Burqa Bans: Governments Never Learn.

They’re always shocked – shocked – when strong majorities favor burqa/niqab bans; and they always say the same thing when warning their populace not to vote for them: So few fully veiled women walk the streets of our cities that it’s silly to legislate against them; only rabid reactionaries favor the bans; most fully veiled women are tourists…

So Switzerland, which has a national referendum on fully veiling coming up in early March, is yet another boringly repetitive example: Almost 65% of Swiss favor the ban; the government is madly lecturing them on how backward they are to support it; the population clearly intends to ignore the lecture. Only hard-right politicians favor it! … Well, okay, some left-wing parties favor it…

And why? For the obvious reason that it oppresses and erases women and by the way can certainly demoralize young girls who go out and see this embodiment of womanhood in their neighborhoods…

And who cares if they’re tourists? The fully veiled woman – a visitor from Saudi Arabia — who took a front row seat at the Opéra Bastille a few years back inspired an instant strike on the part of the performers: They would not sing until she unveiled or left. She left. (France has had a burqa ban for years.)

As to there being only a few full-veilers: Are you kidding me? Rates of full veiling appear to be going up in England, as you might expect when countries normalize the practice.

The main problem the Swiss government will face once the ban happens is the loss of a certain number of incredibly rich tourists. Boohoo. Otherwise, note that burqa bans all over Europe (and other parts of the world) have been imposed with virtually no difficulty.


When did the English language decide that the OO sound meant stoopid and/or crazy? Why is it so easy to think of words designating dumb/nuts that feature OO? Rube, yahoo, boob, booboisie, stooge, goon, loon, moonbeam, buffoon, doo-doo, woo-woo, zoo (as in “the zoo at the Capitol building”).

UD wondered about this as she read a wonderful opinion piece from Alabama, where the author, seeking an organizing principle, a leit motif, around which to discuss “our political class in Alabama, … folks too dumb to understand how dumb they are, made that way through self-inflicted repetitive brain injuries,” lights on The Three Stooges (plus Shemp).

Kyle Whitmire works his way down the list of Alabama’s highest-profile idiots, comparing each of them to his Stooge-equivalent:

Mo Brooks “believes sea-level rise is due to rocks falling in the water; he’s called mitigation measures put in place by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey ‘nanny state’ politics and last year, he bragged on the effectiveness of the American healthcare system against the coronavirus… [S]poke to insurrectionists before they stormed the capitol, [and] now faces censure by Congress.”

Rep. Barry Moore: “[T]old Alabamians that, if Trump could get the coronavirus, everybody would wind up getting it, so there was little point to protective measures… [S]upported overturning a lawful election and declared that he was leaving Twitter after the platform had already suspended his account… [S]hared a meme on Facebook defending Kenosha, Wisc., shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, saying he’s ‘fought back.'”

Sen. Tommy Tuberville is “too dangerous to trust around kitchen appliances, much less the power of a United States senator. And he’s prone to slap people he’s mad at and no one assumes he knows what he’s doing.”

[Attorney General] Steve Marshall’s organization “helped organize the pro-Trump march in Washington, but after that march turned into an assault on the capitol, Marshall said he didn’t know anything about the organization’s role in it. Marshall promised to investigate, but when asked whether Trump bore any responsibility, Marshall played dumb. ‘I didn’t see anything about the rally,’ he told the Montgomery Advertiser. ‘I don’t know anything about his remarks.'”

As the massive Trump tide recedes (or, as one observer memorably put it, as “witless ape rides helicopter” out of DC), it leaves in its wake schools of minnows that we hadn’t been able to see before, drowning as we were in the tide.

But now is the time to zoom in – on the fools, the nincompoops, the kooks, the googly-eyed, the stooges – before they try for another insurrection against the republic.

This blog will chronicle their movements.

Timothy Snyder, After the First Impeachment.

“Making our institutions a joke is exactly what helps authoritarians like Mr Putin survive. If there’s no example of things going better, it makes their life much much easier. A big sad thing which is happening is that there is no longer an American example … that dissidents in China or [the] opposition in Hong Kong or journalists in Russia or Poland or Hungary or whatever can point to — thanks to Mr Trump.”

“American Thinker” (the least appropriate name imaginable for a mindless rag) has admitted that EVERYTHING multiple AT writers published about Dominion Voting Systems was completely made up.

They’re really really sorry! It was a grave error… completely false…no evidence… no basis in fact and as a special offer just for you if you don’t sue us for a billion dollars the way you’re suing Sidney our managing editor will come to Toronto and go down on at least one and no more than three designated Dominion employees.

Please do not punish us for extensively publishing sick lies that led directly to a fatal insurrection which has damaged the United States of America beyond description! We meant well.

Silly Boy! You need to restrict your visits to Budapest, Warsaw, and Moscow.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cancelled a trip to Europe trip at the last minute.

Mr Pompeo had been due to fly out on Tuesday but Reuters reports that Luxembourg’s foreign minister and several top European Union officials have declined to meet with him.

No actually democratic country will have anything to do with you, ya big doodoo! Stick to your own kind – plenty of authoritarian regimes just like yours would love to hang out with you.

Whatsamatter, Bill? Don’t want to be part of the Rush Limbaugh/Jim Jordan Club?

Football coach Bill Belichick doesn’t want anything from the bloody hands of Mr Fuckface, so Ff can take his Medal of Freedom and … find someone base enough to accept it.

UD suggests finding the guy who smashed that fire extinguisher over the head of the policeman in the Capitol the other day and killed him with it. That guy would probably be willing to accept a medal from Ff.

‘At least one person is … dead, more will be hurt, and others may die as a result of today’s events. That’s what happens during attempted coups. Trump has been warned, including by Republican officials, that his words would get people killed, but he has paid them no heed. Trump himself is not present. Earlier today, he said he would march to the Capitol with his supporters, but instead he retreated to the White House, preferring not to get his hands dirty.’

For four years, Trump’s critics have been accused of hysteria and hyperbole for describing his movement as fascist, authoritarian, or lawless. Today, as Congress attempts to certify the election of a new president, the president has vindicated those critics. In attempting this coup, Trump has also vindicated the Americans who voted decisively in November to remove him from office.

The Nihilism of the Coup-Plotters

There is an obvious irony in someone like [Senator Josh] Hawley, who has built his career on decrying the cultural corruption and moral emptiness of his Democratic opponents, embracing nihilism. Hawley has previously argued that the country needs to return to the virtuous roots of the early republic. His evident disdain for the basic principles of democracy means that nobody should have to take his arguments on that score seriously.

Quinta Jurecic, The Atlantic


UPDATE: But hey look at this! Hawley turns out to be the true Trump heir; as they say in the song, Tomorrow Belongs to Me! A spectacular liar and coward and hypocrite, just like his political daddy, Hawley goes after “scumbags” who massed in front of his house and “threatened” his “infant daughter” and in this way whips up the forces of righteousness… Only it was all bullshit:

Police Slap Down Josh Hawley’s Claim Antifa Terrorized His Family

There was video. It shows a tiny group in front of his house making noise about Hawley’s now-notorious attack on democracy. A few of them went up to the house and tried to deliver a copy of the Constitution, but it was (not surprisingly) refused. Then they dispersed.

So here’s the deal. You don’t get to lead a revolution against American democracy without running the risk of experiencing a bit of static. We feel quite strongly about our democratic traditions here, see, and you’ve seriously upset us. So anyway okay be a revolutionary! Tear down the whole fuckin republic, lad! No one’s stopping you! But assume the burden of your radical subversion. As Esther Wang writes: “Man, if you’re going to try to pull some authoritarian, anti-democratic bullshit, at least don’t be a weenie about it.” IOW: You hate democracy! We get it! But you have to own your hatred. There will be sacrifices – for you and for your fellow plotters against America. Surely you understand that. And it starts now.

Warnock Seems to Have Won.

You gotta figure Kelly’s gonna do the Trump thing and insist she won by a landslide or something. It will be fun to watch. Meanwhile, Ossoff’s race remains a nail-biter.

‘Donald Trump’s authoritarianism is a combination of his unique sociopathy and sub-ideological worship for authoritarians and a broader tendency to accept it in his party. The Democratic Party as it currently exists could not produce a Trump. Nor could have the old Republican Party — until it crossed some threshold, perhaps during the 1990s.’

Everyone’s got what to say about the country’s shift toward authoritarianism, but Jonathan Chait’s brief piece in New York, where he locates Republican rejection of democracy in the emergence of Newt Gingrich and Kenneth Starr, is a must-read.

To support Trump’s reelection was always to endorse an attack on democracy. The chief divide [within] the party was between those Republicans who denied Trump’s clearly signaled intent to attack the democratic system, and those who reveled in it.

America the Beautiful

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self-control
Thy liberty in law!

Words for our time, from a simple, beautiful song.


[NOTE: I’ve added a lot of material over the last few hours to this post, and will continue to do so as commentary on the president’s failure at the Supreme Court grows. Scroll down.]

Man oh man oh Manischewitz. I really sweated this one. I LOVE MY COUNTRY.


From Georgia’s response to this thoroughly rejected grotesquerie:

This election cycle, Georgia did what the Constitution empowered it to do: it implemented processes for the election, administered the election in the face of logistical challenges brought on by Covid-19, and confirmed and certified the election results — again and again and again. Yet Texas has sued Georgia anyway.


Ben Sasse: “Every American who cares about the rule of law should take comfort that the Supreme Court — including all three of President Trump’s picks — closed the book on the nonsense.”


Steve Schmidt:

‘You saw it coming this summer — the astounding moment when the Republican platform became nothing more than a loyalty oath to Donald Trump — an oath of obedience, complete obedience, to Trump. Not even a pretense of policy ideas in it…

So today’s an historic day… [We] can [sometimes] overstate the importance of an event, [but] today was a before and after moment in the life of the nation: 106 members of Congress broke faith with American democracy today. They did something the fascists, the Nazis, the Confederate army, were unable to do. They broke faith with the idea that the people are sovereign.

Democracy definitionally requires one side be willing to lose an election… What we saw today [was a] breaking of faith which followed the poisoning of faith and belief in the system — the American system, the American republic, which has endured since 1776. It was poisoned this month, … and we’re going to live with this now for all the balance of our lives. Because the competition in American politics is now between a democratic party, meaning a party that believes in democracy, versus an autocratic party. And we’ve never seen that.

When you see that many members of Congress breaking faith with their oath [in order to] overturn an election because they don’t like the result, we’re off the reservation to a place that we might not be able to get back on it from. … We’re one election away from losing the country to people who no longer believe in democracy.’


“His whole life has been transactions and expectations [of a] degree of loyalty, and that’s a total misunderstanding of what to expect from the three justices he appointed, as well as a misunderstanding of [Justices] Alito, Thomas and Roberts. They’re not going to burn down their court to rescue Donald Trump… they’re neither stupid nor crazy. And for them to do what Trump’s asking them to do, they would have to be both stupid and crazy.”


‘When the case was dismissed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the lawmakers who signed onto the lawsuit “brought dishonor to the House” and chastised them for choosing “to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions.”’


‘“With each loss we get to celebrate the Biden/Harris victory all over again,” Ken Martin, a vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the state party chair in Minnesota, said. “It’s like the gift that keeps on giving.”’


“[O]ne of our political parties is openly hostile to our entire political system…

Too many Republicans have gone from being anti-Democratic — that is to say, hostile to the liberal political party — to being anti-democratic — that is to say, hostile to the liberal political system and antagonistic to the idea that the will of the people should prevail — and unwilling to accept political defeat.

This trend represents an existential threat to our system.

… Since the election, the party has only more fully warmed to Trump’s demagogy, moving from the uncomfortable passivity that Republicans used to adopt in the face of his provocations to downright enthusiasm for overturning a free and fair election…

[The Republican party] no longer respects the fundamental basics of our democratic process — voting and the peaceful transfer of political power — let alone good governance.”


“This embrace of the president’s attempt to overturn the results of the election is both shocking and horrifying. As Trump’s fraud claims and legal cases have steadily failed, the arguments he has pursued have become more outlandish and absurd, and they have also become more disturbing. Many Republican voters agree, and in refusing to stand up to him and them, Republican officials have gone from coddling a sore loser to effectively abandoning democracy…

[T]hese Republicans have set a course of being willing to oppose the results of elections simply because they don’t like them. That is by definition antidemocratic…

Republican officials aren’t afraid of Trump so much as they are afraid of Republican voters. And Republican voters appear to be afraid of democracy.”


