This explains why the doctor was wearing his mask as a chin diaper

I had a consultation with a high-powered specialist who suddenly had some urgent texts to attend to. While he was tapping his phone I noticed this mug full of pens on his desk, snapped a photo. He smiled when I told him I had to send this to a doctor friend.

“Are you a fan?” he asked with a smile.

“I am absolutely not a fan,” I said, perhaps a bit too frankly.

The smile left his face and there was a moment of silence between us.

In that moment I suddenly understood why he was wearing his mask on his chin.

Truth and Reconciliation, GOP style

At last, two of the country’s top Republican leaders finally speak the plain truth, after four solid years of partisan lying, sharp practices and covering for each other’s hypocrisy — and shortly after a partisan acquittal, on a shaky technicality, in Trump’s record second impeachment (in little over a year). Sadly, truth does not seem to have resulted in reconciliation.

MITCH McCONNELL:

“January 6th was a disgrace.

“American citizens attacked their own government. They used terrorism to try to stop a specific piece of democratic business they did not like.

“Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the Vice President.

“They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth — because he was angry he’d lost an election.

“Former President Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty.

“The House accused the former President of, quote, ‘incitement.’ That is a specific term from the criminal law.

“Let me put that to the side for one moment and reiterate something I said weeks ago: There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day.

“The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President.

“And their having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated President kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.

“The issue is not only the President’s intemperate language on January 6th.

“It is not just his endorsement of remarks in which an associate urged ‘trial by combat.’

“It was also the entire manufactured atmosphere of looming catastrophe; the increasingly wild myths about a reverse landslide election that was being stolen in some secret coup by our now-President.

“I defended the President’s right to bring any complaints to our legal system. The legal system spoke. The Electoral College spoke. As I stood up and said clearly at the time, the election was settled.

“But that reality just opened a new chapter of even wilder and more unfounded claims.

“The leader of the free world cannot spend weeks thundering that shadowy forces are stealing our country and then feign surprise when people believe him and do reckless things. [1]

(Of course, the constitution requires, unfortunately, that such an elected official not be held responsible by the Senate, Mitch concludes.)

DONALD J. TRUMP:

“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,” Trump said in the statement. “He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.”

Then the CLINTON NEWS NETWORK continues:

Trump’s call for compassionate leadership came in a petty statement full of ad hominem attacks, including a jab at McConnell’s family, and after years of some of the most vitriolic political leadership in American history. Despite the potshot at McConnell’s family and the insulting characterization of his personality, Trump wanted to lob harsher personal attacks at McConnell, according to a source familiar with Trump’s desires. Trump adviser Jason Miller said an “earlier (version of the) statement was likely tougher. There was never a consideration to make a personal attack, though.” [2]

biased source

Which is why, of course, Mr. Trump refrained from making it a personal attack on another former close ally.

“Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” — Voltaire

(quoted by Representative Jamie Raskin during the impeachment trial)

[1] Here’s the rest of the immoral, chinless fuck’s self-serving remarks:

“Sadly, many politicians sometimes make overheated comments or use metaphors that unhinged listeners might take literally.”This was different.”This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories, orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out.”The unconscionable behavior did not end when the violence began.”Whatever our ex-President claims he thought might happen that day… whatever reaction he says he meant to produce… by that afternoon, he was watching the same live television as the rest of the world.“A mob was assaulting the Capitol in his name. These criminals were carrying his banners, hanging his flags, and screaming their loyalty to him.”It was obvious that only President Trump could end this.”Former aides publicly begged him to do so. Loyal allies frantically called the Administration.”But the President did not act swiftly. He did not do his job. He didn’t take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed, and order restored.”Instead, according to public reports, he watched television happily as the chaos unfolded. He kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election!”Even after it was clear to any reasonable observer that Vice President Pence was in danger… even as the mob carrying Trump banners was beating cops and breaching perimeters… the President sent a further tweet attacking his Vice President.“Predictably and foreseeably under the circumstances, members of the mob seemed to interpret this as further inspiration to lawlessness and violence.”Later, even when the President did halfheartedly begin calling for peace, he did not call right away for the riot to end. He did not tell the mob to depart until even later.”And even then, with police officers bleeding and broken glass covering Capitol floors, he kept repeating election lies and praising the criminals.”In recent weeks, our ex-President’s associates have tried to use the 74 million Americans who voted to re-elect him as a kind of human shield against criticism.

“Anyone who decries his awful behavior is accused of insulting millions of voters.”That is an absurd deflection.”74 million Americans did not invade the Capitol. Several hundred rioters did.”And 74 million Americans did not engineer the campaign of disinformation and rage that provoked it.”One person did.”I have made my view of this episode very plain.”But our system of government gave the Senate a specific task. The Constitution gives us a particular role.“This body is not invited to act as the nation’s overarching moral tribunal.”We are not free to work backward from whether the accused party might personally deserve some kind of punishment.“Justice Joseph Story was our nation’s first great constitutional scholar. As he explained nearly 200 years ago, the process of impeachment and conviction is a narrow tool for a narrow purpose.”Story explained this limited tool exists to “secure the state against gross official misdemeanors.” That is, to protect the country from government officers.”If President Trump were still in office, I would have carefully considered whether the House managers proved their specific charge.”By the strict criminal standard, the President’s speech probably was not incitement.”However, in the context of impeachment, the Senate might have decided this was acceptable shorthand for the reckless actions that preceded the riot.”But in this case, that question is moot. Because former President Trump is constitutionally not eligible for conviction.”There is no doubt this is a very close question. Donald Trump was the President when the House voted, though not when the House chose to deliver the papers.”Brilliant scholars argue both sides of the jurisdictional question. The text is legitimately ambiguous. I respect my colleagues who have reached either conclusion.”But after intense reflection, I believe the best constitutional reading shows that Article II, Section 4 exhausts the set of persons who can legitimately be impeached, tried, or convicted. The President, Vice President, and civil officers.”We have no power to convict and disqualify a former officeholder who is now a private citizen.”Here is Article II, Section 4:”The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.””Now, everyone basically agrees that the second half of that sentence exhausts the legitimate grounds for conviction.”The debates around the Constitution’s framing make that clear. Congress cannot convict for reasons besides those.”It therefore follows that the list of persons in that same sentence is also exhaustive. There is no reason why one list would be exhaustive but the other would not.”Article II, Section 4 must limit both why impeachment and conviction can occur… and to whom.”If this provision does not limit the impeachment and conviction powers, then it has no limits at all.”The House’s ‘sole power of Impeachment’ and the Senate’s ‘sole Power to try all Impeachments’ would create an unlimited circular logic, empowering Congress to ban any private citizen from federal office.”This is an incredible claim. But it is the argument the House Managers seemed to make. One Manager said the House and Senate have ‘absolute, unqualified… jurisdictional power.'”That was very honest. Because there is no limiting principle in the constitutional text that would empower the Senate to convict former officers that would not also let them convict and disqualify any private citizen.”An absurd end result to which no one subscribes.”Article II, Section 4 must have force. It tells us the President, Vice President, and civil officers may be impeached and convicted. Donald Trump is no longer the president.”Likewise, the provision states that officers subject to impeachment and conviction ‘shall be removed from Office’ if convicted.”Shall.”As Justice Story explained, ‘the Senate, [upon] conviction, [is] bound, in all cases, to enter a judgment of removal from office.’ Removal is mandatory upon conviction.”Clearly, he explained, that mandatory sentence cannot be applied to somebody who has left office.”The entire process revolves around removal. If removal becomes impossible, conviction becomes insensible.”In one light, it certainly does seem counterintuitive that an officeholder can elude Senate conviction by resignation or expiration of term.”But this just underscores that impeachment was never meant to be the final forum for American justice.”Impeachment, conviction, and removal are a specific intra-governmental safety valve. It is not the criminal justice system, where individual accountability is the paramount goal.”Indeed, Justice Story specifically reminded that while former officials were not eligible for impeachment or conviction, they were “still liable to be tried and punished in the ordinary tribunals of justice.””We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former Presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”I believe the Senate was right not to grab power the Constitution does not give us.”And the Senate was right not to entertain some light-speed sham process to try to outrun the loss of jurisdiction.”It took both sides more than a week just to produce their pre-trial briefs. Speaker Pelosi’s own scheduling decisions conceded what President Biden publicly confirmed: A Senate verdict before Inauguration Day was never possible.”This has been a dispiriting time. But the Senate has done our duty. The framers’ firewall held up again.”On January 6th, we returned to our posts and certified the election, uncowed.”And since then, we resisted the clamor to defy our own constitutional guardrails in hot pursuit of a particular outcome.”We refused to continue a cycle of recklessness by straining our own constitutional boundaries in response.”The Senate’s decision does not condone anything that happened on or before that terrible day.

“It simply shows that Senators did what the former President failed to do: we put our constitutional duty first.”

[2]

Trump’s latest Stephen Miller-authored literary turd attacking McConnell and his wife and her family can be found in its noisome entirety here.

Quick Tour of Trumpist Resistance

The hallmark of Trumpism is a strong and repeated commitment to any lie that can help its cause. It used to be embarrassing for a president to be caught in a lie. That seems a long time ago. The new, well-worn norm is that as long as he didn’t lie under oath (and only a sucker would place himself in a “perjury trap” by agreeing to tell the truth if it didn’t benefit him) — fuck off and get over it, loser.

Impeachment managers today continue to try to convince 34% of a committed block of GOP obstructionists, as well as the American people, that a president who lies for months to inflame rage and finally incites a violent insurrection to overturn an election must be held accountable. The pundits all seem to agree that this is an exercise for the history books, for the midterm elections and possibly beyond. The smart money says that 17 Republicans, in the name of healing and looking forward, will not break ranks to convict their fearsome leader of wrongdoing.

Consider the Republicans’ united embrace of Trump’s right to any reality he chooses. It was seen in the weeks before their leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, acknowledged Joe Biden as the president-elect. After the election McConnell soberly told the country that Mr. Trump has every right to do everything he thinks best to make sure that Biden didn’t win by cheating. It was seen as an act of betrayal for any Republican to acknowledge the fair counting of the ballots and the bipartisan certification of the vote in all 50 states.

Fast forward to after all the federal and state lawsuits contesting the election were dismissed, after all legal avenues to contesting an election Trump lost by 7,000,000 votes were closed. January 2, four days before the final certification of the votes by Congress:

From the Joint Statement of Senators Cruz, Johnson, Lankford, Daines, Kennedy, Blackburn, Braun, Senators-Elect Lummis, Marshall, Hagerty, Tuberville (note that Hawley, first among them to announce his intention to contest the certification, is not on this list):

The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.

This appears to be the cunningly worded work of clever lawyer and former Supreme Court clerk Lyin’ Ted Cruz. Note the key word “allegations”. We’re not saying that there was unprecedented voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities, we’re not saying there wasn’t — we’re just stating the indisputable truth that tens of millions of Americans honestly believe these things, these arguably unproven, allegedly baseless, allegations. [1].

The rest of the statement is peppered with suggestive lies. Although, admittedly, the “breadth and scope” of voter fraud is disputed (and virtually none was found by Trump’s Commission on Voter Fraud before it disbanded, nor by any of the many courts that dismissed Trump’s/RNC’s evidence-free claims of fraud), “by any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.

Widespread public belief in these “allegations”, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with a constantly repeated presidential lie about massive fraud or the $50,000,000 in advertising to convince people the election was stolen from Mr. Trump. In fact, Mr. Trump, in his speech on January 6, expressly and strongly denied spending a single dollar on any ads promoting this falsehood, to wit:

I did no advertising. I did nothing. You do have some groups that are big supporters. I want to thank that. Amy and everybody. We have some incredible supporters. Incredible. But we didn’t do anything. This just happened. Two months ago, we had a massive crowd come down to Washington. I said what are they there for? Sir, they’re there for you. We had nothing to do with it.

source

So there!

“Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud. Twice, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so; twice, the Court declined.writes Cruz.

Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence of serious election fraud, had any existed. I love the lawyerly shot they take at the apparent betrayal of justice by the anti-Trump Supreme Court in refusing, twice, to even hear a case that could have thrown the election to Mr. Trump. The AG of Texas had every goddamned right to contest fake, anti-Trump votes in other states!

The above group of senators, now jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial, voted to contest the final, largely ceremonial, certification of Joe Biden as the president, even after the rioters ransacked the Capitol. As is their right, of course, based on evidence, suspicion or political expediency, it is not our place to question their motives, or their ability to be impartial jurors now.

After Trump was impeached on January 13th, Mitch McConnell seemed to unequivocally condemn him and the lies that had stoked the rage that led to the deadly attack on the Capitol, which he said Trump and other leaders provoked:

Then, because he’d refused to reconvene the Senate during the remainder of Trump’s term so that the article of impeachment could be delivered to the Senate and a trial scheduled during Trump’s remaining time in office, the tricky, “transactional” McConnell voted with 44 other Trump-supporting senators that the impeachment was now unconstitutional, since, after Biden’s inauguration, Mr. Trump was indisputably a private citizen and could no longer be removed from office. (Talk about unclean flippers, Mitch, you slimy bastard).

Trump’s defense team in the unconstitutional impeachment made an outstanding point in their answer to the charges, after observing:

“The 45th President of the United States performed admirably in his role as president, at all times doing what he thought was in the best interests of the American people.”

Indeed, Mr. Trump watched the riot unfold on live TV, tweeting a reminder to the rioters, during their attack, that Mike Pence lacked courage (hang the traitor!), then an hour or two later, tweeted a video telling them that he knew their pain, that the election had been stolen, that he loved them, that they were special. All admirable and in the best interests of the American people. No other president would have behaved any differently, if he truly thought his actions were in the best interests of the American people (ask Alan Dershowitz!).

They then came to the heart of the matter about Trump’s hundreds of arguably false and inflammatory statements about a rigged and stolen election:

“Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th President’s statements were accurate or not, and he therefore denies they were false.”

See? There simply is no evidence — plus, a very strong denial! Therefore, he can’t be lying — and, even if he is, he strongly DENIES IT [2].

And on and on with the “I know you are, but what am I? you’ll never get 17 votes, losers, nyah, nyah!” defense.

It may be that under the RICO investigation the DOJ is planning to conduct into the organization and planning of the riot at the Capitol, some of the jurors who will soon vote to acquit Mr. Trump, along with some of the majority of House Republicans who voted to contest the election and against impeachment, will be investigated and indicted for their seemingly key roles in fomenting the insurrection.

It may be that, whatever their involvement or culpability, Trump patriots Hawley, Cruz, Tuberville, Graham, McCarthy, Brooks, Taylor Greene and co. will get a pass. After all, ladies and gentlemen, this is the United States of America, the greatest democracy Jesus ever personally blessed.

[1]

“The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.

“Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed. By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.

“And those allegations are not believed just by one individual candidate. Instead, they are widespread. Reuters/Ipsos polling, tragically, shows that 39% of Americans believe ‘the election was rigged.’ That belief is held by Republicans (67%), Democrats (17%), and Independents (31%).

“Some Members of Congress disagree with that assessment, as do many members of the media.

“But, whether or not our elected officials or journalists believe it, that deep distrust of our democratic processes will not magically disappear. It should concern us all. And it poses an ongoing threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent administrations.

“Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud. Twice, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so; twice, the Court declined.

source

[2]

source

They say he loved crack

Mike Lindell, the My Pillow guy, a big Trump supporter, was one of the last diehard loyalists to go into the White House, not many hours before Mr. Trump left to let a new administration take over. Lindell was photographed carrying notes for a discussion of his plan for invoking the trusty Insurrection Act against traitors who insisted on officially tallying certified votes, mobilizing martial law to keep his guy in power. As you do.

The rumor is that Lindell used to be a crackhead. He loved crack, people are saying. Some irreverent wiseass had a little fun with that, picturing him with his favorite crack: