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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
December 14, 2020

How do we hold the traitors to democracy accountable?

Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie — a well-known Trump ally — and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) at least had the decency during their Sunday show appearances to recognize that Joe Biden won the presidential election and to deplore the Texas lawsuit seeking to overthrow our democracy. What they did not say, however, is disturbing.

Cassidy acknowledged on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Biden “is the president-elect. He has 270 electoral college votes. We’re the law-and-order party. We are a nation of a Constitution. We’re a nation of laws and courts that interpret those laws.” He added: “And this is how it breaks out, and the courts have ruled, then President Biden’s going to be our next president.”

Christie conceded on ABC’s “This Week” that “the legal theory put forward by his legal team and by the president is an absurdity.” He added, “And the reason why the Supreme Court didn’t take it is because it’s an absurd idea to think that any state or any number of states, no matter how good they are, can challenge another state’s right to run the election as they see fit.” Christie even acknowledged that there is “no evidence” of widespread fraud and deplored “the attacks by the president on good, hard-working, decent Republican governors.”

So do they regret their support for Trump, who is undermining our nation’s system of government? Nope. Will they denounce colleagues who would subvert the will of the voters in the most jaw-dropping betrayal of the United States by elected House members since the Civil War? Silence.

That is a problem.


December 14, 2020

Trump's rage at Georgia's GOP governor bodes badly for Trumpism's future

Opinion by Greg Sargent

The electoral college will convene in state capitols across the country on Monday to cast votes for Joe Biden. Once Congress counts those votes, Biden will formally become the next president.

But it’s becoming overwhelmingly clear that President Trump will do all he can to prevent millions of his supporters — and as many elected Republicans as possible — from acknowledging this outcome’s fundamental legitimacy.

The idea that the election was stolen from Trump will be maintained as a kind of foundation myth of the post-Trump era, one that Republicans will have to tiptoe around for years.

Which raises a question: Can elected Republicans who hope to keep alive the flame of Trumpism in some more respectable form do so without pledging fealty to this mythology?


December 14, 2020

The GOP's Minority Rule Caucus reveals its contempt for democracy

Opinion by E.J. Dionne Jr.

At least the Confederate secessionists acknowledged that Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election.

The 18 Republican state attorneys general and 126 Republican House members who asked the Supreme Court to throw out the results of the 2020 election may thus be more impudent than the Civil War seditionists in whose steps they followed.

Here is a translation of what they were telling a majority of the nation’s electorate and voters in states representing 62 of President-elect Joe Biden’s 306 electoral votes:

“We don’t like the president and vice president you chose so we simply won’t accept the result of a free election. We’ll deploy lies and phony statistics to justify imposing our will on the rest of the country. The heck with democracy. But we’ll continue to enjoy the Social Security checks, the farm subsidies and all the other money that states that voted for Biden send our way.”

Their lawsuit, flatly rejected by the court on Friday night, was originally brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (who happens to be under federal investigation for bribery and abuse of office and has been under indictment for felony securities fraud charges). It was joined by 17 of his Republican colleagues and backed by almost two-thirds of House Republicans. Its claims have been described as (you can look it up) clownish, comical, farcical, frivolous, ludicrous, insane and dumb. The court used none of those words, of course, but its terse dismissal said enough.


December 14, 2020

A World Lit Only By Fire

Finished this book last week by William Manchester (American Caesar, Churchill biographies, others).

It's a remarkable description of 16th century Europe as it transitions from an era dominated by superstition to an enlightened period where logic and reason become more prominent.

The corruption of the Papistry and the reaction to Luther's criticisms have a tremendous effect on the arc of European history, and plays a central part in the book's narrative. It's a relatively quick but insightful and interesting read.

December 13, 2020

Hundreds of Nigerian students missing after attack on school

Source: LA Times

Hundreds of Nigerian students were missing after gunmen attacked a secondary school in the country’s northwestern Katsina state, police said, while the president said the military was in gunfights with bandits in a forest as it tried to find the students.

The Government Science Secondary School in Kankara was attacked Friday night by a large group of bandits who shot “with AK-47 rifles,” Katsina state police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement.

Police engaged the attackers “in a gunfight that gave [some of] the students the opportunity to scale the fence of the school and run for safety,” Isah said.

About 400 students are missing, and 200 are accounted for, Isah said. The school is believed to have had more than 600 students.

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-12-13/hundreds-of-nigerian-students-missing-after-attack-on-school

December 13, 2020

She was his best friend. And she led him to his death

It was fifth period at Panorama High School when Brayan Andino’s best friend dropped into his class and asked if he wanted to cut school to smoke some weed.

They slipped out to a table and waited until no adults were looking to steal away. Brayan, a stocky 16-year-old who claimed membership in a gang he didn’t belong to and trusted people he shouldn’t, asked where they were going.

Lake Balboa Park, she proposed. If it sounded spontaneous to Brayan, it wasn’t. She would later testify that several of his 10th grade classmates had spent the previous week planning how to kill him, and that she, his closest friend, was the bait in the trap.

In a cramped juvenile courtroom in Sylmar, that friend and a second girl described how in 2017 they helped boys and young men affiliated with the MS-13 street gang coax Brayan to Lake Balboa Park, then into a car that carried him into the mountains above the San Fernando Valley, where he was stabbed and bludgeoned to death and thrown off a cliff.


December 13, 2020

She Stalked Her Daughter's Killers Across Mexico, One by One

Armed with a handgun, a fake ID card and disguises, Miriam Rodríguez was a one-woman detective squad, defying a system where criminal impunity often prevails.

Miriam Rodríguez clutched a pistol in her purse as she ran past the morning crowds on the bridge to Texas. She stopped every few minutes to catch her breath and study the photo of her next target: the florist.

She had been hunting him for a year, stalking him online, interrogating the criminals he worked with, even befriending unwitting relatives for tips on his whereabouts. Now she finally had one — a widow called to tell her that he was peddling flowers on the border.

Ever since 2014, she had been tracking the people responsible for the kidnapping and murder of her 20-year-old daughter, Karen. Half of them were already in prison, not because the authorities had cracked the case, but because she had pursued them on her own, with a meticulous abandon.

She cut her hair, dyed it and disguised herself as a pollster, a health worker and an election official to get their names and addresses. She invented excuses to meet their families, unsuspecting grandmothers and cousins who gave her details, however small. She wrote everything down and stuffed it into her black computer bag, building her investigation and tracking them down, one by one.

December 12, 2020

$130,000 for an 8-foot-by-8-foot shed? That's what L.A. is paying in a bid to house the homeless

In other cities, 64-square-foot aluminum and composite sheds are being used as quick and inexpensive emergency shelter for homeless people.

Not in Los Angeles. Here, plans to employ the minimalist structures, known as “tiny homes,” have blossomed into expensive development projects with access roads, underground utilities and concrete foundations — and commensurate planning delays.

At the city’s first tiny home village, scheduled to open in January, each of the 39 closet-sized homes is costing $130,000, about 10 times what some other cities are spending. Five more villages are planned to open later.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the program in March, signaling that the concept of sheltering people in tiny homes, long neglected in Los Angeles, had emerged as a leading strategy in the city’s response to a federal lawsuit alleging it has done too little to get homeless people off the streets.


December 12, 2020

'An Indelible Stain': How the G.O.P. Tried to Topple a Pillar of Democracy

The Supreme Court repudiation of President Trump was also a blunt rebuke to Republican leaders who had put their interests ahead of the country’s.

The Supreme Court repudiation of President Trump’s desperate bid for a second term not only shredded his effort to overturn the will of voters: It also was a blunt rebuke to Republican leaders in Congress and the states who were willing to damage American democracy by embracing a partisan power grab over a free and fair election.

The court’s decision on Friday night, an inflection point after weeks of legal flailing by Mr. Trump and ahead of the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday, leaves the president’s party in an extraordinary position. Through their explicit endorsements or complicity of silence, much of the G.O.P. leadership now shares responsibility for the quixotic attempt to ignore the nation’s founding principles and engineer a different verdict from the one voters cast in November.

Many regular Republicans supported this effort, too — a sign that Mr. Trump has not just bent the party to his will, but pressed a mainstay of American politics for nearly two centuries into the service of overturning an election outcome and assaulting public faith in the electoral system. The G.O.P. sought to undo the vote by such spurious means that the Supreme Court quickly rejected the argument.

Even some Republican leaders delivered a withering assessment of the 126 G.O.P. House members and 18 attorneys general who chose to side with Mr. Trump over the democratic process, by backing a lawsuit that asked the Supreme Court to throw out some 20 million votes in four key states that cemented the president’s loss.

December 12, 2020

The Republicans Who Embraced Nihilism

The Supreme Court thwarts the latest Trumpist attack on American democracy.

By The Editorial Board

What is left to say about a political party that would throw out millions of votes?

The substance of a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas, and backed by more than 17 other states, would be laughable were it not so dangerous. Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton — who is under indictment for securities fraud — asked the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the presidential election in four other states. As a legal matter, this is the rough equivalent of objecting on the grounds that the other side is winning. As political rhetoric, however, it is incendiary.

The Supreme Court was right to toss out the lawsuit. But that the Republican Party tried and failed doesn’t make the attempt any less odious. There are a lot of Republican leaders who, the history books will record, wanted it to succeed.

What makes this entire episode so sad is that the nation needs a vibrant, honest, patriotic opposition party. A party that argues in good faith to win more votes the next time around. Many Republicans, particularly at the state and local level, stood tall and proud against the worst instincts of the national party.

The health of a democracy rests on public confidence that elections are free and fair. Questioning the integrity of an election is a matter of the utmost seriousness. By doing so without offering any evidence, Mr. Paxton and his collaborators have disgraced themselves. Attorneys general are sworn to uphold the rule of law.


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