Three Things: About Emily W. Murphy, GSA Administrator

By now most of you know that the General Services Administration (GSA) still hasn’t signed the the ascertainment determination letter which allows President-elect Biden’s transition team to begin its work within the government to effect an orderly change over to the new administration from the outgoing Trump administration.

The lack of such a letter authorizing access to government resources by the transition team obstructs government funding for transition team salaries, allocation of offices, background checks and other vetting of cabinet level and other nominees.

In 2000 the dispute over Florida’s votes and electors caused the GSA to sign the ascertainment determination later than previous transitions; the delay has been blamed as a factor leading up to the 9/11 attack.

Lack of a signed ascertainment determination now may also prevent the new administration from beginning work immediately on further development and implementation of plans to stem COVID. This may cost Americans’ health and lives.

There’s no good excuse for Murphy not to have signed this letter already since Biden had passed the necessary 270 votes as of November 7.

~ 3 ~

It’s important to keep Murphy’s education and work history in mind with regard to her failure to sign the the ascertainment determination.

Murphy worked for three different chairs of the United States House Committee on Small Business; she also worked in the Small Business Administration, and as Chief Acquisition Officer for the GSA. She’s been around long enough to understand how transitions between administrations work.

Murphy can’t blame the status of the last states’ or lawsuits against states like Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania for her decision to delay the letter. She’s an attorney with a J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law; she can certainly read and understand the cases filed contesting the votes. All were evidence-free or fact-free, or just plain frivolous even to non-attorneys.

She’s fully aware that Trump didn’t have a leg to stand on with regard to the +20 suits filed.

She’s also capable of understanding that the 2000 election cannot be used as an excuse for delaying the transition because the distribution of electoral votes was entirely different then — Florida was a must-win for both candidates. The 2020 election did not pan out that way at all.

Murphy’s refusal to sign the the ascertainment determination must be seen as a deliberate act.

~ 2 ~

Murphy has had an ongoing problem with the lease of the U.S. Postal Office building to Trump Hotels. While she inherited this problem from the previous administrator who bailed out of the role on Inauguration Day 2017 while leaving the issue open, Murphy has failed to resolve the obvious conflict of interest from the time she was appointed in September 2017 until now.

Again, Murphy is an attorney. She should know better.

Worse, Murphy may have misled — pick a euphemism here — the House about this situation while testifying under oath.

Adding insult to injury, Murphy refused to answer questions about the FBI’s headquarters relocation and Trump’s possible involvement. She didn’t claim executive privilege — this might be the lone point during her GSA tenure where she actually applied her law degree — but she flat out said she would “decline to discuss conversations that I may or may not have had with the president or his advisers.

You may also have read Marcy’s post about Mike Flynn’s “wiped” phone; how odd that just two particular individuals who were subjects of an investigation had their GSA-issued phones wiped while the investigation was ongoing.

Again, Murphy’s an attorney. She should understand readily what 18 U.S. Code § 1505 Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees means; she’s perfectly capable of looking up 18 U.S. Code § 1519 Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy.

~ 1 ~

The potential for loss of American lives to COVID which might be preventable if the Biden administration can move quickly places an emphasis on speed. Failing to act in a reasonable amount of time could be fatal to Americans who are denied assistance from their federal government because a government functionary refused to do the right thing.

It’s enough to make one wonder if Murphy is a contender for charges of Honest Services fraud (18 U.S. Code § 1346 Definition of “scheme or artifice to defraud”). You may recall that Barb McQuade wrote about the possibility that Trump could be charged with Honest Services fraud with regard to his denial of funding for military aid already committed in the 2019 budget. In Murphy’s case she is denying American citizens the right to timely response from the incoming presidency, at a possible cost of American lives.

If the Biden-Harris administration delivers on a truly independent Department of Justice, Murphy should be worried.

Especially since she’s an attorney who should know better.

Hope she’s applied her J.D. to covering her butt when it comes to some no-bid contracts funded under the CARES Act related to COVID, though we have to ask ourselves if Murphy’s obstructive behavior is intended not only to hurt the Biden-Harris transition, damage the public, and buy Trump more time to undermine American’s faith in democracy, but protect Murphy’s own ass.

~ 0 ~

There have been increasing complaints over the last week about Murphy’s intransigence and calls for her cooperation and compliance with the transition, including an ask by Joe Biden to sign the ascertainment determination letter because the transition is stymied in its effort to work on COVID to save lives.

Murphy, though, is having her imaged buffed though one would imagine this will be about as successful as shining a turd since she’s continuing to neglect her oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, not kiss Trump’s pasty ass.

Nobody cares how you feel, Murphy, when their family members are suffering and dying for lack of federal aid which could be provided promptly by a more effective Biden-Harris administration.

The House has finally decided it needs to hear from Murphy about the holdup:

This follows her silence in response to a letter dated November 9 from House Dems asking why she was styming the transition. I sure hope they ask how someone who graduated from law school and worked as an attorney hasn’t been able to work out from the last 45 transitions how the GSA should already have worked to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

Especially since Murphy has already been putting out feelers for a new job. How odd she hasn’t yet been fired for this when Director of the Presidential Personnel Office Johnny McEntee has been terminating any federal employee who “who show disloyalty by job hunting.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has begun an investigation into Murphy’s footdragging:

Pretty sure they’re not going to like what they find because they’ve already been getting the runaround:

… For the last six months, the GSA and other government agencies have shown a total lack of transparency when it came to following a mandated timeline on presidential transition materials. In June amidst the raging coronavirus pandemic, the agencies failed to include any mention of how the transition would account for the ongoing pandemic, which CREW launched an investigation into. CREW also previously requested presidential transition documents from six agencies, and sued for them after receiving a woefully inadequate response. …

The longer she waits, the worse it’s going to get for her. Murphy’s best bet is to sign the ascertainment determination, unplug from all telecommunications and social media, take an immediate leave of absence for mental health, and go job hunting.

109 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    It’s almost 4:00 am here and I need to hit the hay. I make a lot of boo-boos writing after midnight — if you see something I need to fix, leave me a comment and I’ll get to it later in the morning, well before Murphy signs the letter. Thanks.

    Maybe I could write a parody, “Waiting for [Emily] Godot.”

      • Norskeflamthrower says:

        She’s not very bright if she’s only lookin’ to ” the cult” for work. She should be goin’ to the Republican leaders who think they can outlive Trumpism and still get their tax cuts and Supreme Court toadies. The entire thing is dangerously insane.

    • Thomas Pepper says:

      There is no reason to insult the memory or work of Samuel Beckett here: the invocation of “Waiting for Godot” is purely thoughtless philistinism. Please leave that to the fascists — if they’re capable. It needlessly mars (respect for) your otherwise powerful voice.

      • Rayne says:

        Dude. No. This isn’t a Beckett tribute blog and his writing isn’t a sacred cow here. Think of my comment as AU fanfiction and let it go because policing contributors writing is a no-go.

  2. Richard Golding says:

    Simply put, if President Trump continues to block the full operation of the Biden transition, more people will die. Trump, the head of the GSA, Giuliani, and all of Trump’s enablers should be charged and prosecuted for negligent homicide!

    • Norskeflamthrower says:

      “…all of trump’s enablers should be charged and prosecuted.” And Trumpty Dumpster is makin’ it impossible for Biden not to do just that! Unless, of course, he’s gunna try and use the threat of a civil war of the Brown Shirts to get himself out from under future prosecutions…of course that would leave his toadies hangin’ out to dry.

  3. Nehoa says:

    A fundamental problem, and I am hardly the first to note this, is that Trump imposes consequences for opposing him, and there are no consequences for supporting him (Aside from the loss of your soul).
    While I sympathize with Biden’s desire not to have his presidency defined by investigating all of the misdeeds done by Trump and his administration, there is a need to investigate and punish misdeeds to establish accountability.
    The House can take the lead on this, and Biden can help by supporting and enforcing their subpoena power and by compelling testimony and document delivery from the Executive branch.

      • Nehoa says:

        The point I was trying to make is that the House should exercise its subpoena power when it can be enforced. For the past several years they have been stonewalled with impunity. Hopefully that period is coming to an end.

