Ray Hartmann

Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are truly in danger of getting booted from the US Senate — here's why

Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz should be afraid. Very afraid. There's a very real possibility that they might soon find themselves on the business end of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Hawley and Cruz -- likely in that order -- are truly in danger of getting booted from the U.S. Senate by their fellow senators.

As historian Michael Beschloss and others have noted, the legal basis is clear, dating back to the post-Civil War amendment ratified during Reconstruction in 1868. Amendment XIV Section 3 states definitively that "no person shall hold any office" if as a member of Congress they "shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

It's never good news to get caught helping out in a civil war when you're holding a job with qualifications that read "hasn't helped out in a civil war."

Well, that's what Hawley and Cruz just did: The organized insurrectionists incited and directed by Donald Trump to attack the Capitol were doing so in the name of a borderless civil war. (The fact that Trump continues to shun any expression of sympathy for fallen Capitol police officers confirms he regards them as enemy casualties).

Not long after these heavily armed insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol for the expressed purpose of preventing Congress' certification of the 2020 election -- keyword, "after" -- Hawley moved to give their seditious cause "aid and comfort" by challenging the election results of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Cruz had done the same before the insurrection with respect to the state of Arizona.

Both were among senators who voted to reject Pennsylvania's electors. If you're looking for clues as to why the whole enterprise might have been not-so-kosher by this point in time, Hawley yielded his five minutes of time, his first shunning of a microphone or camera in 41 years on the planet. Hawley knew who he was helping and why and wasn't about to add to the record.

But while the conduct of Hawley and Cruz affronted the Constitution's language, the remedy is purely political. That, too, lies in the Constitution: Article 1 Section reserves solely to each chamber of Congress the power to "determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member."

So it comes down to this: Would 17 Republicans join 50 Democrats and independents in taking a patriotic stand against the sedition of Hawley and Cruz?

For the blue team, it's not a tough vote, because January 6 will forever remain on a shortlist of tragic days in American history. Doing nothing shouldn't be an option with regard to members of Congress who actively abetted it.

For both parties, however, almost all political questions come down to three criteria: 1) Is this in our political self-interest?' 2) Is this in our political self-interest, and 3) Is this in our political self-interest?

Normally, that would be that -- as it was during Trump's impeachment -- and the prospect of finding 17 Republicans to vote against him would be impossible. That might remain the case here. But the big problem for Hawley and Cruz is that this wasn't just any domestic terrorist event: It was one that jeopardized the lives of all members of Congress and their staffs, across party lines. Many found themselves quaking under desks making farewell calls to loved ones. And lots of stuff got messed up.

Let's not mince words: They are pissed off and are likely to stay pissed off at Trump and anyone who gave him and his terrorist minions an iota of aid and comfort, especially after the attack occurred. This one literally hit home to them.

This brings us back to the politics. What would be the consequence, in terms of angering the Trump base, to punishing Hawley and Cruz for supporting his cause? And even if Hawley and Cruz can wrap themselves in MAGA flags now, will that matter two or four years from now? Further, would a defanged and de-platformed Trump himself matter by then, especially if he's off making license plates somewhere?

Unhelpful to both senators are the low esteem with which they are held by colleagues, even on their own side of the aisle. Cruz has long held the "most hated man in the Senate" without much competition, pretty much by acclamation. Compare him to a snake and the reptile lobby will go nuts on you.

Hawley might not quite be living on Cruz Island, but he's not far from it.

Consider this from the New York Times Friday:

"The day after Josh Hawley became the first Republican senator to say he would indulge President Trump's demand that lawmakers try to overturn the election, a reporter asked if he thought the gambit would make him unpopular with his colleagues."

"'More than I already am?' he retorted."

Such a lovable guy. But getting back to the original question about political self-interest, there's a factor that weighs against Hawley more than Cruz: Removing him would mean replacing him, with near certainty, with another Republican. And it would probably do a favor to Senator Roy Blunt, a highly regarded member of the party's Senate leadership, who has potential primary concerns of his own as he faces reelection in 2022.

Missouri is one of the Trumpiest states in America, having favored him by 15 percentage points this year and 19 percent in the 2016 election. Were Hawley ejected from the Senate, his replacement would be chosen by Republican Governor Mike Parson--one of the most pro-Trump governors in the nation -- and that person who would stand for a special election alongside Blunt in 2022.

Missouri in 2022 would host a rare dual-senator election like Georgia did in 2020, but with a far higher likelihood of success for the Republicans. Blunt would benefit from running alongside a teammate. Parson would benefit because he could break a logjam of statewide Republican officeholders looking for higher office, including his (Parson is term-limited out in 2024). Hawley has been disowned by his erstwhile patron saint, former Senator Jack Danforth, and two of the state's most influential and wealthy GOP political donors.

