Speaker Pelosi forces the issue!


Incomparable web site prevails: In today's print editions, the New York Times has pushed its report all the way back to page A14.

The Times has refused to credit this site. Very frankly, we understand their reluctance.

That said, the question of Mister Trump and the nuclear codes was finally being discussed last night, even by some of the children on Our Town's "cable news" programs. As the Times has reported, Speaker Pelosi finally forced the verboten topic out into the light.

Sanger and Schmitt prepared the New York Times' report. Their report begins as shown below, hard-copy headline included:

SANGER AND SCHIMTT (1/9/21): Pelosi Pressed Pentagon on Safeguards to Prevent Trump From Initiating Strikes

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California on Friday took the unprecedented step of asking the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about “available precautions” to prevent President Trump from initiating military action abroad or using his sole authority to launch nuclear weapons in the last days of his term.

In a phone call to the chairman, Gen. Mark A. Milley, Ms. Pelosi appeared to be seeking to have the Pentagon leadership essentially remove Mr. Trump from his authorities as the commander in chief. That could be accomplished by ignoring the president’s orders or slowing them by questioning whether they were issued legally.

But General Milley appears to have made no commitments. Short of the cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment or removing Mr. Trump through impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate, it is unconstitutional to defy legal orders from the commander in chief.

Ms. Pelosi’s request [was] announced to the Democratic caucus as an effort to prevent “an unhinged president” from using the nuclear codes...

As we've noted throughout the past year, the children have been aggressively disappearing the two topics involved in Pelosi's action. We refer to the question of President Trump's mental health, and to the related question of his ability to launch nuclear strikes.

Timorously, Mika Brzezinski seemed to raise the question of the nukes on Thursday's Morning Joe. Timorously, she then joined the rest of the gang in failing to follow up on her initial timorous comment.

So it has gone among the children. For this reason, it was left to Pelosi to push these issues into the light.  

Through some miracle of discernment, Pelposi is concerned by the fact that an "unhinged" commander-in-chief continues to have the ability to employ the nuclear codes. Pelosi raised these issues with General Milley, then discussed their conversation in public. 

As a result, the children were finally discussing the nuclear matter, at long last, last night. 

These "cable news" children today! How hard they've worked, down through the years, to avoid discussing topics which haven't been approved by the corporate owners who pay them their seven- and eight-figure salaries!

(Nowhere has this obedience been more striking than on the Maddow Show, the TV show most often heard as one walks through the streets of Our Town. We may present the long list of those disappeared topics at some point next week. Then again, what's the point?)

At any rate, as of last night, Pelosi's actions had finally pushed this pair of topics out into the light. Having said that, there's no assurance that our disordered commander-in-chief couldn't drop a nuke on Iran, or perhaps on Michael R. Pence's home town:

SANGER AND SCHIMTT (continuing directly): Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for General Milley, confirmed that the phone call with the speaker had taken place but described it as informational. “He answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority,” he said.

But some Defense Department officials clearly resented being asked to act outside of the legal authority of the 25th Amendment and saw it as more evidence of a broken political system. They said that some political leaders were trying to get the Pentagon to do the work of Congress and cabinet secretaries, who have legal options to remove a president.

Mr. Trump, they noted, is still the commander in chief; unless he is removed, the military is bound to follow his lawful orders. While military officials can refuse to carry out orders they view as illegal—or slow the process by sending those orders for careful legal review—they cannot remove the president from the chain of command. That would amount to a military coup, the officials said.

As far as we know, there's no legal way to refuse Mister Trump if he decides on a nuclear strike. This is why we asked, a day or two ago, if any such "fail safe" procedure exists.

At any rate, with twelve days to go, the issue has finally been joined. A commander-in-chief who seems "unhinged" is in charge of our nuclear weapons. 

A commander in chief who seems "unhinged" is in charge of our nuclear weapons! But all year long, and long before that, the children to whom we turn for "news" and analysis have refused to discuss the apparent mental illness and the access to nukes.

At this site, we kept on pushing. Now, it has become our most frequently asked question:

Did Speaker Pelosi decide to act as a result of our own relentless behavior? 

In the face of this obvious question, we always take the humble approach:

It's true that we both have Baltimore ties, we somewhat sadly admit. 

As seen in the Washington Post: The Washington Post placed its own report atop page A2 in today's print editions. 

The Post was willing to put the word "nuclear" right in its hard-copy headline. In some ways, though, the Post's assessment sounds even gloomier than the one found in the Times:

LAMOTHE ET AL (1/9/21): The U.S. nuclear command-and-control structure gives the president sole authority to order the launch of nuclear weapons.


As it stands, the president has latitude to order a nuclear strike, even if the United States has not been attacked first with a nuclear weapon.

If the president is considering a nuclear strike, top military and defense officials normally would convene in person and by phone to brief him on options and offer advice, including on whether the action conforms to laws of armed conflict. Then, if the president proceeds, the National Military Command Center would authenticate the president’s launch codes before any strike was carried out.

Milley, as Trump’s senior military adviser, is not in the chain of command and does not have the ability to stop a launch. But he could try to persuade others not to comply. He does have informal influence as the military’s senior officer, so he could try to persuade others not to launch.

“Legally, I can’t think of anything Milley could do beyond reminding everyone who is actually involved in the chain of command that it is illegal to execute an illegal order,” said James Acton, co-director of the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “I can’t think of anything else he can do legally.”

On the brighter side, Acton used the word "legally" at least two separate times. Also on the brighter side, we'll guess that discussions like this have been underway, behind the scenes, dating back to 2017. 

Have provisions been made to refuse to honor a command to launch a strike—on suburban Indiana, let's say? We have no way of knowing.

But on cable news, the various children have always refused to go to these worrisome places. Instead, they've spent the past several years selling us the product we like:

Sugarplums in which we're encouraged to imagine all The Others locked up.

That's the product the children have sold. Eagerly, we self-impressed people here in Our Town have lapped that product up.


  1. From AJ+ on Twitter:

    DC mob attack, 1/6/21:
    ▪️ Broke into Capitol
    ▪️ Offices vandalized
    ▪️ National Guard: about 340
    ▪️ Arrests that day: 82

    DC anti-racism protest, 6/1/20:
    ▪️ 1 block away from White House
    ▪️ No attempt to breach building
    ▪️ National Guard: about 5,000
    ▪️ Arrests that day: 289

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  2. If Somerby is so worried about what Trump might do in his waning days, he shouldn't have voted for him.

    1. Trump can issue orders to drop nukes anywhere he wants. Even upon the "sprawling campus" of TDH. Or maybe upon the the homes of the "Hamptons-based guild." The only question is will the Generals obey those orders.

  3. What would be gained if Maddow were discussing this topic instead of Nancy Pelosi?

    Does Somerby think that informing the American people will do anything whatsoever to prevent Trump from acting rashly?

    Worrying about someone doing something is not news, so why should the NY Times write about it?

    All this worry about nukes but Somerby has not said word one about impeaching Trump or about Article 25. If Trump were busy defending himself from arrest, he wouldn't have time to nuke anyone. Recall that last time impeachment was on the table, Somerby argued against it. Now Somerby is ever so concerned...

    All you have to do to prevent Somerby from nuking anyone is arrest Ivanka for something.

  4. And still Somerby has said nothing whatsoever about the attempted coup.

  5. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/1/8/2007305/-Here-s-a-roundup-of-people-getting-arrested-for-their-part-in-Trump-s-failed-revolt

  6. From TPM:

    "The groups that organized Wednesday’s “March to Save America” — the “Stop the Steal” demonstration that turned into an attack on the nation’s legislature — are quietly disappearing from the internet.

    Instead, web surfers eager to find out more about the groups behind Wednesday’s violence found blank white pages. It wasn’t clear whether the organizations had removed the pages on their own, or if the take-downs were the result of malicious attacks or the actions of web service providers."

    1. "blank white pages"

      Still on brand.

  7. While the attempted coup was in progress, Trump and Giuliani made calls to Mike Lee (R, Utah) trying to convince him to delay electoral vote counting, mistaking him for Tuberville.


    "Washington (CNN) — President Donald Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani both mistakenly made calls to Republican Sen. Mike Lee as deadly riots were unfolding at the US Capitol earlier this week, a spokesman for the senator confirmed to CNN -- calls that were intended for another GOP senator the White House was frantically trying to convince to delay the counting of Electoral College votes.

