GOP Clown Car Open Thread: Kelly Is Out, But Nobody Wants In


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There Will Be Recounts in Florida: Brooks Bros II, the MAGA Cap Edition

Per the Washington Post:

Three statewide contests in Florida — including the closely watched Senate race — headed for history-making recounts, election officials confirmed Saturday, with the lead by Gov. Rick Scott (R) over Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in the marquee contest shrinking to 12,562 votes out of nearly 8.2 million cast.

The 0.15 percent margin is narrow enough to not only trigger a machine recount, which by law must be completed by Thursday, but is likely to result in a recount by hand across the state — a complicated logistical task in the nation’s biggest battleground state.

The new tally in the governor’s race was not quite as close, but it also met the threshold for a voting machine recount. Numbers posted on the state election website showed Republican Ron DeSantis leading Democrat Andrew Gillum by 33,684 votes…

Under Florida law, a statewide machine recount is conducted when the margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent, and a manual recount is ordered if the margin is less than 0.25 percent. The governor’s race probably will not meet the manual recount standard, if Saturday’s tally holds…

A manual recount is of ballots in which voters skipped a race or voted for two candidates in one race. That pool of ballots will be in the tens of thousands in heavily Democratic Broward County, where nearly 25,000 ballots showed votes for governor but not senator…


Klassy as ever, GOP:

On Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he was sending attorneys to South Florida — even though nationally prominent election attorneys representing both parties are already in Florida monitoring the process. He also claimed to know that Snipes had planned to steal his 2016 victory in Florida from him…

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Panhandle congressman serving on the (perhaps prematurely constituted) DeSantis transition team, made an appearance in Lauderhill to call for the Florida secretary of state to enact a state of receivership over Broward County. He accused the office of making up votes to help Democrats win and repeatedly called Snipes corrupt and incompetent…


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GOP Closing Argument: Vote For White Power

Axios, continuing its chipping away at our republic, has an exclusive from President Trump. He wants to end birthright citizenship and believes he can do it with an executive order. Of course, some of the lawyers I follow on Twitter are saying, birthright citizenship is a part of the Fourteenth Amendment and cannot be nullified by an executive order. But Trump could issue such an order (written by Steven Miller, of course) and set up a confrontation that would go to the now-packed Supreme Court. Anyone want to bet how Brett Kavanaugh would vote find?

Troops to the border to stop a caravan of brown people who are 1000 miles away, and now this. It’s quite clear who Trump thinks make up the Republican base. So if you haven’t voted already, vote straight Democratic. The Republicans are a danger to the country.

Plus more, but Davidson is clearly so angry that he gets a little incoherent.

Daniel Drezner is a bit more sanguine:

There’s a fair bit of media criticism too.

This all has shoved Trump’s plan to return us to the nuclear fears of the 1980s and his followers’ attempts at murder to the back burner, at least for the few hours until he comes up with something else. But some good news.

It’s possible that the open racism will push people toward the Democrats. Get your friends to the polls!

And open thread.



A Penetrating Glimpse Of The Obvious

Thirty six years ago, on September 12, 1982, a Lebanese Maronite militia invaded two refugee camps occupied by Palestinians.  As The New York Times remembered on the 30th anniversary of the disaster,

In the ensuing three-day rampage, the militia, linked to the Maronite Christian Phalange Party, raped, killed and dismembered at least 800 civilians, while Israeli flares illuminated the camps’ narrow and darkened alleyways. Nearly all of the dead were women, children and elderly men.

That reference to the flares points to the miserable truth behind the blood and broken bodies:  the people on the spot, those militiamen handled the killing.  They pulled the triggers, broke the women, shattered the bodies. They were guilty of those crimes; they did the worst that human beings can do.

But there were others who stood aside, hands nominally clean while the predictable result of their actions and their studied inactions played out in Sabra and Shatila.

After the fact, the Israeli government ordered an investigation into the massacres, and they got a real one.  It concluded that

Israeli leaders were “indirectly responsible” for the killings and that Ariel Sharon, then the defense minister and later prime minister, bore “personal responsibility” for failing to prevent them.

Sharon didn’t fire a single shot; no blood spattered the shoes of his colleagues, and the Israeli soldiers on the front lines in Lebanon did nothing more than stay out of the way.  But as the report concluded, those in charge in Israeli knew what would happen if the Maronite militias gained free rein in the camps, and they let events unfold anyway. They were guilty not of murder, but of enabling the killings, of giving permission for an atrocity.

Adam, below and elsewhere, has laid out a compelling case that Donald Trump is similarly guilty of complicity in the ongoing racist and anti-Semitic violence occurring now in America’s civic space.  When you tell armed and angry supporters that they have enemies, that those enemies are ruthless, relentless, and Jewish or Black or Brown, then for all that Trump himself never slams home a magazine, he’s the man giving those who do kill a target list and permission to go after it.

What I want to add to that is that this responsibility, this complicity in the slaughter of innocents lies with the entire public apparatus of the Republican Party.  They have had every opportunity to push back on Trump’s white supremacy, his barely-coded demonization of Jews, his overt and explicit racism.  Concerned Jeff Flake and sincere Susan Collins — and the more important figures, the Paul Ryans and the Mitch McConnells and the Mitt Romneys and the rest — all had opportunity after opportunity to say no.  Just no: that this isn’t what the Republican Party is about; that it’s dangerous and hateful and so on.

Instead we got the pieties, “incivility” policing and the rest.

And now we have a body count of at least ten in just the last two days, not even to mention the assassination campaign that fortunately did not succeed.  They were all victims of exactly the kind of hatred Trump explicitly fomented as recently as last night — after the two deaths in Louisville, KY.

Democrats’ condemnation is important, because the country has to hear that hate is vicious, deadly, and to be reviled.  But as a matter of effectiveness, the Republicans have a far greater duty here: they can hold Trump priorities hostage, and they give permission to the GOP “tribe” to recognize that there are, there need to be, lines beyond which our politics should not go.

That’s the duty the Republican party has entirely failed. It’s why the current GOP must go, root and branch.  And it is why each Republican in power — the elected officials and their staffs, the party apparatus, all of them — bear exactly the same kind of indirect responsibility carried by the Israeli commanders and politicians who presided over those massacre.  It didn’t take a genius to realize that a nightly incitement to violence would end in actual murder. As it has, repeatedly over the last two years, and ten more times in the last two days.

I got nothing more. The US government is in the hands of a cabal that is, so far, willing to trade street murder for tax cuts and Supreme Court seats.  That rule has to end.  Which we knew.  Hence the PGO.

Images: Nicholas Poussin, Massacre of the Innocents, before 1665.

Mattia Pretti, Pilate washing his hands, 1663.



The Laughter

The Wall Street Journal has a headline tonight.

Trigger warning: Talk about rape below the fold. I find this very upsetting myself.

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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



North Korea’s 70th Anniversary Parade Was Boring

Sunday is running away faster than I thought it would, so I’m going to contract out the reporting to Josh Smith of Reuters, who was there. The photo is of spectators at the parade, from that article. There are more in the article.

Donald Trump recently received a letter from Kim Jong Un, but we don’t know what was in it yet. There were no big missiles in the parade, and the Orange Emperor thought that indicated that North Korea is going to denuclearize.

So far, to demonstrate good will, North Korea has dynamited the entrances to the tunnels at its nuclear test site, which can easily be reopened; partially disassembled a missile stand; and refrained from showing his biggest missiles in the parade, while presumably continuing to manufacture them and their nuclear payloads.

That word, denuclearize, shows up again. Trump, as far as we can tell, thinks it means North Korea’s giving up its nuclear weapons program. Kim has made clear that he sees it as a long-term goal, when the rest of the world denuclearizes.

And, in case you were sleeping too well, here’s another anecdote from Bob Woodward’s book. Trump wanted to tweet that he was evacuating dependents of military personnel in South Korea. He was talked out of it. That evacuation would be one of the sure indicators of an attack on North Korea, and Kim would have taken it that way.