So the Republican Party writ large would be glad to be rid of Hawley, who is almost certainly damaged goods for the long term. Even if the party decides it needs a Trump acolyte to carry its banner in 2024, there's a long list of people with last names like Trump, Pompeo, and Haley standing ahead of him in that regard.

For Cruz, the politics are a bit foggier. Unlike Hawley, he has been around quite a while and has more of a natural base of his own. But far more important, Texas is growing more purple by the day. The Republican Party runs a real risk of losing a seat if it jettisons Cruz as it would open the possibility of a Democrat winning the seat in 2022. Cruz isn't up until 2024.

Plus, Cruz didn't inadvertently pose for an iconic fist-pump-to-the-seditionists photo like Hawley did on his way to the Capitol. (That one will help every bit as much smiling from a tank helped not-President Michael Dukakis in 1988.) And Cruz isn't continuing to act in as bellicose a fashion as Hawley, who is continuing to spout "I will never apologize!" and claiming ludicrously that Simon and Schuster abridged his First Amendment rights by dumping his book deal.

Still, Cruz did offer aid and comfort to Donald Trump's cause and, by implication, his little army. And given that so much champagne would flow so freely among so many senators across the aisle were Cruz kicked to the curb, it cannot be ruled out that they'd gleefully kick him to the curb over sedition.

Now if you're thinking none of this could possibly be real, look no further back than a quarter of a century, when longtime Senator Bob Packwood of Oregon was facing expulsion. Over a period of a few years, a sordid history had emerged of Packwood having sexually harassed female aides and other women. Plus he had altered diaries to cover it up.

Packwood resigned in disgrace in 1995, but only after the Senate Ethics Committee voted unanimously -- under Chairman Mitch McConnell, of all people -- to have him expelled from the Senate. Kicking out a senator hasn't happened often, but it's not out of the question.

Long before the Me Too movement, Republican senators were ready to boot a senator for sexually harassing people in the Capitol building. So might they do the same for a senator who offered aid and comfort for people who stormed that very building with guns blazing?

We'll all have to wait on the edge of our seats to learn the answer to that one. You can rest assured that Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are.

Another bizarre pro-Trump election lawsuit bites the dust

Loony Louie Gohmert just had his zany lawsuit against Vice President Mike Pence tossed on the sad heap of Krakens. Gohmert and some other Republicans were trying to get the courts to require Pence to abuse his position as U.S. Senate presiding officer to make his own call about which electors counted on January 6.

Once again, the nonsense of the Republicans' legal clown car was rejected by a Republican judge appointed to his post by Donald Trump. This time it was Judge Jeremy Kernodle hammering one more nail in the judicial coffin.

LawandCrime.com had this report tonight:

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against Vice President Mike Pence by Rep. Louie Gohmert and fake pro-Trump electors on Friday, finding that plaintiffs lacked standing.

"The problem for Plaintiffs here is that they lack standing. Plaintiff Louie Gohmert, the United States Representative for Texas's First Congressional District, alleges at most an institutional injury to the House of Representatives. Under well- settled Supreme Court authority, that is insufficient to support standing," U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle wrote, echoing the Department of Justice's argument that plaintiffs sued the wrong defendant.

"The other Plaintiffs, the slate of Republican Presidential Electors for the State of Arizona (the 'Nominee-Electors'), allege an injury that is not fairly traceable to the Defendant, the Vice President of the United States, and is unlikely to be redressed by the requested relief."

Perhaps the most hilarious part of the story came earlier today when Gohmert's crack legal team argued in vain against Trump's own Justice Department:

"They say that the Vice President, the glorified envelope-opener in chief, has no authority to preside over anything else or to decide anything of substance or to even count the votes in those weighty envelopes. He is only the envelope-opener."

Incredibly, those words were in a filed legal pleading in federal court. As opposed, say, being contained in the transcript of two drunks arguing in an alley.

Pence, apparently hoping for future employment opportunities more glorious than envelope opening, had pushed backed strongly against getting drawn into the nonsense. His attorneys argued that the plaintiffs' complaint was with Congress, not him.

As NPR had reported recently, "In some key battleground states, groups of Republicans have baselessly declared themselves to be 'alternate electors,' claiming to represent the true wishes of the voters. Gohmert and the other plaintiffs — including a group of proclaimed electors from Arizona — argue that when confronted with competing slates of electors, the Constitution gives Pence the power to choose which electors to certify.

Kernodle let Pence off the hook for now. But Pence might have less luck ducking from public view January 6, when the world's cameras are trained upon his hapless announcement that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been officially certified President and Vice President by Congress.

Why right wingers attacking voting systems and software may eat their own words in court

There's an old country saying that may soon take on new meaning for some of the right-wing media and celebrities who have been making wild accusations about voting machines and software in the wake of Donald Trump's defeat. It goes like this:

"Hunting ain't no fun when the rabbit got the gun."

As the New York Times reported Sunday night, the digital security system Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems may soon be turning the tables on some of the people who have brashly tormented them since the election. In particular, Antonio Mugica, founder of Smartmatic, has some wingnut TV outlets in his legal sights.

"In an era of brazen political lies, Mr. Mugica has emerged as an unlikely figure with the power to put the genie back in the bottle," the Times reported. "Last week, his lawyer sent scathing letters to the Fox News Channel, Newsmax and OAN demanding that they immediately, forcefully clear his company's name — and that they retain documents for a planned defamation lawsuit. He has, legal experts say, an unusually strong case. And his new lawyer is J. Erik Connolly, who not coincidentally won the largest settlement in the history of American media defamation in 2017, at least $177 million, for a beef producer whose "lean finely textured beef" was described by ABC News as "pink slime."

Well, that can't be so good if you've been slinging lies for fun and profit at a company whose software wasn't even used outside of Los Angeles County in the 2020 election. What's more, Dominion is right there with Smartmatic in hiring high-powered legal talent to get a little justice from the TV networks. Reports the Times:

"Dominion Voting Systems has hired another high-powered libel lawyer, Tom Clare, who has threatened legal action against Ms. Powell and the Trump campaign. Mr. Clare said in an emailed statement that "we are moving forward on the basis that she will not retract those false statements and that it will be necessary for Dominion to take aggressive legal action, both against Ms. Powell and the many others who have enabled and amplified her campaign of defamation by spreading damaging falsehoods about Dominion."

Citing a top legal expert, the Times suggested OAN and Newsmax in particular could have their business destroyed if they got sued.

"The letters written by lawyers for Smartmatic and Dominion are "extremely powerful," said Floyd Abrams, one of the country's most prominent First Amendment lawyers, in an email to Times. "The repeated accusations against both companies are plainly defamatory and surely have done enormous reputational and financial harm to both."

Mr. Abrams noted that "truth is always a defense" and that, failing that, the networks may defend themselves by saying they didn't know the charges were false, while Ms. Powell may say she was simply describing legal filings.

"It is far too early to predict how the cases, if commenced, will end," he said. "But it is not too early to say that they would be highly dangerous to those sued."

Earlier reporting last week at Fortune.com also suggested that Smartmatic is threatening to go after Fox News and its smaller competitors.

"For Smartmatic, the claims about its machines—which appear to have come primarily from the networks' guests rather than the hosts—are not just frustrating examples of disinformation but a major business risk as well," Fortune reported. "According to its CEO, the company has lost contracts in other countries because of the controversy." As a result, Smartmatic issued a statement on Monday warning it will sue Fox News, as well as smaller media outlets NewsMax and OANN, for defamation if they don't retract "dozens" of inaccurate statements.

The Fortune reporting cautioned that proving libel is difficult for a prominent company.

"According to long-time media lawyer Ed Klaris, companies are subject to the same rules of defamation as individuals—including the need to clear the high bar of "actual malice" in the event they are so-called public figures.

Klaris says it's unclear if Smartmatic is so well-known that it would have to meet the actual malice standard. He also predicted that Fox would likely try to pass off the claims about the voting machines as opinion rather than statements of fact. While matters of opinion—including those thrown out in the hurly-burly of a talk show segment—are typically outside the realm of defamation, courts may find at least some of the "dozens" of allegedly false claims do not qualify as opinion.

Smartmatic's potential lawsuits could also serve to bring judicial scrutiny of some of the more outlandish claims—like plots by Venezuela to rig the election—advanced by the likes of (Rudy) Giuliani and (Sidney) Powell. While the pair has repeatedly advanced such claims in the media, they have not included claims of fraud in their numerous court challenges. Legal watchers say this is because, as attorneys, they can be sanctioned for making baseless claims before a judge.

In any event, Rudy and the Kraken slayer lady might not be sleeping too comfortably on their My Pillows for a while.

"The distinction between a media outlet's positions and those of its guests may not always matter in court, however," according to Klaris. He notes that a victim of defamation is entitled to sue both the person who made the statement as well as the outlet on which the statement was aired.

Klaris also noted that, if Smartmatic has indeed lost out on contracts because of false claims about its voting machines, it will be in a strong position to seek damages.

"Absolutely, they're suffering harm. That's what libel law is meant to fix. It's meant to fix reputational harm," said Klaris.

Republican senator suddenly worries about ethics after ignoring them for 4 years

In a shocking news development, Senator John Cornyn of Texas has received a revelation: Transparency and ethics suddenly matter in government, after all.

Cornyn, blissfully unfamiliar with this topic for the past four years, has rediscovered his indignation hot button with the help of a New York Times (erstwhile "fake news") story suggesting that some key aides to President-elect Joe Biden might face ethics issues. Cornyn was just beside himself Saturday on Twitter:


Non-negotiable, eh? Cornyn's tweet trended number one for a while, but not so much for the Republican senator's belated discovery that integrity is a thing. Turns out, hypocrisy is a thing, too.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was among thousands refreshing Cornyn's memory.


That just scratched the surface of Cornyn's mendacity on this topic. As one of Trump's loyalist lap dogs — until about 5 minutes before the November 3 election when it looked like that his fealty to the corrupt president might drag him down — Cornyn was unbothered by "transparency."

He never said a word about Trump's refusal to release his tax returns (and associated lies) nor about the secrecy and coverups over the blackmailing of Ukraine, nor about the hundreds of times that the administration stonewalled both sides of the aisle in Congress in its full-scale assault on the very notion of oversight. Cornyn never said a peep about Trump's trampling of what the president termed the "so-called Emoluments Clause."

Here's how little the Texas senator was troubled by one of the most egregious transparency failures in American history: Trump's dishonesty about the deadliness of COVID-19. After reporter Bob Woodward released tapes showing Trump intentionally downplayed the pandemic, here's what Cornyn said in a phone call with Texas reporters, as covered by the Texas Tribune:

"'I understand the intention that he didn't want to panic the American people,'" Cornyn said. 'That's not what leaders do. But I think in retrospect, I think he might have been able to handle that in a way that both didn't panic the American people but also gave them accurate information.'

"Cornyn nonetheless lauded the Trump administration for its initial actions on the pandemic, including China travel restrictions that he instituted in January.

"'The truth is … we've learned a lot about this virus that we didn't know when it first showed its ugly head, and I think the administration, through their coronavirus task force, has tried to be as transparent as they can,'" Cornyn told reporters. 'But I guess I can understand on a human level why the president did not want to panic the American people and felt like he should try to calm fears rather than to stoke them."

Now we can all understand on a human level why former Congressman Beto O'Rourke called out Cornyn as Trump's "single biggest enabler." Cornyn also carved out the distinction as one of the most disingenuous of those enablers: When his race was tightening in October, Cornyn flat out lied –and was outed for doing so by Senate opponent M. J. Hegar — over his prior support of Trump's slimy effort to move military funds to rebuild some border wall:


But to fully appreciate the depths of Cornyn's hypocrisy on the subject of ethics, consider this passage from a 2019 story on him in the Texas Observer:

"Cornyn was tasked in 2017 with securing the largest spoil: Trump's massive tax cut package. Behind closed doors, Cornyn masterfully cut deals with senators to ensure that the bill would pass. The result was a transformational redistribution of wealth to corporations and the ultrarich that Republicans promised would be paid for with magical levels of economic growth (it is actually expected to add at least $1 trillion to the federal debt).

"Along the way, Cornyn ensured that his friends in the Texas oil and gas industry who have lavished him with more than $3.5 million in political contributions over his career would get their fair share. Seventeen major oil and gas corporations, most based in Texas, would receive a combined one-time jolt of $25 billion. Republicans promised that money would trickle down to average Americans through pay increases and bonuses, but that hasn't happened. In the months after the tax cuts were enacted, Houston's major energy companies pumped a collective $9 billion into stock buybacks that enrich investors and executives. ConocoPhillips and Phillips 66 said the tax cuts had, as the Houston Chronicle reported, "no effect on employee wages, bonuses, or investment plans." Cornyn also slipped in a provision at the last minute that ensured oil and gas pipeline operators—a sector composed of many GOP mega-donors—would maintain their preferential tax advantage. He was rewarded in 2018 with nearly $80,000 in contributions from pipeline companies—more than any other senator."

So there you have Cornyn's idea of "transparency" when it applies to himself. It's also one more reason for Cornyn's next top priority to be rejected as "non-negotiable":




Critics slam Alan Dershowitz after he fights to defend his own questionable reputation

Formerly respected attorney Alan Dershowitz shifted into damage control Saturday on Twitter, perhaps in an attempt to win his way back into the dark heart of Donald Trump, at least for the moment.

