The Trump administration certainly looks like it’s trying a very messy, very stupid coup, forcing out several Pentagon officials and encouraging the Justice Department to pursue its partisan goals in overturning the election.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court deliberated on a case that could gut the Affordable Care Act, but early quotes from the justices suggest that they may not be open to axing the entire bill like some in the GOP want.
And lastly, Bernie Sanders is shooting his shot to become Joe Biden’s Labor Secretary. Lets hope he gets it, because the rest of Biden’s transition team is stacked with private sector vultures.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Is Trump actually attempting a coup? If he is, it’s an extremely stupid and messy one that probably won’t work -- but that doesn’t mean it’s not scary.
But let’s not ring all the alarm bells just yet: here’s what we know.
Late on Monday night, Attorney General and Trump lackey Bill Barr authorized the DOJ’s prosecutors to look into Trump’s almost certainly bogus allegations of voter fraud quote “in certain cases.” endquote.
Trump’s entire “coup,” if we’re calling it that, will currently rely on the extremely unlikely success of a series of lawsuits filed in various battleground states. Standard DOJ policy is to stay away from any elections related cases until the results are certified and the election is over, but it’s not really a huge surprise that Barr would cross this line.
On the bright side, however, the Trump administration’s legal challenges aren’t exactly making a lot of headway, mostly because the number of votes he’s trying to get thrown out in many of these states is nowhere NEAR the margins that he’s losing by. What it seems like instead is that Trump’s trying to make a lot of noise and, if he wins even one case, will claim that the whole thing was rigged and that he actually won. To be fair, he’s doing this already.
What has set a lot of people on edge lately, though, is a massive shakeup in the nation’s military leadership. Since Trump fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper yesterday, the Under Secretary
of Defense for Intelligence, the Secretary of Defense’s Chief of Staff, the NSA’s General Counsel, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Chief, the DOJ’s Election Crimes Branch chief and several others have all resigned or been pushed out. That’s a lot of pretty powerful people who are quickly being replaced by Trump lackeys. CNN reports that some of this shakeup may be related to non-election policy: Esper and some of the DOD guys, for instance, were at odds with Trump already over his plans to withdraw in haste from Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, is doing everything he can to toe the line, quipping at a press conference today quote “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” endquote. He got to use the “just kidding” excuse, but it’s clear that top GOP officials are fully ready to see how far Trump can take this thing before they cut him loose.
Supreme Court Stops Short on Killing ACA
The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case brought by several Republican-led states that could strike down the Affordable Care Act, one of the top priorities for most of the GOP, but thus far, even the heavily conservative bench doesn’t appear willing to do it.
Both Chief Justice John Roberts and Trump’s precious boy Brett Kavanaugh made arguments on Tuesday that suggested the legal challenge would only apply to the ACA’s “individual mandate,” and not to the law overall. Their arguments basically said that if the Republican side wins, the most they’d get would be an elimination of that mandate, while the greater bill would still stand.
Granted, the ACA itself isn’t all that great. But the fact that even Trump’s hand-picked, 6-3 majority Supreme Court doesn’t think they have the legal standing to completely destroy it is a good sign.
The individual mandate, if you’re not familiar, is the bit of the ACA that says you have to get health insurance or pay a penalty. But a GOP-led congress already set that penalty to $0 in 2017, so it’s a bit of a moot point.
Kavanaugh and Roberts also pointed to that decision as actually working against the Republican side in this particular suit, saying that if Congress had actually wanted the whole law gone they would have done it in 2017 instead of just altering the individual mandate.
The case is still before the court, however, and a final decision isn’t expected till June, so we may get more twists and turns in this one.
Bernie Sanders Guns for Labor Secretary
Bernie Sanders may be heading for a new role in politics. Given his age, it’ll probably be his last one, although we should know better than to count the Vermont Senator out.
According to a new report by In These Times, Sanders is actively making calls to Biden’s team and other allies in the politics and labor world indicating that he wants the job of Labor Secretary in the hopefully forthcoming Biden administration.
If Sanders is gunning for the seat, it means he probably figures he could actually accomplish something good in the position, rather than being sidelined by bureaucracy in an executive branch gig.
And we should hope he or someone likes him gets it, as Biden’s other advisors in that area of policy are about as bad as it gets. Biden announced his official transition team on Tuesday, and it’s stacked with plenty of names fresh off private sector gigs at big banks, defense contractors, and tech companies.
One of them, former deputy labor secretary Seth Harris, was the author of a paper that argued for creating a third type of worker classification beyond employee and independent contractor to allow gig-economy companies to sidestep the tricky business of misclassifying their workers. Not exactly the guy we want running the show at the moment.
Still, Sanders’ route to the position will be a tricky one, which might hinge on Democrats winning the two long-shot Georgia Senate runoffs in order to get him confirmed. We’ll see how things shape up over the next few months.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
North Dakota’s Republican Governor Doug Burgum announced that COVID-positive nurses could stay at work, as his state’s hospitals are currently at 100% capacity and starting to overflow. Real grim stuff.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hired a small-time sports blogger, Uber Driver, and repeat coronavirus conspiracy theorist as a data analyst for the state’s official pandemic response team. Probably not the best candidate for the job there!
The postal worker touted by Republicans as a brave whistleblower on voter fraud admitted that he made the whole thing up. Richard Hopkins, a postal worker in Pennsylvania, told investigators from the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General that his claims that a postmaster had ordered workers to backdate late ballots were completely made up, and signed an affidavit that recanted his claims.
Amazon is getting slammed once again by European regulators, as the EU’s competition chief charged the company with misusing the data of its third party merchants that use it’s online marketplace, giving it’s own in-house products an unfair advantage. That’s about par for the course for the Bezos Behemoth.
NOV 11, 2020 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn