig told BoiseDev of the revised concept. “I think this will be a great addition to the skyline.”

Finally? Gorgeous? As if... we've all been breathlessly waiting for the Borg to drop another satellite pod into the middle of town?

Downtown Boise skyline, viewed from Quarry Park, 2016

With dozens of 2,000 square foot condos and a robot valet to park your car? It'll be a new tourist destination! "The London," he's ready to call it.

The parking “cube” itself on the third through sixth levels would include a “translucent panel system” with backlighting. A memo provided to BoiseDev from project architect Hummel Architects says the floors will feature backlighting which will “make the cube glow at night creating a warming lantern effect and highlighting the movement and activity of the automated system within.”

16.Dec.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Ready for the shoot-out at the Not OK Corral Permalink to this item

After one disrupted meeting, one meeting cancelled halfway through and some of the nutjobs arrested in the last two weeks, the latest meeting of our four-county Central District Health commission ended with "no change" to its rules or guidance yesterday.

Pop. density of Central District, 2010; derived from

Nobody thinks this is Just Fine, really, but neither can we agree on what else to do, as Idaho's case count and deaths keep ramping up. Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo, and the two health professional representatives on the 7-member board, Dr. Ted Epperly and Family NP Jane Young were in favor of revising the order to mandate masks, and so on, district-wide. Valley Co. Commissioner Elt Hasbrouck, Boise Co. Commissioner Ryan Stirm, state Rep. Megan Blanksma of Elmore County all voted no. The Board Chair, retired RN Betty Ann Nettleton of Elmore County let the measure fail on that 3-3 vote.

The latest population numbers on the state's Dept. of Labor dashboard:

Ada County - 469,966
Elmore County - 27,259
Valley County - 11,041
Boise County - 7,634

Just over 91% of slightly more than the half a million population of the District live in Ada County. That 5+% of the district in Elmore County has 28.6% of the votes on the board, including the one deciding ties at present. But the other three counties have Ada whupped for acreage, and attitude. So very much attitude. Gas is still cheap for them to drive over here to let us know.

Excerpt of Jake King/Idaho Press photo
Excerpt from Jake King/Idaho Press; protesters at CDH in Boise threatening to wake up the sheeple.

Years from now, people will look back at this history (before they forget it), shake their heads and wonder WTAF.

In Tuesday's Covid-19 update from Idaho Reports, 1,802 new cases (the state record is over 2,000, but a brief downtick didn't turn into a trend), 20 new deaths. The state total exceeds 124,000 cases; several dozen people have been people vaccinated, as that process gets underway. (There will be signs carried by maskless peeps, about "sheeps" and not getting vaccinated too, just you wait and see.)

Melissa Davlin's twitter thread (and replies) about the Tuesday CDH meeting included Dr. Epperly's observation that "with our rate of infection in Treasure Valley, we are 45 times higher than where we need to be to ditch mitigation efforts like masks and social distancing." And the fact that 55 of the 142 occupants of ICU beds are from outside of Ada County.

15.Dec.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Still work to be done Permalink to this item

Steve Schmidt, justifiably celebrating his and his Lincoln Project's contribution toward saving democracy and delivering a victory to Biden & Harris: "The coalition that elected Joe Biden (and Kamala Harris!) is broad and fragile..." "This is not a progressive coalition..." and the structural distortions that are embedded in our system are still there. "You could wind up with a President Tucker Carlson in 2024."

He says is the project is "going to be a pro-democracy organization." His conversation with Michel Martin on Amanpour and Co. a week ago is must-see TV.

What's left of the Republican party is not half of a two-party democratic system. It's an autocratic party, "an amalgam of extremist groups, conspiracy theorist groups, milita groups, white nationalist groups, nationalist groups, protofascist groups like the Proud Boys, dozens and dozens and dozens of congressman and senators refus[ing] to acknowledge reality and acknowledge the results of a legitimate election, poisoning Amercian democracy."

"We have to bring the forces that trump has let loose to submission... we have to bury this together, all of us."

Trumpism wasn't repudiated in one election; "he vandalized the country, politically, poisoned the public good."

