Federal Vacancies & Senate Dysfunction

“Biden is hardly the first incoming president to struggle with filling key positions. Any new administration faces hundreds of openings at the same time it’s grappling with other urgent challenges. Biden’s pace of nominations is faster than Donald Trump’s, slower than Barack Obama’s and about the same as George W. Bush’s — though unlike any of those three, Biden has decades of Washington contacts to draw on.”

-Tyler Pager, Ann E. Marimow and Laurie McGinley. “Vacancies remain in key Biden administration positions.” The Washington Post. July 10, 2021.
 

It’s interesting that the story The Washington Post ran with is that Biden is not filling positions. But, if you look at this graphic, it’s clear that he’s on track with previous administrations. The real story is why are the numbers of Senate confirmations so low? For Trump, I’d assume they were low because he nominated patently unqualified people more than any other reason. But, for Biden? It points to Senate dysfunction, which The Washington Post mentions as a Democratic talking point, but it doesn’t want to make the point itself.

Also, only one of these guys took office in the middle of a pandemic. You don’t have to like Biden to think this narrative is ridiculous.

Short-Bus People

“The attorney for ‘QAnon Shaman’ Jacob Chansley says that his client and other accused Capitol rioters were uniquely vulnerable to being misled by former President Trump’s lies, TPM reports.

Said Albert Watkins: “A lot of these defendants… they’re all fucking short-bus people. These are people with brain damage, they’re fucking retarded, they’re on the goddamn spectrum.’

He added: ‘But they’re our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our coworkers—they’re part of our country. These aren’t bad people, they don’t have prior criminal history. Fuck, they were subjected to four-plus years of goddamn propaganda the likes of which the world has not seen since fucking Hitler.'”

—Taegan Goddard, “Capitol Rioters Cling to the ‘Trump Defense’.Political Wire. May 18, 2021.

Definitely in the running for quote of the year.

Capitol Crimes

“The only good thing I can think of about the tsunami of stupid that crashed into Capitol Hill on Tuesday is that so many of those idiots posed for pictures or appeared in videos that show them committing one or more crimes. In most cases, they are easily identifiable in these images, often because they posted the evidence against them to their personal social media accounts. As we have discussed many times before, that is a very stupid thing to do. So it isn’t too surprising that it happened so often the other day.

[Precedes to cite some of the applicable statutes] …there’s also the federal Anti-Riot Act (18 U.S.C. § 2101, up to five years), and I feel pretty confident in saying that the rioters violated that one. See 18 U.S.C. § 2102 (defining “riot”). Under federal law, it only takes three people to constitute a riot (in California and many other states, it only takes two), so that isn’t an issue.

And those are just some of the crimes they committed simply by being part of the riot.” [Then, lists examples.]

-Kevin Underhill, “Dear Idiots: Please Keep Posting Pictures of You Committing Federal Crimes.” LoweringTheBar.net. January 8, 2021

Whites vs. People of Color

“What I came away from the 2020 election knowing was that when given a choice between the worst president in living memory, who would happily dismantle the country and all its institutions if he could suck a nickel out of it — because he did just that for four straight years — and not that, white voters in their majority chose the worst. White voters will not defend the United States against its worst impulses. White voters will not save the United States from itself or anyone else. They’ll let it burn, to “own the libs,” but in reality because they’d rather be on the top of a pile of ashes than just another part of anything else, with people who they don’t see as being like them…

…Trump won seventy million, four hundred thousand votes. Joe Biden, thankfully, won seventy-four million and won a bare majority (50.5%) of the available voting populace, and the majority of the electoral college. White people did vote for Biden, of course; 42% of those who voted. But others voted for him more, in percentages if not raw numbers. Biden won because of black women and black men, because of Hispanics and Latinos, because of Asian Americans, Native Americans and others, all of whom came out to vote for Biden in much larger percentages than white people. They voted despite racist state and federal policies and ploys established to make it more difficult to vote — for fuck’s sake, the Trump administration started dismantling the postal service to keep early Democratic (read: minority) votes from arriving on time, and Republicans from Texas to Ohio made it more difficult to vote early in person. They voted as if their lives depended on it, because they did.”

-John Scalzi, “The Sound of a Landslide Not Happening.” scalzi.com. November 11, 2020.

How Many Licks…?

On reflection, I look at the support that Donald Trump received during this year’s U.S. election and the inescapable conclusion I find myself coming to:

Given the U.S. population, perhaps socialism isn’t a good idea and people are right to be against it.

Hold the Line

This both begins and ends this blog’s election coverage. Fare thee well.

“The list of potential and real challenges we face is long. Whether it’s cuts to the US Postal Service; malfunctioning voting equipment; voter suppression; misinformation; intimidation at the polls; violence among political supporters; or the President improperly using the powers of the executive branch and possibly refusing to accept defeat; we are witnessing ongoing actions that destroy our democracy bit by bit.

We the People need to prepare ourselves to take on these threats swiftly, strategically, and in ways that protect the Constitution and restore accountability. This guide is designed to help people from all walks of life take action to ensure that the election is free and fair, and that the results are respected. There is a role for everyone in this effort, and your help is needed.

Hold the Line