Violations of Norms Create Loaded Guns Left Lying Around and Are Highly Addictive: Potential National Emergency Declaration Edition

From CNN:

Washington (CNN)The White House is preparing a draft proclamation for President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency along the southern border and has identified more than $7 billion in potential funds for his signature border wall should he go that route, according to internal documents reviewed by CNN.

Trump has not ruled out using his authority to declare a national emergency and direct the Defense Department to construct a border wall as Congress and the White House fight over a deal to end the government shutdown. But while Trump’s advisers remain divided on the issue, the White House has been moving forward with alternative plans that would bypass Congress.

“The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency,” a draft of a presidential proclamation reads.

“Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C 1601, et seq.), hereby declare that a national emergency exists at the southern border of the United States,” the draft adds.

The draft was updated as recently as last week, a US government official told CNN.

According to options being considered, the administration could pull: $681 million from Treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion in military construction, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200 million in Department of Homeland Security funds, the official said.

As lawmakers discussed a short-term measure to fund the government Thursday, Trump again raised the prospect of other ways to fund a border wall without congressional approval.

“I have other alternatives if I have to and I’ll use those alternatives if I have to,” he told reporters.

“A lot of people who wants this to happen. The military wants this to happen. This is a virtual invasion of our country,” Trump said.

I want to make four important points about this prospective course of action being considered by the President:

1) If the President does do this, it does not also mean that it then clears the way for the shutdown parts of the government to be reopened. While it may free the majority Republican caucus in the Senate to move a clean continuing resolution, it also frees the President up to just ignore it. He’ll have gotten what he wants, immediate funding and the gratification that comes with it, for his wall. At that point there’s no pressure on him to sign any continuing resolutions or appropriations bills. Regardless of what Republican senators and/or conservative pundits might think, this doesn’t break the logjam preventing funding to reopen the shutdown portions of the government. Rather, it relieves any pressure on the President to actually reopen them as he will have found a way to unilaterally get what he wants, which removes all the pressure being brought to bear on him.

2) If the President crosses this line and declares a national state of emergency regarding border security, he’ll quickly become addicted to it. Some of this will be because of the rush of violating norms, rules, and traditions in a very public and very large scale way. Some of this will be because of all the attention he’ll get from doing so. And some of this will be because he will suddenly have a new toy to play with. If he does this for a fictional border security crisis, he’ll also do it for his other factually inaccurate but deeply held fetishes: multilateral trade agreements that are ripping the US off, Chinese currency manipulation, multilateral military and national security alliances that are taking advantage of the US – none of which are actually happening. And as was the case with his military transgender ban, he’ll be encouraged to use his transgressive new powers for a variety of other hard right dreams such as rewriting US immigration law (which he actually publicly considered doing several months ago), outlawing abortion, declaring national constitutional or reciprocal carry of firearms to ensure Americans can defend themselves against the terrorists, gang members, and drug dealers that are not actually poring over our southern border, etc.

3) While the lower courts, including many of the Federal Courts of Appeal, will overturn this proposed action of declaring a national emergency on the southern border to reallocate funds without Congress’s consent to build his wall, and enjoin them from taking place, the Supreme Court will uphold the action. The one constant in the nominations and appointments of Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh is that they all hold the most expansive views possible of executive branch and presidential power, especially when the president is a Republican. As much as they may or may not overturn a variety of precedents such as Roe V. Wade or try to reinstate the Lochner era of Federal jurisprudence, they were chosen to rubber stamp the executive branch and presidential actions of what Karl Rove thought would be a permanent Republican majority America, where the Congress would have a GOP majority and the president would be a Republican for at least a generation.

4) If we’re lucky enough that the President, should he actually declare a national emergency on the southern border in order to reallocate funds without congressional approval to build his wall, and not actually decide to use this power over and over again, Republican elected and appointed officials, as well as conservative commentators, think tankers, and legal scholars need to prepare themselves for a future Democratic president, perhaps as early as January 2021, declaring a national emergency regarding climate change and thereby forcing the Green New Deal. Declaring one regarding income inequality repealing all the tax cuts since the 1960s. Declaring one that Justice Gorsuch, as well as all the Federal district and appellate court justices who are were confirmed because McConnell refused to allow confirmation of Obama’s nominees, all received stolen goods when they were confirmed and sworn in on the Supreme and other Federal courts, and therefore increasing the size of them and filling those appointments without the Senate’s advise and consent to prevent the GOP from further ratfuckery in Federal judicial appointments. And declaring one regarding mass shootings and school shootings in order to radically reinterpreting the 2nd Amendment and force gun safety measures.

Violating norms, ignoring traditions, and breaking rules are sometimes necessary. None of them should be done for trivial reasons, which includes process reasons, which includes a declaration of national emergency to allocate funds that Congress has not and will not appropriate for a border wall. Violating this norm, issuing a national emergency because the President cannot get Congress to go along with something he wants, is unwilling to negotiate in good faith, and has run out of other options to achieve his goals, creates a very dangerous precedent. We will be lucky, should the President decide to issue such a declaration, that it is just a one off and that future Democratic majorities in Congress and a future Democratic president can agree to revise the law regarding national emergencies and rebalance power back to the legislative branch. Unfortunately, we are more likely to see this President to become addicted to his new toy and try to use it over and over and over again. Republican officials, like Senator Graham, will rue the day they encouraged the President to do this. Unfortunately the rest of us are going to rue it too. It will not only be a massive violation of norms and rules, it will also be a massive threat to national security and that threat will be coming from the Oval Office aided and abetted by the Republican majority Senate and Republican nominated and approved conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

Open thread!

224 replies
  1. 1
    Yarrow says:

    It’s a National Emergency that Trump, his family, his cabal, his cabinet and most of the Republican party are not in prison. I’d like to see a National Emergency declaration remedy that situation, please.

  2. 2
    laura says:

    It is my fervent hope and prayer that something terrible happens to the president and his tiny nazi assistant Mr. Miller.
    I wish a terribly painful awful thing happens to McConnell.

  3. 3
    donnah says:

    Thanks, as always, Adam, for the concise and well-written analysis. We are in the most bizarre time of political mayhem that I can ever remember. All logic, decorum, common sense, and rules are completely gone and we’re fighting for our lives and our democracy.

    It’s a goddam rollercoaster every day. We get good news, tempered by bad news, followed by terrible news and then it all starts over again the next day. It’s exhausting.

    I’m hopeful that Nancy Smash and the other stalwart Democrats can hold on and continue to put pressure on McConnell and the rest of the Republicans. This only gets worse.

  4. 4
    plato says:

    I doubt roberts or even gorsuch will go with the rabid right on this.

  5. 5
    Brachiator says:

    All this mishegas because a core of frightened, racist white voters could not believe that a black president (and her presumed successor, a white woman) would love them and take care of them as well as any white man.

    Trump is stuck on the idea of his vanity wall and he is not letting go, even if his stubbornness precipitates a constitutional crisis. And it is clear that he believes that the government of the United States exists to do his bidding and to allow for his personal enrichment and the enrichment of his family.

    Once again, Adam has nailed it with clarity and great insight.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @plato: Roberts might not, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Thomas will.

  7. 7
    Punchy says:

    This will not be upheld by SCOTUS. Say what you want about the shitheads on the court, its as plain as Kansas that the “emergency” is wholly manufactured and without merit even by the flimsiest of standards. To allow this would greenlight any future President to manufacture an “emergency” out of whole cloth and sidestep Congress for anything. I cant believe SCOTUS is ready to give us an Imperial President just yet…

  8. 8
    piratedan says:

    @laura: I would be okay with prison and have them be a cautionary example to anyone else who feels like it’s okay to betray the country. I know that is more expensive than simply letting them buy a bullet, but those kinds of endings usually begat martyrs and lets face it, the GOP adores being “persecuted” and holding their villains up as heroes. I’d rather a nice public trial, all of their heinous acts made public and informing those that watch what laws were broken so there’s none of this both sides bullshit perpetuated.

  9. 9
    Spanky says:

    @Brachiator: No, all this mishegas is because a hostile foreign power targeted the democratic processes of the US through a number of vectors, including influencing elections, and turning Republicans in positions of power.

    Never forget.

  10. 10
    Ohio Mom says:

    This is the sort of thing I was referring to yesterday when I said I hoped Trump backing down on the State of the Union address wasn’t going to be Pelosi winning a battle but losing the war.

    Because I am having trouble imagining how this ends at all well.
    I was hoping the Republicans in the Senate might move, and a few on them did — but not enough.

  11. 11
    khead says:

    Please proceed, POTUS.

  12. 12
    Yarrow says:

    @Ohio Mom: Maybe we’ll get an Indictment Friday and that might shake things up a bit.

  13. 13
    Jay says:


    “ would love them and take care of them as well as any white man.”

    “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

    Needy Amin’s base doen’t care about love.

  14. 14
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Yarrow: Yeah, maybe. I have occasional Fitzmas flashbacks.

    I still believe that eventually the country will right itself. I am just very aware that I don’t have the imagination to see what the bridging events to that day look like.

  15. 15
    debbie says:


    Thanks for posting RIpple in the other thread. It’s always been one of my most favorite songs.

  16. 16
    The Dangerman says:

    The House would obviously vote for No Emergency.

    Then the Senate has 15 or 18 days to vote; Mitch might release the caucus.

    If both vote it down, I don’t know if Trump can veto.

  17. 17
    Plato says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    That still doesn’t make a majority. Anyhoo, by the time this winds up in SC, the thug and his minions will just run the clock out all the while blaming librul democrat courts.

  18. 18

    We really need to know what Donald Tяump knew, and we need to know fast. I’m thankful beyond words that there are Democrats running the House now, but they need to get going on this now. Today. Yesterday, if they can. Learning the full extent of Donald Tяump’s complicity in what Russia did is really the only way we’re going to get through this in one piece.

  19. 19

    At some point in your sequence, Adam, is

    N. Americans take to the streets. Continuing demonstrations. Trump declares a state of emergency. Congress – ?

  20. 20

    @Yarrow: And to think that this oligarchy in charge was elected.

  21. 21
    smintheus says:

    The Democratic caucus should agree upon 5 national emergencies that the next Dem president will declare upon taking office, then make the list public. Neither SCOTUS nor Congressional Republicans are crazy enough to hand them that power.

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’ve got to go run an errand or two. I’ll be back later.

  23. 23
    Cermet says:

    LOL; it is an emergency – for him. If he fails to get the wall, his voters will not turn out, he then knows he loses big time in 2020. Then Mueller indict’s the orange fart cloud’s ugly ass. Quickly he gets convicted, and goes to jail. His only hope is to get elected and get pass the statue of limitations for his crimes. Doubt he’ll continue with those efforts once he secures his wall but that is just guessing. Either way, there will be a backlash and he’s gonna lose come 2020.

  24. 24
  25. 25

    @Cermet: Agreed. I have faith in the newly elected D-majority House. Rs don’t hold all the cards in this high stakes game.

  26. 26
    JMG says:

    When a Democratic President uses the same tactics, and tells the Supreme Court to go to hell in the finest tradition of Andrew Jackson, the Republicans will regret their actions.

  27. 27
    The Dangerman says:

    I’ll go back to my Post on first caffeine this morning. Let’s say Mueller indicts folks tomorrow…

    … and it’s bad. Not Muellermas, which I think should be defined as one or more Trumps getting indicted. But still, bad.

    How things play out to resolution of the shutdown mystified me. Maybe Trump doesn’t pass a DR and gets the essential work done without pay (which would cause Trump great joy as they are all Dens, doncha know).

    +0, but that won’t last long.

  28. 28
    The Pale Scot says:

    Why is the leading so tight? Sorta hard to read. I come here because BJ caters to the mostly blind, getting deaf, kinda dimwitted in a charming sort way population :)

  29. 29
    Jay Noble says:

    My fear is some brilliant a-hole will whisper “Declare Martial Law” in his ear. For Trump, it would be too easy.

  30. 30
    The Dangerman says:

    Shit, should never post from phone.

  31. 31
    patrick II says:

    Violating norms, ignoring traditions, and breaking rules are sometimes necessary. None of them should be done for trivial reasons…

    I read someone today who called the wall the latest Confederate Monument. I think that’s right, and to them the passing of the Confederacy is far from trivial.

  32. 32

    @The Pale Scot: The formatting of the bullet points is kinda messed up, needs more line spacing. FYWP.

  33. 33
    Cermet says:

    @The Pale Scot: No, BJ caters to the intelligent, thinking type that looks upon reality and offers hope – your confused by looking in a mirror and thinking it represents anyone but you – dim, getting deaf and rather stupid; a true rump voter.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:


    “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

    I will also throw in these recent comments from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, dismissing the problems of furloughed workers:

    “These are basically government-guaranteed loans because the government has committed, these folks will get back pay once this whole thing gets settled down,” Ross said. “So there is really not a good excuse why there really should be a liquidity crisis now.”

    What kind of moron thinks that the average American thinks in terms of a liquidity crisis?

    And yet, Trump’s hard core followers are still true believers, waiting for the “right people” to be hurt and put in their place.

  35. 35
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    So, assuming there are demonstrations against these national emergencies that give him widespread powers, do you all think he would willingly order troops to crackdown? To have ordinary Americans killed if he could? I’m very worried he might. He’s not stable and I’m not confident our troops or their commanders would disobey his orders, especially if the protesters are evil libtards and coloreds who are enemies of the state.

  36. 36
    The Dangerman says:

    @Jay Noble:

    Martial Law = General Strike and The Money cuts Trump’s balls off.

  37. 37


    No, all this mishegas is because a hostile foreign power targeted the democratic processes of the US through a number of vectors, including influencing elections, and turning Republicans in positions of power.

    It’s true that Russia targeted our election, but their targeting only worked because there was material here to work on. Russia planted the seeds of Trump’s success, but they grew in the fertile soil of right wing grievance over loss of straight white Christian male dominance of the political process.

  38. 38
    Emerald says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    I’m thankful beyond words that there are Democrats running the House now, but they need to get going on this now. Today. Yesterday,

    Exactly. Mueller is taking too long, even though I do get it that he has to dot every “I” and cross every “t.” By the time he finishes we’ll be dealing with another stolen election, and I doubt the nation can survive it. Look at the damage that has been done in only two years. Environmental destruction, food safety destruction, the destruction of our standing in the world.

    It’s time for action now. That’s what we voted for. Get on it!

  39. 39
    Duane says:

    Two basic norms Trumpov violates are intelligence and humanity. How quickly people forgot about those qualifications for a president in favor of tax cuts and hurting others. The whole damn thing is sickening to see. This too will end but it’s going to be ugly. That’s what happens with horrible decisions.

  40. 40
    jimmiraybob says:

    Is it safe to assume that we would have to live with a faux state of emergency until the wall is finished in order to assure a source of funding? If so, that would potentially open the door to a 10-15 year state of emergency. Or a perpetual state of emergency as the demand for a national security wall consumes the nation. This, of course, would require more than 2 Donald terms mandated by the old norm formerly known as the Constitution.

  41. 41
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Cermet: Uhh… ok? The only thing I take issue with is the accusation of being a Maggot. You wouldn’t happen to be an associate prof. at a community college in Cali?

  42. 42
    Gravenstone says:

    All because the poor widdle baby got his ego crushed for all the world to see. Thanks, Republicans. You could have stopped this idiocy in its infancy by crushing has primary campaign. You could have crushed it post-election by saddling him with competent (albeit intrinsically evil) staff and Cabinet, you could crush it today if you just manned up and impeached then convicted his incompetent ass. But no, you’re going to ride this insane tiger to our collective doom. Fuck every last whoreson of you.

  43. 43
    JWR says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    Why is the leading so tight? Sorta hard to read.

    Not sure what you mean by leading, but my one and only complaint about reading ALS’s posts is that there needs to be more paragraph breaks. (Not blind, but I seriously need new glasses.)

  44. 44
    Mary G says:

    WaPo has a headline that the Koch network has announced that it will not participate in the 2020 presidential election. I am not linking it and didn’t read it, because I am afraid of becoming so enraged I stroke out. These assholes spent an obscene amount of money to persuade the idiot masses that government is the problem in order to become even richer when they already had enough money. They have reaped freedom to rape and pillage the environment at will because the masses elected an Idiot King. Now they want to walk away with no responsibility? No, nein, nyet, nope, buddies. You destroyed much of what is good about America and the only amends that would help is to elect Democrats to all offices, then retire to a monastery to contemplate your sins.

    ETA: This is your finest piece, Adam. Really magnificent. I’m afraid that the next two years will make the last two look like a garden party where men wear suits and ladies wear hats and gloves.

  45. 45
    Mainmata says:

    Abuse of “national emergency” powers perfectly fits the impeachment clause. By itself, it is a “high crime” in that it is Trump essentially declaring himself a dictator.

  46. 46
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Cermet: @The Pale Scot:

    My old eyes also had a workout reading the squashed lines. I ended up hopping and skipping through them.

    I figure that if any of the outlined scenarios come to pass, I will learn all the details I scanned through in terrible detail then.

  47. 47
    mad citizen says:

    @Emerald: I’ve been there for a while–Mueller is taking waaaaay too long. I think the Emergency thing and for sure Martial Law would bring on some kind of revolution. Just judging by the previous milktoast Colorado Senator’s rant today.

  48. 48

    @JWR: “Leading” refers to the space between lines of text. It comes from the days when type was set by hand and strips of lead were put between rows of letters.

    (I can’t tell you how happy I am to be able to trot out a factoid I learned in grad school for which I’ve had no previous use.)

  49. 49
    Gravenstone says:


    would love them and take care of them as well as any white man.

    Joke’s on them. Those white men have never loved them, They’ve simply seen them as the useful fools/tools they’ve always been.

  50. 50
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    It’s getting awfully close to the point where the least-unpalatable resolution left is the venerable Turkish Army solution: Depose the government & rule by fiat, try the top officials in military court for treason & execute them, clean out the corrupted lower echelons (possibly imposing lifetime bans on political activity), then hand power over to a civilian caretaker government which plans for new elections. The Army did this several times between 1960 and 2016, & returned civilians to power after brief interregnums (interregna?).

    No one in their right mind thinks this is would be a good outcome. But it may be the least-bad option remaining.

    The problem is, the Türk ordusu (before Erdogan Islamized it) considered itself the primary guardian & guarantor of the secular republic (Cumhuriyet) founded by Atatürk after overturning the Treaty of Sèvres & expelling the Greek army from Anatolia in 1922. Is there any equivalent sentiment in the US armed forces to return us to the rule of law? Doubtful at best. The military has never been happy with civilian control & an emergency culminating in a junta could last a long, long time… :^(

  51. 51

    It’s important to understand that an emergency declaration over the wall is a declaration of a specific emergency that will require specific responses. It might let the president redirect funds to wall spending and avoid some legal obstacles to construction, but it wouldn’t create a general emergency that would allow him to suspend legal obstacles unrelated to the putative emergency. The worry is that if it works, he will resort to further emergency declarations every time he fails to get his way.

  52. 52
    Gravenstone says:

    @Spanky: That interference was enough to turn things at the margins. The racist base was and remains large enough to allow such tinkering to be effective.

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    First rule of dealing with a toxic narcissist: never assume that they won’t step over a line just because it seems unthinkable that someone would break the rules for petty personal reasons. Because a narcissist will ALWAYS step over the line for petty personal reasons, and do it twice on Sundays. They think that their willingness to break social norms makes them smarter and stronger than everyone else.

    I hope Nancy Pelosi has a strategy to deal with this (I assume she does), because Trump is going to do this sooner rather than later.

  54. 54
    JWR says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: @Dorothy A. Winsor: Ahh. Thank you! I had an inkling of what it referred to, but obviously didn’t now for sure.

    ETA. Not sure what happened there, but don’t click my reply to link!

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:


    They will. It’s what they were installed to do, and they both know it.

  56. 56
    Baud says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: Jesus Christ. We’re nowhere close to that. Fucking Venezuela just barely got there for Pete’s sake.

  57. 57
    Mary G says:

    He’s already gone rogue:

    NBC News: Skripal poisoning: Trump admin yet to impose new Russia sanctions required by law — The EU punished four Russians this week in connection with the Skripal poisoning, but the U.S. hasn't moved forward with its own penalties. via @JoshNBCNews— Evan Rosenfeld (@Evan_Rosenfeld) January 24, 2019

  58. 58
    WaterGirl says:

    If Trump does this, and doesn’t merely threaten to do this, it will scare me more than anything he has ever done.

    To me, it signals that he is so out of control that we can’t wait for Mueller — if Trump does this, I think impeachment proceedings need to be started right away.

    I am completely open to you guys explaining why that would be a terrible idea.

  59. 59
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Mary G: Why would anybody take anything the Koch brothers say at face value? Of course they will be participating, one way or another.

    Pandora opened a box that let a multitude of ills travel across the globe, which they still do today; the Kochs unleashed one vehicle after another for spreading their vile philosophy throughout every corner: Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, the Mecatus Center, and on and on.

    They don’t have to personally participate anymore to continue to participate.

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mary G:

    My interpretation: The Kochs have had their spigot of money from Putin shut off by the Deep State, and they’re too cheap to spend their own money on “their” projects.

  61. 61
    Fair Economist says:

    @patrick II: I think Jamelle Bouie at the NYT first described Trump’s wall as the new Confederate Monument. He got cited at LGM and other places.

  62. 62
    Emerald says:

    @Mnemosyne: Nancy raised five kids. She knows how to deal with toddlers.

  63. 63
    Damien says:

    Let’s say for the historical argument that Trump declares national emergency, abolishes Congress and ignores the Supreme Court (assuming they step in to do anything), what’s the next step? Or are we just a fascist state then?

    Not sure whether /s or not…

  64. 64
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think Pelosi’s plan may just be to get it happen sooner rather than later. The longer Trump stays in power the more Republicans will excuse everything he does.

    Causing the crisis sooner means there’s more pptentialmallies to stop it.

    But really, I don’t know what she CAN do other than to fight it legislatively and in the courts, and use it to spur Democratic turnout in the next election. If she can get enough support, it’s absolutely the sort of thing to impeach over.

  65. 65

    @Baud: Thanks. Wise Baud is wise.

