Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Senatorial Stress

Cannon here. Our friend D-Jay has some important words to say about the battle for the Senate. Right now, the fight looks grim, though not hopeless. Before we get to his piece, I'd like to offer a couple of observations.

1. DJay is not the only person who wonders if it is possible for Biden to lure away a couple of Republican senators. One possibility: Offer a GOP senator a position of some respect and power in the Biden administration. Of course, you'd have to find a Republican senator willing to make the kind of history that other Republicans will find unforgivable.
2. Believe it or not, it is sometimes possible for Congress to overrule rulings by the Supreme Court. Here's how. Of course, if we can somehow attain a Senate majority, increasing the number of Supreme Court justices becomes thinkable. So does increasing the number of states. 

Here's D-Jay...

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Senatorial Stress

By D-Jay

Donald Trump’s unprecedented – and unforgivable – efforts to subvert the will of the American people and somehow cling to power continue.  With every case laughed out of court, and every state or local official who draws the line at an outright coup d’etat by noncertification, however, his odds of success move closer to zero with each passing day.

Let’s keep on hoping and believing that at noon on January 20th, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States.

Looking at all the chaos and destruction Trump is leaving in his wake, however, we can be sure this won’t be the end of our long, national nightmare, but – as the saying goes - only the end of the beginning.

And then the real work will begin.

Right out of the gate, newly inaugurated President Biden will need to deal with both the coronavirus pandemic and the economic pandemonium it has created. 

He’ll need to re-establish America’s position in the world.

He somehow needs gain a modicum of trust – however grudging – of at least a few people who’ve stayed on the side of the fence until now…but haven’t completely lost their minds and sold their souls to Trumpism.

Beyond that, serious work will need to be done on climate change, judicial and policing reform, voting rights, taxation and wealth inequality, health care, social security, our tattered safety net, Russia, China, Iran, the Middle East, Brexit, growing right-wing domestic terrorism and the corrosive effect of what President Obama recently called, “truth decay” – to name a few.

And each and every one of these things is critical.

Fortunately, Joe Biden seems to have a good understanding of most – perhaps even all - of them, and a host of solid policies ready to go.

The bad news, however, is that pretty much nothing will happen if Moscow Mitch McConnell remains as majority leader of the Senate and picks up again on the obstructionism on steroids policy he pursued during the Obama years.

A growing number of Americans are coming to realize that there are two issues upon which the survival of the United States as a functioning democracy will depend. 

The first is if Trumpism, and the information warfare machinery behind it, can start to be unravelled and the people caught up in it return to reality. 

The second is if McConnell’s toxic grip on the Senate can be undone.

The defeat of Trumpism – and its underlying causes – is a complex and multi-faceted matter about which I will probably have a lot to say in the coming months.  In regard to the defanging of Moscow Mitch’s grip on the Senate, let me throw out four potential courses of action team Biden might pursue:

1.   Conquest – Win both senatorial seats up for grabs in Georgia on January 5th, end the filibuster, and tell McConnell and his minions to kiss Stacey Abrams’ lovely you-know-what.  This would be an ending to the election season right out of a Disney movie…and literally nothing in the world that could happen would be better.  

But I’m not holding my breath.  So…


2.   Co-option – What should be done in the all-too-likely event that the Republicans hold on to at least one of the two seats? 


Right now, it looks like an almost impossible thing to suggest, but is there any way that two (or more) Republican senators could be lured away from the evil grasp of McConnell & Company?  Are there not two of them – just two – who have finally reached the point where they cannot stand it any longer, and are at last willing to put the interest of the country over that of their party and their personal political futures?  Two people for whom Trump’s overt effort at a shameless coup d’etat and bid to permanently maintain complete control over the Republican Party and everyone in it is – at last – the straw that broke the camel’s back?


In the pipe dream scenario I propose, these two senators would not have to leave the Republican Party and become Democrats.  That would clearly be too much.  Rather, I would suggest that they leave the current McConnell/Trump Senatorial Caucus and set up a new one of their own. They could call it the Independent Republican Caucus, the Real Republican Caucus, or something like that.  I’m sure the Lincoln Project would help them find an ideal moniker and define its basic identity and goals.

Without question, it would take a LOT to persuade these two senators (more would be fine, of course,) so how about this?  VERY quietly and discreetly someone from our side could approach Mitt Romney and make it clear to him that if he can convince at least one other GOPer to join him in this Quixotic endeavour, the Democrats would support HIM to be leader of Senate.  Crazy, but it would open up the possibility of a genuine government of national unity, just at a time when it is most needed.


And, if they are gamblers, it would be a bet that once Trump has to publicly face all the civil and criminal court proceedings on the horizon, his brand will collapse and those who jumped ship first might be in the best position to lead a reformed party.


What should the Democrats demands be in the unlikely event comes to pass?  Only this – No obstructionism. Bills brought up from the House and judicial and other appointments be given a fair hearing and vote. In short - a good faith effort to work with the administration to find solutions to the issues facing the country and the world – compromises okay.


3.   Cooperation – Joe Biden seems to think that he will be able to get McConnell to negotiate with him in something approaching good faith on at least some issues.  Personally, I’ll believe it when I see it, but if you think you can pull it off Mr. President Elect, hey, go for it.  If anyone can do it, it’s probably you.

4.   Coercion – But if Moscow Mitch stays true to form and rejects Biden’s overtures - as I for one expect he will, then Joe will need to liberate his inner LBJ – find ways to make McConnell suffer, badly, every time he obstructs.

Has Kentucky had some bad storm damage or flooding, Mitch?  I think Trump might have left some paper towels from Puerto Rico around here someplace.  


Need some highway or hospital funds?  The line starts back there…hope you brought along a good book to read and some snacks.

Oh, and maybe the investments and political influence of your wife, Elaine Chao’s, father could stand a deeper look by the independent justice department and the IRS.  And how was it again you got the nickname “Moscow Mitch,” Mr. McConnell?

You get the idea. 


In other words, if it comes down to it…no more Mr. Nice Joe.  No more political bean bag.  For once the Democrats will have to learn how to bring a bazooka to a knife fight.

I propose that a couple of Republican Senators threaten Mitch that they will become Democrats or Independents and damn Georgia. I think just the threat might scare Mitch into sanity.
Threats are the only thing he seems to understand. For instance Toomey and Romney could make the threat. Toomey is not running again and Romney could give a f——!

For weeks Joe kept prophesying that the fascist GOP was going to use cyber stealth to boost Trump's vote totals in key states where the margin was narrow, thus stealing him a second term. Joe's citations and arguments, about the perilous vulnerability of net-connected voting machines, ballot-scoring devices and tallying computers really convinced me he was right.

But he was dead wrong about the outcome.

Yet when you dispassionately consider how poorly the Dems did in their down-ballot campaign to strengthen their hold on the House and regain control of the Senate, even though they won the White House, there's good cause to revisit Joe's splendid discoveries and analysis, but from a strategic shift in perspective.

Could it be that the election WAS stolen by ingenious, incremental cyber stealth after all, but the people who engineered the stealing were not Trumpy fumblers, the likes of Giuliani and Stone and Kushner, but instead some of the CIA, NSA and FBI's sharpest hackers -- tightly in bed with the M-I-C, rapacious for new wars in the Middle East (which Trump for all his fascistic faults wouldn't give them), and populated by a large contingent of careerists and professionals who absolutely, fervently despise the Goon from Queens and were desperate to put a swift end to Donald's Reign of Disorder?

Do you see any pacifists in Biden's list of announced or under-consideration key appointments? I sure don't.

Take a closer look at Dominion Systems, something the jubilant mass media (except for rightwing radio and Breitbart-like websites) adamantly refuses to do. Combine that with Joe's past analysis, and see if a light doesn't go on in your own understanding.
The problem with your reasoning is that the military were actively trying to hold Trump back during his presidency.

