The Phony Campaign

2020-04-19 Update

Well, a pretty boring week. Everybody said the same things they were saying before. As they said way back when:

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Well, actually, that was written c. 450–200 BCE.

Things have changed a lot since then.

But maybe not in ways the Kohelet would consider important.

Ah well. In phony news, Wheezy improved his odds a bit, with a corresponding decrease in Bone Spur futures. And obviously, Trump continues to clean up on the phony hits:

Candidate WinProb Change
Donald Trump 49.8% -0.6% 1,640,000 +120,000
Joe Biden 43.3% +0.8% 450,000 +19,000

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • It would be interesting to hear folks squeal if this happens, as reported by CNBC: Trump threatens to adjourn Congress so he can make recess appointments.

    President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to do what no American president before him has done: Unilaterally adjourn Congress so that he can appoint his nominees to senior positions and the federal bench without Senate approval.

    It's right there in Article II, Section 3. And (of course) the President used the P-word when threatening this move:

    “If the House will not agree to that adjournment, I will exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress,” the president said. “The current practice of leaving town while conducting phony pro-forma sessions is a dereliction of duty that the American people cannot afford during this crisis. It is a scam that they do.”

    Whatever, dude. I trust Andrew C. McCarthy with the legal analysis; he calls it an "empty threat".

    The pro forma proceedings mean there can be no claim that a true recess in the session has occurred. They further deprive the president of power to make recess appointments. Recall that President Obama, in his characteristic intolerance of constitutional restraints on executive authority, attempted to make some recess appointments when the Senate was not in recess. At the time, the Senate was conducting pro forma sessions because Republicans then, like Democrats now, were determined to prevent recess appointments. The Supreme Court, in NLRB v. Noel Canning, invalidated Obama’s lawless gambit. The Court concluded that the pro forma proceedings count, and thus the Senate is in session if it says it is in session. Case closed.

    In his mini-tirade, President Trump said that if the House did not allow the Senate to adjourn so that he could make recess appointments, he would “exercise my constitutional authority to adjourn both chambers of Congress.” He was apparently referring to another vestige of the Founding era, Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution. It provides that if both houses of Congress disagree about whether there has been an adjournment of the session, the president “may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper.”

    The problems with the president’s suggestion are obvious. First, there is no disagreement between the two chambers. Unless there were a change by law, the current 116th Congress’s session will end on January 3, 2021. (Under the 20th Amendment, the terms of outgoing Senators and House members end on January 3 of the odd years in which their successors take those seats.) Clearly, there is not going to be any change in the law.

    Gosh, just what we need, a Constitutional crisis over a never-before-invoked Presidential power. Trump can really make it interesting, can't he?

  • And there was a p-word containing tweet from President Orange:

    Yeah, it's wildly overused. You think Trump could make that point without sounding like a third-grader that watches too much Fox News?

  • At the New York Times, Kevin Roose bewails: Biden Is Losing the Internet. Does That Matter? It's a sad story, really. But there's a phony angle:

    YouTube, where progressives have only recently started competing for attention with an extensive network of popular right-wing creators, is particularly thorny territory for a centrist pragmatist like Mr. Biden. The platform’s left-wing commentariat, often referred to as “LeftTube” or “BreadTube,” mostly seems to consist of young Sanders supporters who see Mr. Biden as an establishment phony. Video compilations of Mr. Biden’s verbal gaffes, with titles like “17 Minutes of Joe’s Melting Brain,” have gotten millions of views over all.

    Kevin's a good Democrat, and hence doesn't even link to the video, but Pun Salad is a full-service blog:

    Biden fever! Catch it!

  • Brian and Eddie Krassenstein ("journalists who have written for The Independent, Hill Reporter, 3DPrint") propose an excellent idea at Medium: How Joe Biden Could Stop the GOP’s ‘Mental Decline’ Claims in 10 Seconds. Sounds almost like clickbait, but they are apparently serious.

    There is one simple way that Joe Biden’s campaign could put an abrupt end to the GOP’s endless and baseless attacks of “mental decline.” It would only take a 2 sentence-long statement or tweet to get the job done.

    “I challenge Donald Trump to a publicly held mental (including an IQ test) and physical examination with the top 3 physicians in the nation. All results and the entire examination will be televised.”

    That’s it. That’s all that it would take. President Trump would obviously turn down the offer out of fear that he’d be embarrassed by the former vice president whom he continuously attacks the mental fitness of.

    The GOP’s talking points surrounding Biden’s mental health would completely be put to rest, and it would make potential voters reconsider the mental and physical health of President Trump.

    I definitely, desperately, want to see this happen. I'm not sure (look at that video again) things will work out as Brian and Eddie expect.