Election Day (for realio) Permanent URL to this day's entry

It's official Permalink to this item

Over the moon about how NORMAL today is. Electoral college affirms what the MSM told us a month ago, nevermind the RWNJs. Assuming HI comes in true-blue, NO faithless electors. I've taken the liberty of coloring in the last four squares for a 306-232 win. Or "landslide" as Don the Con liked to call it 4 years ago.

I love the Age-of-Tetris cartogram on the NYT front page. (Please note that only Idaho, NH, ME and RI are legit 4-square pieces. Sorry that Wisconsin lacks the squares to render the Door peninsula, but the U.P. is cute, as is Long Island. Mad props for making Virginia look like the CSS Virginia. It's blue now, btw, along with Georgia and Arizona.)

One more (just one?!) Republican congressman has called it "enough"; Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan says he wants to go out as an "Independent" rather than what passes for Republican these days. "It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote," he wrote to the chair of his former party, and the House Minority Leader.

Meanwhile, Republican electors in states +rump lost held pity parties today, casting their non-votes for the non-winner. Damn. Couldn't we have just provided them with participation trophies?

NYT cartogram of Electoral College vote

Any other news? Bill Barr is going to be spending more time with his family, POTWEETOH said, after "a very nice meeting." That's sweet.

Also, BuzzFeedNews reported out a newly released letter that details the criminal referral of Donald +rump over his Ukraine phone call, that's interesting. It's "a letter dated September 4, 2019, and signed by Michael Atkinson, inspector general for the intelligence community...." and some other stuff.

The inspector general “is formally referring allegations received from an individual regarding, among other things, alleged violations of law related to a telephone call on July 25, 2019, between President Donald J. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky,” Atkinson wrote.

12.12.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Don Amici Permalink to this item

Lisa Desjardins, reporting on the Newshour last night:

"I'm looking for reaction from those House Republicans. I haven't seen it yet. I have gotten some reaction from other Republicans, one of them telling me, frankly, they're relieved that this is actually, in their view — and this is a Republican aide — something that backs up our institutions of governance.

"As for leaders in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi sent out a letter earlier today saying that the lawsuit was an act of flailing GOP desperation.

"I went back to her office after this happened just in the past few minutes. Her spokesman, Drew Hammill, texted me back [a] reaction, two words: "As expected."

WaPo's report of the letter from the Speaker of the House noted that she accused the 126 Republicans of the House who signed on to an attempted amicus brief of "subverting the Constitution," and "engag[ing] in election subversion that imperils our democracy" as well as the flailing desperation.

Pelosi's official press release after the Supreme Court denied Texas permission to file its complaint was three sentences:

“The Court has rightly dismissed out of hand the extreme, unlawful and undemocratic GOP lawsuit to overturn the will of millions of American voters.

“The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions.

“The pandemic is raging, with nearly 300,000 having died and tens of millions having lost jobs. Strong, unified action is needed to crush the virus, and Republicans must once and for all end their election subversion – immediately.”

Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, with pistol and Bible

Speaking of flailing GOP desperation, subversion and the like, I see Idaho's Lt. Gov. managed to get her name at the bottom of the docket, half a dozen items after the Miscellaneous Order quoted in full (shorter: "Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied").

Call it the Coalition of the Moot, with more than two dozen state officials clamoring to get on the bandwagon, after Citizens United, the New California State and New Nevada State, after the list of members of Congress had to be amended to include the doofus Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, and VP Pence's brother Greg, after the last words from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, here come Idaho's Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, Alaska's Senator Lora Reinbold and Representative David Eastman, and 5 dozen more from nine states. Most of Idaho's rabble tried to sign on to the original Motion for Leave to File Brief in an Unbound Format on Paper and Without Ten Days' Advance Notice to the Parties, and are so asterisked as such in the Notice of Joinder.

