Daily Check-In 11/07/2018

Wednesday, November 7, 2018.  The day after the election.

 

Yesterday, Daily Check-In 11/06/2018, I mentioned how things would get crazy, but I honestly thought that wouldn’t happen until at least Thursday or Friday.

Boy, was I wrong.

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

 

Sessions Forced to Quit

 

Let’s all take a deep breath and look at this for what it is: a desperate, last minute attempt by an idiot mobster to make an investigation into him and his family disappear.

Trump is hoping that he can make this “Russia Thing” go away by firing Jeff Sessions and replacing him with a pick of his choice. Cute, but expected.

This is a little league play, and Mueller is the New York Yankees. They have this wargammed out.

First, if at any point Trump so much breathes, implies, tweets, or says that he picked Whitaker to stop Mueller, then Whitaker becomes an accomplice in a Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice. Whitaker then has the choice between trying to follow Trump’s orders, or follow the DOJ’s rules. If he does try to execute Trump’s wishes after Trump makes such a stupid statement, then his actions would have criminal intent.

Second, notice how Mueller has outsourced so much work to other groups?  That’s to prevent everything from getting buried in the event of Mueller’s firing. Whenever a matter is investigated but not pursued, the attorney in charge has to go on record and explain why they’re not pursuing it for each case. While one corrupt lawyer might be able and willing to pull a Robert Bork, most of the U.S. Attorneys won’t do that.

Third, there are several Dead Man Switches built into this investigation. The best lawyers in the world spent the last year and a half planning for this contingency. The Special Counselor’s Office has instructions that in the event of the dismissal of the Special Counselor, then the Senior Assistant Special Counselors are free to pursue the investigations as they see fit. There are about half a dozen Assistant Special Counselors, all of them existing U.S. Attorneys from various jurisdictions around the country. This includes unsealing a whole crapload of indictments against EVERYONE.

Finally, don’t forget the states. When the indictments are unsealed, there will be talk of pardoning the family and the like. Pardon’s are a last ditch effort, and don’t work against state crimes.

The timing kind of sucks, but there are two more things to remember. First, if Mueller is fired before January 5th, the Senate Intel Committee will likely immediately hire him as their investigator. If he’s fired after that date, the House Intel Committee will hire Mueller.

This is a chickenshit move by Trump that reeks of desperation. If this is the opening move in his final play to kill the investigation, he has severely underestimated his opponents.

Supposedly, Jeff Sessions asked to stay on until Friday but was told no.  Coincidentally, Mueller’s grand jury meets on Friday.  Now, it could just be that Jeff doesn’t want to spend the next two days moping around his apartment, or he had some meeting that he wanted to go to, but there are too many coincidences for this to be a coincidence.

This does open up a lot of new avenues.  It’s been rumored for a while that Sessions flipped.  (I’m still looking for the related article, but this date was the first rumblings).  We know that he interviewed with Mueller a long while back (Daily Check-In 01/23/2018), but it wasn’t in front of a grand jury.  Jeff’s up to his neck in his own shenanigans, and Trump just fired him from his dream job with no sign of the loyalty that he showed him.  We know how well that worked with Michael Cohen (Daily Check-In 08/21/2018)

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM & WHITE NATIONALISM

That pic was taken from a place off the normal tours.  Even the special tours don’t allow that kind of access.  This little Neo-nazi fuck had some special level of access.

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

No, it’s not Jamal Khashoggi.

 

#METOO

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

It’s on, mother fuckers.  5PM local time, check for locations.

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

Washington residents will face more scrutiny on the purchase of semiautomatic rifles.

Described by both supporters and opponents as one of the most sweeping new gun laws in the country, Initiative 1639 will put new restrictions on the sale of semiautomatic rifles and required guns that are kept in a home to be safely stored.

It was was easily passing Tuesday night despite opposition in many Eastern Washington counties. But it was narrowly passing in Spokane County with about 52 percent support.

Although the ballot title for the initiative refers to “semiautomatic assault rifles” the actual text of the measure makes no distinction between those rifles with certain military features like pistol grips or flash suppressors, and more standard hunting rifles.

So-called assault rifles – a general term for AR 15s and similar firearms that gun-rights advocates scoff at – have featured in many mass shootings, including the recent Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburg.

Starting in December, a buyer of any semiautomatic rifle will have to be 21, rather than the current age limit of 18, and pass a more thorough background check. Supporters said the change merely puts the rifles on par with handguns, which have similar requirements in Washington. Opponents said it’s unconstitutional age discrimination against people who are old enough to serve in the military, marry and sign contracts but won’t be able to buy a rifle that can fire a round each time the trigger is pulled. Single shot, bolt action and lever action rifles aren’t covered by the initiative.

Safe Schools Safe Communities, raised about $5.3 million overall with big donations from the late Paul Allen, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and his wife Leslie. The National Rifle Association backed an opposition campaign that raised about $600,000, and several other groups mounted smaller efforts.

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

On the same day that Trump fires Sessions, he picks a fight with the press.  This is example #7,509 that Trump has no sense of long-term strategical thinking.

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

 

ENVIRONMENT & SCIENCE

 

ELECTION 2018

You can’t always get what you want. But you get what you need: 1. The House. Big time victory overcoming geographic concentration plus gerrymandering, requiring Dem +8.5 margin. If we didn’t get past 218, the ACA and more would have been in huge trouble…

The House committees’ powers to subpoena, to hold public hearings, to hire Mueller if he is fired, then impeach. So Mueller has more job security than ever. (But GOP Senate wins are a reminder not to rush impeachment, and acknowledge that Senate 2/3 removal is not happening.)

The overall national House vote was around D +8.5. I worry about Trump’s re-election. I am less worried today. That solid D majority, much of it booming in the swing states Trump won, is a strong showing for 2020, and you can’t gerrymander it away. (But don’t take for granted)

4/ Look where Dems did well: the key 2020 battlegrounds. PA and Michigan swung back solidly. Wisconsin voted out Scott Walker (who had survived repeated recall attempts). Hillary’s purple states VA, NH, CO and NV stayed solid. Those 7 states are the road to victory.

Here’s the thing.  This election was a lot like Christmas.  We didn’t get the LEGO Millennium Falcon or the Tuxedo T-Shirt or Front row tickets to the Royal Rumble, but we did get the PS4, a bunch of games, aisle seats to the Rumble so we’ve got a good chance of high-fiving some wrestlers, and we got a stack of gift cards.

We got what we needed.  The rest was wishful thinking.

As my colleague Max Rosenthal explained, only a third of Senate seats come up for reelection every two years. Some of them run for office in states that are much more populous than others. This year, Republicans were also in luck because 26 of the 35 Senate seats up for election were held by Democrats. That means the GOP had much less to lose than the Democratic Party. On top of that, many of those previously Democratic-held seats were located in states where voters supported Trump in 2016.

So, even to preserve the status quo, Democrats would have had to win more voters overall than the Republicans did.

There are lot of screwed up things with American politics.  One of them is the selection of Senators.

Back in the day, in 1787, the Founding Fathers of the United States debated over how representation should be set up.  The smaller states, those with small populations, wanted each state to have an equal voice.  The larger states wanted representation based off of population.  Eventually, a compromise was reached so that both solutions would be used.  The House of Representatives would be based off of population, while the Senate would have equal numbers of people per state.  This was loosely modeled after the British Parliament, with the House of Commons and the House of Lords.  It was also decided that certain functions had to begin in different places.  Requests for money have to come from the House, while the Senate gives consent on appointments.

House members are up for election every two years, in even number years.  A senator serves a six year term.  It was decided a long time ago to have one third of the senators run for a new term every two years.  Since a President runs every 4 years, that means that every other senate race is at the same time as a presidential election.

From 1789 until 1911, Senators were appointed by the states.  This was changed with the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which made Senators a position directly elected by the people of each state.  Before 1911, each state would select their own senators, usually by the state legislature choosing one of their own to send to Washington.  This caused some problems when the states couldn’t decide or agree.  Eventually, this amendment made it so that the people elected them directly.

In the event that a Senator is not able to complete their term, the state can choose a replacement until a special election is held to fill the vacancy.  Each state is a little different, but generally they’ll hold a special election to line up with an already scheduled election.

Now, to understand how it is that the Democrats could lose Senate seats while gaining a fuckton more votes, let’s look at who was running, and where.  There were 35 senate races yesterday.  33 regular ones and 2 special elections to fill seats that were vacated due to resignations.  Out of those 35, 26 of them were Democrats.  Remember when I said that a Senator serves 6 years but a President serves 4?  They run in years that are cleanly divisible by 4.  Or, for the computer programmers out there:

if Year mod 4 = 0 then Election(POTUS);

Sorry, my syntax sucks.  Mod is modulo, or the mathematical way of looking at the remainder of a division problem.  In this case, if the year is divisible by 4, then it’s a Presidential run.

So, it’s the 2018 election for these senators that were elected in 2012.  What happened in 2012?  Barack Obama won reelection, and a lot of Senators rode his coattails to victory.  In the six years since then, the political landscape has changed.  Several of those 26 senators are now running in states that voted for Trump in 2016.  There was nearly no room to improve, but so many ways they could lose.  They only way for the Democrats to gain a majority in the Senate would have been to hold each seat they had, and pull of at least a few upsets.

This was unlikely to happen.

However, things aren’t all doom and gloom.  Demographics are changing.  The Democrats picked up a decisive win in Nevada, were very close in some places that they shouldn’t have been close at all like Texas and Florida, and won seats in states that Trump won in 2016, like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

As far as the 2020 Senate Map looks, it’s almost the opposite of this year’s.  Only 12 of the 33 seats up for reelection are held by Democrats, and only Alabama’s Doug Jones and Michigan’s Gary Peters are in a state that went for Trump.  Out of those 19 Republican senate seats, at least a dozen of them are in competitive locations.  Plus, we have no clue what will happen in the next two years, but a lot of it doesn’t look good for Team Red.

 

THINKING AHEAD

Yes, it’s time to start thinking about the future.  Fuck.

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

IN OTHER NEWS…

Just, don’t.  Ever. Propose. In. Public.

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for today.  The fucked up thing is, for the first time in a very, very long time, I felt relaxed after seeing the election results.  I had a hop to my step, I wasn’t stress eating, the pain in my chest was gone.  Things felt good for a few hours.

Then the Jeff Sessions news broke.  Then the pain returned.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate Jeff Sessions.  I don’t call him the Keebler Nazi as a term of endearment.  He is a racist little shit, and quite possibly the worst person to ever be Attorney General of the United States.  But, because of the importance of the Mueller investigation, keeping Sessions in place sort of guaranteed that nothing bad would happen.  That guarantee is gone.

The other thing that I saw that was completely nuts was the timing of this firing.  Literally, the day after the election, he fired his Attorney General for not protecting him.  This could have been orchestrated before, but why not do this before?  There was no evidence that firing him before the election would make a difference.  If anything, it might have galvanized Trump’s base a bit.  Sure, it might have cost the Republicans a few more seats in Congress, but not enough to risk a supermajority.  No, something else is up.

Remember over the last couple weeks all of those stories about Donnie Jr. and Roger Stone about to be indicted, and how they’re becoming concrete in the last few days? (Daily Check-In 11/05/2018,Daily Check-In 11/06/2018). I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some fire to that smoke and Trump is trying to end this investigation now because his son is about to get arrested.

Not only do I expect some shit to happen this week, I’m counting on it.  Mueller’s team has traditionally dropped indictments on Friday morning.  This weekend, I’ll be out of town on a trip.  I won’t have access to the internet most of the weekend, so I fully expect the fecal matter to strike the manual air circulation device.

I’m not a pessimist.  I’m optimistic that shit will go sideways at the worst possible moment.

We’ll get through this.  One thing I always try to do is when things get crazy, I look to the Rumor Mill and see how they’re reacting.  While everyone else is pulling their hair out, they’re cooler than the other side of the pillow.

We got this.  It just might not feel like it in the moment.

As I’ve said before, we will come through this crisis.  But we have to live through it first.

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

 

 

 

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