Report From Trump’s Alt-Reich Wednesday, Feb 1 2017 


Two weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, this much we know: If Trump were to issue an executive order suspending the first 10 amendments to the Constitution . . .

  1. Paul Ryan would issue a statement saying he was “deeply troubled” by the order but would withhold judgment until he had a chance to study it in full.
  2. Mitch McConnell would issue a statement expressing “concern” over the order’s effect on the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.
  3. John McCain and Lindsay Graham would issue a statement expressing “outrage” over the order and their intention to hold hearings on it as soon as they finished hearings on three other executive orders they were outraged about.
  4. Reince Priebus would issue a statement blaming CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post for reporting news of the order.
  5. Kellyanne Conway would issue a statement saying the election is over, Trump won, and the President’s critics ought to “shut up” and “get with the program.”
  6. Charles Krauthammer would write a column deploring the order, blaming it on Barack Obama for having set a precedent by issuing executive orders.
  7. Marco Rubio would make a speech saying while Trump’s order suspending the first 10 amendments was OK, “He’d better not mess with the Bill of Rights.”


Sound bite to remember

Once to every man and nation

Comes the moment to decide

In the strife of truth with falsehood,

For the good or evil side.

–James Russell Lowell

Republican’s Call Draws Fire Thursday, Mar 31 2016 


–Headline, Washington Post – 3/26/16

Not to beat a dead horse, but when the horse turns out to be a jackass and it’s still braying . . .

When last heard from, I was leaving the Republican Party or what passes in transmogrified form these days for what was once the party of Lincoln. No news cycle passes that gives me reason to regret it. The story beneath the Post headline tells it all.

It appears that Senator Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican running for re-election, had uttered the following at a meeting of the west Kansas Rotary Club: “I think we have the responsibility to have a hearing, to have a conversation and to make a determination on the merit” of President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

On being informed of Moran’s open-minded thought, one Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the local Tea Party chapter, responded: “It’s this kind of outrageous behavior that leads Tea Party activists to think seriously of encouraging someone to run against Moran in the August GOP primary”; to which Moran, regaining his ideological lockstep, immediately backtracked, declaring he was unconditionally “opposed to President Obama’s . . . attempt to put another liberal judge on the Supreme Court.”

Liberal judge? Since being nominated Garland has drawn the support not only of conservative columnist George Will, but of his former colleague on the D.C. Court of Appeals (and Clinton impeachment prosecutor) Kenneth Starr.

Keep in mind, Senator Moran’s departure from the Tea Party line wasn’t that he took Will’s and Starr’s favorable view of Obama’s nominee; only that he thought the Senate had the responsibility to hold hearings on the nomination.

Charge the whole thing off as an isolated incident that doesn’t reflect, as Paul Ryan would say, “the values” of the Republican Party? Only if you ignore the fact that Tea Party “activists” are simply following the our-way-or-no-way line laid down by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after Antonin Scalia’s death left a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

A few weeks ago I had occasion to visit Alabama on the day Senator Richard Shelby was being challenged at the polls by a Tea Party opponent. The opponent claimed that Shelby wasn’t a true conservative – a sign of these Republican times in that the only way one could get more conservative than Richard Shelby is by coming out against the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments; which, given the current direction the GOP is headed, I expect will soon come about in a Tea Party-approved speech before the west Kansas Rotary Club.

Sound bite to remember

“A legal system which can’t convict Al Capone of anything but income tax fraud is apt to make the police rather cynical.”

–Raymond Chandler

The Harry Reid Point Spread Wednesday, Apr 24 2013 

Contrary to what you’ve been reading and hearing about the Senate’s gun-control vote last week, the Manchin-Toomey amendment on gun registration didn’t lose. Not unless you factor in the Las Vegas point spread.

For those few innocents unfamiliar with how a point spread works, here’s an example: Say Alabama is playing Ohio University in a football game Saturday. Because Alabama is heavily favored, Las Vegas puts out a line encouraging you to bet by giving the Crimson Tide a 24-point handicap going into the game. This means that if Ohio University holds Alabama to only three touchdowns, though the Tide wins the game it hasn’t covered the spread.

Enter Nevada’s Harry Reid, the senator for Las Vegas. Before the roll is even called on the gun law – or a court nomination, or a Cabinet appointment – Reid makes a deal with his opponent Mitch McConnell that in order to get anything through the Senate it will take not 51 but 60 votes. A nine-vote spread.

That means that even when an amendment like Manchin-Toomey passes by a comfortable margin (54-46), McConnell’s team comes out grinning, while Reid (hypocritically) fulminates.

Why does Reid agree to handicapping his team in this way? Senate Club rules, old chap. Comes the day that Democrats are in the minority, Reid will be grinning while McConnell (hypocritically) goes away fulminating.

It’s been said, by no less an observer than the President of the United States (a former member of the Club), that Washington is broken. Right. And if I were to pinpoint the fracture, it would be in the wing of the U.S. Capitol that calls itself the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

World’s Greatest Debilitated Body would be more like it. See you at the game.

Sound Bite to Remember

It doesn’t take a genius to understand football. You don’t have to be a Norman Einstein.

– Washington Redskins quarterback/Notre Dame graduate Joe Theismann