Author Archives: btlawren

Impeach him. Again. Immediately.

This might be the saddest day in history for American democracy. The President of the United States has attempted a coup by inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol. They attacked law enforcement agents. A woman has died. And Trump is unrepentant and continues to fan the flames of insanity.

Confederate flags were waved in the US Capitol. Members of Congress feared for their lives and barricaded themselves in their offices. Terrorists took over the floor of Congress and invaded the office of the Speaker of the House.

This is not normal. This is not OK. There are not good people on both sides of this issue. It is disgusting, it is abhorrent and it is undemocratic.

Cruz, Rubio, McConnell, Graham, Pence, Hawley and all the rest- blood is on their hands. Their fake words and actions today cannot save their place in history- they own this. The Republican Party sold their souls on behalf of the most craven and vile President in history.

Trump has no honor and no decency. He does not care about himself- he cares about himself- always and forever.

Trump needs to be impeached. Immediately.

Warnings from the UK

Boris Johnson, who has had Trumpian flashes in his mismanagement of Covid, announced that the UK is on a tight lockdown until at least mid-February. They have the new strain of the virus running rampant- Covid hospitalizations are up 30% in the last week and significantly higher than the initial surge in the spring.

One of the really terrible parts of this news is that they are closing down in-person learning in schools, with a few exceptions for children of front-line workers and struggling students. A ray of hope here in the US was that it seemed schools could reopen safely with tight protocols and the very low transmission rates in young students- the UK was a model for how that could happen. With our own surge taking place over the holiday season, it seems extremely doubtful that many school districts in the US will be returning many students to the classroom if they have not already done so. Many districts will probably opt to wait until there is wide-spread vaccination before having students physically back on campus.

The news from Los Angeles is also very alarming- they are now rationing which patients receive oxygen and who goes to the emergency room. There are few things that are worse to imagine than getting a bad case of Covid but not being able to get medical services- it would be an awful way to die. Health officials are saying that they are primarily dealing with the Thanksgiving surge and are expecting things to get worse from Christmas and New Years.

While all this is happening, Trump is making no visible efforts to protect our country from the pandemic. He has given up the illusion of even pretending to manage the crisis and instead just focuses on nonsensical grievances about the election.

Fifteen days to go…..

All eyes on Georgia

Here we go again…. I missed you Nate Silver, Nate Cohn, Steve Kornacki, Dave Wasserman and Decision Desk HQ (my go-to results site).

I view special elections in Georgia with a healthy degree of skepticism- especially ones featuring Jon Ossoff. The unique/bizarre Georgia system of runoffs traditionally does not benefit Democrats, especially when the Dems have just won the White House. Older, whiter, more Republican voters have had a higher propensity to turnout and that results in dashed expectations similar to how Dallas Cowboys fans inevitably feel after the last game of the season where they had a chance to win the putrid NFC East (still a bit fresh).

Georgia seemed less likely to tip than other states in the Presidential election- behind Florida, North Carolina, Texas and maybe Ohio. The fact that it did turn blue in November is a testament to the changing demographics and the amazing job by Stacey Abrams and all the other people and organizations on the ground. It is also a reminder that gobs of money in an election year doesn’t mean you can build the infrastructure needed to win (see the Senate races in Kentucky, South Carolina, and Maine). Early and sustained investments are needed to do this type of work.

Now the polls currently show….kidding, nobody is looking at the polls for the Georgia runoff. Both races will be close and we might not know tomorrow night who has won. It would not be a shock to see a split- in which case the wooing of Romney, Murkowski and Collins goes in to an even higher gear to see if one of them will switch to the Dems. And if I had to predict a split winner it would be Warnock….so I have just guaranteed that Ossoff would be the winner.

There is no telling what impact Trump’s shakedown of the Republican Secretary of State will have- perhaps voters are charmed by his callous determination to undermine elections. As a side note, Gabriel Sterling (Georgia voting systems manager) and his sign language interpreters are absolutely on point in their evisceration of Trump’s claims.

A Democratic sweep means that Kamala Harris is casting the deciding vote in the Senate and that has huge implications for the Biden legislative agenda. I do relish the thought of Mitch McConnell losing his role as Majority Leader- seldom has one man, elected by so few, done so much to hurt America.

Let’s go Georgia- bring it home!

Trump needs a burner phone

Trump rings in the New Year by attempting to get the Georgia Secretary of State to find 11,780 votes so Trump can declare himself the winner of the state. Now if Obama or Bill Clinton had done this, you can only imagine the reaction. But it goes so far beyond what even Richard Nixon or Charlie Sheen would do….but it is just another typical day in the Trump Presidency.

On the same day that Trump is trying to Godfather his way to an election victory, you have one of his attorneys declaring that Vice President Pence should be arrested and executed by a firing squad (no word on what they will do with the fly).

In case Trump’s efforts and the execute Pence plan don’t come to fruition, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert has a backup plan– take to the streets and be violent like Black Lives Matter and Antifa. Basically, time for the pro- fascist forces to kick it up a notch- no more holding back:

Bottom line is, the court is saying, ‘We’re not going to touch this, you have no remedy,’” Gohmert said. “Basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you’ve got to go to the streets and be as violent as antifa and BLM.”

This is Trump’s America- where the President’s recorded phone call to overturn election results almost makes you forget about his attorney calling for the execution of Vice President Pence and a Congressman calling for street violence.

Seventeen days to go.

Operation Warp Speed is a bust

The single biggest job for our government right now is to distribute the vaccine….and it isn’t going very well. The Trump Administration projected 20 million Americans would receive the vaccine by the end of 2020, but we ended up with less than 3 million people. Mitt Romney has called out the incompetence: “That comprehensive vaccination plans have not been developed at the federal level and sent to the states as models is as incomprehensible as it is inexcusable.”

The federal government is uniquely suited for vaccine distribution- it is not something that should be left solely up to the states. Many of the states are on the edge of financial catastrophe and do not have the infrastructure for this type of situation. It is reflective of Trump’s failure to actually develop a coherent strategy to deal with Covid and his abdication of responsibility. When Republicans rail against “big government and big taxes”, they are limiting the ability of the federal government to handle large, ambitious projects like this. Trump’s continual attacks upon our foundational institutions (FBI, Department of Justice, Electoral College, CDC etc.) has paralyzed or weakened them at the time we need them the most.

One of the reasons that Trump’s attacks have been so successful is that the Democratic Party does not do a good job of messaging around the role of government. Too often it is viewed as the enabler of handouts and lazy behavior. Thomas Frank wrote about it in his book “What’s the matter with Kansas?” More and more rural, white Americans distrust the federal government even though they support many of the individual programs (Medicare, Medicaid, stimulus). The great accomplishment of the modern Republican Party is to convince so many Americans to vote against their own economic self-interest.

A huge segment of the Republican Party has gone along with Trump’s rampage and his chief enablers are in Congress. The actions of Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz and the rest of them will go down in infamy. They had an opportunity to put country above party and failed to do so. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will have died for no reason and millions of lives have been devastated by their failures.

The way we protect our citizens, get kids back in school, reopen businesses and return to a semblance of normal life is through a massive, rapid rollout of the vaccines. One of the most heartening things about a Biden Administration is the large number of efficient, competent managers who will be joining it and know how to handle such a rollout. The incoming Administration is obviously going to be hampered by the unprecedented lack of cooperation from the Trump Administration during the transition. In 18 days, we will get to see what it looks like to have competent federal leadership that actively works to protect all of our citizens and get everyone vaccinated. It is time to use every resource that the Federal government has at its disposal.

Worst way imaginable to say goodbye- 2020

Things were so depressing at Mar-a-Lago that even Donald Trump skipped the party. In addition to a complimentary case of Covid, guests were able to mingle with Rudy, Don. Jr, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Vanilla Ice.

We are past the point where you could say it is shocking that in the middle of a pandemic they’d have an event like this. Nobody is surprised, nobody is shocked that the President’s family hosted yet another super spreader event at their family property. Maybe they just figured everyone at the event has already been exposed to Covid, so why not throw a party?

It is just a reminder, that in the dying days of his Presidency, Trump has not learned, has not grown. When the moment met the man, the man failed. He has failed more spectacularly than any President in history. The last full month of his Presidency resulted in 2 million Americans being vaccinated instead of the promised 20 million- so much for Operation Warp Speed.

Trump isn’t even trying to pretend he is interested in battling the pandemic at this point. He just tweets nonsense about how the election was stolen and that members of the GOP have betrayed him. Nineteen more days until this awful Presidency is finally over.

$600 is a joke

The so-called stimulus bill that just passed will be providing American families with $600. Total. Not per week, not per month. One time. How much do you think that will do to stimulate the economy?

Food banks are being strained beyond capacity. Tens of millions of Americans are out of work. Many businesses are being shut down because of the stay at home orders to slow the spread of Covid.

And the government came up with $600.

Specifically, Mitch McConnell decided that you would only get $600.

The same Mitch McConnell who was OK with the $1.9 trillion cost of the Trump tax bill. Mitch also found a lot more money in current this bill to allow businesses to deduct their “3 martini lunch.”

If we wanted to truly stimulate the economy, give every American household $10,000. With 122 million households, that would cost around $1.2 trillion. Think about the financial security that would provide to so many people right now. And don’t believe Republican “deficit hawks” who are clutching their pearls about such a massive amount. They have certainly shown the ability to stomach such large amounts when it goes for massive tax cuts for corporations and the ultra-wealthy.

Former Assemblywoman Catharine Baker

Catharine Baker was the last Republican legislator in the Bay Area and it was fascinating to speak with her. It is easy to see why she was successful in winning a very competitive District in 2014 and 2016. Republican moderates are few and far between these days- people like Tom Campbell and Mark DeSaulnier (he went ahead and became a Democrat).

Also on the show, our national correspondent Jeff Otchis joins me from Texas to break down the latest from the Lone Star state- lawsuits, indictments and so much more.

Listen to the podcast at Apple or Spotify or just check out the YouTube videos below.

Defund the police

What would it mean for a city like Walnut Creek to defund the police? What is meant by that phrase? Would it be more accurate, but less catchy, to call it “Rethink the role of the Police Department”?

Kish Rajan and Matt Francois, one former and one current Walnut Creek City Council member, joined me to talk about that plus the latest Shelter in Place, the impact on local businesses and a whole lot more.

View it on Facebook or YouTube.

Listen on Apple or Spotify.