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.

Afraid? Who, Us? We’re Not Afraid!

h/t Flazingo Photos
[Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) ]

Politico has an interesting piece up about whether Trump administration staffers, especially at the senior level, will face any difficulties in life after January 20, 2021. Will they have trouble getting a new job? Will they be treated like Alan Dershowitz in the Hamptons at Martha’s Vineyard, and find themselves off the best invitation lists for the Villager’s Dinner Parties?

On the one hand, these Trump folks make a good point: the fact that more than 70 million people voted for Trump indicates that this was not a top-to-bottom repudiation of Trump and everything he stood for. The fact that so many of the folks eyeing the 2024 GOP presidential nomination are embracing Trump and his quixotic challenges to the election result suggests that these staffers won’t have a shortage of people looking to hire someone who has Been Inside The White House, even if it’s Trump’s White House.

But there’s one thing that suggests they are still worried. There’s one thing that suggests that they are looking over their shoulders. There’s one thing that suggests that they are not as comfortable as their brave words declare them to be.

Here’s a hint:

“. . . said a White House official . . .”

“. . . some current and former Trump officials . . .”

“. . . One top official at the White House . . .”

“. . . Many top Trump advisers now say . . .”

“. . . said one of the president’s closest advisers.”

“. . . Interviews with numerous current and former Trump officials reveal . . .

” . . . Most Trump officials feel . . .”

“. . . as one Trump official called them . . .”

“. . . said an administration official. . . .”

“. . . said a senior administration official . . .”

” . . . said a Trump adviser . . .”

” . . . said a Senate GOP aide . . .”

” . . . said a former senior administration official . . .”

To Politico’s credit, they did manage to quote one person by name in this story:  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

But back to those Trump staffers. For folks who are quite sure they will land on their feet, they are mighty nervous about putting their name next to their words. Maybe it’s because of this:

“None of the Trump officials interviewed for this story seriously believed that Trump would prevail in the election, and it was taken as a given that they would all soon be looking for work outside the administration.”

These unnamed Trump officials may not fear repudiation by the DC social circles for having been complicit in locking children in cages and taking them away from their parents, never to be reunited. They may not fear for their next job, despite enabling the feeble and fatal Trump administration response to the coronavirus pandemic. They may not fear poverty, because they’ve got their book deal lined up already.

But their unanimous unwillingness to allow their names to be used says they are afraid of something. Or should I say “someone”?

It’s Donald John Trump, and he’s not going away.

*That* is what worries these people. It’s one thing to say “Look at the Dubya folks – they did just fine as their Iraq War stuff and market crash faded into history.” But as long as Trump doesn’t fade away, neither will their enabling of his policies. And deep down, they know that Trump is not going to quietly ride off into the sunset. Ever.

Be afraid, Unnamed Senior Administration Officials. Be very afraid.

[The post has been edited to correct the object of Alan Dershewitz’s unrequited feelings. While it is possible the residents of the Hamptons may have just as much disdain for Mr. Dershewitz as the residents of Martha’s Vineyard, that is not a matter of public record. We regret the error of not giving the residents of Martha’s Vineyard their due.]

It Didn’t Go Away: COVID, COVID, COVID

Remember Trump’s gaslighting the American public, telling them COVID would simply go away after the election because it was just a hoax?

Right.

It’s still here. By Thanksgiving COVID will have taken more than a quarter million American lives if it continues to kill at a rate of 1,000 more per day.

This is the real hoax, playing out in front of use: Donald Trump is not a leader but a killer who has persistently tried to persuade us we’re imagining these deaths as anything more than a campaign ploy.

The campaign’s over and the cases and deaths are still mounting.

Fortunately we have a president-elect who is taking the pandemic seriously. Biden-Harris transition team has already issued a plan for combating COVID: BuildBackBetter.com/Priorities/COVID-19

While the plan is more of an executive summary at this point, work is already beginning on details:

Doctors Rick Bright, Atul Gawande, Luciana Borio, and Michael Osterholm are expected to be named advisers for Biden’s COVID-19 team.