    Lee's spokesman said the calls from Trump and his attorney were intended for Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a newly elected Republican from Alabama.
    The effort by the White House to get Tuberville to delay certification of the votes provides insight into the President's thinking and priorities as a mob of his supporters lay siege to the iconic building. As the President worked to convince Tuberville to delay the process, he and other top White House officials did little to check in on Vice President Mike Pence while he and members of his family were inside the breached Capitol, a source close to the vice president told CNN."

    This suggests complicity. So, if anyone should be locked up, perhaps it is the president himself.

    But not one word from Somerby on THAT topic.

  8. "Have provisions been made to refuse to honor a command to launch a strike—on suburban Indiana, let's say? We have no way of knowing."

    Ha-ha, this is beautiful. Thanks for the laughs.

    Scared shitless, dear Bob? Scared out of your mind (what's left of it)? We looove it.

    1. Scared shitless. Reminds me of the Right-wing doctrine that there is nothing so scary as a black man with equal justice.

    2. Q-Anon has been predicting not just nuclear conflagration but also race war. Because the left has been promoting multiculturalism, it remains for the right to start that race war themselves.

      White supremacists consider Jews a separate race, not just people with brown skin. Anyone who is not Northern European.

      I don't think Somerby is scared. I think he is eager for the conflagration, eager to do his part in the coming civil war. Remember that his gloom is reserved for those doing everything they can to prevent it, liberals. When he damns humanity for its lack of reason, in some corner of his mind, he may be excluding himself and those like him, his Aryan brotherhood (no girls allowed).

  9. I suppose it 's possible that Trump will order that Iran. or China, or some Red State to be nuked - that and a lot of other things, perhaps an infinite number, are possible. I think we have bigger worries though. It is extremely unlikely that Trump would try something like this - and in the event he did try it, I doubt his order would be complied with. Americans' response to crises or pseudo-crises - right or left - seems largely to be running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

    1. Hmm. We don't observe any Americans running around.

      It appears that only liberal zombies get overexcited: run for your lives, The Commander is launching a strike on suburban Indiana!!!

    2. AC/MA -- the members of the legislature ran to a special shelter where they were kept safe from the insurrectionists, some of whom had zip-cuff restraints suggesting they were looking to take hostages or do harm to individuals. These safety measures were so effective that not a single legislator or staff members was present when the building was invaded. That sounds like purposeful action to me, not "chicken with head cut off" behavior.

      If you are thinking that the invaders were aimless in their efforts, you are wrong about that too. Schumer has noted that the insurrectionists knew where to look for senators, breaking into the office where he most often worked, not the one with his name on it. Several have wondered how invaders knew how to find their offices, when it is easy to get lost in the building, suggesting that there was advance intelligence and a plan to break into the building.

      Those who portray this as aimless vandalism are not correct. You should also be aware that minimizing what occurred puts you on the wrong side of history with this one, and squarely in the Trump camp.

    3. The costumes and silly behavior (selfies, public pooping, smoking in no-smoking zones, feet on Pelosi's desk) are meant to mislead people into thinking that this is harmless fantasy role-playing and petty vandalism, not a serious attempt to intimidate Pence and other senators into keeping Trump in office. Do not be misled.

      Someone cleared the way for this effort by eliminating police protection, opening barriers and doors, providing intelligence about where offices and people were located. That makes this a planned coup, not a bunch of rowdies having spontaneous fun.

      While the attack was in progress, Trump and Giuliani were on the phone, pressuring members of congress into setting aside Biden's victory. That makes this an attempted coup too. Republican Mike Hill has ratted them out.

    4. Correction -- that was Clyburn not Schumer who said there must have been inside info because the activity was around where he worked, not the office with his name on it.

    5. No doubt, these criminals were run-of-the-mill Right-wing snowflakes, but the 2nd Amendment doesn't keep run-of-the-mill Right-wing snowflakes from being armed.

  10. Somerby wants us to know who those marching Trump supporters are (besides himself). They are being identified by the FBI with help from others:


    For those who won't follow the link. The guy with the restraints and tactical garb is retired military, radicalized and extreme in his views. Not a good guy at all.

  11. "The Times has refused to credit this site."

    Neither Pelosi nor the Times takes orders from Somerby.

    The narcissism of Somerby's pretended impact used to be cute before the Narcissist-in-Chief was elected and the end-result of such thinking became painfully obvious to all.

    Somerby's words are not funny or adorable or anything but horrifying in the present context. That he write a sentence like that, obliviousto how it comes across in this context, shows how tone-deaf Somerby is.

    Somerby defends Trump because they have so much in common.

    1. "New York Magazine reported, “This adviser, who spoke to Trump on Wednesday amid the siege, said Trump watched the events on television intently. CNN reported that he was so excited by the action, it “freaked out” some staffers around him. The adviser told me that Trump expressed disgust on aesthetic grounds over how “low class” his supporters looked. “He doesn’t like low class things,” the adviser said.”

      Somerby is similarly concerned that liberals think of Trump supporters as low class. That's why he keeps telling liberals to talk to The Others and stop being so elitist. He is concerned that Trump supporters are being dismissed as ignorant hicks. Just like Trump.

  12. From The Hill:

    No evidence has been found that members of the left-wing antifa movement were involved in this week’s storming of the Capitol building, the FBI said Friday, contradicting a narrative pushed by some Trump allies."

  13. "“A web of pro-Trump dark money groups helped organize the rally that led to a deadly riot on Capitol Hill,” CNBC reports."

    A web of pro-Trump dark money groups helped organize the insurrection that led to a deadly failed coup on Capitol Hill...


  14. Somerby is worrying about the wrong thing. The biggest threat right now is from right wing extremists who are planning more violence for Biden's inauguration day:

    "And now, as the dust settles and the country struggles to make sense of the violence that left five dead -- including an officer with the US Capitol Police -- experts warn that the calls for violence have only intensified ahead of Inauguration Day, when President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as commander in chief.

    "We are seeing ... chatter from these white supremacists, from these far-right extremists -- they feel emboldened in this moment," said Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks and counters hate. "We fully expect that this violence could actually get worse before it gets better."


    Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/08/us/online-extremism-inauguration-capitol-invs/index.html

  15. Bottom line.
    Trump lost.
    Gop decided to end American democracy and install Trump as dictator.
    Its that simple

  16. I can take my key fob and remotely launch my car. Guess what, it will then just sit there idling. The nuclear launch codes are not even that effective, pushing the red bottom does absolutely nothing except to allow the bombs to be programed and released. Someone on site has to actually program them with yield amount, targeting and then actually push the launch button.

    1. But we haven't weeded each and every Right-winger out of government employment, like we should have thirty years ago.

  17. Atrios points out something that should be obvious from the descriptions of the arrestees after Trump's rally:

    "Apparently these aren't the people the New York Times spent 4 years presenting as the archetypal Trump voter!"

    1. This describes who was there (from ProPublica via TPM):


  18. “it was left to Pelosi to push these issues into the light.”

    That’s right, because Mitch McConnell and the GOP have been completely AWOL for four years. They are apparently OK with Trump having the nuclear codes. Even now.

  19. Somerby’s humor in the face of these sickening events is inappropriate, to say the least. He sounds all concerned about the nuclear codes, and that Rachel didn’t discuss them, but then undermines any sense of seriousness with his jag off humor.

  20. Somerby seems to focus his disdain on the news media, specifically “liberal” cable news, accusing them of unseriousness or dereliction of some sort of duty. But he has definite opinions on the underlying issues.

    Here he is, on impeachment:
    ‘Is Trump "guilty of impeachable offenses?" In our view, that pretty much isn't the basic question. The basic question involves the possible harm to the system from pursuit of this unusual tool, in which the judgment of 63 million voters can end up being overturned by the votes of 67 solons.’

    Here he is, on holding Trump accountable:
    ‘In our view, if a person is "clinically unwell" to the degree described in that passage [in a piece by Andrew Sullivan], we'd say that trumps the additional claim that the person is also "corrupt."

    We'd say that such a person is clinically unwell, full stop. At some point, a person who is mentally ill isn't responsible for his actions in the way the rest of us are.’

    That leaves only two options: the 25th amendment and, prior to November 2020, removal by being voted out. The former was never going to happen. The latter did happen.

    In light of recent events, one wonders if the potential harm to the system brought about by impeachment was outweighed in his mind by the harm of leaving a mentally ill man with the nuclear codes in office who tried to overturn the election and staged an insurrection.

  21. Bull shit
    Impeachment is the only tool for the crimes of Trump
    25 Amendment for incapacitated persons
    As a New Yorker watching trump since the 1970s Trump has always behaved This way.
    He is not incapacitated
    Somersby latches on to this as a distraction from real issues.
    It’s bobs way of removing accountability for Trump’s actions

  22. Predictions of nuclear conflagration are part of Q-Anon mythology. It is odd to see it loom so large in Somerby's thoughts, unless he has been imbibing more from the alt-right than Fox News.

    But this is how someone becomes radicalized -- not all at once, but gradually with greater exposure to their propaganda.

    Those of us who have read this blog for many years, or several decades, have noticed the change in Somerby. Perhaps this is what the friends and family of Trump supporters have seen in their loved ones too. I thought Somerby was aging out of liberalism, but maybe it is worse and he has been surreptitiously drinking that kool-aid and using his blog to promote Trump's cause as his contribution to the movement.

    Other people I know and respect have become infatuated with Trump and his lies. Why not Somerby?

  23. If we didn't impeach Reagan when he believed in supply-side economics, we can't impeach Trump for believing in QAnon scams.

    1. Sure we can. Better late than never.

  24. Josh Marshall (TPM) says:

    "One thought I keep returning to: if there were a functioning federal government we’d be seeing regular press conferences updating the public on on-going arrests, health status of the injured, progress of the investigation. As far as I can tell there hasn’t been a single one. Nothing from DOJ, FBI, Capitol Police, the Pentagon. Normally you might expect such information to be channeled through press conferences at the White House. But, not to put too fine a point on it, it’s not clear or perhaps too clear which side the White House is on."

    They aren't even flying the flag at half staff for the fallen Capitol Police officer.

  25. CNN says that the riot was much more violent than at first reported:


    There has been little mention of the well-trained and equipped military tactical force embedded among the costumed rioters, looking for lawmakers including Mike Pence. And little mention of the phone calls Trump was making to congress members, urging them to overturn the electoral vote, while the riot was in progress and the Capitol building was breached. Those things make this an attempted coup, not a riot. It took a while for the press to catch on to what was happening, and much of the public may not understand this yet, affecting polls.

  26. "The United States Capitol Police is deeply saddened by the off-duty death on January 9, 2021, of Officer Howard Liebengood, age 51. He was assigned to the Senate Division, and has been with the Department since April 2005."

    Twitter is saying that he committed suicide.

  27. This is what Somerby should be worrying about -- what will the insurrectionists do between no and Inauguration Day? From Cannonfire (a blog that tracks conspiracy theories and those who believe them):

    "Most Cannonfire readers are probably familiar with Yale University professor Timothy Snyder, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading expert on how democracies fail and are transformed into authoritarian states. In a powerful interview on The Rachel Maddow show the day after the MAGA invasion of the Capitol, he told us that all of the chatter he was seeing indicate that large numbers of the marauders themselves and their supporters regarded Wednesday’s event as a huge success and that they are eager for more. In the professor’s words, “If you’re going to get away with this, what’s the next thing you’re going to do?”

  28. Somerby says that Pelosi has "forced the issue." I think it is highly likely that those surrounding Trump have already been thinking about what they would do if he tried to launch nukes.

  29. "Sugarplums in which we're encouraged to imagine all The Others locked up."

    Sugarplum implies fantasy, but those who stormed the Capitol building are being arrested. Thank God! If Somerby thinks that folks should be permitted to do this without consequence, there is something wrong with him -- he is the one inhabiting a fantasy that would soon become a banana-republic nightmare.

  30. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/1/10/2007989/-Parler-might-just-be-a-Russian-op

    And where does Somerby's funding come from?

    1. This.

      He doesn't work, who funds him?

    2. You couldn't pay me enough to repeat Right-wing nonsense memes.

    3. And Mao does it for free...

      You get what you pay for I guess

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