Aux Armes, Citoyens!

Via valued commenter Marco Polo, a reminder:

🚨🚨🚨 The fate of Kavanaugh may well be decided in the next 48-72 hrs. As of now multiple GOP senators are undecided but they’re getting A LOT of pressure from the WH and leadership to fall in line. Your pressure can make the difference. Pls call your senators 202-224-3121
We should all be doing this of course, and those of the jackals who suffer with Republican “representation” are the tip of the spear on this particular campaign.  It just takes two GOP senators to discover a residual memory that women are in fact people, and this nomination goes the way of the Titanic.
Image: J.W.M. Turner, Shipwreck of the Minotaur, 1810s

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Soldiering On

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There’s A Pony In There!

You might think that this morning’s shitshow had no redeeming qualities. I found one.

It appears that the Democrats actually have a plan if Robert Mueller is fired. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware was willing to go on the record.

Almost immediately, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would consult with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while Democrats would demand a floor vote on a bill retroactively protecting Mueller and protecting his materials. In both the Senate and House, rank-and-file Democrats would contact a list of sympathetic Republicans who have signaled privately that they’d be willing to act should Trump pull the trigger.

And in cities across the country, rallies would be hastily scheduled for 5 p.m., if Mueller is fired before 2 p.m. on any given day. If he’s fired in the late afternoon or evening, the protests would be set for noon the following day.

The Democratic group has been organizing 933 such rallies, with locations picked out and sponsors enlisted to handle logistics. The list includes rallies in big cities like Los Angeles, along with protests in more remote areas, such as the federal buildings in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Hilo, Hawaii.

Sounds like Lucy and the football, but

Coons predicted that “within minutes” of a Mueller firing, dozens of Republicans would either voice opposition publicly or phone the president or his chief of staff to register their objection privately. But he acknowledged that many Republicans have been coy, refusing to say even behind closed doors what actions they’d be willing to take.

Here’s the MoveOn page for demonstrations. Put your zip code in and find out if one is planned for your area.

Paul Waldman is sanguine that Mueller will prevail.

And given how meticulous they’ve been, it would be a shock if Mueller and his team haven’t prepared for the eventuality of being shut down. Perhaps they’ve kept a running, frequently updated report outlining everything they’ve found, a report that would one way or another find its way to the public. I’m guessing that if Democrats take over the House in November as everyone expects, they’ll use their power to subpoena documents and witnesses to do everything they can to bring the information assembled by the Mueller team to light.

Rosenstein Update #2

and John subtweets the entire country:



Monday Morning Open Thread

If it weren’t for persistent Repub thimble-rigging, I’d say November was ours to lose. But least we’re doing our best to make it harder for them to steal another election!

Benjamin Wallace-Wells, in the New Yorker, “Is the G.O.P. Actually in Trouble in the Midterms?”:

There are just forty-eight days until the midterm elections. The primaries are finished, and the slate of candidates is set. Republicans are alarmed. Their own internal polling suggests that, on the so-called generic ballot for the House of Representatives, American voters prefer Democrats over Republicans by nine percentage points…

… Paul Ryan is leaving Washington, and his libertarian brand of conservatism has lost its vogue. Trump’s Presidency has been full of warlike gestures but devoid of strategy: having promised a politics that would elevate those left behind, he has crafted tax policies that favor the rich and a failed health-care plan that would gut protections for working-class Americans. And, having won by slim margins in 2016 in the upper Midwest, he has imposed an aggressive tariff program that has meant chaos for farmers, who are struggling to sell their products overseas. The Republican Party is out of ideas...

Parties remake themselves by winning. Victories bring new talent to Washington. The Democratic primaries this summer were widely said to have moved the Party to the left, but the mechanism for this shift was a succession of charismatic young candidates, each presenting a different version of the Party’s future. There was the working-class pugnacity of Randy Bryce, in Wisconsin; the sunny millennial socialism of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in New York; and the historic turn promised by two talented black progressive politicians in the South—Stacey Abrams, in Georgia, and Andrew Gillum, in Florida. These candidates’ base, and maybe the future of the Democratic Party, has hinged on the increasing progressivism of cities across the United States and the idea that the politics of Brooklyn are no longer so out of place in Atlanta, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, or Phoenix—and that a forthrightly progressive politics has a chance in the states where those cities dominate…

The 2020 Commission Report – Review

If you want to know what the next nuclear war will be like, read Jeffrey Lewis’s The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States.

Nuclear weapons have been used only once in war, by the United States against Japan at the end of World War II. Nuclear war was imagined many times, however, through the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. As the two countries’ nuclear arsenals grew, the common understanding became that in a nuclear war, hundreds of multi-megaton nuclear weapons would be exploded, and the direct damage would destroy the countries involved. Most of us would die immediately, more in the aftermath. It looked like the end of civilization.

We don’t know exactly how many nuclear weapons North Korea has, but it’s in the tens, rather than the thousands of the Cold War. That changes the leaders’ calculations. If they face a war in which using those weapons is a serious possibility, they must use them before they are destroyed. So they must be alert to signals from their enemies that an attack might be coming.

Unless the United States responded with nuclear weapons and somehow Russia and China also sent their missiles flying, the result would look more like what Lewis describes than the Cold War imaginings.

The 2020 Commission Report reads not quite convincingly as a government report. It too many emotional words. But the format allows a view into how decisions are likely to be made in such a war.

When people write serious articles in serious journals about deterrence or nuclear war, they assume rational, fully-informed decision-making. After a war starts, emotions come into play. Communications are broken. Erroneous impressions or understandings of what the other side may do have been there all along. Read more