Richard H. Seamon up in Moscow, and D. Colton Boyles further up in Sandpoint did Idaho's lawyering, along with three MacPhersons from Arizona (who oddly do not agree upon their shared surname, nor business name for the Peoria office they share). Dishonorable mentions to Idaho's contingent:

Lt. Governor
Janice McGeachin

Regina Bayer
Mary Souza
Steven P. Thayn
Steve Vick
Christy Zito
Ben Adams
Randy Armstrong
Vito Barbieri
Judy Boyle
David Cannon
Chad Christensen
Brent J. Crane
Sage Dixon
Barbara Ehardt
Marco Erickson
Terry Gestrin
Priscilla Sue Giddings
Karey Hanks
Wendy Horman
Ryan Kerby
Ron Mendive
Brandon Mitchell
Dorothy Moon
Ronald M. Nate, Ph.D
Tammy Nichols
Doug Okuniewicz
Heather Scott
Charlie Shepherd
Bruce D. Skaug
Aaron von Ehlinger
Tony Wisniewski
John Vander Woude
Julie K. Yamamoto
Julianne Young

In their introduction, the Amici cite the "serious and irreparable harm" they are about to suffer, "disenfranchised by the unconstitutional actions, fraud, and other irregularities of the Defendant States," they say, accusing them of holding an "unconstitutional and deeply uncertain election." Big, big talk. There should be a thundering orator, pounding the desk, by god.

"Echoing a concern articulated in the Federalist Papers, a federal system comprised, like the Holy Roman Empire and Delphic Amphictyony, with incompatible power sources, power ideologies, and power structures cannot function cohesively."

By god!

"The questions involve the life and death of the Republic, without even a single scintilla or tiny glimmer of exaggeration."

We have not, I'm sure heard the last of the thundering nonsense and boiling sedition embedded in this dudgeon. The perfidious gang is doing all they can to convince themselves and their camp followers of the utterly unsubstantiated lies of their Conman in Chief. It must be somethign stupendous to negate the fact that he lost the vote of the people by twice the margin he did on his first try, this time without his lucky electoral college stars lining up for a win.

Snowflake and his seven hundred dwarves are inciting violence, eventually, stupidity, straight away. The scene outside the Supreme Court today shows yet another super-spreader rally in process. It's Biblical, but more in a plague vein than the Battle of Jericho, never mind the shofar, Uncle Sam, and Blessed Virgin Mary. Is it time to release the Kraken again?

Reuters photo of Trumpers rallying outside SCOTUS today

11.Dec.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Sedition Permalink to this item

It seemed a little too good to be true to hear that Idaho wasn't in the bad lawyer vanguard to cancel all the votes from the states swinging to Joe Biden. Seventeen, you say, and we're not in it? Then I saw POTWEETOH's "almost unheard of support" tweet claiming 19. Answered by Cate Eland, "23 states and territories signed the amicus brief fighting against the Texas suit."

"Texans are learning that the state’s attorney general isn’t a very good lawyer."

There are also the 106 Republican members of the House of Representatives who wanted to stand up and be counted as friends of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his get-out-of-prosecution bid for an audience of one (as Ross Ramsey put it, in the Texas Tribune). (Our congressman, Mike Simpson among them, I'm sad to say. Of course Idaho's other, whackier representative, Russ Fulcher got in on it, too.) Ramsey points out that the p-resident won't be able to keep Paxton out of jail on state charges for bribery, abuse of office or the longstanding securities fraud indictment against him. State charges might one day hoist IMPOTUS on his petard as well.

It's like Jim Morrison said, strange days have found us. Strange days have tracked us down.

Yesterday's local news had the mad elephant round-up. The Governor wants Idaho in! The Lieutenant Governor wants in personally. The Attorney General responded to a letter from our House Speaker, Majority Leader, Assistant Majority Leader, and Republican Caucus Chair, asking him to "research joining" with a succinct statement. File it under Things that used to go without saying.

“As Attorney General, I have significant concerns about supporting a legal argument that could result in other states litigating against legal decisions made by Idaho’s legislature and governor. Idaho is a sovereign state and should be free to govern itself without interference from any other state. Likewise, Idaho should respect the sovereignty of its sister states.”

The response from Pennsylvania, one of the four states named in Paxton's "legally preposterous" complaint was a bit more heated.

"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."

It was the topic of Heather Cox Richardson's daily letter, which she concluded with three points. "First: Trump is throwing at the wall anything he can in hopes of staying in office. The more chaos it creates, the happier he is. ... Second: There is a war underway for control of the Republican Party." And last but not least:

"Texas’s lawsuit and the Republican Party’s embrace of it is an unprecedented attempt to destroy the very foundation of our democracy. Since the 1980s, Republican leaders have managed to hold onto power by suppressing votes, promoting disinformation, gerrymandering states, gaming the Electoral College, and stacking the courts.