This is what leadership and competency looks like when American lives are on the line. If nothing is done between now and Inauguration Day, at least another 73,000 Americans will die from COVID. It looks like Biden-Harris are taking this seriously and not treating it like a hoax.

There’s one big wrinkle, though, not of Biden-Harris’s making.

A single person at the General Services Administration is holding up the formal transition process — a Trump appointee who has previously refused to answer the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s questions regarding Trump’s D.C. hotel which operates out of the old U.S. Post Office building.

States are going to suffer for the foot dragging by this lone obstructionist, GSA administrator Emily Murphy, protecting Trump. Red states will be hurt in particular since they are suffering the greatest proportional numbers of COVID cases, in part due to Trump’s campaign rallies. These ten states currently lead in number of cases per million residents:

North Dakota — 79408 cases per million
South Dakota — 67231
Iowa — 49899
Wisconsin — 49356
Utah — 47075
Idaho — 46191
Nebraska — 44716
Florida — 44281
Tennessee — 42816
Mississippi — 42534

When weighed against each states’ population, some of these numbers are obscene. South Dakota’s Gov. Kristi Noem’s weak-sauce advocacy for personal responsibility in lieu of a mask mandate in the face of the Sturgis Motor Cycle Rally during August demonstrated she isn’t capable of leading and protecting her state.

Utah announced Sunday night it’s implementing new restrictions including mandatory masks Monday:

Whether Utahns comply may depend on whether they believe what they are being told by both the state and federal government. At least Gov. Herbert sees ‘masks optional’ or personal responsibility doesn’t work.

For their sakes and their lives, let’s hope Utahns don’t wait for GSA’s Emily Murphy to do her goddamned job. Right now she’s endangering American lives.

Election Day Countdown: Better Than 1 Day Left [UPDATE-2]

[NB: Updates at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

Old gag, I know…a couple hours left is better than a day left, amirite?

Oh, and a status report on Cirque du COVID au chez Rayne: the men in my house were tested at a drive-through. They waited three fucking hours in line behind at least 60 people.

This is absolutely absurd at this point in the pandemic, and it’s all Trump’s fault.

This country should have funded a skunkworks development program to create and distribute rapid tests which could be done at home.

This country should have funded another skunkworks development program to create and distribute a test-and-trace program which would work cheek-and-jowl with the rapid tests.

There’s just no goddamned excuse for this country — which could put the first humans on the moon in a veritable oversized tuna can using less total computing power than in a flip phone — not to have been challenged by its leadership to pull out all the stops to fight this virus and its spread.

But Trump is incapable of leadership. He is only capable of grasping greed and hate.

And this is the best he can do for a closing argument, “Fire Fauci!” The expert on infectious diseases a majority of Americans support?

Fire Trump.

~ 3 ~

Sure most of you heard about Harris County, Texas, and the GOP contesting roughly 127,000 votes cast in early voting via drive-through.

The collective sigh of relief when known-partisan Judge Andrew Hanen ruled against the GOP:

… In his ruling from the bench, Hanen said he rejected the case on narrow grounds because the plaintiffs did not show they would be harmed if the drive-thru ballots are counted. He noted, however, that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could think differently if the cases reaches it. The Republican plaintiffs are appealing the decision.

If he had ruled on the larger issues in the case, Hanen said, he would have rejected the request to toss out votes already cast. But Hanen said he would have shut down Harris County’s drive-thru polling places for Election Day because the tents being used for the sites don’t qualify as voting inside a “building,” a requirement under state election law. …

The Texas Supreme Court had already denied requests by Republicans to toss out drive-through ballots not once but twice.

The entire situation reeks of bad faith because local Republicans were involved in setting up the drive-through voting process, and the party didn’t file a lawsuit until well after early voting had started.

No idea what will happen next during the appeal since everything in the year of Trump pandemic is unpredictable; the plaintiffs have now filed this evening.

UPDATE – 11:45 P.M. ET – Jeez, just read this Twitter thread by Southpaw, who wrote in the first post, “The notice of appeal to the Fifth Circuit hit the district court docket before Judge Hanen’s written order, which is a road map for the Fifth Circuit to reverse him without remand if it’s so inclined.” Why so sloppy when so much is on the line?

Meanwhile, Tarrant County, TX needs more people to help count a record number of ballots.

Sure feels like Texas is on the verge of flipping blue. TV writer Ira Madison’s Twitter account has been suspended after spoofing Beto O’Rourke, challenging Texans to swing the state, offering nudes in return. Much needed comic relief in Texas.

~ 2 ~

Barton Gellman wrote a grim piece for The Atlantic, on How Trump Could Attempt a Coup.

Seems like we’d see more movement toward this already than the non-scalable wall around the White House:

Trump’s campaign continues to ask for donations through December 14, claiming the money is needed for a protracted legal battle.

Is a long fight expected, or is this part of a set-up for a coup? Or is this just another scam and his base is too stupid to discern this?

~ 1 ~

Trump won Michigan in 2016 by a whisker — a 10,000 vote margin, or roughly 2-3 votes per precinct across the state. There was a record undervote that year, with 80,000 voters choosing no candidate at all at the top of the ticket.

The race has been too close for my taste, running an average 6-7 point spread for Biden. Knowing hijinks were employed in 2016 with foreign influence operations and the vote unable to be recounted or forensically analyzed, it’s not out of the realm of possibility Trump and the GOP could pull some hanky panky here.

Especially since GOP proxies like the DeVos family and Mitch McConnell’s PAC have dumped around $40 million dollars into the senate race to prop up Trumpist John James against incumbent Gary Peters.

This morning the state began counting absentee ballots  and GOP poll watchers made some stink to disrupt the process.

They were ejected, one for disruptive behavior and the other for failing to wear a mask safely as required. Can hardly wait to see what crap they pull on Election Day.

In mid-October, Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson barred open carry of weapons in polling places on Election Day due to concerns of voter intimidation. She was sued by several gun rights groups; the state’s conservative-majority supreme court ruled against Benson five days ago. Benson appealed; the supreme court hasn’t bothered to respond and it’s already Election Day as I type this.

The feds are monitoring Detroit, Flint, Eastpointe, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Jackson, Shelby Township for voting rights violation, which seems like a joke since only Detroit, Flint, and Highland Park are minority majority communities.

The feds aren’t watching two other known minority majority communities in which a former GOP secretary of state tried to remove secretary of state offices obstructing voters’ registration.

While a lot of media attention will fall on Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania, something is clearly going on in Michigan since Trump had four campaign rallies since Friday in this state. Why the heavy investment? Is it really for John James’ benefit? Or is there something else going on we can’t see any more readily than we could in 2016?

At least activists have been working hard to motivate Michiganders to vote. Obama was in Flint this weekend and again on Monday with Joe Biden and Stevie Wonder in Detroit. Wonder made a “love letter” video to Michigan with the MeidasTouch.

Also note a late entry aimed at Michigan by the Biden-Harris campaign using Michigan-native Eminem‘s “Lose Yourself.”

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.

~ 0 ~

Thank you if you’ve already voted. Put the pedal to the metal and ensure everyone else you know votes by the time the polls close tomorrow.

~ | ~

UPDATE-1 — 1:15 A.M. 03-NOV-2020 —

Don’t let the door hit you, Donald. Good fucking riddance to bad baggage.

~ | ~

UPDATE-2 — 1:35 A.M. 03-NOV-2020 —

This twitter thread is heartbreaking, just gutting. Never had to happen.

He’s right. Donald Trump murdered BSR’s father.

Fire Trump.

Who Will Be Forced to Walk the Plank on November 4th?

Who will Trump force to walk the plank after the election?
(h/t Stacey Harvey for the image, [CC Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) ]

Win or lose, Donald Trump will be looking for vengeance once the election is over. Either he will lose, and want to punish those he deems responsible, or he will win and want to punish the folks he’s had to put up with despite their failures to do what he wanted. One way or another, Trump will want to make certain people pay and pay dearly after the voting is over.

It might be to get rid of people who have angered him by not being sufficiently publicly loyal and submissive.

It might be to get rid of people who angered him by not being sufficiently good at making Trump look good before the election.

It might be to get rid of people who angered him by making him look bad, indecisive, or (gasp!) wrong.

It might be to get rid of people who stood up to him in private and made him back down on something, even if that backing down was only done in private.

It might be to get rid of people who stood up to him in public, and he had to simply take it at the time because Trump would have paid a price if he got rid of them when it happened.

Put me down for Trump demanding that the following people be forced to walk the plank:

  • Doctors Tony Fauci at NAIAD, Stephen Hahn at FDA, and Robert Redfield at CDC, along with HHS Secretary Alex Azar for not keeping these disloyal doctors in line;
  • Bill Barr for failing to deliver any indictments and convictions of any Bidens or Clintons, John Durham for dragging his feet on his reports that would have made that happen, Christopher Wray for being the FBI director and generally annoying, whoever approved letting Andrew Weissmann reveal that Manafort was breaking the gag order in his case by communicating with Sean Hannity, and a host of other US Attorneys who didn’t behave according to Trump’s rules;
  • General Mark Milley for publicly apologizing for taking part in the infamous Bible-waving photo op created by driving protesters out of Lafayette Park with chemical agents, various generals and admirals who refused to back Trump’s call to deploy US troops to American cities he didn’t like, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper for not keeping these military folks in line;
  • Dr. Sean Conley, for not being more deceptive with the press around Trump’s COVID-19 status;
  • Mark Meadows for undermining Conley’s initial “he’s doing great” press remarks, as well as for more generally not keeping the WH functioning smoothly (as if that were possible, given his boss);
  • Mike Pompeo for failing to get Ukraine to do Trump’s bidding, as well as for not keeping folks like Fiona Hill in line.

But I must admit this is an incomplete list. Who else do you think might be on Trump’s Naughty List? Add your own thoughts in the comments.

Note: I also left off the list a bunch of folks like Mitch McConnell, Andrew Cuomo, Savannah Guthrie, and Cy Vance that Trump would demand walk the plank, but who remain outside his ability to make that happen. I also didn’t include Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr, or Eric, as he can’t fire his family. Though of course, he could disinherit them . . . for whatever that’s worth.

Election Day Countdown: 2 Days, 2 Much 2 Go

Guess who was coughing all day yesterday, to the point I had a sore throat?

However I’m not coughing today, didn’t run a temperature, so no idea if this is allergies, my autoimmune disorder, or an extremely light case of COVID.

The men in my household aren’t showing any symptoms so far, knock on wood.

Can’t rule out symptoms may show up at any time or get worse, though. Another one of my kid’s co-workers tested positive as did two customers who had close proximity to them.

It’s a small cluster. A tiny clusterfuck all thanks to that tangerine asshat in the White House.

~ 3 ~

MAGAtroids are ramping up their terror attacks. Today they shut down the Garden State Parkway:

They also swamped the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in New York City:

Trump supporters basically shut down two of the busiest highways in the New Jersey-New York area, and without advance notice or any permit. Thankfully no other terror attacks took place which might have required the intervention of state and federal law enforcement’s use of these roadways.

They also shut down Colorado state highway C-470 and northbound I-25, a federal highway:

And the media has once again failed to characterize this for what it is — terrorism designed to disrupt infrastructure with intent to interfere with normal operations including the conduct of the election.

This tweet nails it:

If the flags were black and white and covered with slogans in Arabic, Dari, or Pashto, perhaps the media would have a different perception of these events. But because the media is wired to see these as wholly political events and therefore expressions of free speech, they don’t call this terrorism.

No police showed up in either of these two states to force these “parades” to yield part of the roadway to regular traffic.

What exactly are police doing for public safety when, as in North Carolina, they spray teargas at and arrest participants of a march to get out the vote — including children and at least one journalist — because the police claim they were “blocking the roadway”? Yet New Jersey, New York, and Colorado didn’t use teargas or other irritants on participants intent on obstructing traffic.

One clue: note the race of the participants in these events.

~ 2 ~

Axios reported earlier that Trump will declare himself the winner if it looks like he’s leading in the polls before the end of the evening on Election Day. Trump has since denied this but he then whined about ballots coming in later (as they always have) and about governors of Democratic persuasion overseeing the conduct of the vote.

Which of course is total bullshit and another means to interfere with the vote. Polls won’t be closed in California, Alaska, Hawaii for at least 3-5 hours after polls in Easter Time Zone, and in Alaska in particular Trump is polling behind Biden.

NPR’s Dominic Montanaro tweeted a thread (click on the link) explaining the vote won’t be final before midnight Eastern:

Historian Michael Beschloss puts it more simply:

Anything Donald Trump says on November 3 before midnight Eastern should be seen as electioneering at best and interference with/suppression of voting at worst. Any media outlet reporting what Trump says without caveats is aiding and abetting him in a “perception hack” meant to undermine our faith in the democratic process.

It’s bad enough that the major broadcast television networks carried this Trumpian scumbucket who propelled this same “perception hack.” What a bloody shame we have to reply on The Lincoln Project to call out this ethics-free chump:

~ 1 ~

There are other signs Trump already knows this isn’t going to turn out well for him.

When we fire you, Trump, you’d best believe the eviction notice will be served and executed. We owe to the 231,000 Americans who died of COVID and the 3,000 Puerto Rican Americans who died from your deliberate neglect after Hurricane Maria to remove you, let alone the Americans who will die between now and your exit from the White House.

~ 0 ~

Thank you for voting if you’ve voted. Please help others over the next 48 hours to get out the vote. Make sure you touch base with friends and family to ensure they are prepared to vote if they haven’t already.

Election Day Countdown: 3 Days, 3 Things

*cough-cough*

More on that later. It’s very late on Day 3, need to get through these pronto.

~ 3 ~

The tangerine hellbeast will have a total of four rallies in Michigan between Saturday morning and Election Day. I wish I had sufficient lack of self-preservation to go to one of these events and shout at him, “Get out of my state, you diseased cretin!!!” but no.

A pity the Trump campaign hasn’t taken the conservative Detroit News’ hint — both its endorsement of Biden and its front page today:


A key reason Trump may be in Michigan so often — since his polling has been consistently behind Biden between 5-7% for a couple months — is that Trumpist senate candidate John James is within MOE of incumbent Democrat Gary Peters.

DeVos family and Mitch McConnell’s PAC have dumped more than $10 million combined into this race because it’s closer than some of the incumbent Republicans’ races.

Trump doesn’t sound like he’s convinced he can win. He’s tired; he cut down his Friday night rally in Minnesota to 21 minutes, blaming the governor’s COVID crowd limitations.

He was phoning it in. Have to wonder how that will affect James’ chances if Trump can’t produce higher energy for his base in Michigan.

~ 2 ~

Another key reason Trump is making four trips to Michigan sure looks like attempted mass murder by COVID.

You know Team Trump knows about this trend of increased confirmed cases and deaths. You know they’re aware Michigan has had record case numbers since his 9/11 rally here.

Sure looks like malice aforethought. Add that to the damage to high volume sorting in Detroit’s U.S. Postal office and it’s a deliberate and deadly combination of voter suppression in this swing state he won by a mere ten thousand votes in 2016.

~ 1 ~

And one more key reason for showing up so often in Michigan is his incitement to violence. It’s already spawned at least one seditious conspiracy against Michigan’s Gov. Whitmer, a.k.a. “that woman in Michigan.” He trash talked about her during the last visits he’s made to this state.

Today he tweeted implicit support for an attack by Trump supporters on a Biden-Harris campaign bus in Texas. The attack showed up on a number of videos posted on Twitter:

This attack was encouraged by Donnie Jr. with a wink-wink-nudge-nudge, according to the Daily Beast:

“Hey Laredo, Don Jr. here. I heard you had an awesome turnout for the Trump Train,” Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump, said in a video tweeted by Daily Caller contributor Kambree Kawahine Koa. “It would be great if you guys would all get together, head down to McAllen and give Kamala Harris a nice Trump Train welcome… let’s show them how strong Texas still is as Trump country.”

The FBI is looking into this. Not holding my breath that they’ll get right on this.

~ 0 ~

One last adder to the above three things given today’s terroristic attack on the Biden-Harris bus and Biden: this country is on the verge of systemic violence. This tweet thread notes how coverage of the violence we’ve been seeing incited by Trump and his supporters is not accurately described to the public:

The media is playing it safe using the same techniques it used when describing torture by the Bush administration — as “enhanced interrogation” — and not attributing it to the inciter or perpetrators.

Even when it’s state-sanctioned violence against the media, it’s not described as bluntly as it should be. This tweet about police in Graham, NC launching an unprovoked attack with pepper spray on a GOTV march which had a permit is as blunt as it gets and it still doesn’t quite convey the level of threat:

We should expect U.S. media to report both incitement and attacks using the same terms they employ when this kind of violence happens in other countries.

If you’ve already voted, thank you. Please help others get to the polls.

And prepare for anything over the next four to five days.

Election Day Countdown: 4 Days

After the phone call I just got, I have zero patience for language policing today. If you can’t stomach f-bombs, hit the the exit now.

I am goddamned sick of this tangerine-tainted blowhard and his constant incitement to violence. I am FURIOUS at his malignancy — his trash-talking about anyone who is competent and capable while he systematically fails this country.

I am just so fucking fed up with having to worry about COVID because that slack-assed corrupt sponge can’t be bothered to turn over the job of stemming the pandemic to competent people and instead finds every opportunity to siphon money off every thing he touches.

Wow, Rayne, you seem triggered…

You’re goddamned right I’m triggered. My younger kid just called and told me their boss tested positive for COVID. They’ve been in contact with their boss several times this week indoors at a retail entertainment venue, though part of those times the boss or my kid was wearing a mask.

And my spouse was in contact with the same boss at least three times in the last week, indoors, not wearing a mask all the time.

One of my BFFs was also in contact several times with the same COVID-positive person, indoors, with and without a mask.

All three — kid, spouse, friend — will have to get tested. If any of them test positive, I have to get tested, and then I have to make a bunch of phone calls to people with whom we’ve been in contact.

I’ve had three different companies here in my house doing repairs this week — two teams didn’t wear masks, one did.

My spouse met our other kid up north last weekend to go bow hunting, staying overnight with my elderly in-laws, one of whom is being treated for cancer. I dread telling my older kid about the potential exposure because they were just tested 10 days ago due to a workplace exposure; the test administrator injured my kid with the swab. Kid has a little PTSD after that episode and is reluctant to get tested any time soon.

Our financial advisor met my spouse after a multi-state road trip earlier this week — they’re on their way back across the same states. This advisor is a self-employed small business owner, has kids at home who are in a K-12 public school.

My kid’s COVID-positive boss is a small business owner — a first-time business owner who hasn’t yet finished their second full year running this operation. The business may have to shut down for two weeks depending on the rules covering their type of business.

Meanwhile, the utterly useless apricot-brained fuckwit is campaigning yet again in my state after causing a small spike in COVID cases when he campaigned here in September, spouting this kind of trash in front of his unmasked mouth-breathing base:

God damn it.

My kid’s boss, somebody we’ve known for years, one of my spouse’s friends, is now part of today’s COVID statistics.

For all I know my kid’s boss may have a second wave infection from the September campaign rally. Nobody is making money here off that wave of infection. Nobody will make money off the second wave.

Unless you’re an executive or stockholder of Regeneron up to this week’s problems with phase 2/3 trials of COVID therapy drug remdesivir, that is. What a pity for Trump’s Briarcliff member, Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer.

How the hell is this country supposed to return to normal if it never makes a sustained effort to stop COVID’s spread?

How is the economy supposed to turn around when the one person who could apply the powers of the executive branch to effectively end the pandemic, persists in undermining the states’ efforts, incites seditious acts against states, and actively spreads COVID by holding rallies which are not socially distanced or mask-mandatory?

How is this country supposed to simply muddle through without leadership to a safe and effective vaccine which may be one to two years away?

Vote that fucking hacktastic moron out of office in four days if you haven’t already cast a vote.

Help others vote that stupid orange fuckweasel out of the White House if you have already voted.

Do it for the 228,701 Americans who have died from COVID, and all the families who have to put up with this unending COVID circus.

Election Day Countdown: 5 Days

There are five days left until Election Day.

More than 228,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 to date. Most of these deaths were wholly preventable had the Trump administration responded appropriately to the pandemic back in January-February.

But there is an additional excess of deaths — persons who didn’t die of COVID-19 but who would not have died had there not been such a lousy national response to the pandemic.

My sibling may have been one of those excess deaths eight weeks ago.

Please, no condolences are necessary. I’d rather not chew up comment space with them and my sibling would be annoyed.

What I would much rather see is a discussion about the additional burdens on Americans the Trump administration has placed on them because Trump didn’t want to spook the market ahead of the election.

And because the Trump administration thanks to Trump’s monstrous hack of a son-in-law Jared Kushner decided that issuing federal aid to blue states wouldn’t help Trump’s re-election odds.

~ ~ ~

I wrote in August about the additional hassle the pandemic and Trump’s governance failures have caused my family because every health care activity requires more effort, more resources.

My father’s situation took nearly a month longer to resolve than necessary and with increased risks from complications. We were lucky his condition resolved with very little intervention after months of therapy and monitoring.

He had insurance to cover the majority of expenses and adequate savings to handle out-of-pocket expenses. But this is not the case for far too many Americans who’ve lost their jobs because of the uncontrolled pandemic. They will be digging themselves out of financial holes for too long if they happen to need health care this year or next.

All because Trump couldn’t be the president this country needed.

All because Trump is a malignant narcissist who is only worried about his own skin and his enablers are only worried about their own.

~ ~ ~

The insult added to injury is that COVID patients die alone. Their families can’t be with them in COVID ICU.

The Lincoln Project made a short effective ad which comes close to conveying the heartbreak of not being able to be with a loved one during their health crisis, but surprisingly the otherwise aggressive team pulled their punches by not making it absolutely clear death comes without the solace of familial touch.

And again, it’s not just COVID patients affected. My sibling died without their family around them because they couldn’t have visitors who may bring COVID into the ICU.

One family member per day could go in during limited visiting hours. One family member could tell them what we felt for them and tell them it was okay to go.

They died alone because of goddamned Donald fucking Trump.

~ ~ ~

My sibling was one of the excess deaths we don’t talk enough about as unnecessary collateral damage.

They had a health condition which under normal circumstances was and had been manageable.

But because of COVID they were extremely worried about contracting the virus in public spaces. They didn’t seek their regular health care as they would have had there not been an uncontrolled pandemic. Living in a red state which adopted Trumpian COVID denialism exacerbated the situation.

They died for lack of adequate health care about twenty years too soon.

All because of useless and corrupt Donald fucking Trump.

~ ~ ~

Listening with gritted teeth to yet another of Trump’s wretched displays of poor temperament for the office of the presidency, I thought of a Biblical quote. It’s been popularized in Spider-Man comics as the Peter Parker principle; the character is cautioned by his Uncle Ben with a paraphrase of Luke 12:48:

To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.

Donald Trump has had so much opportunity given to him because of his privilege as a white man of European descent with accumulated family wealth, even if ill-gotten. He pissed it all away. Even if it was merely converted through laundering from immediate wealth to untouchable wealth, it was turned from treasure to trash.

He’s done the same with this country’s treasure — its relationships with other countries, its economy, its aspirations from founding to become a better country, the light of the world, a city on a hill.

He’s converted whatever he could grab with his stubby little fingers into personal wealth which has disappeared into the same corrupt ratholes more than a billion dollars of personal wealth has vanished.

He’s gathered around him a cabinet and executive staff who are just as corrupt.

In spite of all the trust they have been given, access to our blood and treasure, they have frittered it away.

If it were only economic damage they wreaked they would eventually be forgotten and their conservative enablers would find a way to forgive their wretchedness.

But they are stealing from us what cannot be measured in dollars or hours of labor.

They are stealing and destroying the most precious moments we have, the ones when nothing else on earth matters.

And while roughly a million Americans mourn loved ones lost to wholly preventable spread of COVID, Donald fucking Trump gaslighted all of us about the disease:

The body count doesn’t lie, you miserable slack-assed excuse for an executive.

~ ~ ~

I will come to terms with the loss of my sibling as will the rest of my family. This month we’ll muddle through the first awkward and painful holiday with one too many plates, a few too many beers, and one too many empty chairs.

But I will never be able to get over the anger I have over the loss of those last minutes we could have shared with my sibling saying goodbye.

I will never forgive the hundreds of thousands of farewells which American friends and families could only make by phone if at all.

Call me bitter, I don’t fucking care. But I hope when time has its inevitable way as it does with us all, that Donald fucking Trump dies alone and he’s aware enough to know it as darkness falls.

Until then I will settle for his ass being kicked to the curb at the polls.

~ ~ ~

If you’ve already voted, thank you. If can help others vote, please do so.

Election Day Countdown: 6 Days

Six days. Less than a week to Election Day.

If you haven’t yet voted and were planning on voting early/absentee, please make a plan which doesn’t rely on U.S. Mail especially if you live in a large city. There are too many reports of First Class mail taking longer than five days to arrive.

Judge Emmett Sullivan — same judge handling the Flynn case — seems a bit tetchy about the U.S. Postal Service handling of ballots:


Worth your time to read the highly-detailed order linked in the Politico article, particularly this bit about the U.S. Mail:

FURTHER ORDERED that by no later than 9:00 AM on October 29, 2020, Defendants shall distribute, in the same form and to the same individuals who were previously advised about the need to “ensure that completed ballots reach the appropriate election official by the state’s designated deadline,” a list of state-specific statutory ballot receipt deadlines, so that the USPS managers and employees can implement the Election Mail guidance that Defendants have recently issued. The parties shall confer and agree and substance of the list. …

You can bet there’s squealing and scrambling going on right now even as I type this at 4:00 a.m.

Will these suits against the USPS be the first cases the new Barrett-added SCOTUS hears if current Postmaster Louis DeJoy refuses to comply and contests Sullivan’s directive?

~ ~ ~

There’s another problem with the SCOTUS already, though this is the pre-Barrett/post-RBG version. Seems Justice Kavanaugh has demonstrated what a hack he is making absurd errors in an opinion on voter suppression:

One of his errors goes right to the problem with the U.S. Mail:

Mistake No. 5: No one thinks they can return their ballot by Election Day if they request it by Oct. 29.

Kavanaugh wrote: “No one thinks that voters who request absentee ballots as late as October 29 can both receive the ballots and mail them back in time to be received by election day.” He cites no support for this assumption, probably because it’s wrong. Many states explicitly allow voters to request absentee ballots even closer to Election Day and instruct them to mail their ballots back. A large number of voters do wait until the last minute to ask for a ballot, which is why a strict deadline disenfranchises so many people. In August, the Postal Service encouraged 46 states to change their deadlines, warning them that ballots requested and returned in accordance with state law might not make it back in time. The Postal Service would not have sent out this warning if “no one” thought the states’ existing deadlines were unrealistic. …

I know there’s been a lot of talk about rejiggering the formulation of the SCOTUS including expansion of the number of justices to ensure improved representation reflecting a center-left country.

But I think we need to have a chat about reformulation including corrections of the existing justices. This opinion by Kavanaugh is so shoddy Congress should consider impeaching and removing him under a Biden presidency. Because it’s ridiculous that Chief Justice John Roberts let this out of his court, Roberts needs to feel a little sting for this as well.

~ ~ ~

Trump’s super spreader campaign rally in Omaha, Nebraska was a disaster Tuesday night. A number of elderly attendees had to be taken by ambulance for treatment of hypothermia due to temperatures in the 20s and the distance from the rally site to the parking lot.

It’s bad enough Trump is making campaign stops in places which Trump won by double digits in 2016 — 25 points, to be more specific. But to do so at physical risk to voters who may not yet have cast a vote?

Utterly stupid.

The capper: the campaign is desperate not only for votes but money.

That’s one way to clean up that $421 million dollars of personal debt.

~ ~ ~

If you’ve already voted, thank you. Please help get other voters to the polls and make this election a massive blue tsunami — a wave so big they can’t steal this election.

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