Victory of the platitudes (Update #2)


  1. Originally published, November 11, 2020, 1:24 pm.

  2. November 11, 2020, 9:29 pm:

    • Judges are embarrassing Donald Trump’s lawyers in court.[1]

      Even [Donald] Trump allies, as The Washington Post reported late Tuesday, acknowledge the apparent futility of the effort [to challenge of the results of the 2020 election]. Others have reasoned that there’s no harm in going through the motions, with one anonymous GOP official asking, “What’s the downside for humoring him” [Trump] for a little while?

      But as scenes in courtrooms nationwide in recent days have shown, there is indeed a downside for those tasked with pursuing these claims. Repeatedly now, they have been rebuked by judges for how thin their arguments have been.[2]

      Marjorie Cohn also calls the lawsuits frivolous, but is mindful[3] of those other tactics that Trump might yet attempt.[4]

Today, it seems, is Veterans Day, which I gather finds its origins in the armistice that ended World War I and that led through the humiliation and pauperization of Germany pretty much directly to the rise of Adolf Hitler, and thence to the Holocaust and to World War II.

With other wars, I might disagree with the rationale, but at least I can find one. With World War I, I can’t even find a rationale.

There are explanations: My history professor at CSU East Bay explained that there were secret alliances that drew multiple countries into the conflict over some silly person being assassinated by some other silly person.

But an actual rationale simply isn’t there. And so if there is a lesson to be taken, it should be that empty rhetoric, like that of allegedly “saving the world for democracy,” can be lethal on a massive scale and not just in the instant.

A lot of young men and some young women, not to mention civilian casualties, lost their lives in this war and in the consequent second world war. For no good reason whatsoever.

The pandemic hasn’t affected me quite the way it has other people in the working class. I’ve continued working, albeit with some ongoing alarm about lack of compliance with face mask requirements,[5] and I guess, in retrospect, my income[6] this year is looking pretty much the same as last year.

That includes a drop that I recognize from last year, where I’m starting to see fewer rides, starting to make less money. If it follows the pattern from last year, my income will drop off a cliff the Sunday before Thanksgiving and not begin to recover until next March. It’s a very scary time and, really, it lasts for at least five months, as that drop is already under way.

And of course the car continues to need maintenance—that was a cute little unexpected $500 brake job yesterday, because the place I’d been going for tires (not my regular mechanic) failed to inform me the rear brakes were shot when they did the tire rotation.

None of this makes me even the least bit happier that Joe Biden promises yet more anti-worker neoliberal policy. In the name of jobs, of course.


There is a new blog post entitled, “A Pyrrhic victory.”

Deb Erdley, “State lawmakers call for creation of a panel to investigate, audit election,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 10, 2020,

Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020,

Mike Davis, “Rio Grande Valley Republicans,” London Review of Books 42, no. 22 (November 19, 2020),

  1. [1]Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020,
  2. [2]Aaron Blake, “Trump lawyers suffer embarrassing rebukes from judges over voter fraud claims,” Washington Post, November 11, 2020,
  3. [3]Marjorie Cohn, “Trump’s Frivolous Lawsuits Are the Tip of the Iceberg in His Refusal to Concede,” Truthout, November 11, 2020,
  4. [4]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020,; Mark Bray, “Trump’s Baseless Fraud Accusations Are Already Sparking Far Right Violence,” Truthout, November 9, 2020,; Rosa Brooks, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Washington Post, September 3, 2020,; Will Bunch, “Trump’s diabolical plan to blow up democracy, get reelected and avoid jail just might work,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 2019,; Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “Trump team eyes legal, political Hail Marys as options for comeback fade,” Politico, November 6, 2020,; Chris Cillizza, “What happens if Donald Trump refuses to admit he lost in 2020?” CNN, May 6, 2019,; Democracy Now!, “What If Trump Refuses to Accept a Biden Victory? A Look at How Electoral Chaos Could Divide Nation,” August 3, 2020,; Barton Gellman, “The Election That Could Break America,” Atlantic, September 23, 2020,; Mehdi Hasan, “Yes, Let’s Defeat or Impeach Donald Trump. But What If He Refuses to Leave the White House?” Intercept, March 6, 2019,; Colby Itkowitz, “Trump won’t commit to a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ if he loses,” Washington Post, September 23, 2020,; Ed Kilgore, “How Trump Is Trying to Ensure an Early Election Night Lead,” New York, August 13, 2020,; Eric Lach, “What Happens if Donald Trump Fights the Election Results?” New Yorker, August 21, 2020,; Robert McCartney, “Here’s one way Trump could try to steal the election, voting experts say,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020,; Peter Nicholas, “Trump Could Still Break Democracy’s Biggest Norm,” Atlantic, June 16, 2020,; Greg Sargent, “On Hannity’s show, Trump reveals his corrupt, panicky endgame,” Washington Post, October 9, 2020,; Felicia Sonmez, “Trump declines to say whether he will accept November election results,” Washington Post, July 19, 2020,; Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Claiming two years of his presidency were ‘stolen,’ Trump suggests he’s owed overtime,” Washington Post, May 6, 2019,; Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020,
  5. [5]David Benfell, “The expendable worker,” Not Housebroken, November 11, 2020,
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Tax time,” Not Housebroken, July 14, 2020,

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