Sedition is a serious charge, but it’s the right word. Most House Republicans and 17 state attorneys general are standing against the right of Americans to choose their own leaders. As elected officials, they are using the power granted to them by the people to declare that the people should not have such power. Even if they lose this case, this time around, the fact that so many traitors hold elected office in America is a major crisis all by itself.”


“The health of a democracy rests on public confidence that elections are free and fair. Questioning the integrity of an election is a matter of the utmost seriousness. By doing so without offering any evidence, [the Texas Attorney General] and his collaborators have disgraced themselves.

… This new policy of election denialism … is the latest manifestation of the Republican Party’s increasingly anti-democratic tendencies.

… This isn’t really about Mr. Trump anymore. He lost, and his ruinous tenure will soon be over. This is now about the corruption of a political party whose leaders are guided by the fear of Mr. Trump rather than the love of this country — and who are falling into dangerous habits.

… [W]here does a party that rejects democracy go from here?”


David Frum, in 2018:

“Maybe you do not much care about the future of the Republican Party. You should. Conservatives will always be with us. If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.

Perhaps the very darkness of the Trump experience can summon the nation to its senses and jolt Americans to a new politics of commonality, a new politics in which the Trump experience is remembered as the end of something bad, and not the beginning of something worse. Trump appealed to what was mean and cruel and shameful. The power of that appeal should never be underestimated. But once its power fades, even those who have succumbed will feel regret.

Those who have expressed regret will need some kind of exit from Trumpocracy, some reintegration into a politics again founded on decency.”

“What Really Saved the Republic from Trump?”

Must-read opinion piece in the NYT. Here’s the heart of it:

Structural checks can be overrated. The survival of our Republic depends as much, if not more, on the virtue of those in government, particularly the upholding of norms by civil servants, prosecutors and military officials. We have grown too jaded about things like professionalism and institutions, and the idea of men and women who take their duties seriously. But as every major moral tradition teaches, no external constraint can fully substitute for the personal compulsion to do what is right.

It may sound naïve in our untrusting age to hope that people will care about ethics and professional duties. But Madison, too, saw the need for this trust. “There is a degree of depravity in mankind,” he wrote, but also “qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence.” A working republican government, he argued, “presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form.”

It is called civic virtue, and at the end of the day, there is no real alternative.


But should this all be put in the past tense? The shits are still trying to kill us.

‘Ossoff trailed Perdue in the November election by only 1.8 points, but a WXIA-TV poll released on Thursday put him ahead of the Republican incumbent by two points. It’s within the poll’s margin of error, so the SurveyUSA pollsters said the results should only be viewed as proof that “every vote will be critical” in the January 5 runoff election.’

Look. The Republicans are doing their bit to undermine the election for Republicans, so that’s all good. But Democrats can’t take anything for granted. UD has been contributing to Jon Ossoff’s campaign for some time; she likes him, and she likes the fact that he’s part of the effort to flip the Senate.

At the moment, polls have him looking very good indeed.


“Deep state” isn’t the right term — its overtone is too clandestine, its undertone too nefarious — but let’s go with it, co-opt it, turn a put-down into a point of honor, the way gay rights activists did with “queer” and anti-Trump feminists did with “nasty woman.”

Let’s define it ourselves, not as a swampy society of self-preserving bureaucrats in Washington but as a steadfast, tradition-minded legion of public officials and civil servants all over the country, in every branch of government.

These officials and servants are distinguished by a professionalism that survives and edges out their partisan bearings, by an understanding that the codes of conduct and rules of engagement become more important, not less, when passions run hot. They’re incorrigible that way. Invaluable, too.

Anthony Fauci is the steely superhero of my deep state, and he’s flanked and fortified by all the government health officials who also pushed back against the quackery of Scott Atlas, the Trump-flattering pandemic adviser who resigned on Monday.

They belong to a quiet and then not-so-quiet resistance that blunted, thwarted or tried to blunt and thwart Trump’s worst impulses when it came not just to public health but also to foreign policy, immigration, the environment. In The Times late last week, Lisa Friedman described such efforts within the Environmental Protection Agency.

“With two months left of the Trump administration,” she wrote, “career E.P.A. employees find themselves where they began, in a bureaucratic battle with the agency’s political leaders. But now, with the Biden administration on the horizon, they are emboldened to stymie Mr. Trump’s goals and to do so more openly.”

That’s the deep state rearing up. That’s the deep state roaring.

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE