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Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Daily Combover - April 6, 2017

Unless a major electoral shift occurs in November 2018, April 6th will go down in infamy as the day our Republic died. The Republicans effectively ended Checks and Balances, a system, however imperfect, that had preserved this Republic over 240 years.  Without Checks and Balances would we have signed the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 or would the War of 1812 continued raging on? The British had literally set Washington, DC on fire just four months before.  The US gained official recognition by the British but few other gains. In effect, it was the first true military loss (despite the minor Battle of New Orleans that propelled Trump's hero, Andrew Jackson, to the White House).
In some ways, the War of 1812 looked more to the past than to the future.  As America's second and last war against Great Britain, it echoed the ideology and issues of the American Revolution.  It was the second and last time that America was the underdog in a war and the second and last time that the nation tried to conquer Canada.  It was also the last time that Indians played a major role in determining the future of the continent.  In this sense, the War of 1812 was the last of the North American colonial wars.  The war was unusual in generating such vehement political opposition and nearly unique in ending in a stalemate on the battlefield.  Although most Americans pretended they had won the war – even calling it a "Second War of Independence"–they could point to few concrete gains – certainly none in the peace treaty – to sustain this claim.
. . . 
It concluded almost a quarter of a century of troubled diplomacy and partisan politics and ushered in the Era of Good Feelings.  It marked the end of the Federalist party but the vindication of Federalist policies, many of which were adopted by Republicans during or after the war.  
Would we have stopped after Washington burned if not for Checks and Balances? It's hard to say, but had we not stopped then, it's pretty clear the British would have moved on New York City next. The invasion from Canada across Lake Ontario was repelled in May, 1814, but the demoralizing loss of Washington probably could have meant the next invasion would have been a success and the young nation would revert back to a British possession.

No, that's not a talking turtle. It's the Majority Leader.


So here we are today with Senate Majority Leader McConnell taking us down the path of ruin. The Supreme Court will no longer function as an independent branch of government.  We've been trending towards SCOTUS partisanship for a while now. But as this editorial points out, there will never be another moderate Justice appointed in our lifetimes:
Without a 60-vote standard, nominees to the federal courts will be even more extreme, further to the left or the right, depending which party is in power. Public confidence in the Senate will continue to erode, along with the trust that justices are fair and impartial arbiters of the law.
Trump, for his part, has been relatively silent on the matter as of late. Two months ago he called on Leader McConnell to end the filibuster but today he was busy wining and dining Chinese President Xi Jinping, and one presumes, picking up the McDonalds order.

Where are the Big Macs?
Finally, we've just learned that Somalia's surprise run on Biggest Loser came to an end tonight as Syria was crowned Biggest Loser. Their prize? Nearly 60 Tomahawk missiles delivered at top speed to an airbase in Homs. Congratulations to all the contestants. In the end, we're all the Biggest Losers.


Catch you on the flip side.