Dershowitz had been a bad boy earlier this week when he told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo that "if you're betting money you can't afford to lose, you have to bet that the outcome of the election will not be reversed." That couldn't have pleased the home offices at Mar-A-Lago and Moscow.

Saturday, Dershowitz decided to throw the full weightlessness of his legal genius behind Trump's scandalous pardon of confessed two-time liar, General Michael Flynn. The Flynn pardon is old news, having been announced by Trump three days earlier, but Dershowitz was all over it 72 hours later.

In a truly bizarre tweet, Dershowitz rushed belatedly to Trump's defense and — oh, by the way — took the occasion to plug his phone number and podcast in case you'd like to subscribe and give him likes and tell your friends about it. You can hear all of that and more self-promotional stuff in Dershowitz's online rant. For real.

Here's the tweet:


In Dershowitz's passionate podcast defense of Flynn, he essentially argues that while Flynn clearly lied to the FBI, which he admits is a crime, and while Flynn clearly violated the Logan Act, another crime, that the whole thing shouldn't have mattered because the FBI shouldn't have charged him in the first place. Oh, and by the way, the Logan Act was declared unconstitutional — by Dershowitz — so therefore Congress must have overreached by having the audacity to have passed it.

In Dershowitz's twisted view, all of Flynn's crimes were negated, strangely, by Congress' presumed legislative overreach, combined with FBI overreach for prosecuting a guy for lying about something it had on tape, combined with judicial overreach by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan for not readily forgiving having been lied to on multiple times by a defendant.

With shameless irony, Dershowitz slandered Sullivan for "conducting a political circus" because he apparently didn't appreciate a politicized Justice Department taking the extraordinary step of attacking itself for having prosecuted Flynn in his courtroom. In Dershowitz's screed, he first called Sullivan "generally a good judge." Moments later, he insulted the respected Sullivan by referring repeatedly to him as the "buttinsky judge" in this case.

In Dershowitz's telling, he only heroes here were Flynn, the confessed liar, and Trump the guy who sprung Flynn for lying in service to him. Alrighty then.

"It's a perfect example of where the judiciary did wrong, the legislature did wrong and the prosecution did wrong," Dershowitz whined. "And who is the only person who could check and balance all that wrongdoing? The president of the United States with his pardon power.

"So the president acted not only perfectly properly, but in a positive good way by doing what the judge should have allowed the Justice Department to do, which is drop the case."

Dershowitz said he hoped Trump would issue more pardons and commutations, in particular for some of his clients.

Suffice it to say Dershowitz's ranting was not universally well-received on Twitter.
















‘Kraken’ attorney's message for Trump fans: Make checks payable to Sidney Powell

Today we learned why mobster Don Donald Trump wanted the wildest of his wild-eyed attorneys ejected unceremoniously from his so-called legal team: She was trying to cut into his action.

Yes, TV attorney Sidney Powell can grift with the best of them.

Now that Powell has "unleashed the Kraken" with the help of a copy editor who was smoking the Kraken, it's time to resolve one of the burning questions of the QAnon universe: "How can we ever show our appreciation to Sidney Powell?"

It turns out you can send her a check as part of a ruse so shameless that Powell isn't bothering to have your payment made out to the 501 C-4 political "organization" she formed. Just pay the woman directly.

You can goose step your way to www.sidneypowell.com and press the "Donate Now" button to support the "Legal Defense Fund for the American Republic." First thing you'll see is a nice photo of Sidney Powell captioned "KRAKEN RELEASER." Scroll down and you'll see some small links to the lawsuits followed by a much larger "DONATE BELOW" button.

That's where you get chumped, as they say in the world of scams.

Look no further than https://defendingtherepublic.org. Would you like to "support our mission and the welfare of the American Republic?"

Just write out your check to "Sidney Powell, PC." She's not even bothering to have her pigeons use the name of her "organization."

As the UK's DailyMail.com reported, Powell's "Legal Defense Fund" website was apparently set up November 11, a day after she appeared on Lou Dobbs show on Fox. The DailyMail.com had this to say: "Powell, whose outlandish theory earned a rebuke from the President, has founded a legal defense fund under the Internal Revenue Service category 501(c)(4). The IRS says that 501(c)(4) should normally apply to social welfare organizations and community groups like homeowners associations. It can be used for lobbying activities, but the deductions are not tax deductible like those for nonprofits.