        • Rugger9 says:

          It will in January, with the Biden administration. While not engaged in playing victim cards, it would seem that GSA Director Murphy will claim political confusion as her plausible deniability defense. That the confusion is solely in the press fanned by her boss is irrelevant.

          After the transition, Biden’s DOJ ought to enforce subpoenas again, and while one might argue that opinions differ regarding her letter issue (flimsy as the excuses are) the other stuff she did as GSA with respect to the Trump DC hotel are not as debatable as a matter of law. These should be investigated and can be prosecuted, and I have no doubt she’s shredding away as we speak.

    • OmAli says:

      “ If the Biden-Harris administration delivers on a truly independent Department of Justice, Murphy should be worried.”

      A lot of people should be worried. But I truly wonder if they really need to be. And THaT has me worried.

      Maybe after the GA runoff Biden will change his tone?

  4. harpie says:

    Sue Gordon On President Trump’s Efforts To Fight Election Results
    November 20, 20205:04 AM ET [Morning Edition] [7-minute listen]

    Sue Gordon, formerly the second highest ranking official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, talks to NPR’s Steve Inskeep about Trump’s efforts to overturn election results.

    Gordon [to Trump, hypothetical]: Stop doing our adversary’s bidding.

  5. Mitch Neher says:

    I don’t see how Trump could con himself into thinking that he’s going to get away with blocking the certification of the election results (if that even is what he thinks he’s up to).

    Maybe it’s all just reactive thinking with Trump, now. There’s no reflective thinking left in Trump’s gas tank. (If there ever was.) Just fumes.

    Vaporous fuming about communist money from Hugo Chavez by way of George Soros and The Clinton Foundation.


  6. klynn says:

    Looks like E. Murphy needs to be the recipient of a citizen letter campaign for her to do her job. Maybe us Emptywheel folks could come up with the best bullet points to note as a draft boilerplate to get a national campaign going? E. Murphy works for us, the tax payers. We need to remind her with millions of letters/emails cc’d to our reps of her Constitutional duty.

  7. Anomalous Cowherd says:

    Welp, this solves the dilemma I was facing about choosing names for next year’s pig litter. Just call them all Emily – it fits.

  8. BobCon says:

    I’ve already ranted about the Jeremy Herb/Kristen Holmes piece for CNN, but it is an astonishingly bad job. It’s a testament to how bad CNN’s standards are.

    I’m pretty sure over half of their politics desk is only there because a job at Entertainment Tonight fell through or they didn’t want to take an ESPN job because they didn’t want to move to Bristol. It’s all just an abstraction for them.

    • bmaz says:

      Hey, there are some seriously good people there too. Katelyn Polantz, Erica Orden and Shimon Prokupecz come to mind, but there are many more. Frankly Jeremy Herb has done some good work, though this is certainly not in that category.

      • BobCon says:

        Sure, and there are still some genuine reporters at Fox for that matter.

        But this article is particularly troubling because it shows the rot at the editorial level at CNN. What it clearly means is that any reporter dropping a story that meets the formal outlines of news — lede, quotes, obligatory dissenting quote, summing up — gets approved.

        When the attitude at the managerial level treats bad reporting and good the same as long as both check off the same boxes, you are looking at a network that is ripe for exploitation by bad actors.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL You’re going to have to be a bit more specific about what’s wrong with the Herb/Holmes piece. Because this:

      “She absolutely feels like she’s in a hard place. She’s afraid on multiple levels. It’s a terrible situation,” one friend and former colleague of Murphy’s told CNN. “Emily is a consummate professional, a deeply moral person, but also a very scrupulous attorney who is in a very difficult position with an unclear law and precedence that is behind her stance.

      “She’s doing what she believes is her honest duty as someone who has sworn true allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America, and the laws that govern her position,” the friend added.

      is pretty obviously intended to paint Murphy in the most positive light possible, but we can see it’s a bunch of bullshit at the same time.

      I’d much rather tackle this crap head on and puncture all the slick paint her compatriots are trying to throw up to protect her sorry ass. Like this crap:

      Sources close to Murphy describe her as a technocrat and policy wonk, with a lengthy career as a congressional aide and at GSA. …

      Fuck that. She’s a goddamned partisan hack based on the number of conflicts of interests she’s piled up and/or enabled for this administration.

      Herb/Holmes may have tried a feint at a beat sweetener with this piece, but it’s nothing at all like Maggie Haberman’s access ass kissery at NYT.

      If there’s a nit I have with the Herb/Holmes piece it’s the way they glossed over the Trump hotel in the U.S. Post Office, as if the mention of the FBI HQ conflict and the hotel across the street are all of it and not two different massive conflicts at the same time in which Murphy plays a key role.

      • BobCon says:

        It was in another post I commented but one thing that stood out for me was that this stupidly didn’t even work as a beat sweetener.

        Reporters stoop to that when a new stooge comes through the door on the theory that singing praises buys access, but these CNN dopes wrote it just as she is headed out the door.

        The basic structure of the story is broken, where they put her point of view up front and give it extensive coverage without running the real lede — GSA admin makes political call counter to facts, launches campaign to launder reputation.

        There was no reason for CNN to give anonymous status to her friends, and should have run with the take that multiple people were offered for the rehab job but none would speak on the record.

        • Silly but True says:

          This absolutely was a puff piece, but we’ll know her trajectory in media if New Yorker runs an in-depth, biting expose on her favorite cocktail dress.

  9. Mactree says:

    Dems in House & Senate have sent letters asking GSA lady to brief them. Which is true, Dems stupid enough to think asking her will work, or Dems not willing to subpoena her & hoping public will think they’re on it ?

      • BobCon says:

        It is going to be a bit of a shocker if they shake off the excuse they have been using for not issuing subpoenas — that they can’t expect DOJ support, so why bother?

        • Silly but True says:

          The look forward crowd won when the US government can prolapse then tear it an incarcerated suspect not charged with any crime in US criminal court without issue, after forcing him to eat meals through his ass, and one of people directly responsible gets promoted to Senate-confirmable position and then Senate confirms no problem.

    • Rayne says:

      Come on now. Game this out.

      Assume they don’t ask first and move to subpoena — what’s the response and reaction?

      Assume Emily “GSA lady” Murphy ignores the subpoena — what happens next?

      Murphy is a likely no-show. You know this. We’ve seen this before. All the Dems have now is the court of public opinion, and going immediately to subpoena instead of asking for a brief first may make *you* personally happy but it’s a negative PR opportunity for the GOP to make the Dems look rude/aggressive/irrational/pick-a-negative.

      And if the attorney now employed as GSA administrator ends up in court after an investigation and she’s questioned about her response to legitimate oversight attempts by Congress, there’s a case built that she is acting and has acted in bad faith.

      • bmaz says:

        No, they should have issued both at the same time. If she answers appropriately then the subpoena gets quashed. If not, and she fails to appear, then an immediate suit for enforcement gets filed. Stringing it out is beyond lame.

  10. vcragain says:

    Nobody is asking WHY trump behaves the way he does – we all know he is basically quite nuts, but all of his behavior from day one has been all about keeping some pledges or other he made to his buddy putin …… he owes the oligarchs a lot of money, he wants that hotel in Moscow, there is NO reason at all that makes any sense for the 2 Russians in the Oval, and his obvious subservience to putin every time they meet, than bribery & corruption…..putin has him ‘by the b*lls’ and he is scared of him……so to me there is no reason to look for any other rational reason…..fear appears to be rampant among the Republicans in general too, and amply explains why Paul Ryan got out while he could safely return to a non-political life without any fears. The whole 4 years has been a complete farce as they all tiptoe around the obvious…..and now we wait to see if trump can safely negotiate his return to his old life or if he gets arrested, or if putin decides to ‘fix’ the problem himself ! Do not be surprised if that last thing happens …..trump should now avoid windows & deep stair wells, and keep to his diet of MacDonalds as much as possible !!!

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name; the one you’ve used several times previously is “Veronica.” May I suggest sticking with “vcragain” because it’s more differentiated than “Veronica.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • JD Harrigan says:

      I suspect that the real reason Trump and the rest won’t just admit that Biden won is that they’re afraid of being poisoned by the Russians for, say, disobedience.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Au contraire. People have asked why Trump acts this way ad nauseum. It doesn’t matter. Putin? Narcissism? Dementia? Take your pick. His actions, amplified by enablers and a now-massive disinformation industry, are accomplishing Kremlin goals better than they could have dreamed. It’s those who know better and pretended to care, like Lindsey Graham, we should have our eyes on.

    • Rayne says:

      And I was so afraid that after mentioning Murphy’s background five times — she’s an attorney, you know — that it wouldn’t be clear she’s fully on the hook for whatever has gone through her office. LOL

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It’s not as if she were a Chapman or Liberty U. grad. After Smith and UVA, and twenty years inside the Beltway, she knows exactly what she’s doing, why, and for whom.

        • Rayne says:

          What? She’s not a hack like Monica Goodling? She might actually have gone to an accredited school?

          Absolutely no excuses for her refusal to sign the ascertainment determination. None. Her fellow alumni ought to drag her.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I would say she’s a GOP hack who is following an illegal order from the White House not to do her job, and obstructing an orderly transition to the Biden administration.

          While she’s hunting for a wingnut welfare gig, she should lawyer up. A lot of people are gonna die because of her.

      • Eureka says:

        [**envisions an infinite ray of nested quote tweets: Emily Murphy is an attorney who will be on the hook for whatever has gone through her office. Pass it on.**]

        Who is going to tell her? Has Emily Murphy become aware that she is an attorney who will be on the hook for any and all of this stuff that just seems… so wrong?

        Meanwhile, Michigan GOPers are currently inside the den of COVID-19 iniquity?

        ETA: LOL, hadn’t seen this from Jim:
        I have ascertained that @GSAEmily
        is a fascist-serving idiot.

  11. Eureka says:

    GA certifies today, MI & PA on Monday. Those seem to be bricks in the wall as to when this GSA ruse must come to an end. AZ is the 30th (following Monday); NV and WI the first of December. (And by then we are getting close to December 8th anyway, but also two and a half more weeks of this pretense, which is too much more wasted time.) (As an aside, McConnell has adjourned the Senate until Nov. 30th, in further eff-you to any COVID relief package.)

    Handy list of cert deadlines here:
    Election results certification dates, 2020 – Ballotpedia,_2020

    As of November 19, 2020:

    Election result certification dates had passed in 15 states
    Election result certification dates had not passed in 35 states

    This article lists estimated canvassing and election result certification dates for 2020. In a canvass, election officials verify that each ballot cast in the election was correctly counted. Certification is the process by which the results of an election are made official. The two processes are closely related, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. […]

    In the presidential election, there are two more key dates related to election results. Under 3 U.S.C. § 5, a state must settle any presidential election disputes and determine its electors six days before the Electoral College meets. This safe harbor provision deadline falls on December 8 in 2020. The Electoral College will then cast its votes for president and vice president on December 14, 2020.[3]

    Internal links removed.

      • klynn says:

        Springfield, Ohio once named by Newsweek as The All American City, had a line at the Second Harvest Food Bank that went for over a mile long. Mitch IS morally bankrupt.

        • Lady4Real says:

          I’m relieved that my sons (both 28 years old now) are grown and I am no longer responsible for feeding them. I can remember having to occasionally rely on the food banks in our township when they were stretching teenagers who ate everything that weren’t nailed down, blowing through the every 3 weeks new shoes budget. I was a very conscientious mom and was good about feeding them, but they ate a lot and their feet grew a new half size very 3 weeks for what seemed like 3 years. I cannot imagine what overstretched laid off parents who are also homeschooling due to COVID are dealing with right now.

    • BobCon says:

      I wouldn’t count on state certification as meaning anything to her. She has already cited 2000 as her precedent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if her take is that nothing happens until the last legal challenge is done.

      Which means 2028? 2046?

      • Eureka says:

        It’s mainly when more of the state-level GOP enablers will peel off or simmer down a bit, like those jackals in MI, perhaps, or even PA, if any of them can be taken at their latest words.

        I don’t know what they’ve got left to reignite anyone. True, kindling still burns but this all has had a very waning feeling since Four Seasons Total Landscaping. What do you think might be Trump’s next bunker play? Stasis is one option but I think it might become less viable with less social support.

        Elias just said post-election litigation in AZ is done.

        I’m interested to see if anything shifts after Monday. For ex., PA Senate leader, bothsidesy coup-enabling as he has been, gave an interview published yesterday that indicates affirmative support for certified results; meanwhile PA House was supposed to have had a Committee hearing today with Dominion (Dominion cancelled) amidst yet another GOP COVID outbreak and a complaint to the Dept of Health, by a Dem colleague, about workplace safety violations… GOPers who used to wear masks, then stopped in a pledge of allegiance to Trumpism, are now wearing them again. It’s a shitshow microcosm that just shows that they don’t even know what they “believe” and will swim with the changing school; it’s good to see those points of weakness (if not their general moral failings).

        • BobCon says:

          I agree that there is movement in the GOP toward accepting reality, and it appears pretty clear that is especially true in the government-adjacent industries like lobbying, PR, consulting, contracting, etc.

          I think if Murphy had a lucrative job lined up with a big contractor, she’d issue the letter. But the irony is that by being such a stooge over the past few weeks, she has very possibly torpedoed her job prospects.

          The head of the GSA ought to be able to make that transition in a snap. There are plenty of real estate firms, lobbyists, and law firms that are dying for inside info on getting longterm government leases and contracts. But she has made her name toxic for at least the next four years. She should have bit the bullet while she had the chance.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The DJT campaign apparently wants to recheck the voter signatures, but when the ballots are counted and audited they are separated from the outer envelopes with the signature (it’s a secret ballot after all) which means their latest GA shot in the dark ought to miss. In CA we have a vexatious litigant standard, where 5 failures for lack of merit gets one a show cause order to file again. We’re getting there with the DJT campaign.

  12. SonnyBonoFan says:

    She is a disgrace to UVA. If anyone follows Larry Sabato, he is extremely influential there. I do not think it is a coincidence that leaks started coming out that she is “conflicted” as soon as he started calling her out. I will never understand why the current Congressional leadership did not use the inherent contempt powers over the past two years with all the stonewalling.

  13. Eureka says:

    2/2 as to why “Freudian” is trending, Trump just now:

    Aaron Rupar: “”I’ve been loyal to the special interests” [clip]”
    2:47 PM · Nov 20, 2020

    Except I think he means to say this quite earnestly, nothing Freudian here (well, unless you want to get Oedipal about it).

    The first instance (and likely correct use of ‘slip’) would be Mnuchin, earlier:

    The Recount: “”We’re working on mass distribution of the virus.” — Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin, who we hope is working on mass distribution of the ~vaccine~ and not the virus. [clip]”
    9:41 AM · Nov 20, 2020

      • Eureka says:


        But And this is really a mind-blowing proposition.

        Civilization and its Discontents? Oh my.

        What’s the German word for Trump and Trumpism simultaneously reifying and destroying Freud’s entire oeuvre?

    • klynn says:

      Question. Could a group of citizens file a lawsuit against Murphy for threatening national security and personal safety?

      • vvv says:

        One can pretty much *file* a lawsuit for anything.

        Sustaining such a suit is another matter.

        All other issues aside, the situation will [likely] have passed by before the time for an appearance and responsive pleading is even due.

  14. Eureka says:

    Vengeful socialist Sean Hannity has given the UP universal government healthcare:

    Ryan Gierach: “Seeking a place in Trump’s heart by retaliating against the state, Fox News has given Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Canada. Nobody will ever really notice, anyway. ” [Map depicting The New Geography. Also, haven’t they done this before over at Fox?]

  15. arbusto says:

    Slightly off topic. One of many things that torque my atrophying gonads in this the Golden Age of Trump(ism), not to mention American exceptionalism, is left leaning commentariat articles over the last 3+ years about widespread ineptitude or corruption in WH staff and Administration department heads and their subordinates while failing to point out the root cause. Does anyone ever recall a campaign bemoaning let alone promising to end or at least modify Municipal, County, State or National patronage jobs. No matter how corrupt or inept these patrons may be ,how long will it be before their effects can be reversed?

    Democratic slogan should be “go along to get along, even if we know better.”

  16. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    I probably should have put this over on Marcy’s latest thread under the bar jokes section, but I wanted to thank you, Rayne, for this excellent post! Thought this might bring a smile to end everyone’s week, and, if it looks like Trump doesn’t have the guts to run out of the WH and burn the Constitution on Pennsylvania Avenue, we can start riffing on him with some appropriate malapropisms.
    David Needle | Shared on facebook:
    • An Oxford comma walks into a bar where it spends the evening watching the television, getting drunk, and smoking cigars.
    • A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.
    • A bar was walked into by the passive voice.
    • An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.
    • Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”
    • A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.
    • Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.
    • A question mark walks into a bar?
    • A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.
    • Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Get out — we don’t serve your type.”
    • A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.
    • A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
    • Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.
    • A synonym strolls into a tavern.
    • At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar — fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.
    • A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.
    • Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.
    • A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.
    • An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.
    • The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.
    • A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned a man with a glass eye named Ralph.
    • The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.
    • A dyslexic walks into a bra.
    • A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.
    • A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.
    • A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.
    • A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.

    • Bay State Librul says:

      An ascertainment certificate walks into a bar and is escorted away
      by blood-curdling screams of destroyers, disapprovers, ignoramus’s, in-validators, and deplorables.

    • Coyle says:

      What about thirsty philosophers!
      A Platonist walks into a bar and orders a perfect manhattan.
      A Positivist walks into a bar and orders “Anything, as long as it’s 100 proof.”
      A Cartesian walks into bar and declares “I drink, therefore I am.”
      An Abelardian walks into a bar and immediately propositions the waitress.
      A neo-Platonist walks into a bar, looks at the Platonist, and says “I’ll have what he’s having, but with a twist.”
      A Scholastic walks into a bar and, after several drinks, demands to know how many angels can fit on the head of a Pimm’s Cup.
      Another Scholastic walks into a bar and says “Oh, Christ, why do I hang out with these people?

      Feel free to add more…

      • vvv says:

        I’m gonna do a political theory one:

        A strict constructionist walks into a bar and says, “Build me a martini – original recipe.” (Which, BTW, was made with gin, now and forever the best kind of martini.)
        An anarchist walks into a bar and says, “Free the beer, now!”, breaks all the windows and mirrors, and leaves a bomb as a tip.
        A historical communist walks into a bar and says, “Beers for every one! A bottle of Dom for each and everyone at my table.”


        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          A semiotician walks into a bar. That’s it. There is no bar, only “bar.” The semiotician, still thirsty, is constructing its meaning.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            The true semiologist would have deconstructed it first.

            (This haunted me for 24 hours. It’s been a long time since I read Derrida.)

    • mass interest says:

      After going through the Mitchell Rivard twitter thread about the 2 Michigan Repubs visiting Trump and their subsequent celebration at the Trump hotel, as well as reading between the lines of their “statement,” I see wicked things coming our way.

  17. Eureka says:

    One more down (MDPA):

    Brad Heath: “A federal judge has dismissed President Trump’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the election he lost in PA. The decision is pretty brutal. He sums up Trump’s case as “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.” …
    6:22 PM · Nov 21, 2020

    Heath still threading as we speak…

      • Eureka says:

        Yeah, and I know we’re supposed to be wary of the comedic and schadenfreude aspects of the stupid coup attempt but there is so much material! When your AG is tweeting not to worry about the clown show, sleep tight/have a nice weekend, and the Lt Gov Airplane! memes, calls them glue sniffers* on par with the Bungles — in between advocating for magic mushrooms — it’s quite a landscape to take in. What is even happening.

        Tho with McConnell’s zombie judges, I do wonder when the day might come when we can’t have such (widespread) confidence in a just result.

        *prematurely rehabilitated glue sniffers

    • Eureka says:

      Judge Brann was FedSoc, appointed by Obama but picked by Toomey in some deal:

      Matthew Stiegler: “Conservative twitter is erupting w these Obama-judge takes, but it’s all delusional. Judge Brann was a Federalist Society member who served on the Pa. GOP State Comm, on his county Republican committee for 18 years. He reportedly was picked by Toomey. [QT of a whiner ]”


      John Fetterman: “LOL. From a good Republican friend, the judge who just shredded the Trump campaign is: “And that scorching decision is from a VERY Republican Judge. Know him from when he was a county party chair and PAGOP Caucus chair. Straight shooter.””

    • Eureka says:

      John Fetterman: “A well deserved victory lap for our commonwealth’s Secretary of State after smoking the Trump campaign like a fine cigar.”
      8:25 PM · Nov 21, 2020

      Kathy Boockvar: “I will never stop fighting for #VotingRights and the security and integrity of our democracy. “In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its 6th most populated state.” [links WaPo: In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania.]
      8:16 PM · Nov 21, 2020

      that Stiegler thread above continues with Brann’s background:

      Judge Brann’s nomination questionnaire: “I currently serve as the Republican State Committeeman for Bradford County, Chairman of the Northeast Caucus of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, and as a member of the Leadership Committee of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.”

        • P J Evans says:

          They’re suing over people voting legally under a law passed *last year*. Yeah, I can’t see a judge being happy with waiting this long to sue. And when their proposed remedy is tossing all of those votes and having a new set of electors appointed by somebody (legally, it’s done by the governor: the legislature has no part in it) – they need a really solid reason, not just “we want different results”.

  18. Eureka says:

    The Toomey statement is a real banger; I can’t think of anything more significant he’s done in the last decade. He’s even boxing-in the MI GOPers — he wants these results certified. Great lead to the Sunday shows. Reproduced here minus the politicking:

    Release: Toomey Statement on PA Federal Court Decision, Congratulates President-elect Biden

    November 21, 2020

    Release: Toomey Statement on PA Federal Court Decision, Congratulates President-elect Biden

    Allentown, Pa. – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) issued the following statement after Judge Matthew Brann’s decision to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit challenging the election results in Pennsylvania:

    “With today’s decision by Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, to dismiss the Trump campaign’s lawsuit, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania.

    “This ruling follows a series of procedural losses for President Trump’s campaign. On Friday, the state of Georgia certified the victory of Joe Biden after a hand recount of paper ballots confirmed the conclusion of the initial electronic count. Michigan lawmakers rejected the apparent attempt by President Trump to thwart the will of Michigan voters and select an illegitimate slate of electoral college electors. These developments, together with the outcomes in the rest of the nation, confirm that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and will become the 46th President of the United States.

    “I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory. They are both dedicated public servants and I will be praying for them and for our country. Unsurprisingly, I have significant policy disagreements with the President-elect. However, as I have done throughout my career, I will seek to work across the aisle with him and his administration, […]

    [… ] [paragraph “aligning” with/ praising Trump]

    “To ensure that he is remembered for these outstanding accomplishments, and to help unify our country, President Trump should accept the outcome of the election and facilitate the presidential transition process.”

  19. Bobster33 says:

    To me the answer for Emily’s actions are likely related to money (her paycheck). If she approved the Biden transition, Trump fires her. So she is going to wait until the very end before firing her. My guess is that she will wait until the electors meet, and then unceremoniously sign the document.

    Unless of course someone hires her between now and mid December.

  20. Eureka says:

    Murphy’s Monday capitulation* to the rule of law:

    Manu Raju: “#Breaking: GSA’s Emily Murphy signs off and says the transition can begin, per @KristenhCNN [screenshot statement; thread links CNN article]”
    6:06 PM · Nov 23, 2020

    Adding: to be clear that asterisk is a snark tag. Though Trump giving up and “allowing” her to do so may have something to do with the rule of law demolishing his cases, and all of the honest actors overcoming their GOP colleagues to certify results.

    • P J Evans says:

      It’s a whiny letter, and missing Biden’s proper title and the magic words “ascertained the winner”. Apparently while she was relying on precedent, she wasn’t able to find any examples of How To Write It.

      • P J Evans says:

        Apparently the “Operation Warp Speed” people are still being told they can’t talk to the incoming administration. Someone needs to get their rear handed to them.

        • Eureka says:

          Meanwhile, I saw that CA is setting nationwide records, while our Health Secretary announced that we’re on pace to run out of statewide ICU beds in a week. I tell spouse about this ‘news’ (thinking it’s worse in rural areas) and he says Oh, we were already full [period of time ago].

          • P J Evans says:

            That’s why CA is going back to restricting things like restaurants and bars. Even with most people wearing masks, they get careless, and socializing will do it really well.

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