Preventing the coup next time before it happens



Peter M. Shane/Washington Monthly:

The Well-Deserved Legal Losses of Citizen Trump

After the January 6 insurrection, the former president is not a credible trustee for the institutional interests of the presidency.

In his post-election attempts to resist accountability to Congress, Trump faces a two-pronged problem. First, he is no longer president. Judges no longer confront a common uncertainty in separation of powers cases—namely, the choice between deferring to the presidency as an impersonal institution and judging a specific president more rigorously in their personal capacity. Governmental units, that is, always appear in twin garb. The “Congress” Trump is resisting is both the immortal institution and its actual, mortal members. The “Treasury Department” is both the permanent department established by law and its contemporary officers. But as of now—gestures of judicial respect notwithstanding—former President Donald J. Trump is just Citizen Donald J. Trump. As the D.C. Circuit opinion says, “Under our Constitution, we have one President at a time.”

Trump’s second problem is that post-presidency conduct—including his persistence in the lies that helped motivate the January 6 insurrection—reveals him to be a singularly inappropriate person to advocate for the legitimate interests of the presidential office.

Marcy Wheeler/emptywheel:

The Green Bay Sweep Is Inextricably Tied To The Violent Mob

I’ve laid out how Trump’s pressure on Mike Pence is already a key focus of both investigations (which the NYT wrote about yesterday).

But as to the rest of it, thus far, the vast majority of what has been made public is — as Judge Mehta qualified it — a legal conspiracy to undermine trust in elections. As I noted, the reason why Peter Navarro’s confessions aren’t enough to charge him with sedition is because as confessed, the coordinated effort to get Republicans to raise bad faith challenges to the vote certification is not illegal.

DOJ has had, since before January 6, the proof that these two efforts worked in conjunction.

And that’s what changes the (as Judge Mehta described it) legal conspiracy to sow distrust in the election into an illegal conspiracy, with demonstrated mens rea of corrupt intent, to obstruct the vote count.

This is why DOJ has been pursuing a conspiracy to obstruct the vote count and not incitement. Because only the former can reach to those who helped Trump commit his crime.


Justin Feldman/Medium:

A year in, how has Biden done on pandemic response?

The Biden administration, I argue, made a strategic decision to prepare for one specific pandemic scenario. In that scenario, high levels of disease and death would continue in early 2021, followed by widespread population immunity from both vaccination and prior infection. This population immunity would lower the death toll to manageable, ignorable levels, like that of seasonal flu. In this scenario, the Biden administration’s pandemic response would focus on vaccination and medical treatment while largely rejecting other public health measures ­– so-called “non-pharmaceutical intervention” policies ranging from contact tracing to mass testing to temporary closures of non-essential businesses.

Biden’s gamble made sense on a political level, because a more comprehensive public health response would have required new laws and regulations, many of which are costly to business owners and run the risk of energizing the far-right Republican base. Some of these measures would require support from the Senate’s slim and unreliable Democratic majority. Pursuing a comprehensive public health approach would have also involved expending political capital, which ran the risk of displacing Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.

Biden’s advisors chose a narrow path of pharmaceutical intervention because they saw the politics of a comprehensive public health response as a losing proposition. The White House did not want the pandemic to define Biden’s presidency. The virus, however, had other plans.


Derek Thompson/Atlantic:

Why More Americans Are Saying They’re ‘Vaxxed and Done’

COVID has always divided Americans. The Omicron wave is even dividing the vaccinated.

To understand how ideologically scrambling the Omicron wave has been, consider this: Some 2022 Democrats are sounding like 2020 Republicans. In spring 2020, many Republicans, including President Donald Trump, insisted that COVID was hardly worse than the flu; that its fatality risk was comparable to an everyday activity, like driving in a car; and that an obsessive focus on cases wouldn’t give an accurate picture of what was going on in the pandemic.

In the current Omicron wave, these Republican talking points seem to have mostly come true—for most vaccinated non-senior adults, who are disproportionately Democrats.

But Democratic talking points about the severity of COVID and the need for commensurate caution remain valid and not only for the sick and elderly. Ironically, they are especially true for the unvaccinated—a disproportionately Republican group that has seen their hospitalization rates soar this winter to all-time highs. About 9,000 Americans are dying of COVID every week. Preliminary state data suggest that more than 90 percent of today’s deaths are still among unvaccinated people. This year, COVID is on pace to kill more than 300,000 unvaccinated people who would, quite likely, avoid death by getting two or three shots.

The messiness of Omicron data—record-high cases! but much milder illness!—has deepened our COVID Rashomon, in which different communities are telling themselves different stories about what’s going on, and coming to different conclusions about how to lead their lives. That’s true even within populations that, a year ago, were united in their desire to take the pandemic seriously and were outraged by those who refused to do so.



CDC weighs recommending better masks against omicron variant

Agency is likely to say that people who can consistently wear N95 or KN95 masks, rather than cloth masks, should do so

With the highly transmissible omicron variant spurring record levels of infections and hospitalizations, experts have repeatedly urged the Biden administration to recommend the better-quality masks rather than cloth coverings to protect against an airborne virus, and to underscore the importance of masking.

“The agency is currently actively looking to update its recommendations for KN95 and N95 in light of omicron,” the official said. “We know these masks provide better filtration.”

Don’t waste a lot of time on this. COVID is airborne. Up your mask game and get these masks to Americans.

This tweet thread shows how bots and trolls affect the reach of tweets (and ideas).



A third of the ‘activity’ highlighted in yellow is gone because the inauthentic accounts that pushed it are gone.


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