"The website for The Legal Defense fund says that "millions of dollars must be raised to defend the Republic as these lawsuits continue to be filed to ensure victory" for Trump, even though he has now essentially admitted defeat to Joe Biden by allowing the transition to go ahead."

The good news is that Powell's lawsuits in Georgia and Michigan presumably will wind up shortly on the trash heap of legal history. Not that the judges of the U.S. "Districct Court Northern Distrcoict" aren't going to give her case the seriousness it deserves.

The Daily Mail summed up the case pretty well in its headline today: "Fired Trump lawyer Sidney Powell claims Iran and China used Venezuelan voting machine software to rig election in favor of Biden and says 96,000 absentee ballots in Georgia were NOT recorded – in typo-ridden lawsuits with flimsy expert evidence."

Powell promised the faithful she'd be "releasing the kraken" which we all then learned is some sort of legendary sea monster. That had to sound perfect to the Trump base, which surely will be happy to make do with the couple of little sea urchins that Powell actually unleashed.

Everyone gets what they want: Trump world can talk for years about how the stealing of the 2020 election from Dear Leader was all laid out in 104 pages of judicial scholarship that the Deep State judges were paid off not to consider. As for Powell, she is guaranteed a life of permanent stardom in the right-wing stratosphere.

Sidney Powell may have released the Kraken. But apparently, she gets to hold onto the cash.

True confessions of a ‘Trump supporter’ who keeps getting donor-shamed by the president

As one of the patriots receiving the Con-Artist-In-Chief's daily blizzard of fundraising emails, I am able to offer some rare insight into what it's like to let Dear Leader down. It isn't pretty.

Now, you probably are wondering what I'm doing receiving emails from the dark side, and I don't blame you. I don't recall asking to make this dubious list, but here I am, in a fine position to serve as a treasonous spy.

Sadly, I was just given the bad news that my lifetime Trump-giving record of $0 has not gone unnoticed or unforgiven.

"Friend," the email from "Trump Donor Record" begins. "Did you see the President's email? "

We pulled the records of his most LOYAL supporters – the ones who have been there for him no matter what. Unfortunately, your donor record showed up in the BOTTOM 1% of all Trump Supporters."

The use of Trump's signature CAPS LOCK certainly added to the email's air of authenticity. So did the hurtful reference to my being in the bottom 1 percent, which I believe to be the polar opposite of the percent that he cares about.

Next, the email laid out my own sad personal box score, listing my email address and the fact that I've been a donor since "not available." Add that to my 2020 Campaign Cycle Gifts of $0 and my "Lifetime Total" of $0 and you can see why the big boss' people might not be pleased.

"President Trump REALLY needs you right now. Why haven't you stepped up?" I was scolded by the email. " The truth is, we are pacing BEHIND our Election Defense Fund Goal. If we don't so something quick, we risk LOSING America to BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALISTS."

"If every supporter took action and contributed TODAY, we'd be back on track and would have what it takes to SAVE AMERICA from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

"Please make your FIRST EVER contribution of $10 or more by 11:59 PM TONIGHT to the Official Election Defense Fund and to help President Trump Save America."

OK, there's a lot to unpack there. As a member of the Fake News media, I've grown accustomed to snarky comments from Trumpees, but this was the first time I was called out as a disloyal friend. No one wants that.

The whole "losing America to big government socialists" thing would of course be news to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. But it was noteworthy that there's no more nuance in the fund-raising screed than there is on the Twitter feed.

Still, my favorite part of the entire email was the phrase "if we don't do something quick." That's actually probably true. Trump has no intention to concede–ever–to the guy who crushed him in a 74-electoral vote landslide (not to mention more than 6 million actual votes). But it appears he is in conceding that the deadline of December 14 to choose electors is real.

Yes, if Trump doesn't do "something quick" to steal the election, we will live unsaved under the rule of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I get that. What I didn't quite get from the email was what my first-ever contribution to the erstwhile proprietor of Trump University had to do with keeping him in power.

What's the "Election Defense Fund" defending again? What did they need this new money for? To pay Rudy? To fix up Mar-A-Largo? Maybe for a good divorce attorney?

I don't know. But as a member-in-bottom-1-percent standing of the Trump base, I've got more pressing things to be concerned about. Do you want a little insight into what keeps us wayward Trump supporters up at night? It's an email that ends like this:

"We're sending President Trump a list of ALL Patriots who step up NOW. Will he see your name?"

Trump is ending his campaign on an ugly new low — and barely anyone noticed

Donald Trump, tragically occupying the office of president of the United States, possibly has uttered the ugliest words of an ugly career defacing the national stage. And they barely led the news anywhere.

Trump has been claiming at his super-spreader rallies for the past week that American doctors are profiting from the death of COVID-19 patients. Take a step back and absorb this atrocity. This man just invented a mendacious lie from scratch, not even remotely rational and in the process denigrated the frontline heroes who have been risking their lives and those of their families in a 9-month struggle against the worst pandemic in a century.

It didn't even dominate a news cycle. The nation has been so numbed by this Hitlerian character that this singular slander cannot be distinguished from all his other regurgitations.

But it was far worse.

It was as ludicrous as suggesting people ingest Clorox to treat COVID-19.

It was as invented as the 3 million people who voted illegally in California in 2016.

It was as vulgar as talking about grabbing women by the genitals.

It was as unpatriotic as groveling at Putin's feet at Helsinki.

It was as insulting as calling Mexicans rapists and murderers.

It was as vicious as telling four U. S. congresswomen to return to their home countries.

It was as monstrous as seeing fine people on both sides at Charlottesville.

It was all those grotesque abominations rolled into one. But the nation is so exhausted and bitter and divided and crazed that it barely noticed that the most powerful man in the world created such an evil falsehood, apparently to find still another scapegoat for his complicity in one of the worst avoidable tragedies in human history.

Trump falsely ascribed some profit motive to wonderful men and women–across the spectrum of race and ethnicity– people who have wept at the bedsides of 225,000 Americans as they died despite every ounce of energy, knowledge and skill that they could muster to save them. And this swine–whose undeserving hindquarters were saved by the very medical profession he besmirches–he is going to convince millions of his incognizant followers that the doctors are to blame for the pandemic because they were cashing in on it?

This is like wishing cancer on the children of someone you despise. This is as low as human speech can descend.

And yet we barely noticed.

‘Uncharacteristically glum’ Trump speech surprises historian Beschloss: The president ‘does not look happy’

Donald Trump put on an uncommonly sad face at his rally today in Pennsylvania, and it's triggering his minions' fear that the monarchy is in jeopardy.

Their fears may not be irrational, based on early accounts of the rally's dour tone from reputable sources. Trump was speaking from Newton, PA, the first of four rallies planned for Trump in the critical state of Pennsylvania today.

Historian Michael Beschloss, as credible and circumspect as it comes, offered multiple tweets describing Trump's "dejected speech."

"President does not look happy at this rally," said one of Beschloss' tweets. "President's speech at this Pennsylvania rally sounds uncharacteristically glum and past tense," said a second. "President sounding very sad at this Pennsylvania rally," said a second. "When has Trump in public sounded as sad as this? asked a third.

The Philadelphia Inquirer concurred, "Trump was notably subdued for his typical rallying style, but hit on common themes he brings up in the state, including a baseless claim that Philadelphia will be a hot spot for voter fraud," the Inquirer reported. "We have to be very very careful in this state," Trump said. "What happens in Philadelphia, we have to be very careful. Everyone has to watch."

He again encouraged his supporters to go to Philadelphia and scrutinize polling places there, the Inquirer reported. "Only official campaign poll watchers certified by the city can do that. He suggested that Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, would be tampering with mail ballots. County elections officials process ballots, not the Wolf administration. And he signaled that if results aren't known the night of the election, they can't be trusted."

The paper also reported that Trump darkly "drew an ominous parallel to the 2020 election, the stakes of which both parties have framed in apocalyptic terms. "It was a tough night," Trump said in Newtown. "It was a violent night. … It turned the entire tide of the war."

Trump was speaking, blasphemously, outside the house George Washington used to stage his crossing of the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War.

In its reporting of the rally in a muddy field, where an unusually small crowd packed together largely without masks, the Wall Street Journal didn't note the somber mood, but reported this less-than-uplifting focus of the president:

"Mr. Trump again criticized the Supreme Court for declining to disturb ballot deadlines in Pennsylvania and North Carolina," the Journal reported.

"That is a terrible, political horrible decision that they made," Mr. Trump said. "We're going to be waiting. November 3 is going to come and go and we're not going to know and you're going to have bedlam in our country."

The president suggested that the public could be waiting for weeks and said "many bad things" can happen with ballots, the paper reported.

Trump did predict victory in Pennsylvania. "Three days from now, this is the state that will save the American dream," Trump said, according to a local television station.

That public concession of relying upon Pennsylvania to save the election did not sound like that confident of much a victory.

Some friendly commenters at Breitbart's website even picked up on the theme in real-time. They, too were whiny:

"He looks exhausted. The man keeps a schedule like no one else, especially his age, can keep. Look at Biden, so sure the fix is in that he's hardly said boo and refuses to answer questions. We need him to win."

