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Changing of the Guard

America, we survived. Today is a day for celebration.

I thought Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez were both terrific. How nice to see normal people like the Obamas and Clintons on center stage instead of toxic outliers.

There will be plenty of time to disagree with the policies of the new Administration for not going far enough, but for today, I'm happy to have my country back. We made it through the worst four years of history.

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Trump Grants 143 Pardons/Clemency Requests

The White House last night released the list of Donald Trump's final 73 pardons and 70 grants of clemency.

As expected, Steve Bannon got his pardon.

Stephen K. Bannon President Trump granted a full pardon to Stephen Bannon. Prosecutors pursued Mr. Bannon with charges related to fraud stemming from his involvement in a political project. Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen.
That is simply a joke of an explanation. Trump might as well have said: "There's nothing good to say about him, he doesn't deserve it but I'm doing it anyway. I'd rather have him owe me so he's on my team instead of the other team when the subpoenas start flying". Unfortunately, Bannon is likely a snake who will bite him in the as* at the first opportunity. [More...]

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100 Pardons Coming

Only two short days remain until all traces of Donald Trump and his family and entourage will be gone from the White House. What is his game plan for the end of the most mocked and despised administration in history?

Most major news outlets are predicting 100 pardons.

We all expect it to include Rudy Giuliani and Trump's children -- unless Jared and Ivanka are arrogant enough to reject the idea because they are convinced they are not in jeopardy and don't need one.

I expect to see Steve Bannon on the list. If it later turns out that the funding for luring ultra right-wingers to D.C. disguised as Donald Trump supporters to attack the capitol was provided by Bannon, Trump will look like an even bigger as* for pardoning him.

I also think there will be a lot of pardoning of uber-rich folks, or relatives of uber-rich folks. Trump will want to hit them up for money when he's ready to make his comeback.

I don't think Trump is selling pardons, but those close to him sure seem suspect, according to the New York Times.

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House Votes on Impeachment of "World's Most Dangerous Man"

"Donald Trump is a virus. It's time to remove him from his host." Unknown female Rep.

"Donald Trump is the most dangerous man ever to occupy the Oval Office". Rep. Joaquin Castro

Unhinged: Rep. Matt Gaetz

Donald Trump will be impeached by the House today. What will the Senate do? More importantly, what will Mike Pence do if Trump resigns in the next week? I believe he will pardon Donald Trump. Will they make a deal that Trump (who will likely be banned from holding public office in the future by the new Democratic-led Senate)will support a Pence-Ivanka ticket?

I do not care whether Trump finishes his term. I care that Mike Pence not take the helm in the next week because he will eradicate all of the bad karma the Trump family now has hanging over their heads. Pence is the only one who can dissipate it. I hope Congress does not let him.

Colorado's Rep. Diana DeGette is a national treasure. You can tell she used to be a criminal defense lawyer. Gun-toting bar owner/Trump hanger-on Lauren Boebert can't even read her lines without stumbling over them. I don't think her voice wasn't shaking with anger but stage fright. She will never be taken seriously by Democrats.

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Impeachment the Second Time Around

Does practice make perfect? Here is the Impeachment Resoulution now circulating in the House of Representatives.

The charge (Article I): Incitement of Insurrection. The alleged misconduct: Willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.

"Willfully" is the required state of mind. (Every crime except strict liability crimes like not wearing a seat belt have two components -- an Actus Reus (act) and a required Mens Rea (Mental State).

"Willfully" is a higher standard than "knowingly". It requires proof the person acted voluntarily and purposely, with the specific intent to do something the law forbids (here, to incite violence). It also includes voluntarily and intentionally assisting or advising another to do something the person knows disobeys or disregards the law.

It is not a defense to acting "willfully" that a person may have believed that his conduct was politically or morally required, or that he believed ultimate good would result from his acts.

So, did Trump intentionally violate a known legal duty? In my view: he intentionally violated dozens if not hundreds of them over the past four years. [More...]

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Britain Refuses to Extradite Julian Assange

Finally, some good news for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Britain has issued its ruling denying the request by the U.S. to extradite him.

“I find that Mr. Assange’s risk of committing suicide, if an extradition order were to be made, to be substantial,” Baraitser said in her ruling at London’s Old Bailey court.

“The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man, who is genuinely fearful about his future.”

The United States intends to appeal. Assange has been in custody, both at the Ecuadorian embassy and in jail for a decade. Enough. Free him.

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Trump Tries to "Fix" Vote Results in Georgia

The Washington Post has the astonishing transcript of Donald Trump's call to Brad Raffensperger, the Republican in charge of the elections in Georgia., telling him the state's vote was rigged and insisting he won Georgia. He presses Raffensperger to meet with his staff and take their numbers into account. From the Post's description of the call (but you should really read the transcript for the full flavor):

The Washington Post obtained a recording of the conversation in which Trump alternately berated Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims, at one point warning that Raffensperger was taking “a big risk.”

Throughout the call, Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel rejected Trump’s assertions, explaining that the president is relying on debunked conspiracy theories and that President-elect Joe Biden’s 11,779-vote victory in Georgia was fair and accurate.

Trump did manage to fit in one statement I agree with. In fact, he repeated it twice. He called himself a "schmuck".

So it appears Donald Trump, Carnival Barker-in-Chief - is now attempting to be the Fixer in Chief. He has no limits when it comes to pulling the wool over America's eyes.

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When NYC Vaccinated 5 Million People In Two Weeks

The New York Times has a very moving article about New York City's Smallpox scare of 1947, and how the city rose to the occasion, vaccinating more than 5 million people in 2 weeks and 6.5 million people in under a month.

Smallpox was thought to have been eradicated. Even thought most New Yorkers had already been vaccinated it , when the announcements of the first deaths came, they lined up again.

The response was so great that the city enlisted thousands of civilian volunteers to help deliver inoculations. Armed with vials of vaccine, the volunteers, along with professional health care providers, administered as many as eight doses per minute. Making their way through every school in the city, they inoculated 889,000 students. In the first two weeks, five million New Yorkers were vaccinated against smallpox.

The final result: There were a total of 12 infections and two deaths. A catastrophe was avoided. [More...]

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William Barr's "I'll Go Now" Letter to Trump

Attorney General William Barr tendered his resignation letter (available here) to Donald Trump today. It's a fanboy letter.

One thing the letter makes clear is that Trump and Barr discussed his resignation prior to his submitting the letter. Shorter version: Trump told him "Go Now". Barr would have been gone in a month, as soon as Biden's nominee gets confirmed, so what was the hurry? Why single him out and announce he's leaving early? Because Trump wants the world to know (as if any of us care) that when you go against the autocrat, you pay a price, even if it's just a public shaming.

I wonder who wrote the letter. Barr doesn't strike me as the literary type who would come up with phrases like "implacable resistance." Or the type to heap this baseless praise on Trump:

I am proud to have played a role in the many successes and unprecedented achievements you have delivered for the American people.

To me, it reeks of Trump's Number One Fanboy, Stephen Miller, assuming he hasn't jumped ship yet. [More...]

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Trump's Legacy: Champion of Death Penalty

Donald Trump thinks he will be remembered as a supporter of criminal justice reform. That could not be further from the truth.

The truth is he is a champion of the death penalty, which is state-sanctioned murder.

In the past year, 12 federal inmates have been put to death. Four more are scheduled to die before Trump leaves office.

Bryan Stevenson, who leads the Equal Justice Initiative, told WAPO:

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Georgia to Recertify Election Results Today

Finally, the fat lady is about to sing. Georgia will recertify its election results today, confirming for the third time that Joe Biden won the state.

Can the media now stop paying attention to Donald Trump? He is irrelevant, he's toast, stick a fork in him, he's done.

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Sunday Night Open Thread

I can't think of a time our country has been in worse shape. Between the pandemic and Donald Trump, it will take a generation at least -- well beyond my life span -- to regroup and recoup what we had that went down the drain with Trump's ineptitude and inability to believe in anything outside the bubble of his alternate universe built on false facts.

I had hoped that he would have quit by now. Instead, he's making himself more of a laughing stock, "here and anround the world" (as CNN would say).

Why isn't someone directing the FAA to shut down air traffic for Thanksgiving week? Could it be Donald Trump wants as many of us to die as possible as revenge for his election loss? Even he isn't flying to Mar-a-Lago on AF One for the holiday. That ought to tell you something. (Yes, maybe he's afraid his "things" will be gone when he gets back, but what does he own at the White House beside his clothes and the mattress he had shipped in? Doesn't the rest belong to the Government? Answer: I have no idea, which is why I'm asking the question.)

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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GA, AZ and PA All Called for Biden: Now With 306 EV

Democrats have turned some major ruby red states blue: The media has now called Georgia (in addition to AZ and PA) for Joe Biden.

The Electoral Vote total is now 306-232.

Goodbye Red States, Goodbye Trumps, Welcome Biden/Harris, we've got a lot of damage to reverse and a lot to do. So let's get to work.

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The Cost of Donald Trump's Failure to Lead (to Him and Us)

Honestly, I'm much more concerned about COVID-19 than I am about how Trump leaves office. No matter how he tries to spin it, Trump's lasting legacy will not be that he was cheated and robbed in his bid for re-election. It will be the tens of thousands of deaths he failed to prevent because of his failure as a leader.

I am electioned-out. I haven't read the news about him or his lawsuits or the vote tally in a few days (which feels like an eternity and has been quite liberating). But I'm going to break my silence of the past few days to share my prediction as how Donald Trump plans to get himself out of the election fiasco he has created, and why we shouldn't fall into the trap of celebrating his defeat on Thanksgiving.

I predict within days Donald Trump will announce he quits. That's right. He'll resign. He will say the vote was rigged and since no one will do anything about it, the country doesn't deserve him. Before Thanksgiving (or certainly before Christmas) I predict he'll head to Mar-a-Lago, never to be seen at the White House again. Glory, Glory Hallelujah. [More...]

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Thursday Open Thread

Yes, the vote tallies in the four critical states can change, but probably not enough to make Donald Trump anything but a loser. Two of the lawsuits he filed yesterday have already been dismissed. I'm not celebrating yet, but this song has been popping into my head since yesterday:

All your seasick sailors, they are rowing home
All your reindeer armies, are all going home
The lover who just walked out your door
Has taken all her blankets from the floor
The carpet, too, is moving under you
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue

Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you
Forget the dead you’ve left, they will not follow you
The vagabond who’s rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore
Strike another match, go start anew
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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