"Now, so unpopular that even gaming the mechanics of our system is not enough, they have abandoned democracy itself."

9.Dec.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

A sickness upon the land Permalink to this item

It doesn't all down to one sorry, sick man in D.C., but his apotheosis, and now his clattering ruin, has amplified the pestilence. Paul Waldman: the risk of right-wing terrorism is rising dramatically. Except risk makes it sound conditional. It's not conditional, it's here. Right here. Boise, Idaho is the fourth item in his six item list. (Links copied from WaPo). You've heard most of these stories, and more.

Betty Hansen Richardson posted on Facebook of her own experience after she was invested as US Attorney for the District of Idaho: "Within my first year in office, I received information that I was the subject of a credible death threat. For a week afterward I was under the constant protection of the US Marshal's service. ..."

"As I read about extremists banging on doors, brandishing guns, and yelling slurs at the homes of local officials, I feel a sick sense of déjà vu. My heart goes out to every public official, elected and non-elected, who is being abused by their fellow citizens and made to feel fearful in their own homes. This is not acceptable in a civilized society. We need good people willing to serve in public life. They should not be asked to put their physical and mental well-being, and that of their family members, at risk.

"These people threatening our leaders are not peacefully petitioning the government for redress of grievances. They are acting like thugs. I am a huge proponent for the first amendment, but there comes a point where hateful speech, accompanied by hateful acts, crosses a line. Ammon Bundy and his acolytes should not be able to bully with impunity; we must find a way to hold them and their ilk to account. This kind of behavior is unacceptable regardless of the ideology of the individuals engaged in it."

Last night, when she had the Central District Health meeting stopped due to safety concerns, Boise's Mayor said, hopefully, "this is not who we are." Some of the thuggish rabble may not be "us," but I don't imagine any of them had to travel very far. to join the disruption. Someone I don't know put it a lot more starkly:

"This isn't the Boise you know? Do you not talk to other people or do you just hear racist commentary so often you don't even consider it noteworthy anymore? Have you not noticed how frequently we have people demonstrating in the streets wearing nazi insignia? Have you not noticed that Ryan Davidson was photographed demonstrating with those very same neo-nazis and was subsequently elected Ada County Commissioner? Boise is so racist that picture is probably why he won. Do you think this is the first time the Anne Frank Memorial has been vandalized? Over the years that thing has had more swastikas on it than a desk in an Idaho public school.

"When you say this isn't the Boise you know what you are really saying is you haven't noticed these problems because they don't concern you; or, worse yet, you have noticed and decided to minimize it. To act as though your obliviousness somehow makes you innocent of contribution when, in fact, that very obliviousness is not only facilitating but nurturing racism and racially motivated violence. So, when are you going to stop? When are you going to stop prioritizing the undeserved positive reputation of fucking Boise, Idaho over the safety and dignity of the people of color and members of the LBGTQ community who live here? This is exactly who Boise is and the longer you pretend it isn't, the longer it will continue to be."

In the Washington Post, Waldman's prediction is chilling. I wish I thought he was wrong.

"The situation right now is terrifying. And in a month it’s going to get much worse. I say that because all this is happening while Donald Trump is still president. As panicked as his supporters are about losing power, he’s still in the White House and they can delude themselves into thinking he’ll find a way to stay there."

One of my friends was fired up enough last night to start a response, The Idaho 97 Project. Check out their petition, and please consider joining.

5.Dec.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Democracy's death cult Permalink to this item

All but two states have a "winner take all" arrangement for our unique arrangement of electing presidents. (Nebraska and Maine have a "winner take most" deal, throw a dog a bone.) It was a questionable idea from the get-go, and it's getting more questionable all the time. Turn of the millennium, when W. slid in to office with half a million fewer votes than his opponent, and an assist ("just this one time") from the SCOTUS, there must have been a history lesson about Benjamin Harrison and Rutherford B. Hayes, and the biggest loser-winner, Democratic-Republican John Quincy Adams. Says there on Wikipedia, note 6 Andrew Jackson won a plurality of electoral votes too (99-84) back in '24, "but lost due to Adams securing a majority of state delegations in the contingent election." +rump's 2016 winning deficit of 2,868,686 votes is unlikely to be worsted, but that was "only" -2.09%, compared to Q's -10.44%.

Lightning did not strike twice for the Don. Vox pop is +7 million (and counting) for Joe Biden, more than one percent into majority territory, and arranged to deliver nearly 57% of the Electoral College, nine days from today. By weird coincidence, the nominal tally was 306 for both the loser-winner and the winner-winner (although "faithless electors" buggered the final vote for president to 304-227 in 2016). It's been 4 weeks since Rudy G. got the news in front of the backside of Four Seasons Total Landscaping and tried to laugh it off. We've had four weeks to burnish the image of the "flipped states": Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and that part of Nebraska, with 74 electoral votes to make the difference.

Cartogram of the 2020 electoral vote, from Wikipedia

"This will be a very, very strong case," Rudy said, "and I know you won't accept it because of your hateful biases, but let's see if you can try thinking rationally." That was just before the reporters gave him the news in Pennsylvania's midday sun. Now he had questions. "Who was it called by?" And then the famous derision: "All the– Oh my goodness, all the networks, WOOOW; ALL THE NETWORKS," he said, gazing to the sky and opening his arms in mock praise to the God of Telecommunications. "We have to forget about the law, judges don't count. All the networks all the networks... all the networks thought Biden was going to win by 10 percent, gee what happened?"

Still from Guardian video

The "geee" came out in kind of a girlish squeal, and the guy behind him with the sunglasses and beautiful white shirt and cufflinks looked seriously concerned about Rudy's mental health.

"C'mon, don't be, don't be ridiculous; networks don't get to decide elections. Courts do."

It's a one minute video for the ages, I tell you what.

The courts—right up to the Supreme one—did kind of decide the 2000 election, by stopping a recount in Jeb Bush's expediently adopted state of Florida when brother George was ahead by 537 votes. 0.009% of the total was enough to scarf up the state's 25 electoral votes, and the national prize. (Future trivia contest winner: that margin was smaller than the total for the 8th also-ran, the Socialst Workers party ticket of James Harris and Margaret Trowe.)

This year's infamously litigious loser launched an Elite Strike Force of Giuliani, Jenna Ellis Esq., and the Kraken, and god bless the Wikipedia editors for trying to keep track of all that. As of this morning, Democracy Docket founder Marc Elias's scorecard stands at 1-46. Pennsylvania would be the biggest prize, its 20 votes not enough to make the difference, but more than enough to keep hope alive.

Since the courts haven't come through, various subsets of the dead-enders are trying to work other angles. Politico reports that "dozens of Pennsylvania Republican state legislators, including the speaker of the House" want their state's "Republican-heavy congressional delegation" to throw a wrench in the works on January 6, firing off a letter with the names of more than half of the GOP members of the state legislature, not all of whom intended to sign, whoops.

On the Feast of the Epiphany, no less, Congress is scheduled to count the electoral votes. During which, "members may object to the returns from any individual state as they are announced. Objections to individual state returns must be made in writing by at least one Member each of the Senate and House of Representatives."

CRS Report RL32717, "Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session, Including Objections by Members of Congress" doesn't say whether said member of each body has to be from the state in question, which would make an interesting free for all. Upon one, or two such objections ("in 1873, before enactment of the law now in force, the joint session agreed, without objection and for reasons of convenience, to entertain objections with regard to two or more states before the houses met separately on any of them"), the joint session would be suspended while the House and Senate meet separately to debate and decide whether to disenfranchise all of the voters in the state. What say ye, Aye, or Nay?

"Both houses must vote separately to agree to the objection," putting the chances of such an objection succeeding safely at zero, one would presume. It would be stupid to even try.

That doesn't mean they won't. “Nothing is off the table,” Florida man says.