It was standard practice in presenting military options to Presidents to give a whole range from a minor pointless gesture to unthinkable out of proportion responses just so the President could have a overview of what was possible - and so the military could steer the President to the option in the middle that the military wanted.

The problem : Trump would reach for the most extreme option, that was included as a object lessen in what not to do, and they would have to then talk him out of it. If the Joint Chiefs of Staff had left it up to Trump he would have used nuclear weapons on Iran, and launched a preemptive strike on North Korea.
Mattis mentions that for a while he slept in a tracksuit because he seriously expected that he could be woken in the middle of the night because they were suddenly at war with North Korea.

The Briefings were then changed to have the most reasonable proportional response as the most extreme unthinkable example.

Basically they didn't trust Trump's judgement with any military action.

It could be argued that the US didn't go to war during Trump's term due to the fact that the military were terrified of how badly be could screw it up, but that's not a ringing endorsement.
Or it could just be that by luck during Trumps term the situation didn't arise and if 9/11 had happened on Trumps watch every predominantly Muslim nation on Earth would be radioactive glass and the fallout would be all over the Planet (including the West) and the response would be extreme as well.

As for Dominion, it has a paper trail print out, something the other companies voting machines don't - so the Dominion conspiracy is about getting rid of voting machines that can be recounted.
Anon 7:17

On the other hand, what gives team trump the idea (strongly) that they could win. They were sure about despite the covid and all that. I am strongly believe that Bill Clinton was the last elected president.
Let's not forget how boastful Trump was of his three main "populist" campaign promises: Bring the Jobs Back; Build a Wall; No More Foreign Wars. And not all the military top-brass of recent years have been, by any means, peaceniks. Remember too that the highly influential, well-financed neocons (whether publicly identifiable as GOP or DEM-leaning) advising/controlling ALL U.S. presidents since 9/11 have been pretty faithful to the Israel-firsters' "invade or destabilize lots of Muslim countries" agenda once infamously confessed to by General Wesley "Loose Lips" Clark. And that can be accomplished by imposing ever-tightening, punishing, crippling "sanctions" that can and DO bring about widespread suffering, malnutrition, untreated illness, starvation and death -- without drifting clouds of fallout and a "nuclear winter".

I don't doubt that the cooler heads in the Pentagon were terrified of Trump's penchant toward erratic and dangerous behavior, especially with the enormous pressure (from the deep-pocketed Sheldon Adelson types) to start all-out war with Iran -- and maybe someday we'll learn that the "nuke codes" in the "football" were secretly changed in recent months, just as they supposedly were when Tricky Dick was circling the drain.
Joseph, in light of all your own research on the finer points of election hacking, please take a serious look at this very detailed blog posting, that just cropped up on the symbolic date of November 22nd(!), and give us your reasoned response:
All DJ's options are interesting. I think from the cabinet choices we are hearing about, that Joe is on the right track. In the big picture Joe won by some of the most narrow margins. He did win the popular vote by a bit, but in the states that mattered he won by just thousands of votes. So, we do not have a mandate. It was the slightest possible victory. Also, as many have discussed we had severe down ballot losses. We are now in danger of losing the house in 2022, and we have more at risk senate seats in 2022 than do the republicans.
Joe and the democrats in general have to find a way to tread lightly. Joe's cabinet choices won't really make any progressives happy, but that's probably a good thing overall. All his picks are pretty well qualified insiders. They won't make progressives happy, but that also don't provide a lot of ammo that can be used against the democrats come 2022. For example, his cabinet picks do not include anything along the lines of an Elizabeth Warren (no offense intended). Joe needs to spend the next two years living a true middle of the road existence. He can't shoot any bazooka rounds and hope to keep the house or gain the senate. He needs to be the sane normal person that Trump isn't and he needs to keep the agenda on those topics that are of concern to 80% of Americans, as opposed to the many fringe interests that democrats seem to enjoy courting.
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