"OMG is he tired! He's got an incredible schedule, but, he keeps on plowing through it."

Trump's dour mood Saturday was not well-received by some fans on Twitter.


Trump fans were not the only ones who picked up on his dejected demeanor:








Trump’s Omaha rally disaster may have tanked his chances for a single electoral vote in Nebraska

Donald Trump may have helped seal a key electoral vote from Nebraska last night: For Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

In a disastrous turn of events that's a metaphor for the Trump Administration, Trump's rally at Omaha's Eppley Airfield in freezing temperatures resulted in multiple people hospitalized and thousands stranded on highways. Many among those waiting in the cold were elderly.

"Following President Donald Trump's rally Tuesday night at Eppley Airfield, many attendees struggled to leave the area and multiple people were taken to the hospital," KETV-7, Omaha's ABC-TV affiliate, reported. "More details are expected to be released later Wednesday."

As one of Trump's super-spreader events, the rally had been widely panned by Democrats as others a health risk to Omaha residents, where COVID-19 numbers have spiked to recent levels in recent weeks. Apparently, frostbite needs to get added to the risk factors.

Wind-chill levels fell to the 20s, the station reported. That apparently didn't dampen supporters' enthusiasm for Trump, nor Trump's enthusiasm for misstating simple facts.

"The president was greeted by a large crowd which was chanting 'four more years," KETV reported. 'Is there any place you would rather be than a Trump rally on about a 10-degree evening?" the president asked on the 31-degree night.

The one-hour rally ended at 9:00, but it took until well after midnight to clear the area.

"Thousands who had gathered to hear him speak were stuck in traffic, many left without a way to get back to their vehicles on the other side of the airport." It was reported.

Attendees told KETV NewsWatch 7 that there weren't enough buses for all of the people. A reporter tweeted that he heard an Omaha officer say, "We need at least 30 more buses."

The Washington Post was there, as well.

"As long lines of MAGA-clad attendees queued up for buses to take them to distant parking lots, it quickly became clear something was wrong" the Post reported.

"Thousands who had gathered to hear him speak were stuck in traffic, many left without a way to get back to their vehicles on the other side of the airport." It was reported.

Attendees told KETV NewsWatch 7 that there weren't enough buses for all of the people. A reporter tweeted that he heard an Omaha officer say, "We need at least 30 more buses."

The Washington Post was there, as well.

"As long lines of MAGA-clad attendees queued up for buses to take them to distant parking lots, it quickly became clear something was wrong" the Post reported.

"Leaving thousands of Nebraskans stranded in the cold captures the entire Trump administration,' she told the newspaper. "I hope those responsible for the poor planning to feed Trump's ego will be held accountable and that fellow Nebraskans turn out to vote to end this chaos."

And there was this: "Supporters of the President were brought in, but buses weren't able to get back to transport people out. It's freezing and snowy in Omaha tonight," tweeted Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt (D). "He truly does not care about you."

For their part, Trump supporters, who had been willing to expose themselves to COVID-19 for an hour of presidential assurance that "we've turned the corner" on the pandemic, were at least openly fine with the chaotic scene.

Kris Beckenbach of Lincoln, who volunteered to help at the rally, said she didn't blame organizers.

"How do you practice for that?" she told the World Herald, noting the thousands of people who attended. (The crowd was estimated at more than 6,000). The newspaper quoted the Trump supporter as saying she would do it all again:

"I would go up early and stand there all those hours. It was an adventure," she said. "It was absolutely an adventure."

Trump went to Omaha because Nebraska is just one of two states (Maine being the other) that portions its vote by congressional district. Polls have shown Biden leading in the 2nd district anchored by Omaha and suburbs.

Were Biden to hold Hilary Clinton's 232 votes and flip Wisconsin (where new Washington Post polling shows him up a whopping 17 points today) and Michigan (where he's consistently maintained 7-to-10 point leads), he would need only 12 electoral votes to win the presidency by heating the 270 mark.

The one scenario that would bring Nebraska's one electoral vote into play is Trump winning Pennsylvania and holding Ohio and the battleground southern states of North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

In that event, Arizona's 11 electoral votes–for which Biden is still leading–would only put the former vice president over the top only if he also holds his lead for the single vote of Nebraska's 2nd congressional district.

Trump probably didn't lose any of his base voters by literally freezing them. But with local news coverage and chatter among neighbors dominated by tales of the rally fiasco, if there are many fence-leaners in Omaha, they probably weren't too impressed.

The president may have just left himself out in the cold again.

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