My guess is that Don the Con will succeed in unflipping exactly none of the states that flipped away from him, and with or without his concession, he will be given the boot. If the barking dogs of the GOP did manage to catch the Electoral College car and kick the voters of one state to the curb, I'd like to think that would be the end of this idiotic winner-take-all, 50-state lottery, and we would recognize the wisdom of direct election of our chief executive. Campaign slogan: REMEMBER DONALD TRUMP. It'll be the rallying cry for the Lost Cause of the 45%, too. It's like Tony Scalia said: “Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get them out through the normal political processes.”

Wikipedia polling timeline for 2020 election

4.Dec.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Coup coup for Cocoa Puffs Permalink to this item

The clock winding down on the grifting +rump crime family, it ends with petty and perhaps more than petty sabotage, and separating a lot of fools from their money, even as one lawsuit after another gets laughed out of court. I've had phone calls from barking scammers, and of course a ton of spam. "Thou shalt not steal" is the subject on one this morning. Let's get Biblical.

It's on the channel, a legitimate-sounding domain name, just passing along a message "provided by an advertiser" which "does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Press Corp." It leads with an epigram from that other Vladimir, Lenin:

"Speaking the truth is a petty-bourgeois prejudice. A lie, on the other hand, is often justified by its ends."

And addresses me as "Dear Patriot." According to some even less reputable source, quoting another source there are "whistleblowers and sworn declarations revealing over one million potentially fraudulent swing-state ballots" including yada yada yada. "Potentially" is doing a lot of work there. "The democrat-run media's strategy is to run out the clock. Not so fast!"

IKR? This is taking For Ever.

But they have a petition they want me to sign, "requiring" (??) "every state legislator in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada to refuse to cast any electoral vote or affirm President Trump's second term."

Refuse or affirm is an interesting demand. I guess it doesn't have to make sense. Just hashtag StoptheCoup and if you've already signed, press the Support the Conterrevolution button and send money, k?

"Tell your legislators that we are all sovereign men who won't put up with the obvious fraud."

Sorry ladies, this is a guys-only thing. Stand by your man.

1.Dec.2020 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Why we can't have nice things Permalink to this item

It can't be a news flash by now that "Covid-19 has revealed in painful detail [that] the US is falling behind much of the world, not just in health care but also in most of the functions of government."

That's from Bloomberg Editor-in-chief John Micklethwait and political editor of the Economist Adrian Wooldridge, co-authors of The Wake-Up Call: Why the Pandemic Has Exposed the Weakness of the West, and How to Fix It. Shorter: we should take advantage of good ideas from other countries around the world.

Hoarfrost on Oregon Grape

The US is at around 800 deaths per million people. Germany is six times better. Countries in East Asia have 20, 30, 40 times lower death rates, as Micklethwait summarized on NPR yesterday.

Heard that after I saw this morning's local front page lead story about a group of demonstrators going from business to business to criticize employees for following government health mandates. Nineteen calls to the police from downtown businesses.

“After responding to multiple of these calls, officers were able to contact a portion of the group and have a conversation with them about the public health order and their activities," [police department spokeswoman Haley Williams] said. ...

"Last week, People’s Rights, a conservative advocacy group led by Ammon Bundy, coordinated a campaign of callers in an attempt to clog the city’s dispatch phone lines. The group has also protested outside [Boise Mayor Lauren] McLean’s home.”

News that Idaho's case count has gone over 100,000 was pushed down below the fold. Just as the post-Thanksgiving surge starts to hit.

Update, end of the day:
@davlinnews thread from the Central District Health meeting boils Idaho's dire straits right down:

Neighbor states cases per capita

Dr. Epperly: Right now, St. Luke's Magic Valley is on divert. St. Luke's Boise ICU Boise is on divert. St. Luke's Meridian ICU is on divert. St. Alphonsus just went to red. And because of Thanksgiving, the situation will only get worse over the next two weeks. Epperly recommends moving from advisory to order. "If we do not do this, we will lose the hospitals. Hear me when I say that."

And a report from ProPublica: States With Few Coronavirus Restrictions Are Spreading the Virus Beyond Their Borders, starting with the border between north Idaho and Washington, and the deadly failures in Idaho's leadership, and its citizens.

The story is about more than just Idaho stupid, but it's mostly Idaho stupid.


Tom von Alten
ISSN 1534-0007