  66. 66
    Brachiator says:


    Nancy raised five kids. She knows how to deal with toddlers.

    Unfortunately, Trump is not really a toddler, and Nancy is not his mother.

  67. 67
    plato says:

    @Mnemosyne: I seriously doubt putin has spent billions in fucking up murkan elections. He got what he wanted very cheap due to murkans’ propensity to cut off their noses.

    koch monsters got what they wanted from the totus thug and the treasonous party, their big tax-cuts. Hence, they say they will go awol. For now.

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:


    SCOTUS is fine with an imperial president — even a dictator — as long as that president is a Republican. Their primary rule is IOKIYAR, Democrats fuck off.

  69. 69
    lamh36 says:

    If nothing else, Doug Jones is showing that Joe Manchin votes the way he votes because he wants to, not because he represents a red state

  70. 70
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    He sure acts like one.

  71. 71
    The Pale Scot says:

    Leading is printer speak for the space between lines. Back in the day this was accomplished with strips of lead. Same lingo as kerning, and we’ve all heard of that.

    Different people have have different standards concerning paragraphs. There’s the AP style book. The five paragraph thesis paper approach (I took a beating learning that). I’ve run into other standards from Lit, Law and Stem teachers. Each requires a different approach

  72. 72
    PeakVT says:

    Point 4 strikes me as nonsense. Even with a lot more hard left types like AOC (I kid) in Congress the probability of a majority of Dems doing any of that is a big fat zero. Dems believe in the rule of law, and that’s a good thing.

    Besides, why stop there? The Second Constitution of the United States of America has reached its sell-by date. It’s time for the Dems to impose the Third Constitution.

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:


    I seriously doubt putin has spent billions in fucking up murkan elections.

    It wouldn’t take billions. Maybe $1 billion. And if you don’t think that Putin has been fucking with our elections for years through SuperPACs and collaborators like the NRA, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to add a few more layers of tinfoil to my hat. Maybe a couple of tinfoil flowers to make it more fashionable and better deflect the mind rays.

  74. 74
    Melusine says:

    If he does declare it a national emergency, can Democrats investigate him for dereliction of duty to determine if a) there is a crisis and b) if there is, why the fuck he did nothing about for two years and what penalties should be imposed? And if not, what happens to the president for falsely declaring one and doing untold damage to the economy and investment in those regions and what’s happening to property values down there? If the Court upholds his “crisis”, can there be an onslaught of lawsuits against him and McConnell and other GOP leaders for doing fuck all about it for two years? There’s a ton of footage of him of him from the campaign on going on and on about how critical the situation was. If enough groups threaten lawsuits what would happen? Can people in border states sue him for fucking with their property values?

  75. 75

    @Mnemosyne: Disagree, CJ Roberts will not be fine with it; it will reflect badly on his legacy.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:


    I really am assuming that Nancy Pelosi already has a strategy, because he’s made this threat before and I don’t think she is underestimating his capacity for childish assholery. I don’t know what that strategy is, but I have no fear that she hasn’t gamed this out and come up with Plans A, B, C, and beyond.

  77. 77
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    Shelby County v. Holder is on line 3….

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:


    I think Roberts’ legacy matters less to him than whatever blackmail material Trump and the Russians have gathered on him, but we shall see. No one was ever disappointed by assuming all Republicans to be cowardly and self-serving.

  79. 79
    randal m sexton says:

    Is it time to start pushing the idea of a general strike? We need to normalize that

  80. 80

    @Mnemosyne: I’d get some colored foil for your hat, it’ll look much more fashionable.

  81. 81
    Plato says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    He voted against VRA. But he also upheld obamacare. He is a rw’er alright but not a rabid one. Yet.

  82. 82
    Mary G says:

    Every time I despair, some kid somewhere does something awesome:

    It takes deep courage to go to Davos and tell the masters-of-the-universe *to their faces* that they knowingly torched the planet in order get filthy rich. @GretaThunberg did that. She's 15.— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) January 24, 2019

  83. 83
    JWR says:

    @The Pale Scot:
    “Leading is printer speak for the space between lines.”

    Yep. Pronounced “Lehding”, in case anyone (like me) wanted to know. Thanks. ;-)

  84. 84
    randy khan says:

    @The Dangerman:

    There’s a question about the constitutionality of the Congressional veto process, but you’d certainly expect the House to make the vote and force the Senate’s hand regardless. It’s one reason why McConnell doesn’t want to have Trump declare a state of emergency.

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:

    And just to be really, really clear:

    I am not despairing. At all. I’m betting that Pelosi and her team are way smarter than Trump and his team, and that they are not going to let Trump get away with rule-breaking. Trump’s morons can’t even read the Constitution to see what the rules are for the State of the Union, and they think they can outmaneuver Nancy D’Alesando Pelosi by declaring a fake emergency? Bish, please.

    I’m telling people here not to underestimate how far Trump is willing to go so he can get his way, but I doubt that Pelosi and her team are underestimating his capacity for pettiness.

  86. 86
    Mary G says:

    NEW: Exclusive: Two security specialists rejected Jared Kushner’s top secret security clearance over concerns of potential foreign influence, but were overruled by a supervisor, two sources familiar with the matter told @NBCNews.— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 25, 2019

    It wasn’t just Jared, it was 30 people. The problem with expecting people to work for free is that they know a lot of your secrets.

  87. 87
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Make no mistake. There is an emergency in this country.

    The emergency’s name is Donald Trump.

  88. 88
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mary G: Jared Kushner (and for that matter, Donald Trump) is a classic, textbook security risk.

  89. 89
    eemom says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: @PeakVT: @plato:

    I’m with y’all. This post is just a tad hysterical. Except I DO agree with the “new toy” theory.

  90. 90
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Brachiator: Thank you, I roll my eyes every time I read a version of that Trump-as-toddler meme.

    Toddlers are easily distracted and overpowered. When I couldn’t redirect Ohio Toddler’s attention, I could still pick him up and move him where I wanted him. And I am not even five feet tall.

    Toddlers are also lone cowboys, while Trump is surrounded by people just as awful as he is, and they are all enabling him, if not egging him on.

  91. 91
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:


    That is true, but I don’t like having to trust or rely on Roberts’ unpredictable decision making. Not that I have a choice, but still.

  92. 92
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:


    I’d get some colored foil for your hat, it’ll look much more fashionable.

    Come on, space-age silver never goes out of style.

  93. 93
    Jay says:


    Yup, just a coincidence that there are Russians everywhere from Cambridge Behaviorial Research Group to Bank of Cyprus, worming their way in for decades.

    Just a coincidence.

  94. 94
    bluehill says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: Funny you mention Turkey, because this piece argues that is where we are headed and it’s not a good thing. If SCOTUS enables Trump to pass laws outside of Congress, then it seems like we will be an “illiberal democracy.”
    “The fascist movements of that time prided themselves on being overtly antidemocratic, and those that came to power in Italy and Germany boasted that their regimes were totalitarian. The most original revelation of the current wave of authoritarians is that the construction of overtly antidemocratic dictatorships aspiring to totalitarianism is unnecessary for holding power. Perhaps the most apt designation of this new authoritarianism is the insidious term “illiberal democracy.” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, Putin in Russia, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, and Viktor Orbán in Hungary have all discovered that opposition parties can be left in existence and elections can be held in order to provide a fig leaf of democratic legitimacy, while in reality elections pose scant challenge to their power. Truly dangerous opposition leaders are neutralized or eliminated one way or another.

    Total control of the press and other media is likewise unnecessary, since a flood of managed and fake news so pollutes the flow of information that facts and truth become irrelevant as shapers of public opinion. Once-independent judiciaries are gradually dismantled through selective purging and the appointment of politically reliable loyalists. Crony capitalism opens the way to a symbiosis of corruption and self-enrichment between political and business leaders. Xenophobic nationalism (and in many cases explicitly anti-immigrant white nationalism) as well as the prioritization of “law and order” over individual rights are also crucial to these regimes in mobilizing the popular support of their bases and stigmatizing their enemies.”

  95. 95
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    Why is the leading so tight?

    I’m not following.

  96. 96
  97. 97
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I can’t do anything about it. There’s something in CNN’s coding on their website that when you copy and paste content from them, doesn’t play well with WP. No matter what I do, it screws up the formatting in the rest of the post.

  98. 98
    eemom says:


    He voted against VRA. But he also upheld obamacare. He is a rw’er alright but not a rabid one. Yet.

    Yep. And I’d delete the “yet”. He does care, big time, about his legacy, and he’s already preemptively spinning in his grave at the horror of history trashing him as the CJ who presided over a nakedly politicized court. I have noted before that it might be Roberts’ ego more than anything else that keeps us from the abyss.


    whatever blackmail material Trump and the Russians have gathered on him, but we shall see. No one was ever disappointed by assuming all Republicans to be cowardly and self-serving.

    Slow down there, hoss. On what basis do you assume that such material exists? All republicans are self serving scumbags, but not all republicans are stupid and/or reckless enough to be anything less than squeaky clean in their professional and personal lives. Roberts is neither.

  99. 99
    Punchy says:

    @Mnemosyne: I know you think that way, but there’s no evidence that enough of SCOTUS would actually vote that way. I find it impossible to think SCOTUS would grant this power now, and then in ~2 years suddenly pull it away for a D Pres, without the Roberts court losing every last ounce of credibility. A flip in 2 years would completely destroy their honor and aura of impartiality, and lay bare the absolute hacks they are. It would lead to picking future judges ever more partisan and dishonest than previously, and enter a vicious circle that only gets worse.

    I just dont see Roberts being ready to basically jettison all honor of his position and occupation for Trump and his wall bullshit

  100. 100
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: I don’t know. I was loathe to speculate this far, but felt it was necessary.

  101. 101
    plato says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Formatting of your post. Not great for mobiles.

  102. 102

    @randy khan: There’s probably loads of Constitutional questions about the legality of the President declaring an Emergency and usurping Congresses powers of the purse.

  103. 103
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Fair Economist:

    I think Jamelle Bouie at the NYT first described Trump’s wall as the new Confederate Monument. He got cited at LGM and other places.

    Trump’s “whites only” fence on our southern border.

  104. 104
    randy khan says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It’s a reference to the spacing between the lines, which is unusually tight.

  105. 105
    raven says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Make sure to take into account agents provocateurs and lefty nut jobs that want nothing more for people to get killed.

  106. 106

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: You didn’t grow up with an aluminum Christmas tree(shudders).

  107. 107
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: @Ohio Mom: BTW: the Kochs are now funding Ian Bremmer’s new think tank, which is not well disclosed.

  108. 108
    randy khan says:


    There’s probably loads of Constitutional questions about the legality of the President declaring an Emergency and usurping Congresses powers of the purse.

    True enough.

  109. 109
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: You’re welcome!

  110. 110
    WaterGirl says:


    …would completely destroy their honor and aura of impartiality

    There isn’t much honor left, and any aura of impartiality is already paper thin.

    I hope you are right.

  111. 111
    MomSense says:


    I fashioned mine into a Roman helmet. It’s sort of an homage to end stage empire.

  112. 112
    J R in WV says:


    I’m in Arizona boonies with my cousin, B. We got here Tuesday, and found that the solar power system was DOA. We had flashlights to build a fire and the little propane heater we used prior to the woodstove installation also fired up. We had bottled water– duh, its a desert! and stopped at a grocery for bachelor foodstuff.

    We have been comfortable, but busy. Our Solar installer guru came out today, next day service, and determined that the battery bank had reached end-of-life (lead acid batteries are typically good for 7-8 years of heavy-duty service) but that the inverter/controller/solar panel bank were all 100%.

    So I’m considering the cost of new batteries, the previous bank was 16 batteries cabled together at 48-volts. Currently the Honda generator we used to power the construction is wired into the house wiring, the water pump is powered, and we’re good to go. Solar guru tells us we have had more battery than needed to avoid the need to the generator, intended for cloudy times, and with the generator installed for such purposes we can get by with 8 batteries. We used the generator to build the house, and it started after 2 or 3 pulls after sitting idle for like 6 years! Go little Honda!

    Wonderfully, we have been 98+% off the grid, and are unaware of the details of current events, all of them. We’re about 25 miles north of the Mexican border and ARE NOT OVERWHELMED by the drugged invasion. Tourism at the border ( Bisbee) seems normal, and we see vehicles with license plates from Sonora State doing normal business. Amazing!!

    I guess I’ll read the original post, as a current resident of the border catastrophe emergency, it may be my patriotic duty to be informed about the “battles” raging around my little hill in the Dragoon Mountains of AZ…

    You all take care, now!

  113. 113
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: That’s Mnuchin. His business partner, Len Blavatnik, is an oligarch close to both Deripaska and Putin.

  114. 114
    raven says:

    @J R in WV: My pal lived in Sierra Vista for quite a while

  115. 115
    raven says:

    @J R in WV: Just up from Cochise Stronghold!

  116. 116
    plato says:


    A gay Brazilian politician has said he will not return to the country after receiving death threats.

    Jean Wyllys, one of the country’s few openly gay congressmen, told a newspaper he had been powerless as his reputation was “destroyed by lies”.

    He said violence in Brazil had worsened since the election of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro last year.

    Mr Wyllys’ left-wing Party for Socialism and Liberty (PSOL) said he would be replaced in Congress by David Miranda, a member of the Rio de Janeiro city council who is also gay and is married to Pulitzer prize-winning US journalist Glenn Greenwald.

  117. 117
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    I remember reading that piece and I found it so bleak that I thought it would better to just launch the missiles now and get it over with quickly. It made a point of mentioning that decades after the Trump presidency has ended, global climate change will still be here and will wreak havoc on civilization.

    In general, I feel human civilization is moving towards greater rationalization, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because it means society is more organized to respond to specific problems, both internal and external, ie natural. We have developed rules and standards that save lives in healthcare for example (sterile technique, shorter hospital stays to prevent HAIs). Violent crime has been falling for decades as well. Bad because I believe it can lead to a stifling of human creativity and freedom at the same time; Max Weber’s Iron cage in other words. The law is followed according to the letter, instead of the spirit, like what happened to the volunteers leaving food and water along the Southern border for migrants recently. They were fined and threatened with jail-time for essentially trespassing. The law was used to penalize these people for doing the right thing.

    Laws, societal norms, and disinformation will be used to maintain authoritarian regimes as in Turkey or Russia, but I fear this increasing societal rationalization and bureaucratization could lead to stripping humanity of its humanity, at least as we understand it.

  118. 118
    WaterGirl says:

    @J R in WV: Glad you checked in and happy to know that you are well and you sound happy!

    I have to admit that the technical information about the solar power flew right over my head.

    I just checked, and it looks like you weren’t here for the sad news John shared about Schlemazel, who got terrible health news. I don’t want to spoil your happy time, but I think I would want to know if I were you, and I hope you’ll forgive me if I guessed wrong.

    The latest news from his niece, who has been kind enough to come to Balloon Juice and keep us informed:

    To all, he is resting comfortably as they are keeping him medicated. I let him know the best I could that he is surrounded by love but even I had no idea how much.. Thank you all for being so kind, and the wonderful words about him. Funny, not until I had to look up the correct spelling of Schlamazel did fully get the term. “A schlemiel is somebody who often spills his soup and a schlamazel is the person it lands on.” It describes his life in a nutshell up to and including the way it will end. He valued all of you, you were such a huge part of his life.

    Original note about schlamazel:

    He has end stage bladder cancer. It was unexpected and completely botched. He went in to the ER last week for what we thought was a UTI and they admitted him right away. They did a bunch of tests and we found out this afternoon that he won’t be coming home. He is a brilliant misanthrope and I am so grateful that he was able to find a lovable bunch of jackels that have like minds.

  119. 119
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I think I got the formatting fixed. Someone take a look and tell me if it looks better to you all.

  120. 120

    @Adam L Silverman: I could explain “upper case” and “lower case” too, but that might be over the top.

  121. 121
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @The Pale Scot: I think I’ve got the formatting fixed. Please take a look and let me know.

  122. 122
    Jay says:

    @J R in WV:

    My lead acids are over 20 years old, and are at 90%.

    The new AGM sealed batteries are good for 25 years, and are now about the price per cell that you would have paid 20 years ago for lead acid.

    Battery banks can either be sized to the panel array, ( full charge, 1 day), or they can be sized to use, ( topped up by the generator).

    Which way you go, depends on use.

  123. 123
    plato says:

    @Adam L Silverman:Your bullet points 1 to 4 look the same. 1.5 line spacing is needed?

  124. 124

    @MomSense: I’m surprised that Mnemo didn’t do that as well, considering where she did her undergrad.

  125. 125
    zhena gogolia says:


    You should have seen “Hercules, Samson, and Ulysses” on TCM just now. The Philistine army had German WWII army helmets.

  126. 126
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You might try copying 1-4 into a program like Word and then save as plain text, and then copy THAT into your post.

    There’s also a way to remove formatting in Word, but I wasn’t able to find it just now.

  127. 127
    The Pale Scot says:

    Since you’re back I figure that lehding issue is with the bullet points and FYWP. I know military types love them some bullet points, I think you could use a ~ instead and get the same visual effect instead.

    Four hundred years of typology working out the best way to present type and but some web CSS written by a fine arts flunk out is going to break all the rules and be awesome!

  128. 128
    lgerard says:

    @randal m sexton:

    Is it time to start pushing the idea of a general strike?

    That would undoubtedly lead to Miller telling trump to suspend habeas corpus and we would all end up in detention camps

  129. 129
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The bullet points are still squeezed together. But it’s immaterial to me because I can’t read any more about this, I’m hyperventilating.

  130. 130
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    I did not. I used to like to wrap aluminum foil around things like cardboard boxes and toilet paper rolls to make “spaceships” with. I had an early interest in crewed spaceflight and I suppose I was inspired partly by the “aesthetics” of 1960s spacecraft like the CSM-LM as well as the more modern ISS.

  131. 131
    JWR says:

    @Adam L Silverman: For me, on a desktop with a smallish monitor (20″) it looks the same. My only complaint, Mr. S, is that sometimes your grafs seem to go on and on. (Not in an “I’m getting bored” sort of way, just in a “my poor eyes need a break!” sort of way.) Otherwise, I always find your posts an invaluable resource.

  132. 132
    DCrefugee says:

    @Adam L Silverman: If you haven’t already, try Ctrl (or Cmd) – Shift – V to paste as plain text. If FYWP still tightens the leading/line spacing, paste the text into a text editor/WP app the same way, then copy it and paste into FYWP.

  133. 133
    Helldiver says:

    @Punchy: SCOTUS elected Shrub on the flimsiest of the flimsy. Greenlighting Trump’s tantrum won’t give them a moment’s pause.

  134. 134
  135. 135
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    It’s certainly a worry. Trump likes violating norms, as narcissists like to do. What bigger norm is there to break than killing or having other people killed?


  136. 136

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    I did not.

    Then you are fortunate to have escaped that mental trauma. Maned space flight…in the days when we had said Christmas tree, every week or so we’d hear a loud rumble and the windows would start shaking. Earthquake? No, it the testing of the engines for the Saturn V.

  137. 137
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: There has long been a rumor that Roberts is gay. In fact conservatives who are unhappy with his ruling on the ACA routinely comment online that Obama was blackmailing him over this.

  138. 138
    sgrAstar says:

    @Cermet: hey, I’ve been meaning to write you. I did my graduate work in GR. Recommended books: Hartle-> Carroll -> Wald. Wald is burly. All I can say is….eeeeeek! The only thing that can get you into GR is a lot of heavy-duty work. When I was doing a Wald course, I went to the prof to complain that it had taken hours to read/understand a single paragraph. His response: So……?

  139. 139
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @plato: I’ve got doubles in there now.

  140. 140
    jimmirabob says:


    I fashioned mine into a Roman helmet. It’s sort of an homage to end stage empire.

    The Cicero of Jackals?

  141. 141
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Baud: FFS, does it sound like I want that to happen? But what happens when/if Trumpolini declares a bogus emergency & then runs wild while the repeal of the emergency grinds its way through the courts – & even if the repeal is upheld he ignores it & keeps throwing out executive orders like a shitgibbon flinging poo?

    It really is getting too fucking close for any sort of comfort.

  142. 142
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @plato: @WaterGirl: @The Pale Scot: Try it now. I turned off the WP numerical list toggle and did it by hand.

  143. 143
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    uh, are you suggesting there is substance to that rumor? I’ll assume you’re not suggesting that as to the second point.

    I’ll also refrain from remarking on the proposition that being gay is a blackmailable status in this country at this time.

  144. 144
    plato says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    did it by hand.

    Insert thumbs up gif. It’s better now.

  145. 145
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @zhena gogolia: auch die liebe!

  146. 146
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @lgerard: I call dibs on the bottom bunk!!!

  147. 147
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @zhena gogolia: Breathe slowly. In and out. In and out.

  148. 148
  149. 149
    Mnemosyne says:


    Totally OT, but what’s the name of your Etsy store? I have a friend who’s in the market for some custom-knit slipper socks (or possibly repairs to her current ones if she just can’t bear to let them go).

  150. 150
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JWR: How about I start to randomly place pictures of animals in the middle of my paragraphs? Sort of like the Balloon Juice version of an illuminated manuscript.

  151. 151
    Jackie says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Much easier to read for me! And, reading from my phone 😊

  152. 152
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @DCrefugee: I’ve done all of that. It still behaves funky. Especially with stuff from CNN.

  153. 153
    plato says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Roberts is set for life. Why would he give a shite about such rumors or even truths?

  154. 154
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    the spacing is perfect now. Still not gonna read it!

  155. 155
    JWR says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Now that I would love! ;-)

  156. 156
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: I neither know, nor care if he is. I’ve seen it everywhere from the comments sections on firearms blogs/sites to Howie Klein’s own posts on Down With Tyranny. I also highly doubt that President Obama would blackmail him over it.

  157. 157
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    That was kind of my point.

  158. 158
    GxB says:

    @Brachiator: Re: Wilbur Ross as Monty Burns.

    That whole twit feed is golden. I laughed like a hyena at his pinned tweet too – no mean feat these days.

  159. 159
    sgrAstar says:

    @plato: 🎶 History has its eyes on youuuu🎶

  160. 160
    lgerard says:

    This Wapo article about crazy Jerome Corsi is pretty interesting

    Corsi was fired by Infowars as their Washington Bureau chief due to his ““failure to adequately establish a Washington bureau, his failure to maintain White House press credentials and his generally poor work performance.”

    Yet he still was paid $15,000 a month (that figure again) for another 6 months, evidently to muddy the waters with his peculiar brand of mental derangement

  161. 161
    Mnemosyne says:


    Adam came up with the most common Roberts rumor, but I was thinking more about how he and his wife managed to adopt children from Ireland even though Ireland is very, very restrictive on foreign adoptions because of past scandals (see Philomena for the sad story of one). People can do some crazy and illegal things when it comes to adopting the kids they want from the “right” country.

    As I said, I’m willing to let Roberts surprise me by showing that he cares about more than setting up permanent minority rule by the Republicans, but I sure ain’t expecting him to show himself to be anything more than a run-of-the-mill partisan hack when it comes to the question of keeping Republicans in power.

  162. 162
    The Pale Scot says:

    @MomSense: Did you do a transversal or sagittal crest?

  163. 163
    Steve in the ATL says:


    There’s also a way to remove formatting in Word, but I wasn’t able to find it just now.

    The death penalty to the pendejo who eliminated the “reveal codes” command!

  164. 164
    waratah says:

    Adam balloon juice is programmed to expand on my iPad and phone so I just enlarge to a size I am comfortable reading, when my reading glasses are not handy. I hope the new setup allows this.

  165. 165
    Martin says:

    Interesting thought on Lawrence O’Donnell. Federal workers need to shut down the Superbowl. TSA call in sick so flights can’t land, etc. That would be every bit of a national emergency laid at Trumps feet as a plane crash, without anyone really being harmed. It seems almost morally imperative to do given the alternatives.

  166. 166
    bluehill says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Yeah, It is depressing, but we’re not there yet and articles like this one are trying to keep us from getting there.

    The US government seems like its undergoing some kind of transformation and the pace of change has really picked up under Trump. I look at the repubs successes at packing the lower courts and now SCOTUS with ideologues as a really bad sign, but let’s see if Trump actually declares a state of emergency and if holds up.

  167. 167
    Bill Arnold says:


    Roberts is set for life. Why would he give a shite about such rumors or even truths?

    I think the thought is that he’s a Republican, and Republicans are on the trailing edge of (positive) societal norm shifts.
    Entirely agreed that he’s better insulated than the non-judiciary members of the Federal Government.
    I don’t see the Supreme court looking approvingly at such a power grab at any point where they are asked to intervene. Perhaps if it were really cunningly crafted, but who in the administration has sufficient competence?
    If DJT has the opportunity to swap out a liberal justice with an authoritarian, then we’re in trouble. I am fairly sure that Ginsberg will outlast the DJT presidency.

  168. 168
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    Nope. I wasn’t into planes as much as rockets and spacecraft.
    Wow, how far away did you live from the testing sites?

  169. 169
    Mnemosyne says:


    You know nothing, Jon Snow.

    No, seriously, you’re getting your ancient soldiers mixed up.

  170. 170
    Amir Khalid says:

    There may be no legal stigma nowadays to being gay in America. And the social stigma is mostly gone. But not entirely: there are still circles, including some influential ones, where it is still stigmatised, n’est-ce pas?

  171. 171
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:


    As I said, I’m willing to let Roberts surprise me by showing that he cares about more than setting up permanent minority rule by the Republicans, but I sure ain’t expecting him to show himself to be anything more than a run-of-the-mill partisan hack when it comes to the question of keeping Republicans in power.

    I think if history has shown anything, it’s that nothing is truly permanent.

  172. 172
    Baud says:


    in the days when we had said Christmas tree, 

    Don’t give up hope. We’ll win the war on Christmas.

  173. 173
    Jay says:

    Rumour is, at two weeks in, TSA Staff are holding signs saying that they are “willing to grope you for food”.

  174. 174
  175. 175
    Mnemosyne says:


    If he’s set for life, why would he rock the Republican boat? History is written by the winners, so the court’s reputation won’t matter once the history books are re-written.

    My real point is: John Roberts is not going to save us, because he’s one of them. Any plan that depends on Roberts making a sudden left turn and supporting Democrats over Republicans has a fatal flaw.

  176. 176
  177. 177
    Timurid says:


    No need. An underrated part of the American system (for the bad guys) is that corporate HR departments serve as our Stasi.
    Spending days on the picket lines, if the cost is some lost wages or even getting teargassed or clubbed, is one thing. If the potential cost is the loss of your job, irreparable damage to your resume and the loss of access to health care… for months, years or forever… that’s a much greater deterrent.

  178. 178

    @Baud: Gawd, if we can only have THAT Christmas tree, we should surrender. It was truly hideous.

  179. 179
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    There may be no legal stigma nowadays to being gay in America

    I garunteee that there are plenty country clubs that don’t have any avowed homosexuals as members

  180. 180
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yes, you are. The fact that the Romans were copycats who never had an original idea doesn’t change the name of the team.

  181. 181
    Amir Khalid says:

    @The Pale Scot:
    I think I covered that when I said

    there are still circles, including some influential ones, where it is still stigmatised, n’est-ce pas?

  182. 182
    Bill Arnold says:

    Re point 4) in the OP,

    …legal scholars need to prepare themselves for a future Democratic president, perhaps as early as January 2021, declaring a national emergency regarding climate change…

    That’s easily solved; just make sure there are no future Democratic presidents. You know that’s being obsessed about by the loopier parts of the right wing intelligentsia. (That’s a cold reading; haven’t actually looked.)
    How do we get Fox and Friends to tell DJT that declaring an obviously fraudulent National Emergency[1] is a Really Bad Idea, for DJT? And working the rest of the press is also high-leverage. Fortunately the US press has been waking up; the Trump administration has been training wheels for recognition of bullshit.

    [1] We've had the current border with Mexico for over 100 years. Not many problems, OK Pancho Villa at least. (Don't know much about border history; are there other big incidents?)

  183. 183
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s all part of the same rumor: the wife is his beard and they had to adopt the kids quickly so he’d be acceptable as a Supreme Court justice.

  184. 184

    @Mnemosyne: Hmm, looks like the Trojan helmet had a tail that differentiates from the Roman helmet. (I’m still right.)

  185. 185
    JR says:

    @Amir Khalid: there are many such circles


  186. 186
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Amir Khalid: Right, I was war gaming situations where this could be true in my head and wasn’t paying attention.

  187. 187
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Steve in the ATL: That was Word Perfect, the best word processing tool ever. I still mourn its demise.

  188. 188
    sdhays says:

    The best way to game the Supreme Court into doing the right thing is to emphasize point #3. All Democratic Presidential candidates should make clear that they think that the President shouldn’t be allowed to randomly declare national emergencies to sidestep Congress, but if the Supreme Court disagrees, they are prepared to use that power on all of those issues that Adam mentioned.

    Too often, conservatives think that they can break things because Democrats won’t dare to do the same thing. It needs to be explicit that we will, if given the opportunity. So, it’s better for all to keep that Pandora’s Box closed.

  189. 189
    khead says:

    I wish I could be more profound, but I am willing to roll with this right here.

    I am not despairing. At all. I’m betting that Pelosi and her team are way smarter than Trump and his team, and that they are not going to let Trump get away with rule-breaking. Trump’s morons can’t even read the Constitution to see what the rules are for the State of the Union, and they think they can outmaneuver Nancy D’Alesando Pelosi by declaring a fake emergency? Bish, please.

    So, again, please proceed POTUS. I’m not quite as convinced as some other folks here that going off the rails is the end of the world. Also, see previous post here.

  190. 190
    Jay says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Adam covered this off not too long ago.

    Basically, until the late 1950’s, “The Border” didn’t really exist. People came and went depending on economics, school, family events, marrages, etc.

    Then it became “political”.

  191. 191
    Bill Arnold says:


    History is written by the winners, so the court’s reputation won’t matter once the history books are re-written.

    Huh? We read and sometimes laugh at historical supreme court opinions. Not following, unless you’re saying that Roberts is willing to destroy the US and trash the constitution, because he’s a Republican?

  192. 192
    Another Scott says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:


    (“Who did his dissertation in WP 4.2 for DOS.”)

  193. 193
    sdhays says:

    @sdhays: Point #4, not #3. Doh!

  194. 194
    The Pale Scot says:

    I read it tomorrow, too late. This seems an interesting read
    Gangster Geopolitics: The Kremlin’s Use of Criminals as Assets Abroad

    Link hopefully fixed

  195. 195
    JWR says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: Yikes! I hadn’t heard the words “Word Perfect” since like, Windows 95? I never really learned or used it, but a friend of mine loved it.

    ETA, and I see it’s still around.

  196. 196
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: all lawyers loved WordPerfect. It’s the one thing we agree on.

  197. 197
    James E Powell says:


    The fact that the Romans were copycats who never had an original idea doesn’t change the name of the team.

    Ah! but you are forgetting concrete.

  198. 198
    laura says:

    @piratedan: you are right. We can agree that the terrible thing is that he is tried and imprisoned, and then we can laugh and laugh and laugh at his prison hair-do and that would be terrible and painful.

  199. 199
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Stipulated.

  200. 200
    Bill Arnold says:


    Adam covered this off not too long ago.

    Link? (I try to read all his posts but have missed some due to work.)

  201. 201
  202. 202
    plato says:


    How would voting for the totus thug’s stupid ambition to crown himself be seen as ‘rocking the boat’ ?

    Yes, roberts is a thin reed, if and when this issue comes before him (which I very much doubt) but that’s all we got now given that one party has gone full totus asskissers.

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    Bill Arnold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Sweet! Thanks.

  204. 204
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bill Arnold: There’s even maps!

  205. 205
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @plato: Time for GG to figure out whose side he is on: that of his partner, or that of the fascist fucks who hate on gays. To include his paymaster, Vlad.

  206. 206

    @Steve in the ATL: Having done computer support for attorneys*, this statement is true. On the other hand, I’ve really not run across many others who liked Wordperfect except attorneys.

    *This is why I sometimes make rude comments about your profession.

  207. 207
    James E Powell says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    all lawyers loves WordPerfect. It’s the one thing we agree on.

    So true.

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    chopper says:

    i don’t understand point 1. if congress sends a clean CR to the president’s desk and he ignores it, it becomes law and the government reopens. it’s only a pocket veto if both houses are in recess, and i’m sure pelosi would make sure the house stays in a pro forma during the time it takes to sit on trump’s desk.

    seriously, if we can get a CR passed, trump would have to deliberately veto it.

  209. 209
    JWR says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    all lawyers loved WordPerfect.

    Hmm. My friend who loved it is an educator. Go figger.

  210. 210
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @chopper: He can actually veto it.

  211. 211

    @Adam L Silverman: Copy and paste CNN stuff into Notepad first, then into WP. It should strip it of superfluous formatting that is causing the problem.

  212. 212
    chopper says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    vetoing a bill and sending it back to congress isn’t “ignoring it”. especially when it’s a funding bill during a shutdown.

  213. 213
    MobiusKlein says:

    @Adam L Silverman: when formatting travels along when you don’t want it, there ways to override it.
    Paste Special on macs often lets you do do.
    Or paste into a dumb text editor first, then do a fresh copy / paste from there to your target editor.

    Or paste into a text edit box on dumb websites, then recopy/paste again.

  214. 214
    chopper says:


    likewise, even trump has to understand how bad it would look to veto a CR and force the shutdown to go on even after taking wall funding out of the picture.

    i think he’d likely ignore it and the government would reopen a week and a half later and he’d shrug his shoulders cause he “got his wall”. at least us feds would go back to work while the wall gets immediately tied up in the courts.

  215. 215
    Mnemosyne says:


    We have more that that. Trump wants $5 billion for his wall NOWNOWNOW and he may be willing to declare a fake emergency to get it, but that’s only good through September 30th. How does he get it into the FY2020 budget — declare another emergency? Stamp his little feet? Hold his breath until he turns blue? I’m not a lawyer, but I’m not too sure that declaring a national emergency means that Trump gets to write his own budget.

  216. 216
    Steve in the ATL says:


    I’m not a lawyer

    Then we will forgive your failure to pay tribute to WordPerfect

  217. 217
    Karen says:

    If Trumper does declare a national emergency and SCOTUS gives it the thumbs up, what are the limits of his power? Can he become King with no term limits?

  218. 218
    Mnemosyne says:


    likewise, even trump has to understand how bad it would look to veto a CR and force the shutdown to go on even after taking wall funding out of the picture.

    He really doesn’t care. At all. He cares about having power and using it to make other people do what he wants. The wall has become a sticking point not because he actually wants it, but because getting it would prove that he’s in control, not Nancy Pelosi. And narcissists are the original “give an inch, they’ll take a mile” assholes. If Congress gives in and includes wall funding, he will threaten to declare an emergency every time he doesn’t get his way, and for increasingly smaller things. He’ll start saying that he’ll declare a national emergency if the Senate doesn’t approve Jared as Attorney General and Ivanka as Secretary of State.

    I know that Pelosi knows this. I hope the rest of the Democrats do, too.

  219. 219
    Mnemosyne says:


    Honestly, for all my sneering about John Roberts, I think it would get slapped down long before it got to the Supreme Court. The morons floating this idea don’t understand the law or the Constitution nearly as well as they think they do, as has already been demonstrated multiple times. They’ll fuck it up and it will go nowhere.

  220. 220
    chopper says:


    If Congress gives in and includes wall funding, he will threaten to declare an emergency every time he doesn’t get his way

    yeah but the idea here (at least in adam’s post above) is that trump pulls the ’emergency’ trigger to get his wall. he wouldn’t need funding from congress then. adam was talking about a subsequent clean CR with no wall funding ending on his desk.

    i agree that congress cannot abide any funding for this bullshit. and if trump pulls the ’emergency’ shit they need to tie it up in court forever.

  221. 221
    MomSense says:

    @The Dangerman:

    I don’t think indictments are going to get handed down until after we have enough public hearings before the house intelligence committee. People know there are investigations taking place but I don’t think the seriousness or scope of what happened has gotten through to the majority of Americans. We are the obsessive repulsive news junkies who follow every damned thing but that’s not the norm.

  222. 222
    Rjm says:

    Holy Navigable Waters, Batman!

    6.8 billion taken from military construction and USACE to fund Wall would touch every red state, all the navigible water and ports of the nation. The whole fy18 Army Corps works budget was 3.8B and he wants 3B of that? … No congress critter, red or blue is going to stand for it.

    Military construction is ~10B/yr typically…pulling 40% of that for Wall is going to mean a lot of facilities in mostly red States aren’t going to get built.

  223. 223
    Ghost of Joe Lieblings Dog says:

    @Steve in the ATL
    Alt-F3 …?

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    Tractarian says:


Comments are closed.